Libri: Miranda July

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Miranda July e’ un’artista, regista e performer americana che mi piace sempre di più. Sia la sua scrittura che le performance sono permeati di surreale. Esplorano il quotidiano, lo dilatano, regalano al lettore personaggi e storie strambi e incantati. In questo momento sto leggendo (sul Kobo, in inglese) la sua raccolta di racconti che in italiano e’ edita da Feltrinelli e si chiama Tu più di qualunque altro. Un misto di Amelie Notomb, Salinger e Fante. Dunque molto consigliato!

Sicuramente avrete già visto il video che July ha fatto in collaborazione con Miu Miu per promuovere la sua app SOMEBODY…per ingaggiare sconosciuti che recitino qualunque vostro messaggio a chiunque volete. Per vedere il video – presentato al festival del cinema di Venezia 2014, cliccate sull’immagine qui sotto:

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Right now I am reading a really good book by American artist, filmmaker and performer Miranda July, the collection of stories No One Belongs Here More Than You. I first discovered July’s writing on Rookie Magazine and then on the New Yorker and finally I decided to get a copy of her ebook – delightfully surreal, well written, thought provoking. I love it. Her style is a mix of Salinger, Amelie Nothomb and Fante. Highly recommended! And if you click on the image above you can check out the awesome video Miranda July made in collaboration with Italian fashion brand Miu Miu, advertising an app that allows you to hire strangers to deliver personal messages to people. Enjoy :)

DIY: burrocacao / balsamo labbra fatto in casa

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Questo weekend ho sperimentato una ricetta molto semplice per fare il burrocacao (o balsamo labbra). E’ semplicissimo, il risultato e’ ottimo, non ha nessun ingrediente chimico, e costa davvero poco.

Qualche anno fa avevo ordinato un centinaio di contenitori trasparenti per lucidalabbra (costano pochissimo negli States) e finalmente ho avuto tempo di usarli. La ricetta che ho usato ha solo 3 ingredienti! Ho realizzato e stampato le etichette a casa, usando una semplice stampante inkjet.

Ingredienti per circa dieci burrocacao (per farne di più o di meno moltiplicate o dividete le quantità):

- 1/4 tazza olio di mandorle (circa 60 ml – potete usare anche altri oli: avocado, oliva, cocco, etc.)

- 14 grammi di cera d’api

- 6-8 gocce di olio essenziale di menta piperita (o altri oli adatti per le labbra: arancia, lime, mandarino, tea tree)

Sciogli la cera a bagnomaria, aggiungi l’olio di mandorle e mescola. Spegni il fuoco, aggiungi le gocce di olio essenziale e versa nei contenitori per burrocacao. Per semplificare questa operazione e’ meglio scaldare gli ingredienti in un contenitore con beccuccio, in modo che sia più semplice versare il contenuto nei tubi di plastica. In pochissimo tempo il burrocacao sara’ solidificato e pronto per l’uso.

Per stampare le etichette create un’immagine di 4,5 cm x 4,5 cm e usando Word o InDesign impaginate e stampate (normalissimi fogli da etichette vanno bene). La cera d’api protegge le labbra dal freddo e l’olio di mandorle le ammorbidisce, senza l’aggiunta di oli minerali che seccano e irritano inutilmente. Distribuite agli amici o teneteli da parte per i regali di natale – chi non ha bisogno di burrocacao in inverno?

This week I finally made lip balm, after finding the 100 containers I bought on Ebay a while ago. It actually takes so little effort and so little money to make a LOT of lip balm! This is a recipe that makes approx 10 lip balms – you can multiply or divide the quantities to make more or less. I made and printed the labels myself with our inkjet printer using InDesign and Illustrator, but PicMonkey and Word works great too :)

Ingredients:

- 1/4 cup almond oil (or coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, whatever natural vegetable oil you like)

- 0.5 oz beeswax

- 6-8 drops essential oil (I used peppermint but you can use any other essential oil that is safe for lips: spearmint, orange, lime, mandarin, tea tree oil)

Melt the beeswax in a double boiler, add the almond oil and stir. Turn off the stove and add the essential oil. Pour in the containers (tricky!!) and let cool and solidify. To make your labels make a 1.8″ x 1.8″ image and repeat it (with Word or InDesign) on a A4, print on label paper. Enjoy and give it to your friends!

