Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Free Things That Bring Me Joy

Hello WordPressers!
Today’s Top Ten is of what brings me joy, and happen to not cost a thing. In a world where consumerism is King, it’s nice (and refreshing) to realize not everything we surround ourselves to invoke happiness actually costs money.

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Free Things That Bring Me Joy

  1. The glow in my children’s eyes while smiling.
  2. Love.
  3. Waking to sunshine
  4. All types of jokes. Yes, even ‘dad jokes’.
  5. Laughter.
  6. Being creative.
  7. Holding hands.
  8. Snuggling in bed.
  9. Teaching my kids something new.
  10. Nature exploration/hikes on warm days.

I hope you find all the joy that surrounds you!  And that don’t cost a dime!

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Under Eye Concealers

One of the things I am asked about most, almost daily, is makeup advice.  From friends to strangers on the street, people want to know what type of makeup I use or how to apply it. Since I figure I get stopped for a reason..people want to know what looks good in real life, and/or, they have no idea what to use or how to use it, that is how I came up with today’s Top Ten Thursday.

So let’s start with some info.  Even though we all have different skin types or makeup needs, the basics should be the same.  Keeping your skin clean is a basic, so is evening out the skin is a basic.  Which is why I am starting with under eye concealer.  Concealer’s purpose is to cover discolored skin, which most of us have under the eye,.  If properly matched and used, concealer gives us the appearance of healthy glowing skin after a perfect’s night sleep. Which most of us don’t get; am I right, parents?  Concealer, also, is the one basic item that can be used to even out your whole face, regardless of beauty routine or maintenance and is usually portable so you can take it anywhere in anything. Basically, like a one-stop shop; most people can use just a concealer and that is that, while others can use it along with other makeup items.  Personally, I spot it around my discolored or problem areas before foundation (i.e. a pimples, corners of the nose, below the bottom lip).  I also like to use a concealer that has dual purpose, a product that has other skin benefits like decreasing puffiness or lines.

Before I get to the Top Ten Thursday list of what products I like, let’s talk about how to apply concealer.

Use your hands to warm the product before applying. This is actually something I was taught in 1994 when I started working for a major department store company. ‘Warming’ the product makes it smooth on better (and I use this technique for everything I put on my face, body and even hair!).  To warm it up, place a bead of concealer onto your ring finger (which uses the least amount of pressure) and rub it together with your other ring finger for a few seconds.  Then dab the concealer to your area of concern, by tapping it directly onto the skin.  Dabbing until blended. Then use a blending sponge or brush to even the blending through to the face.

Totally easy, right?! Ok, so now onto my list.  Just a FYI, my concealer choices are based on my skin type, which is normal to dry. Since I was 17, I have always leaned towards concealers that hide the look of my specific skin imperfections; uneveness, dryness, dark circles, broken capillaries, pimples.

So.. now here is my list! 🙂

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday- Under Eye Concealers

  1. Lancome’s Maquicomplet in Correcteur- This product comes in 24 shades. The color I am suggesting here is Correcteur, a yellow, universal pigment for all tones.  This breaks the purplish-red skin, muting it, which will allow you to use foundation over it seamlessly. I like how this is not a thick formula to cover, but uses the yellow pigment to do the work.  It is also great when used over a foundation for extra coverage or to highlight your skin, like your brow bone. I have been using this product since I was 16yo.  I am now more than double that age, and STILL love it.
  2. M.A.C.’s Pro Longwear Concealer– This is offered in 16 shades. I am truly obsessed with this concealer and own it in a few shades.  The coverage is on the full side, so a little goes a long way.  Remember to dab on a small amount to start, then build coverage. This one needs no foundation over it at all.  It is also long wearing and matt; because it is a matte formulation you want to really make sure your using your best eye cream (which you should be every day anyways).
  3. tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer– This product comes in 30 shades.  This concealer is GrEaT at masking pimples and imperfections that other formulas can’t cover.  It doesn’t leave that dry caked on look, which bothers me normally.  The formula is full coverage, so dab a little on at a time.
  4. Clinique’s Airbrush Concealer– This product is offered in 9 shades.  This concealer has a light diffusing formulation that helps to hide darkness and fills in fine lines.  It also comes in a handy twist pen.  I like this concealer because it is thin and truly does brighten up my eyes.  I have used the colors Fair, Neutral and Illuminate, as my skin color changes with the seasons, and prefer the Illuminate color.   It is more of a highlighter for my tone all year round.
  5. Clinique’s Beyond Perfecting Super Concealer – They offer this in 18 skin tones.  This product is thicker than the ones mentioned above, so the technique with this is to take a little bit at a time and dab it on with your finger till it blends in completely (preferably ring finger as it uses less pressure).  Since it is so thick you need to build coverage rather than slap it on at once. This one is great for around the face cover-ups. I like this one in the Very Fair because it also acts as a highlighter when I need it.
  6. Lancôme Effacernes Undereye Concealer– This comes in 16 shades.  This concealer’s colors are natural and lightweight; the coverage is build-able. It is also a long wearing product so it works great in the warmer months, or on vacation while at the pool or ocean.
  7. Benefit Cosmetics Lemon AidOk, this is no longer available through them, they discontinued it last year.  WHICH IS A MAJOR BUMMER, but I bought a handful when I heard the news.  You can also find some on ebay!  This is a yellow pigmented eye lid primer.  The consistency of this item was creamy but went on sheer. It works best patted over foundation
  8. Bobbi Brown Instant Full Cover Concealer– This comes in 15 shades. This concealer is lightweight, but has full coverage power. I bought this right when it launched and just ran out of it.  A little goes a long way!  It is also long wearing, so it’s great to wear at the sauna!  haha
  9.  It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer– This formula comes in 48 shades.  This product is probably the highest coverage on my list here; dab a little on at a time because buildability gets out of control if you just blob on a lot trying to smooth it on.  This formula is also great at reducing puffiness around the eyes, and doesn’t fill into fine lines.  Which is great for us who have both bags and lines.. am I right, parents?!!
  10. L’Oreal True Match Concealer–  This comes in 9 shades.  For a concealer to be under $10 AND good is rare, but L’Oreal did it.  This is an oil free, lightweight but long-lasting formula that uses light diffusing technology to give the dark imperfections no chance.  If you tend to have oilier skin/ocular area, definitely recommend this formula.  JUST REMEMBER, a little goes a long way!


