Taking Back Tradition

*I have not posted in a while; this is due to the fact that I am in the process of creating a more focused blog, which will cater to a small range of categories, not a variety of experiences, thoughts and ganders.*

This idea came to me the other day, it has come to me often, but it truly hit home recently. Many people do not see what they currently have, when they actually realize it, it is too late and too far gone. Tradition is what many are not seeing in our most current society, it is okay to make our own traditions, well more than okay. What is not okay is when we lose the traditions we were brought up with and disregard them, thinking of them as a burden, or something we no longer need to practice.

If there is one thing that boggles my mind, it is that people are so neglecting towards tradition. I get it, over time things change, and we start branching out of our own cultures and experience other cultures, but why dismiss our own traditions?

Growing up, tradition was everywhere in my family, from Sunday lunch, greeting family with a kiss or even just having knowledge of your grandparent’s upbringing, their maiden names and the names of their parents. Ask a child this information today, they most likely will not even know their grandmothers maiden name.

Unfortunately, some parents cannot be bothered to practice tradition, which passes onto their children, eventually leading to a new generation of lost traditions.

Maybe we should call them generation lost, they do not have their own practices, they do not have something that sets them apart from someone else and they do not have something to share with their class when they talk about traditional holiday foods they ate.

Do your children a favour, do your grandchildren a favour and do yourself a favour, bring back the tradition.

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Dream or Experience?

I have had writers block for a little while, and even if I did produce any writing, it was not up to standard with my original thoughts. However, after this week I realized why I have had this restriction from writing…I had nothing to write about. Silly right? But it is true, there was nothing exciting nor thought provoking happening in my life that would cause me to write. I was yet in another rut, one of those ruts where you know that you need to make a major change or even a major decision in order to get anywhere in life. I was trying to tell myself that I was happy with my current situation, and that opportunity would come my way when I was ready for it. The thing is, that is not true, opportunity does not come to those who wait around, it does not come to those who constantly worry. Opportunity comes to the risk-takers, because they are the ones going after it, opportunity comes to those who do not fear change. I have had this fear of change for some time now, this fear of failure and this fear of having to start over. Who fears that? I am sure a lot of people, but why do we fear is the question.

For anyone that knows me well, I have this weird obsession and attachment with home. Maybe it is the comfort thing, or maybe I just enjoy home in general. But my attachment to home has become a major problem and has restricted me from taking a leap and doing something that I actually want to do. Sure, I do things here in Windsor if I want, but let’s be honest what is there to do here? Not that I dislike the city, it is the fact that it is the same thing day in and day out.

My life changing experience came this week while settling Vince in Toronto for his Internship. I have always had an underlying desire to move to Toronto, I have actually applied and have been accepted to various programs. However, there was always something inside of me telling me not to go. Yeah, I know what it was now, it was fear. I let fear get in the way of accomplishing the next step in my life/career.

But, something brought me to a cafe on Tuesday, I was walking around, when I decided that I would sit in a cafe alone. This is something I rarely do because I normally dislike doing things alone. But as I was sitting there, minding my own business, looking through Instagram, a stranger had walked in this cafe, greeted me, ordered a drink and then sat with me. Uninvited, they were bold enough to just sit with me. Living in Windsor, this is weird, never has anyone just sat with me, and maybe this is not a big deal to some, but right away I was thinking that this was goodbye for me and I would never be seen again. But, this person meant no harm, they were actually very friendly and intriguing. With many life experiences, they were cultured and established. They knew what they wanted, and they went after it.

Listening to this person made me realize something, you can sit around dreaming, because there is nothing wrong with that. But dreaming does not give you experiences, dreaming merely gives you an illusion, it gives you an internal desire. However, if you just take the risk, get your fears out of the way and live in the moment, you get more than a thought, you get an actual experience, a learning experience. You get a memory and memories are something you can hold on to forever. A memory is something that will always be there because you can actually say you did it, you had an experience to remember. On the other hand, if you just dream, you did not achieve anything, there is a difference between dreaming and acting upon the dream. How long can you sit around thinking you should have done something. It just results in regret. Be adventurous, go after what you want, and never regret an experience, because we learn from those, they make us stronger and they give us something to look back on.

