Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Sweet Bellas!
It’s time to let the cat outta da bag!
I’m so excited!!!

This is the first of two exciting announcements,
and I couldn’t be more pleased about the timing of it all.

It’s time to take Mangiabella to the streets!!!!

Today is the GRAND OPENING of
the “MANGIABELLA” Merch Shop
filled with all things Mangiabella.

Yet another vehicle to bring
beauty, encouragement and inspiration
to the doorstep of your hearts!!!

Just look at these darlinggggg teapots
(available in 4 different designs)

and tea tumblers that let you 
take your loose tea leaves on the go…HELLLLOOOOO!!!

and the platters….Just think of how pretty it will be serving up 
all of your snackles and noshes and treats, Oh My!!!

baseballs tees ~ adoooooorbz!

and these Ornaments….squeal!!!!

And these oversized mugs - cause us mamas
 need the BIG cups to start our days *wink*.

The aprons & pot holders~ I can’t think of a better companion 
to deliver the goodness.

There’s even laptop and phone cases..whaaaaa?

Don’t even get me started on the notecards, and tumblers, and bags!!!

Ohhhmagoodness…there’s more…much much more…

so whatchya waitin’ for….

Click HERE to visit my store!!!

and as always

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Challenge...

"So much has been given to me 
that I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.”
~Helen Keller

Thanksgiving is three days away!!!

It always makes me smile to see my friends flooding social media 
with expressions of gratitude in their own personal lives.
What I love about these happiness/thankfulness/positivity challenges 
is that it causes us to be intentional about focusing on our blessings, 
and cultivates a habit of gratitude. 

I was challenged by a friend a few weeks ago
to list 3 things I am grateful for,
for 7 consecutive days on social media.
This was what I shared:

Day One:
1) My God, who has given me such radical encounters, 
that it has, and continues to, 
completely shift my paradigms of what I thought Love was.

2) My husband. His fearless spirit constantly challenges me 
to "get out of the boat" and live audaciously. 
He brightens my day like no other. His steadfast love has walked me through the fire. 
His kisses are like honey. His embraces are secure. And he's so darn handsome.

3) My children. Their arrival has roused parts of my soul that I had not yet discovered. 
Every day they crack me open and reveal me to myself.
This has fostered much growth and change...and that's a good thing. 
And they are such tasty lil chickens I could just eat them up.

Day Two:
1)Family. Near and Far. Through good times and bad. 
Through the laughter and the arguments and tears. 
Jenny Worth said it best: 
"Sometimes only when bonds are tested do we understand their strength.

2) Friends. Near and Far. Encouraging friends. 
Praying friends. Faithful friends. Friends that become family.

3)Change. You've heard me say this maaaany times before, and I'll say it again. 
I love how change changes us, and when that happens, 
growth is inevitably right around the corner. 
Having gone through a recent season of change in my own life, 
and still pressing through, I can testify to this.

Day Three:
1)I’ve blogged about this before, but I am ever so grateful for the little moments. 
The ones that no one else sees, 
that take you by surprise, that make you laugh til it hurts. 
The ones that make your heart swell. The ones that bring your soul to rest. 

2) Rainy days, with a delicious novel in hand, a cozy blanket, 
and a steaming cuppa joe (or tea) by my side.

3)The Front Porch. This has become my spot. My think tank. 
My reading nook. My writing quarters. The official entertaining sector of our home.

Day Four:
1)The written word. I’m a lover of etymology.
 But on a more personal level, I love the way words can stir me, t
he way they dance inside my soul. 
It’s not always easy to get “into the zone” during this season of my life, 
but when the house is occupied, or at rest, 
the feeling I get when I hold the pen…or tap on the keys…
when "the faucet” gets turned on, 
and thoughts are free to trickle without restraint. Exhilarating. 
I write much more than the world will ever see, 
I burn through journals like a candle on a cold winter’s night…
One day when I’m gone, my children will come across these journals, 
and learn many things about me that I could never express 
when the decibels of life were at full blast.

2)Cooking. While some days the thought of cooking 
it is absolutely daunting because I’m so tired from the day…
it’s the other days that make me smile. 
There’s something thrilling about creating edible art. 
The colors, the spices, the tastes & smells. 
It becomes more than just provision, it becomes an conduit for expression. 
And that moment when I’ve cooked for someone, and they take those first bites, 
and their senses are awakened, and they’re enjoying it, it brings me joy. 
There’s certainly been some foodie fails…but more successes than fails. 
All part of the creative process.

