White Jeans In The Summer

FullSizeRenderIt’s summer and wearing white jeans seems, well, so obvious.  But, this wasn’t the case for me until last summer.  I used to think white jeans were impractical, meaning hard to keep clean and just too ‘fancy’ for every day wear.

Well, I was wrong because I’ve practically lived in white jeans for the past two summers.  Here are a few reasons why:

White jeans just spell summer.  What comes to mind are photos of people boating and walking along the beach, wearing white jeans with navy tops, striped tops, boat shoes, running shoes, etc.  You get the picture.

Note that when I say white jeans, I mean white jeans,  not white pants.  What I like about white denim is that it’s thicker than linen or other cotton pants, giving the pants a sturdier feel.  You don’t have to worry about ripping or snagging the jeans because of their thicker material.  Plus, you don’t have to worry about them being as delicate or as see-through as linen or thin cotton pants.

IMG_0855The lightness that comes with wearing white jeans is just logical given that white clothing is cooler.  It doesn’t absorb light like dark colors do.  Having said that, I like to wear darker tops with white jeans most of the time!  In this post, though, I’ve kept the top light.  You can check out my Instagram feed for darker tops.

IMG_0165This leads me to the next reason I like white jeans.  The contrast between white and other colors makes your outfit seem more chic – as if the white jeans are a canvas for whatever else you are wearing. White jeans can be dressed up or down and that, to me, is the best part about owning a couple of pairs.  White jeans can be worn with a t-shirt or tank top for a casual day look or they can be dressed up with a long-sleeved shirt or a blazer for a dressier afternoon event or evening look.  You can also play with accessories like handbags, shoes, and earrings because they stand out against the white background.

IMG_0147There is no limit to the variety of white jeans out there.  You can get cropped ones or skinny white jeans.  You can get them with more or less stretch in the fabric.  I own three pairs and I like them for different reasons.  My favorite ones are skinny white jeans with some stretch in them.  They’re comfortable and flattering.

Finally, if you’re still wondering about the practicality of white jeans, don’t. Laundering white jeans is easy.  You use bleach and that usually works.  Just be careful about what else you put in with the bleach and white jeans!

FullSizeRender-18So, that’s it.  What do you think?  Do you wear a lot of white jeans in the summer?

(White Jeans: Gap Factory; Top: Marc Aurel; Belt: Marc Cain; Shoes: Rafe; Bag: Phillip Lim; Glasses: compliments of FYSHUK; photos by Lauren R.)

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Celebrating The Feast Of The Assumption In My Lebanese Family

Our Lady of Lebanon
Our Lady of Lebanon

Today is August 15th, The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sounds like quite the esoteric topic for a post, but I wanted to share this day with you in the form of pictures and anecdotes because it’s a big deal in my family!

In Lebanon today, it is a statutory holiday and it is highly celebrated.  You go to church, you visit and spend time with everyone named Mary, and you even give them presents.  And, because my name is Mary, today is my day!

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Feast of the Assumption celebrates Mary when, upon her death, she was ‘taken up body and soul into heavenly glory’.

Our Lady of Lebanon
Our Lady of Lebanon

When my grandmother was alive, this day was her day, too – basically like a birthday celebration.  August 15th was bigger for her than any other day of the year because her name was Marie and she was very religious.  We would go over to her house and exchange gifts and have lunch with the extended family.

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Insta-Lately And That Summer Feeling

IMG_9720Are you in full summer mode?  What gives you that ‘summer feeling’?  And, what do I mean by that?

In this post, I’ll take you through some of the pleasures of summer, as seen lately on my Instagram feed.  I hope you’ll be inspired to take advantage of the remaining summer weeks and do some things you’ve had on your list.

It’s hard to believe it’s almost mid-August, which means that summer is two-thirds over, technically speaking.  In Toronto, it’s starting to get a tad bit cooler in the evenings and the sun has shifted lower in the sky as it moves from east to west. Daylight hours are dwindling slightly.  But, let’s forget about that for now and concentrate on the summer feeling I know we are all loving!

