I got Toronto on my mind

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

I’ve still got Toronto on my mind, even after a few days back to the city of a thousand church bells, Montreal.

It wasn’t my first time in the Tdot, but it was my first time alone as an adult in the city. A few days disconnecting with my usual non-orthodox routine, that is – my crazy life, and without speaking the Molière language was interesting.

Montreal does have a special European charm and a certain je ne sais quoi, but Toronto is more a cosmopolitan city, with hidden treasures to be found every few streets.

I was in Toronto especially to listen to a nice conversation.

This conversation was insightful, funny, charming and so authentic. I’m really happy to have been part of it as a listener. Especially since part of this dynamic duo is my ultimate favorite journalist and person I try to emulate the most in this kind of journalism.

He is one of the most respected men in this field.

Nick Clooney is the journalist I am talking about. I won’t deny, listening to him gave me chills. Listening to him talk about Hazim “Haz’ Avdal, a young Yazidi Iraki refugee who is like a second son to him, I saw the pride of a father whose son gave him hope to believe in goodness in people again.

Both Amal and Nick were proud family members when they spoke about Az, as well as with Nadia Murad. Nadia is a young Yazidi woman that was captured by Isis. She escaped with some scars, but that hasn’t stopped her from being the sister, the mother and the ultimate superwoman to all the Yazidis.

She is proudly fighting the good fight with her secret weapon, Amal Clooney.

Amal is more than the woman who married one of the biggest movie stars in the world and one heck of a director (come on, Good Night and Good Luck was a masterpiece).

Yes, the media talks about her latest look. I do have to admit, she mixes fun and sassiness in her look like the majority of us women in this world aim to do.

There is even a blog dedicated to her fashion sense, but my point is that even the blog dedicated to her fashion sense talks about the cause that she cherishes. I definitely have more respect for a blog like the one I’m talking about over the TMZs of the world.

Why she is more than a celebrity?

It’s because, like Audrey Hepburn, her main focus is to shine light on causes that may not been known or talked about much. It’s not be easy to have this growth in attention when only 6 years ago, she could go to eat at her favorite Italian restaurant in Notting Hill without being mobbed by a hundred photographers.

But she has a good co-pilot in George and a good family unit that will continue to be her fortress.

I came back to Montreal with a refreshing perspective on life and the act of compassion.

I didn’t think that the city of Toronto would be the type to remind me to continue being compassionate and to keep up the good fight.

Speaking of keeping up the good fight, the best boxing trainer is in Toronto! Go check him out, Jorge Blanco. If you are in Montreal, you are not forgotten. You can train here in Montreal as well.

I’m so overdue that I will give my coach a call.

In the end, Toronto and Montreal are the perfect couple (except in the NHL). They are complementary to each other.

Can we take this as an example and be more complementary to each other as human beings, especially with regard to compassion and human decency?

I did see it last weekend in the Tdot!

http://spaniard.ca

Clooney Foundation For Justice official website

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So hard to say goodbye to Anthony Bourdain

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

I’m in total shock.

I’m in this weird, very bad dream where Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.

Can I wake up out of this terrible dream and this horrendous week?

Wake up!

It’s not a nightmare. This is real.

I’m on my train ride into city and I’m just crying. The young lady next to me probably thinks I got dumped by a boyfriend, but it way worse than that.

Anthony was one of the people I looked to in order to set an example as a good communicator, a good citizen of the world and to be the “enfant terrible” of my generation.

He made me feel like it was okay to be an outsider, to be different and to be real without being obnoxious.

His TV show, “Parts Unknown”, is a ritual of mine and my hubby. Anthony was such a good guy. Not the most perfect one, but you could see that he had this gentle soul, even when he was looking like a real rock star with all his tattoos and his attitude.

I am speechless.

My thoughts are going to his family, to his love, to Éric Ripert and to all of his friends, including the fans.

I wish I could write his biography, but you know what, if you want to know who Tony was, please watch all of “Parts Unknown” and read his masterpiece book, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This”.

I will write it until I’m dying, but for anyone that is struggling, please, reach out.

