Milan Fashion Week- The Future is Here

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The message was loud and clear. Girls run the world. Unsurprisingly politics made its’ way on the runway this season and some sans logos. There was no mistake on observer. This year’s Milan Fashion Week or social media moniker #mfw was a fashion show for and of the people. Their subjects rose up and demanded their voices be heard…and the designers listened. Examples were abundant. While the U.S. was battling the immigration ban, Italy is experiencing their own crisis while dealing with an overflow of migrants. While citizens around the world are working to redefine their cultural identities, the theme of this year was inclusivity.

Versace minimized their Medusa insignia and replaced with bold print phrases such as EQUALITY and COURAGE. Missoni dressed their models and guests in “pussyhats”. The knit hats, famous or infamous depending on your perspective, that were sported during the Women’s March in Washington D.C, the day after the Presidential Inauguration. Dolce and Gabbana incorporated everyday people of all ages, race, and creed into their runway show. Gucci opened the show in a spectacular art performance show. The models walked through a plexiglass tunnel titled “The Alchemist’s Garden: An anti-modern laboratory. “

Despite the underlying and bold messages, there is a familiar and consistent theme in Italian fashion. The idea that craftsmanship is intertwined with Italian identity as much as a glass of Chianti, resonated with big and smaller fashion houses. This year’s fashion demonstrates a nod toward futurism and acknowledging the tech world we live in now.   Other ethereal concepts included bohemian and tropical fantasies. Vegetation, fauna, metallics, and impracticality make for a materialization of George Orwell’s 1984. If anything, what Milan showed us this week is that rules no longer apply in a mobile non-traditional world.

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Milan Fashion Week- The Future is Here

images

The message was loud and clear. Girls run the world. Unsurprisingly politics made its’ way on the runway this season and some sans logos. There was no mistake on observer. This year’s Milan Fashion Week or social media moniker #mfw was a fashion show for and of the people. Their subjects rose up and demanded their voices be heard…and the designers listened. Examples were abundant. While the U.S. was battling the immigration ban, Italy is experiencing their own crisis while dealing with an overflow of migrants. While citizens around the world are working to redefine their cultural identities, the theme of this year was inclusivity.

Versace minimized their Medusa insignia and replaced with bold print phrases such as EQUALITY and COURAGE. Missoni dressed their models and guests in “pussyhats”. The knit hats, famous or infamous depending on your perspective, that were sported during the Women’s March in Washington D.C, the day after the Presidential Inauguration. Dolce and Gabbana incorporated everyday people of all ages, race, and creed into their runway show. Gucci opened the show in a spectacular art performance show. The models walked through a plexiglass tunnel titled “The Alchemist’s Garden: An anti-modern laboratory. “

Despite the underlying and bold messages, there is a familiar and consistent theme in Italian fashion. The idea that craftsmanship is intertwined with Italian identity as much as a glass of Chianti, resonated with big and smaller fashion houses. This year’s fashion demonstrates a nod toward futurism and acknowledging the tech world we live in now.   Other ethereal concepts included bohemian and tropical fantasies. Vegetation, fauna, metallics, and impracticality make for a materialization of George Orwell’s 1984. If anything, what Milan showed us this week is that rules no longer apply in a mobile non-traditional world.

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Olive Oil Health & Beauty

Olive oil is very rich in vitamins, minerals and natural fatty acids. Not only is it such a healthy ingredient to incorporate into your daily diet, it’s also convenient for a sensitive skin.

Olive oil is a powerful ingredient of anti-aging skin care products; rich in antioxidants, it prevents skin aging, the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, it also nourishes, rejuvenates and protects the skin.

Rich in vitamin E and A, olive oil helps prolong youth, hydrates the skin, maintains its elasticity and softness. Also, olive oil helps skin cells to regenerate. The list of olive oil benefits can go on and on, but let’s talk about practical things: how can you use olive oil for beauty?

