Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Melissa Design for Your Logo & Web Design Needs

Melissa DesignIf you read Bleeding Espresso or Goat Berries in feed readers and haven’t stopped by the actual sites lately, please pop over as they both have all-new looks.

They are similar because I wanted to have some continuity between the sites, and they are tied together by fabulous new logos by Melissa Muldoon of Melissa Design.

Have you seen Melissa’s portfolio of logos and web design projects?

I absolutely love my new Bleeding Espresso cup and beans as well as the Goat Berries heart and goat tracks, of course, but Melissa has so many other examples of great work, including the new and improved World Nutella Day logo and the websites of Bella Vita Italia and Bella Vita Italia Rentals.

Melissa Muldoon, Melissa Design

Melissa Muldoon, Melissa Design

I highly recommend Melissa if you have a graphic design and/or web design project in mind. She’s professional, fast, full of great ideas, and also really listens to the client’s requests — which can be a problem with some designers. In a nutshell, Melissa was just a joy to work with, and I really can’t recommend her services highly enough, so do have a look at the rest of her profile to get an idea of what else she’s done lately.

FYI You can also find Melissa Design on Facebook, and Melissa at her blog Diario di una studentessa matta (in italiano).

And for those who have asked me about the site designs of Bleeding Espresso and Goat Berries, I am using the Luxury WordPress Template by Curt Ziegler, also known as cudazi over at Theme Forest, and tweaked from there. Curt’s designs are *so* easy to tweak; they’re already user-friendly with so many choices for customization, but Curt also does instructional sheets and even videos — and is also available for questions. He generally responds within *hours* people. Seriously. I highly recommend both Theme Forest and Curt’s designs.

P.S. I also use one of Curt’s themes for, and Melissa also did that logo as well. What can I say? I just love their work.

So there you have it for those of you who were curious about the design of the new sites. And hey, as the holidays approach, why not treat you and your website to a whole new look? If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask — it’s always nice to be able to offer glowing recommendations, so thank you again to Melissa and Curt!

Life, Death, and Cherries

Erma Bombeck famously wrote If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?

Today in my hometown, a man is being buried when he should be celebrating his 37th birthday with his two young daughters.

We were never exceptionally close, but my lasting memory of him will always be that during high school, he called me by my brother’s name with a “Little” in front of it. You see, my brother is six years older than me, so he wasn’t there in person to watch over me during those ever-so-important years; by his reminding me of my brother every time we passed in the hall, though, I always got the feeling he was an appointed, surrogate big brother. He was a sweetheart.

I haven’t seen him in probably 15 years or so, but my heart breaks for his family. His father was a favorite teacher of mine, I cheered and graduated with his sister, and his brother also graduated with us. And his daughters, oh those little girls, one of whom goes to school with my nephew . . . just heartbreaking.

He was the kind of person who had a smile for everyone — and I mean everyone no matter what your “status” was in our small Friday Night Lights-type town. Yeah, he was a jock, but you’d never know it, and that’s a huge compliment. Just a helluva guy, plain and simple.

So today, for one community in a little corner of Pennsylvania and all its branches throughout the world, life is more pits than cherries, but here’s an amazing performance of a silly little song as we all look ahead to the future:


Rest in peace, Trock.

May your smile brighten wherever it is you are, and may your family and friends find comfort in their memories.

Love Thursday: Family and Friends Edition

This week’s Love Thursday is quite special because the photos come from two friends made via Internet and my very own niece, Mia:

From L-R:

(1) My friend Beth’s daughter Sarah made a batch of  peanut butter cookies and this heart came out.

(2) My friend Lucy of On my way 2 work and Other Stuff spotted this branch-formed heart.

(3) My niece Mia caught this heart-shaped puddle before it dried up.

(4) Again, Mia’s eye saw a heart in this pork cutlet.

I have *no* idea who Mia takes after!

Happy Love Thursday everyone!

Are you ready for the weekend?

I sure am.

A Fresco Painter’s Love Letter to Calabria

The other day I got a wonderful comment on an old post about my village, Badolato, and was introduced to what is sure to be a new friend.

Liana Sofia Tumino is an Italian-Canadian fresco painter who not only has amazing southern Italian scenes in her repertoire, she also has the video below, which I’m calling “A Fresco Painter’s Love Letter to Calabria.”

Because it very much is.

You see Liana Sofia also has deep roots in Calabria, and she has been painting scenes from this gorgeous land for nearly 20 years.

As Liana Sofia wrote in her comment:

My mother and grandmother are from Ferruzzano…I think it must be close in proximity to Badolato and so beautiful as all of Calabria is! I look forward to following this blog and admire your ability to move back…perhaps reversing in a small way the exodus you spoke about that has left so many villages in various stages of abandonment. For this reason I have been painting Calabria for over 17 years in fresco with love and passion for a place that I hold very dear…this summer I created a short video called “My Italy” . . . that showcases the beauty of this place so many love but as you mentioned, perhaps they only return to once a year in August…please watch it as I know you will enjoy it and share it with those that would like another “taste” of Calabria and its beauty!

I will warn you, the beauty of this video made me cry, and I live here and see very similar sights every day. Just a gorgeous work of art, this film . . . I know you will enjoy.

Please do visit Liana Sofia at her website,, check out her frescoes, and say hello (she also has a blog there).

Happy Love Thursday everyone!

Love Thursday: Honoring Virtual Friendships

A little while back on Facebook, I lamented that I had broken the lid to my sugar bowl and couldn’t find another with a slot for the spoon.

Diana of Creative Structures and the Baur B&B in Piemonte, one of my dearest friends made virtually, responded by making and sending me a sugar bowl — and throwing in an antique spoon and handmade candlestick holder and candle for good measure.

(The mimosa were from P for International Women’s Day on March 8.)

Anyone who has hung around the blogosphere has likely experienced the joy of finding a kindred spirit, someone who always manages to say the right thing when you need it, a person who inspires you by just living her life and letting you share a little a piece of it virtually, and perhaps even in person if time and money allow.

I’ve been extra lucky. I’ve found several such people, and I think of them whenever I read that Internet friendships aren’t real or as valuable as “real life” relationships.


Friendships are what *you* make of them whether you see the other person every day, once a year, or never. It is up to us how much we let others into our hearts; the physical distance between us doesn’t get a say.

Happy Love Thursday everyone, and

may you have many wonderful friendships to nurture.

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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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