Very Superstitious

Superstitions…I know they are something that many do not believe in, but when you have grown up in the family I grew up in, you would find it very difficult to not live by these superstitions. Many of us go through these phases thinking that superstitions are not important and merely made up by our ancestors. But, in the back of your mind these acts we defy will stick with us until we convince ourselves they are true.

Being at my nonna’s house or being at home taught me many different superstitions, some that you may think, how in the hell was this one formed? Or just question why it even exists. I remember the sheer panic that would come over me when I broke one of the many rules, or when my nonna would point it out. The superstitions stem mostly from my mother’s side of the family, and as strange as many may feel about them, I love it because to me they are tradition.

Here are some of the superstitions that I live by!

Do not sit at the corner of a table – this is a huge superstition that I remember and I still live by. When you do notice that you are sitting at the corner you basically start to sweat because the curse surrounding this is that you will never get married! My nonna Lucia is someone that taught me this one, and I would get confused when I would be sitting at a corner and she would say I want to switch seats with you. After sitting at the cursed corner you basically just hope that you will eventually get married and hope that by noticing the mistake you have made the curse will be cancelled out!

Do not sleep with your feet at the door – there was a time I wanted to rearrange my room. I thought wow! This would be the perfect idea! I will have my bed facing the door. One restless night I rearranged my furniture so that the end of my bed was closest to the door, which would have my feet facing the door. Well was that a mistake or was that a mistake! When my mother saw, she was panicked by this arrangement! My bedroom rearrangement meant that I was inviting death to my family. This meant that I would need to rearrange my room once again to remove this curse.

If a bird hits the window – this is a big one for the summer months. With windows being all over homes and birds flying around, birds sometimes slam into windows. Well, that’s okay if the bird hits the window, but what is not okay about this is if the bird hits the window and dies. This means that death is at your doorstep. So in the summer when we hear that big bang from a poor little bird, the first reaction is to not see if the window cracked, or if the bird is injured, but if the bird is dead.

Do not accept knives as a gift –  this means that when you have a housewarming party or a wedding shower and someone gives you knives, be sure to give them money in return. If you do not and you use the knives, this person will become your enemy. In the case the person does not accept the money, be sure to never use the knives or else this curse will fall upon you. This is why I wondered why my nonna had a new set of knives from the 90s that had not even been touched once. The individual that gave her the knives refused to accept her money, therefore the knives were untouched.

Do not knock over salt – do you ever cook and knock the salt over? Well if you do you better be sure to throw it over your shoulder immediately. While working at Starbucks and making salted caramel drinks, I was never sure if sea salt constituted as the salt that would be considered in this category, but every time I knocked it over I was sure to throw it over my shoulder because I was not having bad luck come my way.

Do not put scissors or shoes on the bed – our first instinct when carrying shopping bags in to our room or cutting a tag off of clothing is to put the bags or scissors on the bed. Rethink this because when you do such a thing you are bringing bad luck to yourself. So next time you are about to put these items on your bed think twice.

Sip your drink after you make a toast and cheers with others – never, ever put your drink down before sipping it, oh and make sure that you make eye contact with everyone too. You want to ensure that directly after you are done with your clinging and clanking (while looking into everyone’s eye) you are sipping that drink before it hits the table!

Touch steel and knock on woodwas something just said to you and you thought, God forbid! Well if so, you better touch steel “tocca ferro” or knock on wood in order to prevent anything bad that you think could possibly happen. There are many times this happens to me and I have to search for something steel or wood in order to put my mind at ease.

Did you dream your tooth fell out – whatever you do, do not tell nonna you dreamt of your tooth falling out. This will cause nonna to worry for days because this means that a death is upon your family. My nonna Lucia can tell you now that there are people that have died after a loved one dreamt of a tooth falling out. Beware of this dream, because it will have you frightened as well.

The amount of superstitions I live by are out of control and no matter what, I do not think I could ever break my thought process on these. These are like traditions to me and I love tradition, so stopping the way I live seems unrealistic. I know that in the back of my mind if something does happen, I will be thinking why didn’t I follow the rules of superstitions?

homies1

What’s In Your Closet?