Autosufficienza, cocktails e conserve: tre letture di fine estate

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Ho passato la maggior parte della settimana a casa influenzata e ho finalmente trovato il tempo di leggere e scoprire diversi blog (e creare illustrazioni con l’app Paper53). Il primo blog di cui voglio parlarvi e’ CIDERANDRYE, un blog americano di ricette interamente dedicato alle bevande.

Vi trovate ‘bevande storiche’, ricette per soda fatta in casa, agua fresca, liquori e tisane.

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Il secondo blog e’ FOODINJARS. Come dice il nome stesso e’ interamente dedicato alle conserve alimentari di ogni tipo, dai sughi ai chutney, con ampio spazio alle ricette piccanti. I post sono accompagnati da immagini molto curate e l’indice delle ricette e’ assolutamente incredibile! Eccolo qui: http://foodinjars.com/recipe-index/

Il terzo blog e’ forse il mio preferito. WAYWARDSPARK presenta i racconti e le fotografie di una 31enne americana che vive off-the-grid in Oregon (ovvero senza elettricità), con due bambini, il marito, galline e capre. In realtà non ha oche, quindi l’illustrazione dell’oca e’ abbastanza random! Se avete tempo e vi interessano considerazioni e storie relative all’autosufficienza vi piacerà. Le foto sono davvero belle, anche se l’autrice non si considera una fotografa professionale.

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Se conoscete blog simili in italiano condivideteli nei commenti qui sotto!

This week I have been sick, therefore I have finally found the time to read (and discover) new blogs (as well as to make some little illustrations with the app Paper53). The blogs I present here are perfect late summer readings. The first one is all about homemade drink recipes, from herbal teas to soda to historical drinks (my fav!) to boozy cocktails – head over CIDERANDRYE and make yourself something delicious!

The second blog is all about homemade canning and preserving – loads of great recipes and photos and tips. It’s called FOODINJARS and here you can find the impressive recipe index.

The last blog is probably my favorite, because I have always been very interested in experiences and reflections on off-the-grid living (see my post on the Danish blog &thepioneerlife). WAYWARDSPARK presents photos, stories and thoughts about living off-the-grid in a cabin in Oregon. It’s written by a talented 31 year old mother of two. The writing is beautiful and thought-provoking, I hope this lady will write a book some day! The goose illustration is quite random since Camille, the author, doesn’t have any geese – but I find geese easier to draw than goats ^_^

That’s all for now. Today we’ll be off to the alternative art festival here in Copenhagen (I may blog about it soon, it’s really cool) and tomorrow we look forward to a day of sailing with friends. See you soon!

DIY: bustine alla lavanda + ricami

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Dopo le vacanze eccoci di ritorno, questa volta con l’ammirevole proposito di riprovare a scrivere il blog in versione bilingue. Italiano e inglese, il danese ormai lo pratico abbastanza al lavoro, e non voglio massacrarlo oltre.

Le bustine profumate alla lavanda sono una delle cose più rapide da realizzare, in questo caso ho utilizzato scarti di stoffe per il retro, e cotone ecologico molto sottile per il davanti. Ho ricamato gli animali con del semplice filo da ricamo, e ho riempito le bustine di fiori di lavanda secca. Voila’!

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Chasing Hygge is back after a very long holiday hiatus. Trying to post in both Italian and English, so hopefully everybody is happy :) 

Today I am just showing a very basic, very fast DIY – small hand-embroidered lavender bags. I made them with organic white cotton (front) and small fabric scraps (on the back of the little creatures). They are filled with dry, fragrant lavender flowers, and they are quite fun to make when you are bored.

See ya soon!

Photo-diary from Israel and Palestine

We’re back from 10 wonderful days exploring Israel and the West Bank (where we unfortunately only spent one day due to security concerns in the region). Here is a collection of some of the photos I took.

