Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Blogs to Love

Recently, I came across a couple of really fabulous blogs that I would like to share.

The first blog that I found since I started blogging was Diva Deb's Blog (she's also got another blog that I think she might update this one more often). The kind and innovative Debi, who I found when she left the first comment I ever had on my blog. After a little investigating, not only did I think her blog was so fun but I also discovered her website. She is a Seattle based Designing Diva doing a various range of projects from speaking at events to working with companies such as Washington's Columbia Winery and Molbak's Home and Garden.

And then there is also Notes from A Cottage Industry. Another fantastic and creative woman living in the Pacific Northwest. I love her photos and it's very exciting that she's planning on opening her own e-retail store soon.

I wish these women the best of luck in their business ventures and I can't wait to discover more blogs to love!



Rosanna's First Ever Table Setting Contest!

As I mentioned before, I'm hosting my first ever Table Setting Contest. I'm so pleased to announce it!

Enter to win Rosanna's First Ever Table Setting Contest!

Did you know that every time you set the table whether it’s for yourself or a party of 10, you are a fabulous designer? Maybe your gorgeous table settings aren't featured in the next issue of Martha Stewart Living but you’ve always received compliments and had friends and family ask, “How did you think of adding that?” If so, then this contest is for you.

You know that a personal, interesting, creative yet clean, and attractive table setting makes any meal that much more enjoyable and special. This is the chance to strut your stuff, on the table that is.

The winners of Rosanna’s Table Setting Contest will be selected by Rosanna Bowles herself, the Dinnerware Designing Diva, and the winning tables will be featured right here!

That way you'll be able to send the link and show off your winning table setting style.

The Important Stuff:

Prizes: Bragging rights to anyone who listen.
1st Place: $200 Shopping Spree at Rosannainc.com (includes shipping, tax, etc.).
2nd Place: $75 Shopping Spree at Rosannainc.com (includes shipping, tax, etc.).

Who: Anyone of any age whose got table setting style.
What: Rosanna's First Ever Table Setting Contest.
When: Contest runs from July 1st thru August 31st, 2007 ending at 11:59pm PST.
Where: Anywhere in the world! Winners will be posted right here!
Why: 'Cause you gotta show me what you got!
How: To enter submit your photos in jpeg form to jennifero@rosannainc.com or snail mail them to 440 S. Holgate St., Seattle, WA 98134 USA Attn: Table Setting Contest.

-Your table must be set for at least two people.
-You must at least one Rosanna product featured on your table.
-No actual food required.

1. This contest is open to anyone in the world of any age!
2. Contest begins on July 1st, 2007 and continues until August 31st, 2007 ending at 11:59pm PST.
3. Digital submissions must be in jpeg form, around 4x5 inches, no less than 72 dpi and no more than 180 dpi.
4. When entering your photo make sure to include your name, where you're from, and an email or phone number in order to get ahold of you if you are the choosen winner; we respect your privacy and will not give out any of your information.
5. Photos will not be returned.
6. Rosanna Imports, Inc. reserves the right to use and/or publish the photo of your tablesetting however it seems fit. By sending in your photo you are agreeing to this term.

I can't wait to see what everyone is going to dish up!

Good luck,


Ciao Seattle

I wanted to let everyone know that I won't be as posting as often as usual because it's the time of year that my family and I live in Italy for a month. Every year, my husband Mimmo, my children Alessandra and Francesca, and myself all travel to Italy to live in the Italian region of Umbria for one month.

This is my real vacation and one of my havens, absolute paradises in the world. I truly cherish the wonderful time we spend there. It's a chance to bring a bit of Americana to Italia.

We left last Thursday to make our way to Italy, only to endure 34 hours of travel, lost luggage, and barely making it to our hotel. But not to worry, we made it to Italy in one piece. Despite the fact that I caught a sinus bug. I wasn't feeling very well at first (hence the lack of posts) but now I'm resting and starting to feel better already.

Keep an eye out for my upcoming Table Setting Contest post. The first place prize is a $200 shopping spree at Rosanna and the second place prize is a $75 shopping spree at Rosanna.



