meet the newest guide!

When my mom came to visit in June, she brought my “good” jewelry that I had left behind. One item was my law school ring, pictured at left, which I actually only got because my grandmother begged me to let her buy it for me as a graduation gift.

I told her I wouldn’t wear it much, but she didn’t care. She just wanted me to have it.

So I agreed, and then I saw how much they cost. Yikes!

I couldn’t possibly let her spend that much on a ring (think law school ring versus household bills for a couple months–on a fixed income), so I told her the price was half of what it was, and I chipped in the rest. By the way, she passed away two weeks after I found out that I had passed the bar exam in October of that year, and I’ve always felt she waited to hear the good news (which, incidentally, arrived on my 25th birthday) before leaving us.

When I saw the ring this summer, I was reminded of all that surrounded it–my grandmother; her love, support, and generosity; my many years of hard work; and lots and lots of stress overcome–so I decided to wear it. Seeing it there on my hand every day reminds me of where I’ve been, the love and support I’ve had and continue to have, and also what I’ve accomplished.

And it feels darn good.

A couple weeks after I started wearing it this summer, I saw an opening at for the Guide to Law School. Ah, law school . . . been there, done that, and confident that I could write about it and help others like me who had *zero* frame of reference for what they were about to encounter, I applied.

Literally a few hours later, I was thrust into the “training,” which is really a several-week long interview process during which applicants put together a site hoping to be chosen at the end.

Well they picked me! You’re now reading the personal blog of the Guide to Law School.

And yes, I continue to wear my ring. Since my grandmother passed away, I’ve thought of her every day anyway, but now I feel just a little bit closer too.

Do you have a good luck charm?

49 Beans of Wisdom to “meet the newest guide!”
  1. Gil

    Another great story about love! It is strange how things like your ring come full circle in our lives. I’m sure that wearing it will help keep you warm this winter.

    I know it will Gil–quite literally once the checks start getting deposited πŸ˜‰

  2. Big congrats on this! Isn’t it funny how something small puts something in motion like this? πŸ™‚

    I couldn’t help but notice the connection, Sara…I don’t believe in coincidences, so….

  3. 09.22.2008

    Congratulations. I can feel the love you have for your grandmother though your writing. I am so glad you have that ring as a reminder of her love and your love. I also had a very close relationship with my grandmother. I always loved her tea cups. After she passed away, my mom mailed me a box full of them. I always think of her when looking at the cups on display or drinking from my favorite tea cup.

    I’m not a “thing” kind of person, i.e., I don’t need a lot of “things” to make me happy…but items from family members and friends, especially those who have passed, really do make a difference in my daily life. I’m so very lucky to have many remembrances of my grandmother–including her “Bible” as she called it…a rather old cookbook with handwritten recipes stuffed in all over the place πŸ˜‰

  4. Congrats Michelle!

    I don’t really have a good luck charm but feel I’m lucky to have the support of my family and my friends.

    They make those moments of doubt and stress easier to get through.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Randomissimo – Gattuso ad

    Absolutely! I see you said “Gattuso.” Be right over!

  5. 09.22.2008

    Congratulations indeed. And what a lovely story. (Sweet of you not to tell her the real price. Funny how you sort of get to ‘know’ folk through this blogging stuff.)

    casalba’s last blog post..OreganO

    Thanks Sally; I suppose my grandmother knows the real story now πŸ˜‰

  6. 09.22.2008

    Congrats! The site looks great, very professional!

    I don’t really have a good luck charm, but I have one of those string bracelets around my right wrist. The kind you tie on and make a wish and the wish is supposed to come true when the bracelet falls off. Well, It’s been on my wrist since June 2007 and shows no signs of wearing out. My desire for that particular wish has long since passed… It looks rather out of place sometimes when I’m a little bit more dressed up… So, why don’t I just cut it off? Superstitious maybe? Silly, more like it!

    saretta’s last blog post..Fried Nolca Olives

    Thanks for the congrats; the layout is all’s doing really–they all look the same, but the content is mine πŸ™‚ And on the bracelet, I completely understand Saretta. I’m the same way about things like that πŸ™‚

  7. 09.22.2008

    Michelle, you have a very special way of tying it all together — the emotional, the professional, the sentimental. This post made me emotional, because it has to do with how love can bring us forward in so many areas of our lives. The ring is beautiful, but it radiates love because of its history in your life.