IMG_8532Summer is my favorite season – not even a question.  There’s something about being warm that I crave all year, living in Canada.  But even before I moved here, summertime was my favourite, anywhere I lived.

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Cirque du Soleil and Content Creation

Cirque du Soleil's Luzia at the Toronto Port Lands
Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia at the Toronto Port Lands

Let’s face it: we all crave new content constantly, be it on TV, at the movies, eating out, shopping, or traveling.  Our attention span is low and we want to be doing or experiencing ‘the latest’ – a result of the (social media) world we live in.

Furthermore, with limited time, we are pickier about where and how we spend our dollars and our free time.

Having said that, this week when my daughter and I went to watch one of Cirque du Soleil’s newest shows, Luzia, in Toronto, I knew that the company had to have made some serious changes for me to be impressed.  Cirque du Soleil did not disappoint!

It’s been ten years since we saw a Cirque du Soleil show and a lot has changed.

When we saw Corteo in 2006, it was a show of talent with beautiful costumes. The acts were more classically circus-like with juggling, hand-balancing, vaulting, and tightroping.  This time around, Luzia has progressed to a Cirque du Soleil show with more insightful interpretations and deeper meaning to the acts.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 9.44.49 PMLuzia is ‘a waking dream of Mexico’, focusing on the migration of the monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico and on Mexico’s architecture, mythology, and climate.  The show has a Broadway-like feel in terms of the costumes and stage sets.  This isn’t your old-fashioned circus, not that Cirque ever was that; it is more about visually understanding the creative nuances via the costumes and acts.  It is also more dance-oriented in some segments with a ballet-like feeling. Continue reading


Lemon Spaghetti…With Shrimp

IMG_0219It’s the summertime and I want to be outside as much as possible, meaning I want to be in the kitchen as little as possible!  Enter lemon spaghetti with shrimp. It’s one of my go-to meals because it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.  Plus, I always have shrimp in the freezer.  My family loves this dish and I make it a couple of times a month.

I first saw this recipe on Everyday Italian with Giada de Laurentiis on the Food Network.  I must have talked about the show a lot because that Mother’s Day, I received Giada’s Everyday Italian cookbook.

A few months later, we were visiting my sister-in-law and I made lemon spaghetti for dinner when company was coming.  Everybody loved it, down to the toddler who ate only the lemon spaghetti!  It’s still a favorite at my sister-in-law’s house.

IMG_0216The recipe is so easy that you don’t really need the book.  I play around with the measurements sometimes and it still tastes great every time.

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Vancouver and Maui…Work, Then Play!

Ka'anapali Beach (Maui) with the island of Lanai in the background
Ka’anapali Beach (Maui) with the island of Lanai in the background

It seems that summer vacation has taken over my blog because I haven’t posted in about six weeks!  So, it’s no surprise that this post is about our recent trip to Vancouver and Maui.

Because I plan any family trips we take, I get to ultimately decide (with some input from my husband and kids, of course) what we do.  This puts quite a bit of pressure on me, but it’s always worth it and my family tells me that they see more than most people do in any given city!  Admittedly, I tend to cram a lot into each day.

One of the things that works for us is to sightsee first and then end up on a beach somewhere where we can just relax.  I’m sure many people do this.  It just makes sense to get the walking and touring out of the way, knowing that the reward is some serious downtime.

In mid-June this year, we went to Vancouver and Maui.  It wasn’t the original plan, but an itinerary change beyond our control allowed us to sneak in a few days in Vancouver before hitting the beach.  Here’s what we did.

Vancouver from Grouse Mountain
Vancouver from Grouse Mountain

To get to Maui from Toronto, there are no direct flights, so you have to stop somewhere along the way.  My husband and I had been to Vancouver many years ago and the stop in Vancouver was the perfect opportunity to visit again and take the kids to see the west coast of Canada. Continue reading


New York City…Again!

