Let Mother’s Day Sparkle and Dazzle!

Do you love glitter and all that shines? Then I wish you could have joined me at the Katherine Karambelas sample sale that took place a few weeks ago! The place shone with the most precious sparkling temptations!

I can’t begin to tell you how crazy I am about this line of exquisite semi-precious jewelry. Every piece is a true work of art- seriously. The jewelry is created using precious and semi-precious stones and metals, as well as, Swarovski crystals.  The epitome of chic, and, all meticulously hand-made.  Incredibly fashionable and suitable for women of all ages and styles, well-priced and original…the Katherine Karambelas line is perfect for us, Darlings:)

There’s much that I admire and adore about this brand. Besides, beauty, quality, originality, and authenticity, for me, the fact that Katherine, a Montreal designer of Greek origin, works alongside her three daughters, heading, creating and developing a business for women, by women- is a true heartwarming inspiration. A wonderful mother and daughters’ story…

I can’t fathom anything more appropriate for Mother’s Day! Thinking of offering something splendid for this wonderful day?

So…Without further ado, let me whet your appetite- drum roll please!

Here I am with two of the beautiful and talented Karambelas sisters: Nektaria and Faith.

A little bubbly and more sparkles…

Here’s one of the pieces I purchased.

This is what it looks like on me..

And I just couldn’t resist this piece!!

And one more! Haven’t worn this one yet but with the warm sunny weather ahead- and vacation time; I can see myself wearing this one all summer long.

So these were my beautiful purchases!

And just when I thought I’d had my heart’s content…earlier this week I was surprised with this arrival in the mail! Thank you so much Katherine Karambelas. I’m a true KKit Girl now!

Magical!

Katherine Karambelas also takes special orders to create unique pieces for clients. Here are two necklaces in Swarovski created just for me. I wear these all the time, dressed up or casual…

And this one in darker stones…

 

Mother’s Day is almost here! Check out Katherine Karambelas’ splendid creations here at:

katherinekarambelas.com

Instagram @katherinekarambelas

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When Looks Can be Deceiving…

Pick the right outfit, take some photos; edit, crop, delete or switch around-, write a post, share on all your social platforms, inspire and set a trend! Repeat.

For me this is always a fun and easy process, as I love: writing; fashion; trend setting and inspiring. But I also am very intent on always being genuine when I post. I like relevancy and good dose of honesty. Which brings me to the photos I decided to post this Monday afternoon…

These photos were supposed to post last Thursday evening- time appropriate for my preparations for Greek Orthodox Easter. Lots of happiness, calmness and a look of peaceful ease on my face. That’s exactly how I felt on Thursday- but for some reason I ran out of time to post.

And then, on the following day, Montreal was on flood alert!

Right upto Thursday we were doing fine…but come Friday morning, all hell broke loose. My entire family and I spent the next 3 days bagging and placing sandbags around our property. Neighbours also pitched in, as did the police and firefighters. We worked knee-high in water, around the clock up until Sunday afternoon.

I believe in kindness and of giving of oneself to help others- but what I witnessed went beyond. It was cold, raining, but no one stopped. Drenched in two feet of water- everyone diligently built those walls- helping to keep my house safe and dry. Neighbors offered extra pumps, tape, snowblowers..you name it. Anything to get the job done and get that horrific water from destroying it all.

The waters finally tamed on Sunday evening…and all is stable so far. That’s how we spent Easter weekend.

But! No water came in. We are not flooded. The situation is stable. We are Thankful.

 

Why am I telling you all this? Well it occurred to me that when I would be ready to post my fashion photo today, it also needed to be genuine. I feel very relieved today and also extremely thankful that the water has calmed down, that I have a wonderful family, fantastic neighbors, a city that responded, that my family and I are safe.

There. Now I can post these photos the way they were meant to be posted: I am happy, serene, thankful, and blessed.

My look is not deceiving…I am genuine- the way I always want to come through. Today is the right day to post. Hoping your weekend was a blessed one xx.

#Confessionoftheday: Breathe. All is well:)

Italian Sunday Meal: No Fuss Lasagna

Who are we kidding- when is lasagna, no fuss?