Monday, June 18, 2007

Flatware to Love

It's important to remember that a meal is not just about the food you're serving. The dishes, glassware, tablecloth, napkins, candles, and flowers enormously influence the overall feeling of the meal. Flatware, I feel, is oftentimes neglected, and given less attention than it rightfully deserves.

Luckily, we actually carry a gorgeous flatware line called Napoleon. Not a lot of people know how special this flatware is and for the sake of showcasing an extraordinary product here is a little information you might not know.

Handmade by skilled craftsman, our Napoleon Flatware is imported from Northern Italy. The flatware is 18-10 gage (the heaviest weight avaliable) and made from stainless steel. Not only is it beautiful, it's also extremely durable. The plastic resin used to make the handles is the same kind used on the Alaska pipeline! Needless to say, this flatware lasts forever. It's also dishwasher safe!

I use my Napoleon flatware every day. Whether I've set the table with fine china or melamine plates, the Napoleon adds a little something to the setting. My favorite color is the pearlized ivory. but comes in a myriad of colors from a deep burgundy to a pearlized, eye-popping blue. This flatware also makes wonderful gift because it comes in many different forms- a hostess set, a five piece place setting, bridal set, salad tongs, pasta serving pieces, etc. that you can collect over time.

The pictures on our website don't quite do the design justice. Here are a few close ups so that you can see how special this flatware is.

Our pearlized champagne colored five piece place setting- it's a great neutral color for any table setting.

Our gorgeous pearlized blue pate knives- this color reminds of the Greek cobalt blue.

Our pearlized green cocktail forks, it's a really deep emerald.

Our bridal set in pearlized pink.

Our hostess set in pearlized copper.

Our tortoise five piece place setting.

These are just a few informal photos to show how brightly those handles and steel shine! It's also great because the packaging for each set of flatware makes it easy to store as you can see from the cocktail forks and pate knives.

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Favorite of the Month: June Edition: Boho!

As I promised in my debut entry on this blog, I want to feature my favorite produce of the moment that has come out of our studio. This month I'm in love with our Boho dessert and dinner plate collection. The mix and match idea is so hot right now, and this collection is perfect to showcase gorgeous spring and summer produce. Click here to buy a set! I was also pleased to find out that Boho has featured in both Redbook and Chocolat Magazine. Check it out!

Happy Summer!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What Is Natural?

From the ages of 14-20, I went to sleep every night with my wet hair wrapped around orange juice cans to make it straight. Then from the ages of 49-52, I patiently blew out my hair and, thanks to the advances of modern technology, I applied a straightening iron to my still steaming follicles. And today, I've had enough; I am sick of frying my hair to a crisp in the constant battle against curls.

I gave up. I gave in.

I got out of the shower and left my flat iron unplugged.

I left the house au natural with my curls fluttering in the early summer breeze.

My return to curly hair got me thinking about the Natural Movement. I realized that despite the excess that has led to the current environmental crisis, there have been a few movements throughout America's history when we have collectively gone back to basics and focused our energies on cultivating a greater awareness of conservation, recycling, and the natural state.

One moment in time, was of course when President Theodore Roosevelt pushed for conservation in the early years of 20th century. Thanks to Teddy, America was the first country to implement a national parks program that ensured parcels of land all over the country would always remain in their natural state and never be clear cut or developed.

Another memorable moment when Americans were very committed to recycling and reuse was the Depression Era during the late 1920's. The extreme poverty during this time made Americans much more aware of how many items that we consider disposable and good for only one time use could be reused or retooled for other purposes. Tinfoil was washed, smoothed out, and used again. Old curtains became the material for a new dress, a la Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With The Wind." While the Depression was a very low point in America's history, the scarcity of this era made Americans infinitely more resourceful.

Twenty years later, Americans rallied around a common cause, World War II. They again relied on their capacity to be resourceful with the available materials. There was also a resurgence of recycling. All types of scrap metal, which in another time would have been left to rust in the junkyard, was collected to fashioned into airplanes. And with the rise in popularity of planting Victory Gardens, we also became a little more environmentally aware.

