Growing Up Italian

Growing Up Italian


  • The word calm is not in the Italian dictionary.



  • Thanksgiving dinner included; antipasto platter, lasagna, meatballs. Turkey was a side.
  • I don’t want to be that girl, but roasted peppers, Nutella, pesto, deep fried zucchini was a staple for us way before it was trendy.
  • You learned how to make pasta before entering Kindergarten, and you didn’t practice with play dough.
  • When your friends came to your place to play, they were asked no fewer than five times if they were hungry.




  •  We had gardens—not flower gardens. Huge gardens with rows and rows of tomatoes, along with peppers, basil, squash and zucchini.
  • We knew that the word “Latte” is an Italian’s way of saying, “You paid way too much for that coffee.”
  • It is drilled into your mind at a very young age how to make pizza, but if you have absolutely no choice then you know how to order pizza properly, asking for 75% less cheese than your non-Italian friends would order.




  • You have multiple family members named Maria, Angela, Joe, Tony and at least two Uncle Mario’s.
  • You know how to properly pronounce “gnocchi,” “bruschetta,” and “tagliatelle,” which means you’re the spokesperson when out to dinner with your non-Italian friends and family.
  • Salad was always eaten AFTER the main course. (I still do this.)




  • Chamomile tea cures everything.
  • Every Sunday afternoon lunch time with extended family started at 1:00 and ended at 6:00, and there was enough food for everyone to have a second helping and take food home for their week’s lunches.
  • Your Saints day is even more celebrated than your birthday. (Except for me, I don’t have a Saint’s day, but then again I was born in Canada, and that seems to be a loophole according to my siblings, which brings me to the next point).
  • If you were the first generation Canadian, your siblings convinced you that you were adopted.
  • Shocked when you heard someone’s last name did not end in a vowel.
  • Surprised to discover that wine was sold in stores. Wasn’t everyone’s basement a winery?
  • You know a lot of people who came from the same village as your parents or grandparents, they’re not blood related, but call them Aunt, Uncle anyway.



  • Thought everyone got pinched on the cheeks and had money stuffed in their pockets by their relatives.
  • You couldn’t date a boy without getting approval from your mother, father, brothers, sister, a nanna and nonno if they are in the picture, and a few uncles and aunts, by that time, you didn’t have to worry about dating. Ever again.
  • You have at least one irrational fear or phobia that can be attributed to your mother, which of course you pass on to your own children when the time is right.
  • You know that it doesn’t matter what happens; loss of job, divorce, headache, flu, clumsiness….it’s all because you did not eat properly that day and of course, you didn’t listen to your parents.
  • No matter what city you are in, you need to go and visit their Little Italy.
  •  You did the dishes for Nonna or a Zia (Aunt) and got $50.00.


All this and more, but you love every minute of it, and look forward to sharing these traditions with the next generation. 











Life Tips According to the Tao of Selena

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read a string of tweets with the hashtag #TaoOfSelena also known as deep, philosophical thoughts (deep and philosophical is open to interpretation of course).

For those not familiar with my Twitter habits, I am pleased to share them with you here.

I hope The Tao of Selena changes your life—I know, that’s a bit dramatic, but as an Italian chick drama is a right of passage.

If my thoughts don’t change your life, my wish is that this blog post will grant you a smile or a chuckle. It’s why I love writing so much, in hopes that my musings will provide a few minutes of entertainment.

The Tao of Selena

Nothing brings a couple closer than having separate bathrooms.

Nothing in the world is impossible. Wait, flying on your own—that’s impossible. So do it with something that has wings like an; airplane, hand glider or a parachute.

A happy relationship is the union of two strong debaters.

When in doubt. Google.

Still in doubt? Check Snopes.

Treat me nice, I’ll treat you better. Treat my family, friends or me like crap—I know people.

Don’t ever argue with someone who has four siblings. They can go back and forth all day long. They’ve had experience.

Never get tired of teasing & making fun of each other. That’s what good relationships are made of.

Chocolate, music and cuddling are all cheaper than therapy and you don’t have to sit in a waiting room.

The grass is greener on the other side because it was watered, weeded & dog poop was picked up—all accomplished without complaint.

Winter really does have snow

Every woman needs that friend(s) who is the she in her nanigans.

Every man (even a bonified “Maverick”) needs a “Goose” wingman in their corner.

We’re not here for a long time. We’re here for an awesome time. So go awesomize the world.

