November 24, 2017

why I love ancestry

My husband’s great-aunt Hazel

One thing you may not know about me is that I’m a HUGE genealogy buff. I’ve been researching our family history for over twenty-five years, since back in the day, before internet, when I’d have to go to university libraries to do any research. And now I’m so thankful to have and other websites that make finding my roots so much easier and exciting.

My husband’s family has a lot of well documented family history, from a Governor of Tennessee to early Virginia settlers, but my Italian roots are more challenging to research.

A never before seen photo of  my husband’s grandfather

A few years ago I went ahead and tested my DNA to find out any more clues into my bloodline. Since then, I’ve been connected to so many 3rd, 4th, 5th cousins and beyond that help me to piece together my lineage. Once I submitted my DNA and linked it up to my family tree, it opened up a lot of new paths in my research!

I now have over 2,000 people in my family tree, which is nothing compared to my husband’s tree of more than 7,200 ancestors and distant relatives. My husband’s DNA results have connected him to more relatives, mostly because American records are easier for us to research.

My absolute favorite part of this journey is finding photographs of these people. Looking into their eyes really connects with my heart. These were real people with real desires, hopes, dreams and struggles, just like us. It's just so fascinating to me!

With, I've researched newspapers, yearbooks, and passport archives and found lots of photos. I’ve also connected with other members on Ancestry who have photos of our family members because they were friends or distant family.

A never before seen photo of  my husband’s grandmother as a baby
and her parents. We had never seen a photo of her mother, because she died young.
An extended member of our family shared this with us.

I always try to share new found photos, even if we may not be related, because it my help someone else in their research.

Another interesting piece of our family puzzle is this old  newspaper article I found recently mentioning my husband’s great-grandmother. We don’t have any photos of her, but when I found this article, I was able to gather clues to help me research in another direction, and I found that she had been featured in a prominent silent movie with Clara Bow, one of the most popular actresses of her time.

With that info, I found several photos of Martha Douglas Carroll, my children’s great-great grandmother! And not only that, but we have knowledge now of previously unknown chapter in her life, when she was married to a film producer and acted in a full-blown western movie!  

Here she is with the dark hair, next to Clara Bow!

Sadly, this film is no longer in existence, but my research has directed me to the archives of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science Library in Beverly Hills that have several archives, and documents (and photos I hope) of Frank Carroll. I’m planning a visit very soon! 

My ancestry locations

So when I found out was offering their lowest price of the year for DNA tests, I wanted to share a little bit of my story with you. The regular price for the test is $99, and sometimes it goes down to $79, but this weekend they’re offering the kit for $59, the lowest I’ve ever seen it!  

By the way, it’s so easy to do. You just send in a little sample of your saliva in a test tube and put it in a pre-addressed envelope. That it! My mom recently submitted her info, and the results, compared to mine are quite interesting!

I had quite a bit of ethnicity from the UK, which my mother did not. My father passed away many years ago, so I must carry his British and Croatian DNA, yay!  

With this information, I was able to trace this branch of my family tree all the way back to the 16th Century!

The graphics, maps and details on the website are really fun to study! Here is some of my info. 

Over the past year, I’ve help two of my friends find their long-lost parents, with the help of census records and other documents on Ancestry, and they tested their DNA as well, which confirmed the results! 

This is something I do for free for friends and others I've connected with on Ancestry. I've had so many others help me over the years, and it's been a really generous community of people who just share the same passion for this hobby we call genealogy. 

Some of my favorite TV shows are “Finding Your Roots”, “Who Do You Think You Are” and “Long Lost Family”. Oh, I’m just intrigued by the whole search! I truly think we are all shaped by our DNA, and I’m always so humbled by the stories of our ancestors.

Bringing their long-forgotten lives back to light, I can really appreciate the blood, sweat and tears of their struggles and am proud that my body and soul share these elements with them.

If you have any questions on how you can begin your search, or continue your hunt for further info on your family, I would love to gladly help in any way. Genealogy is truly one of my biggest passions!     

I’m not affiliated with, but I saw this amazing offer and wanted to share it with all of you, who may be curious about your family tree. 

Now you can delve into your family history this holiday weekend and enjoy 40% off an Ancestry DNA kit, available for only $59 from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. 

Check it out here: ANCESTRY.COM

(Offer valid 11/24/17 - 11/27/17)

ciao! fabiana

my black friday faves

Are you looking forward to Thanksgiving?

I am, of course. You know how much I LOVE Thanksgiving and, this long weekend naturally brings an attitude of gratitude, but sheesh, for me, it's also the time I have to start my Christmas shopping. Have you done any holiday shopping yet? Wow, there are so many great deals out there right now! 

Black Friday is my favorite day to stay home, have some extra family time, put up the Christmas tree and do a little bit of online shopping, so I just wanted to pop in and share some of my favorite picks for Black Friday online shopping. These are my top picks, and the cyber destinations I'll be headed to on Friday (or sooner!)...

Anthropologie is offering 25% so many of their unique items. 

I'm headed to the Tabletop section first!


Then, I’ll be checking out
Banana Republic’s 50% of everything sale!

Shop Here: Banana Republic

Waiting on Martha is a super cute blog,
with an even cuter blog shop.

