My everyday jewelry

“As a Haitian, jewelry is an integral part of our core. In fact, there can only be two explanations for not wearing any jewelry at all: Either you’ve joined the extreme wing of some religious group or you’re in mourning.”

Kids ears tend to get pierced as early as one year old. Sometimes even sooner. In retrospect remembering that does make me smile considering a lot of people here don’t wear any type of jewelry at all. Although I must say in Montreal people tend to wear at least one piece of well-crafted jewelry since we are lucky enough to have a good amount of designers excelling in that field. So you could say not wearing any jewelry for me is against nature but I’ve been known to go without.

Below are a couple of shots of my go-to jewelry lately:

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Proof I’ve mastered my resting bitch face 🙂

Shot two

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Shot 4

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I am also definitely planning on spicing things up by piling on the bling a little bit more. We’ll see…:). Thank you for passing by and gros bisoux!

What makes for a satisfied and memorable meal: Writing about food using all your senses.

I recently signed up for a food writing class and it’s been a blast! Lately I’ve been trying to spice up my writing and attack the whole process from a different angle which is why I’ve specifically signed up for the class. Here is an excerpt of the class introduction on the QWF (Quebec writer’s federation) site:

“But it isn’t just what’s on our plates that we write about when we write about food. As the famous American food writer M.F.K. Fisher once wrote: “It seems to me our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it… and it is all one.” 

As a first  generation immigrant, food is a way for me to carry a bit of my culture’s ADN with me wherever  I go and being able to hopefully pass some of it down to my children some day. I am Haitian and the surest way to kill me is to prevent me from eating rice or all sort of grain for that matter. You do that and you’ll have my death on your conscience :). I was raised on grains, healthy grains that is. I have been eating that stuff since I was a baby! In fact, in Haiti, we don’t really have food specifically dedicated to babies, except for the occasional Gerber baby pot which is not used that often. Our version of baby food is usually a mash version of adult food except that it’s packed with a lot more food designed to fortify and nourish like spinach, carrots, bananas, beans, plantains, etc.,. All of this is introduced as soon as the doctor allows solid food.

“Food is not just about fuel and sustenance. It’s about people and places and the history behind those people and places. It’s about a mood, a specific time and place coupled with a specific emotion…”

Throughout the class, one question that keeps coming up time and time again is: What makes for a happy, satisfied and memorable meal? Is it the people we share it with? the emotions and memories it evokes long after the experience is gone? Is it a specific time and place? I am inclined to think it is all of the above.  Food can carry so much memories, so much meaning fueled with faces and places and emotions. In class, we are encouraged to use all of our senses when writing a piece of food review.

Our third class was about food photography. For this class, our teacher prepared a tray full of all kinds of sins worthy of a game of throne gathering. Here is a pic below. It is not one of my best because we were pressed for time and my phone was dying:

Mood: “A lazy Friday night in with sex on the menu and possibly a few episodes of Game of thrones…”

Taste: “This bread right here tasted like the first day of Spring after a long harsh winter…” and yes I am on a low-carb diet 🙂

I came to this class to better my writing and instead it’s been like a trip down memory lane and a reminder of my roots. Our exchange in class makes me realize food is one of the few small pleasures we can all enjoy to some degree. A way to make life more full and happy. Since starting the class, I try to be more appreciative of what I eat and enjoy it a bit more more and not rush it. I am also happy to report writing scenes demanding a  great deal of description  in my novel has gotten a lot better and easier. I now feel like I have the right tools to progress in the right direction.

Thank you for passing by and don’t forget to comment, like or share this article. Gros bisoux!

 

 

 

It is my birthday week!!!!!

“When life hands you a lemon, don’t make lemonades, find good lighting and take a selfie!”

