The greatest love of all

This product provides me with an adjective with which I can pat myself on the back:

Alas, it’s not frizzante, so I didn’t drink that much of it. Bonus benefit in Sicily: una grande bottiglia d’acqua frizzante at a restaurant will run you a mere 2 €, far less than the same grande bouteille d’eau minerale gazeuse in France.

July Birchbox

I don’t know, this month’s haul seems to be more the result of perspiration rather than inspiration, in the words of my 10th grade English teacher. 

The theme this months is the senses. First up, I’d say this one is sight and smell: 
Another Color Club nail lacquer. I actually like the color, and it works well on my Sicilian-bronzed fingers, but this stuff is pretty gloppy, so I’ll probably remove it before anyone gets to see my appalling manicure skills.
Next, taste, and this Larabar treat. I’m not going to bother with the umlauts.
But I guess “uber” isn’t a bad name for a fruit and nut bar. It’s certainly not descriptive.
Next, sound. These aren’t even branded, so there’s not much to say other than I love the bright colors and am going to hide these from the kids so they don’t nick them.
Next, we have the core makeup products:
Good name – “jouer” means “to play” in French.
Eyeko, for eyeliner, is another good name. There’s nothing wrong with including a descriptive word as part of the mark if you can transform it into a distinctive trademark. EYE + another descriptive word wouldn’t work, but EYE + KO = a brand that looks and sounds unusual and is thus protectable.
Finally, smell, and another perfume. Or should I say hello?
I’m a bit confused by this one. The text on the left reads “We started Harvey Prince in dedication to our mother, and we craft exceptional fragrances that empower women to feel young, happy, slim, and beautiful.” Their website gives little insight as to how the name became Harvey Prince – all it says is that two brothers founded the company as a tribute to their mother, but they still don’t say who Harvey Prince is or why they named the company Harvey Prince. In fact, a search of the PTO records reveals that the name does not identify a living individual at all.
I am not really comfortable with the idea of two men hawking perfume to make women feel slim. I’m just saying.  Also, one of their other scents is called “Ageless,” and even if you’re paying tribute to your mom, who in your eyes never ages, please keep the word “age” out of it. I’ll give Hello a try, though, and we’ll see if it passes the migraine test.

Destination: Sicily and non-ladybrain wine

As you know from my renowned* Drinking with my Ladybrain feature, wine is often marketed to women as a way to escape from the travails of a woman’s daily life. Well, that sentiment is not just for the ladyfolk – meet my friend Sally’s cousin Fabio, and his La Pausa wine:

As Fabio explained to me, slowly enough for me to understand his Italian, it’s a very light red wine meant for relaxation and enjoyment – for drinking now, with good friends and family. La Pausa means just that – the pause, or break. Dinner with Fabio and his wife Toni was one vital component of a lovely and relaxing break from our harried lives here at home.
And not only did Fabio make good wine – he also made delicious fresh ricotta. We ate it the first night we were in Sicily and it was so good it brought tears to my eyes. (Okay, I may have been somewhat inebriatedly slurring something along the lines of “This is why we came here!”) You can approximate its freshness using this recipe from David Lebovitz, but I don’t think you can approximate the joy that Fabio brought to the table.
*In my own mind, that is.

Destination: Sicily in the1950s

Here’s my friend Sally’s grandfather’s Fiat refrigerator, an extension of the Fiat brand I wasn’t aware of before:

Plus it’s just gorgeous! I poked around the web to see if I could locate any more information on Fiat’s refrigerator business, but came up empty-handed. Anyone?
Meanwhile, here’s the Fiat we were privileged to drive in Sicily, pictured outside Le Cinque Vie, where we enjoyed an amazing dinner and warm welcome from Teresa and Sergio:
Not quite as swanky as the new Fiat Cinquecento, seen here at the Irvine Spectrum last month:
But it got us where we needed to be, and what a pleasure to park!

