A Fond Farewell

Hello, hello, friends!

2017MaddyNyexDLF088(via Maddy Nye)

This post is long overdue, but after nearly eight years of maintaining this site and sharing 993 posts (!), it’s with a bittersweet heart that I announce I will stop writing here on Ciao Bella.

I struggle with the idea of quitting well, anything, hence my hesitancy to do this any sooner, but I’d rather leave Ciao Bella in a spot I’m happy with than continue a half-hearted attempt at keeping it active. If anything, the timing feels right – as I enter in a new decade, start a new academic year, delve deeper in other activities – to say goodbye. And while I considered an Irish exit, I feel that this site and its readers (you!) deserve a proper farewell post.

Blogging is an interesting hobby. I started posting as an early teen, eager for a platform where I could share my interests in books and baking and art. It can so often feel like publishing in a digital void that I feel lucky and grateful to have found a rich, vibrant, and supportive community of fellow readers and writers in return. That in mind, if there’s anything I’ll miss most about blogging, it will be connecting with others over the things and stories I so dearly love.

As I was mulling over the decision this summer, I read and listened to a lot: pieces on the state of the internet, our capacity for digital interaction, the creation of our online selves, what blogging was and what blogging is – a, reflection, perhaps, of my realization that here on Ciao Bella I can see myself grow up.

Needless to say, the internet makes for a strange little place. How fortunate am I to have been able to carve out a space on it where I felt right at home. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

With much love,
Bella

The Summer List // 2018

Hi friends!

The Summer List 2018{source sadly unknown}

How are you? How has your May been? Mine has been all sorts of wonderful, particularly this last week; since ending out the semester, I’ve been able to catch up with friends old and new, take a few day trips with my family, and, of course, read and bake galore (The final Penderwicks book, my heart). So long as New England’s sunny weather holds, summertime is here, and I couldn’t be more excited to ring in its arrival with this year’s Summer List.

These lists – now on their seventh edition! – are a small way I like to offer some structure to my summer, and I’ve grown to consider them a Ciao Bella tradition, a seasonal take on resolution-making if you will. As I look ahead to the coming months, let me ask: what are your summer plans? 

Finish my proposal for an independent concentration. To start, I’m lucky that Brown allows students the opportunity to design their own major, and it’s an option that I hope to take advantage of! I’ve slowly but surely been chipping away at my own proposal over all of last semester, but I’m hoping I can finish and revise my draft for submission in the fall.

Make a home for myself on the Cape. If there’s anything different about this summer, it’s that I won’t actually be spending it at home: I instead took on an arts administration internship at a seaside summer-stock theatre where I will also be living. I’m incredibly grateful for the chance to dive into work I love and enjoy, as well as the opportunity to explore a new town. You can be sure I’ll be visiting the public library as soon as I arrive.

Document the summer. With what is sure to be a fun-filled summer ahead, I’m committed to documenting it in full. I journal regularly, and I use VSCO as a casual way to store photo memories, but I think a Shutterfly photo album might be called for by the summer’s end. Here’s to a little online scrapbooking – what fun.

Celebrate my birthday! As a summer birthday baby, I suppose it’s no surprise that July is one of my favorite months of the year. I look forward to celebrating my birthday with new friends – preferably with an ice cream cone in hand :)

Continue running. I have never been one to love running, but over the course of the past semester, I came to enjoy it as a way to clear my head and keep stress at bay (I’m all for exercise that grants me a bit of peace in a hectic schedule). I have my favorite routes around Providence, but I would love to find a new path along the water for early summer mornings!

Read 20 books. I consider the summer prime reading time (no school textbooks in sight!), and though I have a busy work schedule, I’m determined to read twenty novels over the next few months. My summer reading has been off to a strong start already, so here’s hoping the trend will continue with novels like Save the Date by Morgan Matson and I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman.

Figure out what to do with this little site. Finally, it’s a question I’ve been pondering for quite a while: what do I want out of Ciao Bella? My book reviews and recipes style hasn’t been sustainable, so I’m thinking of transitioning to more brief, journal-like entries each week. Summer, thankfully, seems to me like the perfect time to give new posts a shot.

Have the most terrific Tuesday!
B

2017 End of the Year Book Survey

Hi friends, and happy Saturday!

How are you? Can you believe it’s the last weekend of 2017? I love the calls for reflection and organization that come with the start of a new year, and from conversations with friends, I know I’m not the only one. That in mind, I’m hoping to use today and tomorrow to tend to my planner, look ahead to a few 2018 projects, and, of course, read my final book of the year (!!).

Speaking of books, I’m really excited to participate in Jamie’s annual end-of-the-year reading survey. I completed it a few years back, and I enjoyed the opportunity to look over and assess the books I had read. 2017 personally proved an excellent year for reading, and I know I can name numerous titles that I will surely recommend for years to come. There are a number of novels coming your way, so I have only three final notes: I tried my utmost best to name books only once (variety!), I kept to the bookish questions only, and HERE‘s the link if you want to join in on the fun too.

Number of books you read: 52 (but we’ll see if I can fit in one or two before Sunday night!)
Number of re-reads: Just one! I love to revisit Caroline Kennedy’s A Family Christmas every holiday season.
Genre you read the most from: YA contemporary, per usual.

1 Favorite Books1. Best book you read in 2017?
Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, and How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore | Is it okay if I cheat a bit at this question? Though I read fewer books in 2017 than I would have liked, narrowing down my favorites still proved difficult. I settled on the three above, all of which entered my life at exactly the right time (and I will gladly gush about them to anyone who asks). Literature at its finest.

Runner-ups, because three just wasn’t enough: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert and The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Read More »