Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I think I'm a kind person. I'm definitely not Mother Teresa but I'm a big fan of acts of kindness (even if they are very small acts) and friendliness. I give a helping hand when I see someone in need; if the person behind me at the checkout counter in the supermarket has a few items, I'll let him/her take my spot; I'll hold a door or an elevator; I'll start a casual conversation when in a waiting room, etc. I sometimes receive kindness and smiles in return... I also receive strange looks and discomfort.

A few weeks ago, I went to give a deposit to one of our wedding vendors. This vendor's office was only a few steps away from his niece's store where she sells lovely clothes and accessories for women. We walked the few steps to the store where he introduced me to her, thanked me for the deposit then went about his day. After chatting with the shop owner for about 15 minutes, I told her that I would come back another day to shop.

As we were saying our goodbyes, she told me to pick something from the store as a gift from her uncle/the vendor. With a smile on my face and confusion in my eyes, I couldn't help but ask her Why!? She let out a small laugh and started showing me different items. My mind started racing and I started asking myself many different things: Is this a prank? Did the vendor look legitimate? Would he take off with my deposit? What's the catch? Why would she just give me something? Am I being swindled? 

After rationalizing the situation in my head, I realized that I had thought too hard. The answer was clear... I was dealing with nice people who were simply being kind and friendly!

As I left the store with my freebie-goodie (a beautiful Beeswax candle in a floral teacup), I could not pinpoint what I was feeling. On one hand, at the sight their generosity, I had a soothing feeling of comfort and reassurance. On the other hand, somewhat ashamed, I asked myself "isn't it sad?". Isn't it sad that our reaction to generosity is apprehension; we mistake politeness for flirtation and we question kindness' intention?

I bet the vendor I dealt with and his niece thought that all they did was give a little gift. They did much more than that- they created ripples of kindness. Every little thing we do goes out into the world like a ripple and affects another action and another person.

Cast a good stone...

Be kind to your body as well. Here is an extremely healthy, vitamin-packed Gazpacho recipe that is perfect for the hot summer days to come!

yield: 4 servings
recipe adapted from


  • - 2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • - 3 small cloves garlic, peeled
  • - 1/2 small sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • - 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • - 1 pound English cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
  • - 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • - salt and black pepper
  • Garnish
  • - 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • - 1 cup fresh corn kernels 
  • - 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • - 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • - crusty bread (optional)


1- Working in batches, place the tomatoes, garlic, onion, bell peppers, and cucumbers in a food processor and pulse until almost pureed.

2- Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and dash of pepper.

3- Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with the goat cheese, corn, and cilantro.

4- Drizzle with the olive oil and serve with the crusty bread (if using).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Welcoming the Bugs

I have a confession to make... A confession that may surprise some Montreal-ers. I don't like hockey and I have never watched a full hockey game. Mr. A loves hockey and hardly ever misses a game. In fact, he loves it so much that visiting wedding vendors has become extra tricky nowadays because everything has to revolve around the playoffs' schedule. 

When Mr. A is watching the game at home, I usually play on my phone (newest game obsession: 2048!!) or am busy in the kitchen. Sporting my lovely Habs t-shirt (a thoughtful gift from Mr. A), I have seen two or three live games.  Even surrounded by thousands of hyped fans, my mind wanders and I end up watching the people around me more than I watch the action on the ice. I look at what everyone is wearing, scale their drunkenness levels, give semi-nasty looks to the ones behind me who kick my shoulder surprisingly hard (that happened once), and of course, wait for the cue to jump and cheer when everyone else jumps and cheers. 

I guess the hockey bug bit me because, to my absolute shock, yesterday was different! I couldn't believe that I was interested in the game in the first period and a little in the second period of the game. My eyes were stuck to the screen like a magnet and the sound effects of the two great men in my life (Mr. A and Bab!) really made watching the game a treat. I cheered loudly when we scored (not as loud as the Misters though), my heart beat quickly when the Bruins were near our net (boo!), I got angry during penalties... I was a real fan!  

Like I said, for some reason, the game had my full attention during its first period and mid-way into its second period. I guess the hockey bug that bit me was very small (must have been a hockey-bug-in-training)... or the fact that we had a decent lead made the game less interesting for me... or maybe the thought of putting leftover food away and washing dishes was much more exciting to me (any excuse to be in the kitchen!). Whatever the reason was, I welcome the hockey bug to bite me again! It felt nice to be a member of the CH fan club. It makes me feel like a true Montrealer! 

My favorite part of hockey games: looking at what treat-of-a-suit Don Cherry will be wearing. Yesterday was another wonderful gem... Cherry-suit Cherry! 

In honor of Mr. Cherry and his suit, try this delicious recipe next time you bake! 

Chocolate-Cherry Scones

- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp chilled butter
- 1/3-1/2 cup cold milk (plus 2 tbsp more for brushing on scones)
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1 tsp grated orange peel
- 2 tbsp of sugar for sprinkling on scones (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Sift the dry ingredients together.
3. Cube the butter into pea-size pieces and rub in the flour mixture until a coarse meal forms
4. Add the chocolate chips, dried cherries and grated orange peel and mix.
5. Stir in 1/3 cup of milk and add a little more if the dough is too dry. 
6. Form the dough into a 1-inch thick disk. Cut into 6 wedges and place on a baking sheet.
7. Brush the wedges with a little bit of milk (and dust with sugar if you want) and bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Devour warm or at room temperature

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

... and with a smile.

Hello dear readers. Here I am! Magically making another appearance after my recurring and not-so-impressive disappearing acts. As I have previously mentioned, life seems to be getting in the way of my blogging time. As the days pass and the intermission between my posts become longer and longer, I ask myself how I cannot seem to find the time to blog. I don't even have kids yet! How can I not find time?!?! 

Life is not only getting in the way of my blogging time; life is also getting in the way of life. For example, every year, during the weeks creeping up to Easter and Christmas/New Year's, I get in super-housewife-mode. I create a menu, make a cooking schedule and spend hours in the kitchen (sometimes flirting with the idea of moving my bed to the kitchen as well). This year, I had only squiggled a few items on a half-ripped piece of paper. I threw that piece of paper away a few days before Easter knowing that I must surrender and still asking myself where the time had gone.

Do not get me wrong; I am very aware that I am not a ridiculously busy person (although one would be very surprised to know how time-consuming wedding planning is). I see so many people who juggle many more difficult things than I do and I always ask myself how they do it. 

Judge me if you will but one of my biggest desires as a child was not to become a singer, actress, astronaut, etc. I wanted to be a great housewife. I wanted to be like Martha Stewart (minus the whole scandal that landed her time in jail). I wanted to set tables like her, throw exquisite dinner parties like her and, most of all, do it all with a smile and make it seem effortless. 

Today, my biggest desire is not be a housewife (although there is nothing wrong with that); it is to be successful at everything I do. So here I am, trying to be Martha Stewart-esque at home, Hillary Clinton-esque at work, a top wedding planner during the time in between, a blogger...  I am striving to be the woman who can do it all... effortlessly and with a smile. 

That said, I have learned that "effortless" is merely a perception. Nothing is effortless. Even things you enjoy doing (like blogging!) require effort, perseverance and hard work. So, I have decided to face life (with all its challenges, with all its time constraints and with all its glory) head on. I will do it all... effortFULLY and always with a smile.