  1. Olive Oil Baths. You also can have gorgeous soft skin.  Sophia Loren once shared this secret.  Just add 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to your bathtub
  2. Olive Oil Body Lotion. Apply right after your bath or shower and your skin will be soft & smooth
  3. Olive Oil Makeup Remover. Apply to a cotton pad to gently remove your makeup.  Then rinse your face with warm water and finally cold water which will stimulate the blood circulation
  4. Nail Strengthener. Soak your fingers in slightly warmed olive oil for 5-10 minutes for strong shiny nails
  5. Olive Oil Eye Cream. Keep some olive oil in the fridge and dab under your eyes at bedtime or in the morning.  It will nourish the tender skin under your eyes
  6. Olive Oil Face Masks. Combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil with an egg yolk and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply to a clean face for 5-10 minutes then rinse with warm water and finally cold water. This will brighten & nourish your skin
  7. Olive Oil Exfoliator. Combine olive oil with sugar to make a paste. Apply to face but avoid eye area.  Gently rub to remove dead skin cells.  Your face will be bright, fresh and oh so soft!
  8. Olive Oil Hair Conditioner. Mix one egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply to your hair and keep on for 15 minutes before you shampoo and condition.  Another method is to apply slightly warmed olive oil to your hair for an hour before you shampoo and condition. You will find your hair silkier than ever!

 

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La Crostata

In honor of National Pie Day, here are some ideas of making an Italian standard- La Crostata.  La Crostata is simply pie.  Of course there many variations and recipes; apple, frutti del bosco, apricot, blueberry, and the list goes on.  The word crostata derives from the Latin word crustata.  La Crostata is also known as coppi in Naples and  is sfogliate in the region of Lombardia.  The word first appeared in dictionaries in Italy as far back as the late 1500’s with actual recipes.

A true crostata is recognizable by the design.  A crostata is closer to a tart than a traditional pie and the top is criss cross of lattice dough.  Home cooks, bakeries, and of your course your nonna can make the most delightful and various crostatas using simple ingredients and fruit.  Since there is so many to choose from, we found a recipe from La Tavola Marche recipe box that embodies a true and traditional marmalade crostata. Buon Appetito! 

CROSTATA DI MARMALADE (Jam Tart)
1 1/3 cup butter
5 scant cups of flour
1 1/4 cups of sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 full eggs + 3 yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
drop of booze – grappa, rum, brandy, anything you like
favorite marmalade/jam, about a half a cup depending on your taste

Cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in all the eggs & vanilla.
Sift together all the dry ingredients.
Incorporate the flour into the butter & egg mixture with a few strokes of a wooden spoon forming a dough.  Take 1/3 of the dough & press into a parchment lined tart pan to 1/4 inch thickness. If the dough is sticky wet your finger tips slightly.
Generously spread marmalade on the shell.

To make the lattice work top:
Pull off a pinch of dough & roll into a long snake. This is an easy dough to work with if it breaks just pinch it back together. This is a rustic tart. Moist hands will help if the dough is sticky.
Continue until you have enough to make your lattice top.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour or until the top is nice & brown, the bottom is cooked & the dough should shrink away from the pan a bit.

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The Epiphany

dsc05091The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th.  That historical date is rooted as the three Magi presented its’ three gifts to the baby Jesus twelve days after his birth.  The Feast of the Epiphany or “little Christmas”  is an important holiday in

Italian culture.  Aside from the religious significance, the fabled “Befana” features prominently in Italian tradition.

If one is not familiar with La Befana, the translation is a witch.  She is more or less an old woman who flies on a broomstick on the eve of January 6th delivering gifts and sweets to all the good children in Italy.   The bad children receive lumps of coal in their stockings.  According to legend, the three Magi stopped at the old woman’s house asking for directions.  The Magi invited the old woman to join them on their journey however the old woman replied she was too busy.  The old woman has since regretted it and now visits all the children of Italy once a year.