When starting something new, and the challenges seem overwhelming, don’t place your faith in the “what-ifs”, pour all your faith in the “why not’s?” Remember all the challenges you’ve already conquered, and go forth and do it. Whatever “it” is for you.







Secrets to a great relationship — Lots of f*****g

I bet you think you know what the F***** is all about, don’t you?

I bet your mind headed south (a place mine goes most days) thinking that’s what the secret to a great relationship is—lots and lots of f*****g.

Well, you’ll just have to read on to find out what this f*****g is all about   1

Please note: The following secrets which I believe lead to a happy relationship are my opinion only, and are not based on any scientific research, because I’m not scientifically inclined.


My Top 25

(In no particular order)

1. Flirt with each other and never stop dating. Replicate the things that got you together in the first place. For example: sitting on the couch and neck up a storm, holding hands at the movies…you know like you did when you first started dating.

2. A bad memory.

3. Fight fair. Duke it out in a reasonable way, and if you can add some humor during the sparring, all the better. Bursting out laughing during a disagreement leads to joint laughter which leads to some good old fashioned make-up lovin’. Mainly, let each other know what you’re pissed off about, get over it, and move on.

4. It is said that couples should not go to bed mad at each other. I say, go ahead and go to bed mad. However, you both have to get naked, sit on the bed, facing each other and hold hands. Nobody is going to go to sleep mad. Guaranteed.

5. Those important three little words: “Let’s go out.

16. Like each other. Yes, love is important, but so is liking the person you spend most of your time with. This is the thing that got you together in the first place. When you were friends, and enjoyed being together. It will be the strong friendship that will get you through the times when you annoy the begeebers out of each other.

7. Separate closets.

8. Separate bathrooms.

9. Pick your battles. Guys: put the seat down. Gals: If he puts toilet paper roll over the top, or under—it doesn’t matter. The fact that he replaces it is cause for celebration.

110. And now for the “F” word. FUNNING of course. Have fun and lots of it. Tons of ways to bring back the euphoria of all that fun you had when you were dating—splashing each other in puddles, walking in the rain, texting each other naughty messages (just don’t punch in the wrong number, it’s one of those awkward moments, not that happened to me or anything 🙂 ), crank up the music and dance around the house together, have a pillow fight. Whatever you choose to do, have fun doing it.

11. Read a romance book together.

12. Cook together.

13. Patience. Not only with each other, but with yourself.

14. If one of you is a morning person and the other isn’t, then do not have breakfast together.

15. Togetherness is great, I’m a huge advocate, but I also think it’s conducive to one’s sanity to have separate interests, and passions that are just yours. You can then bring something new to the discussion to chat about.

16. Be polite to each other. Thank you. You’re welcome. Please. All those words our mamma’s taught us when we learned how to talk.

117. Always have a supply of sticky notes on hand, and leave each other some notes—in the car, briefcase, pillow, laptop case….use your imagination. Leave, thinking of you notes. Just wanted to say hi. Be naughty. Be nice. Be funny. Anything goes.

18. Sometimes silence really is golden. You don’t have to express every thought to each other.

19. Be each other’s star in your fantasies.

20. Hire someone to paint the house. Unless one of you really enjoys doing it, and wants to do it.

21. Don’t put pressure on each other for a perfect birthday gift, Christmas gift, Valentine’s gift….give each other something special when you want to do it, and not because you feel you have to do it.

22. Talk about what you admire about each other. This is especially helpful if one of you is ticked off at the other. Mentally checking off the things you really like and love. Repeating that helps eliminate the ticked-offness.

123. Compliment each other. You do it for others, then do it for each other, because you need to treat each other even more kindly than you treat others.

24. Take care of YOU first. Think about it. When on an airplane, you’re advised to put on your oxygen mask first in case of emergency, so you are able to take care of your loved ones. Same with life. Take care of YOU first. It will make it a lot easier to take care of the ones you love.

25. Engage in fun, nonsensical pillow talk.

Embrace all the choices life has to offer. Love is a choice. Happiness for yourself and for each other is a choice. Maintaining a sense of humor is a choice. Choosing to overlook the imperfections, and knowing that your choice to be the best you can be for yourself, will automatically spill into your relationship, and will help make life a whole lot easier.


There’s no such thing as a perfect person, or relationship, so scrap that whole notion, because it doesn’t exist.

