Lost and Found in Tuscan Hills

People don’t normally like the feeling of being lost, me included. It is the uncertainty, the loss of control, disorientation, frustration, anger, denial, and the list can go on.

evelina galli in tuscany:san gimignano

But if we have time and we can move past the initial sense of anxiety, being lost can be an opportunity to see new places, to discover new things, to become an explorer…almost like Columbus.

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I was not quite in the philosophical mood when I got lost on the way from Florence to Sienna. Rain and feeling hungry did not help the situation. But pretty soon a structure that resembled old city walls appeared, as well as promising signs of Trattorias and Pizzerias nearby. The medieval city structure was so impressive that for a little while I forgot I was hungry. Rain almost became a drizzle and my iPhone finally got an Internet signal showing that my location was at San Gimignano.

evelina galli in tuscany:san gimignano

Since I had never heard of this city, I wanted to get inside and see what was happening inside the city walls.

evelina galli in tuscany:san gimignano

Especially after seeing that TriplAdvisor.com recommended an amazing restaurant there, which had more then 1200 reviews on it, all being fantastic and fabulous!

Inside the city walls the cutest medieval city was hiding! Coming from LA it almost felt like a movie set. But of course it is as real as it gets!

evelina galli in tuscany:san gimignano

With the 14 towers that were leftover from the previously built 72 (the highest one 54 meters!), it was an architectural gem that I was feeling so blessed to see.

I will tale more about this fascinating city but I wonder if you can guess why people will build these labor-intensive tall towers in the 14-century, 72 of them and one higher than the other?

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Styling à la Florentine

When you enter a city trough the medieval gigantic doors, you know it is a special place.

Firenze (Florence)  is an epitome of the Italian Renaissance where even the hotels are built with the Renaissance in mind.

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When the hotel room has a Renaissance themed frescoes on the walls, it must be Florence!

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Florence has a very distinct style.

It is an open air museum that would take a visitor a few months to experience and appreciate all the gems that this city has to offer.

One of the least touristy places is the Medicis’ villa. There are so many primary spots that I think the Medicis’ villa hardly gets any traffic.

It is a unique feeling to experience such historical locations in a Zen atmosphere.

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In this Zen environment, I have stumbled upon the most beautiful movie theater ever!IMG_1998

Doesn’t it just look fascinating?

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It just needs a popcorn and a soda machine!

Talk about Form NOT Following the FUNCTION!

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And if the movie is boring, one can always look up to the “sky” for more action!

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What do you think? Would you like a home theater à la Florentine ?

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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads!

I have best memories of my dad,who was an amazing artist  but would dedicate less than 1% of his time to his talent.

Most of the time he was busy working on his business. I actually took his first name as my Pen Name; Galli ( from Galust, his full name).

GalliFortunately right before he passed away he made a series of paintings reviving old Armenian “Illuminations” from Medieval Bibles.

Illumination painting by Galli

He made 33 of them (the age of Jesus Christ), and all of them look absolutely stunning!

Here I am posting 2 of the paintings and maybe someday I will organize an exhibition of his work, to let public see all that beauty.

Painting by GalliHappy Father’s Day to all Dads! Make best memories for your kids!

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day!

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Best thing to tell your mom?

If I could choose my mom, I would choose you!

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After Mr.Freud, it became our second nature to blame our parents for everything,

from the shape of our nails, to the color of our cars…My wish for Mother’s Day is that we will grow up as a society and gain control of our lives .No more blaming! We can make changes …and as for parents …Just celebrate them! Without them we would not be on this planet :)

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Happy Mothers Day to All MOMS!

love,

E.

Use things. Love people. Don’t switch.

Apostolic Easter!  “Authentic” Old School Christian experience :)

Armenian Church

This is the shape of the building in Los Angeles , which is the same as the one built in  301 A.D. in Armenia.

The very first official Christian church !

Armenian Church

It is the mountain Ararat depicted in the picture, behind the church.That is where Noah’s  Ark landed.

Armenian Church

The Clothing Attire is also from the Fourth century.

Apparently it was a unique case of calendar synchronization that the Apostolic Church and Western Christians had Easter this year on the same day. I think only the Russian/Greek church is off this calendar year.

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Women have to cover their heads with lace handkerchiefs.

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Yours truly :) …Need to cover my head.

Evelina Galli

Only after covering your head are you allowed to take the piece of bread dipped in wine offered by the priest which symbolizes the end of the Lenten Journey.

And to have your prayers answered you of course need to light a candle.

Candles churchAnd my 3 prayers :)

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Every year I experience an enlightening as I end my Lenten Journey. This year, I received my epiphany as I was walking out of the church.

