Martedi Grasso

Happy Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras!

I am going to participate in Lent this year, even though I am somewhat of a lapsed Catholic. I remember when I was younger I told my mom I was going to give up bananas. She knew I was just being cheeky and told me that I had to give up something I really liked. I almost always ended up choosing chocolate or sweets, but I don’t think I ever had a perfect Lent. That is until one year I decided to give up chocolate while I was living in France, FRANCE of all places, with the  very finest chocolateries and patisseries. I actually did it. All 40 days. I may or may not have been motivated by the fact that the previous time I had lived in France I had brought home 15 extra pounds of chocolate and pastries on my person. My mom and even my childhood friend had even said that I was “chunky.” Heck no. Not again.

This year I’ve decided to participate in Lent again, even though I’m a lapsed Catholic. I did complete my First Holy Communion back in the day, so these traditions are just kind of engrained in me no matter how lapsed I become. Rather than just subtract a habit, I’m also going to add one.

Add: Blogging every day. Oh boy this is going to be a challenge. Especially because I didn’t even sit down and relax after work (I did laundry, cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen, worked out, showered, and I’m just now writing at 10 p.m. and I have to get up tomorrow at 4:30 a.m. Lord have mercy!)

Subtract: Meat, including pork, chicken, and beef (not including turkey or fish). I’ve been kinda sorta been wanting to become vegetarian. Not an actual 100% all the time vegetarian because I like a little gray area, but an 80% vegetarian. Plus, I just learned from a co-worker today that carnival (carneval in Italian) comes from the word carne meaning meat. During the Lenten fasting period, people would eat all the meat on Fat Tuesday before it went bad, and then abstain from it until the springtime when animals repopulated. Or something like that. I don’t have an official source to quote, except my co-worker from New Orleans.

I also heard on the radio that today is Random Acts of Kindness day, but shouldn’t we be kind and polite every day? Nonetheless, it reminded me of the time that a random stranger in the drive-thru paid for my coffee, and it made my whole day seem all sorts of magical. It just really touched my heart and made me feel special, even though I didn’t know who that person was and they didn’t know who I was. I’m going to start doing more Random Acts of Kindness.

Another random thing I heard on the radio is this weatherman celebrating thundersnow, which is apparently snow with thunder and lightning. He’s more excited than a kid on Christmas. I just love it though, should’t we all strive to do something that we love that much?

 

 

La Mia Vita – 16 Febbraio 2015

Un giorno nella mia vita…a day in my life…HOLIDAY VERSION

I have the day off for Presidents’ Day, but my faithful alarm clocks still woke me up at 5 a.m. (My phone battery even went dead in the night. How DO they know what time it is?!) They look innocent, but….

On my days off, I usually go back to sleep after the royal kitties* get their early morning feast, but today I sprung out of bed, actually made my bed, drank 3 shots of espresso, did some blog/YouTube perusing, 2 loads of laundry, and jumped on the trampoline (aka rebounding)…ALL before the sun rose.

Confession: I am a real princess. I know this because every night I feel the damn pea under the pillow. And that is why I’m not a morning person.

I even bought every single pillow available in Target recently in hopes of finding find “the one.” None were. Which has resulted in sleeping on the pea, which means horrible sleep. Waking up at 5 a.m. on the daily isn’t pretty. (I might bite before 9 a.m.)

Yesterday I went for a massage (a gift from my Valentine, thanks mom!), and my masseuse became my neck savior. She suggested sleeping without a pillow! A doctor would have given me a pain killer and a sleeping pill. But ya know, the neck is connected to the head, and happy neck equals happy head. I DIDN’T HAVE THE URGE TO GO BACK TO BED AFTER WAKING UP AT 5 A.M. This is huge people, HUGE.

Today was my perfect morning:

#1 Wake up, feeling refreshed. #2 Drink espresso. Get $#!+ done. #3 Drink wine.

It would only be better if I had a beach, and an Italian to make my espresso.

I would however, accept an Irishman like Jamie Dornan aka Christian from Fifty Shades of Grey. Warning: There are lots of butts in this movie. Lots. And boobs, too. But no penis. Which by the way, butts, boobs, and sex are part of every European movie I’ve ever seen. And European commercials too. And European statues all over town. Nudity is not a sin; it’s part of being human.

Being human is beautiful. And vulnerable. So be nice. And if nudity offends you, close your eyes and keep your clothes on.

*Yes, my kitties are royal. They are named after Prince Harry and Prince Wills. Long story short…they day I got them, Prince Harry was in the news for taking his clothes off in Las Vegas, which is in Nevada, my home state. My kitties are brothers…so it all made sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink cheeks make you feel younger

Italy and I have been having a long distance relationship since 2005. According to the math, that’s almost 10 YEARS

Ten years feels like an awfully long time. Especially when this past July 5th marked my ten year anniversary of legally enjoying vino. That’s one of the more joyous 10 year milestones. Other times I find myself talking about “back in the day,” aka high school, when the pay phone price increased from 25 cents to 50 cents (the outrage!).

In 2013, I vowed to return to Italy, but it was not meant to be (next year will be the year!). Faithfully, Italy has found every way to come into my life in unexpected ways and places, despite the distance.

There’s the obvious ways that Italy remembers me, like this wine:

Epicuro Nero d'Avola

Italy doesn’t even mind that its wine is housed in the Eiffel Tower. Italy has to be nice to France; France has their Mona Lisa.

By the way, this wine is around $5 at Trader Joe’s. Nero d’avola is a grape variety from Sicily. I’ve tried a few different brands of Nero d’Avola from Trader Joes and all have been good. I’ve been a fan of this wine for years when a Sicilian recommended it to me recently (just to confirm its greatness). This wine is light and refreshing and one of the few wines that I would describe as having a “grape” flavor. (Why is it that wines are always described as having raspberry, strawberry, or apricot notes etc., but never grape?!?!).

The other ways that Italy appears in my life are more unexpected: my two favorite co-workers gave me a Laura Geller makeup set called “It’s a pink thing” for my birthday:

"It's a pink thing"
“It’s a pink thing”

I turned it over to see where it was made, as I always do. And this is what I saw:

Laura Geller Blush - made in Italy

Holy love at first sight. Do you see those three words? MADE IN ITALY. I’ve noticed that a lot of the baked eyeshadows and blushes are made in Italy, but everything down to the lip gloss in this set is made there. As if I didn’t love this makeup enough already, I get so many compliments when I wear it. I swear it’s that perfect punch of pink that puts spring in my cheeks and a sparkle in my step.

I may no longer be 21, but I feel 21 with the wisdom of a 31 year old. It must be the makeup.

Little Italy

Last year I was determined to make a trip to Italy, but with moving to Texas, starting a new job, and having minimal vacation time, I wasn’t able to make it. It seems that since I wasn’t able to go to Italy, Italy has come to me.

San Antonio is the seventh (!) biggest city in the United States, with a population of 1.3 million people, and I think I have spent more time with Italians than Americans this year! I met one Italian, who invited me to a dinner with a dozen other Italians, who knew other Italians….Italians are magnetic; they all seem to find each other!

One of my Italian friends introduced me to a little gem of a restaurant called Luciano. It’s actually a chain pizza joint, and I had eaten at one of the other locations before. Their motto is “true Italian passion,” but I found the crust so thick and the toppings so dense that it screamed, “TEXAS!” That is, until the Italians showed me the original Luciano restaurant, which has a completely different selection of authentic dishes, as well as the Americanized versions.

With pizza that melts in your mouth and pasta perfectly al dente, I could have been in Italy!

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