beauty – AWARENESS

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month never4so I thought it would be good to post a roundup list of skincare & makeup product ingredients (in alphabetical order) to make recognizing, understanding, and avoiding these ingredients easier for you.never1


Animal fats, oils, and musks: tallow, rendered beef or mutton fat, oils or musks from animals like mink, emu and sharks that are procured after an animal has been killed. Found in: soap, salve, shaving products, lubricants, paints, and all types of cosmetics.
Benzalkonium chloridea disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.
Benzophenone and derivatives: a possible human carcinogen and hormone disruptor used as a fragrance ingredient and to absorb ultraviolet light. Found in: nail polish, sunscreen.

Bisphenol A (BPA): a hormone disruptor that may also alter DNA, used in plastics and resins. Found in: plastic bottles, lining of aluminum food cans, possibly in eyeshadow and styling gel.

Butoxyethanol: a solvent used to control viscosity, or a “fragrance” additive. It irritates skin and may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. Found in: fragrance, hair color.

BHA and BHT: synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors, and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients: a byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo.

1,4-dioxane: a by-product of manufacturing that is a probable human carcinogen (a known animal carcinogen) as well as toxic to organs and the respiratory system, and a skin irritant. Likely to be present where ethoxylated ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, PEGs, and ceteareth are listed on ingredient labels. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): a chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.

Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA): surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.

Formaldehyde: used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol) and several other preservatives are listed. Beautycounter does not use any of these formaldehyde-donating preservatives. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Hydroquinone: a skin lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin
and is a linked to cancer, organ toxicity and skin irritation. Found in: skin lightening creams.

Methyl cellosolvefragrance ingredient and solvent that is an irritant and a possible neurotoxin, developmental toxin, and cause of DNA mutations that could lead to cancer. Found in: anti-aging creams.

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone: chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash.

Mercury and mercury compounds (also listed as Thimerosal): metallic element used as a preservative and antiseptic known to damage brain function. Found in: ear and eye drops; may be used in mascara.

Mineral Oil (also listed as liquid paraffin; liquid petrolatum; paraffin oil): a by-product of petroleum distillation that may cause contact dermatitis. Found in: baby lotions, cold creams, ointments.

Oxybenzone: sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.

Parabens  (methyl-, isobutyl-, proply- and others): a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Specially, parabens mimic estrogen; they can lock on to our cell’s own estrogen receptors and mess with important natural signals. They may play a role in triggering breast cancer. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.

Phthalates  (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.

Resorcinol: a colorant and fragrance ingredient that is a skin irritant, toxic to the
immune system and organs, and suspected to cause hormone disruption. Found in: hair color.

Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A): a nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Found in: moisturizer, anti-aging skincare.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Synthetic flavor or fragrance: an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000+ stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets, and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.

Toluenea volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can
cause birth defects. Found in: nail polish.

Triclosan and Triclocarban: antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.

Print out an Always-With-You Never List and carry in your wallet for easy reference while on the go.


Style – the Great White


Two great Classics!

Two great Classics!

A crisp, white button-down shirt is one of the most important pieces in a womans wardrobe.  It must be spotless whether it be long, short, fitted or loose and above all… perfect!white3

Ask any stylist or wardrobe consultant what the most important staple in a woman’s wardrobe is, and you can almost guarantee the answer you will be met with is a classic white blouse. white1For decades, white blouses for women have been both a basic workwear go-to and a stylish statement. The versatility is unmatched and the variations are endless.


Looking at both historical and modern perspectives, it is clear that white blouses for women will never lose their relevancy.

The white shirt can even be worn to black-tie events.

Layer your collar and cuffs with some statement knitwear, likeLupita Nyong'o on the Miu Miu front row.

Layer your collar and cuffs with some statement knitwear, likeLupita Nyong’o on the Miu Miu front row.

tunic style worn

tunic style paired with a classic black pant.

It can also be worn to black-tie events

casual on Cameron & flirty on Kate

casual on Cameron & flirty on Kate

A white shirt is a true workhorse.  It will see you through all seasons and all occasions.  It will look fresh, sporty, relaxed and SEXXXY!  What more can you ask for from one simple piece!?


Do you have a favourite?

Source: and


Food – milk chocolate oatmeal cookies

I’m always in the mood to eat cookies brsugarchoccoconutbut I don’t always feel like making them. Part of the problem is that whenever I do make them I end up eating more than I should. This recipe is really easy and fairly healthy as far as cookies go…..(brown sugar instead of white, oats and only 1 egg) so I couldn’t wait to make them.  They’re quick and delicious and I just added coconut flakes.  You can double the recipe but if you want to ensure you don’t eat too many, maybe it’s a good idea to stick to the original.

