Showing posts from October, 2017

Wild Revolution: 20 Years of Tailor-Made Travel

In the age of the do-it-yourself doctrine, it’s easy to rule out travel agencies when crafting itineraries and booking trips. I for one have been slave to that philosophy, going so far as to mastermind our honeymoon to Italy, from flights and hotels to inter-city travel, tours, and car rentals. Admittedly, it was a supreme challenge requiring hours of tedious research, precious time I could have allocated elsewhere during that frenetic pre-wedding period. The reality is that some travel agents have preserved their place in our DIY-driven society. Adapting to the changing nature of booking travel and earning the title of “travel professionals” or “travel consultants,” they straddle multiple platforms to help clients achieve a wide array of vacations. In Lebanon, Wild Discovery has revolutionized the role of 'one-stop shop travel provider' to a superlative degree. This year, they’re celebrating 20 years of packaging holidays into memorable experiences, operating throug

Anticipating Motherhood: Take 2

Nine months. That’s three-quarters of the Gregorian calendar.  One full academic year. It’s also the gestation period of a human being.  Nine months, or 40 weeks – 280 days – span the growth and development of the fetus before baby arrives. I’m not sure where the time has gone, because  I recall thinking how very distant my estimated due date seemed back in March, at my first prenatal appointment. But here I am, 39 and 1/2 weeks in, with a center of gravity that threatens to topple me over! I can’t believe I’m in the homestretch. Less than a week to go! What are my sentiments? Mostly, I can’t take  the  suspense anymore – I need to put a face to the tiny human  who’s been squirming and kicking in my belly vigorously, particularly in this final month. He comes alive in the evening, shifting about and taking on different poses that launch my stomach into bizarre undulations. Thank you Farrah Berrou for baby's first pair of shoes (and judging by his kicks, he&

Bitfood: Streamlined On-Demand Food Delivery

There you are, trapped in an insidiously long work meeting that risks spilling over into your coveted lunch hour. The pangs of hunger are piercing your paunch without relent, and two sad realizations set in.  First, you won’t have any time to hop down to the corner bakery to wait in line and grab a sandwich – a pile of outstanding tasks looms over you forebodingly. Second, even if this meeting were to miraculously end now, you’d still need to hasten over to your desk, pore over the delivery menus, home in on a venue and dish, dial the delivery operator, articulate your order, communicate special requests, provide work address and directions, rush down to the nearest ATM to withdraw cash, and then watch the clock tick as the appointed delivery time – immediately – transforms to eternity plus some. Food order and delivery can be a time-consuming process. If only you’d known about Bitfood . No, not the cryptocurrency and digital payment system known as Bitcoin , th

Wesley's Wholesale: Making A Difference in Our Community

These days, consumers hold companies to high standards. We want to know that a business is building something more than simply revenues. Respect for the environment, philanthropy, ethical labor practices, and volunteering are some of the factors we consider when assessing how mindful a corporation is of the community. In fact, corporate social responsibility (CSR) represents the policies, practices and initiatives a company subscribes to in order to govern itself with integrity and transparency and leave a positive imprint on social and environmental well-being. In Lebanon, one such company has taken it upon itself to make a real difference in the country, and in doing so, it has earned my heartfelt trust. Family-owned and operated, Wesley’s Wholesale isn’t merely focused on food essentials (though happily for us, they do a darn good job at it!). Wesley’s has undertaken a variety of community-based initiatives that are all about channeling profit to benefit people and plane

Lebanese Food Outside Lebanon: Depressing

Dining out at a Lebanese restaurant outside the motherland has become somewhat of a stigmatic experience. In fact, if I’m looking for a surefire way of being disappointed, my best bet is to consult Yelp for local Mediterranean cuisine and follow through with a reservation at any of the rated eateries. Try to think back to the last time you enjoyed Lebanese food to a superlative standard outside of Lebanon or the Arab countries. Can you conjure up even one such scenario? I lived in Boston for two years and discovered nothing even mildly close to the rich, earthy taste of hummus or the fresh, crisp blend of parsley and bulgur in tabbouleh that we Lebanese have come to know and adore in our fertile Mediterranean paradise. From fast food joints like Aceituna near Kendall Square to more family-style diners like CafĂ© Barada in Davis Square, my appetite was never piqued. An expedition out to Norwood, the so-called Lebanese hotbed of greater Boston, for a proper taste of mezza left m

Breaking Down Miss Lebanon 2017: A Mathematical Approach

Blame the engineer in me, but while the rest of Lebanon tuned in zealously to Miss Lebanon last Sunday on LBCI – or equally, on Twitter – I waited a few days to catch it on YouTube . Armed with control over the play, pause, and replay buttons, and wielding a pen and notepad, I thus watched one of the country’s most highly anticipated entertainment stunts of the year. Ordinarily, we don’t apply a scientific lens to beauty pageants. Sure, there are some numbers involved, notably the height and weight of each participant. But I was interested in a completely different set of numerical figures, and that was the judges’ scores. What I discovered would intrigue the most discerning of audiences. Miss Lebanon 2017 contestants in elegant wear (photo source: APF) Let’s start with the basics: name, height and weight (in both metric and English units), and order of appearance in the pageant lineup, which as a variable is more instrumental than first meets the eye.