Eight years ago, Angie Valentino, an award-winning makeup artist, moved from Milan — where she worked for brands like Fendi, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Philipp Plein — to New York. Since then, she has focused on private clients around the city, including Broadway and television performers. Ms. Valentino, 37, lives in Ridgewood, Queens.
ITALIAN AMERICAN SUPER BREAKFAST I get up around 9:30. I like to surround myself with pillows when I wake up and lie in the center of the bed reading comments on social media, emails and articles about fashion in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. After spending at least half an hour in bed, I am ready for breakfast. I call it my “Italian American Super Breakfast.” This is an indulgence for me because Italians don’t really have a big breakfast. I don’t compromise. I spend at least 40 minutes preparing it and take almost one hour to finish. The must-haves of the menu include: pancakes with chocolate glaze and fruit, toasted bread to dip in maple syrup, a strawberry and banana smoothie, a cup of ginger and lemon tea and finally some chocolate biscuits. This is the moment where I review the previous week to recognize the new goals I have achieved (or not). I also use this time to organize the upcoming week in my awesome diary using my lipstick pen.
MANTRAS I dedicate at least 15 minutes in the morning and in the evening to my Buddhist practice. I became a Buddhist two years ago during the pandemic, embracing the belief that we can overcome the difficulties and problems that arise through spiritual transcendence. I have a desk set up with the necessary objects and, facing them, I will chant my mantras and focus my energy on the two flags displayed: an Italian flag and a flag of the United States. One represents the place I am from; the other is of the place where I wish to become a citizen.
BEDROOM STRUT After my spiritual moment, it’s time to practice another important ritual: organizing my wardrobe for the week. Like a typical New Yorker, I get up very early each weekday morning. As a typical Italian, especially one in the fashion industry, my clothes are very important. I simply don’t have time to choose my outfits each weekday morning, so on Sunday I prepare the outfits that I will wear to work the upcoming week and to any events I have been invited to attend. It’s like a real fashion show in my bedroom. I open the wardrobe and all the drawers. I take out everything that could fit into the week — jackets, suits, trousers and shirts — and pile them on my bed. I have a very large mirror in my living room, with a fiery red frame. I like to come out of my room dancing toward the mirror in order to find the perfect outfits for the week. It works every time.
LA FAMIGLIA After the fashion show, it is now 3:30. It is time to call my mom and dad in Italy before they go to bed. It is the most important moment of my Sunday. Being an immigrant has its good and bad parts, but living 9,000 kilometers from my family is what I miss the most, so connecting with them on Sunday is very important. I spend as much as one hour and a half on a video call with my family. We tell each other about the week that passed and also about when we will see each other in person again.
MANHATTAN IMMERSION It’s finally time for me to get out of the house! Around 4:30, I leave for the city with an Italian friend, Eleonora Francica, a journalist from Rome. We arrive in Manhattan an hour later and immerse ourselves in the magic of New York. It’s dark now, this time of year, and I love New York City at night. I don’t get to really enjoy Manhattan when I’m working there during the week, so I love to come in on Sunday to immerse and be inspired. Eleonora and I like to walk through the streets of the city, starting from my favorite neighborhood, the West Village, passing through SoHo, to TriBeCa and Battery Park. We will then walk along the Hudson River breathing in the crisp air. Two female friends walking around the Big Apple feels so “Sex and the City” to me as an Italian.
BARGAIN SHOPPING After a walk, it’s time for a little shopping. I like to go shopping late, when it’s dinner time, to find the stores not too crowded. I love to leave the shops with at least four bags, but not spending much. I go in search of the bargains. Ten dresses for the price of five is what I want. I’m very active in the shops, trying on everything and making a mess in the dressing rooms. It can be a little dizzying, but it’s so much fun, especially when I find the bargains. The frenzied shopping also makes me hungry.
DINNER IN BROOKLYN Italians love to have a late dinner. On Sunday, I can’t say no to Italian cuisine. And I especially can’t say no to Cremini’s Aperitivo & Kitchen in Brooklyn. So, we take the subway from where we are in Manhattan out to Carroll Gardens. We usually arrive at 9:30. The owners, Elena and Riccardo, are from Le Marche, a region in central Italy east of Umbria. We became friends when they opened three years ago and I visited for the first time. I come almost every Sunday. Riccardo is an aperitif expert, and Elena makes the regional food of Le Marche, like Ascolana Olives (fried olives, stuffed with meat). I love her Cacio e Pepe (pasta with pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper) and have it as part of every Sunday dinner. Of course, wine can’t be missing at the table. My friend and I toast to the week to come, gossip with each other and talk with our friends, the owners, when they aren’t too busy making our food or replenishing our glasses. After dinner, it’s close to 11 and time to go home.
WAX, WATER I light all the scented candles I have at home, take a shower and stay there under the water. The scent of candles and the hot water makes me relax. I think about how lucky I am to be surrounded by the people whom I love, even if some of them are far away. I get dressed in pajamas and repeat my Buddhist practice. And finally, I pack my makeup bag for the morning and go to sleep.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Angie Valentino on Instagram @angievalentinonyc.