Then came a movement that perhaps some of you reading this blog took part it yourselves- the hippie movement of the 1970's. Along with messages of peace and free love was the promotion of living in harmony with the natural world instead of always warring against it and dominate over it.

It seems as though there's a pattern when it comes to our modes of consumption; the only time we can be bothered to focus on what is natural and friendly to the Earth is when we are faced with a crisis. I'm not a strident activist who only wears clothing made from hemp. However, I do believe that slightly shifting the way we live and consume can make the difference in our quality of life while at the same time curbing our frenzy for consuming, at least in a small way. Just the fact that my flat iron is sitting under the sink made a difference in my day. I had a little more time to sit down and read the morning paper and, as an added benefit, by not plugging in the flat iron, I was consuming less energy.

It really was a piece of cake...



It's a Wonderful World

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up my 4th grade daughter, Francesca, from school. It was a beautiful day, and as a treat I took her out for ice cream. As we sat in the sun enjoying the beginning of summer, she suddenly said, "I just love my life."

When I asked her what in particular she liked, she replied, "Oh, everything! I love riding my bike at the beach. I love eating ice cream. I love the weather. I love it when you make good dinners. I just love everything!"

Hearing my daughter talk about how much joy she finds in life made me remember having that same feeling as a child. Every moment was magica, and the world was a wonderful place to live. Until Francesca reminded me, I hadn't realized how long it has been since I've felt that sense of serenity and unadulterated happiness. I believe that if we can tap into this feeling of well being in our grown up lives, we can all be happier on the whole.

As the famed philosopher Johann Goethe says, "A person should hear a little music, read a little poetry and see a fine picture every day in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul."

Beauty is not difficult to cultivate- all we need to do is become aware of beautiful moments in our daily lives- the way a light plays off the water, marvelous music, genuine laughter, a great cup of coffee at a small cafe. All we need to do is slow down a little, take a closer look, and find the beauty that is just waiting to be discovered in the world around us.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Fabulous Fathers

Come Sunday, it will again be time to celebrate our dads. There is a lot to celebrate.

I have so many memories of my dad from childhood that I'm sure are similar to memories those of you reading may have as well.

(Here's a picture of my dad and me from when I was a little girl).

We'd go to baseball games, just me and him. We had these great dugout seats, and he would always buy me a bag of salted peanuts that I would happily munch throughout the game. When we got home afterwards, he'd play softball with me in our huge front yard.

Other fond memories from my childhood include going with my dad to the driving range and I'd be his caddy. I loved to make him his favorite dessert, rice pudding in the oven topped with cinnamon and raisins. And on very special occassions, my dad would take me shopping. I could pick out one dress, whichever one I wanted.

Memories like these are irreplaceable. For everything our fathers do for us, all of those special times, important lessons, and good advice they give us, fathers deserve something special. Every year, it's such a struggle to find a way to genuinely and originally express our gratitude to our fathers.

Ties, golfballs, coffee mugs, grilling equipment, power tools, gadgets, and DVDs have all been done before. Too many times, in fact. Speaking as a parent myself, I know that the gifts from my children that I appreciate the most don't come from a store. Without getting elaborate to the degree of Martha Stewart, here are a few ideas for meaningful handmade (and inexpensive) Father's Day gifts that I guarantee will let a father know how much he means to his child.

50 Things I Love About Dad List
This is a wonderful way to for a child (or for the more sentimental among us grown ups) to let a father know how much all the little things he does mean to us.

A Photo Collage in a Shadow Box
Shadow boxes are avaliable at home decor stores like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and even Target. You can glue or tack a few of your favorite photos along with mementos or other graphics, even lettering to make a lovely gift.

Handmade Card
Handmade cards all by themselves are often better than a store bought gift and card put together.

Retrospective Photo Album
These are always fun to make for those who have some time to go through old photos and enjoy craft activities. Making a book of old baby pictures or a whole chronicle of growth from childhood to present day makes a great gift for a father.

