My One-Word Theme for 2014: SALUTE

Last year around this time, I chose the word GROW as my one-word theme for 2013.

And oh what growth we’ve had here at Casa Fabio.

While I’ve also made some mild professional and personal advances in the past year, nothing compares to the growth of our family. Not even two months after selecting GROW, I found out I was pregnant with Zee Bean. She hasn’t stopped growing since. And neither has my heart.

Marisa's First Christmas

There are truly no words to express how amazingly wonderful the experience of becoming a mother has been. I am so very much enjoying every moment with my little Marisa Caterina (born October 27, in case you missed it). Although like all babies, she has her crying jags and whatnot, M is, for the most part, a pretty calm baby — as the locals are all saying here, “come la mamma.” Like Mom.

Well, I try to be calm at least. The stresses of life have never been greater for me than they are right now, but knowing that there is a set of gorgeous little eyes following my every move is such inspiration to keep striving to live in the moment, enjoy small pleasures, and simply be.

Which brings me to my one-word theme of 2014:


It’s an Italian word this year, pronounced “sah LOOT eh,” and I’ve chosen it for its various meanings. As has always happens with my one-word themes, this word popped into my head within minutes of beginning to think about what theme to select. After throwing around other words as possibilities, I just keep coming back to it. So “salute” it is.

Notably, this marks the first time since I’ve started doing one-word themes that my word has been Italian, which I think is fitting since with the birth of my daughter, I have ingrained myself into Italy in an extremely deep way. M is the first member of my family to be born in Italy since my great-grandmother in 1898.

What an amazing journey we are on, this life thing.

Now for the meaning behind choosing “salute.” First, from “salutare,” it can mean to say either hello or good-bye, and so this year, I aim to welcome my new role of mamma with literal open arms and also to new experiences that might come my way. While I must be more selective than ever about how to dedicate my time, I want to remember that saying hello to opportunities can lead to places I never imagined going.

On the flip side, it’s always good to take inventory of the bad habits we develop over time, whether it’s friendships that have run their course or jobs that are sucking our souls. So I look forward to releasing anything weighing me and my psyche down. And not looking back. Buh bye.

Salute also means health, and this is above all what I want to be my focus this year. I had an excellent pregnancy and actually came out of it in better shape than I have ever been in. I was extra careful about what I was eating for Zee Bean and also getting plenty of mild exercise throughout — walking up and down the hills in my village is an excellent workout program it turns out.

I ended up gaining about five pounds during my pregnancy, and considering Marisa herself weighed more than seven, then there was amniotic fluid, placenta, etc. . . well, I actually ended up with a net loss when it was all over. I’m aiming to build on what I’ve started and stay healthy not only for me but also for my sweet, sweet baby.

And last but not least, many of you may also know that “Salute!” is the equivalent of “Cheers!” in Italian as well; although I don’t plan on increasing my alcohol uptake as part of my one-word theme, I will be raising my glass of prosecco high this New Year’s Eve and saluting both 2013 and 2014; this year has given me more than I could have ever dreamed, and here’s hoping 2014 continues that trend — and for you as well!


12 Beans of Wisdom to “My One-Word Theme for 2014: SALUTE”
  1. 12.23.2013

    Oh … love love love this post!! Marisa is absolutely beautiful. I hope to meet her one day soon! I love all the different meanings of your one word theme for this year. Wishing you and your family the most marvelous of years ahead! xoxo Laura

  2. Gil

    Loved this tribute to M. It is nearly as heart melting as her beautiful eyes! <3

  3. 12.23.2013

    wonderful !
    she looks adorable
    salute to you and to yours!
    tanti cari saluti da Brussels

  4. J.F. Constantine

    Michelle, that child is precious and gorgeous! What a little sweetie! I wish you and yours a very Happy Nativity and Happy New Year!

  5. 12.24.2013

    Aw, she’s lovely. And she looks so happy. Marissa is a beautiful name and it suits her.

  6. 12.24.2013

    It’s an even better name when you spell it correctly! Oops. Sorry about that.

    Also, Merry Christmas! I’m sure this will be one for the books.

  7. 12.24.2013

    How adorable she is! Now you will start having the most wonderful Christmases of your life, I think. There is nothing like having a child or children to make Christmas perfect. And you are surrounded by very old traditions in your village and with interesting people who will share her upbringing and cherish watching her grow up.
    What a legacy for Marisa to have, growing up in her ancestral village.

  8. 12.25.2013

    what a wonderful blessing. Your daughter will walk on the same paths that her great great grandmother did. kind of amazing if you think about it.

  9. Marsha

    Many warm wishes for a wonderful new year!

  10. 01.01.2014

    I loved this post! So warm, so real, and so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing your joy, and for the gorgeous photograph of your darling little daughter. Wishing you all the very, very best for a wonderful 2014 and onwards. Tanti auguri 🙂

  11. 01.06.2014

    Marisa Caterina is so beautiful, and I must admit I am a bit envious of you being a young mother. The oldest of my three is now 18 and having 3 teenagers is a big challenge — but I still adore them. Salute to you and your family and wishing you a wonderful happy, healthy, fabulous 2014.

  12. 01.25.2014

    What a smile! I love and miss those baby gummy smiles, now when Little D grins you can see all 10 teeth (he’s a bit of a ham). It is wonderful you have been so blessed with a good pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby girl. She’s bright-eyed and beautiful, come la mamma.
    Best to you and yours for 2014,
    take care.



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