Font Freebies / 16

Hi friends!

Happy Monday! How are things? Can you believe it’s practically May? I certainly can’t – this semester has flown right by, and it’s now only two short weeks until I return home for the summer. I’m looking forward to reading and blogging galore on my break, but until then, you’ll find me in my favorite study spots (final papers unfortunately don’t write themselves), soaking up the sun with friends, or in rehearsal for my last production of the semester. My first year seems like it will end on an excellent note.

While I have a playwriting assignment awaiting me, I didn’t want the month to go by without a post here on Ciao Bella – and since I haven’t posted a Font Freebies since last summer, the feature is long overdue for another edition! For new readers, the name says it all: the typefaces below are all free for personal use, whether that’s to jazz up a final presentation, to decorate a summer bonfire invitation, or to include in a blog post of your own. I myself am eyeing Cortez and Condition for a few creative projects; I can’t get enough of their clean lines and cool shapes. Are there any fonts you’ve loved as of late?

Font Freebies 16
Gianna / Element 120 / Garage Imperio / Cortez / Condition / Haarlem Sans

The title is in Oliver Quin.

Have a terrific Monday!


Eye on Art / 20

Hi friends!

How are you? How are things? I think we can both agree: it has been far too long since I last posted here. This semester has been a whirlwind of good things, but I’m grateful to be home, however briefly, for my spring break. Since Brown schedules the vacation so late, I’m keeping it quiet: a few days to plan out remaining assignments and applications, the chance to see friends who are home for Easter, and a day trip into New York to see Hamilton (!!!) for the weekend.

I’ll also be using this week to catch up on reading and blogging – my pile of library books and folder of post drafts seem to grow by the day! I’ve had this edition of Eye on Art in the works for a month now, so I’m delighted that I’m finally able to share it. These three artists work nothing short of magic with their chosen materials, be it paper, colored pencil, or paint, and seeing their portfolios has me itching to return to the studio. As I browse art class possibilities, let me ask: are there any artists you’ve been crushing on as of late?

Lorraine NamTo kick things off, I think it’s hard to look at the work of paper artist Lorraine Nam and not smile. While her well-picked color palettes are worthy of note alone, I can’t get over her deftness with scissors and paper, through which she creates entire worlds. I suppose it’s a testament to her eye for small details – the mini trailer! the bookshelf! the tattoos! – that I can look at her pieces and find something new to admire every time.

I first came across Lorraine’s art when it graced the cover of Country Living (see it here), but I continue to follow it through her Instagram; it’s such a colorful highlight of my feed, and I love the small glimpses into her artistic process. Her recent project for International Women’s Day ranks as my current favorite, but let’s be honest: if I could see any of these in person, I’d be a happy camper. {website}

Natalie FossCall it a habit: I love to take note of the artists whose work appears in the pages of a magazine. I do it with Country Living, but I also do it with Entertainment Weekly, where I fell in love with a piece from Norwegian illustrator Natalie Foss. It took only a brief look at her portfolio before I was calling myself a full-fledged fan. How could I not? Her work is outer-worldly, captivating, and, most impressively, drawn entirely in colored pencil.

There’s no doubt that her portraits, with their soulful expressions, are amazing, but what I’m drawn to most is actually the star-dusted hands, shown above. As my studio class has proven to me this semester, hands can be harder to draw than they look, but Natalie makes it look effortless. That in mind, can I have a print of my own? {website}

Anna HoyleFinally, if you like art that makes you chuckle, look no further than Anna Hoyle’s portfolio of paintings. Based in Melbourne, Anna showcases a punchy sense of humor and a bright use of color in her series, aptly titled “Books.” Though they remind me of a retro age, the paintings are a response to the intersections between books and modern media. As she says, “A lot of the books I paint are the kind of ridiculous or absurd things that you might want to look up on the internet. They are kind of follies.”

If you weren’t already in love, Anna isn’t limited to book paintings, as she also boasts a wide collection of ink drawings and other illustrations. Nevertheless, my heart remains with her silly, satirical illustrations. I want them to line my (admittedly, imaginary) home library walls. {website}

Have a wonderful start to your week!

Fudgy Banana Bread


Fudgy Banana BreadCall it the dining hall blues, but every time I return to school after a trip home, I wish for a kitchen in which I can whip up my own meals. I’m grateful, of course, for the convenience and variety of my meal plan selections, but after a long day of classes and activities, my heart sometimes longs for a serving of homemade mac-and-cheese or a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven. I suppose my cravings speak to the power of comfort food and its ability to transport and soothe simultaneously.

For a prime example of such dishes, one can do no better than a loaf of banana bread — except, perhaps, by adding a bit of chocolate! When I saw this rich rendition of the household favorite, I knew instantly that I’d need to make it for myself. The recipe delivered: the bread is decadent, fudgy, and flavorful. It’s, in short, comfort food at its finest, a recipe that could easily make a sweet surprise for a friend. With all this said, it’s no wonder that today, as my sister recently informed me, is National Banana Bread Day. A dessert this beloved deserves a holiday to itself.

As always, some kitchen notes to keep in mind. First, you can keep this in the fridge (my family simply heats up slices in the microwave), but I find it best enjoyed the day it’s made. Second, you’re free to skip the sliced banana on top if you fear too sunken of a bread, but I love the look – and taste! – of it. And finally, I haven’t tried this with chocolate chips, but I imagine it would be an utter delightIf you’re feeling adventurous and try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes.

Fudgy Banana BreadFudgy Banana Bread Adapted from Alison Roman’s Dining In (via A Cup of Jo)


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (alternatively, use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 5 ripe bananas, four mashed and one sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream

to make

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray or grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, then sprinkle the pan with 1/4 cup granulated sugar so it is coated. Tap out excess sugar.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla for 3-5 minutes. Mixture will be light.
  4. Add the egg, and beat two minutes more.
  5. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the mashed bananas and sour cream by hand.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place the banana halves, cut side up, on top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on top.
  7. Bake for 90-100 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (save for a few moist crumbs).
  8. Let cool before slicing, and enjoy!

Have a lovely Friday!