Events

Thanksgiving in New York

Thanksgiving in New York –like coming home for Christmas…

I’m laden with memories of my children when they were small, sharing love and warmth, preparing excitedly to go to the parade in Central Park West, see the million balloons at Macy’s, and absorb the spices and flavors filling the air. I long for these feelings of homeliness, tender closeness and being grateful for all the blessings we’ve received.

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I remember the days of getting together with people close and beloved that we might have seen each other only a while before or not for quite sometime and that making no difference… I remember friends, sharing moments difficult and beautiful, and owing them for being there for me in those young days of motherhood.

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This year, I was drawn again. The irresistible friends, my daughter Vivia and this home that always welcomes me and wraps me in its love and warmth. The pumpkin the turkey the hugs and the shops are all there and I am enchanted. Living my memories and living today. So thankful.

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After all, life is the family, the friends and the memories we make. And I am blessed with all three and giving thanks that I’ve been here yet again.

Home. For Thanksgiving.

 

romantic wedding in venice

Venice; Just uttering the word takes you to a world of romance, love, being with the one you love…., what an inspiration when planning a wedding at one of the most romantic places in the world.

It was a July afternoon when the phone rang. A young talented LA actress, Mary, who currently lives in Athens announcing that she was getting married to the love of her life, Dimitris. She already chose the date: September 6th, and we suggested the place: Venice of course.

The exciting plans began with a brainstorm of ideas. The church: none other than the 16th century Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Giorgio dei Greci; the oldest and historically the most important church of the Orthodox Diaspora. The reception: at the Hotel Bauer Palazzo, a 19th century hotel with its known 18-century facade in Gothic-Byzantine style.

Indeed, that’s where it all took place, but that was not all. Let me share with you the exciting itinerary that made it even more unique:

Guests from different countries arrived for the special event. But prior to the arrival of the couple’s big day, we all needed to get to know each other better while enjoying visits to some important spots of the city, a Tour of the Grand Canal, a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and a private tour to St. Marko Cathedral, only to mention a few.

The big day was special for the happy couple, but truly unforgettable for the rest of us.

The bride looked amazing in her Vera Wang dress, while the church was beautifully decorated with the artistic creations of local florist Munaretto. Surprises where not only there for the guests of course. A surprise was also planned for the bride herself; an old friend of hers flew in from New York for the wedding: that friend is also my beloved daughter Vivia.

The reception, was an international gathering of fashionably dressed and well behaved guests who enjoyed the celebration of the couple’s marriage. All under the roof of this Venetian ballroom with its Murano Sconces.

The formal dinner event was more than just simple food as you understand.

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Traditional Ethnic Chic wedding in Northern Greece

Modern history is woven on tradition and cultural heritage when a young couple choose a traditional village to marry their love with folk music and dance in a cobbled picturesque setting in the folds of the mountain of the gods.

Time goes back to the origins of the village wedding that’s preceded by the “glenti” of the night before as forever held in the central village square with everybody invited and dancing and clarinets lasting through the night to see the sunrise.

And on the wedding day, as the cobbled winding paths bring the guests to the village church for the ritual of the ceremony, beautiful red cheeked girls in traditional costume strew them with rose petals and dance to the music preceding the bride.

She is beautiful, she is radiant and she comes to her groom towed by the band of her Pontus heritage, the lyre, the drums, the bagpipes, and the distinctive energy of the steps and the shoulder tremors of the Pontiac dance.

A memorable crowning of love with tradition. Today. At the village of filoxeno (hospitable) Old Panteleimonas on mount Olympus, where the gods lived, the air is still crisp and fresh and travelling back into time feels natural as nature itself would have it.

THE GREEK TRADITIONAL DANCE is an expression of human feelings and everyday life. In fact, the Greek word ΧΟΡΟΣ (CHOROS), referred to both dance and song. The English words chorus, chorale, choir, and choreography all come from this same Greek word. The Greeks danced at religious festivals and ceremonies. They danced to ensure fertility; to prepare for war and to celebrate victories. They danced at weddings, to overcome depression and to cure physical illness. Almost every dance has a story to tell and dance was regarded as one of the highest forms of art. Plato agreed with his mentor Socrates that every educated man should know how to dance gracefully and by dance he meant the manly exercises that kept the body strong and supple and ready to do its duty on the battlefield. The Pyrrhic (πυρίχιος), or weapon dance (a form of mock combat) taken from Crete and perfected in Sparta, was the ideal.

The dance, of all the arts, is the one that most influences the soul. Dancing is divine in its nature and is the gift of the gods. Plato

THE PONTUS DANCE. Pontus lies in the region of present day Turkey on the eastern Black Sea into Russia. It is an area inhabited by Greeks from ancient times until the population exchange of 1923. Pontiac music and dance are quite distinctive. Its music and dance is easily recognized by its nervous rhythm, the use of knee bends and unusual shoulder tremors, unique to Pontus. The Pontiac lyre is the most distinctive instrument. Other instruments include the angion (bagpipe) and the zournas. The dances of this area include Omal, Dipat, Tik, Kots, Trygona, Kotsari and Serra.

 

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Matrona’s festival, Santorini

The place, mesmerizing Santorini. The setting, delightful Village of Foinikia. The occasion, unique Matrona Festival. The people, new and old wonderful friends. The food, local mouth watering specialties, feasting on bakaliaros xelouristos (specially made bass) and fava beans. In magical October coloured by Santorini’s own, romantic and enchanting sunsets.

I was fortunate to be met with a great and delightful surprise while visiting the alluring Santorini when I coincided with the original Panigiri (Festival) dedicated to the Panagia Matrona celebrated in the island every October in the village of Foinikia.

It was everywhere. The streets, the squares, the cafes, the welcoming smiles and eyes of the locals opening homes and hearts in joy and pleasure to serve and include their guests in their preparation meals and the bustling atmosphere of their panigiri.

Authentic and joyous, an experience to be kept in the heart. Enjoy!!

 

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Fava beans, the other thing that Santorini is famous for! After 3600 years of cultivation in the volcanic soil of the island, fava beans from Santorini have recently been added to the EU’s list of Protected Designation of Origin products!

Taste and find out why Santorini fava beans are the best!

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Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church dinner

It has been an honor to be chosen to organize such an important spiritual event, we have organized the first dinner and we looking forward to organize the last.

A unique experience being in Chania and working at the Maritime Museum, with the extremely devoted and dedicated president of the Museum Mr. Manolis Petrakis, I owe him a big thank you for all his help.

I have to stress that the Maritime Museum is a must see in Chania.

I also have another tip about Chania… don’t eat to much, the Cretan delicacies are heaven on a plate!

 

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