What is Lent?

What to eat if you are removing all animal source foods?


One concern with vegetarian diets has been the possibility of iron deficiency and consequent anemia. Iron bioavailability from foods of plant origin is low compared with that from meat. On the other hand, vegetarian diets provide ample quantities of vitamin C, which is known to enhance the absorption of iron. Thus, it is preferable to focus more on adding some lemon to your meals to increase iron absorption.

People who go for this kind of fasting often gain weight by the end of Lent due to eating much more carbohydrates such as bread, rice, hummus, thyme…etc. So better be careful to your intake and keep your exercise going.

Many Christians throughout the world observe Lent. Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestants benefit from this annual season of sacrifice and simplicity. For non-Christians, Lent might seem like a mystery, since Christians voluntarily make sacrifices. For some, Lent is a period of going on a diet; for others, it is when Catholic co-workers show up to work with ashes on their heads, and fast-food restaurants start selling fish sandwiches. So what exactly is Lent and where did it come from? Lent is a forty day period before Easter set aside as a season of soul-searching and repentance.  The forty days reflect Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for his own time of spiritual reflection.  Sundays, because they commemorate the Resurrection, are not counted.  In the early church Lent was a special time when new converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism on Easter.


There are a few basic tasks that traditionally have been associated with Lent; fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Fasting can be done by many ways: Some people fast till 12 PM, some give away some foods/habits that they usually do, some give up all animal products and some do all together. In an interview conducted with the registered dietitian Pamela Abou Aoun (So7i Wa Sari3 Diet Clinics), she gave us the following tips for you to follow during the Lent season.

First of all, there are a few things that you need to take care of whilst fasting:

  • Drink plenty of water after 12 PM to compensate for its absence all morning. Try not to drink water suddenly so that you wouldn’t overload your kidneys at once. Also make sure not to drink whilst eating so that you eat all your quantities.
  • Make sure you keep your exercise going. If you usually exercise in the morning, switch it till the afternoon period. If you are the type of persons who suffers from sleeping disorders, be careful of exercising late at night since it may increase your adrenaline levels and subsequently decrease your need to sleep.

What to eat at 12 PM?

There are many people who chose to fast till 12 PM; those people do not have anything to worry about but how to maintain a healthy quantity throughout their day.

  1. In case you start your day with a breakfast, you can continue on pushing the timings of the rest of your meals. Ex: Breakfast at 12, Lunch at 4 and dinner at 8-9.
  2. In case you start your day skipping breakfast, then you should increase your lunch and/or dinner’s quantities to make sure you will not lose weight ONLY during Lent and then re-gain it after.2

What to eat if you are removing all animal source foods?

One concern with vegetarian diets has been the possibility of iron deficiency and consequent anemia. Iron bioavailability from foods of plant origin is low compared with that from meat. On the other hand, vegetarian diets provide ample quantities of vitamin C, which is known to enhance the absorption of iron. Thus, it is preferable to focus more on adding some lemon to your meals to increase iron absorption.

People who go for this kind of fasting often gain weight by the end of Lent due to eating much more carbohydrates such as bread, rice, hummus, thyme…etc. So better be careful to your intake and keep your exercise going.

Interested in architecture? check this out.


Roland Helou is a University of The Arts London MA graduate and the founder of ROHD (Roland Helou Design), a Beirut-based architecture design studio that specialises in interior and multidisciplinary design. Nayla Kurd quizzes ROHD’s founder about the influences that have inspired him throughout his working life.


The conversation begins with Mr. Helou discussing his early life and how he initially became inspired to pursue architecture as a career. He reflects on his earlier years, in particular a day spent with his father. “Beirut was under reconstruction, and my dad took me on a tour of the city’s central district while explaining the process behind the area’s revival. Meanwhile, my thoughts drifted, and I began plotting; creating my very own Downtown Beirut in my mind. It was there and then that I knew this is what I wanted to do.”


