All I want for Christmas is…

Tradition, as defined in my iPhone dictionary app, is a specific practice of long-standing and/or an inherited pattern of thought or action.  Basically traditions are those rituals we perform over and over, through the years and pass down to our kids.  We may tweak what our parents did or start new ones.  Traditions are like mac and cheese, comfort food for our souls.  They make us feel safe and secure.  We know what will happen next. The traditions with which I was raised and even those I started fresh with my family make me feel like I am wrapped in a Boston Red Sox Snuggie while lying on the couch watching Jaws for the umpteenth time.

I asked various friends and family to share their favorite traditions with me.

Gigi from Atlanta, GA emailed and said,” What comes to mind for me is that my mom passed on her recipes to me and now I make and share them with my kids.  Holidays were very special at my house and now my kids love the same foods and traditions. In so many ways I feel like my parents are with us celebrating.”

 Natalie from Wakefield, MA responded to my Facebook request, “Here’s something I remember well…..my sister never helped clear the table on any holiday….NEVER
.”  (If you haven’t guessed, Nat is my sister.)

Camille from Peabody, MA, also via FB, tells us about her father’s nuts, “My favorite tradition is my father roasting his nuts every Thanksgiving.  We get the biggest laugh when we have to call him to check his nuts. By the way, he’s 95
.”

Christine from Santa Fe, TN writes in on FB about her Italian Christmas Eve: “One of my favorite memories involved our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner, known as The Feast of Seven Fishes. We always had family and friends around to share the food, love, and joy of being together. A family friend we called Uncle Walter, always told the same stories every year. We humored him every year as if it were the first time we had heard each one. One year, my brother Ross and I were standing at the kitchen sink clearing things for the next course while Uncle Walter started one of his repeats. We both, simultaneously were able to mouth the exact words he was saying. We could not stop laughing at the fact that we had both managed to memorize his story. For the rest of the evening, it became a private joke between the two of us, and we still laugh about it to this day.”

I also compiled a video of some of my traditions as well as my Atlanta friends.  I hope you enjoy it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Make 2013 a year of self fulfillment.  More on that in the early part of the year.

Tell me what’s going on in your life. I want to hear from you!

Wishing you love, balance and peace.

Amore & Baci,

Just Steph

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Pass the Bucatini!

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They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Not convinced of that totally, but there’s nothing better than a man who loves to eat.  Having a male dominated family, I am privileged to enjoy the satisfaction of providing highly caloric Italian dishes to fill their perpetually hungry bellies.

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This past Sunday was no different.  Sundays are meant for family, food and good wine, not the baseball field.  This is how  I was raised.  I spent most of Friday making homemade Bucatini and all of Sunday making gravy (sauce for the Americans), meatballs, braciola and Caesar’s salad.  My mother, who lives with us, made stuffed peppers and artichokes.  Lucky for me she also played the role of sous chef for me. Even my nine-year old got in the action by rolling out the meatballs before I fried them.  Yes, I fried them! Get ovaah it!

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With friends and family gathered around the table, we enjoyed course after course, Santa Margarita Chianti and great conversation.  For dessert, my mom made homemade biscotti which we dunked in Vin Santo wine.  This Tuscan post din din treat is called cantucci vin santo., cookies in holy wine.  I love to serve dishes originating from various areas of Italy, not just from my Sicilian roots.

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For  Italian women, pleasing their men one way or another is compensation enough for the work it takes.  Just don’t piss us off by saying you are not hungry!

I am heading to Vegas tomorrow.  Look for blogs and updates on Just Steph’s travels.

Tell me what’s going on in your life.  I want to hear from you.

Wishing you love, balance and peace.

Amore & Baci (love & kisses),

Just Steph

 

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You’ve Come A Long Way, Stephie!

545979_422327397803756_1360828757_nI’ve come a long way from Medford (Meffa).  This is a state of mind for me.  As you continue to read my blogs, I can only hope you understand my words do not reflect my true feelings about Meffa or the reality of city living.  On the contrary, I hold so many of you in my heart and cherish the experiences of  an education in the school of hard knocks.  You helped mold me into the person I am today.

Yes, materialistically, I’ve come so far from sharing a bed with my sister, the two bedroom rented apartment, playing jump rope on a busy street and summer vacations spent sweating it out at Harris Park.   There is a more important issue at stake.  I have had the ruby slippers on my entire life.  I just didn’t know it.

The only element that truly matters here is love.  None of the worldly riches, or lack thereof, can bring me happiness.  If I can love myself, my family, friends and everyone I meet, regardless of my personal suffering, I am truly rich.  The wealth to which I am referring is rooted in love and manifests itself through  freedom.  I am liberated from the desire to acquire possessions, certain acquaintances and a lifestyle.  My energy is not wasted on worrying about what others are thinking.  I am unleashed from the shackles of not living up to someone else’s idea of who I should be.

I can look back on my youth and not shudder.  I turn my heart toward Meffa, the old friends and the laughs with affection.  Today, I enjoy everyone I meet from the bathroom lady at Rose Bar, to local radio and TV celebs.  I am free to love without getting anything in return.  I welcome everyone to my home for various events knowing I may never get a return invite.  I am truly free!  I’ve come a long way from Meffa.  Where are you?  Are you free?

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Tell me what’s going on in your life.  I want to hear from you.

Wishing you love, balance and peace!

Amore & Baci (Love & Kisses),

Just Steph

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Interested in booking Just Steph?

Contact Steph or call 678.777.5859

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