The Ladybug on Why Running is More Vintage than Aerobics or Roller Skating: My 1st 5K (Energizer Run)

The Ladybug Chronicles - 5K Energizer Run 02It all started on a Milanese tram: I was going to work with a colleague and I was complaining about the fact that, although I was working hard to lose weight- it seemed almost impossible. I’d swim, go to the gym, eat properly, but nothing I committed myself to help me get slimmer.

He, a serious marathon runner, candidly said: “you should start running!”

The Ladybug Chronicles - 5K Energizer Run 03I exploded in laughter, because the idea of these two entities, “myself” and “running,” together was really hilarious. I then started the usual list of excuses of non-runners: “I don’t need it,” “I already go to the gym,” “it is boring,” “I could never run for more than three minutes.”

The Ladybug Chronicles - 5K Energizer Run 04He didn’t care about my excuses and proposed a challenge: he told me that he could get me to run 5K by the end of the month and that I could ready to participate in the Energizer Run (a 5K run) that was going to happen mid-June. It was beginning of May. I accepted the challenge, more for pride than personal belief, but I strictly followed his tableau de bord for a month.

I went from dying after 5 minutes of slow running to enjoying the ride a bit more every day. I had set milestones and it was so refreshing and satisfying to reach them.  I gained a lot of motivation and self-esteem and I started losing weight.  Needless to say, running quickly became “my thing.”

The Ladybug Chronicles - 5K Energizer Run 05I know I am a vintage gal and I should have gone for ’80s aerobics or roller skating (which I adore! Roller skating, not aerobics… even if I love the trashy aerobics outfits!); still, in the end what is more vintage than the first movement ever that a man could do?! Of course, I try to make it the most vintage as I can: for example I listen to Rock’n’Roll and ’70s/’80s disco to boost my run. I also wear vintage t-shirts and ’80s shorts and the incredible terrycloth wrist and head bands (Nike has them in many flashy quirky colors and patterns!).

The Ladybug Chronicles - 5K Energizer Run 01One of my milestones was the famous Energizer Run, a charity night run in Milan that donates the participants’ fees to the Unicef: it was a good cause and a good occasion.  After being postponed due to bad weather, I finally participated in the run: I was very scared at the beginning as it was my first one, but when I realized that I was going to run with more than 7000 people- I immediately felt better. And I was very proud of my results: 5K in 30 minutes, a lot of fun, new friends and a new passion… RUNNING!

Go baby, GO RUN!!!

The Ladybug Has Good Luck: Meeting Hanif Kureishi at the Milanesiana

The Ladybug Chronicles - Kureishi 01I had a pending situation with my favorite writer, Hanif Kureishi.

You may remember the chronicles of my vicissitudes trying to meet him for a picture or a simple signing of my book last year during La Milanesiana in Milan. Well, throughout the course of the year nothing much changed. He came to Italy a couple of times, but for some reason I wasn’t in town, I couldn’t go or something came up and that left me chasing my little reader dream.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Kureishi 05When Miss Sgarbi came back with a new edition of this successful event, the first thing that I did was download the agenda to see who was invited! … I was at work, but I couldn’t hold the little scream of joy when I saw that he was on the menu… excuse me… the panel again!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Kureishi 02It was set for the 1st of July at the Piccolo Teatro Grassi and this year’s theme was… The Good Luck!  A good sign, right?

The Ladybug Chronicles - Kureishi 03I spent the whole week before the event in a whirl of ups and downs: ups when I imagined finally talking with him, shaking hands or just taking a picture- downs when I reminded myself to not be so “dreamy” because I’d be sure to return home with the same disappointment as the year before.  And this was my daily mental game, until that night.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Kureishi 08I was very nervous and he was not the first one to present his lecture. I barely followed the others, except for Fleur Jaeggy whom I enjoyed a lot. Admittedly I spent the few minutes of his reading basking in his voice and my beloved British accent like a little girl listening to her mum’s voice singing a lullaby.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Kureishi 06As he finished and I came to myself, I realized the time was soon approaching for my dream to come true. But when the magic is finished and the moment arises, what in the world am I going to talk with him about and more importantly, how was I to insure this moment not pass me by again?  I decided to write to Mr. Kureishi a little message and pass it through one of the ushers. Not easy! First of all I didn’t have any paper (which means that I had to write on my business card!). Second, I had to face the total lack of interest and curiosity of the ushers: “Excuse-me can you give this to Mr. Kureishi?” – “Mr. who?” – was the first answer. Oh well… ”you know, he read earlier…” – “I didn’t pay any attention”. Cool. “But you can give it to the hostesses they will find him.. “Erm… you know… it’s quite urgent…” –  “If you know who he is you can give it him.”  Yes!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Kureishi 07I saw that he was sitting on the front row but guess what?, he was sitting in the middle of the row! The first person I could give the paper to and who could pass it to him was an old lady, whom I asked a couple of times (I think in three different languages) before she understood what she had to do with it. I thanked the lovely lady and came back to my sit waiting impatiently for the event to conclude.