    The Temple blog is fantastic, I am so happy you are doing that for a number of reasons. Staying active in your chosen education while doing something totally different in your life is a wonderful thing!! It makes a person very multi-dimensional and interesting — a person who gets asked the question “sooo….if you’re a lawyer, how did you end up………?” And you can smile and show your many sides!!

    Complimenti. Sei stupenda.

    Diana’s last blog post..Barn Renovation Phase One

    Thank you so much Diana; I have to admit, I rather love when I can see connections like this in events in my life–it’s only natural to share them, right? To be clear, the thing is separate from Temple–that’s just where I got my ring (and law degree) from πŸ™‚

  8. Well done you!

    I really like the story about the ring and other piece about the cross word puzzles, that’s a beautiful image, inheriting someones unfinished puzzles. I love the stories you tell about your grandmother, I assume she is the Christmas loving one. The Christmas granny memories were some of the first posts I read on your blog they were lovely too.

    amanda@A Tuscan view…’s last blog post..The infarinata

    Thanks Amanda; yes, this is the same Christmas-loving grandmother. Unfortunately I wasn’t very close to my other grandmother, but the one I had more than made up for it πŸ™‚

  9. 09.22.2008

    Congratulations..Its a lovely story…who knows what would of happened, had you NOT put the ring on!!!!

    anne’s last blog post..Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month…..

    Thanks Anne, and yes, who knows?!

  10. 09.22.2008

    Michelle, I am the same way about “things”. The only thing I have of my grandmother’s that has any real meaning are her tea cups and a few old photos. When I was little, we always drank from them together. I started drinking coffee at age 5 from those cups when I started spending nights at my grandparents’ house. You are so lucky to have your grandmother’s precious cookbook. I agree with Diana that the ring radiates love. I can just picture it on your hand.

    What lovely tea memories! Now you’re making me crave tea…in a special cup πŸ˜‰

    My grandmother actually gave me the things she most wanted me to have before she passed away…I have another ring from her that I’ll post about soon πŸ™‚

  11. joanne at frutto della passione

    Well done Michelle! We’ll be reading you all over the web now and what a lovely story about your grandmother.

    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..S’mores, Italian style

    Thanks Joanne πŸ™‚

  12. vanessa

    My good luck charm is a pounamu necklace. Here’s a bit about pounamu:

    ‘Pounamu has special significance for the Maori. The Maori believe that Pounamu absorbs the ‘mana’ or spiritual power of its wearer. The Maori also believe that a piece of Pounamu will always yearn to return to its source in the rivers and mountains of New Zealand.’

    My best friend gave me an awesome piece (hand carved for me and blessed by a tribal elder) when I left NZ and i wore religiously. Then once i went swimming (in italy) and the pool had a no jewellery rule. So i took it off and left it in a plastic bag. When i got home, i took my swimming stuff out of the plastic bag to hang on the line. My MIL then mysteriously appeared and ‘tidied up’ while I went out and i discovered later she’d thrown out the plastic bag which had still contained the necklace. I was devastated and of course she denied the incident.

    Next time i went to NZ , G got me a new one. It is v bad luck to buy one for yourself! I rarely take this one off and never anywhere near my MIL! The stone heats up beautifully next to your skin and feels strange to me not to wear it.

    That is so sad about your original necklace, particularly in the way it disappeared πŸ™ Glad you got a replacement; I love that the stone heats up! How very cool.

  13. 09.22.2008

    I am so happy for you! Your good luck charm isn’t the ring, it’s your charm and character.

    Judith in Umbria’s last blog post..A walk on the southern side: aji de gallina

    Why thank you Judith; I’m coming over now to see about those aji πŸ˜‰

  14. 09.22.2008

    Hey girly!! That’s amazing. I love stories like this.

    bella’s last blog post..note to self

    Grazie Bella!

  15. 09.22.2008

    Congratulazioni Michelle…
    What an exciting new position. I will be following you there a well.
    I also love the story about your Nonna- funny how they always knew what was best for us!
    I can tell she loved you very much.
    Thanks for sharing the love!

    Susan’s last blog post..Fun Fall Giveaway

    Thanks Susan; my grandmother and I were very close indeed πŸ™‚

  16. 09.22.2008

    Well done, girl!! I don’t believe in coincidences either so I think your nonnina sent some good luck your way. I don’t think they sell school rings here in Italy, do they? They probably wouldn’t want any reminders of their time at university since the average Italian takes about 10 years to complete their undergrad studies πŸ˜‰

    Milanese Masala’s last blog post..Forza Pirlo!!