We collect items over the years that are of sentiment to us. These items come in many forms and they normally come from significant people and represent significant times. Throughout my life I have collected boxes upon boxes of sentimental items in something that I and most call a memory box. This box has become full of cards, notes, a chip bag, pictures, a fruit roll up, shot glasses and many other random yet memorable items that I have been given. Other than that, I also have sentimental pieces of clothing and jewellery. Of these memorable items I have been given, there is one piece that I will never part with, because this item represents a beautiful gesture from my late nonna Giuseppina.

Over the years my nonna was known as one of the most selfless women, a woman who would want to feed or clothe someone else before herself. I, my siblings and my cousins can all relate to this. But it was not only us, my nonna lived on a street that became heavily populated with University students, and those who moved into the house next to her would always get food delivered to them by her or she would invite them over to her home to eat. If they were having a party and needed chairs, my nonna would be happy to lend them out as long as they were returned by the morning (she had chairs upon chairs). If my nonna knew you did not have something that was essential, she was taking the bus to the mall to get it for you (she didn’t know how to drive). We could bring friends over for lunch during break at the University and if you needed a nap, feel free to take one.

She was the type of woman who cared about the well-being of others. Nonna did not have much, but whatever she did have, she would give it to others because she wanted to ensure everyone else was okay before herself. We have all experienced this generosity from my nonna, and anyone who ever met her knows what I am talking about, because she thought of everyone and I mean EVERYONE.

My nonna was always there for our sacraments, birthdays, back to school shopping; no matter what it was, she wanted to be a big part of it, and I loved and appreciated her for it. There was something that my nonna kept close to her heart, and it was the thought of us unmarried grandchildren. My nonna talked about it a lot, and how she knew that she would not be there for our weddings. My nonna made a beautiful gesture when I was in grade 12. I will never get this out of my mind because it just goes to show how she always wanted to be there for us in a big way. She knew that I would start my prom dress search soon and said that she would like to purchase the dress for me, because she felt sad that down the road she would not be able to be there to buy my last sacramental dress; which would have been a wedding dress.

I can go back to the day when we bought it. She and I were both so thrilled, because I now had a gorgeous dress that was bought by my nonna, and she was thrilled to have been a part of the day. My nonna was the type of woman that would get her joy from the happiness of her grandchildren. As long as we were content and happy, so was she.

Although it may just be a dress for some, that they wore years ago for one night, my dress has a significant memory surrounding it. There is sentiment attached to the dress and there is the selflessness of one of the most amazing women who I have ever spent time with and shared memories with. The amount of things my nonna did for my entire family is more than anyone can ever begin to imagine! But not only for my family, for everyone she came in contact with.

Did my nonna ever expect anything in return? Absolutely not, the only thing my nonna ever wanted was for us to be happy and for us to appreciate our time with her.

Time is something that is very important, we must all utilize it accordingly, because having regrets of not spending enough time with a loved one is something that can eat away at you for a lifetime. Even if you try to rid yourself of the memory, there may be something hidden in your closet that will bring that memory back!

Prom Dress

What Is Wrong With Us?

Symptoms – Stomach in knots, scattered thoughts, you do not know if you are coming or going, constant panic.

Warning – If you are experiencing any of these symptoms do not panic, simply read what I have to say and reflect on yourself.

There is this underlying fear that a lot of us have. It is this panic, which stems from something we are so frightened of, and the very thought or mention of it gets our knickers in a twist. It is something that I have constantly feared my entire life, and as of today I was scared to even bring it up. However, there are a few people that inspired me to discuss it.

I have been inspired by a post I saw on Instagram which read, “atychiphobia – fear of failure; fear of not being good enough.” Not only from this post, but I have recently talked to a few individuals who have confided their fear of failure and not being good enough to me. If you knew who these people were, you would be as shocked as I was, because to me they are the most confident and positive individuals. However, their positivity and ability to achieve success is being sucked away before their very eyes.

This issue has gotten my knickers in a twist because I cannot fathom why we feel this way. I cannot understand why these intelligent and strong individuals would feel like so.

