Buona Pasqua a Tutti!

Easter Vase Flower Chocolate Porcelain#1. This dish belonged to my Great Aunt Daisy (aka Lupa). It is a numbered piece from Italy. The chocolate eggs were handmade by another friend, Claudia. There are at least 5 flavors. Each one is better than the next but my favorite is peanut butter followed closely by coconut.

#2. My favorite vase with an Easter arrangement.

#3. Two porcelain eggs that were crafted by my friend’s mother, Ida. She was an art teacher many years ago. She continued to paint, sculpt & garden into old age. They look good enough to eat, don’t they?

Buona Pasqua!

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Birthday Gnocchi

Birthday Gnocchi Rolling Pin Recipe Cook PastaThis year for my husband’s birthday I decided, as a special treat, to make him ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce. Here’s how you can make it:

1. In large bowl add 8 ounces of whole milk ricotta (any other type is watery), 1 beaten egg, and flour. I used both all purpose flour and semolina flour. You may need to add a little water to make the dough stay together. For a special taste I put fresh cracked black pepper and dried rosemary in the mix.

2. Stir ingredients together, knead into a ball of dough, let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Pull a hand full of the dough, roll it out into a long tube, cut with a knife into 1 inch pieces. Dredge each piece in flour, flip with your thumb or a fork into the form of a pouch. This shape helps to hold the sauce/gravy better.

4. The finished platter of gnocchi is covered with a gorgonzola sauce. The recipe for the sauce and where I found it is another story for yet another day!



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Grande Anno

Jack and Jill Shower Engagement Marriage Wedding Silhouette Heart Arrow Invitation Enveope Liner

Ciao Amici!

It’s a big year! Not only am I starting this blog… I am also getting married in June! (So excited!!) Between all of the gown shopping, venue hunting and cake tastings, I am designing all of the papergoods for the entire affair. And by “all” I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! First up? Our Jack & Jill shower invitations. A few weekends ago my fiancé, Jason, and I were lucky enough have a Jack & Jill shower thrown for us at Mozza here in LA. Because the party was scheduled for a Friday evening and both guys and girls were invited, I wanted to design something that would evoke the convivial spirit of the evening while not getting too “girly”.

The first design element that popped into my head was the font Birmingham. I downloaded this font (for free!) months ago and have been eager for the opportunity to design with it. This quirky serif font with extra wide W’s, M’s and A’s embodies a sweet, handwritten quality that fit the vibe of the evening: casual elegance with a bit of personality. Complementary to the font, a hand drawn frame and illustrations of hearts and arrows are integrated with the typography to define the space. Lastly, to make sure everyone knew who the “Mr. & Mrs. to be” was, Jason and I did silhouette drawings that I then scanned and placed into the layout. As for the color palette — a pop of persimmon on an otherwise monochromatic invitation is carried over to the envelope color and punctuated with the heart and arrow strategically placed on the envelope liner.

And so begins the parade of papergoods that I will be creating in the upcoming months for our wedding…


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Buon giorno a tutti!

I’m thrilled to introduce you to a regular contributor: my mom, who will be known around here as “MaMaMiaRita”. This is her very first blog post (ever!). She could not be more enthusiastic to get blogging and let me tell you — she has a lot up her sleeve! She has been sending me multiple emails each day with ideas, drafts and photos for future posts. So, without further ado….

mamamiarita high school yearbook georgia avenue dinner rachel beach

I grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Atlantic City, New Jersey, called “Ducktown”. It was a place where everyone had one foot in Italy while trying to place the other in America. My family’s ideas and rules were very old world Italian. And then there was me — a product of the Sixties who was excited to explore the world and show my independence. While I became a total American woman, I managed to keep a few “toes” planted in my Italian culture.

I eventually married and moved to Philly but would visit my family in Ducktown often. When my daughter was born I chose an American name, “Rachel” yet I wanted to acknowledge my Italian roots. So, I decided for Rachel’s middle name I would Americanize my great Aunt’s name “Antonietta” (who is the Lupa of Lupa & Pepi) to “Annette”. Lupa refused to accept this version of her name as an honor. Instead she called her “Piccolina Pizzelle” (“Little Pizzelle”) because I bathed Rachel in her pizzelle tub. This tub — large enough to bathe a baby — could hold enough pizzelle dough to feed the entire Italian army. That was pretty much how my family cooked every day — enough to feed the entire neighborhood. The kitchen table sat a dozen people — most nights it was full but we always had leftovers galore and we never threw anything out!

So, that’s a little bit about me and where I’m from. I would love to talk with you about food, vino, entertaining and all the good things in life. Let’s share thoughts, recipes, old times and talk about how important it is to link the past with the future.

We all have great life stories to tell. I look forward to sharing mine and hearing yours.


{Photos from left to right: my high school yearbook photo, seated for dinner at our kitchen table in Ducktown — I’m in the center wearing orange and Lupa on the bottom right forgot to smile, Rachel and I on the Atlantic City beach}


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Ciao a tutti!

I could not be more thrilled to be typing my very first blog post on my brand new website! A grande grazie to the Roundhouse Designs guys who totally rocked building the pages that comprise this site. Not only are they programming rockstars, they even taught me a new word: skeuomorphism — they're so smart! My site is going live just in time for the annual design blogger conference, ALT Summit. Before I jet to Salt Lake City to hob nob with fellow bloggers, let me whet your appetite with a few things you can expect on my corner of the world wide web:

~ A sneak peek behind the scenes at the design process and the inspiration for Lupa & Pepi's custom and ready-made papergoods. You'll also have a front row seat as I face the ultimate design challenge: designing paper goods for my own wedding!

~ While design has my heart, food occupies my mind! The evidence? My Instagram feed. On the blog, I will share favorite recipes, culinary adventures and my attempts at cracking the code of my great-great-aunt's (she's the "Lupa" of "Lupa & Pepi") recipe book. She never wrote down a recipe without omitting an ingredient or altering measurements for fear one of her friends would claim the recipe as her own!

~ The women in my family have had tremendous influence on me and serve as the inspiration for the name of my company. My mom — known around here as MamamiaRita — will be a regular guest contributor, sharing everything from classic pasta recipes to sage advice. She is one amazing lady! You will rarely see her in the kitchen, yet there's always a home-cooked multi-course meal on the table at dinner time. Maybe if you ask nicely, she'll tell you how she does it!

Ok, time to dash off to the airport!

Photos by Lupa & Pepi. Left to right: Custom papergoods order, our Thanksgiving table setting, homebaked Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, MamamiaRita and Me at Eataly in New York City

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