Mr. Helou has a very distinct approach to design, describing it as a holistic one. He explains, “in my opinion, successful design engulfs both functionality and aesthetics. Functionality as a base, laying the guidelines; while aesthetics to aggregate the design process.” He emphasises the importance of understanding design as a whole, and how one should take all the smaller parts of the design process into account in order to do so.


While many designers credit a single object or person as their inspiration, Mr. Helou has other ideas. He says, “my way of thinking was not influenced by any one singular being. In fact, it was a sum of elements; the sum of interactions, meetings, encounters and feelings, which I had experienced in my life, put together to attain a certain perception.” This idea of his inspiration coming from a collective multitude of elements is a reflection of his holistic approach to design, again crediting various smaller components in order to understand the bigger picture. He comments further by saying, “accordingly, whenever I am working on a project, my main approach is ‘human’ based. It is the person’s interactions and experiences around the space and how it caters to his/her lifestyle, and façon d’être. My creative workflow hence remains constant in every project. It is the best process development that allows me to mature my ideas concretely.”


When asked about tools and which of them he enjoys using the most, Mr. Helou’s answer is short yet thought-provoking. “A pen,” he replies, “it directly translates an idea while still in its most sincere form, before it transforms into the virtual expression of it.”


Speaking of virtual expression, Mr. Helou goes on to explain how he records his ideas. “I have a powerful photographic memory,” he says. “Sometimes I find myself representing abstract concepts in my mind as geometric and physical forms in order to retain and process them more effectively.”


When it comes to his projects, we ask Mr. Helou if he has a favourite. “I don’t have a favourite project. Each one has different challenges, processes and approaches. However, what I enjoy most is the sight of my work developing and morphing throughout every enterprise. Sometimes it can be a surprise, but at the same time it is always an addition to my learning experience.”


Mr. Helou’s learning experience is continuously changing, and he is currently working on a project in Rabieh. He gave us a little insight, telling us, “I am currently working on a residential refurbishment project in Rabieh. It is always a pleasure to work on refurbishment projects because I love reimagining a new space within the constraints of pre-existing elements.” Mr. Helou goes on to explain how he uses opposites to create a balance, saying “on this occasion, this means working with minimal furniture that would further enhance the meshed marble flooring. For instance, the incorporation of a ‘medieval- inspired’ bar connecting the three main living areas, and acting as a bridge between the traditional and the contemporary.”


So what is it that inspires the creative mind that is Mr. Helou? “The movie industry,” he tells us enthusiastically. “Movies are not only my release from the daily frivolous problems, but it is also a source of inspiration for my work – particularly fantasy and sci-fi movies.”


Delving a little deeper into the life of Mr. Helou, we probe him further and ask him to share any rules he tries to go by. He tells us, “I am a planner by nature; this is why I created a blueprint for my life that I try to live by. My personal motto has always been based on setting goals and having a specific vision of what to work towards in terms of reaching the ultimate objective.”


In order to keep himself on track, Mr. Helou arms himself with two devices, in particular, his phone and his tablet. “My phone has gradually become an extension of my body, and my tablet is always on my office desk for surfing the net,” he says. Mr. Helou’s reference to his phone as an extension of himself highlights how we are becoming more dependent on technology to complete everyday tasks, from checking our emails to carrying out research. He isn’t always working, he reassures us, “my Kindle is waiting by my bed for a good read too.”


Technology has become so advanced that it now plays a huge part in our lives – be it in the workplace or at home. Speaking of the interior design industry in particular, Mr. Helou says, “we are becoming more and more exposed to the global design industry, and with the seemingly endless capability of the internet, everything is a mere click away. However, it is vital to know how to filter the resources presented to us, as they are often polluted with misinformed information.” Mr. Helou makes a valid argument, pointing out one of the issues related to the sheer amount of information available online is that it isn’t always correct. He continues, “it is also important to remember that new technology – no matter how tempting it might be – should maintain its position as a tool, rather than as an end in itself.”


