A Conversation on Ethical Fashion

I really enjoy nurturing the Social Media channels for my new biz ANNABORGIA. I love growing my audience organically because it allows me to make real, great connections and share in my own words what we stand for as a fashion business start up.

On a recent conversation on #StyleChat hosted by @StyleCaster I connected with Dana Bronfman, a Conscious Luxury Jewerly Brand based in New York. While browsing her blog, I found an interesting article discussing Rihanna’s recent MET Ball Red Carpet  look which sparkled lots of comments on the ethical use of fur in the Fashion Industry. I jumped in the conversation of course having animal welfare so dear in my heart.


I am very honored that she quoted my comments in her recent article ON ANIMALS USED FOR FASHION, I am honored to have ANNABORGIA appear in the same article where Stella McCartney is mentioned. She is a real pioneer of Luxury Sustainable Fashion and we look up to her in such admiration!

Thank you Dana for valuing ANNABORGIA’s work describing it “fashion-forward and cutting-edge”, we’ll work hard to deserve such label!


My Recipes: Arancini Balls

Vegan Arancini Balls

Days are flying by here in Italy! Summer is in the air, and so it’s pollen which is making me sneeze like crazy but  I have been forcing myself to enjoy the outdoors despite that.  Need to get some Vitamin D on my pale face. It’s been a busy work week as well. But this weekend I think I can feel less guilty if I spend a few minutes sharing another of my Vegan Recipes. This is one of my latest experiments and you can actually personalize it with your favorite ingredients, be creative.

This is how I do it. As usual, eyeballing ingredients as I never pay attention to grams or ounces. Let’s say the ratio is about half brown rice and half chickpeas but with a slight predominance of rice. Let’s start. I cook the brown rice (I usually cook tons so I can save some in the fridge for a quick meal when I have no time to cook) for about 45 min to 1 hr. Then I take a can of chickpeas (chickpeas take forever to cook so I use the canned ones, being careful to buy sugarless brands) and I mix them in the food processor. Then I add the chickpea paste to the brown rice grains (either cold or warm) and blend the two ingredients. That’s when your creativity can go wild. I use a special Indian Spices Powder I get in USA, which is a bit spicy and adds tons of flavor, pink salt and an italian touch with some chopped rosemary leaves. Once I am satisfied with the flavors (yes, you can taste, everything is already cooked anyway!) I use my hands to form small balls. The original arancini are bigger in size but I think that the smaller size in this case works better and they won’t break. The starch of the rice and chickpeas will hold them together. I roll them in a bit of chickpea flower and pan fry it for a few minutes, just until they are warm and get a gold color. The round shape will come handy when rolling them in the pan. The Chickpeas Arancini Balls are gluten free and can serve as a nice appetizer, enjoy them warm or cold.  Next time I am going  to try them using peas.

Let me know if you plan to experiment with this recipe, what would be your favorite ingredients? Have a great weekend everyone!

Throwback Thursday: My Early Years behind the camera


You know that moment when you look for something and you find something else that totally distracts you? It happens all the time right? I was going through an old hard drive and stumbled into a folder containing some of my first portfolio images I had displayed on an old version of danieladegrassi.com. Of course I forgot about what else I was looking for in the hard drive and dwelled on these photos cherishing these happy moments!