One of my favorite quotes from Anthony is:

“You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal with him”

Thank you Chef!

Kate Spade is still shining like a bright star

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

Learning the news of Kate Spade’s death was unexpected and so sad.

Her name has been part of my repertoire since my “not so glamorous” teenage years in the nineties and into my early twenties.

I was always curious about the next handbag she would create, even as the minimalist kind of girl that I am.

But yesterday, when I learned the sad news of her death, I was reminded of when one of my high school classmates decided to end her life her first year in college. This classmate had everything going for her: beauty, perfect body, great hair, a sweet boyfriend and the status of one of the popular girls in school. At the same time, she was sometimes moody and seemed so sad.

Everyday, I would walk to school and our paths would cross. We walked the last 2 min to school together. She could sense that I was shy to talk to her. I would always give her my biggest smile, but then look down and walk faster. She would acknowledge my smile and my shyness.

There is not a day I don’t think of why I didn’t made the first step to being her friend.

She was my aunt’s neighbour. I still remember that dreadful February night when she called my home to talk to my mom who later told me that a young girl had died. She didn’t know I went to school with her.

By the time my mom was about to tell me the news, my best friend from high school had sent me an MSN message (yes, it was before Facebook messenger and texting).

I went to my room and picked up my high school yearbook, turning straight to the page her picture was on. I was numb. I cried.

I couldn’t go to the funeral because I felt so guilty about not reaching out to her. And I managed, with time, to face it but let me tell you, I struggled a lot afterwards.

Yesterday was a sad day.

But suicide is happening everyday. When someone is famous, we tend to be more aware because it is broadcasted across every form of media. But I would like to say, out loud, my thoughts about a specific thing I saw that made me so mad.

Why are outlets like TMZ, etc. are taking pictures of the body on a stretcher leaving the apartment building?!

I really get super mad about seeing a picture like this (by accident) because it is on the front page. Like when my classmate died, the local newspaper didn’t send a photographer to take a picture and put it on our Wednesday issue.

You get my point.

It’s a painful moment for the family and friends and everywhere you will go, this picture will be on every news outlet, tabloid and so on. It’s so awful and such a lack of respect.

For the young girl that lost her dear mom, for the husband that lost his wife and the mother of his child, to her family and to her friends, my thoughts are with you.

And to the tabloids, get the hell out and show some respect. Damn it!

In a way, she is still bringing lights into our life and she is forcing us having this really difficult conversations about depression and anxiety. Maybe this tragedy will save more lives.

For anyone that is struggling, please, please, please, we are here for you and there are some incredible organizations that are here for you. You are not alone.

We are not alone.

http://www.depressionarmy.com

https://www.nami.org

https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Written by Sabine Démosthènes

I have loved fashion since I was young, from the time I realized it was a thing.

Watching my sweet Mamma glamming up for our ritual house parties in the 80s, while she likely wished she was more of an Alexis Colby Carrington because she was a fierce and career-oriented woman a that happen to be a fashionista rather than a Kristle Carrington from Dynasty, our favorite show, was a joy for me.

I was in awe of all of her stilettos, pearls necklaces, giant gemstone rings, and dresses. I couldn’t wait to play with them. I wasn’t the only one in that situation.

My mom worked a 9 to 5 job in a clothing manufacture earning a hourly wages while going back to school to have a better career for herself in the 80’s.

She worked so hard during the day. She wasn’t a lawyer, a journalist, a doctor, or a scientist, but she did her best to provide us with the essentials. And yes, fashion was part of that.

I never took my mom less seriously because she loved to have fun with her style and enjoy it. It was the  contrary. I admired her more for not taking herself too seriously and she encouraged me to have the same disposition.

In the 80s, everyone had fun with fashion. From executives (those shoulders pads – uh uh!) to the neon leggings seen on fitness enthusiasts.

Women like Oprah, Jane Fonda, the girls from Salt’N’Pepa and Madonna, even my gym professor and elementary school principal (I loved Mrs. Nantel’s red suit) were having fun with fashion.