As in large festivals across Italy, La Befana has regional celebrations. The Befana is also interpreted as a symbol of discarding negative experiences of the past year and bringing in the new. For example, Veneto holds a symbolic bonfire called the “panevin.” In other northern regions, bonfires are held and glasses of mulled wine and Panettone are served. Venice holds gondola races dressed in Befana costumes. Residents in Rome and Florence display a puppet in the window. Let’s not forget Christmas markets all over Italy partake in the celebration by selling toys (giocatolli), nuts, fruits, and cheeses. However way you celebrate La Befana…we leave you with a traditional poem.
La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
col vestito alla “romana”
viva viva la Befana!!
Porta cenere e carboni
ai bambini cattivoni
ai bambini belli e buoni
porta chicchi e tanti doni!
[English]

The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all broken
With a dress in Roman style
Up, up with the Befana !!
She brings ashes and coal
To bad nasty children
To the nice good child
She brings candies and many gifts!

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Tips On How To Ring In The New Year With Style

  1. The Little Black Dress– you should always have a little black dress for any occasion.  New Year’s Eve is about confetti and glitter.  Add sparkle with a choker necklace.  Velvet, Leather, and Rhinestone are just a few of the season’s choker varieties.  Go bold or go home with a vibrant color and matching bag and shoe.
  2. Earrings– Luckily the imagination can run can go where no man has gone before.  Depending on your ensemble, simple but classic or long and big.  Fringe made a big comeback this year so why not let your ears take center stage.  Pair up feather and tassel earrings with a button down and leggings or pantsuit. Earring cuffs and “plate” styles are sure to bring music to your ears.
  3. Shoes– The ankle boot is the star of this season.  Take a break from your strappies and go with a cocktail dress with a pair of glitter boots.  Peekaboo ankle boots, fringe or lace up will have the dance floor making room for you.
  4. Bag– the right kind of bag will make a statement anytime.  Focus on a party atmosphere and fun, by opting for a smaller style like a clutch or cross over.  You’ll be free to head to the bar or dance the night away without being bogged down.  Multi color stone or metallics give shine to your New Year’s Eve.

 

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Holiday Party- Italian Style!

 

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The holidays are here and we all know Italians do it better! An Italian Christmas dinner usually abides by tradition such as a Christmas Eve dinner of the Seven Fishes. We decided to come up with ways to host a holiday party with a contemporary twist. So if you’re looking to celebrate in the true  Italian Christmas spirit, here a few ways to bring friends and family together that won’t break the bank or a sweat.

  1. Festive Place Settings.

Remember the idea is to be casual but look like a million bucks. Keep it simple and opt for premium plastic ware. You want to appear that you put some thought into your gathering and save yourself the cleanup. Gold, white, green, red color combos will add sparkle to your place setting. Natural pine and winterberry in a vase makes an excellent holiday center piece.

  1. Food and Spirits.

Food is the hands down the star of the show. That doesn’t mean you have to cook up a feast worthy of your Nonna. All it takes are quality food products. The less is more approach is actually more satisfying and half the work. An appetizing tray of prosciutto and aged cheese will go a long way. Add a few roasted vegetables and fresh fruit and you’ll have yourself a delightful party. Spirits include great wine and liquor. If you want to elevate your party to the next notch, Barolo, Valpolicella, Amaretto, and limoncello are delightful brands to add.

3.    Desserts.

Simple classics such as Pizzelles, ricotta Christmas cookies, and even Panettone will complete your menu for a holiday party Italian style. Your guests can nibble on these traditional sweets without the guilt.

4.    Cocktails.

Everyone loves a holiday cocktail to get the season going. A Negroni is a quintessential concoction that appeared in Florence in the early 20th Century and currently enjoying a renaissance. Warning- Negroni is not for the faint however if you’re looking for lighter refreshments, a Bellini is a nice festive alternative. There are plenty of mocktails that are delicious and will add lots of good fun. Try San Pellegrino Sparkling water with lemon and basil, or Italian blood orange soda with Maraschino cherries.

The most important ingredient of all is laughter with family and great friends.   We hope these tips will make your party or gathering an occasion to remember for another Cent’Anni!

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