Love. Live. Laugh.

Every love story is beautiful. Make yours, your absolute favorite.



WINNERS ANNOUNCED – Authors significant others tell what it’s like to be in love with an author.

Thank you all for participating in the February give-away, on behalf of all the authors, we are appreciative of your ongoing support, and look forward to another giveaway in the future.


Please leave your email addresses in the comments below, OR email me directly at

Here are the list of winners:

Everyone who commented will receive a copy of Alexandra Isobel’s Romantic Heart Beats.

Gift certificate winners:

sylve t



Jane Yendle-Davies


Stephanie Hannaford



Lorraine Hatt



Pat Egan Fordyce


You will all be contacted, via email by an author for delivery of your prize.




Continue reading WINNERS ANNOUNCED – Authors significant others tell what it’s like to be in love with an author.

“Keep your eyes open when you kiss a boy.”

My previous blog post; Who is giving this terrible dating advice to bachelors? was all about advice given to bachelors, so now it’s the gals’ turn.

I did the same thing I had done for the bachelors, and put a call out on Facebook and Twitter, asking women to privately message me about dating advice they were given for a blog that I wanted to write.

I again was pleasantly surprised at the number of women who volunteered to share their experiences.

As with the bachelor blog, I promised to keep everyone anonymous, and again I didn’t promise I wouldn’t be judgmental or highly opinionated. I’m not a dating expert, and have been out of circulation for over 25 years, therefore, my suggestions should be taken with a salt shaker full of salt, because I do think my opinions on this do make some sense, and it’s my blog, so I’ll suggest as much as I want to. 🙂

Advice given to me by my sister:

“Keep your eyes open when you kiss a boy.”

dating-2 (1)

My opinion why this piece of advice does NOT work (DID NOT work):

1. My first kiss (I was 16) was not enjoyable because I was too busy trying to keep my eyes wide open…and I do mean WIDE—I didn’t even blink. I was confused, as things ran through my head, remembering the kisses in movies didn’t seem like this. Pretty sure one’s mind is not supposed to be bombarded with a myriad of thoughts while getting a first kiss.

2. I got distracted and ended up taking an interest in the cute dog walker and his dog, walking behind my date. Not sure this was supposed to happen, shouldn’t I have been thinking of the kisser and my first ever kiss? (In my defense he couldn’t have been that great a kisser or I wouldn’t have been distracted.)

3. The boy thought I was a freak. No, I don’t read minds. He said; “You’re a freak. Why were you staring at me like that. It spooked me.” (Still trying to figure out how he knew I had my eyes open, since I never saw him open his eyes).

4. He didn’t kiss me goodnight when he walked me home and didn’t even say the obligatory, “I’ll call you.” I seem to remember he ran away, at Olympic sprinting speed. (His loss, I’m a quick study and if I say so myself, no other boy or my husband has ever complained about my kissing technique 😉 )

When I got home after my very first date and my first kiss, I told my sister what horrible advice she gave me.

Sister: “You mean, you LITERALLY kept your eyes open?”

Me: “Yes.”

Sister: (After laughing her ass off) “It’s a saying. I didn’t mean for you to Keep. Your. Eyes. Open.”

Me: “A saying? What does that mean EXACTLY?”

Sister: “To stay alert and not get carried away in the moment so that you don’t do anything you’re not supposed to do. You know, in a metaphorical way, be aware, keep your eyes open. NOT. Keep your eyes OPEN.”

Me: “Well, whatever it is you  meant, nothing I’m not supposed to do, won’t be happening. I scared the guy. I may have permanently damaged him.”

Sister: “Good.” (Still laughing).

Nothing like Mom’s imparting Dating wisdom



I took inspiration from a comment a friend told about his wife’s advice to their young daughter, regarding her first date and created the above card.

This isn’t so much advice as a mom ensuring that her daughter knows she has her back. (Good for her!)

My Opinion: Enroll daughters in a self-defense course so they can put anyone who tries to force themselves on them in a world of hurt.


Advice given to the women who wrote into me

Advice: Laugh at all his jokes, even if he’s not funny.


My opinion:  What if he’s not funny and you force laugh at his jokes? He’s going to think he belongs on a stage with a brick wall behind him, holding a microphone and be “on” in front of your family and friends, and his lame ass jokes will only make everyone think he’s an idiot. It will also start off your relationship with dishonesty. Sure, if he’s witty and funny, laugh your ass off (not the snort laugh, that’s just not attractive, but if it’s you, then snort away), but if his jokes are lame and you laugh, he’s just going to keep them coming, and that is not something you want to encourage, because it will irritate the bitch out of you by date number four.

