Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Orchid Enhancement

Have you ever been tempted to pick up one of these beautifully rendered, delicate porcelain birds even though they have a slight chip at the tip of their beak,  but asked yourself... 

"now what am I going to do with this dust collector"?

"Do I really need it?"

I say absolutely!

 It's the perfect adornment for your orchid,

whether he's perched beside it or

tucked inside it's mossy pot!

Either way he enhances the already exquisite plant.

So, the next time you spy one of these delicate creatures...

don't pass him by.

Take him home with you...

to live in your orchid!

Please enter my Shabby Apple Da Vinci Dress Giveaway if you haven't yet!

And check out the latest at

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shabby Apple Giveaway

If you are a lover of all things Italian,
then today could be your lucky day!

welcomes you to great dresses that make dressing simple. 

And they are offering a fabulous dress from their Roamin Holiday Collection to one lucky La Dolfina follower!

After years of not being able to find stylish dresses that covered enough skin to make you really feel comfortable without wearing a tank top, cardigan or long slip, owners Emily and CK decided to do something about it.

They visited trade shows, marketplaces and designer studios only to discover that the problem was not that department stores weren't buying the right dresses, but that designers weren't designing them.

Shabby Apple is proud to offer you fantastic dresses that allow you to look fabulous without having to compromise anything else.

A return to what dresses were always meant to be, a one-piece outfit.

No need to add anything...

no tank tops, no cardigans, nothing

except accessories, of course!

Most of their dresses are vintage inspired which I love!

And their dress collections have names like

Now on to the Giveaway Dress which is from the Roamin Holiday Collection.

Sometimes choosing an outfit is as complex as cracking a Da Vinci anagram or reading Italian cursive backwards without a mirror or a dictionary!   Well, take the guesswork out of dressing with the soft and simple Da Vinci dress. One part sweatshirt, one part puff-sleeved perfection, this easy wearing number has a flare for the informal with its drop waist, A-line skirt and kangaroo pockets. Pack it for your next weekend getaway or make it part of your everyday routine.

 To enter for a chance to win this cute little number, "like" Shabby Apple on facebook and then leave me a comment saying you did so. Doing so will also get you in on special promotions and exclusive discounts. Shabby Apple is also offering a 10% off coupon to my readers for the next 30 days. Just type in the following code "ladolfina10off" at CHECKOUT.

And lastly, you must be a follower of La Dolfina and have a US shipping address. The winner will be announced Wed. May 4th.

*There will be no exchanges for the winning dress.

Check out the newest treasure at

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prelude to My Roamin Holiday Giveaway

To kick off my Roamin Holiday Giveaway,

I thought I'd take a stroll down memory lane of my own Roman Holiday in October of 2007 when my brother Stephen and his wife Wendy were married  at The Vatican.

Stephen & Wendy rented us a villa in Castel Gandolfo.

Castel Gandolfo is a small town in Lazio that occupies a height overlooking Lake Albano about 15 miles south-east of Rome on the Alban Hills.

It is best known as the summer residence of the Pope.

 (View of our villa)

It was voted one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. It includes almost the whole coastline of Lake Albano and is surrounded by many summer residences, villas and cottages built during the seventeenth century.

(Relaxing in the villa)

 Here we are eating, drinking and sharing good times in the villa's kitchen downstairs.

The Main Square in Castel Gandolfo with the Pope's residence in the background.

We were so fortunate to be able to attend the Papal Blessing while we were there as it's a rare privilege.

 - Don't be fooled by their designer duds. Under those bright, baggy bloomers and a tilted beret stands a lean, mean fighting machine as well as a courteous helper of lost or curious tourists.

He is a Swiss Guard. He stands at least 5 feet 8 inches tall, is an ironclad Catholic of "irreproachable" character, young and single, has clocked in at least 19 birthdays and usually no more than 30, and he is Swiss.

He also has completed rigorous entrance requirements and Swiss army training, making him a member of an elite guard who is ready at any moment to sacrifice his life for the pope.

The papal Swiss Guard tradition has been marching on for nearly 500 years -- making it the oldest, continually active military corps in history.

Here we are inside the courtyard waiting for the Pope to appear out on the balcony.

 It was surreal!

He spoke beautifully in several languages making sure to bless everyone in the crowd.

Afterward the crowd dispersed into the Main Square.

 The following shots are some of my favorite images captured during this memorable trip.

historic road built by the Romans in 312 BC

 Lake Albano


Lots & lots of pasta!

And finally the big day!

you are probably wondering how my brother pulled off getting married at The Vatican.

Well, here's the story.

We are blessed to have a very close family friend,  a priest named Father Richard Mangini, who we consider to be a part of our family.

He has been there for us through countless weddings, baptisms, holidays, birthdays, confirmations, graduations, anniversaries, and deaths.

So when Stephen asked him if there was any way he could marry them at The Vatican, Father Mangini called up his cousin Cardinal William Levada who serves as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

And that's how we all ended up here on this unforgettable day on October 2, 2007 to witness Stephen and Wendy say their vows in this awe inspiring chapel at The Vatican in Rome.


I was completely overcome with emotion.
It was an experience I will never forget!

Wendy's parents arranged a private wedding reception at the Hotel Hassler.

Hassler Roma is the legendary luxury hotel located at the top of the Spanish Steps.

The meal and service were beyond compare.

We raised our glasses to the happy couple and our gracious hosts.

The beautiful bride and Father Mangini.

The fabulous cake!

Our celebratory kiss!

After the reception as we descended the Spanish Steps...

people stood up to clap and cheer the newly wed couple... it was an amazing moment!

We made our way to the Trevi Fountain...

where a traditional legend holds that it is lucky to throw three coins with one's right hand over one's left shoulder into the fountain!


My Roamin Holiday Giveaway!

New treasure listed at