    Well they certainly couldn’t order them ahead of time with the year on the side, could they? πŸ˜‰ Actually when people here see the scales in the middle, they think I’m wearing it b/c I’m Bilancia (a Libra)…which, incidentally, I am πŸ˜‰

  17. 09.22.2008

    Congratulations!! Wow!

    My beloved aunt died a few years ago and as she had no children of her own, she left me her engagement ring that she had just had reset. The ring is worth A LOT of money and at first I was too afraid of losing it to actually wear it, but about a year later I took it out of hiding and began to wear it and I felt so much closer to my aunt. I now wear it every single day and I think of her every morning when I put it on. Having this ring on my finger is a little like having my own guardian angel, right there for me to glance at every time I need uplifting.

    Gill’s last blog post..“Gill’s Jottings” The Movie

    Gill, I meant to mention in this post that this is a partial answer to your question (asked a long time ago) as to whether I’d use my law degree; in reality, I still do write a lot of legal articles and also work for attorneys back in the States occasionally, so yes, I still use it–NO plans to practice here though (they have all different requirements to be legally practicing).

    Anyway I also have my grandmother’s engagement ring, and will also post about it at some point. It’s not worth all that much, but still I was afraid to lose it, etc…but weighed against feeling that closeness each and every day, well, I suppose it’s worth the risk πŸ™‚

  18. I’m so proud and I can’t wait to learn more about law schools than I ever wanted to!


    Cherrye at My Bella Vita’s last blog post..Ciao Alitalia: And the Fat Lady Sings

    That’s so sweet Cherrye, thanks πŸ™‚

  19. Congrats! Seems like you have all sorts of new writing opportunities opening up for you lately!

    erin :: the olive notes’s last blog post..on the road

    I’ve been extremely lucky indeed πŸ™‚

  20. carol

    Michelle that’s fabulous news. You are such a good example for many expat wannabees…….proof that it can be done……
    and I had a grandmother just like yours…I miss her too.

    Thanks Carol, and I’m sure your grandmother feels the same πŸ™‚

  21. 09.22.2008

    What a great post about a special connection to your grandmother. I am amazed that you are able to juggle all the things you do! Congrats on yet another writing gig. You go girl!

    Marla’s last blog post..Grab a cup, a slice and don’t forget….

    Thanks Marla! I like the variety of freelancing the best, I think πŸ˜‰

  22. 09.22.2008

    What a great story about the ring and your grandmother. Oh, and congrats on the guide gig!

    I have the diamonds from my grandmother’s ring that my husband had set into a necklace for me. That’s a feel good thing for me.

    Kacey’s last blog post..Long Forgotten Toys

    That’s so great, Kacey–just having these types of things around me make me so happy πŸ™‚ And thanks for the congrats!

  23. Aaaaah bravissima tu! I have a similar relationship as you to “stuff…” a significant percentage of what I brought with me to Boston is memorabilia (most of the rest was books).

    But yay you! And yay Mam Mam!

    Allora per quanto riguarda la portafortuna… certo!

    paul of crazy like whoa’s last blog post..50,022

    Thank you, and your charm is simply charming! My possessions largely consist of books as well…definitely my weakness on “things.”

  24. 09.22.2008

    Congrats!! That’s such a great way to combined your legal background with your writing/blogging πŸ™‚ I don’t know how I would feel right now if I were in law school and saw the news and the changes occuring every day. The legal job market is so tight already, and this will just tighten it. So I am glad your blog will be available to people as an objective voice of guidance πŸ™‚

    City Girl’s last blog post..A French Food Meme

    And law school is more expensive than ever too; thank you for your support πŸ™‚

  25. 09.22.2008

    Oh — no good luck charm, though I do always keep a NYC subway pass in my wallet, even when I don’t live in NYC. It started when someone gave me a NYC token back in 1996 for good luck (unbeknownst to the person I had received some very bad news that day) — I still have that token somewhere, but when I was interviewing in NYC in 2003, I decided to “revive the token” by carrying a subway pass. And then whenever I have had to move out of NYC for any reason, I keep a subway pass. And when I live here, I obviously have one in use. Anyways — that’s the closest I have to a good luck charm, but it’s always brought me back to NYC πŸ™‚ Oh and I just tried leaving a comment on your blog, but it seems to not let me πŸ™ are comments disabled?

    City Girl’s last blog post..A French Food Meme

    That’s a great good luck charm! And your comment did go through; thanks!