Framed and Blown Up Photograph
A 8 x 10 inch blow up of a photograph you've taken, or a picture of you and your dad together. Again, places like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware have some very nice, simple frames that will complement a photo nicely but also let it speak for itself.

A Themed Mix CD with Original Artwork for the "Album" Cover
Mix CDs are easy to make these days, and make wonderful gifts because you can tailor them to fit exactly the recipient's taste. (And often times, besides the cost of a blank CD, there is no additional cost at all!)

Cooking Dad's Favorite Meal
If you enjoy cooking, invite your dad over for a special Father's Day meal (breakfast, brunch, dinner, or lunch) that includes all of his favorite dishes from appetizers to dessert.

A Heartfelt Letter
Finally, there is nothing like a heartfelt letter to make someone feel special. Nothing is comprable to the thought, energy, and love that goes into a letter. These gifts are among those that will be saved and treasured forever.

I hope these ideas give you some direction if you're in a gift quandary, and inspire you to come up with some of own creative gifts based on the interests, hobbies, and tastes of your own fathers.

Happy Father's Day!


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Something to Celebrate

On August 17th, 2007, Seattle's famed Pike Place Market will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Pike Place Market is a Seattle landmark for fresh produce of all kinds, unusual arts and crafts, lively street performers, delicious food, and restaurants with breathtaking views of the Puget Sound. Of course, it is also one of Seattle's most popular visitor destinations. However, despite the Market's reputation as a tourist attraction, I adore spending time there. It is truly a special place. Alas, it's such a wonderful way to eat healthily, buy locally, and support small business owners.

Pike Place Market is a defining and integral part of the Seattle community. However, with the increasing awareness of the importance of eating and buying locally, it shouldn't be difficult to find a fresh foods farmer's market near you, wherever you live. Summer is the high season for fresh fruits and vegetables. It's a shame to buy produce that's grown 1000's of miles away then imported to the US when we are surrounded by such bounty. Furthermore, not only do locally grown foods taste better, but they're infinitely for your body. You're also supporting the backbone of your community in an impactful way.

If you live in Seattle, or will be visiting the city this summer, visit the Market's website to find out about the Centennial Celebration that will be going on all summer; to know more click on the link in the upper right hand corner of the site that says "Centennial Celebration."

Buying locally grown food is just another small way to enhance your quality of life, celebrate small pleasures, and please the senses.



A Passion for Fashion

A few years ago in Paris, I fell in love.

With a skirt.

Have you ever discovered an amazing new designer and bought a gorgeous piece from them, only to never find the line again?

This is exactly what happened to me when I found Marithe Francois Girbaud (pronounced JA-BOW). This designer label is created by a wife and husband team, Marithe and Francois. After seeing their line in Paris, I also discovered stores in Italy and England that carried their collections. From then on, whenever I was in Europe, I never missed a chance to acquire a new piece for my growing collection.

Because I never saw Girbaud anywhere in America, I became a devotee of their seasonal catalog. One day, as I was browsing through it, I found the address for the Girbaud store in New York City (I should have known)!

Of course, I called them immediately. A lovely woman named Laura answered the phone. We started talking right away and became quick friends. In no time, she had helped me to pick out a gorgeous coat and skirt. And the best part was that they were on SALE!

Last week, Girbaud put their line on sale, with the prices marked down by 40%.

One of the reasons why I adore this designer team is because their vision is so intelligent, beautiful, and original. Their attention to detail is excellent, ranging from unusual buttons to intricate embroidery. I also love the historical references in their collections because it lends to a playful, almost costume-like feel to their couture. Various Girbaud pieces I own remind me of Marie Antionette's ultra-feminine, full-bodied skirts, Napoleon's formal dress uniforms, and even a circus ringleader's grand overcoat with tails.

If your travels take you to New York soon, or if you live in the city, you must stop by the showroom, especially because this is a sale not to be missed!

The Girbaud Showroom
47 Wooster St.
New York City, NY

Of if you aren't able to go to Girbaud, Girbaud can come to you. Browse their collection online at Girbaud.com.