One Year Vegan

 Veganism is getting lots of attention these days. Sometime it’s because comedians make silly jokes about vegans and their eating habits, sometime it’s because a famous popstar decides to adopt a plant-based diet to loose a few pounds.
But if anyone could focus on the real reasons why one chooses a cruelty-free menu there would be little to laugh about. Millions of beating hearts are slaughtered every day to put food on our table.
A beating heart with feelings that experiences love and pain. A beating heart that had a mom and a dad. Think of the millions of cows that keep giving birth to calves that they will only see and love for just a few hours. They go through the feeling of loss and pain for their entire abused life. Get artificially inseminated, give birth, loose child. Repeat. This is an horrific and cruel chain.
When I made this realization, I could not look at cheese and meat with the same eyes again. Nor put them on my plate.
The egg industry kills millions of male baby chicks by grinding them alive or suffocate them  in big plastic wraps because they have no use for them. Only the females will be able to produce eggs and get to live a very sad life, constricted in cases, their beaks mutilated.
I am sorry for being so graphic, it was quite shocking for me too to watch and learn all this through various documentaries.
My first few months as a Vegan were spent feeling overwhelmed, guilty, frustrated and I cried quite a lot, helpless.
With time, like in every tough life situation we face, I learnt to get stronger and I now  try to focus on helping our environment as much as I can.
With all the research that has been done to this day we also know how devastating the effect of meat and dairy products have on our body. For example, Casein (protein found in cheese) is one of the greatest cancer promoter. Don’t take my word for it but read from esteemed biochemist T. Colin Campbell, Cardiologist Surgeon Caldwell Esselstyn, or famous Vegan Actress Alicia Silverstone’s favorite doctor Neal D. Barnard.
And the word is finally getting out that Animal Agricolture is contributing to Global Warming even in worst percentage then the entire world transportation, destroying our forests and green environment.
Cowspiracy is a great documentary to watch to learn how Animal Agriculture worldwide is inflicting devastating consequences on our Planet.
How to stay impassive knowing all this?
The n. 1 reason for going vegan for me, like for the majority of people adopting a vegan lifestyle, is definitely the need to boycott companies and products that causes animal sufferings, even those who are still experimenting on animals in labs. Did you know smoking products are still tested on dogs? Yes, dogs, the closest, dearest pet to humans.. In China, at the Yulin Festival, every year thousands of dogs are boiled alive, killed and sold for food, or tortured on the streets so animal advocates can go to their rescue paying large sums of money. We don’t hear about these horrific crimes in the news, do we?
Well, all these abominable practices were unknown to me until I decided to become a vegetarian. It was only a year ago, in April 2014, watching the movie Noah… it triggered something in my soul. In a particular scene,  a lamb was chased by savage humans. In the following scene, the lamb was rolling on a grill while these uncaring men where wildly drinking and laughing.
In that moment, I could see a parallelism between those ancient barbarians and the modern civilization. I realized very little had changed in men’s hearts.
Curious how a movie made me reflect that, as humans we have always treated animals like they are our property instead of seeing them as living beings and share our once rich planet in harmony.
 Despite progress, we are still violent, cruel and disrespectful.  Millions of animal species are now extinct because of men.
That night I made the decision to become vegetarian, and within a month, after watching more informative documentaries on the reality of animal agriculture and constant animal cruelty perpetrated by mankind,  it was impossible to turn my eyes and conscience away and decided to give Veganism a try.
Surely, a vegan lifestyle has its challenges, sometime it’s hard to find vegan-friendly restaurants when eating out,  people think there are very little food choices available (so far from being true, I actually gained weight!!), endless discussions with friends suddenly worried about “how do you get your proteins?”,  trying to avoid all animal sub-product in everyday life, or arguing against the mainstream idea that it is in our nature to kill for food.  But the satisfaction of knowing that with making the choice to be Vegan I can save about 300 animal lives per year, that’s a reality far more superior then all the hassle. Plus the pros of a healthier body and planet. It makes all the sense to me.
I know that Vegans are seen as extremists and judgmental, but once we become animal advocates, it’s tough to be silent. We’re speaking on their behalf, we are their only voice. Unfortunately our passionate crusades may sometime achieve the opposite effect.
When you grow up on milk and hamburgers, I realize it’s not easy to give them up or make the realization or even care that they’re the sub-product of abuse and cruelty towards another living being. Plus, before making the choice to be Vegan, we’ve all been there. So forgive us if we come through too strong sometime with our judgmental attitude, I think it’s our own sense of guilt for having been participants in exploiting animals in the past, and we wanna make up for it.
So how did I celebrate my one year being vegan? Well, I was attending an event during the day so I did not have the time to cook a special meal, but once home, after eating some leftover rice and mushrooms, I indulged dipping fresh strawberries into a sinful dark chocolate-hazelnuts vegan spread!
Let me know if you have questions, need more info on Veganism, there are plenty of sites online that offer support and valuable information, I will keep sharing what I am learning as I go.
Thanks for taking time to read!
The picture above was taken during a visit at the Animal Sanctuary in Orland, in Northern California

My Recipes: Asparagus Risotto

Today is Labor Day here in Italy so with a Holiday mind set and the extra time available it was time to get busy in the kitchen. I always buy seasonal vegetables because of their better nutritional value and price point. And these days, I see asparagus everywhere I go. This is the period I make Asparagus Risotto, which I am very fond of.
I usually eye-ball ingredient dosages so I hope you don’t mind if I won’t be very specific on quantities when I share my recipes.
I use a bunch of fresh asparagus and cut off about two inches from their ends. I chop their stems into pieces and just leave their tips intact. I put the chopped stems into the food processor and finely grate them. I found this action is what will give the risotto a vivid green color.
I sauté half a chopped onion in vegetable broth and a pinch of chilly flakes. Add the asparagus stems mix, the asparagus tips, 50 grams of rice per person and keep simmering with more vegetable broth until cooked. Simple as that!! It’s oil-free, Gluten Free and Vegan of course :)


My recipes: Pistachio Ragu’ Sauce

You won’t miss Bolognese Ragu’ Sauce after trying my Pistachio Ragu’! And it’s so easy to make.

Please eyeball ingredient quantity depending on your taste and how many people you’re cooking for. The following are for two people: first, sauté  half a small onion and a pinch of chilly flakes in just enough veggie broth, 5-6 spoons and add more if needed. Mix in food processor 8-10 cherry tomatoes, about 20-30 pistachio nuts, about 20 basil leaves and a tea spoon of fresh ginger root. Add the mix to the sautéed onion and cook just for 3-4 minutes in low flame.

If you are using salted pistachio nuts there is no need to add salt to the ragu’. This recipe is also oil-free!

Enjoy this yummy sauce with your favorite pasta! This time, I used whole wheat spaghetti.


Entrepreneur Photographer turned Fashion Designer


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