The impact of such technologies has meant the development and creation of smart homes. This smart technology has the potential to change the way we live, and Mr. Helou has a lot to say about it. “Smart homes and EIB systems are fast becoming as close to living organisms as the ones who reside within them.” An EIB (European Installation Bus) is a system that allows all electrical components to be interconnected through an electrical bus – or communication system; and each component can send commands to other components, regardless of where they might be. Mr. Helou continues, “these homes both understand and cater to your needs; however they require the same understanding in return in order to prevent them from becoming a burden rather than beneficial.”

ROHD offers high levels of both commitment and refinement, and is a place where collaboration is an important element throughout the design and construction process. The design studio prides itself on being able to explore imaginative and innovative ideas, all the while maintaining a pragmatic perspective that results in the creation of functional, beautiful and memorable spaces.

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine
Link: http://www.Ekaruna.com

Is your kitchen making you fat?

If you’re struggling to eat better and maintain a healthy weight, your kitchen may be sabo­­­taging your efforts. Researchers have studied the “food environment” for years, looking at such factors as how advertising, packaging and distraction make people eat more. More recently, they’ve turned their attention to the impact of architectural design on eating be­havior and how kitchens and other rooms can be laid out to be conducive to healthy eating.

In particular, researchers are looking at how people store food, where in their homes they eat, what they look at when they eat and other variables to determine what encourages healthy eating and what discourages it. If occupants have to get up and walk through a doorway or up steps to get to their food, might they eat less? If there’s a window in the kitchen overlooking a garden, will they be inspired to eat more produce? Other variables in rooms— such as the lighting, air circulation, sounds and colors—can also affect what people eat.


The field of designing “healthy” kitchens— and even entire “healthy” buildings—is still in its infancy. Perhaps one day, all homes (and schools) will be built with healthy eating in mind. In the meantime, here are a few simple kitchen changes you can make, gleaned from some preliminary research.

  • Keep unhealthy foods out of sight (in a top cabinet, for instance, or the rear of the re­­frigerator) and healthy ones within easy reach (on the counter, in eye-level cabinets in the front of the fridge). If you have open shelves or glassed-in cabinets, don’t use them to store unhealthy foods. Studies have shown that the more visible and accessible a food is the higher the consumption— for better or worse.
  • More spacious and pleasant kitchens have been linked to better food purchases and increased desire to cook (so you don’t have to rely on convenient microwave meals). You can’t change the size of your space easily, but you can try rearranging appliances and utensils in ways that make the space more efficient, which makes it easier to cook and thus may motivate you to prepare meals with more whole foods.
  • To avoid overeating, don’t make the kitchen your hangout. Your kitchen chairs should be comfortable enough for sitting dur­ing a meal, but not so comfortable that you want to lounge in them all evening. Save your more comfortable chairs for a different room, away from the kitchen, where you can retire after meals. Better yet, take a walk after meals.

Written by Pamela Abou Aoun a registered dietitian with So7i wa Sari3 diet clinics

Source: http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/diet-weight-loss/article/your-kitchen-making-you-fat


Are you making something for Mom on Mother’s Day? We think an Up-Cycled Glass Vases will put a smile on her face.


Whatever glass containers you have on hand would be perfect for creating these great little vases. Mason jars, wine bottles or just about any other glass jar is great and you just have to paint them to make them really stand out. You can also add decorative embellishments if you want but they look really elegant when they are painted white and with nothing else added. You could even put some wildflowers into the vase when you give it to her so Mom will be getting a very special gift and one that she can use over and over again.

Source :Do It Yourself                                                                  Link:http://busy-mommy.com/2012/04/diy-upcycled-glass-flower-vases.html




Sandra Macaron’s newest innovation: Oh my darling, what if you fly?


Creating, manufacturing and selling her own furniture and homeware designs are her thing. Story telling is how you would define her creations. Behind every collection is a tale, either to revive social awareness or to convey nostalgic sentiments. Drawn to the vintage world, each design constantly re-invents traditions with a fresh new contemporary technique, and the result is a wonderful mélange of contrasts. Meet Sandra Macaron, a conceptual designer and interior architect behind a host of venues and creations. The designer speaks to Nayla Kurd about ‘technology in design’ and introduces her captivating Bird Cage line to our readers.