The fear of failure is something that gets the best of us, we allow it to run our life, it stops us from making certain decisions and we allow it to eat away at us, causing great panic and stress about something that really is not in our control. Well, actually it could be in our control. In fact, let’s say it is in our control, we have this fear of failure, and we let our confidence slip from beneath us, allowing ourselves to fall in this trap, or a hole I guess, that those who do not have the fear of failure jump right over attaining success.

I am not saying we are not going to be successful, what I am saying is that we are delaying our success because we are giving up, or we are feeling like there are always people better than us. Sure, there are people who may have higher marks, more street smarts or maybe have a suave to them, but the thing is, they are not us!

Do I sound cocky? No…this is how we are supposed to think! We need to realize that we are the best people that we can be, but the only way to be the best us is to believe in ourselves, have confidence in what we do, think positively and know that we can attain greatness.

Story Time – A standout time that “failure” hit me was when I was in grade 7. This is going to sound absurd, but to me, this was a huge deal. I had an A+ in French, however a low 70s score on a test brought me down to an A-, this was a very devastating time, and I remember running to the bathroom that day and crying. Not only that, I brought the issue home, and I can picture myself laying on the balcony above the living room, listening to music and just sobbing.

I gave myself the worst headache, and I lost all faith in myself. Looking back now, I realize that I was an idiot, how could I be mad at myself. I clearly realize that it was my fault; looking back I do not even remember studying for this test, so I brought that upon myself.

But, the thing is, is that I did not fail, I simply made a decision to not study and learned from it. However, back then, I can remember thinking that I had “failed” myself and my parents. My parents were not even mad, they thought I was ridiculous for basically making myself sick over something like this. They explained that there are worse things in life, we make our own decisions and by making these decisions they will allow us to grow.

The thing is many of us underestimate ourselves and our abilities; we think that we are not good enough for someone or something. When in reality we are the best we can be based upon how hard we work or what we do for ourselves. There really is not such thing as failure; it is more like learning experiences. These experiences only make us stronger. We need to make the most of what we are dealt with, life is too short to harp on what we could have, or should have done. Our time is now, and if you believe in failure or that you are not good enough, then you are thinking wrong.

Sometimes we feel like we are left in ruins by the decisions we make or the path we take, however having the ability to decide is the best gift we could ever receive, because it allows for us to rebuild ourselves.

The 24 Hour Nightmare

So last Thursday I decided to try something new. I love new things, but when it comes to a new change, I have difficulties dealing with it. This was a big change, major, something that I have feared for a long time. But, I decided to just go for it, why not? Who is it hurting? What do I have to lose? But little did I know that I could not live with this change, sounds silly right, but I couldn’t even look at myself for the next 24 hours!

For those of you who may not know me well or not know me at all, change takes a lot of thought and mapping out for me. I think about it, think about it some more, ask all of my friends for their opinion and then either go through with it or not. But it is hard, and I mean really hard for me!

You are probably asking yourself, what change could she have possibly made that was that difficult to deal with? Well it was my hair…I had decided that instead of a measly few highlights, I would expand! I would do way more, but not at the top of my head. I wouldn’t dare dye the top of my head until I start seeing gray. Sad, really, that I can’t even make that change.

I envisioned hair like Khloe Kardashian, gorgeous hair! Beautiful highlights, sure I would get it half way through, but still not at the very top. I could just imagine it! Luscious locks of beauty, draping down my back, letting it flow as I walk! I was all game, and ready for fame. Well, not fame, but I was ready for a new look!

I went into this with an open mind, well obviously not at first considering I had to discuss it over with many, but once I was at the salon, I was ready! I was ready, willing and able. I sat there as the dye went into my hair, reading my book, fully trusting the individual doing my hair. Not that I lost trust in them now, but I guess I was not expecting what was going to happen next.

The timer went off, we were ready, for a nice little trim and blow out! I couldn’t wait to see the final product. After washing my hair, we scoot over to the chair…and that’s when I see it! Why was half of my head fully blonde? Why did I feel like a joke? I sat there getting my hair blown out, super confused! And I wasn’t the only one that noticed, he noticed it as well! He could read my face, and that’s when he said, “Well, if you feel like this is too much come back and I will take some out”.

