Blogging From the Boot: The Best of 2009 Finalists – Cast Your Vote Now

After two weeks of accepting posts, nominations and submissions, the first annual Blogging From the Boot contest is closed for entries. Judges worked all weekend narrowing down the entries, breaking ties and notifying finalists.

And now it is up to you.

The three finalists from each category are listed below, along with links to their respective blogs and posts. Take your time, read through the posts and click the “VOTE” link below each section to cast your vote for that category.

So grab a glass of wine, sit back, relax and read the Blogging From the Boot … for these are the best of 2009 … .

Mamma Mia: Parenting Stories

1. Merry-Go-Not

Published on Lost in Sicilia by Karen

Light-flashing, pop music-blasting merry-go-rounds with none of the charm of the ‘traditional’ rides I remember fondly from my childhood can be found all over the Catania area, conveniently placed in just the spot where your little one will be sure to not miss it. Well, my negative take on these eye sores has slowly developed into tolerant acceptance, but I have never purposely sought one out to this day. Post continues here.

2. Eggs and So Much More

Published on Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish by Lucia

The day after my post about searching for an Italian preschool I did what I should have done at the start of my search. I finally went to visit the Sicilian family that Karen, Kari, and Coleen told me about before we even arrived in Sicily. As we drove down the country lane to their house we were transported to an Italian oasis of fig, olive, and orange trees and warmly welcomed with hugs and kisses by a pair of Sicilian grandparents. Post continues here.

3. Breastfeeding in Italy

Published on Kataroma by Kataroma

OK I admit it I’ve spent much of my maternity leave becoming addicted to reality TV. As I wrote a few weeks ago I’ve become a huge Trinny and Susannah fan (from What Not to Wear) but having a kid and all I’ve also watched a bit of Supernanny – both the American and Italian (SOS Tata) versions. The American and Italian versions of Supernanny are pretty similar. Post continues here.

Mamma Mia: Cast Your Vote Here


That’s Amore: Love and Romance

1. Thoughts on Love

Published on Spaghetti al Pomodoro by Amare Divino

A small lifetime has happened in the span of this month. I celebrated my 26th birthday among friends, meeting new people and basking in the glory of sushi and books during the day. I have been immersed in contented happiness and occasional fearful sadness. The passage of time, the inability to change the course of nature. Longing to express myself, and fear of where that will take me. Post continues here.

2. Wedding Reception

Published on American and Italian, Family Living in Italy, With Children by John

After 15 years together they decided to get married so it was not a conventional wedding or reception, but great fun and food at an agriturismo. Post continues here.

3. The Motorcycle Diary

Published on Driving Like a Maniac by Katja

Strangely, with George gone, things begin to get better. Alex comes out of his shell, and we discover that we have a shared sense of humour. I am still homesick, but it’s not quite so overwhelming. Sadness does have a season, and mine, at this point, begins to pass. Post continues here.

That’s Amore: Cast Your Vote Here


Paparazzi: Expat Photography

1. Pathway of the Gods

Published on Bell’Avventura by Scintilla

Click here to view photo(s).

2. The Valley of the Temples

Published on Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish by Lucia

Click here to view photo(s).

3. Catania Fish Market

Published on Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish by Lucia

Click here to view photo(s).

Paparazzi: Cast Your Vote Here


Eccomi: Arrivals in 2009

1. Christmas Chaos

Published on The IT Man Cometh by Sam

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! (corny I know, but it had to be done).

One problem with living abroad is that you cannot easily avoid travelling at one of the worst times of the year – Christmas (that is if you want to spend it with your family). Not only is it busy, but the weather (in northern Europe) is often a problem and it’s ridiculously expensive to boot! Post continues here.

2. Except for This

Published on Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish by Lucia

So here’s a little addendum to my glowing post earlier this morning about loving country life…except for: the infestation of bugs in my house. I grew up in the country. I don’t have any fears of bugs (despite my history of being bitten by a brown recluse spider and an allergy to bees). Post continues here.

3. On Banking and Stalkers

Published on Driving Like a Maniac by Katja

It is a little over a month after my arrival in Italy. I am in my classroom, planning three lessons for later in the day. I’m not getting all that far, as I keep being interrupted by my special needs stalker, Francesco. He latched onto me a few days previously, as I went into reception to photocopy materials, and hasn’t left me alone since. Post continues here.

Eccomi: Cast Your Vote Here


Mangia: Food and Recipes

1. Fine Feathered Friends: Thanksgiving in Italy

Published on Burnt by the Tuscan Sun by Francesca

Spending time in the USA during my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, well, makes me think about all those wonderful Thanksgiving Days celebrated by all us ‘expats’ in our adopted country. In much the same way that Italy (and Europe, for that matter) have adopted Halloween as their own, well, in industrious Milan, even the store owners readied when Thanksgiving was around the corner; stocking their shelves with many items that ordinary Italians would probably have fed to their pigs if they had them. Post continues here.