In the 90s, Grunge and the streetstyle of Hip-Hop were in full bloom. It was the decade of my ultimate fashion mentor’s style!

I’m still into it today, dressing like her, it is so me now.

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy! The minimalist goddess of all time.

Did we judge her like we crucify some women today for their wardrobe?

No!

So why do we do it in 2018? I read article that said, for example, you are a prominent human rights barrister, you cannot enjoy being creative with your outfit without being judged for not taking your role seriously.

What the heck?!

I find it ridiculous. People must have nothing better to do.

My clothes shouldn’t speak to my accomplishments but actually, my accomplishments should speak for themselves.

For an example, Diana, Princess of Wales had fun with her wardrobe, but it didn’t stop her from being considered the Peoples’ Princess.

I remember a few years ago, at a convention, I had my Gucci eyewear mixed with a Club Monaco T-shirt and a black pencil skirt. Simple, classic. I was given the look: “OMG you are so materialistic for showcasing your sunglasses”.

Someone actually came up to me and commented.

I wasn’t happy about it at all. I was thinking, I’m not judging anyone, why they are doing it to me?

After that, did I stop wearing my eyewear? Or, if I wanted to wear nice clothes, did I think twice?

Hell no!

We are so lucky to have the opportunity to have fun with fashion. Yes, some things can be pricey and some people may think we are pretentious. But, maybe try to take the time to learn about someone personally and then, maybe you won’t say or write such stupid things.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s not be those cynical, sad people that have nothing better to do than judge a book by its cover without reading it.

Let it be.

Hoops

Monday, March 26th, 2018; I got back into elementary school mode. I grabbed my backpack and instead of textbooks, I filled it up with camera gear. As I walked down the elementary school hallway, I realized how small the locker seemed compared to 26 years earlier. I was all excited like I was 5 years old again.

March 26th 2018 Westmount Park Elementary School

When I opened the gym door, I saw the 15th woman to become a player on one of the oldest basketball team of all time shooting hoops.

As I sat on the bench preparing my stuff, Brianna “Hoops” Green gave me a quick “Wassup!” as we exchange some funny comments on Instagram.

Hoops and The Chronicle

She is, no doubt, an influencer with 90.7 K followers on Instagram alone!

In Westmount Park Elementary School, she was greeted like a rock star. I saw the stars in some of the students’ eyes. I remember that reaction perfectly as a long time ago, I was one of those kids.

Hoops Green and the Westmount Park kids

“Hoops”, as we call her, is a Harlem Globetrotters player. She is living her dream, doing the thing she liked the most since she was four years old. On top of that, she is an inspiration, putting smiles on those sweet little faces from all around the world.

Briana ''Hoops'' Green

Since I am becoming older and not necessarily wiser, I have a preconception that young men and women in their late teens and early twenties all have this “Kardashian” attitude and selfishness.

 

Yes, I may encounter an of few of them, but I’m realizing that there is an army of inspiring young men and women that have the desire to give back to society by being a good person. Some are hoping for and working toward a better future.

One that is not about the best selfie and how many likes they get on social media, but about compassion, kindness, and hard work.

Hope Green is certainly one of them!

Westmount Park Elementary School with Brianna Green
Written by Sabine Demosthenes

Briana Green on Instagram

http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/hoops

A prayer for Darfur

I’m asking myself this question:

Why am I complaining about winter and worrying about other superficial things when I am living in a war-free country, while there could be a woman, just like me, wondering if she will breathe her last breath within the next five minutes, in somewhere like Darfur.

By asking myself this question, I am ashamed that I sometimes worry about the stupidest little things; but at the same time, I’m asking myself what can I do about it?

First of all, when I turn on my television scroll through my Facebook feed or some news outlet app, why aren’t the atrocities that are happening all over the world the first things I see?

In Montreal, I don’t hear much about the fact that hundreds of people are losing their homes, not in a hurricane, but because of their government and its greediness.

But instead of focusing on why, I said I have a platform to talk about it. Not as an expert, because I’m not, but as a human being who hopes to one day live in a peaceful world where everyone is equal. (I hear you guys saying keep dreaming girl!)

