Sunday, June 17, 2018

Book Review: Love & Gelato

Hey everyone! I can't believe it's been six months since my last book review! My GoodReads goal is to read 25 books this year, and I am only up to four so far this year. Since it's Summer now, I've decided to get back into reading. For my graduation, my friend Eleanor bought me Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch and I was able to read this book in about five days because I was so captivated by it.

Synopsis from GoodReads:

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

My Thoughts:

To sum up the plot in a straightforward sense: Lina's mother dies in the first few pages of the book, but her mother had arranged for her to move to Italy to live with a father she had never met. The plot is more than that because she is given a journal that her mother wrote from when she spent a year in Italy when she was in her twenties. Lina meet Lorenzo (who goes by the name "Ren") who's mother is from Texas, but they live in Italy, and they become friends instantly. She also meets other teenagers from the International School who all have really interesting back stories, but none of them are fully Italian.

One of my problems with the book is that it all takes place within a week. Lina has a breakdown literally everyday about her mother, and she goes on this journey with Lorenzo after only knowing him for a day. Also her father, Howard, is super chill with the fact that the daughter he never met before literally three days before is going off with a boy he doesn't know on a motorcycle around Italy. Lina also causes so much drama for herself and the friend group that existed prior to arrival, and everyone just takes her side. I feel like the plot should've been over a long period of time because nothing too deep happens, and by the end of the book (literally six to seven days) after the beginning, she decides she loves Italy and wants to stay there. My other problem with the book is that the descriptions of the places in Florence seem like someone looked at a picture of Italy and has never went there before. An example is how she describes Florence, "The climb was totally worth it. The view of Florence was just as stunning as my mother had described it, a sea of red rooftops under an unblemished blue sky and soft green hills circling everything like a big happy hug" (pg.194). I don't know about you, but I didn't really get the feel of Florence from that passage or describing something as a hug. 

Lina did absolutely no research on Italy before moving there. An example (pg 166):
Lorenzo: "Hey do you want to get a gelato?"
Lina: "Whats' that?"
Lorenzo: "Gelato. Italian ice cream. The greatest thing that will ever happen to you."
If you're moving to a different country, wouldn't you do a little research on the food and culture. Don't even get me started about how she literally knows none of the sights of Florence, and asks Lorenzo everything.

Overall, I liked the book because it was a cute summer read and it made me want to go Italy (despite the subpar descriptions). I think it was a cute book and I got excited over the romances in the book, but I don't think it was a "literary masterpiece," but I do recommend if you want a light and cute read.

I usually do favorite quotes, but there weren't any that particularly stood out to me. 

Christina Madeleine

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Prom 2018!

Hey everyone! So, the last month has been crazy! A month ago, I turned 18 years old, but the craziness doesn't end there. The next day, I got asked to prom at the local all boy's school in my neighborhood by my friend, so that meant I had to get two different prom dresses! So, the last month involved me going to two proms (mine and my friend's), but since I live in America, these events are super important traditions. I was recently talking to some of my friends from Europe, and they even know what prom is because of it's presence in so many high school films. This post is all about my proms, but on a different note; I graduated high school on June 5, 2018!!! There will be a post regarding that, and my thoughts on my four years of high school coming soon...

I am going to do this post a little backwards, so I am going to talk about my prom first (because I have more photos from it), and then talk about the other prom. So, my prom was on June 1st at the Water Club in Manhattan. A huge question I get a lot is, "How do you have a prom if you go to an all girls school?" Almost every school in the United States has a senior prom, even the single-sex schools. The beauty of going to an all girls school is that you have to ask your date, and they usually don't go to your school (but in some cases they do). Back in April, I asked my friend to come to my prom with a cheesy promposal during musical practice. In the Upper East Side, there are a ton of private schools, so my school and the all-boys school that is on the same street do musicals, plays, and concerts together; so I have friends from there. Also, a weird thing that happens is that many girls and guys from single-sex schools go to multiple proms (my friend went to 4!) because people usually want a date. So, back to me... my date said yes, so it was set that I would have a date to prom.

Marina and I at the pre-prom. 

The day of prom, I got my hair blown-out and with curls, but since it's so humid in New York, it was straight by the end of the night. Afterwards, Marina and I had appointments to get makeup done at a Sephora in Downtown Brooklyn. At Sephora, makeovers are free if you buy $50 worth of product (which isn't hard to do). I had never had my makeup professionally done before, so it was really fun to me!

After I went home, I quickly put on my prom dress which I bought from Bloomingdale's. The original price was $253, but with all the sales I bought it for only $62. I packed my bag for after-prom (another notorious tradition because it's a huge party after the prom). Then it was time to go to pre-prom at my friend's house, which luckily wasn't more than five minutes from my house. There were five boys and nine girls at the pre-prom along with tons of family members from everyone there to take photos.

All the girls from my class from the pre-prom in our dresses.

There as a happy birthday banner because it was Marina and Emily's birthdays that day.

I finally am able to pin boutonniere (i've never been able to do it before prom). 

After that, we took limos into the city to the Water Club, and obviously took more pictures while we were there. The Water Club is right on the water and the views are amazing.

All of us before the prom.

The prom was super fun, and ended around 11. The final song of the night was Africa by Toto. For the night, most of my class went to a house in New Jersey which was more of a party. There was a DJ, catering, and it was so nice to be with my class in an area that wasn't school.

The other prom I went to was also a lot of fun! The prom was on May 24 at Russo's on the Bay in Brooklyn. I had school that day since I had gone to private school, so my friend did my makeup at school and then I ran to subway. I only had about twenty five minutes to get ready, but my date was super sweet and picked me up in his car. For my school's prom, a lot of my friends were going to wear red so I didn't, but since I got asked to another prom; I bought a red dress from Lord & Taylor's!

Despite growing up in New York, I spent little time thinking about prom until I was a senior in high school. I, personally, had a great time at prom and enjoyed every aspect of it (the makeup, dress shopping, promposal, etc...). I think it's a great tradition and a great memory to have and I am glad I get to share it on here!!

Questions: Do you have a dance similar to prom where you live? What do you think of prom?

Christina Madeleine



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