Things are created to use and people are created to love and the problems come up when we switch them up.

I thought that was a very good thought (although I might have read it on Facebook..lol..No, not sure where it came from, but the point is: it’s good!).

As a Fashion Designer I am constantly balancing the need to create with the guilt I have that I am contributing to the “bigger problem of consumerism in our society “. Apparently the way to properly balance feelings like these is in organizing my thoughts :)

If I remember that I was put here to use my creativity, and do so with passion, all the while mindful of the negative effects it can have, I can be of maximum use. There is a downside to everything. It is in being aware of that downside, and taking steps to counteract that, that we can avoid sliding down the slippery slope of greed and materialism. So take this day of rebirth and renewal to commit to using your creativity in the most positive way possible!

Hope you all had a fun Easter and an Epiphany of your own!

xoxo

E.

Fearless in 3 STEPS!

This is the last week of my Lenten Journey, since Easter is this weekend!

Evelina Galli

Along with eliminating animal based food from the daily diet, eliminating bad habits and excess, the other most important aspect of the Lenten Journey is to eliminate our fears!

All people have fears: Fear of not being good enough, being good enough, being too thin, too fat, too young, too old…fear of public speaking, fear of losing your phone :)…etc.

By using the metaphor of Jesus Christ in the desert, we can learn how to resist temptation. Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan (the devil is behind all of our fears, big and small!!). But Jesus resisted temptation. The Church tells us that we need to follow the example of Jesus Christ to conquer our FEARS during our Lenten Journey and throughout our lives.

There is a common strategy used to eliminate and fight fear. It is the foundation for most programs that address fear and dates back to Old Greece (Seneca) and is still used today by many motivational Gurus :)…

Step 1:

Reveal your FEARS! It is very challenging to fight an unknown enemy. When we take an honest look at what we are truly afraid of, we can arm ourselves with the ammunition necessary to fight those fears. All negative emotions, jealousy, shame, guilt, anger and intolerance are all rooted in fear. Look under those hostile feelings to see what fear lies beneath them.

Step 2:

Imagine the worst thing you are afraid of becoming a reality. Instead of panicking about it, develop an action plan of what to do if it ever came true. This helps prepare you and teaches you how to cope with fears in a constructive and non-reactive way. It empowers you with the knowledge and tools you need to address your fears if they do come true.

Step 3:

Acknowledge that there is a very slim chance of your fears actually becoming reality. This is critical in overcoming fear. If we focus on positive things, we get positive results. If we focus on fear, we become fearful. By having this knowledge that fears rarely come true, and by having a plan to deal with them if they do, we can overcome our fears. This does not mean we will be without fear. But we will, in essence, have less fear!

So relax… You are now FEARLESS!

CONGRATULATIONS!

What do you think about these 3 easy steps for becoming fearless?

I am working on mine. I have a week left until Easter, so luckily, I still have some time!

Yours,

xoxo

E.

Hot Pants, My Great Grandma and The Global Village

I cannot get over the fact that we ARE truly living in the Global Village!

The incredible support that I have received from all of you proves that we are a REAL community and are there for each other, in a form of encouragement, kind words and advice, from all over the world! It is truly astonishing and seems like a dream come true. Now I am even thankful for that silly e-mail, since it created a spark that fueled a way for us to get to know each other better and learn from each other. …

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I hope from the length of my hot pants and the shape of my décolleté, everyone has figured out by now that I am not an “orthodox member” of the Orthodox Church. Armenian Apostolic Church (part of the Oriental Orthodoxy) requires long dresses and covered necks as well as covered heads for women. It has never been about belonging to any formal religion for me. Instead, it is about weaving together the “best practices” from across the globe that we can share with each other.

Do we need to be Buddhist monks to meditate or be yogis to practice yoga? Both of these practices are such an inseparable part of our modern culture that even asking that question sounds silly.

I feel fasting and observing Lent is a great tradition. I have seen it commonly practiced in Armenia for most of my life and I wanted to share my personal experience with you. This practice has rewarded me with a number of physical, emotional and spiritual benefits… weight loss, more energy, sense of control over appetite, self-discipline …etc.

Evelina Galli

I first learned about The Great Lent from my great grandma, the most spiritual person I have ever met! She was the kindest, wisest and most amazingly beautiful woman in my life. She never got sick and lived well past 90 years old. She died in full acceptance and at complete peace with her life. She bid good-bye to her earthly existence during her sleep and she quietly transitioned from this world to the next.