2. Ten Reasons Why Italians are Thinner

Published on When In Rome Tours by Danielle

Some of the most common remarks I hear from tourists visiting Rome are “You never see any fat Italians! How come Italians are so thin when all they eat is pasta and pizza? Though it may seem as though the Italian diet is a carbaholic’s dream, there really is much more to it than that. Here are ten reasons why the Italian diet is among the healthiest in the world. First things first: Breakfast. Post continues here.

3. Woman Cannot Live on Pasta Alone

Published on Driving Like a Maniac by Katja

When I told people that I was moving to southern Italy, usually the response was something along the lines of, ‘oh, the food’s WONDERFUL there!’ This would closely be followed by something about endless sunshine. The sunshine bit is holding up pretty well today – it’s nearly 4pm on a late-November afternoon and my flatmates and I all have clothes hung out on the balcony to dry, and most of the doors and windows are open. On the food front, however, I’m a little disappointed. Post continues here.

Mangia: Cast Your Vote Here


Buon Viaggio: Living and Traveling in Italy

1. My Big Fat Italian Honeymoon

Published on When In Rome Tours by Danielle

Like most weddings, ours took a lot of planning. We were both expats living in Italy, so no matter where we got married there was bound to be some traveling involved for our guests. We decided to keep our wedding on the small side and invited about 50 people to an intimate ceremony just outside Rome on the Lago Albano. A wedding right in Rome would have been wonderful, but the thought of 50 of our friends and relatives let loose in this city was a bit more than I could bear. If no one was robbed, lost, or involved in some other kind of disaster while sightseeing in Rome, it would have been a miracle. Post continues here.

2. Roman Holiday

Published on Driving Like a Maniac by Katja

Total spend of somewhere around 300 euros, seriously aching, blistered feet, nearly 20 hours on long distance coaches, and some really dreadful photographs. So was my trip to Rome worth it? Hell, yeah! My weekend starts in a dark, rainy coach park. The coach is scheduled to arrive at 8.20pm, which it duly does. It doesn’t say Roma on the front, though, which confuses me. Post continues here.

3. Every Sunday Evening

Published on Ciao Amalfi! by Laura

Every Sunday evening during the warm weather months, of which there are many, the old men near where I live play bocce. This game is played all over Italy, but here it is a local ritual that takes place only on Sunday evenings. The familiar clicking sound of the balls and the voices from afar have become a weekly ritual all its own for me. These sounds reach me at a different moment every Sunday, sometimes watering the garden, sometimes reading, sometimes preparing dinner. But no matter what I’m doing it marks a passage of time, that another week is coming to an end and a new one is about to begin. Post continues here.

Buon Viaggio: Cast Your Vote Here


Italianissimo: Only in Italy

1. Going Postal

Published on An Expatriate in Rapallo by Fern

Our postman was kind of grumpy and never returned our greetings. BOO! We have a new postman! YAY! He won’t bring us any mail. BOO! It does seem that Italy is conspiring to give us every frustrating experience we’ve ever read or heard about. Crummy mail service? Oh come on, that news is so old it’s no longer true. Italian mail service has improved considerably, even in the few years we’ve been here. Post continues here.

2. Well It Was Bound to Come Up at Some Point

Published on Driving Like a Maniac by Katja

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I teach a group of five 15- to 18-year-olds. They may know the language of grammar (auxiliary/modal/state verbs, adjectives, subject/object/pronoun etc), but putting the rules into practice is an entirely different matter. They’re a really entertaining group of kids, and I enjoy the lessons. However, they are experts at diverting onto subjects that they want to talk about, rather than the things that I think we should cover. Let me take you back to last night’s lesson … Post continues here.

3. Italians and the Dreaded Colpo d’Aria

Published on When In Rome Tours by Danielle

Living in Italy for the last 10 years or so, I have had the chance to observe and ponder on many of the cultural curiosities that set it apart from much of the rest of the world. Having grown up in an Italian family, I was often warned of the perhaps fatal consequences of certain practices such as drinking anything with ice, going out with wet hair, or being given the “malocchio” (evil eye) to name a few. All these superstitions I would take with a grain of salt, as I found them harmless and would for the most part simply ignore them. Post continues here.

Only in Italy: Cast Your Vote Here

Voting will be open through Friday, February 5 at 5:00 PM, Italy time. Winners will be announced here on Monday, February 8, 2010.

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  1. Oh wow! Thanks Cherrye, Tina and Michelle, for giving up your weekend to judge and (of course!) for choosing my posts as finalists. Good luck to everyone. *big grin*

  2. Prego, Katja! Georgette and Audra were judges, as well!

    In bocca al lupo!

  3. Was truly my pleasure, Katja! Not only was it great to read all the posts, it was interesting to read “new to me” bloggers as well :D Best of luck!

  4. What a F U N find this post is! I am so happy I found it. Great articles, I start voting now ;)

    Raine, from the North of Italy

  5. Oops – my bad. Hadn’t read the full story. Thank you to Georgette and Audra as well. :D

  6. Hey Raine! Welcome. I’m going to check out your site now.

    No problem, Katja! Happens to the best of us.

  7. Che bello! I’ve found so many more ‘modern muses’ … thanks to you guys.

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