And then, yet…if you prepare some of it in advance, there’s hope!  For instance, your sauce need not be prepared the day of.  Prepare it up to a few days before.

Cheese?  Grate that mozzarella the night before (or better yet, buy the pre-grated in-a-bag-mozzarella).  Same goes for the actual pasta used; you can buy the oven-ready kind.  It’s just as good.  All I do is pass it under hot water and then place directly in pan over first layer of sauce. Easy peasy.

As for the beschamel…well, that one you gotta do on the spot.  Unless you can prep this too the night before?  Never tried it- but if you have, let me know.

Note: For Beschamel sauce: melt about 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour on low heat. Gradually pour in milk. Stir on low to med heat until thickens. Pour as much milk as needed until you get the right consistency.

Alternate layers between beschamel and sauce.

All that’s left to do is put it in the oven for about 45 minutes covered at 200 c. Then uncover for another 15 minutes of cooking. Et voila!  Serve with a side dish of cauliflower and another of coleslaw.  Simple!

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And there you have it:  No-fuss Lasagna.  Enjoy!

 

Make Time for Besties…

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Having good friends is everything. Family comes first, but true friendship is a close runner up. This is true for every stage of our lives…but I think it’s especially important in midlife. Most of our baggage almost empty; we’ve got so much less of a load to carry.  At this stage we’ve pretty much eliminated the irrelevant and kept the most precious. Friendships have had many purposes in life. Most often related to: work, kids, neighbours, hobbies and interests, higher education, community…Let’s just say that more often than not, these relationships flourished for a particular time and period of our lives. And once these stages done, so was the friendship.

But then, there are those that stuck around through it all- or at least popped back in here and there- but never, ever disappeared. Those are the friends I’m talking about. The kind that may have been on break while we were busy making other ‘necessary’ or ‘timely’ friendships. The kind of friends that you could pick up the phone at any time for whatever reason. Recognise them? You know who they are. So that’s who I’m talking about.

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Now more than ever, these people add so much more to our lives. Now because, having peeled off our mandates and all the responsibilities that those entailed, we are clear and free for Part 2 of our lives. A much carefreer self, we come full circle and those friends are part of that. To laugh, share, care and confide as though not a day had passed. Doesn’t the mere thought of that bring a smile to your face?

Darlings, let’s enjoy these precious beings that we call soul sisters; besties, partners in crime- or whatever term of endearment you’d like to use. We need these girls now more than ever, if just to bring back the laughs or remember the tears. They’ve seen us at both our best and our worst- lived through tears and joys, and, seen us evolve.  They just love us infinitely for who we are. Time to celebrate this friendship- call your bestie now and set up a date (just like back in the day!)

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Good friends remind you of who you really are and where you started off. Good friends bring out the truest, most beautiful you. And you know what is so awesome about that? That’s the part you really love most about yourself too!

Make time for your true friends Darlings. It just makes life that much sweeter.

#Confessionoftheday: I’m not always so good at picking up the phone…Thank goodness for text and social media!

Oberstdorf- Beauty in the Bavarian Alps…

 

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Click Here to see this beautiful hotel: HOTEL MOHREN

Being a figure skating mom does have its perks…travelling! Apart from the jet-lag and all the stress that goes along with being a Mom/ Chaperone to an athlete, I really am thankful for the opportunity of visiting so many overseas places. Our last trip was to Oberstdorf, Germany. We stayed at Hotel Mohren. Right in the middle of the town. The view was unbelievable- and the fresh crisp air made me feel so healthy. Bavarian Alps at best! This ski town, bustling with families, athletes from all over the world and the locals…perfect mix!

Besides being picturesque, quaint, but happening, Oberstdorf’s streets are lined with athletic shops, fashion boutiques, handcraft and souvenir hubs, cafes and upbeat restos and fine dining as well. The traditional look of Oberstdorf makes it sweetly appealing; especially when mixed with modern facilities to render your stay ever so comfortable. It still has the old European feel with traditional breweries, yodeling and all!

Being from Montreal, I can ‘somewhat’ compare it to Mont Tremblant…mostly because of its touristic feel. Oberstdorf has more streets, more restos, more shops and definitely more history. I enjoyed the food and of course dove into the schnitzel, as it’s traditional. It really was delicious.But these cabbage rolls though!