Take some out? How about take out the majority of what is going on over here! I thought I was back in 2001 with my hair! I couldn’t even look at myself, I was a joke. I do not even know how I went out to dinner with my family looking like this. I got a lot of reviews…and they weren’t good. My brother told me I looked ratchet, which was when I knew I couldn’t deal with this.

Trying to convince myself I would give it a shot for a week, I went to bed thinking that by the morning I would like it. But…I woke up hoping it was a nightmare. But a nightmare it was not! This was real life and so far I looked like an eclectic, ratchet, early 2000s girl who couldn’t look at herself.

By noon the next day I called the salon and made an appointment to get this nonsense out of my hair! I was told that my hair was for trendy people…to be honest honey; trendy people would not even walk in public with this hair! They can keep their trendy, because this girl ain’t trendy if this is what trendy is supposed to look like.

No hard feelings to my salon, I will always go back! I just think we all had different visions for my hair. I thought I would walk out with the hair of Khloe, and they envisioned me as a gypsy woman at the side of the street trying to sell handmade goods from scraps.

There are some choices we make that can be an easy fix, which is fantastic. But, on the other hand, there are choices we make that may not be an easy fix. We need to realize that in life we are going to have to make many choices, we just need to be more careful with what we decide upon, or if we do make a choice that we are unhappy with, there are always ways to overcome it! Embracing change is something that is important in order to learn and grow (but if you do not like the change you made, feel free to make another change).

Panini For Beginners

I guess we can say that I am the jack of all trades, master of none. Not that I have not mastered different things in which I have learned to do, I guess I have just yet to commit to one thing that I am good at.

Something that I have always felt defeated by is cooking/baking. I have always struggled in this department due to my lack of patience. I am a get it done kind of girl. I really like to get in, get out and get on with it. I have been trying to learn how to be patient, and the best way is through cooking and baking.

I have decided to pick recipes weekly and try them out, just to see how they turn out. I am someone that struggles to boil pasta, so let’s see how this goes.

My first recipe that I would like to share would be mini panini. This is something I have grown up on, whether it was at one of my nonna’s houses or from the bakery; I thrived on them. I decided to put myself up for the challenge and make these cute little things to see if I could do what nonna did. Although my panini looked quite different, they turned out great for a first timer!

I got the recipe from the Food Network and it happens to be from Emeril Lagasse. I felt like it was best suited for me after reading it. Although it is a recipe for a loaf of bread, I just shaped out little panini, instead of doing one whole loaf.

Recipe Link – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/basic-italian-bread-recipe/index.html

The result after kneading combined ingredients with hook attachment.
The result after kneading combined ingredients with hook attachment.
Knead dough on a surface that has been lightly floured.
Knead dough on a surface that has been lightly floured.
1. Place kneaded dough in a bowl that has been lined with olive oil, and oil the surface of the dough.  2. Place plastic wrap tightly around the bowl.  3. Lay a dish towel over the bowl, and leave for about 1.5 hours to let the dough rise.
1. Place kneaded dough in a bowl that has been lined with olive oil, and oil the surface of the dough.
2. Place plastic wrap tightly around the bowl.
3. Lay a clean dish towel over the bowl, and leave for about 1.5 hours to let the dough rise.
After 1.5 hours the dough is ready. Take the plastic wrap of, flour a surface of the counter and knead the dough a bit more.
After 1.5 hours the dough is ready. Take the plastic wrap off, flour a surface of the counter and knead the dough a bit more.
1. Shape mini panini with your hand, then score the top with a knife.  2. Lightly beat an egg white and brush over the tops of the ready to bake panini.
1. Shape mini panini with your hands, then score the top with a knife.
2. Lightly beat an egg white and brush over the tops of the ready to bake panini.
After about 25 minutes your panini are ready!
After about 25 minutes of baking your panini are ready!

Two Things To Do With A Fresh Panino

1. Cut it open and drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt and oregano on it.
2. Grab some fresh ricotta cheese and make a ricotta sandwich.