May 4th, 2010

Portugal: A Sweet Treat

After my recent post on Azulejos and my upcoming honeymoon trip to Portugal, I heard on THIS BLOG from a lovely lady from Lisbon, who also happens to work as a decorative painter there. Ana suggested that we go to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, which we DID promptly upon our arrival in Lisbon from Newark. IMG_6317

She also kindly offered that if we wanted more advice to please ask.


Just before leaving on the trip I received a very thoughtful and detailed list of suggestions and an additional offer to meet for coffee.


And so we did, surrounded by beautiful azulejos tile dados at the famous Pasteis de Belem, home of the most delicious pastries in the world. Seriously! I don’t generally even like sweets and I gobbled down two of these mouth-watering custard confections right out of the oven. Mmmmm, even their cafe con leche was the best in town.


If you don’t want to sit you can stand in line for the take away counter service!


It is easy to find! Just look to the right of the amazing Manueline inspired Mosteiro do Jeronimos, where the secret recipe for the pastries is said to have originated.


Also in the neighborhood, down along the Rio Tejo, is the Torre de Belem….


a World Heritage site that is often pictured as a symbol for Portugal,….


as well as a glorious monument to the “discoveries”. On this side of the Atlantic we refer to these people a conquerors, but the truth is that Portugal at one point led the world in navigation and exploration back when it was thought to be flat.


We met up with Ana again on our last night in Lisbon at A Ginjinha, where locals begin their evening out with a shot of this brandy-fortified sweet liquor! It made our trip so much more special getting to know Ana, enjoying the city under some of her guidance, and benefiting from her local knowledge and perspective.


Cheers Ana, and obrigada!! We hope to see you again very soon!

December 24th, 2009

Merry Christmas World!

No matter what you believe or where you live, Christmas is a time to celebrate beauty, traditions, love, and each other…

South Korea Christmas

S Korea

South Korea

Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

Rockefeller Center, NYC





Vietnam Christmas




Winter Weather Michigan



Czech Republic Christmas Tree

Czech Republic



Beirut Lebanon

Beirut, Lebanon








Vatican City

Photos courtesy of the Sacramento Bee , CBS News, and Huffington Post

October 30th, 2009

Halloween Treat

It’s Halloweentime at Modello Designs and I always like to share our little group of Modello team members.


We had 4 people that couldn’t attend this year  due to illness, school, or vacation, but those who were there put forth a solid effort to win our annual costume contest…


….Melanie acted out her recent fondness for 80′s hair bands..


…Eric had a teachable moment…


…Lauren pretended to be “catty”..


….Jerome was a shy, giggling geisha…


….Michelle dripped cuteness as a melting snow cone…


…Tara honored her Boston Irish roots…


…Tony channeled our very own Maynard…


…and Natalie was a wayward rag doll. Happy Halloween everyone!
PS The winner was Jerome

February 14th, 2009

Three Minute Romance

It’s NOT what you think! In celebration of Valentines Day, Eric and I are going to revisit our romantic roots tonight-on the dance floor. You see, we were two lonely tango dancers whose paths (and legs) crossed almost exactly 7 years ago at a social milonga. Tango dancing is often described as a “three minute romance”, as most songs are about that long and you get to get up close and personal with someone you may or may not know (or want to) in a perfectly innocent setting with no strings attached. Most of the time, you share two or three dances, say thank you, and then politely “move on”. In our case, when the “tall, cute guy” asked me to dance, we stayed together on the dance floor for about 15 songs. After a polite break, we did it again! I knew right away that he was THE ONE. I still do. Happy Valentines Day!

Tango Dancing
Tango Dancing
Tango Dancing

and, yes, I want that skinny body back!

December 24th, 2008

Merry Christmas to all

…..and to all a good day filled with presents (not too many-got to get the credit cards paid off), great food (not too much-got to watch the waistline), good drink (watch it!-got to drive) and family fun (insert your own family experience here-hopefully a good one!)

Modello Christmas Card

From the very merry team at Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio: Left to right/top to bottom Melanie, Eric, Heidi, Jerome, Lauren, Tony, Maynard, Jim, Theresa, Michelle and Natalie.

P.S. Thanks to my friend Karen for making us into a lovely Christmas card. Check out her brand new blog here.