3)Photographs. I love to be behind the lens. 
The ability to capture a moment in time, 
that feels dimensional, that tells a story. 
Candid shots are my favorite, when no one or nothing is posing, 
they are just in the midst of living, laughing, observing, absorbing, just being. 
This morning’s sunset quieted me. 
In a noisy world, I like to be quieted. 
There wasn’t a lot of color, just a juxtaposition of light and darkness. 
Much like life. 
It wasn’t a high quality photo, 
but I promised myself a few years ago that I would stop what I’m doing 
and make time to take in more sunrises and sunsets…and I have.

Day Five:
1)Grateful for my health. That it’s in good standing. 
And I try not to take for granted that I’m able to do even the most basic things on my own. 
I really am trying to be diligent about the things I put into my body, 
and recognize the things that I'm denying my body, 
making adjustments as needed, oiling the hinges, topping off the fluids.  
This body's been through a lot 
ushering all these babies into the world in such a short period of time, 
but I’m amazed at how resilient it is, 
and in constant awe of what beautiful, complex machinery our bodies truly are. 
I am sincerely trying to be cognizant of all facets of my health: 
physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. 
I am guilty of allowing toxicity in all of these areas of my life…
but I AM becoming better at keeping it to a minimum, 
and, being gracious with myself along the way. 

2)Free will. I have the power, I have the choice.

3)Freedom. I have the permission. 

Day Six:
1)Grateful for quintessentially lazy Saturdays - the kind you hope for but never plan for. 
The ones filled with snuggles from chubby cheeked children. 
And Lord of the Rings marathons. And pillow fights. 
And french toast. And Bob Marley. 
And doors that remain open all day so fresh breezes are free to frolic to and fro. 
And reading & writing on the porch while the children nap. 
And relaxation.

2) Fall -  I’ve blogged about this very topic on more than one occasion. My favorite time of year. 
Hands wrapped around mugs of warm beverages.
Sudden urges to bake hot cinnamon-y apple pies dripping in caramel & nuts.
All things pumpkin spiced. Changing colors. Crispness in the air. 
The smell of chile roasting and fires burning. Aspen leaves fluttering back and forth.
Long hot baths. Colossal sized bowls of soup.
Slipping on my favorite boots and hats and scarves in bundling bliss. 

3) Home - It’s more than just shelter.
It’s Anthony.
It’s my children.
It’s comfort.
It’s REST.

Day Seven:
1)So grateful for Music. 
It takes can usher me into the deepest depths of contemplation,
 and to the highest peaks of jubilation. 
It sets the atmosphere. Compliments the mood. 
I especially love to listen to music when I’m cooking. 
Working out. When we go for a cruise in the car. When we’re sitting up late just talking. 
When we’re cleaning house. Around the campfire. 
Love listening to live music, just about every genre. 
Simply cannot imagine my life without music.

2)Road trips. 
Nothing like jumping in the car with your favorite people, 
some snacks, great music, and an adventure in waiting. 

3)For this challenge. 
It was great to reflect out loud, 
thanks for letting me share!

What are you grateful for today? 

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Something's Brewing...

Turning 40 is off to a great start.
There were many meaningful moments of celebration.
Feeling like a soul at rest.
Have more answers than questions these days,
and that’s a good place to be.

“Our wants can become so mighty, so insistent and demanding. 
Our desires to achieve or obtain have a way of growing and multiplying
at a place that far outstrips contentment.
I tell myself, “Be still! Cease striving! Rest, and be content.”
I say “There is time enough for everything important” 
~ Mary Alice Higbie, St. James Tearoom

This quote resonates with me.
My plate is super full these days, both personally and professionally,
the list is long at the start of each morning.
At the end of the day, on many days,
I feel as though the only thing I have accomplished
is being “mom” and “wife.”
And I can’t help but smile.
Not everything gets done from day to day, 
but what needs to, does.
“There is time enough for everything important.”

It’s been six months since I’ve shared with you Bellas,
but there are lots of wonderful things coming down the pipeline.
New adventures have begun.
Details are around the corner.
I’m learning to love my story, and the fact that it’s always changing.
And yours is too!!

In the meantime,
if you see me sitting out on the front porch, 
taking a break from the task at hand, 
staring off into the distance,
just know,
something’s brewing...

more soon…and as always...

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What IS Mangiabella, exactly?