Bryant Park
Bryant Park

Last summer, I blogged about our short trip to NYC in a post called “30 Hours in New York City“.  We covered a lot of the highlights (Top of the Rock, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Neue Galerie, Tenement Museum) that New York City has to offer in a short period of time and it was a lot of fun.

Last week, I was lucky enough to spend a few more days in New York City. But, this time, I had a completely different experience for three reasons: it was my second visit in less than a year, I had time to spend on my own, and I didn’t overschedule myself.

This got me thinking about how nice it is to visit a big city for the second, third, or fourth time.  So, what made this subsequent visit to New York City more meaningful?

For one, I was familiar with the pace and energy of the city and knew how to plan and what to expect.  I knew it would take time to get around so I factored that in and didn’t rush myself.  For those of you who know me well, I tend to run on the late side.  You would have been surprised at how on time I was this week!  I also anticipated the crowds and brought my patience. Finally, I walked on Park Ave more when I was in a hurry to avoid the crowds on Fifth Ave.

Park Avenue
Park Avenue

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How to Squeeze More Month Out of May

IMG_7076It’s May!  Yay!  Although I’m thrilled that spring has finally sprung, I’m feeling tired and frazzled – are you feeling the same way?

If you have kids, then the month of May is one of the busiest months of the school year as teachers add homework in order to finish teaching the curriculum in time for exams.  It’s also when plays, recitals, playoffs, championships, year-end parties, and many assessments take place.

Even without kids, you’re likely feeling the time crunch because it’s the last month before summer holidays.  Projects are basically at a standstill in the summer given staggered vacations and long weekends.  Socially, people like to catch-up before everyone goes in different summer directions.  Let’s face it: in North America, we live for the summer when we tend to ‘take it easy’ or travel.  Maybe that’s why May is so busy as we gear up for the long break!

IMG_7047So, how can you keep calm while squeezing more month out of May?

Here’s what I’ve been doing: Continue reading


A Confirmation Brunch For My Daughter

FullSizeRender-13When I was 13, I had my Confirmation at our church.  My 8th Grade Catholic friends and I had attended weekly catechism classes during the year, culminating with a retreat and ceremony.  That weekend, I also received a letter (that I still have) from my parents that reduced me to tears because it talked about how I was growing up.  My sponsor and role model was a family friend and someone I see and speak to all the time about life, friendship, and advice.  Getting confirmed was a big deal and something I remember very clearly as part of my Catholic upbringing.

So, with my daughter’s Confirmation coming up this Wednesday night, I wanted her to celebrate the religious journey she has been on for the past 13 years.  Because everyone loves brunch foods, we agreed on a Saturday morning Confirmation Brunch.

But, first, what is Confirmation?  In the Catholic Church, Confirmation is one of the 7 Sacraments (Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders).  According to American Catholic.org, sacraments ‘are ceremonies that highlight what is sacred, significant, and important to Christians‘.  In particular, Confirmation is about being sealed with the Holy Spirit.   During the ceremony, each confirmant will be anointed with oil and the phrase ‘be sealed with the Holy Spirit’ will be stated.  The Protestant Church also celebrates Confirmation.

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Matzoh Crunch!

IMG_6585This week is Passover and you may have seen Matzoh Crunch in your grocery store or bakery.

I first saw this recipe when David Lebovitz (chef, baker, and cookbook author) appeared on the Martha Stewart show about 10 years ago.  It looked very easy to make, and it is!

Up front, I should say that I make this dessert all year round and get special requests from my kids and friends.  Matzoh Crunch is the popular name and David Lebovitz’s version is called Caramelized Matzoh Crunch With Chocolate.  Basically, it’s a cracker base with a caramel/toffee topping and chocolate.  What’s not to like?!

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