Friday, 31 March 2017


No matter how far we go, we're endlessly surpassed by how much we all have in common...

The Kate Spade New York Spring 2017 collection is fun and full of colour! Taking inspiration from Morocco, the collection if full of bold colours, pom poms, tassels, blossoms and airy silhouettes.
Creative Director of Kate Spade, Deborah Lloyd explains on the Kate Spade website that the hues used in the collection were "inspired by the colourful spices and pigments in the markets."  

It is collections such as these, which demonstrate the merging of cultures through fashion, that truly excite me! (Also, the fact that this collection features a top named after me! See below) The campaign for this collection aims to highlight the similarities between Morocco and New York, or more specifically, Marrakech and midtown Manhatten.  The website states, "in some ways, Marrakech and midtown Manhatten don't look so different after all." The brand furthers this message through their video ad which features a camel, decorated in the brand's merchandise, being walked by model Fernanda Ly throughout the streets of New York.  At one point, Ly ties the camel's leash to a fire hydrant, as one would a pet, while she stops to buy a coffee and bagel.  The message: Moroccan style fits seamlessly into North American culture.  

The phrase stated at the beginning of this post, which was quoted from the Kate Spade website ("no matter how far we go, we're endlessly surprised by how much we all have in common"), is a great reminder of how we are all connected, no matter what our background.  That is the fun part about culture and language - discovering hidden similarities through apparent differences. 

The brand declares on it's website that this year they will be celebrating a global world - "there's just so much to see beyond our desks and homes."  I can't wait to see what they have in store next!

All pics via Kate Spade website

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Crazy March!
VLD Italian 101 - Proverb 8

This proverb works perfectly for the weather we've experienced these past couple days here in Toronto!  Yesterday we enjoyed +10 degree (celsius) weather, while today we are shivering in - 4 ("feel like -12") temperatures.

This proverb always makes me laugh with it's choice of words ("Marzo pazzerello"), and it amazes me with its truth.  After all, that's the fun about proverbs - they are little tidbits of wisdom wrapped up in clever little phrases. 

This particular proverb serves the purpose of explaining the unpredictable weather in the month of March.  The contradicting statement, "guarda il sole e prende l'ombrello" (look at the sun and grab an umbrella), emphasizes how one cannot trust March weather and should be prepared for anything.

Here are a few more fun and interesting proverbs regarding the weather in March:

Marzo cambia sette cappelli al giorno.  
March changes seven hats a day.

Marzo ha comprato la pelliccia a sua madre, ma tre giorni dopo l'ha venduta.
March bought the fur coat for his mother, but three days later sold it.

Marzo tinge e Aprile dipinge.
March dyes and April paints.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Biscotti Traditions

If you have ever been to an Italian-Canadian wedding, baptism, or communion or spent any holiday (ie. Christmas, Easter, etc.) with Italian-Canadians, chances are you have probably experienced "the biscotti."  I emphasize "the biscotti," because biscotti, which is Italian for "cookies," are very much their own event at these occasions.

While planning my wedding, I will have to admit, I just didn't understand the whole biscotti craze.  In fact, I was slightly annoyed by all the the fuss over the planning and selecting of which cookies to make, and secretly longed for the idea of a simple dessert table, a-la-pinterest-style, for my bridal shower.  I even went so far as to tell my mother that I didn't really care for many biscotti at my bridal shower, and perhaps was going to scrap the whole idea of having them (the horror!).  Once my mother got over the shock, she explained to me that whether I wanted to have them or not, people were going to bring them, as it was tradition.  Now, perhaps you are thinking, "why not just tell them to NOT bring them?"  You see, the Italian biscotti tradition at these events works much like a gift offering.  Family and friends bake cookies for their loved ones, and then when it comes time for their own event, those loved ones return the favour.  What's more, each Italian region has their own style of traditional baked goods.  Therefore, part of the pride of presenting these goods involves sharing a part of one's cultural history.

Thus, it wasn't until the day of my bridal shower that I realized just how wrong I was about this tradition, and in fact, just how special it really was.  As guests poured in, so did the multitude of Italian biscotti (I must mention, many other equally wonderful treats were also presented but for the sake of this post, I am concentrating on the traditional baked biscotti). Faces beamed with pride as family and friends showed me their creations that they so lovingly made for my special day.  Once I caught a glimpse of this, I realized why this tradition was so important; these biscotti demonstrated such an outpour of love and care, as well as years of cherished family traditions.  This all in turn, helped to make the occasion that much more special.

Fast forward to my daughter's baptism that we recently celebrated, and I am happy to say that "the biscotti" were once again present.  This time, as I experienced the careful selection of which biscotti to make and the hustle and bustle of getting them ready on time, I felt grateful to see this very special cultural tradition continue as part of my daughter's sacred day.

To find out more about the tradition of Italian biscotti visit my full length article that I wrote for Panoram Italia Magazine.  The page also contains a link to some great Italian biscotti recipes! Enjoy!

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