You may have noticed that I’ve been away for a bit. In the time since we last connected I planned, prepared and journeyed on a fabulous European vacation. I visited exotic destinations in the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas including stops in Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Sicily and Italy. I have returned, inspired by the European fashion and the amazing food and wine, with some great recipes, stories and ideas that I look forward to sharing with you. ( make sure you read till the end of this story to get a very Italian inspired recipe I have prepared especially for you today)

As I walked the canal lined streets of Venice, to the historic laced streets of Rome, what stood out the most among the people I encountered was their high sense of style coupled with their warm friendly attitudes. From their eagerness to share their stories, their jobs and their country, I was consistently amazed at the pride that people had in their lives. Whether it was a restaurant owner taking fresh bread from the oven to share with me just so I could experience fresh Italian bread or the very passionate tour guide walking me through the streets of Dubrovnick sharing her personal stories of war just so I could get a sense of some of the struggles these people had encountered, these people touched a part of my soul that has made me question where the passion and depth of our society has gone.

You see, in my career, I have the pleasure of connecting with people from all walks of life, from those that have nothing to those that seemingly have everything. Over the years I have become aware that we, as stylists, place so much value on pleasing that very small percentage of clients that appear privileged. Let me give you a few “for instances” ….(remember, you can’t make this shit up!!)

For instance, my salon has a very special client, whose loyalty had spanned many years. Because of her incredible perceived wealth, we (consciously or unconsciously) cater to her EVERY desire! Yet, judging by her rude and ungracious demenour, somehow our efforts are never enough. Her latest commentary was really cause for comedy. During a very busy afternoon, she had come in for her regularly scheduled appointment. We were a little backed up, so unfortunately, she had a brief wait time in between services. She loudly exclaimed ” You NEED to take me now! You KNOW I have a VAGINA PROBLEM!!!” (Seriously, you really can’t make this shit up! If she’s not embarrassed to proclaim it as cause for celebrity treatment, I’m not embarrassed to write about it!)
I don’t know what’s wrong with her red carpet, but I DON’T think it’s one I want to walk down. Does anybody see the Devil as she wears her Prada in this? So you may ask yourself, “How does one respond to this in a way that will please AND keep this client loyal?” Well, we did what came naturally of course! We quickly collected a few Vagina worthy pillows and placed them ever so delicately in a chair provided just for her comfort.
Another on of our “devil in disguise” clients comes in for his regular appointment. Because it was a busy day in the salon, he had a short wait before his service. Oblivious to the other clients in the waiting area, he decides to take his shoes off, lay down, and place his feet up on the couch. My receptionist, while looking at me with a dumbfounded look, asks him to kindly make room for the other guests. He, in a completely offended tone, says “DON’T you know who I am?” My response….”But of course sir! Somebody go get him those VAGINA pillows and make him comfortable… Only the BEST for you sir!”

These are the qualities that embodied the people I encountered on my travels. If you ask me what creates these qualities I would say I think it starts a great appreciation for the rich gifts in life..not those purchased on a rack, but those those cultivated in deep connections with people, grown in soils rich in nutrients, and aged in barrels of seasoned oak.

My wish is to bring this richness to my stories with you through this blog, whether it be a connection through laughter, love or food…May our times together cultivate an attitude of graciousness, kindness and pride.

Joseph’s Shrimp Livorgnese:
Serving size is for 2.
Because cooking is something that involves passion and connection these measurements are estimated, you may find one ingredient “speaks to your soul” more than another..so feel free to experiment and enjoy!!!

Jumbo Shrimp- 1lb – peeled and butterflied
Flour ( enough to dust shrimp)
Onion (1 medium- sliced)
Extra virgin olive oil (2 tbls)
Capers (2 tbls)
1/2 cup of black & green olives
Dry white wine (1/4 cup)
Marina sauce (1/2 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of oregano

Sauté sliced onion in olive oil until golden. Dust shrimp with flour and drop into pan with onion and oil. Sauté for two minutes turning over to cook both sides of shrimp. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 5 minutes. This can be served by itself or over pasta.

In closing I will quote one of my good friends with a toast..

” To new friends, becoming better friends, becoming old friends” !!!