Let’s start with Tel Aviv, the first city we visited. We were based in the Jaffa neighborhood, a mixed place where you will find Arab, Jewish and Christian people and businesses. I would definitely go back there on my next trip to TLV.

Tel Aviv has a VERY laid back atmosphere. To me it is the ultimate place for a sun&sea holiday! Beautiful beaches, good surfing waves, great shops, great food and really not that many tourists….which is always a bonus, anywhere. I have noticed that there is also a great street art scene in town. We spent just a couple of days there, because our priority was to spend more time in Jerusalem and explore nearby areas.

For the whole duration of our holidays we stayed at private apartments with AirBnB. It was our first time using the service and, as a friend of us said, it’s gonna be hard to go back to hotels :) Here are some photos from the AirBnB we stayed at in Jaffa-Tel Aviv:

After Tel Aviv we went to Jerusalem, a very interesting city with endless things to see. You definitely feel overwhelmed with places to visit and new things to learn. Here some photos:

One thing I didn’t like in Jerusalem is that you can definitely feel the social tension. It is right by the West Bank, and during the period we were there Israel launched a major military operation in both the West Bank and Gaza. Gaza was shooting rockets to Israel. You can read more about it on Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper published in English – which we read every day in order to plan our itinerary in the safest way.

The other thing I didn’t like is the fact that I had to cover my body most of the time in the Old City, for religious reasons, and it was really hot – sometimes 34-36 degrees celsius.

We managed to spend one day in the West Bank, and it was a beautiful and peaceful experience. We went to Bethlehem, where we visited the market, had a coffee at Star&Buck coffee and visited the beautiful Church of the Nativity.

The situation of the Palestinian Territories is worsening right now (see Haaretz link above). It’s really sad. Reading about what is going on in Gaza right now is very depressing. It is good to travel down there (I mean to the West Bank, Gaza is completely off limits) and see that there are still successful businesses, restaurants, art initiatives and people who hope to see a brighter future. Both in Israel and Palestine there are people who believe that peace is possible.

We also went for a day trip to the Dead Sea, in the middle of the desert and facing Jordan – so breathtakingly beautiful, but very touristic. Due to high temperatures during the day we got on the first bus from Jerusalem so that we could be there at 9 am, and we started by hiking at the beautiful Ein Gedi nature reserve, where we dipped under fresh waterfalls and saw lots of strange animals. After that we dipped in the Dead Sea, we floated, we covered ourselves in black mud and did all those touristic things you should do while there (buying overpriced food and drinks included).

What ruined the trip on our way back was the terrible bus service! We were stranded in the sweltering hot desert waiting for a bus for two hours, all this because the bus company has a totally insane system. DO NOT GO TO THE DEAD SEA BY BUS.

Now I understand why, the day before our trip, a British couple we met told us that we were “very adventurous” for taking the public bus to the Dead Sea.

Lastly, two more photos from the beach in Jaffa – hope you enjoyed this mini holiday photo reportage :) I wished we spent more time in the West Bank and generally in the Northern Part of Israel (Haifa in particular), but we can always go back…and we may.

Recycle in Copenhagen: how to rent clothes, re-use windows and more…

Photo from Twitter (debuggirl)

Photo from Twitter (debuggirl) Bag by Tiger

There is a restaurant in Copenhagen where cooks make food with leftovers from supermarkets, manufacturers and other companies in the food business. It’s Spisehuset Rub&Stub, the first concept of this kind in Europe. Why waste food that is still perfectly edible when you can recycle it?

The whole staff works on a volunteer basis and the revenue goes to humanitarian development projects. What is not to like about it? Oh, and there is always a vegetarian course on the menu (photos below from their website – you can see the interior of the restaurant).

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Before going out to eat some fancy recycled food surplus you should wear something nice…recycled as well. Pick up a nice dress from Copenhagen’s “shared walk-in closets”. I know at least two of them. Resecond is a membership based “shop” that allows members to rent nice dresses from a curated eclectic selection – how many times do we really wear our dresses? The idea behind Resecond is that women share their dresses with other women – they are invited to write some words about the dress on a label, too. So that memories are shared as well (photo from Information.dk).