We did go to a cafe on our last night. But what really impressed me were the cafes along the streets. Everyone sips their coffee and dessert on outdoor terraces…uhm, it’s winter? No matter! People watching is all the rage, and why not sip your latte outdoors!

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And with me, some things never change…I was on a relentless lookout for fashion. I have to admit they have some pretty chic haute couture boutiques- but the athletic wear shops rule. So ski wear apparel was obviously de rigueur here…but I have to tell you- you know the typical Heidi mountain sweater look? Well, there’s still a lot of that too. Knitted sweaters, hats, mitts and more are still the rage here. And I was amazed to also find a shop that sells traditional Bavarian costumes!

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Oh and since it’s almost Valentine’s…chocolate and candy fest is alive and well here in Oberstdorf!

 

 

So with the excuse of going to a competition…I had myself a really good time in Oberstdorf Germany!  Good times with my beautiful youngest daughter…

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Hope to see you again, my lovely…Auf wiedersehen!

 

#confessionoftheday: those hourly churchbells still chiming in my ears- seriously though.

What’s My Fave-Quick-Fix-Getaway?

Where can I get a sunny beach, great food and lots of shopping a few plane hours away from home? Beautiful Florida whispers sweet callings in my ear… It’s my little haven of peace with a good dose of all of the above.

I realise that dream getaways involve a lot of downtime and peace away from the mad race of the city. However, it’s nice to also find all of the commodities you’re used to back home. I thought this especially true when we travelled with young children. It was important to be able to find the same stuff (especially pharmacy products)- and food they were used to (picky eaters!).

So we got all that in Florida plus the huge bonus of it being a short flight from Montreal and of course- the beach!! Imagine that while everyone flies during the winter months, our favourite time to go was in the summer. NO waiting lines at restaurants, assured good weather, quiet beaches and the list goes on. My kids’ best memories were shaped in Florida.

Today, I enjoy Florida at a much more relaxed pace when travelling just the two of us; hubs and me. It’s a lot less stressful and we’re off the clock, doing our own thing. This time around, without even planning it, we were in Florida for American Thanksgiving and Black Friday! We had such a great time that we will be planning the same time next year.

We ate at our usual favourite Greek restaurant, Greek Isles. This place has the best authentic Greek dishes- it also feels like you are eating somewhere in Greece; beach, sun and all. It’s a family-run business and they keep it as Greek as it gets. DELICIOUS. We also went to another close-by Greek restaurant, Thassos- this was again very authentic food, with a slightly more upscale atmosphere- less traditional looking than Greek Isles, but nonetheless exquisite as well.

Greek food is not all we ate. We went for some traditional Floridian burgers- have you tried Jack’s on Federal Highway 1? You gotta go if you want a mean, lean, all natural beef burger with all the American trims. For ribs and pulled pork, or prime rib- and you’re in a hurry- you’ll get your fix at Bones.

As far as the shopping goes, Black Friday did not disappoint. We were super excited to find out that it all began on Thanksgiving Thursday at 4:00 pm to 1:00 am…WHAT?!! We Canadians are not used to that! Yes, we have Black Friday- but I’ve been in the retail business long enough, and I can honestly say, that this was a real sale -that doesn’t run out of stock!!! We were at the Colonades in Sawgrass- WOW!; Designer stuff galore! Oh and if you you need to refuel on food, you can go to the PF Chang right there. I personally love the Mongolian beef and sweet and sour soup.

It definitely was a quick one week vacay, but when it’s just the two of us, the time felt just right. This wasn’t your all-inclusive dream island getaway, but for me it still and always will feel like a bit of paradise not so far away from home. If you’re Canadian, I know you get what I mean. Especially when you’re bundling up at -27 deg C.

#confessionoftheday: sun-worshipping is a hard habit to quit…It’s a 70’s thing

Big Dogs Get a Bad Rap: Lifestyle over 50

Getting a dog during your middle years is an important decision. Often, we get a puppy when our kids are young- and we have the energy to potty train…and the rest that goes along with a new pup in the house. There may be even more to consider as we’re getting older.

