When Al and I first got married, we lived in a townhouse in Park Ridge, NJ. It was Valentina’s first home, and we lived there until she was a year and a half with Devin and Brynn. One of the “features” of the townhouse was a small, but functional elevator. We were healthy, able-bodied youngsters and we didn’t use it for much, except maybe to move things from the basement to the top floor, but that was rare. And, I’m sure you can imagine when the kids had a play date it became like the Tower of Terror at Disneyworld, and that came to a screeching halt… another story.
Our first trip to Disney with Valentina was a bit more challenging for a third-time mom who now had to pack diapers and toddler things that I had not packed in over five years. Vale needed her own “supply” bag and clothes, and represented more luggage than I had been used to. (Today it’s like moving out someone’s apartment just for a trip to Florida). I packed Dev and Brynn in one suitcase, and on departure day, I put everything in the elevator to move to the ground floor.
We merrily went on our way, got to the airport, checked in, checked our luggage and boarded our plane to Orlando International Airport: the magical place where dreams start to come true as soon as the wheels are down on the tarmac.
We adore the Polynesian resort, and have been staying there with a few deviations to The Grand Floridian or the Contemporary but I love the carefree atmosphere and the Polynesian flare that really makes me feel like I should be in a Kaua'i rowing crew with some hot Polynesian guys in grass hula skirts. But then the hostess in her long mumu and plastic lei shows up with her Disney smile and hand gestures and it’s all over... LOL
We were waiting for our luggage and decided to go to the park. I had extra clothes for the kids, so we ventured out and did our Disney thing for a few hours. We came back exhausted and ready for bed. I went to give Vale her bath and I asked Al, “Where is Vale’s suitcase?” He said, “What suitcase?” I said, “Her suitcase with her clothes, and her other one with her diapers and bath stuff.” We looked at the bags we had, and none of them housed anything that resembled Vale’s stuff. Devin and Brynn were accounted for and could care less… Vale had on a dirty t-shirt and some gross shorts from her day of feasting on the fat in the Magic Kingdom. The only diapers were in my travel bag, and nothing else. What an ass! Did we lose the luggage or leave it? Al checked the baggage tags… we never checked in her bags.
In a panic, I called my sister, who I have to say, in her calmness, can solve a lot of problems I can’t. She claims she was much more histrionic in her earlier years, but if you ever met my nature-loving, animal-kissing older sister Christine, you would never believe it. She ventured over to my house, and found the bags… IN THE ELEVATOR. I pressed the button to send them down, and they never made it out. So, what now? Well, I will say this: there’s a reason we came home with gilded Mickey ears that read “Chris” in prolific embroidered script across the back. She took the bags to Fed Ex, paid the fee, and the next day, like everything in Disney, magically appeared.
The evening solution was Al’s pre-Uber trip to the Kissimmee Walmart with strict instructions to find the cutest pjs and short set that looked like I paid a lot of money for it. And of course, more diapers.
Needless to say, to this day, I have never left luggage home again, and I have learned to take pictures of my bags before we wave bye-bye on the belt... disaster avoided… no sibling rivalry here!!
HIP MOM HINT:
When applying eye shadow around the corner or under your lid, and ALWAYS on your lid before shadow, make sure you use a creaseless primer like Eye Shadow Primer Potion from Sephora.
I think I have said it before…I am a sucker for anything I can buy that might be a quick fix, especially when it involves beauty products. For a few years, now, I have been trying to master the stroke of the perfect “cat eye.”
It’s hard to admit one’s downfalls, but after many, many failed attempts, and several audience heckles from the other beauty queens who live in my home, I gave up. Failed attempts looked like 1920’s extended eyeliner botches, or I would pull my eye, draw the line, and then, like a turtle in trouble on a major highway every time a car drives by, the line would shrivel up and retreat back to my lid, morphing into this lump of liner.
Then, I thought one day I had found my salvation: NOT!
I guess a quick disclaimer is that I have deep-set eyes, which makes the cat eye a little more difficult. My oldest daughter, Brynn, who does not have deep set eyes, also failed to make the “mark.” First of all, the stencil slides over your lid so it lies on your lid. Not happening. Where is the assistant that comes with the stencils to hold your contraption steady? You need two hands or a surgeon to pull this off. Once it’s on, and you are ready to “draw” your cat eye, just grab your toddler and hand them a sharpie…same effect. I tried one, two, six, nine times, and the same every time.
The same set comes with a Smoky Eye stencil, which for fear of looking like Rocky meets Apollo Creed, I did not attempt. My middle daughter, Valentina, who feels she should be interviewed on the topic has chided me for attempting make up “coolness” when I am going out for the day. She advises to attempt new moves in the evening when you aren’t going anywhere so it doesn’t matter if you botch your artistic-ness. From the mouth of beauty babes ...
My little Camilla, who is a total snacker, junk food junkie and gummy worm addict, and not so little anymore, was a 4lb 4oz weakling. When she was born, she looked like one of those skinny chickens you see in the poultry store window on Arthur Avenue.
I was always so worried about her weight, that it became all consuming. Since she arrived home, three weeks early, every two hours were spent nursing and pumping and feeding and weighing. That was MY life for the first three months of HER life, then around four months, she started a speedy gain when we introduced some solids. I tried not to be, but I am sure I was a hot mess for most of it.I can’t even dig up a pic for you, because I just don’t want to.
One evening, or maybe even early morning, as the routine was, I got up to nurse her and change her diaper. I did. You know what that’s like. You turn the switch on, you make the movements like Rosie on the Jetsons, and proceed with your evening, or morning, or whatever it is at that moment, as if you even have a clue. I snapped up her little onesie pj, and brought her back to bed with me.