The day I took these selfies, I went for some vaccine and receive quite a bit of disappointing news. I was discouraged. While I was sitting in the health clinic waiting room I noticed my particular corner was literally flooded with the most amazing light. I felt like I was sitting under the glow of a 1,000 candle lights. My vain little self immediately took over and before I knew it I was pouting and posing as if my life depended on it. At some point I even stood up trying to get a better angle of my accessories. The poor man sitting across from me looked very worried. He was probably asking himself if he should call out one of the nurses 🙂

I thank God everyday for my vain self!

Last year I turned 40 . I felt like a bitten human being turning into a vampire for the first time. This October I turned 41. Forty-one. Can’t believe I am already 41! Of course, I look nothing like it people, let it be said and pondered and remembered 🙂  I have no words of wisdom except “Do what works for you and stay pretty”.

“We are all going to age no matter how many collagen masks we do.”

 I am grateful. Yes I am! No matter how many times I have ranted about the fact that I am getting older. Now more than ever I do realize lots of people would have liked to be alive today celebrating another milestone. But they are not because life decided otherwise. Still, sometimes ungratefulness kicks in and I forget all about it 🙂

Celebrating my birthday also means that Fall is here to stay. Yes to hot drinks and Netflix marathon with my main squeeze (only squeeze, really)! And most importantly: Christmas is around the corner so I can start listening to Christmas music 🙂

Thank you for passing by 🙂

 

 

 

 

Hairdresser from hell made me look like a baby dinosaur

I remember it like it was yesterday when I call to book that hair appointment. I had been thinking about a drastic haircut for a while now. This time I had told myself I wanted to look completely different. A real departure from my usual self. I wanted to feel elevated and posh (Insert pink champagne emoji here). It just happened I used to pass by a certain hair salon all the time on my way to work. To be truthful it looked a bit posh with people coming out of there looking like retired models. I guess I was hoping some of that chic vibe would rub on me. Go figure…

“I could already see myself walking out of there finally looking like my higher self: long, lean, with hair that could double up as a parachute if needs be (I never seem to have enough volume)……..”

 When I called to make the appointment, the clerk made it a point to let me know that the person who does my type of hair is part owner of the salon and does mostly photo shoots and big projects with the likes of artists and such. In other words, I should feel grateful he even accepted to touch my mere mortal head (at this point I am feeling rather emotional and grateful). Fast forward a few days later and I am sitting at the salon waiting for the haircut of my life. First of all, the assistant who shampooed my hair acted like my scalp was made of broken  glass. Although I like a bit of a scrub, I refrained from mentioning it for fear of sounding like I usually get my hair washed by Shrek. After the shampoo she announced the “coiffeur” won”t be long. After her departure, I sat there conscious my life was about to change forever, a historical moment so to speak. Well, my life was about to change all right. 

 “I came in looking like a law abiding citizen and came out looking like a baby dinosaur who just survived a hurricane”

 Finally, the headmaster deigned to gratify my mere mortal broke self of his presence. He looked rather annoyed, like a true artist who’s forced to earn a living while waiting for ‘his art’ to sustain him. I suppose I was not his type of clientele. Nevertheless, he “sucked it up” and got to work. When I tried to show him a few pics I had brought, he silenced me with with a raised eyebrow. I felt as intimidated as if I had interrupted a famous painter. When he finally finished what he probably thought was his “work of art “, he let out a big sigh.  Then and only then did I dare look in the mirror. Shocking. I no longer looked like I belonged in the human species. In fact, I looked like a baby dinosaur who just survived a hurricane.

I was so shocked I didn’t say anything for a good little while. He was beaming. I had become “his creation”. I briefly thought about crying but realized with such a haircut, I would probably look even worse (read: deranged baby dinosaur). I ran my fingers through the few strands of hair I had left and mustered enough courage to ask him how he thought I should style it. His answer: “Just let it do its thing”. My answer: “Ah, I see..”. I had expressed interest in a set of comb upon my arrival, he graciously gifted it to me. He might have realized I was this close to commit murder. Confused, I said thank you and rushed home where I spent the rest of the evening alternating between moments of staring at myself in the mirror trying to look like a cute baby dinosaur  and moments of intense cursing out loud.  