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The other shared closet in Copenhagen is Chare, started by the Danish Refugee Council as a way to raise funds and at the same time raise awareness about clothes waste. Chare is based on a monthly membership too, and offers beautiful dresses.

Another genius initiative in town is Genbyg, a huge shop selling reclaimed (or recycled) construction materials. You can find doors, old windows, floors, electric supplies – and they also have an online shop. On top of that they have a lab producing beautiful furniture made with recycled material (see below).

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Christiania has also a very nice shop selling used construction materials (and clothes, and furniture, etc.), the Christiania’s Byggemarked.

Last by not least…since to paraphrase Shakespeare we are all going to end, ahem, as compost, the ultimate recycling idea is definitely the Bios Urn, a biodegradable urn to bury people in a more eco-friendly way. A tree will germinate in the Bio Urn (Pine, Ginko, Maple, Oak, Ash or Beech), turning us into a plant after our death. They are also available for pets. I saw some biodegradable urns in a really cool exhibit at the museum inside Copenhagen’s Assistens Cemetery a while ago. They are brilliant! As their slogan goes, there’s life after life. From their website:

beech-h1This post was inspired by a movie that Raffaella sent me: WASTE = FOOD, a documentary about recycling, waste production and cradle-to-cradle. You can watch the whole thing for free here.

And if you know of other interesting recycling ideas/concepts in Copenhagen – or in your part of the world – don’t be shy and leave us a message!

(by clicking on the RECYCLE category below you’ll find more posts about this topic)

 

South African Diary – a week in Cape Town

This week I decided to go back to the original language of this blog, English. I have been thinking about switching back for a while, and right now I feel like it’s the best solution – I live abroad and most of my friends are international and don’t speak or read Italian. I hope that the Italian readers of Chasing Hygge will bear with me despite the language switch!

I have exciting news – I just came back for a week in Cape Town, South Africa. I have organized a workshop at a really cool seminar, so I had relatively little time to explore my surroundings….but here are some of the photos I took of this truly amazing African city.

I went to Cape Town knowing very little about South Africa and about the city, I didn’t bring any travel guide. The only knowledge I had was from a really cool documentary shot by my friend Diana Manfredi, District Six, the story of a cosmopolitan neighborhood of Cape Town whose residents were forcibly removed during the apartheid. I went to District Six (below) and I really loved the District Six museumI enjoyed hearing the stories of a former resident, now 80 years old, who was my guide at the museum.

He told us how, at the beginning of the apartheid regime, signs on benches usually read “Europeans Only”. But, when the White Americans and Canadians and Australians came to visit, such sign would formally prohibit them to sit with the other “Europeans”. This is when all the signs were switched to “White Only” or “For Use by White Persons”.

During the seminar I met several activists from South Africa, and I learned a lot of interesting things about the place, the current struggles and about the socio-political situation. I also met a lot of really cool people working at NGOs and grassroots organizations all over Africa, but I will talk about it in another post. One of the ladies who made the strongest impression on me is pictured in the photo below, her name is Glanis and she works for the Institute of Young Women Development in Zimbabwe.

It was a great experience and – despite time constraints – I managed to do some shopping, only books! I went to the excellent Clarke’s Bookstore, on 199 Long Street, and I got some Capetonian literature: Zoë Wicomb, Imraan Coovadia, Meg Vandermerwe and the new magazine of writing Prufrock (lovely, check out their website).

I can recommend at least two restaurants in Cape Town: one is the Ethiopian restaurant at the Pan African building on Long Street (cheap and de-li-cious), the other one is the fancy (but cheap) European inspired cafè Jason, on Bree Street: one of the best burgers I have ever had. Both places are on pretty interesting roads – Long Street is more touristic and there are tons of shops and vintage stores, Bree Street is hip and you can find many design and interior decoration shops (like the really cute Skinny laMinx).

I hope to go back soon and hike on Table Mountain, apparently that is a must. Oh well, next time!

See you very soon :)