This was a lot of fun!  I love sharing my favorite things, and makeup is my ULTIMATE favorite thing! 🙂


Posted in Party Time!

Christmas 2018 and NYE

Hello WordPressland!

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas Season and a great start to 2019!

Christmastime Fun!

We had a great season exploring all that Boston has to offer before school vacation, AND after! My eldest sister is home from Italy with her family, and is for another 10 days or so, so we got right to the fun.  My niece is 10yo, and she has never seen Christmas outside of her region of Italy. And, Christmas here in the States is like nowhere else.

We glam it up in every direction with decorations, lots of trees and an amont of lights compared to none; it is quite the spectacular sight if you have never seen it before. (and as I spent one Christmas in her hometown in 2007, I know she had NEVER seen anything like a holiday here.)

We tried to do so much.. we started the first day they got here by seeing the Christmas St Bernard Dogs at Smolak Farms. Those dogs look animated, that is how cute they are in real life.  Then we celebrated our Mom’s 70th birthday, which I hosted the cake afterward.  We then took the kids to see the Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet. My family and I had a few holiday parties between, then we took a trip with all the family to see the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s.  I brought my sister with her family with me to work one day so she could walk around to shop. Then we celebrated my 42nd birthday.  After that was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Then we celebrate my niece’s birthday. After that we took everyone to the Museum of Science to check out the new sights there. My family and I had a party that we brought my niece to at the Hampshire House. Which was quite the kick ass party.  Then it was Christmas week, where Christmas Eve was hosted by my sister-in-law. Christmas Day was hosted by my parents, we had a sleep over and a few friend parties between as the girls slept at my sister’s one night for a kids birthday for my niece, then I hosted New Year’s Eve night, and that follows these Christmas pictures below.

All in all it was busy, but fun.  I may need a vacation soon after all this!


New Year’s Eve!

‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.’ -C.S. Lewis

☆☆☆Happy 2019!!☆☆☆

It had been four years since we hosted a NYE party, and with my sister home we figured why not this year?   We had decided last minute to make this party a potluck. With thirty people coming we had to figure out how to make everyone happy, and potlucks are a great way to make sure folks eat what they like… and I actually like hosting them. And man oh man, did my guys out do themselves! We offered a lot to begin with..unlimited cava and prosecco to start, a chili bar, crab cakes, taquitos, roasted mini peppers (which I can’t get enough of), a cheese plate, a literal vat of guacamole and dip with an insane amount of chips. Everyone ended up bringing so much…a monster Italian pandoro sandwich, pizza, chicken enchiladas, mini hotdogs, pulled chicken, sausages, mac n cheese, cakes, cookies, and the list goes on!! (I am swearing off food after this week btw.  I had lost 7lbs in December, and I think I have gained back five from NYE alone!! haha) But it was all well worth it.  I loved hosting this party this year even if my house still looks like it was hit with a tornado.  🙂

The next day we were sluggish, but we made it for January 1’s dinner with my family at my parents’.  Very low-key, just like I like it.  Now I am off to work.  YES I typed this all out before the kids got off to school.  Maybe 2019 will be a productive year?  haha No I know, I doubt that, too.  🙂

That’s it.  I hope you all had a great start to this fresh new year!  Best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2019.


Posted in Party Time!

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary Celebration

Hello WordPress!

Two weekends ago we celebrated my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary! Woo! I know, fifty years is quite an amazing milestone, when you sit to think about it.

My parents’ anniversary is actually in February, but since my eldest sister is home from Italy this Christmas season they felt it would be the perfect time to celebrate this major event. With all their children, and grandchildren, together.