Brown Sugar Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. fine sea salt

½ cup unsalted butter, either at room temperature or slightly chilled

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

½ quick oats

1 cup milk chocolate chips

unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  If you don’t have parchment then spray baking sheets lightly with oil.

Stir flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat butter with sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until combined.  Stir in oats and chocolate chips.  Spoon 2 Tbsp. portions of dough, 3 in. apart, onto prepared sheets.  Flatten them slightly using your fingers.

Bake in centre of oven until edges are golden but centres are soft, 12-15 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.  Pour yourself a glass of milk!

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  But let’s face it – they’ll only last one or two days at most.

Makes 12-16 cookies.

If you really need to know they’re about 200 calories per cookie.

 Below are links to some other cookie recipes I’ve made and posted before (all equally delicious):


Sweet ‘n Salty


Ultimate Dark


Travel – American Splendor

PARKS & RECREATION plus a bit of History.

Here are two miracles of nature that I highly recommend visiting not only for the breathless beauty of their rugged landscapes which makes for great hiking, but for the spiritual connection.

Arches National Park, Utahparks2

300 million years of patient erosion has resulted in unbelievably dramatic landscapes.  Here you will find the world’s largest concentration of natural stone arches. This National Park is a red, arid desert, punctuated with oddly eroded sandstone forms, balanced rocks, and arches. The 73,000-acre region has over 2,000 of these “miracles of nature.”

Monument Valley, Arizona.


Look familiar?  You’ve seen it many times in many westerns (John Wayne spent a lot of time filming here).

Monument Valley provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West.

from photo shoot Bazaar Magazine

from photo shoot Bazaar Magazine

One of the grandest – and most photographed  landmarks (just look at these two magazine pages) in the United States, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is a sprawling, sandy preserve that spans the border between Arizona and Utah, bathing the region in rich red hues.

Dominated by crimson mesas and surreal sandstone towers – some as tall as 1,000 feet – the area is also known for dramatic, mesmerizing lighting, with the sun illuminating the towers and casting long shadows on the valley floor.

Bazaar Magazine

Bazaar Magazine

Alamo, *San Antonio, Texas


Located in the heart of one of the Nations top 10 largest cities, the Alamo is a must-see.  In 1960, the story of the Alamo became bigger than life when John Wayne starred as Davy Crockett in a movie about the battle.

The History of the Alamo – a timeline:

The March 6, 1836 Battle of the Alamo was preceded by many battles between the newly arrived Texas colonists, called Texians, and the Mexican military. Texas was Mexican territory, following Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821, and the settlers arriving from the United States wanted their independence from Mexico. But the story of the Alamo itself began more than 100 years earlier.  Find out more at:

*San Antonio has a lot of other things going for it besides “the Alamo.”  It has a happening music scene, art museum and the beautiful River Walk with a host of attractions like restaurants, shops and hotels.

SourcesArches National Park

Monument Valley, Arizona

Photos: d. king






Let’s have some FUN…..and not take life so seriously.relation1

MEN vs WOMEN – some quotes that made me smile:

Buy a ship, name it relation.  Now you have a RELATIONSHIP!

“I was married by a judge.  I should have asked for a jury.” – Groucho Marx

“A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes nineteen or twenty mistakes she’s a tramp.” – Joan Rivers

“Seems to me the basic conflict between men and women, sexually, is that men are like firemen. To men, sex is an emergency, and no matter what we’re doing we can be ready in two minutes. Women, on the other hand, are like fire. They’re very exciting, but the conditions have to be exactly right for it to occur.” – Jerry Seinfeld

According to a recent survey, men say the first thing they notice about women is their eyes. And women say the first thing they notice about men is they’re a bunch of liars. – Jay Leno

I want a man who is kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire? – Zsa Zsa Gabor

You’re 40 and he’s 22. Do you have to marry him? Couldn’t you just adopt him? – Ann Stanley, Forty Carats

“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.” – Robin Williams

Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed.” – Albert Einstein

Happy Sunday!

Health MATTERS: the skinny on PROTEIN

 A crash courseprotein1Believe me there’s far too much information so I broke it down as best I could (even though it’s a lot bit longer than my usual posts) from researching a few articles. I think we all know that keeping a balanced diet is really key.

What do I immediately do after a run or workout using weights at the gym?  Go home to make a smoothie with a BIG scoop of *protein powder.  Of course the smoothie is more of a thick milkshake-like consistency with other good stuff like banana, yogurt, frozen wild blueberries (I like it cold), wild green powder or juice, coconut water, flax & chia seeds and a good quality matcha green tea powder (from Japan).  This to me is the Ultimate workout recovery.  I try to drink it as quickly as possible so that the protein will adhere to my muscles ASAP!  Who knows but it feels really healthy, works for most athletes as I am a major athlete (of which I am not) but why not do as they do?