My great grandmother would fast regularly and avoided eating after 6:00 pm. She prayed day and night and was filled with an abundant supply of energy that even 20 year olds would envy. She was an incredible cook and made gourmet French dishes (she was from the South of France) but would be satisfied with just bread, water and a piece of apple on most days. Then on the weekends she would share her fantastic dishes with us and we would all enjoy them together.

Her incredible discipline was always very alluring to me. She was my motivation for many of the habits I have developed. She inspired me to observe the Lent the first time and after that, it became my regular “Spring Cleansing” ritual.

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I feel that joining this blogging community just a over a month ago has been a great learning experience for me. I have learned about people and from people from every corner of the globe in a very intimate and personal way.

I have come to absolutely love blogging and following your blogs! I think my great grandmother would be proud of the way I am using this blog to pass on her secrets of longevity and life happiness.

So I am curious…what motivates you to write and share on a regular basis?

Hate-Mail Virgin…

Since I normally get the kindest and most generous comments, this came as an absolute shock! …My first hate-mail…hopefully the last…

Evelina Galli

this is it:

“Since I am still on my Lenten Journey I am trying to strip everything I ingest down to the absolute bare minimum”

You are so full of ####. You have absolutely no idea of that tradition. Well, maybe the Americanized Armenian Orthodox Church can say such stupidities like “eat less for 50 days and you’re purified” things, but it ain’t so. You’re so egoist person that you can’t see what you’re doing… going to Vegas on a Lente journey, doing this advertizing blogging, saying “Look, I’m on a Holy Trip! I’m ####ing Good!” etc.

You are just using something old and Holy for your own purposes… starbucks green tea, meditating, traveling, acting like a narcissistic ####… oh sweet Jesus ####ing Christ, was this just why you (Jesus) came down to say to Jews that they are lost?

Wow!…

“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard (source:uberzombie)

This made me sad at first. I felt that the person who wrote it must have been in a lot of trouble or turbulence in his or her life…

After thinking about this for a bit,  I arrived at just one question: why do some people hate what is different?

My take on this is simple. Don’t we all live on Earth under one roof, so to speak? Don’t we all have blood in our veins? Rephrasing the Shakespeare … Don’t we all have lungs to breathe and hearts to love?

… Love! …That ‘s the essential ingredient that is missing from this letter! I am positive that adding love to our daily life will reduce the unhappiness, the stress and the inner turmoil! I don’t mean Love as “loving a specific person.” I mean letting love in your heart, letting love turn the ignorance into inquisitive wonder. I’m referring to the type of love that makes a hard heart soft and the sun shine on a cloudy day.

It can be as simple as looking lovingly at a beautiful object, a sunrise, a flower …anything that makes you enjoy that second! Because when you experience the emotion of love, that true feeling of loving life just as it is in this exact moment, there is no room or time left for hate.

Evelina GalliSo rather than judge and criticize, let’s embrace our differences. Let’s find love in those things that make us unique, that shape our individual perspectives. Let’s find love in the little pleasures and let’s all start experiencing joy in every aspect of our life. Even in the face of hatred.

Evelina Galli

What do you think?

Before we “Conquer The World!”

I recently wrote several posts about the Lenten Journey that I am taking. I originally described it as a tradition from the Orthodox church… and since then, I have received some confused responses from all of you.  I feel I need o make some clarifications.

Evelina Galli

I grew up with the traditions of the Gregorian Armenian Apostolic Church. It is a part of the Oriental Orthodoxy that traces back to the Apostles Bartolommeo and Thaddeus who spread  Christianity in Ancient ArmeniaArmenia was the  first country to officially adopt Christianity as its religion back in 301 A.D..

Since it is very old, a lot of traditions that are part of Lent are kept very authentic and pure.

In addition some traditions that were predating Christianity were interwoven and given a new life and a new meaning by the new Christian church.

Mountain Ararat

One of those traditions is fasting during the springtime and general cleansing of the mind, body and spirit. This tradition came from a time when people were highly in tune with the cycle of nature and spring cleansing was a way for them to mimic the act of rebirth and revival that occur in nature.

Every year the church reestablished new dates for The Great Lent due to calendar changes.This year it is from February 13th to the March 30th.

But the dates are not what make Lent so vital to our well-being. The act of sacrificing and cleansing is about commitment; commitment to ourselves, commitment for several weeks on a journey of self-discovery, commitment to stay disciplined and follow-through.

This type of undertaking is one that can be spiritual, holy, purposeful or even whimsical. But no matter how you approach it, a Lenten Journey like the one I am describing will reward you with a stronger character and a greater insight into yourself.

In short: This journey is about investing a few weeks into our personal growth and improvement before we run forward and try to “Conquer the World!”