1,460 days ago, Mangiabella was born
into the ever expanding blogosphere.
It began as a collection of thoughts 
on life, love and the pursuit of happiness,
with some delicious food weaved in.

The hope was that my appetite for getting the most 
out of this life journey would be contagious
that it would make others hunger and thirst.
That it would entice you to 
devour life with me, 
devour my food, 
devour my words…
That it would encourage and inspire you to
step out of the day to day “drudgery,”
and marvel at something...
even if just for a moment.

But Mangiabella isn't just a blog...
It’s a lifestyle. 
It’s a mindset. 
It’s about tasting the beauty of life.
It’s about stepping out of comfort zones. 
It’s about not just being alive, but AWAKE!
It’s about showcasing your luster…it’s about spilling over.

Mangiabella is the thought in the back of your mind that says,
“What have I been ignoring?
What’s been left unsaid?
What have I been missing?”
It’s the laughter in the distance.
It’s ardently savoring the tastes, the touch, 
the sights, the sounds, and the aromas of LIFE.

Mangiabella is the passion and quickening within 
when I hold a pen, or type on the keys...
when I look through the lens of a camera..or when I cook…
It’s about discovering YOUR gifts & talents,
and then giving them away...

Mangiabella is the reminder that 
I AM the journey ~ 
I mean, aren’t we all?
We all have a story to tell.
It’s the quality of spirit that beckons you to rise to the occasion.
It’s the greatness within.

What is Mangiabella, exactly?

Mangiabella is the propensity and the desire to

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!

Happy 4 Year Blogoversary Mangiabella!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fan into the Flame...

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
So very guilty.
So often I put off “the hot iron" for the sake of the task at hand, 
and the tragedy is that as a result, 
many of those thoughts do get pushed back into the vault...
waaaaay back. And it can be tricky to reignite the flame again. 

But the hope is that it's still there…each….breathing. 

Yesterday I had laundry to do, a dishwasher to unload, 
homework to finish, studying to catch up on…
But instead, I spent the early morning writing. 
Just letting words flow. 
It felt good to crack open the vault and let some light in.
And a few things fell out, wouldn’t ya know...

Oh Bellas, my time is not my own. 
These moments do not belong exclusively to me.
They also belong to my little ones.
They eagerly await each day for those moments
to be brought to life in an environment that cultivates
creativity, exploration, learning & development.
They rely on it.

There are also dishes that need to be done.
Meals that need to be made.
Toilets that need to be cleaned.
Diapers that need to be changed.
All noble things.

So what’s the secret formula?
That there is no secret formula.
That even when you budget time to it’s maximum potential,
there will always be an unpredictable variable.
Especially when it comes to toddlers. Ha!
As the incomparable Bruce Lee once said, 
“Be water, my friends.”

That about sums it up.
Be fluid. Go wit da flow.
Realization and flexibility go a long way here.
For me, it’s understanding that this is a unique season all of its own.
And embracing it.

It’s understanding that some days, I will choose the dishes...
Or the laundry... Or the mop...
over jotting down the burning thoughts in my head.

Other days, I will choose the hokey pokey.
Or puzzles. Or Star Wars action figure play.

And some days, I will choose the keyboard.
Or the journal. Or the sticky note.

And in between, 
as I'm referee-ing toddler spats,
filling bottomless tummies,
listening, consoling, encouraging, teaching...
I’ll be gracious with myself.
And the hope is that somewhere amidst the beautiful chaos,
that balance will naturally find its way through. 

So what will tomorrow bring?
When will I crack open the vault again?
Who knows.
Each day, the mystery unfolds.
Each day, it’s own story to be told.
Knowing fully, that when the moment is right,
I will unleash my inferno.
And it shall burn.

Until then, and whenever possible Sweet Bellas,
When the heat rises, 
I vow to fan into the flame.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In This Moment...

Are you facing a disappointment?
A dilema?
A disconnect notice?
A diagnosis?
A divorce?

When suffocating moments 
consume your thoughts…consume your body…consume your reality...
and you feel like you’re sinking faster than you can paddle,
how do you find your way to the surface??

My husband Anthony, whom I affectionately refer to 
from time to time as “Dr. T.,”
gave me some valuable advice this past weekend.
He said sometimes when you’re stiflingly overwhelmed,
it helps to break things down 
to the simplest most basic element in the present moment.