 Because WITHOUT PROTEIN, life as we know it would not be possible.

They’re used to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin.  Proteins are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve important functions.

Bottom Line: Protein is a structural molecule assembled out of amino acids, many of which the body can’t produce on its own. Animal foods are usually high in protein, with all the essential amino acids that we need.

If we don’t get enough from the diet, our health and body composition suffers.

However, there are vastly different opinions on how much protein we actually need.     Most official nutrition organizations recommend a fairly modest protein intake.

  • 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man.
  • 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.

Although this meager amount may be enough to prevent downright deficiency, studies show that it is far from sufficient to ensure optimal health and body composition.

It turns out that the “right” amount of protein for any one individual depends on many factors… including activity levels, age, muscle mass, physique goals and current state of health.

The best sources of protein are meats, fish, eggs and dairy products. They have all the essential amino acids that your body needs.  There are also some plants that are fairly high in protein, like quinoa, legumes and nuts.

All of this being said, I don’t think there is any need for most people to actually track their protein intake.

If you’re just a healthy person trying to stay healthy, then simply eating quality protein with most of your meals (along with nutritious plant foods) should bring your intake into an optimal range.

If you have a physically demanding job, you walk a lot, run, swim or do any sort of exercise, then you need more protein. Endurance athletes also need quite a bit of protein, about 0.5 – 0.65 grams per pound, or 1.2 – 1.4 grams per kg.

Elderly people also need significantly more protein, up to 50% higher than the DRI, or about 0.45 to 0.6 grams per pound of bodyweight.

What “Grams of Protein” Really Means

This is a very common misunderstanding

When I say “grams of protein” – I mean grams of the macronutrient protein, not grams of a protein containing food like meat or eggs.

An 8 ounce serving of beef weighs 226 grams, but it only contains 61 grams of actual protein. A large egg weighs 46 grams, but it only contains 6 grams of protein.

What About The Average Person (of course we all think we’re all above average)?

If you’re at a healthy weight, you don’t lift weights and you don’t exercise much, then aiming for 0.36 to 0.6 grams per pound (or 0.8 to 1.3 gram per kg) is a reasonable estimate.

This amounts to:

  • 56-91 grams per day for the average male.
  • 46-75 grams per day for the average female.

But given that there is no evidence of harm and significant evidence of benefit, I think it is better for most people to err on the side of more protein rather than less.

Protein and THE ATHLETE – How Much Do You Need?weights1

By **Alexandra Caspero, MA, RD

Whether running sprints, long-distance swimming or lifting weights, athletes expend more energy than the average person and their bodies need additional nutrients to recover from intense physical activity. Protein plays an important role in an athlete’s diet as the nutrient helps repair and strengthen muscle tissue. Recently, high protein diets have become popular among athletes — especially those seeking a leaner, more defined physique. But how much protein is really necessary?


While protein is critical in building muscle mass, more is not necessarily better. Eating large amounts of lean protein will not equate with a toned body.

When determining protein requirements for athletes, it’s important to look at the athlete’s overall diet. During periods of both rest and activity, protein contributes about 10 percent of the total fuel an athlete’s body uses. The remaining fuel used is made up of carbohydrates and fat. Athletes who consume diets adequate in both these nutrients end up using less protein for energy than those who consume a higher protein diet. This means that protein can go toward preserving lean body mass (i.e. that lean physique). So in order to retain muscle, athletes need to ensure they are also meeting needs for carbs and fat, not just protein.


Muscle growth happens only when exercise and diet are combined.

For example, research has shown that *timing of protein intake plays a significant role. Eating high-quality protein (such as eggs, dairy or soy) immediately after exercise — either by itself or with a carbohydrate — enhances muscle creation.

Duration and intensity of the activity is also a factor when it comes to protein needs.

Endurance athletes (such as runners, bikers and swimmers) tend to synthesize more protein for fuel while power (or strength) athletes (such as sprinters, weightlifters and CrossFitters) tend to synthesize less protein for fuel but retain more for muscle development.

Because they are building muscle, power athletes require a higher level of protein consumption than endurance athletes. “[Power] athletes’ protein needs are highest during the initial training phases, when muscle gain is largest,” says sports dietitian Kelly Rossi, MS, RD, CSSD. “As any athlete trains more, their body’s efficiency in using protein increases so they may not need as much.”