Advice: Don’t respond to his text message. Wait at least two days, three is even better.

The Age of Techno-ships


My opinion:  First let me say, texting is too impersonal. Pick up the freakin’ phone and talk to each other. It demonstrates the person went that extra mile in this age of techno-ships (my new word for modern relationships). Okay, I can feel the eye rolling and the whole, but it’s convenient and fast…okay, fine, if that’s what you want, then okay, but don’t you think this techno-ship could also cause a lot of questions and self-doubt?

And ladies, you know that you analyze EVERY SINGLE WORD, SMILE, TILT OF HIS HEAD , HOW HE SAID IT, WHEN HE SAID IT…with your girlfriends after the date. This will just add to the whole…what do you think he meant never-ending analytically induced conversation, and you know these conversations NEVER end well or  make you feel like you even want to see the guy again, and all he did was be himself.


What if you shoot back a text and he doesn’t respond? What if his text is just a few words? Sounds to me like this whole texting thing adds more complications to the dating adventure. However, if you’re okay with a guy texting you after a date, then why would you wait two days to answer him? That’s crazy advice. You don’t have to text him the second you receive it, maybe you won’t even see it for a few minutes or hours, but playing this numbers game…one day, two days, three days, is just that, a game. Not a great way to start any relationship.

Advice: Never ever call him.

My opinion: Why not? You’ve been on a few dates, or even one date and you enjoyed it. He took you to a cool piano bar, a restaurant, a walk, bird watching, whatever it was, and you enjoyed it. It’s polite and shows you’re interested to simply call and say thank you. Never mind this crazy notion that you must never ever call him. As long as you don’t turn into a stalker or drop hints that you once boiled a bunny, it’s fine.

If he does indicate that you calling him puts him off or bothers him, he’s not a good candidate for boyfriend material. Move on.

When a guy is into a woman, even after one date, he won’t care or be bothered by the fact that she called to say hello. If he freaks out because a gal called him, move right along. But wait at least one day, four hours and sixty seconds (kidding of course, but it’s to show you how these supposed rules of times sound ridiculous.)

Advice: Creep his Facebook page to see how many women friends he has, or if he is dating someone behind your back. Then make sure you follow him or show up at his place when he doesn’t know you’re coming.


My opinion: If you’re dating a guy and he refuses to add you as a friend on his Facebook page that may tell you something if he’s adamant about it. I would say that’s a red flag. See where all this new technology makes dating a bit more complicated? But I digress. If after a few dates, you highly suspect he is doing something he’s not supposed to be doing with other women, well, he probably is.

Don’t go all Veronica Mars on him. Instead, talk it over with him, if you still feel uneasy and have the urge to slip into a black turtle neck, pants, and baklava and follow him around, then you obviously don’t trust him, move on, chances that you’ll ever trust him are not good.

Advice: Feign interest in the server (sexual orientation appropriate).

My opinion: So, let’s see, you’re supposed to flirt with the server at a restaurant to do what? Make your date jealous? Now let’s reverse this, if a guy were to be flirting or showing immense interest in the female who is serving you drinks or dinner, we would call him an asshole, scum sucking, douchebag for not giving his full attention to the woman he is taking out. Right? Again, that’s a dumbass game and a disrespectful move. You’re out with this guy to learn more about him, not irritate him.

Advice: The way to a man’s heart is through a home cooked meal that will remind him of his mamma. He’ll want to marry you.

My opinion: If anything you do reminds him of his mother. RUN.

Advice: If he calls you in the morning to go out that evening. Refuse. No last-minute dates.

My opinion: This advice is as outdated as not wearing white on Labor Day. This does not mean that you were a last-minute thought. Perhaps he scored some tickets that afternoon and you’re the fist person he thought about taking? Perhaps he had a busy as hell week and wasn’t sure if he even wanted to go out, but mid way during the day he wants to get together with you.


I’m not suggesting a woman be at any man’s beck and call, however, if you’ve gone out on a few dates with this guy and you like him, you both hit it off, be open-minded about the same day invitation. You’re interested in this guy after all, so go, and see what happens. If you didn’t have any plans anyway, then you’d have gone out, and hopefully had a good time. If not, chalk it up to getting to know that he’s not the one you want to continue seeing.