You’ve got to check out these goodies... 
And, they've got lot's of discount codes on the website right now!!

Shop Here: Waiting on Martha

Old Navy always has lots to offer for the whole family,
and they’re now offering 50% everything!

Shop Here: Old Navy

The Land of Nod, Crate and Barrel’s adorable
children’s store is offering 20% off and free shipping.

They have everything from onsies to cribs, and teepees to toys!

Shop here: The Land of Nod

Shop here: Crate & Barrel

It's the perfect time of year to stock up on UGG boot and shoes.

They’re the perfect gift that everyone loves,
and why not pick up a cute new style for yourself?

By the way, they also have amazing blanket and throws!

See sale items here: UGG

Home Depot is a great place to do some Black Friday shopping… a no brainer, actually! They’re offering 40% off appliances, and can you think of a better place to get something special for the men in your life? It’s power tool heaven over there! I also love their Martha Stewart Christmas items. I’m already spying some adorable vintage looking ornaments!   

Shop here: Home Depot

Over at my Blog Shop,
I’m offering 20% off this weekend,
so stop by and check it out.
And best of all, all items are under $15!

Happy shopping… (I might even have to start today!)

ciao! fabiana

November 23, 2017

happy thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Here's a little peek at our menu...

This looks like the perfect turkey... 
ours was pretty darn close to this! Yum!

We love all pies around here,
but especially pumpkin for Thanksgiving!

What's your fave?

Have a safe and happy weekend...

ciao! fabiana

photo credit:
1. unknown source
2. Ciao Newport Beach
3. Saveur
4.  Poppy Talk
5. Bricabrac blog

November 21, 2017


This is a special week for reflection, and being thankful,  grateful and appreciative for all that we have, so when I came across this thankfulness prayer today, I wanted to share it with all of you. I am thankful you are here today, reading this and that we can share these thoughts and prayers together. 

"Thank you God for giving me another day, another chance to become a better individual, another chance to give and experience love.

Thank you God for giving me health, for the food you provide, for the awareness you have awaken in me. Thank you for the energy that feeds my soul, the sun that warms our bodies and the air that fills our lungs.

Because of you I believe in the good without the bad and the ugly, because of you I am learning to love and accept myself, because of you I believe in believing.

Stay connected to me today and always, for I need you in order to fulfill my spiritual tasks.

Show me how to love myself, to be able to love others. Help me become the type of person that I would like to befriend, help me forgive myself and forgive others.

God, make me a channel of your energy and help me understand.

I thank you God for giving me another day, another unused opportunity to do it right. Keep us all close to you and listen to our prayers.


ciao! fabiana

prayer credit: Belief Net

November 20, 2017

it's thanksgiving week!

Thanksgiving dinner planning and prep
is in full force around here!

The cranberry sauce is the first thing I can check off the list. It’s one of the easiest things to make, so I do that first. A full bag of fresh cranberries goes into the pot with a little sugar, fresh orange juice and zest, freshly grated ginger and water. After it thickens on the stove for a while, I pass it through a food mill, to get it nice and silky smooth, and that’s it! I then put it in a pretty bowl and pop it in the fridge 'til Thursday. 

Tonight I’ll roast my two sugar pumpkins so I’ll be ready to make pies tomorrow. I’m buying one other pie, and making a few pumpkin ones. The kids will get to pick out their favorite pie from Marie Callender’s

As much as I love these cute turkey plates, this year I have the table is set with simple ivory Wedgwood china that I just love. (You’ll get to see the final table soon!) How does your family set the table? Is it formal, or buffet style? 

Here’s a handy table setting chart for reference.

I do like to interpret my own setting
but like to use this as a guideline.

Do you remember last year’s table
where I used these pretty pheasant feathers?

This year, I’ll be using these cute twig wreaths instead.

They add just the right rustic quality that
contrasts the fancy Wedgwood perfectly!

Here’s my Thanksgiving table from two years ago.

A vase of fresh fall leaves always adds so much fall charm!

I have a vase of them in my kitchen nook right now.

There's a nice neighbor who doesn’t mind
me clipping a few small branches every so often. J

A couple of the gorgeous heirloom pumpkins did get carved for Halloween, but the remaining ones will make their way into the dining room for a little extra autumn ambiance. 

Here’s a fun idea someone had! This won’t work this time around, since we’ll be having a fire going on Thanksgiving. I do love that tile surrounding this fire place, though.

Here’s a simple place setting from Joanna Gaines. I really like the look of the eucalyptus branches that’s so popular right now. It adds a fresh, modern look to the table.

And Thanksgiving leftovers will get new side to go with those faithful turkey sandwiches… These stuffing waffles look amazing! All you do is cook leftover stuffing in your waffle iron ‘til it’s crispy and top with hot mashed potatoes and gravy. How can that be bad?!  

And yes, we're all anxiously waiting for that moment the turkey comes out of the oven... Oh, the aroma!

ciao! fabiana

By the way,
on Tuesday November 21 & Wednesday November 22 only
World Market is offering Pre-Black Friday deals!

Take an Extra 25% off your purchase. Use code holiday25

Click here:

other photos:
1. Southern Living
9. tumblr, unknown source
10. Magnolia Home
11. Kroeger 
12. Traditional Home

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