Well… I don’t remember what happened after that, but I had been told later (once recovered from the shock) that he came out to look for me. We went to the bar for a drink, I looked like a 15 year old girl in front of the singer of One Direction- I spoke for half an hour without pausing for breathing. I have been told that I also said at some point that I spoke English, but that the language coming out from my mouth was difficult to understand. Long after, I realized the copy of the book (The Last Word) that I had in my hand was signed with a dedication to my name… oh, and there were pictures in my camera and iPhone with me next to him.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Kureishi 04So, I guess it happened. And I guess it really was good luck.

Thank you, Mr. Kureishi.

The Ladybug is an Italian Beauty at Sephora’s Book & Makeup Event in Milan

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You know already that I am a Sephora fanatic: I spend a lot of time (and money!) in their shops, and it is one of my favorite shopping places in Milan. I can always find the latest trends and my favorite makeup brands, but did you know that Sephora could also be a perfect place for a book event…? Well, the answer is yes- if it is a book about makeup!

A few weeks ago Erica (Erica Makeup Dolls), Alessia (My Head is a Fashion Jungle) and I had been invited to the presentation of Anna Airoldi and Gabriella Lojacono book called: “Italian Beauty,” a special journey inside the world of beauty and its secrets, a world in constant change and evolution- approached by two curious customers, Anna and Gabriella. Gabriella was amazing and told us about how the book was conceived and how they found out about a new fascinating world behind the scenes of the Italian makeup market. I also loved the simplicity of her approach with the genuine curiosity of a user/customer and a woman, like all of us, who loves makeup- as we all do! It was the same approach she used with us when we started taking selfies… plus she had (like one of the Benefit Cosmetics slogans) “the most powerful make up that a woman can wear,”  her contagious smile!

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Of course there wasn’t a better place than Sephora to talk about beauty! Moreover it all happened in their wonderful new shop on via Durini with some special guests that have a lot to say about beauty. All of the Benefit Cosmetics crew was there, not only as special partners of Sephora, but also to help us girls try the new amazing They’re Real liner gel and mascara and share the famous Brow Bar experience!

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Last but not least, Mr. Daniel Makeup, one of the most famous beauty bloggers and youtubers, was there to share some beauty secrets with all of us and to take pictures of course!

Here you can find some of our delirious pictures with him, Erica and Aurora, the beautiful and talented Benefit Cosmetics beauty consultants!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Turns 3!

The Ladybug Chronicles - 3rd Anniversary 03One of the best days of the year has once again arrived: today is The Ladybug Chronicles’ third birthday!

It’s so hard for us to imagine that it has been three years, yet we cannot remember what life was like before!

The Ladybug Chronicles - 3rd Anniversary 01It is not an easy job: it takes a lot of time, passion, dedication and effort, but we are here and we’re still enjoying it as we did on day one. And to be honest, even more. But there’s only one reason for this- you Lovebugs, you are the best readers ever!

Thank you for your continued support over the years and for bringing your friends and family to our little vintage world! We’ve met new friends, traveled around the world, started new exciting adventures and collaborations, but… we aren’t satisfied!!!

The Ladybug Chronicles - 3rd Anniversary 02The best is yet to come: we have a lot of pictures to take and even more words to write.

Thank you for staying with us.

The Ladybug Chronicles

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI: Three is the Magic Number

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On the eve of The Ladybug Chronicles’ third anniversary, I found myself a bit nostalgic.  So I connected my HD and began to sift through photos I’d taken of the Boss Lady.  I was filled with warm memories and smiles, remembering the conversations that brought this blog to life and the things we’ve both learned on this journey.

