Sunday, January 31, 2010

final training day...

It's early Sunday morning in Philadelphia. There's a fresh coating of snow on the ground and it's COLD outside! Today, I'm in final training for the Las Vegas Furniture Show. This show is so huge, and after spending a month in Italy eating...I need to get in-shape and be ready to run through the buildings and see all I can see...

That, and another coffee and I'm ready to rock!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

dreaming of summer?

This poor guy, like so many this winter...needs a nice cup of hot chocolate. If you're dreaming about summer, this video will help!

Stay's cold outside!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

woke up want'n corn beef hash!

I woke up at 5AM this morning with a major craving for corn beef hash, so with coffee in hand, I started click'n for recipes. I found this one at The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. No time this morning, but this evening I'll be picking up some missing ingredients for tomorrow's breakfast...

Hope you have an awesome day!!!◦

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lovin' Arteriors Home

In my constant quest for design knowledge and inspiration, sometimes I stumble across some amazing visionary gems in a sea of the accepted norm! This is definately one of them. I cannot find a piece I don't like from this company..They're based in Dallas, and their collection is so cool and modern, but still light and organic. The company was started by Mark Moussa in 1987, and they are now a leading award winning company catering to Designers and retailers.

And, of course they've been featured in many magazines...

Feast your eyes on some more of their awesome pieces....

The website says they'll soon be blogging. I'm really looking forward to reading it. I'm now a big fan of Arteriors Home.

You guys are awesome!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

right place, right time...

I was walking home from the coffee bar on the evening of the Epiphany. That's the night that La Befana visits all the children, and brings them presents and chocolate. All of a sudden a parade of people started coming down the street, and of course my camera was in hand :-)

Sorry for the blurry video!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

facade projection

This is so cool! Thanks for sharing it Lorenzo!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

dreamin' l'espressino

As I sit here sipping my giant cup full of American coffee, my imagination slips back to Gioia Del Colle, and the espressino and cornetto at Aldebaran Bar...

Francesco, grazie per tutto!

Bambolina mia, mi manchi infinito!

I miss the cool Aldebaran peeps, the great music, the friendly atmosphere, and of course the delicious coffee!

Arrividerci Aldebaran! Arrividerci Gioia!


Friday, January 15, 2010

more doors of Gioia

Did I mention...I really love doors!?!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

back to the real world...?

Right about now I should be touching down in Washington D.C. It was such a wonderful month in Italy, but now it's time to get back to the grind in the U.S. So much to do, so much to accomplish! I have only two shorts weeks to prepare for the Las Vegas Furniture Exhibition...


Friday, January 8, 2010

a million miles from that bathroom...

In this post, I would like to introduce you to a really cool dude named Michele Gargaro. He's a young man I worked with at a factory in the south of China. Together Michele and I braved conditions that I could never truly describe here in this post. It would take a 100's of pictures and 1000's of words to even get close.

Michele's father was one of the great craftsman in the art of making upholstered furniture in southern Italy. When he was just a young boy, he worked in his father's factory in Italy during the summers and weekends. There, he also learned the fine art of handcrafting upholstered furniture just like his father did before him. Sadly, Michele's father passed away years back, and along with our industry, Michele eventually found his way to China.

Michele simply has a level of talent and experience I've never before seen in a young man of his age, and I learned so much from him during our time together. Each morning we would walk together amongst the sea of humanity and uniforms through the vast courtyard past the open sewer system, to get to the long bank of turnstiles. We would wait for our turn to scan our badges and pass through to the factory buildings. Then the long walk down the dark dirty hallways to get to our shared office in the prototype room.

I was designing, and he was engineering. Every couple of hours we would sneak away to the bathroom across the hallway for a cigarette. The conditions in this bathroom were unspeakable! I do have a photo of it, but I've decided not to post it just in case you will be eating soon. I can tell you this...each day a man would come in with a big hose, and spray down the walls, floor, and the toilets which were just holes in the floor! As we stood in there being careful where we put our feet, and not to touch anything, the conversation would always be the same..."How are we going to get out of this place!"

Because both Michele and I were not so fond of the chicken feet, bird heads, and the other unidentifiable foods in the cafeteria, we would escape from the factory complex each day for lunch, driving past the pig trucks we headed to the nearby town of Danshui. And of course over lunch the conversations about our final escape and starting our own company's would continue. And of course after returning from lunch the first stop was that dreadful bathroom for one last cigarette before returning to work.

Well, the reason that I always say believe in your dreams is because I did get out, and today I'm living the dream of my own company. Also several months ago I got a call from Michele, and he's finally made his great escape too, and he's now back in Italy living his dream as well! Last weekend he came to Gioia Del Colle to pick me up, and take me to see his new prototyping shop. He's now running his own small company. I'm so happy and proud of him!

His company is located in his home town of Santeramo, and he now has several small local furniture factories as clients, and he's making their prototypes for them. He has one sewing machine and two work stations. Take a look at him in action in his new shop...

Congratulations Michele! You're living proof that dreams do come true if you believe and never give up. And,  now we are both a million miles from that bathroom!

If you happen to be launching a furniture line and need samples and patterns made, or an established furniture company looking to outsource, contact Michele at


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Charlie Pub

Anyone who's ever been to Italy knows that the pizza here is simply the best in the world! I've never tasted a pizza outside of this country that truly compares.

The pizza we make in the States is much more like Italian Focaccia than real pizza. Also for me, the further south you go in Italy the better it gets. You'll also find that each region in the south has it's own unique taste. People from Naples will tell you that theirs is the best in all of Italy. And, it is to die for! However, my favorite pizza can be found in the region of Puglia.

And my favorite pizza in all of Puglia is made at Charlie Pub in Gioia Del Colle. Pizza Quattro mouth is watering right now as I type this. And I just had it about a week ago!

Can you taste it? I think I will have to go back there after I'm done with this post, and done sipping this delicious cappuccino. This place also has a very special meaning for my wife and I.

This is the place we went on our first date shortly after we met. Every time we come back to Gioia, we always look forward to going back to relive that very special evening. And now we can bring our son with us as well. Soon when our daughter is old enough, she will be downing Charlie pizzas as well.

There are so many reasons why it's so good here. First of all, the local water and air plays a part in making the dough for the most wonderful thin crust. The best mozzarella from Gioella goes on top of the delicious local tomatoes. And after all the rest of the wonderful ingredients go on, the pizza gets placed in the wood burning stone and brick oven.

If you ever find yourself in this area of the world, I HIGHLY recommend you find Charlie Pub. There's a map when you click on the title of this post. Buon appetito!◦

Friday, January 1, 2010

can you feel it!?!

I woke up this morning with such an incredible feeling of optimism! I'm normally the eternal optimist, but for some reason this morning was even more intense. As I did my normal trek through the town of Gioia to the coffee bar, I noticed that many people were out walking and smiling and wishing each other Happy New Year! There's just something really special in the air on this first day of 2010!
What a great day this is! Can you feel it?
It's a new year, a new page, a new start, and anything is possible! As a good friend of mine named Desiree Young Rossiter said; "My New Year's resolution is to be myself." I think her idea is so right on! And, I have adopted the same resolution for 2010.
I will also continue to...dare to dream!
Oh, and by the way, this morning was an awesome l'espressino and a cornetto con crema...So Good!
Won't you join me? It's time to fly!!!