After award winning Peelight in 2008, neON neOFF in 2009 and Wej Mreye in 2012, comes Bird Cage, one of Sandra Macaron’s many contradictory and story-telling works.

“Between guilt’s levity and weight, the cage as a prison and a promise. A design between Zen and discomfort, that is delicate, volatile and poetic. The idea behind the collection is a free Bird symbolizing us individuals, locked up in a Cage implying the imprisoned world we live in. The work is a metaphorical representation of the oppressed individuals living in a system of barriers, which mould people.”

Ekaruna: Creating bespoke 3D printed furniture sounds very futuristic to us. Could you talk us through the process?

Sandra Macaron: 3D printing is the process of making a three-dimensional object, in which successive layers of material are laid down under computer control. In theory, any solid object can be printed. 3D printing can turn computerised visions into reality; imagine any shape or form realised meticulously and in no time, it’s surreal.


Ekaruna: 3D printers are an exciting technology, but another hot new tool known as laser cutters may have just as significant of an impact in real-world projects. Could you give us more information about this technology?

Sandra Macaron: Laser cutters were invented some 50 years ago, but only became part of the home workshop in the past few years. These 2D cutters bring an impressive flexibility to a wide range of applications. For instance, if manufacturers want to experiment with creative ideas that need to be produced with engineering-grade plastics, wood, leather, and metal, to name a few, laser cutters are often the only fitting tool. And so, similarly to the 3D printing technology, laser cutting is becoming so common in creating precise perforations, patterns, engravings, etchings and so on, and is used to a greater extent in all aspects of design, specifically furniture and interior design. A good illustration of the laser-cutting trend in furniture would be the mashrabiya – a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework, typically found in Arabic architecture.

Ekaruna: What’s the main difference between the laser cut and 3D printed techniques (in terms of time, costs, adaptability etc)

Sandra Macaron: Both technologies stem from computerised machines, but have different techniques and visual effects. One is more about three-dimensional feel, the other about perforation, engraving, etching et al. They are both relatively quick to manufacture and cost effective compared to traditional techniques in view of the fact that they need lower tooling costs. But, laser cutters can produce much larger objects than standard 3D prints in a much shorter time, and usually for a significantly lower cost.

Ekaruna: What about computer-programmed CNC milling? Could you help us paint a clearer image of the process?

Sandra Macaron: CNC milling is a computer-controlled machine that is used for cutting hard material such as wood, aluminium, steel, plastic, and corian. It is mainly used for the production of door carvings, interior and exterior decorations, wood panels, signboards, wooden frames, mouldings, musical instruments and furniture.

Ekaruna: Say a piece of furniture needs repair or replacement parts? Is it easy and cost friendly to deal with such concerns when dealing with such technologies?

Sandra Macaron: It actually all depends on the technology used. If the piece is 3D printed, then the object can’t be repaired and should be replaced. As for the other technologies, they are not totally machine made; parts are cut and moulded by technology then combined by hand, and so repairing is possible.

Ekaruna: These technologies are still not very extensively used though. Do you think that there is a fear that 3D printed, computer-programmed and laser cut furniture will not be as sturdy or as well made as traditionally produced furniture?

Sandra Macaron: The technique is not necessarily the main factor affecting the life span or stability of the piece. Generally, it depends on the material and design of the object. But, the design process is the most important aspect in ensuring the best final result. The advantages of these new technologies though, are the ability to create impossible features from traditional techniques whilst using less material, all the while creating lightweight products.

Ekaruna: These futuristic concepts were perceived in an attempt to give customers the freedom to design their own furniture. How are designers adapting to the idea? Does that conflict with designers’ work in any way?

Sandra Macaron: Imagine printing your own chair at the nearest stationers. That would be cool, right? You still need to design the shape and form of your piece though, so there’s no conflict with the designer’s work. The design process is still indispensable, and not to forget, you still need to buy the right to print that specific design.

Ekaruna: New tech advancements in furniture design are all about creating new ways of living. Could you expand on that?