While doing this, I realized I’d done something that my beloved Ladybug has done on several occasions: found photos that were intended to be posted that were left dormant in some lost folder.  I’ll share three…
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This first outfit has four pieces.  First the coat, it was a gift that was presented just because I liked it.  We found it at a vintage shop when we visited Milano to search for an apartment.  I didn’t get it that day, but all of us in the store agreed it was made for me.  I mean, look at those details!!!  Inside there’s a stamp signifying it was in service in 1960. It’s a piece from the Orobica division of the Alpina Monterosa which were stationed in South Tyrol west. Later that year I was surprised with it.  I wore it all tour last year and sadly lost one of my stars, but it’s still one of my prized pieces.

Then there are these AMAZING vintage frames which I believe were her first gift to me. I love them so much that I only wear them occasionally.  Under the coat I’m wearing a sweater with an asymmetrical zipper I picked up at Sisley in Sicily in January 2013.  We liked it so much and said, if it fits (because I nearly never find anything that fits me in Italy), I had to buy it. Well, there it is.
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The third piece is this Missoni bow tie. And I topped it off with this vintage cap she got me at Humana Vintage in Milano after passing on one that I really wanted, but couldn’t find again. I think all the pieces fit together so well that day. BTW, these photos were taken by The Ladybug.

The Ladybug Chronicles - SSwK Aug2014 06The second outfit brings in a pair of pants you’ve seen before.  I got them when we went to NYC.  Here, I put them with a shirt we found in a store in Sorrento that I had to add to my collection of T-Shirts; I love the vintage patch on the sleeve.  I added this vintage Dolce & Gabbana denim bag that I picked up at BIVIO in Milano this past winter.  And I just noticed that my sunglasses are also D&G. Funny! …Swatch Watch…The Ladybug Chronicles - SSwK Aug2014 07
Last but certainly not least, I had to take a photo for the 20th anniversary of being a brother in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  My line brothers and I are putting things together to celebrate our crossing the sands on the S.S. Seven Apes of Rage through Theta Alpha Chapter, Fall 1994.  For the photo, I pulled a knit tie that I got from my grandfather’s collection after he passed away.  I took this one and wore it to his funeral.  It was from Montgomery Ward.  It means a lot to me.
The Ladybug Chronicles - SSwK Aug2014 05So there you have it…  I hope you enjoyed it.

Happy Early Anniversary, TLC.  I love being a part of this great entity.

See you “next” Sunday.

 

The Ladybug Goes Americana at The Vintage Roots Festival in Inzago

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It’s somewhat strange to think that one of the most famous Americana festivals outside of the U.S. is in Italy; moreover, that it’s held just a few kilometers away from Milan. It was the 6th edition, but this year I decided to splash my way on a rainy Sunday to experience my first Vintage Roots Festival in Inzago.

To be honest, I really can’t believe it took me so long to finally visit, seeing I’m such a fanatic of the ’50s, but this year I finally made it and I realized why people love it so much. First of all; the atmosphere is retro charged- you breathe rock’n’roll at every corner of the city center! It is hard to create this kind of ambiance, but I think that these few days of music, dancing and entertainment are really among the best I have ever attended in Italy.

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And they really do their best with amazing music sets and live concerts, a real pinup contest, vintage cars and motorbikes, dancing nights and dancing classes (rockabilly, jive and boogie woogie), live shows and a lovely market where you can re-live ’30s, ’40s and ’50s America.

You can also find people like the lovely Chiara, the make-up artist and hairstylist behind Chicas Locas, who will make sure you get a perfect vintage style… like I did! I had my hair done by her and I loved the waves so much. I also added a red orchid that I bought on Ebay longtime ago!

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I wore an ’80s does ’50s polka dot dress that I bought in an incredible second hand/thrift store in Ljubljana called Gvant: this was one of my best finds at the time. This shop, though really complicated to find and quite far from the city center, was amazing.  I found many interesting pieces there at ridiculous prices! One of my great finds was this beautiful dress (I paid about 15 euros for) that was kinda made for me!

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I am also wearing my beautiful navy bag from Un Altro Giro di Giostra, an amazing vintage shop in Reggio Emilia, and a vintage belt.