Destination: Sicily, where sex sells

Slapping an artichoke tattoo on a shapely model is kind of stretching it to make a connection between feminine pulchritude and the artichoke, don’t you think?

I don’t think that the slogan “Una Voglia Naturale” – a natural desire – gets you there. Or is that why she’s wearing an animal-print thong? Yes, I’m overthinking it. 
But there’s more, an item we spotted in a gelato shop in the town of Noto:
The complicated typography of this name is something that has to be seen on the website to be believed, as does the feverish language (at least in English), with such exhortations as “Be seduced by the taste of Se.xO’ . . . it is non-alcoholic with a pleasant fruity flavor for those who, like you, love living the rhythm of the night.” (Try saying that three times fast!) Let me tell you, even reading this ad copy can get your heart racing. 
Apparently someone in Noto was drinking the Se.xO’ instead of eating gelato like we were – at least that’s what this bit of garbage on the street suggested:
Yep, that’s the box for a Lover’s Fantasy Kit. Empty. Just sitting right out there on the street. 
And yes, I was the one who noticed it … all in the name of this blog, I swear to you!

Destination: anche la Sicilia

Well, it’s Europe. Where they have, of course, a far more liberal attitude towards sex in advertising. More specifically, sexual innuendo, often featuring naked or nearly-naked women, sells perhaps more there than here. 

This ad, propped precariously outside our apartment building (where the disco beat reigns until 4 AM, when the bongo drums take its place until about 8, when the guys with the blowers come out to clean the beach), is a fine example:
Blo Mor, I would say, speaks for itself as a brand name. I have to assume that the company that selected it knew exactly what it meant and in fact chose it for its meaning. The question posed, “riesci a reggerlo,” translates as “can you stand it?” Misogyny and a mark that’s vulgar in English? Benvenuti!

Destination: Sicily

I don’t know where to begin. Sicily was a life-changing experience, thanks in large part to my dear friend Sally, who brings worlds together on a daily basis there. Still recovering from a bit of jet lag (though something about the Mediterranean sun and sea made it much easier to adjust than every before), but I thought I’d at least prime the pump for more posting with one of my favorite catches of the trip:

Despite the gaffe, Quattro Gatti in Ragusa Ibla was most accommodating with our ragtag party of about 16, and the antipasto misto and pasta con le sarde were al di la di ottimo.

Drinking with my ladybrain VI

Okay, Portuguese wines. Usually good values, real depth in the reds. We’ve drunk a few and quite enjoyed them.

My guess on this one:
Leftover grapes, and the marketers thought “why not jump on that ladybrain bandwagon” (or words to that equivalent in Portuguese) since obviously those ladyfolk won’t know the difference between good wine and plonk, and if we put lacy pink squiggles and a woman’s name on the label, we can offload it. Really, Moira’s? Isn’t that an Irish name, not a Portuguese name?
Well, for $6.99 it was borderline drinkable, and, unlike the Chateauneuf-de-Pape we opened earlier, not corked. Still, this one really smacks of a desperate attempt to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

Destination: Sicily

In the event that I don’t have time when I’m in Sicily, I thought I’d have something teed up to celebrate my bloggiversary – five years, can you believe it? 

This item, which I found in US Weekly, is one of the finest examples of everything Americans have done to ruin Italian cuisine:
The only thing I can say in DiGiorno’s defense here? Very nice job coming up with a good generic term for the product – “pizza dipping strips” – instead of creating some cutesy name like Strippios, or Dippios, or Strippy Dippies … yeah, it’s just an abomination, plain and simple.
Mille grazie!

The skeptic in me …

 . . . first thought this ad in US Weekly was a fake, or for a fake product:

Apparently it’s real, as you can see from Kraft’s website. Somehow I’m just thinking it’s not the most distinctive trademark. Even with a registration, it’s going to be hard to prevent competitors from proclaiming “you can use our dressing on anything.” Sometimes you can get too clever with naming.