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

Eye on Art / 21

Hello, hello!

Happy June, dear friends! Is your weekend going well? June is shaping up to be a busy month – theatre internships in full swing, a summer job at Brown well underway, a family trip to Paris (!) – that this quieter weekend to read and write has been a welcome pause. In addition to digging into my newest library finds, you can also catch me listening to “Wait for Me” over and over and cheering on my favorites tonight during the Tonys (the theatre love never stops).

Nor too does my love of good art. I haven’t shared an Eye on Art in ages, and so I figured it was about time for the feature to make a return; it’s an opportunity for me to showcase artists whose work I’ve been enjoying as of late. Take it as a creative escape for your weekend enjoyment, then feel free to share your own finds – my list of favorite artists grows forever long, and I’d love to add to it with your suggestions!

Nathaniel RussellTo start, I’ve been crushing on Nathaniel Russell’s artwork for quite some time, finding it first on my social media feeds before coming across it again in an old New York Times article. I love art infused with heavy doses of humor and optimism, and Russell never fails to deliver, matching his signature wit with bold use of color and text across a variety of mediums (silkscreens! woodwork! painting!).

While each of his works is a delight, his many renditions of fake fliers might top my list. They are wonderfully inventive, finding humor in the world around us, but too serve as calls for reflection in contemporary times. Browse them on his online portfolio, or see them for yourself in his published book. Options aplenty! {website}

Ashley Seil SmithWhen I first came across Ashley Seil Smith’s illustrations, I fell head over heels for the colors that span across her body of work, a palette of golden yellows, warm pinks, and complementary greens. The themes of her work have been described as “the strength, resilience, and grace of women,” and it’s easy to see why: Smith’s pieces are crafted with a gentle, yet confident, eye and readily invite you in the lives of the women they depict.

Needless to say, her extensive portfolio is work to be savored, whether her portraits grace an online article, find a home on your own house walls, or make up what might be the coolest picture book around. I fear I repeat myself, but I’ll sum it up by saying it’s just all so good. I’m excited to see what she creates next. {website}

Christine Sun KimFinally, consider me a fan: I can’t get enough of the visual and performance art of Christine Sun Kim, a Deaf artist who explores her personal connection – as well as the larger societal relationship to sound – through a myriad of forms. She came to Brown this past spring, and while I sadly missed her presentation, my interest in her “quirky, playful, and rule-bending work” was certainly piqued.

Kim began her career as a visual artist but has since made her mark in the world of sound art. That in mind, I’ll leave it to Kim to describe how she incorporated both sound and Deaf culture into her work: “It wasn’t until I started delving into the world of sound that I found my voice.” Needless to say, I think it’s pretty darn cool. {website}

Here’s to a terrific Sunday!
B

High Five / 18

Hello, hello friends!

How are you? How are things? It’s certainly been a second since I last checked in here on Ciao Bella – a whole semester, in fact! I won’t kid myself in thinking I’ll maintain a regular pattern of posting this summer – blogging alongside my other commitments has proven a difficult balance – but I hope to pop in time from time all the same (like today!). This site holds a special place in my heart, and I like that it keeps me writing and designing and thinking, even if on a sporadic basis :-)

At the moment, I’m at the start of my summer break, figuring out a new daily rhythm of internship schedules, evening runs, and, of course, dedicated time to my library books – there’s no better season than the summertime for a YA reading binge. With much to catch up on, I figured a High Five would be a good place to start, and so, here’s what been on my radar as of late. What’s up in your world?

High Five 18[1] I’ll start with the music that carried me through finals period: the cast recording of Six. A smash hit on the West End, Six brings together the six wives of Henry VIII as a modern girl group in concert musical form. If it sounds a bit silly, you’d be right: it’s a fun piece, but perfectly and delightfully so, combining the Tudor history with upbeat tracks and empowering lyrics. In other words, it’s the musical theatre I love, and so it comes as little surprise that it’s sprung to the top of my playlist for runs, writing sessions, and errands around town. I have my fingers crossed I’ll catch its run at the ART later this summer, but I don’t think it’ll be long until the show finds a home on the Great White Way too.

[2] Watching the trailer for Booksmart, Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, earlier this year, I was instantly sold – and in anxious anticipation for the film’s release! Fortunately, the wait until Memorial Day was entirely worth it: the movie had me laughing out loud, cringing in empathy, and smiling ear to ear by its end. If you haven’t yet seen it, you’re missing out. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are a lovely and humorous duo as best friends Amy and Molly, and their escapades during their last night before graduation are portrayed with comedic brilliance. I can’t champion it enough, and I hope it lasts long on the list of classic high school films. Three cheers for stories by women and with women at the forefront.

[3] Similarly, my social media feeds were all abuzz with praise this past weekend over the second season premiere of Fleabag. It was good timing, for when I was in need of a new television show to watch, I knew exactly what to try. Several episodes in, I’m with the widespread acclaim: Phoebe Waller-Bridges’ creation is both witty and insightful as it chronicles the life of protagonist, Fleabag, as she copes with a recent tragedy. I’m making my way through Season One now, but at the rate I’m going, it should only be a few more days before I’m itching to watch it all again for a second time. Needless to say, consider me a full-fledged fan.

[4] As any undergraduate well knows, May can be a whirlwind of a month, oftentimes feeling like a marathon to the end of the academic year. After turning in my final papers, wrapping up play rehearsals, and holding my last club meetings, I finished off my semester by stage-managing the Brown baccalaureate ceremony. By the sheer number of people alone, the service can bring its own challenges for an SM, but it stands as such as a sweet way to say goodbye to a class of people I dearly love (that John Krasinski returned to Providence for the Baccalaureate address was a neat added plus). Campus bustles with celebrating families and returning alums during Commencement Weekend, marking too another exciting milestone: that I can now consider myself an upperclassman (!!!).

[5] And, with that, while my summer has only just started, I’ll admit that I’m already dreaming about the fall, for come September, I will be studying abroad at Goldsmiths, University of London! Located in New Cross, London, Goldsmiths specializes in the arts and humanities, a fitting match for this theatre and education student. I am over the moon with excitement about the courses I’ll be taking, and my bucket list of places to visit and shows to attend grows by the day. That in mind, if you’ve studied or lived in the UK, I’d love to hear from you about must-see spots – I know my three months abroad will go quickly, and I want to soak up as much as I can! Let the countdown to London begin.

Thank you, as always, for checking in, and wishing you a lovely and restful weekend. xx