My parents; Concetta Latino e Salvatore Graceffa 02/08/1969

My parents. I just love them. Their fairytale started when they got married in Aragona, Sicily in 1969. They migrated from Italy to America not long after getting married. A new life with new possibilities laid ahead as they arrived in the Bronx in the fall of 1970, with not much money and pregnant with my eldest sister. My father had some family who migrated years earlier there and figured it was a good starting point.

Trying to acclimate to the American language and new culture was not easy at first, and they were not sure how long they would stay in America. But they had one another. My father found a job and my mom stayed home. My eldest sister was born in 1971, then a year later they had my older sister.

As my sisters were toddlers, my family moved from New York to Massachusetts for a better life and work opportunities. They had moved to an Italian/Sicilian neighborhood in Waltham, they felt at home there. My father worked hard every day, long hours, as my mom stayed home with the children. It wasn’t always easy but they had one another. They liked Waltham a lot as they encountered hometown friends and made life long connections that made them feel that missing sense of community from home. This is where and when I was born, in 1976. Which I coin as the best year of their lives. Ahhemmm.

In 1978, my parents had the opportunity to buy a house in the city of Malden. Since living in America they had rented, so this was a huge dream to buy a home. This home is where they have lived, nurturing each other and their family since. My childhood home is a reflection of my parents. The pride they have for it. All the work they put into it. It’s the beacon for this fairytale they have worked so hard on.

And, a fairytale is what they lived and still are living. Fifty years relying on each other for support and love. Fifty years of laughter and memories. Fifty years of commitment. Fifty years with three daughters and six grandchildren. Fifty years of learning new culture and language. Fifty years of stolen kisses in front of their family (and my dad goosing my mom, I see you!) Fifty years with many friends, who are like family. Fifty years of celebrations. Fifty years of stories that could fill a novel. 🙂

True love is a rare, warm, beautiful emotion.

❤️Happy Anniversary!!❤️

Now on to the celebration .. what a great party. My parents booked the Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington, and my sisters and I planned the rest. It was a successful collaboration, even with my eldest sister in Italy most of the time! It was truly a visually beautiful night and my parents were so happy.

Here are some photos:

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- 2018 Favorite Must See Holiday TV

As you look through this list, you will notice most of my favorite holiday binges are baking shows. Nothing is better than cozying up on the couch with cocoa, watching all the baking chaos, with my favorite people! I think we like to live vicariously through the baking talent out there. 

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday– 2018 Must See Holiday TV

  1. The Great American Baking Show, Holiday Edition
  2. Holiday Baking Championship
  3. Holiday Gingerbread Showdown
  4. Bob’s Burgers, Christmas Episode
  5. Christmas Cookie Challenge
  6. The British Baking Show, Holidays
  7. The Great Light Fight
  8. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
  9. Nailed It! Holiday
  10. The Christmas Chronicles

What have been your favorite holiday TV shows to binge this month? Share below or on Facebook!

With Christmas just days away, this will be my last holiday themed Top Ten Thursday list. I had wanted to list out my favorite holiday movies and holiday treats, but I just don’t have any Thursdays left before Christmas.  Actually, this will be my last Top Ten Thursday of the year!  I know, you are bummed as we just got started, but I am on vacation for the year starting today, and may not have time to pull together a list to post next week with all the craziness we have in store.

So, with that said,


Posted in Party Time!


Hiya WordPressland!!

It has been incredibly busy this month for me and my family.  If you follow me on IG you know why in my story.  Those who do not follow me there are missing out on my crazy life with my eldest sister home, parties that seem to be happening every weekend, prepping for the holidays, working, school life, packing for NY, going to PT, crafting for my parents’ anniversary party (which was last night and will post about later) and just everything.  Needless to say, I haven’t had much time for myself to just chill out.  But here I am, making the darn time to .. chill out.  Is writing this out chilling out?  No, but let’s all pretend.

So, as you can see from my title.. forty-two happened.  Yup, my birthday was Friday!  Forty-two. I kind of like forty-two.

Man, I don’t know about you all up in this new age bracket with me, but doesn’t forty-two feel… good?  Like, I loved my twenties, I didn’t love myself so much though I wish I had.  Changed by leaps and bounds in my thirties, learned to love the uniqueness about myself. Now starting in my forties, I feel … contentment.  Weird right? I feel happy in myself, my body, my life, my family, my outlook and everything that is around me. I am not comparing myself to anyone else, because, well, no one is like me; so how can I compare myself to another human (vice versa too)?  Is this contentment caused from growing older?  Is it part of some ‘I am too old to give a crap’ mentality that everyone says happens in our forties?

I honestly don’t know.  I feel like I am having an easier time accepting what I can control and letting go of what I cannot.  I used to be afraid of growing old, but right now, at this moment, I am not afraid.  I am growing older, not old.  This phrase packs a lot of punch.  Growing older, not old.

/ɡrō/ verb – gerund or present participle: growing
1. (of a living thing) undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically; progress to maturity.

Growing is a beautiful thing. 🙂


Here are some pictures from my festivities…