Sudanese Children

When two journalists have been assaulted a few weeks ago, they did mention it on the news, for what? 10 seconds? There weren’t any follow ups or more questions asked by the news reporter. I wasn’t mad, but I was disappointed.

Are we so obsessed with this man, representing America and his rallies, that we are oblivious to the suffering of human beings in a vulnerable place?

I guess we must ask ourselves this question and be honest with ourselves.

When you are not an expert on a subject, the right thing to do is to reach out to an organization that wants to point out the atrocity and clears it up.

The Enough Project is my go-to resource.

Enough

I am reading more about what is going on through John Prendergast’s essay, I am still not an expert on the subject, but I feel better informed.

It is a foundation whose main focus is to end genocide and crimes against humanity in conflicted areas of Africa.

John Prendergast is the driving force behind this beautiful project he co-founded with Gayle Smith in 2007.

John Prendergast

Enough Project has several active campaigns to raise awareness of the violence and injustice going on in the countries that the News outlets here do not spend much time on.

https://enoughproject.org/op-eds/u-s-news-world-report-op-ed-dont-remove-sudan-terrorism-list

I still won’t be the most politics-savvy person on this planet, but I do think if we talk about it, point out the bad guys and what they are doing, and continue hoping that kindness may one day conquer the world, maybe we can start something.

Maybe we don’t need the big news outlets such as CNN, BBC, RDI, CNBC, Fox News (oh lord, don’t get me started about Fox News!) and others to get the word out.

Maybe we will be the ones that will get the word out that Enough is enough!

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/central-african-republic/2018-03-14/key-making-peace-africa

John Prendergast Africa

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

https://enoughproject.org

Boss Ladies

I couldn’t wait to buy the first Elle Magazine under Garcia’s leadership yesterday. I was literally like a little child in a candy store!

It’s a brand new era for women all around the world. We want to stand up for each other by supporting each and everyone of us (in both small and big ways).

Her editorial was raw and real.

Why “raw”, do you ask?

She wasn’t shy to mention that she was devastated when she was dismissed as ELLE’s fashion director. But, she never settled. Her creativity and determination is refreshing and we can feel it while reading her first essay as the new Editor-in-Chief.

Nina Garcia

I have always been an ELLE lady over a Vogue one. I want to learn more about a woman’s journey rather than looking a thousand pages of publicity.

I love fashion, but I love having some discussion or an interview mixed in. A worldly, fashionable and intelligent woman can read about the next trend and discover the journey of a courageous woman, all in the same magazine.

Nina Garcia is the right woman to take Elle into a new era!

Nina Garcia Quote

I was happily surprised to discover Katrina Lake,the founder and CEO of Stitch Fix (please come to Canada!!). We are the same age and her path to become one of the most promising entrepreneurswasn’t smooth for her, but she never gave up and she made it.

I was so inspired by the end of this article that I actually got the little boost of confidence that I needed. I’m crossing my fingers that Stitch Fix could deliver to Canada.

Katrina Lake

Hmm, maybe I should suggest it.

I saw a nice ad featuring Coco Rocha. I just love this beautiful human being. Her positivity, her spirituality and her just beautiful nature is so nurturing.

I kept smiling while slowly turning the pages.

And then, the main event – La pièce de résistance!

A sit down interview, or should I say a conversation, between two people who were reconnecting while talking about International Women’s Day, the Climate Summit, their children (and grandchildren for John Kerry), violence against women and the willingness to make our voices heard as individual, especially right now in 2018.

Angelina Jolie and John Kerry

This is the best issue I have read in 2018 so far!

The pictures were perfect and so were the articles such as “The Hero We Need”, referring of the Black Panther movie, Ava DuVernay’s “Women in Hollywood” article and Teddy Quinlivan’s essay on being a beautiful transgender model.

Teddy is wow!! She is fearless.

It was a beautiful March issue that I will cherish in my collection.

I can’t wait to see what Nina will show us in April.

http://www.elle.com

https://www.stitchfix.com

Written by Sab Demosthenes