So many people I talk to give me their opinion on the advantages of caring for a small dog. Here are some of the advantages: Easier to travel with; better for condos; don’t need to walk them as much; they can use a pipi pad; less expensive on food, grooming… you get the picture. All these reasons are undeniable. AND- before I get into the Big dog/ bad rap thing, I should tell you though, that I ADORE little dogs. It’s that carry around and cuddle thing that gets me (along with the other good reasons listed above- don’t get me wrong).

Our family has always had dogs, sizes ranging from 2 lbs to 65lbs. This year, we moved to a new house, two of my daughters got married- things finally settled and so we thought it was time to bring in a dog for this new time in our life. We got a Goldendoodle; despite everyone telling us we should get a small dog (again, for all the aforementioned reasons). Charlie is now eight months, 55 lbs so far, and a big goofy bundle of joy.

How’s life with a big dog? Let’s talk about the potty training. He was crate trained- and never peed once inside that crate. He’s now out of it and the accidents have been minor (at least I see where he’s going- not like my tiny pooches who left me surprises in the last place I’d think of! Not only when they were puppies…they did this for years!). Plus he can hold it forever.

Sure we have to walk him- but finally this gives me an excuse to get out there and get my own exercise! Something we really need as we get older.  The walks can be so much longer, and less dangerous than for a smaller dog when it comes to them being closer to the ground and perhaps ingesting or sniffing something potentially dangerous.  They also can get cold faster than big dogs (winter alert).  It’s also a lot easier to run with a big dog.  The list goes on and on when it comes to the exercising benefits.

When it comes to the chew thing, we’ve always given Charlie plenty of chew toys- so no disasters in my house. Is he excitable? When somebody shows up with their dog- Absolutely! But we are working on it. Has he ever darted out- yes- but he’s way easier to catch than my tiny ones were- and that doesn’t break my back! As for nipping, yeah he’s got a bigger mouth…but here again, you’ve got to train your pup! Mine used to do that and it was corrected- (except for my daughter’s boyfriend, who actually plays with him this way- He allows it). But that’s where it stops.

What about manners? Let’s be clear here: A bad mannered dog is a bad mannered dog- no matter its size. I can understand that the damage could be greater coming from a large dog. But does that mean that bad behaviour gets a pass when it comes from a cute tiny dog? The problem lies with the owner. Are you getting a smaller dog because you have no desire to train a dog properly, therefore you think by getting a small breed you are scot free? Think about that.

And the barking (for those of you considering the benefits in a condo)- big dogs are generally not yappers. As for the couch and lap situation- I could not get my small dogs from running back and forth off the couches; or wanting lap attention as soon as anyone sat down. My big dogs were told No, and that was it. How do I get my cuddle fix? Well, there’s so much more dog to love, cuddle and pet with a large breed! Then there’s the begging at the table. My dog doesn’t lick counters or put his face on the table for food. I’ve seen way too many little dogs actually picked up at the dinner table (letting them sniff off plates or even eat from them…whaaat?)

Big dogs get a bad rap. When they greet you they can come right up to your face (again, if you allow this). Little dogs are not necessarily more behaved- they can do the same! Except they only can stretch up to your knees! Big dogs look scarier because of their size- but that makes it easier for us to predict their behaviour. And there is an advantage to them looking scarier (even if they’re often scared of their own shadow- or tail between their legs around a bossy Yorkie!)- I actually feel safer walking him at night.

There are true benefits to owning a big dog. More exercise for us; that much more doggy to love; easier to contain; larger bladders so less pipi accidents; Easier to potty train (don’t want to gross you out but I have to say, even the poops are easier to find in the grass- says she who’s stepped on Yorkie treasure trails way too often!); There’s the added safety and protection around you; and so much more fluff to keep you warm.

Like I said before- I get those real good reasons for wanting a small dog. But as I get older, every day I notice the benefits my big goofy Charlie brings to me. Small or big- our pets need our love and care- that’s all they ask for. After all, they have no idea how big or small they are. So please, don’t judge a dog by its size!

Animal Print: Purr-fect Yea…or Nay?