Last but not least, it was the first appearance for my newly purchased Swedish Hasbeens, which just landed in Italy from their pop-up store in London! They are incredibly comfy and stylish I can’t take them off my feet!!

Oh… and she is my girl crush of the day!

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The Ladybug Blesses the Union of Craft Love: The Alliance of Make Thrift London and Handmade by You

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I think it was last December when I received an email from my lovely friend Daisy giving me a lot of news about her life: love, work, family, many things were going on, and I was thrilled about how she took her life in her hands and made things happen.

If you don’t know who Daisy is let me tell you: I love this girl for many reasons that I won’t list here, but one of them is her artistic side: Daisy is indeed the beautiful director of Make Thrift London and she is a wonderful handcrafter. I’ve seen many of her creations and I have always been amazed by her fantasy and talent. This is the reason why I got very excited when she told me that she was going to join Alice, the girl behind Handmade by You, whom I already knew as a talented crafter and events’ planner.

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You can find them at Alfies Antiques Market in their adorable studio where their art and talent is exposed everywhere! And this is exactly what I did on my first day in London.

The studio represents the girls very well: there is creativity, talent, smart recycling and upcycling, vintage, antiques, London are everywhere.  Still, you also feel at home because they’ve recreated a warm atmosphere where you can drink a tea while shopping or sewing or creating at one of their workshops, or craft parties (as they call them)!  And here’s the kicker; Alice and Daisy don’t only sell what they create, they also organize different kinds of workshops to teach us how to be better crafters; for example on the night that I arrived I missed a very interesting make up lesson on how to make a perfect eye-line.  But they’ve also done presentations on how to create elderflower cordial and how to make a mini-protest banner!

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From millinery to cooking, from sewing to makeup, from jewels to homeware- it is fun to start learning how to craft! Also a craft party is a great idea for hen parties (bachelorette parties), birthdays, baby showers and every social event where you want to do something different, fun and useful!

I loved this place and I was amazed by its warmth… but I know that the magic of it comes from the magic of its wonderful hosts and their awesome smile and passion!

Visit their site www.handmade-by-you.co.uk to know more about them and their recurring craft parties.

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The Ladybug Answers London’s Call Again: 2nd Stop – Columbia Road Flower Market, Saint Paul Cathedral, Retro Fish’n’Chips and Lots More…

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My second day in London was as busy and full of events as the day before, but at the same time- just as fun and interesting.

Daisy and I woke up early to spend the morning in a beautiful place that I had never visited before: the Columbia Road Flower market. The market itself is so colored and fun and full of wonderful flowers and plants that made me think that even I could have a green thumb! (yes, I am a plant killer!)

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But it is not only the market: the lovely shops all along the market and in the surrounding area are to die-for! Furniture, crafts, accessories, clothing, home-ware… we were all excited about each of them, and leaving was not an easy option because of how great our attraction was to the colors and the unicity of most of them!

It was also a nice place to spot some cute Londoners’ Sunday outfits, and listen to some vintage music sang by these three lovely ladies!

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It’s wasn’t until lunchtime we decided to leave the market and head to a place that we saw last year, around Old Spitalfields, but couldn’t taste because it was going to close: I am talking about the one and only original Poppies Fish and Chips on Hanbury Street where you can have delicious fish and chips, served by lovely retro waitresses dressed in Collectif in a typical ’40’s-’50s post war London ambiance with an original vintage juke-box! It is a bit full all the time, but this time we managed to get a place!

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After a good lunch, our afternoon continued with lots of shopping and visiting around: from Saint Paul’s cathedral to Swedish Hasbeens popup store in Boxpark Shoreditch (where I finally bought these beauties), to more vintage shopping in Shoreditch and charity shops in West Hampstead.

For the day I wore an Aztec print ASOS dress, with Strategia studded boots, Max&Co messenger bag and a unique handmade yellow turban from my dearest, Sine Modus girls!

Goodbye London… I miss you already!

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The Ladybug’s Quiet Desire: Reviving the Dream of Perfect Pinup Eyes with Benefit Cosmetics

The Ladybug Chronicles - B-Liner 02After more than two years of vintage blogging, of pinup dreams and retro outfits it is time for me to confess a sad truth. Aside from my successful red lipstick I have failed at my attempts to look like a pin up… for years!