My advice: If you’re not used to the hairdresser and you’re going for a drastic cut, go progressively. This way if the first haircut doesn’t work out you can at least leave your house. Second: Ask to see their work (Obvious, right? Well, apparently not cause I didn’t do any such things…) Did I mention I was a sucker for eccentric and weird human beings? Well, now you know.  I suppose that’s what you get when you have a penchant for incompetent people masquerading as eccentric artists…

What about you lovely readers? I’ d love to hear your own experience…

Thank you very much for liking, commenting and sharing this article and gros bisoux:)

 

Workout that delivers: 30 min hit

I remember the first time I set foot into a 30 min hit location. Let’s just say it was rather under special circumstances….

“I had two choices: Lose a dress size or remove a rib cage…naturally considering my low pain tolerance, I went with the first option.”

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I had to lose a dress size in order to fit into an already bought and paid for wedding dress to be more precise. The ladies at the dress shop were actually nice enough not to say anything when the zip threatened to break as they try to zip me up into my soon to be wedding dress. I kept my eyes glued to the ceiling for fear of having to meet their embarrassed glares. I wasn’t breathing but still it wouldn’t do.

Luckily for me some alterations could successfully be performed.  I could come back in 4 weeks for one last fitting once alterations were made but that was it. Which meant if I came back even half a pound fatter I’d need to get married in a potato sack. Naturally, it didn’t help that every single bride to be who came in that day looked like broom sticks.

So with images of myself busting out of said dress flooding my mind, I went on a frantic google search to find some form of training that would allow me to lose a dress size in 4 weeks with normal good nutrition (no severe portion control and sleeping on a treadmill involved). That’s when I discovered 30 min hit.

“With proper diet, it’ll whip your belly fat into muscle in no time. Allow for 4 to 6 weeks and you’ll be amazed. Which explains why I am willingly putting myself through torture by going there 3 times a week.”

How does 30 minute hit work? Well, it’s a high intensity interval training made out of 13 stations that lasts about 2 minutes each with 15 seconds break between stations. Each 2 minutes is broken into  8 x (15 seconds) time increment where you alternate between 15 seconds high intensity and 15 seconds normal pace. The entire circuit takes around 30 minutes.

Now you may be thinking to yourself “2 minutes and you’re complaining? Fabienne, you’re a wimp” Well, this isn’t just two minutes. This is 2 minutes with a trainer on your tail pushing encouraging you to go harder and harder. At any given time there are usually two trainers circling the floor like hungry sharks smelling blood. It’s like they have sensors that can pick up on signs of muscle failure and tiredness. Plus, they don’t just pass by and yell “go harder”. No Sir. They stay by your side for a good 15 seconds (which under the circumstance feels more like a quarter of a century) and watch you go harder and harder all the while matching your every kick and punch with words of encouragement. I personally didn’t know two minutes could be that long. Talking myself into doing this three times a week is a workout in itself.

“The only workout that makes 2 minutes feels like a quarter of a century”

At the beginning of  the circuit I usually try to have some dignity and look a bit graceful (jumping rope) so that when I look like a whale with heart failure people can at least remember I started out a bit more gracefully. But then again I shouldn’t be worrying about that since everybody is kind of busy trying not to drop dead on the floor. By the time I reach the 11th station all sense of dignity and grace has left me  and I usually look like a ballerina with hip problem. At that point my legs are so weak I am usually crawling.

My favorite part is when I find myself at the last station and I know I only have two more minutes to go before I can go crash one the cool down mat and I promise myself not to come back. I now understand why women keep having children despite the pain of childbirth. The pain outweighs the joy in the end. Nothing makes me feel as good and spent as this workout. With proper diet, it’ll whip your belly fat into muscle in no time. Allow for 4 to 6 weeks and you’ll be amazed. Which explains why I am willingly putting myself through torture by going there 3 times a week.