There’s no question that animal print can add flare to your look. But is that always true? Flaunting your edgy, fashionable side- let alone being gorgeous, luxurious and stylish,-these faux-furries are all-around complexion lovers! Plain and simple, they just suit everyone. So can there actually be a downside to that adorable leopard look? I’d say, a reluctant, and unfortunate, yes. In my opinion, animal print can sometimes also layer on the years… Age is just a number, but, no one wants to look like an old cat! So, how do we avoid that?

 

Diva TIPS: Animal print, as the magnificent animal it represents, wants the throne to itself. This kind of pattern needs no help from loud accessories and other over-the-top adornments. It makes a statement all on its own. That’s not to say that you can’t wear any accessories at all though! Just keep in mind that anything you match up with animal print should be way more subdued- or, avoid wearing it altogether. Because, here it is ladies…this is where your glam look can suddenly turn into a dress-up costume…and that is not fashionable; nor, is frumpy. It’s just overkill.

Ok, so what can you wear with, say, leopard? I love a great red lipstick with subtle makeup. Gold, as in a chain, bracelet, earrings or cuff- is also great because it brings a natural glow to the skin – adding warmth to the tone of the look. Of course all other clothing pieces should be one colour. Stick to neutrals, as these compliment best; allowing the print its spotlight. Avoid patterned scarves altogether.

And by the way, animal print is also considered a neutral. So when worn as an accessory rather than the outfit, it can immediately add a touch of luxury and glamour. So go ahead and wear that printed scarf, belt, bracelet cuff or booties to accentuate any plain color outfit! You’ll notice how once again, even such a minor detail will still somehow end up as the conversation piece that will steal the show.

So my darlings, wear your kitties to your heart’s desires, but paw-lease, wear them well!

 

 

What I’m wearing:

Hat: Fiorrucci

Reversible coat: Patrizia Pepe

Faux leather pants: Guess

Booties: Syle Design &Co

Red Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Coco: Arthur

Vintage red sunglasses

#confessionoftheday: I have myself done the no-no-overkill look on occasion (this is why I know how off it can look)…But who knows, maybe I was just letting out the eccentric in me! If you’re going for that look- then hey- go for it!

The Greeks Call it Yemista- Healthy Comfort Food

Deliciously filled baked vegetables that hit the spot! Yemista as the Greeks call this rich and satisfying meal is perfect for these nippy cold autumn days. For the record, Italians make this too- they call it, Verdura Ripiena (thought I’d add that in, since today’s cook, yours truly, is Italian;)

On that note, my recipe is a mix of both cultures: A Greek delicacy with an Italian flare. I have to warn you, this dish does take a bit of time to make. Here’s my way:

About 12 vegetables

3/4lb minced meat (I use a blend of veal, pork and beef)

2 onions

1 cup rice

salt, pepper, dill to taste, chilli flakes

Pam, a tiny bit of olive oil to drizzle

You can use a variety of different vegetables such as: Zucchini, eggplant, red, green, orange..peppers, yellow zucchini squash, potatoes , tomatoes- basically any vegetable that can easily be hollowed. Today, all I had on hand were tomatoes, red peppers and potatoes.

I usually begin by scraping out the vegetables, while keeping the top for a cap (you’ll see later). Then, all the scrapings are finely chopped and lightly salted.

If you clean out the potatoes first, as I did, you will need to place them in a bowl filled with cold water. This way they won’t turn brown while you work on the other vegetables.

Mix meat, scrapings, rice and onions together. Then, in a large pan, cook the mixture. Add salt, pepper and dill to your liking. If you prefer your dishes on the spicy side (Italian touch), add some chilli flakes, or peperoncino. Keep adding water as the rice swells.

When the whole mixture is consistently cooked (rice should be almost semi cooked), just go ahead and fill up the vegetables.

Place them neatly in a greased pan (I use Pam, but you can also use olive oil). Top them with their caps (helps keep them moist and cook evenly). Add about a ½ cup of water at the bottom of pan. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil.

Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 175C (325F) for about an hour. The last few minutes, uncover and set on broil – just long enough to get them nicely roasted.

Et voila! Or as the Greeks say: Etima!

Kali Orexi! Buon Appetito!

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