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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