  26. 09.22.2008

    That’s a lovely story. I am reminded of my Mum like that who passed away five months ago. Just everyday things. When my dad gave us her jewelery, I saw a pendant with the ‘Dea Bendata’ -luck. I was thrown back about 37 years and suddenly had an image of her very young and pretty in a light summer frock on a hot day on the way back from the public pools. I hadn’t seen that pendant in that many years,but the image is still very strong.

    Congratulations! You are so versatile (because you are so talented) !

    Scintilla’s last blog post..Sail away

    Thank you πŸ™‚ And what a wonderful story you’ve shared with us; thank you for that as well!

  27. 09.22.2008

    As always with life, when one door closes a thousand doors open. When one story ends, another begins. Good luck with About… thats a big commitment. Cheers.. !

    Thank you; a big commitment indeed, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of filling up all those categories πŸ™‚

  28. I loved the story about the ring and your grandmother. And I think it’s amazing how the Universe brings us little inklings of what’s to come and nudges us in the right direction (the ring…then the gig). Congrats!

    Ami (Writing: My Life)’s last blog post..Jogging My Memory

    Thank you Ami! I’m a big fan of the Universe myself πŸ˜‰

  29. 09.22.2008

    Congrats Michelle, You are one busy girl and an inspiration with all the great things you’re doing. Loved the story of your Grandmother, but was also just as touched by what you did so she wouldn’t have to pay the full price. Speaks alot about your character!!

    Marie’s last blog post..Artichoke Frittata

    Thank you Marie; I’m just so happy that she pushed me to get the ring as it means so much to me now πŸ™‚

  30. 09.22.2008

    That’s great Congratulations! My grand mom bought my high school class ring for me…she also insisted. I still have it today…30 years later!

    Deb R’s last blog post..Post wedding blues….or black that is!

    So great to have, isn’t it Deb? I’m happy I got rings through all my educational pursuits πŸ™‚

  31. 09.22.2008

    Congrats on the law school gig!!!

    Heartwarming story about Nonna and the ring.

    I don’t really have any good luck charm. Had a rabbits foot as a kid. Silly and kinda gross now that I look back on that.

    And yes, Nonna waited for you to graduate. She was so proud, I am sure!

    My MΓ©lange’s last blog post..Newport: Around the Wharf

    I know! How weird are rabbit’s feet now that we’re older? Yuck! Thanks for the good wishes Robin πŸ™‚

  32. 09.22.2008

    Wow, congratulations! There’s no such thing as coincidence, the time was right for you to be reconnected with your ring!

    Annika’s last blog that so

    Thanks Annika πŸ™‚

  33. Carole in KC

    Congratulazioni Michelle! Sei un Mito! Sei una donna in gamba!
    I love the subtle way you wait for the right time to introduce and share your good news. You always tie it in with a sentimental experience of your life.
    I’m so happy that you get to practice and give advice in the field that you worked so hard for. Nothing can take your big achievement away from you.

    There is a book intitled “Do what you love and the money will follow” and you’re proof to that. You deserve it!

    Grazie for continuing to inspire and educate your faithful readers.

    Thanks so much Carole; it’s taking a while for the money to follow, but we’re getting there…and it’s so worth it to otherwise have the life I want πŸ™‚

  34. Jessica

    Wow congrats! What a wonderful story! I def have a few pieces of jewelry that hold special meaning as well. I’ll go check out your About guide (not that I am in law school or anything!).

    Thanks Jessica; hold on to that jewelry!

  35. 09.22.2008

    Congrats on your new writing position! My good luck charm is also a ring.

    Coleen’s last blog post..Who’s Alpha Dog Now?

    Thanks Coleen! Hope all is well πŸ™‚

  36. 09.22.2008

    That was a very touching story…it brought back memories of my grandmother. Congratulations!

    The Food Hunter’s last blog post..Why Is It Called Jewish Apple Cake?

    Thanks Food Hunter πŸ™‚

  37. Congratulations, Michelle! That is very exciting news! I know you’ll do a wonderful job.

    I loved your sweet story too.

    Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy’s last blog post..Autumn Falls In: Bacon-Pecan Brussels Sprouts Saute

    Thanks Susan πŸ™‚

  38. 09.23.2008

    very sweet story. made me think of my cute italian grandma. also, i feel a bit of a connection since you went to temple for law school and i’m from philly originally. πŸ™‚

    We Are Never Full’s last blog post..The French Laundry: A $240 Per Person Night of Extravagance

    I loved my five years in Philly even though I’m not much of a city person; the neighborhood feel is what made it so great for me πŸ™‚

  39. 09.23.2008

    Congratulations! Well deserved!