As we were driving on the highway, 
he told me to close my eyes, take a deep breath, exhale, 
and focus on the utmost fundamental truth at this very point in time.
I’m alive for yet another day.
The sun is shining. 
The birds are soaring.
The air is cool and sweet.
The children were giggling in the back seat over something ridiculous.

And something happened…

I could feel the rays of the sun,
 permeating through the windshield, warming my skin.
The breath of life steadily filled my lungs, 
slowly flowing through every fiber of my being.
The rhythmic sound of tires on pavement began to 
resonate and pulsate in sync with my own heartbeat.
A flock of birds was circling..foraging...gliding in the most majestic way.
The resplendence of the mountains against the contrast of the foothills
framed my mind’s eye.
The taste of honey lemon ginseng mint was faint on my lips.
I was completely inside the stillness of the “right here, right now.”
The tightness that gripped my heart was released.
I could feel the Lord quieting me with His love.
I could feel His presence sweeping over me.
In my center, I knew who I was.
I belonged to Him, and I was enough.

"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. 
He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Sometimes you have to break things down 
to the simplest 
most basic element 
in the present moment.

Thanks Dr. T.
carry on...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Berry Breakfast Parfait...and Monet!

There are times in our lives when we are caught 
between moments that we wish would never end,
and moments that we wish had never begun.

When our hearts are most unguarded,
and we least expect it,
it comes...
a tender touch...
a glimpse of hope and a reminder of all that's good and true in our world.
It sneaks on up, reaches right in and
awakens something deep within us.

When I first heard some three years ago that a scrapbook was being compiled 
to be filled with sentiments and recipes from bloggers across the blogosphere
that was intended to spread a little sunshine
to someone very dear to my heart,
I was overjoyed at the chance to participate.

has won over the hearts of everyone who has crossed her path
in the most memorable way, through her thoughts and
contemplations, her stories, her photography, and her delightful recipes.

It was a privilege to pray her family through 
an especially difficult season of their lives...
a season that had been eclipsed with numerous tragedies and heartache;
And the hope was
that the small token of love
from those who adore her
would be a healing salve during that time...

So often I have felt her heart and hands wrapping around my soul. 

I have imagined sitting at her table,
breathing in the aromas of her freshly baked delicacies,
and sharing our worlds over a cup of tea. 

Stop by her blog and experience it for yourself.
Thank you Monet, for spending your morning with us.

Mornings have become special times for me. I wake up next to my daughter, next to my husband, and I take in ten deep breaths of thankfulness.

As some of you know, my family experienced a season of great loss. In 2010, my father-in-law committed suicide. A few months later, my youngest nephew drowned. Then, unbelievably, in the spring of 2011, my oldest sister and her family were in a fatal rollover car accident. We lost my nephew, and sister in the days following the accident…my brother-in-law six months later.

To say I felt scared is an understatement. I felt terrified. Confused. Angry. Lost. And yet in those darkest of dark days, I was offered cords of hope. The love and support of friends and family near and far pulled me through this season of loss into a season of healing light.

And our dear Bella was one of the kindest. Her words and compassionate presence reminded me to hold onto my faith. She doesn’t know how much she means to so many people…she doesn’t know how much she means to me. 

I could have lost myself in a sea of grief and depression…but thanks to the love of many, I got to the other side. 

On June 25th, 2013, I gave birth to my first daughter. We named her Lucille, which means “Bringer of Light” and indeed….what light she’s brought into our world! For the past year, I’ve learned what it means to be mother. I’ve learned to let go of control and to celebrate each day for what it is: an opportunity to love and to be loved.

I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. The second the doctor lifted her to my stomach, my body swelled with such a potent mixture of love and thankfulness and pride. Tears fell freely as I thanked God again and again. Not only for the miracle of birth but for his continued presence during the quiet and easy days of my life and his faithfulness through the dark and frightening moments of the past few years.

So my dear friends, for those of you who are hurting, please know that there is so much love in this world. Let us surround and support you. Let us help you get to the other side. I’m so thankful for the people who stood beside me…and now I pray that I can do the same for those brought into my life.

This morning parfait is a simple recipe but it’s one I love. I hope you enjoy it too.

Berry Breakfast Parfait
One 6 oz container of full-fat Greek Yogurt (2% is fine too)
Fresh berries (Organic, if possible)
1/2 to 1 cup granola

Place above ingredients in a big, beautiful bowl and enjoy! (Talk about mom-friendly!)
Have a most glorious week
and as always
Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!!

P.S. Congrats to Rach Vendetti, she won a copy of "Beautiful Outlaw"


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