What I learned in Italy

By Melissa Kathryn

melissaitalyI recently spent 8 days in Florence, Italy, and it was incredible.  It had been over a decade since I lived there and I couldn’t wait to see how I felt when I returned and to see what had changed in that time.  Whenever I travel, I look for lessons and things that I can take away to incorporate into my own life.  Italians have a beautiful way about them, the way they eat, view family and enjoy life.  It is something that gets lost in our culture.  We are all about quick fixes, fast and easy, super size everything and if you love, love in excess, if you spend, spend in excess, if you eat, eat in excess.

I’m not meaning to sounds like I’m knocking our country, I am so proud to be an American (I just laughed as I typed that thinking of the song) but there are ways that we are living, or in my view, not living, in which we should be.

As I walked the streets of Florence, I was reminded of how wonderful it is to simply slow down, to take in every moment and be present.  I started my trip, working, that’s right, waking up in the middle of the night to work on programs and write my marketing.  That had to stop.  So, I packed it up and made the decision to fully immerse myself in my vacation and in the Italian culture. I am half Italian so that part came naturally…

I ate beautiful food, drank incredible wine, spent hours walking endlessly through cobblestone streets filled with history, art and natural beauty.  I spoke Italian, ok, I tried to speak Italian, and I met amazing people.  I took cooking classes, visited wineries, saw the countryside and was among loved ones, my family.  Life doesn’t get much better.

So what did I learn? I clearly can’t do that everyday but what I brought back with me that I want to share with you is this:

10 Tips Italians Live By to Live your Best and Healthiest, Most Pleasurable Life Yet:

1. Be present – don’t be caught up in the past or the future, the present is what you are living and experiencing now.

2. Enjoy your meals – taste your food, engage your company, take your time eating, drinking, talking and walking.  Meals are an experience and meant to be shared and enjoyed.

3. Family is your life-line – take care of each other, make amends, communicate, be open, spend time together.

4. Move more – walk everywhere, bike, run, dance – move your body.  It’s a gift, not a chore.

5. Simplify your life – the more you have, the more you need and the more you spend.  De-clutter.  Get clear on what you really need and want.

6. Surround yourself with love – Italians are always among family and good friends. They take care of one another.  We are all brothers and sisters.

7. Live Passionately – enjoy every moment.

8. Language is everything – speak passionately, mean what you say. You are the words that you speak.

9. Simplify your meals – Italians use no more than 5 ingredients including all of their spices, which allows for the real flavors of your foods to be tasted and enjoyed.

10. Eat seasonally – eat for the season, eat fresh foods from the farmers market – less pesticides and chemicals.  Support your local farmers.

Challenge:

Incorporate at least 3 of the items listed above into your day each for 1 week and see how your day-to-day experience changes…for the better!

Detox Your Cosmetic Bag

By Donna Tarantino

makeupHappy 2014! Like every New Year, it is the time of year we feel the need revive, renew and restore our lives and selves. One area that many of us seem to miss is our beauty products. Did you ever think about detoxing your make up? Let’s face it, many of us (me included) have a vast collection of eye shadows, lipsticks, potions and lotions.  We try them, we use them, stuff them in bag and forget about them.

Detoxing your make up is essential and should be part of your regular cleaning routine. Did you know that most beauty products can go bad once they are opened? Chances are that the lotion in that beautiful jar you have been saving won’t hurt you, but it  will not do you any good either. Most products do not work properly over time as they lose their potency, some of them look very dated (throw away the punk rock eye shadow), and last, but most importantly, bacteria.

Once you have opened a product, exposed it to air, and stuck your fingers in a jar of cream, you have exposed it to bacteria. The last thing you want is a trip to the dermatologist for a skin rash or infection and find out that your products may have been the culprit!

How do you know if your product is headed for the recycling bin? There are general rules that most beauty insiders follow. First, trust your nose and eyes. If your product stinks, changes colors, has separated or just does not go on smoothly like it once did, throw it away.  Many beauty  products do have expiration symbols on them, but not necessarily a real expiration date.  If you could remember when you purchased and/or opened the product, that would be fantastic, but chances are you were preoccupied with other things when you first opened that jar. My advice is to write down the date on the container when you first opened the product. Then you can be reminded of when to throw it away.

Any products used around the eye area should be discarded in 3-4 months.  This includes creams, mascaras, liners, and concealers. Eyes are sensitive and you do not want to meddle with this. In three months, you will see a change in texture and wearability in an eye product. Don’t chance it. Recycle and replenish.

My rule of thumb on other products is to keep for 6 months to a year. Chance are if I bought something and have not used it in 6 months, I am never going to use nor miss it.