Friday, 16 March 2018

Weekend Reading

1. Top Fashion for Spring 2018: Check out the biggest trends from designer runways for Spring 2018!

2. Spring Decor Ideas: Tired of winter?  Me too.  Spruce up your home for the upcoming season with these great ideas!

3. Sunday Brunch: Break out the eggs, bacon and... ricotta?  Check out this unique twist on the classic omelet!

4. Happiest Country in the World: We may not be the 1st on the list, but Canada made it to the top 10 for happiest countries in the world!  Check out how we ranked!

5. Difference between Canadian men and Italian men:  Join blogger, Jasmine (a Canadian living in Italy), from Questa Dolce Vita, as she comically describes the "subtle" differences between Canadian and Italian men. 

Happy Reading!

Monday, 12 March 2018


Hello everyone!  It's March Break week here in Toronto! There is lots to see and do, and of course it's always better to have some music to go along with your fun!  

For this week's Music Monday, Viva la Dolce is happy to feature, Tiziano Ferro (a longtime favourite artist!).  The song featured is, "'Solo' è solo una parola" ("Alone is just a word"), which is the sixth release from his latest album, "Il Mestiere della Vita" ("The Profession of Life").

This song's opening lyrics state, "Il cuore è andato in guerra, ma la vita non l'ho persa" ("My heart went to war, but I haven't lost my life").  This sets the tone for an emotional ballad which, written by Ferro himself, describes a rocky relationship that has come to an end.  The ballad also sheds light on the determination to overcome one's heartache, and survive on one's own, as Ferro states, "'solo' è solo una parola," ("'alone' is just a word"). 

Be sure to check out the dramatic video below, where Tiziano Ferro and Italian actress, Violante Placido, portray the battle between love and hate in this relationship.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Dolce To-Do ~ March List!

March is here and we are getting closer to warmer weather! As preparations for the Spring season being, so does the desire for revitalization in our lives.  This month's list is full of ideas to help refresh and rejuvenate our spirits!  Happy Planning! :)

*   *   *   *   * 
1. Clean out your clutter ~ As the season begins to change, so do our wardrobe choices. As you swap our your winter clothes and make room for your spring selection, do an inventory check of your closet and declutter all of those unwanted/unused items.

2. Go Green ~ In honour of St. Patricks Day this month, enjoy some green coloured menu items! For example, try a new green smoothie recipe, whip up some green pea soup, or make it an all-green veggies night at dinner!  

3. Spring Decor ~  Easter Bunnies, Lilies and Coloured Eggs - Oh my!  'Tis the season to break out the spring decor, and according to this year's calendar, the Easter decor as well!  With fresh flowers and plants, as well as pastel coloured knick-knacks, your home is sure to feel fresh and vibrant!

4. Workout Routine ~  Okay, so your plans to start exercising in the new year haven't exactly kicked off as you wanted.  If you're serious about getting into shape this year, now is the time to figure out your workout routine and get started - especially if you're aiming for that beach body by summer!

5. Book a getaway ~  With March Break this month, you have the opportunity to take the family on a fun adventure!  Even if you want to stay local, there are plenty of fun activities to see and do around the city. It's a good time to take advantage of some great promotions!

6. Get Learning ~  So you've always wanted to try ...  well whatever it is, now is the time to check out if there is a class for it!  Spring registration begins early, so be sure to check your local community centres or collages now for any upcoming courses.

7. Celebrate the butterfly ~ March 14th marks National Butterfly Day!  Visit a butterfly conservatory and take a moment to admire these beautiful creatures!

8. Spritz on the perfume - March 21st marks International Fragrance Day!  Spoil yourself with a new perfume, or bask in your one of your all-time favourite scents!

9. Girl Time ~ Seeing as March is a month dedicated to the celebration of women, particularly on March 8th - International Women's Day - take some time time to hang out with your girlfriends!  Whether it be a night on the town, a day at the spa, or a chill-fest on the couch, be sure to enjoy some quality time with your besties!

10. Reflect ~ With a new season, comes a renewed sense of spirit.  Take some time to reflect on where you are in life and where you are headed.  Are you travelling in the right direction?  Are you on the path to achieve the goals you set at the beginning of this year?  If you find yourself answering no, then take some time to evaluate your situation, and see what improvements you can make, so you can get back on track! 

Monday, 5 March 2018

Music Monday ~ N. 24

This week's music Monday is dedicated to Laura Pausini's latest single, "Non è detto."

This song speaks of a broken relationship.  While there is a lot of hurt and confusion resulting from the break-up, the lyrics also explain the respect and care that can remain in such circumstances.
This single, which quickly rose to #1 on the Italian iTunes charts and to a top 10 position on the European and Latin American charts, comes in anticipation of Pausini's new record, "Fatti Sentire" (available March 16th).

Pausini is one of Italy's powerhouse vocalists.  With a career spanning over 25 years in the music industry, Pausini is not only one of Italy's top artists, but is also celebrated around the world.  In fact, the singer has announced she will be commencing a world wide tour this summer.

Monday, 26 February 2018


As February comes to end, VLD finishes off the love-themed Music Monday tracks with a popular female vocalist, Arisa, and her song, "Meraviglioso Amore Mio."

