Showing posts from 2018

What 2018 Taught Me

In a matter of a few short days, our feeds are going to flood with lofty New Year’s resolutions. It’s as if folks are waiting for a bell to sound to get on their marks, get set, and go. Let’s be real: every day is an invitation to identify personal weaknesses and work to either reverse, overcome or obliterate them. And that is the approach I adopted over the course of this past year, which witnessed major changes in my life. I abandoned a fast-paced corporate job at an Alpha bank in pursuit of full-time, unassisted motherhood. That in and of itself was a milestone decision, one that has thrown unfathomable challenges   in my path . I find myself constantly stretched thin as I juggle raising a toddler, managing a household, and tending to independent projects, all while trying to remain sane and look decent. 2018 has seen a fierce warrior emerge in me, and  here’s what I learned along the way. Social media can be a massive cloud of hot air . Heard of the millennial condition

Holiday Gourmet Guide in Beirut

Whether you’re descending upon Beirut for a few weeks this holiday season, or you’re a valiant local braving the traffic impasses on our roads, there’s redemption yet: Lebanon’s lively gourmet scene. Heck, if we as a country can unanimously decide on a solitary national treasure to cherish and uphold, it’s the cuisine and our intense love thereof. Not only do we do it better, we share immense appreciation for food (and drink) as an art form. I won’t sit here and wax poetic about the age-old institutions you’ll no doubt be tucking into with family. Nope. This list is a casual, contemporary roundup of cool, seasonal stuff you've gotta gorge on before we ring in 2019. None of it is here to stay, so make haste and ready your eating utensils. Mostly, just bring your appetite. GOOD FOOD Classic Burger Joint For the past six months, I’ve been monitoring Classic Burger Joint with eagle eyes. The remarkable improvement in the quality of meat, freshness of ingredients, and

Holiday Wine Guide: Top Ten Bottles Under $20 at Wesley’s Wholesale

December is here, promising good cheer, which means we are officially in holiday mode! That translates to lavish tables of good food, chilly weather, Christmas soundtracks on playback, and of course, loving, smothering family. Whether you deem the foregoing in a positive or not so positive light, the great news is I have just the party favor – or antidote – to make it all magical. And wine not! Indeed, there’s nothing like that bittersweet grape elixir to render the holidays – or any occasion, for that matter – a shade more festive, forgiving, and frolicky. Rich white wines, big spicy reds, fruity finishes, oaky flavors, vanilla bouquets: The vast world of wine may not be particularly easy to fathom, but it washes down without a hitch. And a bottle makes a perfect dinner party gift, or an invitation to cozy up on the couch while consuming corny Christmas romances on Netflix. Which labels, you inquire? Let’s make this a pocket-friendly roundup, because most of us find ourselves

Five Days in Istanbul

The last time we traveled was nearly a year ago, when we returned to Beirut after Stephen’s birth in California. Now that he’s a year old, we felt it appropriate to make a quick family getaway to a nearby country. Turkey immediately came to mind, as neither I nor my husband had ever visited. Indeed, Istanbul is about an hour and a half plane ride from Beirut, and it is a popular destination for Lebanese because no visa is required. We booked a four-night stay in the capital, divided between Karaköy, close to the historic district, and Taksim, just a stone’s throw from Istiklal Caddesi. I’d only entertained a few fleeting perceptions of Istanbul before arriving, but few proved to be accurate. Yes, the Turks are rather sly and expedient, much like the Lebanese. For example, as we exited the airport and scanned the sidewalk for taxis, a porter quickly darted to our side, and once he’d tucked us in to a cab, he demanded a fee. Then, our taxi driver pretended to know exactly where

Oum el Nour, Turtles, and the Fight Against Drugs

Up until a month ago, I had never heard of Oum el Nour, which translates to “mother of light” in Arabic. A Lebanese NGO established in 1990 with sister branches in France and the US, Oum el Nour was born out of an urge to save a captive friend from the shackles of drugs. Over the past 28 years, the organization has assisted over 7,000 men and women to recover and go on to lead productive, prosperous lives. Services are rendered free of charge, so raising funds is of critical importance to keep the wheels in motion. This year, Oum el Nour, steered by a fresh and vibrant committee, enlisted the skills of 15 internationally celebrated artists to reconceive their peer Ghassan Zard’s sculpted turtle for eventual auctioning. Why the turtle? Long recognized as the epitome of persistence, determination, and endurance, the turtle is a survivor. It possesses the ability to protect itself against aggressors, which to be fair are few. Such an innocent aura dons it longevity, perhaps explainin