March 19th, 2008

No way! Way!!

I’m still a bit out of it from my Spain/Morocco trip-Trying to catch up with new business, reintroduce myself to ongoing projects and organize my trip photos on flickr so I can share them in some semblance of order. Why does everything take so long? Oh yeah, it must be that you can/should add titles, descriptions and tags now to all your photos. That on top of my need to crop each one at the exact same size, adjust the “curves” because I can, etc. in Photoshop. Almost there.

Meanwhile, I found out by linking back through my incoming links from The Crafty Cameleon in California (thank you and love your sand art!) that this blog was listed on House Beautiful’s website under their “sites we love” area. How cool is that!!!! I had no clue. Not surprising. I just love this blogging stuff….

February 15th, 2008

All around the WWW

World Wide Web isn’t a phrase you hear bandied about much this days. Being vocally lazy, most of us just call it “the web” or “the net”. I have to share a bit of Google research with you: Did you realize that the internet has only been available to the general public since the early 90′s and search engines since the mid 90′s? Holy cow! How DID we manage?! Anyway, I just wanted to share how pleased I am that this blog is getting some really nice exposure around the WWW-thanks largely in part to Maryam’s very cool post about our upcoming project at Peacock Pavilions. Maryam is quite the blog star (deservadly so!) and some of the images from her post got picked up here and here. The latter one is in French, no less. Ooh la la! Thank you Maryam, for letting me hang on to your lovely coattails a bit!

As any blogger knows, the key to getting people to actually drop by “your place” in this vast web universe is to be fortunate to have people that link to you through their blogs, either through post links or blogrolls. Besides Maryam, here are some recent incoming links from some REALLY nice blogs that are showing up on my dashboard. Back at ya’ and big thank you to:

Crafty Cameleon.jpg

The Crafty Cameleon


Eye Candy

Taddie Tales.jpg

Taddie Tales

Bari J.jpg

Bari J


Garay Artisans

Room Service.jpg

and Room Service. I don’t even know what she said, but I’m hoping is was good ;-)

February 14th, 2008

It Takes Two

It was six years ago this week that my fiance Eric and I had our first date. This came after eight weeks of hooking up (on the dance floor, that is!). You see, we met at a Argenting tango milonga, a social tango dance. The normal tango etiquette is to dance 3 or so songs with the same partner. Our first dance lasted fifteen songs. Need I say more?


The photo above right shows me dancing with another man, Eric’s friend Jann. One of the lovely things about tango, ladies, is that you can be in 10 or more different men’s arms in a single night without compromising your honor or reputation.


I am sorry to say that we don’t dance much anymore. Our work consumes us, and additonally, I have developed arthritis in my large toe joints, undoubtedly compounded by what used to be a 4 night a week dance habit. I pretty much live in MBTs and my feet get really angry at me when I try to shove them into anything with a heel.


We are going to celebrate this Valentines Day, though, by going back to our romantic roots. Happy Valentines Day, Sweetie!

PS If you want to see some really amazing “real” tango, here are some videos by the Argentine couple I most enjoyed taking classes from, Fernand Ghi and Guillermo Merlo.

October 31st, 2007

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween from the staff at Modello Designs.

Modello Halloween

Guess who won the costume contest?

October 28th, 2007



Melanie and Eric

Boun Giorno! I just wanted to thank you all for visiting over the last couple of weeks while I have been MIA in Italy and now in Dallas. I took my laptop and camera to Italy with visions of posting on a somewhat regular basis, but neglected to include the wire that connects camera to computer and, truthfully, it was great to take a vacation from internet and email obligations!!

I will be “back at it”, a lot of “it,” in the coming week but just wanted to let you know that everthing is fine with my family, friends and home in San Diego (thank goodness!)

Our Italy trip was full of amazing art, food, wine and adventures but they all pale to the specialness of an evening in Montalcino where Eric surprised me with a beautiful ring and sweet proposal of marriage. Eric is the mystery man that I am with in my blog photo. We met almost six years ago when he asked me to dance at a milonga and the standard two to three polite dances turned into 15 dances in a row. I am feeling very blessed with a complete current life and an exciting and constantly evolving future full of love and passionate pursuits!