Sandra Macaron: It’s all about combining an everyday object with another utility, such as merging a lamp with a table. Creating a ‘new’ object that bears more than a single use, and so creating new ways of living.

Ekaruna: Do you think these technologies suggest the demise of mass-production in furniture design?

Sandra Macaron: On the contrary, these technologies are proof of an industrial revolution, the affirmation of mass production, eas2y accessibility, fast production and globalization. They offer incredible advantages and opportunities to the design community.

Ekaruna: Crafting such precisely and carefully put furniture by hand is nearly impossible. Given the fact that these technologies combine craft, art, design and technology, do you think they’ll replace the work of artists in any way?

True, but I personally still have a weakness for handmade pieces and products, and I, like many others, think they’re irreplaceable. Though full of imperfections, mixed with a loss of control, all the while allowing the materials to make some of the decisions, leaving things to chance and improvising in the final stages of production, these aspects of the handmade process make for the most interesting results. The problem with craft though, is that it’s expensive, but some people still yearn for that.


Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine
Link: http://www.Ekaruna.com

Are you heading out?

Samsung Smart Home  Service
Smart Homes by Samsung are here, and the brand is ready to transform everyday life forever. The new service will be available in Korea and the United States at first, with more countries around the globe being added to the list throughout the year. The service is available through a single app that allows you to connect and control home appliances, TVs and mobile devices. Whether at home or at work, users can check the status of their home appliances and do things like selecting wash settings to have their laundry ready for when they arrive back home. Samsung plans to expand by adding other smart products to their revolutionary line-up, such as the smart bulb, robot vacuum cleaner and Samsung Gear Fit.

Thurs Samsung-Smart

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine
Link: http://www.Ekaruna.com

Have Fun with Art


Even if you can’t paint or are working on a shoestring budget, a framed poster or another piece of affordable art can have a big color impact.

DIY It: We made our fabulous felines by adhering strips of colored masking tape to the back boards of large picture frames. Next we traced cat silhouettes onto large white paper, cut out the shapes, set them over the taped boards, and placed them in the frames.

Source : Do It Yourself – DIYideas.com

Link: http://www.bhg.com/rooms/living-room/makeovers/bold-living-room-makeover/#page=6

A Novel Real Estate Trend for 2015

Mireille Korab Abi Nasr, Head of Business Development at FFA Real Estate, comments on the increase in demand towards smaller, more affordable homes.
Every decade or so, Lebanon’s real estate market witnesses a shift in demand; investors and realtors unhurriedly adapt to changes, making for a somewhat stable market. Or at least, that was the case. Today, investors’ buying moods and needs change practically every couple of years, bringing about confusion and perplexity to a “habituated” real estate market.
The increase in prices along with a diminishing purchasing power has resulted in people settling for much smaller apartments in order to live within the capital, or choosing to relocate to the suburbs to afford more spacious homes.
The new generation is also having an impact on housing in Lebanon, as more and more young people are opting to move into their own places, usually after completing their college studies. The result of this change in housing requirements and the target market’s new approach towards a more practical lifestyle, means smaller one bedroom apartments or studios are now very much in demand. This, in theory, should allow them to live in the heart of the city and enjoy the vibrant lifestyle while being in close proximity to their work and home addresses.
The rapid change in consumer’s wants and needs has predominantly affected the ‘older generation of developers’, whom were used to building bigger units – of an average to 250 square meters in the city’s capital, Beirut. As a result, the mounting demand for smaller apartments – ranging from 50 square meters studios to 120 square meters two bedroom apartments – has dramatically influenced the way in which these developers do business.
Also, in recent years, house prices have risen dramatically, essentially due to the law of scarcity that governs the expense of plots of land. In this way, the prices of plots either increase or remain stable – they do not decrease, however. This is especially true in Beirut where there are very few plots of land available to build upon, and even these are becoming lesser and lesser.
In my opinion, the key to buying a plot of land and planning a development at this point is carrying out sufficient market research beforehand – a practice that wasn’t always so common among local developers. In order to keep up with the ever-changing industry, we too must change and adapt accordingly.

