Friday, December 30, 2011

Now bring us some figgy pudding.



One of my favorite music videos from the 80’s is “The One Thing” by INXS.

First of all, Michael Hutchence is at his peak, looking like a cat out on the prowl with his pouty lips, foxy, intense stare and Jim Morrison swagger.

Yowza.

Secondly the video has that 80's video burnt-out-blinding-white-glare, a catchy guitar riff that sticks in your head and sexy lyrics like, "Well you know just what you do to me, the way you move, soft and slippery..."

Wowza.

But the reason I really, really love this video is because of the dinner party - this is the kind of party I would love to attend. One where cats crawl on the table, guests feed each other grapes and tear apart large hunks of bread, and where a woman with giant earrings erotically eats a fig like nobody’s business.

That scene in 9 1/2 Weeks, the “Bread and Butter” scene? That has nothing on this ridiculous, over the top, dra-ma-tic video.

Since then, I have always associated figs with that big-haired 80’s woman at the INXS dinner party. Until now.

Bite Beauty’s Luminous Crème Lipstick in Fig is the star of my makeup bag this week. Why? It is a lush, long-lasting lip color in the perfect shade of pink – but not a special occasion pink – more of an everyday pink. It is moisturizing and matte at the same time – how do they do that? Thank goodness for science.

On top of all that, each Bite lipstick contains the amount of resveratrol found in five glasses of red wine. Now I have no idea what resveratrol is, from what I could gather it is some form of antioxidant. I assume I should put down my fifth glass of wine and apply more lipstick.

Let me crawl down from the table and grab my makeup bag.

Take a bite!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…oil dripping from your chin.


Tavern on the Green?
When I was little, Christmas Day was spent at my Grandma and Papa’s house.

They had a finished basement with wrought iron and wood paneling. For Christmas dinner they would haul out borrowed folding chairs, long card tables covered with white tablecloths (and when they ran out of linens - bed sheets) and candlesticks - in my ten-year-old eyes, suddenly the basement was transformed into a five star restaurant.

Grandma and Pops would host around 30 people for Christmas dinner, which consisted of pans and pans of baked ziti, meatballs, beef, pork, sausage and braciole all simmering in my grandfathers Sunday gravy. Whenever I am asked, “If you were on death row and could have a last meal, what would it be?” I don’t even have to think twice, this is the meal I would have – my kick-ass 1970’s Christmas dinner.


Although I was much too young to partake at the time, Christmas also warranted lots of jug wine, beer, and various other spirits, which made it all the more fun, and all the more loud.

We are Italian, so we are naturally that way, but load us up with presents, booze, food, and the birth of our savior and oh boy, just wait for the volume to go up.

My cousin John-John could play any musical instrument that you handed to him; he would usually play the organ while my mother accompanied him on my flute. We would sing Christmas carols and other holiday classics like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here.” If we were really lucky my Grandma would bust into a rousing tipsy version of “Stormy Weather.” Merry Christmas!

John-John, me attempting Silent Night, and Mom showing off her flute skills.

My grandfather did most of the cooking, Grandma was his sous chef. There was one dish she did make, an extra-special dish that was only brought out at Christmastime. It didn’t have a name - we simply referred to it as what it was - “oily oranges.” It was sliced oranges on a platter doused in olive oil, sprinkled with black pepper. I thought it was a holiday dish that everyone enjoyed on Christmas Day, but I have never met anyone else who as a child simultaneously had orange juice and olive oil dripping down their chins. Hey...at least I was getting in a serving of fruit.

The hosts with the mosts.

It was the typical big family gathering, everyone talking, nobody listening, songs being sung and presents being furiously unwrapped. My brother Mike and I would make out like bandits with all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins that we had. And when a gift wasn’t given, a five or ten spot was sneakily palmed off to one of us.

I owned a tape deck, the kind with a microphone that plugged into it so you could make recordings – on Christmas these tapes got really good. Usually I would just record myself singing “Tomorrow” from Annie but now I had a basement full of worthy subjects wanting to talk, sing, and be interviewed by yours truly.

Between courses of endless food Mike and I would play in my Aunt’s room with our cousins JJ, Michael and Melissa. Missy and I would sneak up into the attic and try on all of my grandma’s old fancy duds, fur wraps, hats and gloves. Heaven.

Topless Tree.


Grandma and Pops had a weird little fake tabletop Christmas tree. It was weird because this tree had no top; maybe that part had been lost throughout the years, I’m not sure. The tree was the same, year after year with giant red balls and blinding gold garland. Grandma made up for the lack of a point on top with one of those pointy red tree toppers. It is weird to put a tree topper on a tree with no top, but she made it work.


Dessert was platters of cookies and cannolis from the bakery on the corner, along with a sticky, sweet dessert called struffoli which was gooey balls of fried dough in a honey-like glaze with sprinkles on top. This would of course be the dessert that would go along with my death row meal.


My Christmas memories revolve around the things that are still important to me today. Family, tradition, and of course - food. If the oranges didn’t have olive oil on them or if the Christmas tree had a top to it, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same.

Time to go open up the jug wine and eat a meatball – Merry Christmas.

Totally remember this Christmas Day outfit.
And getting this Rubik's Cube - hell yeah!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sugar...awww honey, honey.

Everyone around me is cutting things out of their diets.

Gluten…
Dairy…
And even…(gulp)
SUGAR.

So what did I tell my circle of friends when they started eliminating certain foods from their diets?

I told them they were crazy…nuts…asked them what the hell were they were going to eat now - rocks?

And then I decided to become a vegan.
Well, a kind of unofficial vegan, because I am not very good at it.

Last night after I had polished off a cup of soy milk ice cream (which by the way is gross) I tore apart my freezer like an animal going in for the kill. I knew there was a Milky Way candy bar in there somewhere that I had thrown in on Halloween night. And not one of those “fun size” bars (which to me are no fun at all because they are small) but a full size candy bar. Success – I devoured the full size sweetness in record time, almost chipping a tooth on its frozen goodness - it would have totally been worth it.

I didn’t look at the ingredients but I am pretty sure that Milky Ways are not vegan, with the word milk being in the name and all.

Like I said, I’m a bad vegan – but I am pretty good at enjoying sugar, and I ain’t giving it up.


lip smackers.
Speaking of sugar, I have another sugar obsession – Sugar Lip Treatment is the yummiest, zero-calorie, fat-free, vegan, gluten-free, organic, non-dairy, vegetarian sweet you can treat yourself to this holiday season. This stuff is like heaven in a tube. Why? Because it has sugar in it, mixed with reparative oils that make your lips not only look delicious, they taste delicious too. I have to resist eating it off my lips after applying it. Gross, I know, but true.

The scent reminds me of something from my childhood that I can’t quite place my finger on, but I think it involved my grandma’s house and eating some sort of dough.



Sugar comes in a clear delicious balm as well as some lovely tinted colors like rose, plum, and honey that give your lips a sweet treat along with a tint of color. This stuff is addictive.



So next time you want to look and taste delicious, get
yourself some Sugar.

Tonight, post soy ice cream, I will coat my lips in this heavenly scent, hoping it will block the open can of frosting that is in my fridge out of my mind.

Pray for a Christmas miracle.

I don't see "vegan" clearly listed on the front of the can, but I'll be sure to double check the label.