A few hours later, I picked her up to nurse and change again, and what the *(&^…my bed was soaking in newborn urine. Well, you know, it was just a puddle under her, which leaked on to me ... you get the picture. I thought I didn’t have her diaper on securely, or the sticky part didn’t stick…none of the above. Guess what… NO DIAPER!!!!!! I never put the diaper on her.
I put her down in a stupor on the changing table, took the old diaper off, robotically threw it in the Genie, and just snapped her up and went on my way … back to bed, never being the wiser, until we woke up in baby pee.
To this day, I have no idea, or maybe I do, how I just didn’t put a diaper on the kid … she was very cool with it, though. She just peed as she was supposed to, diaper or sans.
I wait for the latest issue of Food Network magazine like I used to wait for the latest issue of Tiger Beat. They have a section I love called “weeknight dinners,” which are quick and simple little jaunts to the kitchen, and voila’ you have a meal.
Obviously, there are so many other recipes to drool over, and I make some of those during the week too, but these are definitely time savers. My nonna, who passed away at the age of 91, after cooking bacala, trippe, pasta e ceci, and a sundry of other authentically pleasing Italian delights her whole life, is probably clutching her rosary right now for my culinary salvation, since this recipe doesn’t cook for hours, and you can use pre-made chicken stock.
This soup was so delicious, and whips up quickly. With a side of bread and a salad, it was a pretty filling meal. Now, since I am homemade during the week, I like things that prep in the morning that either cook most of the day, or one dish wonders I can throw right in at dinner time. This one, has a bit of both. If you have a half hour before dinner, everything can be done. If you don’t, I suggest getting your lemon zest ready, cutting your parmesan rind, and chopping the smoked pork. If that in total takes you more than 20 minutes, you need to go back to hot pockets, and we’ll get back to this at a later date.
Hip Mom Hint; They do say to throw the tortellini in while the water is boiling. I do not. As the tortellini cook, they absorb the broth, leading to swollen tortellini, and lack of brodo. Your recipe will be just…tortellini. Flavorful, but just tortellini. You might like that … mutual kitchen respect says “judge not lest you shall be judged.” Just my opinion.
So, “buon appetito…” let me know how you did.
When you were born, Dev, it seemed I would have you that way forever. It was unfathomable that babies would turn into 21 year old juniors in college. I used to hear mothers chatting about SATs, college acceptances and graduation, and I said to myself “I will be the mother whose child has Benjamin Button syndrome…my kid will stay five, and be five, even in twenty years.” I didn’t imagine you would ever get big. The reality of my denial would not set in for a long time.
As you grew, each year, although you grew with those years, did not seem a big deal. You were still my little boy, and even in grammar school, with every passing lost tooth, hockey tragedy, family trip, bigger shoes, bigger pants, I still said to myself “He will never get older…just watch. He will stay this age forever.” It wasn’t until high school graduation I said, “Oh shit, this is really happening.” And, I asked God, where did he go? We had a deal, remember? I promised to have as many kids as you would send me, and they would stay little. God, you reneged, and I’m pissed.
So now that you are 21 years old and four thousand miles away from me in Europe, I had the rude awakening, that time really waits for no man. That adage should be, “time waits for no mother, and spits on her while she is wailing on the ground holding on to a 21 year old baby blanket.” You are an independent, free-thinking human being, who, although your Florentine apartment on that adorable Italian cobbelestone laden street, with the tarantella like name, Via St. Antonino is a complete contrast to your dwellings, veiled in filth and a foul odors which can only be attributed to six twenty something males co habitating, you are doing it on your own, traveling the world on your free weekends, and well, living without your mama…in a land far, far away.
But, I realized something. Although our life has changed, nothing changed. When I visited you with Brynnie, our threesome resurrected, with love, care, hugs, and inseperability. My little boy was hugging me again, wrapping his big boy arms around his little mommy, and even though we conversed like adults, shared adult thoughts, opinions and curses, I realized that little boy never left me. You never thought twice about putting your arm around me when we walked, or hugging me tightly even when the guys were there.
I realized that although the kid who needed rides, help with homework, help lacing his skates, a binky, an oversized Yankee jersey, and little feet was still alive…but only in my heart. The man you became still needed hugs from his mom, advice, and love. I realized a mother is a mother forever, and that little boy who morphed into a man, will always be my baby Devin, and that’s ok.
I got “unangy” at God, (but only for a moment), and said “thank you for the opportunity, although fleeting, to have that little boy in my life. That was my gift for opening my door (and other things) to motherhood. Thank you for letting him grow, allowing him to fly, and for being exactly where he is supposed to be.”
I was addicted to Gianna Fiorenze’s Instagram when I first started on Insta. She inspired me to go bigger, bolder, and learn real technique.
This beauty from Long Island has been loving make up her whole life (which isn’t really that long, lol), and through social media, has become one of the hottest little make-up artists around. One of the best days of my life was when Gianna came to my house and gave me a make-over. I usually HATE having someone else do my make up, but she made me feel like a VS Angel waiting for the runway, latte in hand, curlers in my hair.
She is a glam artist, and loves to play and sculpt with color, and dimension for a real “wow” factor. I learned my contour and “baking” technique from this glam queen, and thanks to a recent video, became more adept at sculpting my nose. LOL
The Va-Va-voom look may not be yours, but because it’s mine, I wanted to kick off my site with one of my fave chicks …
Even if you are just a lipstick and mascara type of girlie girl, give Gianna a whirl ….