Yes, my ugly truth is that I consider myself a failed pinup.

I am awful at making lustful waves or victory rolls with my hair, and I am even worse when it comes to makeup. I can’t make a cat-eye line, and every time I try to put on an eye-liner- I end up looking more like someone who forgot to remove it the night before, slept in it and had to quickly run out of the house before consulting the mirror.

Indeed, it’s that bad… How can I fulfill my pinup dreams with this eye-line nightmare?

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I’m not sure, but believe me… I will not be defeated. I will keep refining my techniques- practicing my victory rolls and eye-liner lines; still, sometimes you just need help! And that’s where Benefit Cosmetics, with their natural penchant for retro style, came in and thought of me and of all the failed pinups when it launched the “They’re Real” line for perfect eyes not long ago. I started using their “beyond mascara” a year ago after buying it in the States and (even if I have natural voluminous and curled eyelashes) I found it gave me a more dramatic effect. The long-wearing formula that avoids smudging and drying out also helped me gain more volume and well separated lashes. I can use it every day and was sure that after a whole day of work the mascara would still be up and with exact same effect that I had in the morning. No need to say that it is my new mascara!

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Even more surprising is the incredibly innovative They’re Real push-up gel liner pen: I say surprising because I didn’t expect that it could give new life to my failed pinup dream! Yes; because of this incredible pen, the “ugly eye line killer” is now a light-weight professional! Can you imagine that I now do my eyes in few minutes while I am rushing to work in the morning? I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. [My valley girl impression] Like; the mascara, like, it doesn’t smudge, budge or dry out (which was my main problem with the other eye-liners that I tried in the past), and it is, like, so easy to use! Jokes aside; for me, it’s the product of the year!

Now with them both being waterproof products, let me add one me beauty to the mix: the They’re Real Remover that lifts away the long-wearing products with a gentle formula that won’t make your eyes red or wet.

This is the result, what do you think? Maybe I can revive my old pinup dreams after all,  because… They’re Real!!

(Find out more at http://www.benefitcosmetics.com)

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The Ladybug Answers London’s Call Again: 1st Stop, Pop Up Vintage Fair at Old Spitalfields Market

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 05My trip to London is now a regular date on my agenda. London has always been one of my top destinations, but now I have a lot more reasons to go there every chance I can. Aside from my very well known long love affair with the city, I’ve been blessed with beloved friends Daisy, Salina and Maxine who live there and I really need to see them as often as possible. We always have great times together and we always complain of how little time that we have every time we meet. Plus many things have happened in their lives lately, AND – let me tell you – they know the best vintage shops and coolest places in town!The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 02

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 01After a quick tour at Alfies Vintage Market (one of the most famous antiques markets in town) where I had the chance to see Daisy’s new space (we’ll talk about that again soon) and a quick stop at Deborah Woolf Vintage (beautiful shop where I found a beautiful African dress and a lovely charming owner), and after a beautiful flower headpiece for 2.5 pounds from the one and only poppydaisy.com in Old Spitalfield- Daisy and I finally got ready for the Meeting. We decided to head to Old Spitalfields Market where our lovely Maxine was all busy with one of the dates for the Pop Up Vintage Fairs, which I consider my favorite fair in London… and I must not be the only one because for the second year in a row they’ve won the The Vintage Guide to London’s Best Vintage Fair Award.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 03The Vintage stallers join here with the market’s regular staller for a multi colored and sparkling party where you can find handcraft, vintage, antiques in a beautiful frame of lovely shops and restaurants (like Collectif…. that was up for a sample sale that day!).The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 09

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 07The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 10We had a great lunch and some cupcakes and we spent a lot of time chatting with the sellers and enjoying the market with my adorable friends.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 08When the market closed, Daisy and I moved to Dalston, at the Dalston Street Feast, a beautiful night market where we enjoyed the best food from all over the world, beer, laughter and gin! We finished the night at a lovely bar full of vintage and antiques surprises in Dalston called Farr’s School of Dancing- WOW!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 04For the day I wore a vintage red dress from Humana Vintage, studded boots from Strategia, messenger bag from Max&Co and my beautiful flower garland from poppydaisy.comThe Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 06