FINAL VERDICT: I highly recommend. And in case you’re wondering: yes, I am a masochist. Albeit a very vain one who prizes looking good and feeling good above all 🙂

Favorite brunch places in Laval: Allô! mon coco

Who needs a getaway when your food looks that good? Welcome to Allô! mon coco! The one we went to is located in Centropolis, Laval.

“Doesn’t this make you feel like you’ve landed in a resort buffet?”

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Allô! mon coco brunch

Brunch culture is extremely strong in Laval and Montreal. So much so it is akin to real punishment to have breakfast at home on weekends. For me at least :). Although we’ve tapered off quite a bit, we try to do at least one brunch every two weeks either on Saturday or Sunday. I usually prefer Saturday which leaves me with Sunday to help my body recover from the food induced coma of the previous day.

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Allô! mon coco breakfast

What to wear:

It is brunch not a visit with the Dalai Lama so it’s okay to look like your growling stomach got you out of bed. Just do it in a stylish way 🙂 The last thing you want is for you to just happen to meet an old friend with your hair looking like a snake pit. In which case I sincerely advise you to hide behind whatever you can find, human or object. I’ve clearly thought about everything, thank me later 🙂

Portions:

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Judging by this pic, it is obvious portions are gigantic with plenty of choice. No risk being bored here. It’s also fairly delicious too.

Who to bring: Just about anybody as long as they are paying for you :). It is family friendly. There are long lines but service is efficient. They have plenty of locations all over Montreal as well.

Price: Reasonable

The last time we went I was able to resist their big side of potato. I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult that was. Their mash potato is so good it should be illegal.  I comforted myself in the fact I had great discipline and courage…but not for long…

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My self-righteous omelet:)

I felt both victorious and bitter. On one hand I was glad I resisted but on the other hand I felt bitter looking at dear husband enjoying his side of potato sitting right besides me. He didn’t even have the decency to pretend he wasn’t enjoying it. All in all, it was a pretty well-spent Saturday.

Bisous and talk next week!

 

 

 

Showing up imperfect: Getting back in the saddle

“We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good”

Voltaire

I have been MIA on this blog for quite some time now and I must say getting back in the saddle is definitely not easy…especially after stopping for what feels like ages. Well, 5 months and a few days to be exact. With that being said, there isn’t a day that went by without me missing this space that I have created. There isn’t also a day that went by that I don’t curse myself for starting it in the first place and constantly asking myself why oh why did I have to get involved in blogging (throws hands up in the air, Greek tragedy style)

“It is  better to show up imperfect than to retrieve into an early grave with perfection as the sole companion.”

As a Libra if there’s one thing I do best is study the pros and cons until I lose all motivations to do anything.  I overwhelmed myself by making things more complicated than they should be until I became paralyzed with thoughts of not being good enough. You see, I had managed to convince myself I needed to hit the ground running. I had forgotten that nobody truly hits the ground running and that baby steps matters. Instead of keeping track of my progress, I kept track of my shortcomings. A true recipe for disaster. As time passed I couldn’t bring myself to get back in the saddle but I couldn’t bring myself to quit either. It was like being frozen between heaven and hell. Naturally, once I’ve driven my husband to the brink of suicide I suddenly come to a “realization” which in my language means I have a melt-down usually scheduled around the time dear husband is trying to relax after a 60+ hour work week ( I truly married my soulmate…). While it is not easy to maintain this blog, I have discovered during these past few months that it is even more painful not to.  Dear husband has truly been instrumental during these few months of absence gently and relentlessly coaxing me into action. Not a day goes by without me thanking God for him.

So  for what it’s worth, I am back and hopefully for good 🙂 One thing I know for sure: It’s  better to show up imperfect than to retrieve into an early grave with perfection as the sole companion.

Thanks for passing by 🙂