Arisa's delicate vocals lend to the beauty of the lyrics in this song.  As she sings of her "marvellous" love, and all the wonderful things it has given her, you can't help but be taken along on her journey and fall mesmerized yourself.

This singer, who rose to fame after participating in the 2009 Sanremo Music Festival, is one of Italy's most popular female vocalists.  At the age of 36, she is well known for her great musical success as well as her roles in Italian films, "Tutta Colpa della Musica" (R. Tognazzi), "The Worst Week of my Life" (A. Genovesi), and "Colpi di Fulmine" (N. Parenti).

Friday, 23 February 2018

Understanding Cultural Fluency

This past week, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture on Cultural Fluency, by University of Toronto's award winning faculty member and Assistant Professor, Nouman Ashraf.

Ashraf teaches in a variety of areas within the Rotman School of Management, with a specialized focus on organizational design and leadership strategies in the areas of diversity and inclusion.  As such, his lecture focused on the ways in which we as individuals can learn to become more open and accepting to those who are different from us - something that most of us strive to do, but sometimes fall short.

Ashraf opened the evening with an exercise that tested our comfort zones.  He asked everyone in the audience to draw the person they were sitting beside.  As individuals began drawing their partner, who was likely a stranger to them, you heard giggling all around the room.  After the exercise was completed, Ashraf pointed out just how uncomfortable everyone was during the little experiment, and explained that he was allowing us to step outside our comfort zones.  After all, "there isn't much growth in our comfort zones, because you're not challenging yourself."

He then proceeded to ask us what we do when we meet someone who clashes with our personality.  Many quickly replied that they avoid that individual.  Ashraf suggested otherwise: "Many times, we find ourselves retreating because we don't know how to act around certain people who are different.  When someone rubs you the wrong way, or is different from you, you should try and get to know them better." He further explained that, when we resist truly getting to know others, we only further enforce the ideas, or stereotypes, that we have of them in our minds.

Ashraf outlined the three things that need to be in place for Cultural Fluency to function proerly:
1.  We need to recognize that we our identities are a construction of numerous ideas, experiences and perspectives.
2. We evolve, due to point #1
3. We have the power which of point #1 (the experiences, ideas, and perspectives) create our identities.

Ashraf went on to explain another three important points to help with cultural fluency:
"Innovation begins when we own our experiences and our narratives, also known as our Ideation...New ideas rarely come from people isolating themselves from others."

As such, including, or integrating, oneself, is an important aspect of attaining cultural fluency. However, as Ashraf stated, "Inclusion is a choice."  If you're curious about something, you need to decide to put yourself out there and learn more about it. 

After pointing out all of the above thought provoking points, Ashraf then focused on Cultural Fluency Strategy. While he mentioned a multitude of ideas, some of the main takeaways I noted were: 

~ it is important to remember that all of our experiences are framed by our previous cultural knowledge.  Thus, when trying to be culturally fluent, one must suspend those "cultural frames" to truly be empathetic to another culture.  Basically, to truly put yourself in another shoes, you need to remove all the biases and stereotypes you hold of that culture.

~ "One must engage the other person in their fullest sense."  Try to understand what the other person truly needs, not, just what is best for you.

What is under the reality of exclusion?  The need to be understood.  

Ashraf's lecture sheds light on a topic which is especially important in today's global communities, where we are all called to work and live equally. It's important to remember to respect and celebrate each others differences and be open to learning some new perspectives!    

Friday, 16 February 2018


This weekend is Family Day Weekend here in Toronto, and there is much to see and do in the city! 

For those of you looking for a little cultural flair, specifically Italian culture, check out my top five picks below!

*   *   *   *   *

1. Giro d'Italia ~  Indulge in savory and sweet dishes customized from various regions of Italy!  This event, which runs from February 15th-25th, features 16 restaurants in the city, with each featuring food from a specific region of Italy. This tasty and educational experience has been organized by The Consorzio di Ristoranti Italiani, a group of Italian restaurant owners and chefs whose aim is "to celebrate regional Italian cuisine through authentic food and experiences." 

2. ART EXHIBITION: Bruno Billio ~ The Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Italian Institute of Culture) will be featuring an exhibit of Italian-Canadian artist, Bruno Billio.  Billio works include installation art, sculpture and design. While he currently works and lives in Toronto, he has exhibited internationally in Milan, London, Miami, New York and Los Angeles. This event is free admission and runs from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Insitute until February 19th.

3. "Mamma: In the Meantime" ~ This photographic tale by, Tony Luciani, describes his journey with his 94-year-old mother, as she battles Dementia.  Luciani's work navigates this tough topic in a gentle manner, and ultimately offers the hopeful message, that life does not end with the diagnosis of this illness. This event, organized by Villa Charities, can be found at Columbus Centre and runs from February 15th - April 2nd. 
4. Eaton Gallery of Rome - Be transported back in time when visiting this exhibit which features over 500 Roman artifacts that highlight Roman daily life in the time period of 900 BC to AD 476.  This gallery is currently on exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.

5. Italiano Vero - La Famiglia Party ~ For the younger crowd, who is looking for a party with an Italian vibe, check out Italiano Vero's "La Famiglia" club event this weekend.  The party features current music mixed in with traditional Italian folklore sounds, as well as some great Italian eats such as, Nutella bombe!  

design + development by kelly christine studio