Because their site is a little tricky to navigate, find the link to "Fashion Shows" and then click on "Women's Collection." After you've found pieces that appeal to you, call Laura in New York at (212) 625-0066.

Another reason why I love Girbaud is because when I wear it, I feel exquisitely feminine and confident; the garments are beautifully designed and tailored to highlight the best parts of a woman's body.

I hope you find Girbaud as charming as I do, and I hope you find something special for yourself as well!


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Gifts for Grads

June. It is officially graduation season.

Whether you know someone who is graduating from sixth grade or receiving their Doctorate degree, the graduation gift is an integral part of the experience.

This year, my niece graduated from high school. I decided that because she is embarking on a new life in college, a perfect gift would be a set of monogrammed bath towels (for dorm showering), a set of my small Rosanna bowls and my globe victoriana vase filled with roses from my garden.

I liked this gift because it included a few essential items for life, like the towels and the bowls. My daughter Alessandra, who just finished her freshman year of college, took a set of the bowls with her this year and told me that she used them every day. Contrasted with these sundries, I wanted to include something more for fun: the flowers and vase. Going to college is the time when one starts to collect things for one's own home, whether they be a collection of every day dishes or a vase to grace a coffee table.

Congratulations to all of the graduates in your life,


Monday, June 4, 2007

Thank You, Gracias, Merci, Danke and Grazie Mille!

I wanted to thank everyone who came out to our Warehouse Sale this past Friday and Saturday and made it a huge success!

This was our most successful Warehouse Sale yet and I have a few people to thank for it.

I would like to thank Jen O'Brien and Matt Paul here at Rosanna for pulling the entire sale together and working so hard on it; they made a great team. I want to say a repeat thank you to Kathy Schultz for her wonderful article. Thank you to Pamela Sitt from the Seattle Times for her Psst! article and Nicole Tsong from the Seattle Times for her continued support. Thank you to Kat Spellman and Margo Spellman of the Spellman Company for their help in getting the word out. And of course- a huge thank you to those who trekked down to the Sodo district and cleaned us out!

Here are some memorable photos from the sale:

The lines went on like this all day . . .

The early morning rush:

And our gorgeous Deruta that was on sale. For those of you who collect Deruta, you know that it is rare for it to go on sale.

Thank you again for coming down! It was a pleasure to see some familiar faces. I had a great time. I hope you did, too!


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Growing Pains

I wanted to take time to answer a question I get asked often,
"Are you ever going to open another retail store?"

For now, the answer is no. For those of you who are new to Rosanna, I did have a retail store in Seattle for six years that we recently closed at the end of this January. We opened in 2001 in a remodeled gas station in the Wedgewood neighborhood, and then three years later, moved to the University Village outdoor shopping center.

Although I miss the intimate customer interactions that came with owning a retail store, I found that there simply aren't enough hours in my day to properly take care of a store, which, in and of itself, is a full time job.

I recently received this lovely email from a customer and admirer of Rosanna in New York City.

"I wish Rosanna would consider an outpost in New York City that not only sells your product but also does place settings in private homes for small parties. I’m sure there are caterers galore who would partner with you. There are also quite a few small spaces for rent right now both in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

I feel strongly that an outlet here plus a limited party business could possibly push your exposure along even further. I don’t think people realize how much fun your entire line is- or even that Rosanna is an ongoing, developing company- because they see things individually at department stores or in print, and don’t know that there is a cohesive, inventive, and far-ranging Rosanna line. I know that you’re doing well as you are, but the East Coast is waiting!"

I wanted to thank Deborah Gimelson for her kind words and great enthusiasm; this kind of feedback is always much appreciated.

As those of you who own a retail store know that it involves a huge amount of energy, care, attention to detail, and performance. Because we're working on some new and very cool projects as well as expanding our international business (I'll make sure to keep you updated), I realized that sometimes you have to know when your plate is too full. Unfortunately, a physical retail store won't be opening in the near future, but in the meantime, there is always our online retail store with shopping available 24 hours a day!