While protein needs of both endurance and power athletes are greater than that of non-athletes, they’re not as high as commonly perceived.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend the following for power and endurance athletes, based on body weight:

  • Power athletes (strength or speed): 1.2 to 1.7 grams/kilogram a day
  • Endurance athletes: 1.2 to 1.4 grams/kilogram a day

For an adult male athlete, that’s about 84 to 119 grams of protein a day; for adult females about 66 to 94 grams.

By comparison, a sedentary adult male needs about 56 grams of protein a day; for females it’s about 46 grams.


*Protein powders and protein supplements are great for convenience, but not to be solely relied on. Whole foods are always best, but with a busy athlete trying to juggle a million things, it is more realistic to provide them with the convenient shake.  It is for added reassurance.

*For the Ultimate protein, greens and fiber in powder form I use and recommend:

Source of info: and

**Alexandra Caspero, MA, RD, is owner of Delicious Knowledge in Sacramento, Calif. She specializes in plant-based diets, sports nutrition, food intolerance and weight management.

How about you?  What form of exercise do you regularly do and do you make a shake the minute you get home from your workout?






Feel-good Friday – birds of a feather

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild.


So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.” birdcactus


- Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: A Story from Different Seasons.


Photos: d. king

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence” – Robert Lynd

Well said – that is even more true for photographing them.

Beauty biz – the Facial

For many years Optaderm has been my go-to place for facials. 

Products that work in simple packaging.

Products that work in plain packaging.

Okay there was a period of time where I tried other skincare specialists.  They lured me in off the street with their luxurious looking salons and some of their facials were very good but I’ve never been as satisfied as when Elizabeth attends to my skin at Optaderm.  She takes care of business. Hopefully she’ll be there as long as I continue going.

Optaderm will not lure you off the street.  In fact they’re located on the 3rd floor of a medical building.  You have to know about them.  The place is very pristine but not at all fancy.  Just the basics.  If you’re looking for fancy shmancy you must go elsewhere.20141010_170854

During the course of the complete one hour facial, we receive a relaxing aromatherapy massage, thorough deep pore cleansing, skin-smoothing peeling and calming facial masque.  And I always ask for *extractions (most other places will not do this maybe out of fear of messing up). They are not the most pleasant part of the facial but there always seems to be some to get rid of.

skincare line which you can use after the facial if you choose to

skincare line which you can use after the facial if you choose to

Optaderm also sells their own brand of skincare & some makeup (made at their in-house lab) with healthy ingredients like plant extracts, amino acids and vitamins.  They’ll probably give you a few generous size samples to try.  They’re able to sell their goods at a lower price point than  competitors by being a direct supplier to the customer.  You won’t be disappointed.

Optaderm, since 1987 has offered high quality products and one-on-one skin care advice.

*Extractions – meaning tiny (sometimes not so tiny) black & whitehead removal.  That’s all you need to know.





You can never go wrong with wearing classics. Things that look as good today as days gone by.  Things like…

LBD - Sophia wears a strapless like no other.

The LBD – Sophia wears a strapless like no other.  But we can give it a try.

The Jean Jacket

The Jean Jacket

For your viewing pleasure here are some of my all-time favorites along with the people wearing them.

The worn-in Leather Jacket

The worn-in Leather Jacket

The Tuxedo

The Tuxedo

The White Shirt (Victoria Beckham)

The White Shirt (Victoria Beckham)









Jennifer Hudson & Kate Hudson (no relation) wear it well.

Jennifer Hudson & Kate Hudson (no relation).

A single-breasted, belted wrap coat is a classic style that flatters curvy girls in all the right places (the belt defines your waist, the diagonal line of the lapels minimizes your bust and the A-line shape skims over your hips).  Kate Hudson is far from voluptuous but shows that a classic long wool coat looks great on everyone.  (If you’re petite, opt for a shorter version so it doesn’t overwhelm your frame). Plus, a good camel coat looks equally chic dressed up or worn with your favorite jeans.

The Cashmere Scarf

The Cashmere Scarf

The Ballet Flats (they don't necessarily have to be Chanel) but these are  Très Chic

The Ballet Flat (they don’t necessarily have to be Chanel) but these are Très Chic


Perfect white T & Jeans

Perfect white T & Jeans

The Moto Jacket

The Moto Jacket

The Military

The Military

Of Course...Coco

The LBJ.  Of Course…Coco  

A twist on the Classics can't be all bad.  Love the bag & distressed boots - Chanel.

A twist on the Classics can’t be all bad. Love the bag & distressed boots – both Chanel, Texas style.

A Classic wearing a Classic.....classily & sexily (is that a word?)

A Classic wearing a Classic.….sexy classisism!

More style on Pinterest -