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine
Link: http://www.Ekaruna.com


Here’s a character whose work you must have seen dozens of times, most likely without even realising it. His name, along with a handful of others, can be found almost everywhere in Beirut—on walls, abandoned buildings and other sometimes unappealing areas. For Alfred Badr, mainly known as EpS, is not merely a graffiti artist, but also one of the main actors in the Lebanese street art’s professional arena. “I consider myself so lucky to make a living out of my passion,” the 29-year-old says, while painting a huge Indian chief’s face on a friend’s home wall. “One project after the other, I gather skills, techniques, ideas through new challenges…It doesn’t get any better than that.” The streets of Beirut have become his and his peers’ business cards, thanks to a largely positive public opinion of their art. “People appreciate what we do most of the time, youngsters and elderly people alike. There are no political or religious slogans; we aren’t affiliated with anyone although we often write messages about the current social situation of our country, amongst other personal ones. Lebanese people seem to be relieved that we paint in the streets for free and without an agenda, and sometime potential job offers from them occur while we are painting in broad daylight.”im1

Bringing graffiti to the public 

EpS himself has clearly benefited from that kind of advertisement, and he has been taking on several graffiti-related projects with firms, collectives and individuals. One of them is through his workshop at the Color Academy, near Tayouneh, where he initiates kids and adults in graffiti and art as a whole, teaching them about the history of street art, the different styles and the few techniques that will be needed, after a week’s time, to paint their own graffiti. “I fully know that most people who come to my workshop won’t proceed to become legends in the streets, buying material and covering neighborhoods with their names,” he admits, “but it’s always interesting to meet them and give them tools to better understand what they read on the streets of their city. As graffiti artists, we impose our art on others; it’s the nature of what we do. So explaining to them why and how we do it is something I find crucial.”

Last summer, as another example of the bridge that now exists between the graffiti world and the general public, EpS painted the entirety of the huge kids’ playground at ABC Ashrafieh, to the delight of visitors and children. His highest achievement to date, it is also one of the biggest projects of its kind done entirely by a Lebanese. It took some time to achieve such goals and success in living from his art, but as the saying goes “the journey is more important than the destination,” and his background and travels had a great influence on his work. “I grew up in Ivory Coast, and as a child I would mostly draw characters with African features, since I take inspiration in what I see around me. I arrived in Lebanon and sure enough, the Arabic culture strongly impacted my art. Characters are my specialty, and I ended up mixing the traditional b-boy style (that originated in New York in the early 1980s, at the dawn of graffiti history) with features, clothes and details that are associated with Lebanon and the Arab world.”

A unique kind of graffiti

Lebanon’s cultural diversity and the very history of Lebanese graffiti are what distinguish it from any other country. “It started really recently here,” EpS recalls, “during the 2006 war. And there are few of us ‘writers’ (i.e. graffiti artists) yet, maybe 10 to 15 active ones. This led to a graffiti culture that is until today exempt of most flaws you might encounter in Paris or New York. There is no violence, only healthy competition. Most of us are friends; at worst we are acquaintances, and we paint together on a pretty regular basis. We learn a lot from each other. I’m a latecomer to the scene, and from the beginning my friend Phat 2, who is one of the most prolific writer here, has taught me a lot. Since then, I have mostly been working with M3alim, since our styles mix really well, and we share the same vision and understanding of time constraints, material and organization. Overall, I think it’s the best atmosphere we could hope for, and if we keep making Beirut more beautiful while respecting other artists, there is no reason for this to change.”


Even though in the past year work has been taking most of his time, along with surfing and freelance graphic design, EpS does not intend to leave the streets any time soon, and he and his fellow writers seem dedicated to turning Beirut into a major street art city. “I’m confident that the future holds only good news for us, if we keep working hard. On a personal level, I have recently developed a few characters that are both aesthetic and really quick to paint. My guess is you will soon know what I’m talking about…Watch out for the monkey!”

Paul du Verdié

Source: EKARUNA Luxury Real Estate Magazine
Link: http://www.Ekaruna.com Continue reading