Advice: Order a small salad when you’re out to dinner.

My opinion: Order what you want, eat it and enjoy. He doesn’t want to have dinner with a rabbit who will only chew on a few carrots sticks and a piece of lettuce, while  her stomach is grumbling from hunger and her mind is filled with thoughts of the pizza and ice-cream she’ll be scarfing down after the date. He wants to get to know you over a nice dinner. If he’s paying, then let him order first, and that will tell you what price range he is comfortable with, and take it from there.

Advice: Be super picky, because some day your Prince will come.

My opinion: This isn’t a freakin’ Disney movie. It’s life. Women today don’t need a Prince to rescue them from the big bad witch (they can kick her bitchy ass themselves). Women are proactive and take control of their dating life by making good choices, asking the right questions…and by that, I don’t mean….what’s your favorite movie, ice-cream, color? Nor should it make the Spanish Inquisition seem like a laid back conversation. Women are smart and there are a variety of subjects they can discuss to figure out if they have a good connection with the guy.

I will repeat the same things I said on the bachelor blog. Notice how he treats the service staff, taxi driver, bus driver, restaurant staff, etc? Notice these things, it will tell you A LOT about his character.

Advice: Leave something at his place.

My opinion: If he finds it and turns out he doesn’t really want to see you again and he throws it out; your fault, your loss of that item. You want to see him again, then leaving something at his place isn’t the answer. Don’t assume he’s a clueless dick that won’t catch on that you did that on purpose. You want to see him again, see above, call him and tell him you had a great time, thank you.

Advice: Be mysterious. Never let a man know who you really are.


My opinion: If you purposefully omit information, then you are not only lying to him, but also to yourself. This isn’t a romance novel, you do not have to add conflict to make your dating story work. Show him who you are,  if he can’t accept it, then it’s better to know right away. Quality men know that everyone has a past, everyone has flaws. If he isn’t going to be true to who he is, that would piss you right off. You both deserve to be upfront with each other. I’m not talking about spilling your life story, but you know what is important to share, and so does he. It’s respectful to be natural, and be yourself, quirks and all.

A real man and not just one with a pulse, will know what kind of baggage he can or can’t handle and be honest about it.


In summary, secure, good guys (and there are many of them) don’t play head games or any type of games that are spelled out in some rule book, blog or article. These stand up guys will embrace and appreciate their women even though she is willing to go on the last minute asked date, texts him first, calls him the next day and enjoys sharing a pizza and a calorie-filled dessert, because that is who she is and he appreciates getting to know a woman who isn’t afraid to knock down her wall and allow herself to show who she really is. These guys are looking for the same thing that women are looking for, and that is someone with an open heart, and honest motives.

A guy who doesn’t appreciate the above-mentioned, isn’t going to change anyway. He has a totally different mindset. If he’s into gaming the dating journey, then he’s into playing games and in any game there are winners and losers, strategies that take time and effort. Why not put all that energy into developing an honest relationship without all the background noise, telling you that you should do this or that.

When you go on a date with man that appreciates you, is being himself and indicates that he wants to spend more time with you, then go for it and tell him that you too enjoy his company and want to further explore your new found connection.

Every relationship is different, and physical attraction and chemistry need to be taken into consideration, but sparks on the first date or first meet happen mostly in romantic movies, romance novels and of course in a gals’s fantasy. In real life, sometimes those sparks lay dormant until you get to know the other person just a little bit more, develop a comfort level, trust, and truly feel joy when in their company, and you can’t wait to see them again and vice-versa. A confident man and one that is worth his weight in gold, will be up front and tell you, “I like you. I want to get to know you better.” This usually doesn’t take long when it is the right person.


Dating is enjoyable, a new experience and adventure so don’t bog yourself down with all the so-called rules and well meaning but bizarre advice you’re receiving.

Follow your instincts (you have them, you just have to listen) recognize the red flags (you know you see them, look past his mesmerizing blue eyes and be aware). It’s not that hard.

And lastly, keep your eyes closed when kissing, but if you do happen to open them, do it in a seductive way, like giving him a wink, but close them right after, it really is kind of weird and creepy.

I did get my sister back for that piece of advice! 

Payback is fun. And that’s for another blog.



What’s the worse or best piece of advice you’ve ever received?