    Shan’s last blog post..the grand champion

    Thanks Shan!

  40. 09.23.2008

    Congratulations Michelle! I read quite a few “’s” — I love Kyle’s one about Italian Food ( he’s a expat living near Florence –he need more southern Italian recipes however!)

    As I told my children –education is a gift you give yourself and no one can ever take it away from you. It’s great you have that profession. I’m sure your Nona was very proud of you!

    Hugs, Pat in NY

    Pat’s last blog post..Port of San Diego and The Big Bay

    Thanks so much Pat πŸ™‚

  41. 09.23.2008

    Congrats! You are such a smart cookie I’m not surprised and you have a wonderful way with conveying something through your words.
    I think that ring signifies something larger than passing the bar exam and law school. It is a reminder of so much more. All that you have to offer and I’m certain your grandmother is smiling proud. What a wonderful reminder of life’s journey.

    collette’s last blog post..It Pays To Be Nice

    Thank you, Collette πŸ™‚

  42. Wow!! Great!! Total congratulations to you on your new assignment/job. I’ve already checked out the page. I love your bio over there too. Now where is your picture?

    Love the story about your grandmother too – I love coming across something that releases a memory, especially when it’s such a good one!

    Good luck in your new venture.


    Salena of The Daily Rant’s last blog post..Shine And Shine

    Thank you Salena! The photo is coming; I still have to get it taken! They’re pretty particular about the requirements, plus I need a haircut….

  43. 09.23.2008

    Great work over there on! I have no interest in applying for law school, but I was hooked into reading it all. πŸ™‚ Auguri…

    Jill’s last blog post..Permesso di Soggiorno… Not yet…

    Hah, thanks Jill πŸ™‚

  44. CONGRATS Michelle! That is awesome! You are going to be even MORE popular than ever! Way to go!

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen’s last blog post..Recipe: Pomodori e Riso Romano – Food 911 by The Leftover Queen

    Popular is fine so long as it pays the bills πŸ˜‰ Thanks Jenn!

  45. 09.26.2008

    That is so wonderful! I have never gotten a ring from my law school, but still think about doing so from time to time.

    My sweetie went to Temple Law too!

    suz’s last blog post..Quick Check

    Small world! I’m sure if you get that ring, it’ll be at a very special time and you’ll treasure it always πŸ™‚

  46. 09.26.2008

    Brava!, Brava!

    Congratulations! Now I have to ask you a question (but not about law school), several months ago, you did a post about a story/writing exercise wherein you had to fill in certain things… I printed it out but lost it. I don’t remember the name of the post… can you help me?

    Gunfighter’s last blog post..Shoot ‘Em Up Friday!!

    Hmmm…was it the writing meme? Or perhaps the questions from Inside the Actors Studio? If not, perhaps you can find it in the Meme Time category? Let me know if none of this helps!

  47. 09.27.2008

    My grandmother have me a gold ring set with a coral stone when I turned 16. I never wore it or cared for it. But two summers ago, I went to visit her, and I realized how much I missed being with her, as she pretty much raised me. I now wear the ring and remember her fondly – it also reminds to call every so often. The joy in her voice when she realizes it’s me on the phone – priceless.

    NewWrldYankee’s last blog post..A Trillion Thanks to Trillian

    Fabulous story; hope you’re enjoying your ring more every day like I am πŸ™‚

  48. 09.28.2008

    Excellent. πŸ™‚

    I also spotted the gigs available – all quite specialized and nothing fitting me exactly, so I didn’t have a crack at any of them. Good to know that a writer as talented as yourself has got one of the posts.

    A good luck charm?

    Yes, but it’s a little strange perhaps. It’s a plastic bottle, filled with sand. The sand is from a beach in the extreme north of the Orkney islands, a beach where I felt completely at peace and very grounded and settled and focussed. Sometimes I’ll pour some of the sand out into my hand and feel its coolness.
    Possibly it’s less of a good luck charm than a “This Is Who You Really Are, So Remember That” charm. πŸ™‚

    Mikeachim’s last blog post..Osbaldwick, and Expeditions Therein

    Love that sand story! I have some bottled sand too, but I’ve never opened it and ran the sand through my fingers…I will write about the bottle someday though.

    And keep your eye on the “be a guide” page; they are always filling in topics, and you just might find one for you πŸ™‚

  49. Shelley

    Congrats! This is a big job but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and you’ll be helping a lot of people.

    Shelley’s last blog post..O Foods for Ovarian Cancer: Oatmeal Cookies

    Thanks Shelley!

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake