Beauty biz – beauty you can EAT

Edible beauty products…It was just a matter of time edibledon’t you think so?  After all, the beauty industry is HUGE.  There are natural products and then there are these which I believe falls into the natural category…..even more so because they are good enough to eat.  Hmmm…I haven’t tried any of these, not sure how they taste but thought you’d like to know about them.  As seen on Style Bistro.

We all know true beauty comes from within. But great skin doesn’t hurt, either. With all of the thousands of different products available, we’ve grown accustomed to lathering, lotioning and glopping on. But what if you didn’t have to? What if you could just take a pill and fight anti-aging or the sun’s rays? A new series of products hitting the market is aiming to do just that. From drinkable sunscreen to pills for your skin, ingestible beauty products have been popping up on our radar these days.

edible1For those concerned with anti-aging (like who isn’t?), drinkable collagen might be the answer. Reserveage’s Collagen Replenish ($16) is a flavorless powder that’s meant to be mixed in with water or juice. The powder contains collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to supposedly fight collagen deterioration and free-radical damage.

And if putting on sunscreen is so last summer for you, perhaps drinkable SPF is more your style. Osmosis edible2Harmonized Water UV Neutralizer ($30) is a liquid dietary supplement that helps protect against sun damage, thanks to its vibration-frequency technology that’s supposed to neutralize UV radiation.

edible3And if skin brightening is more your style, Equitance has a Skin Radiance Dietary Supplement ($50) meant to support skin brightening. These pills are designed to improve skin’s vitality with a balance of natural ingredients such as grape-seed extract, yucca-wood extract, hesperidin and egg shell membrane, which contains L-cystine (an amino acid popular for illumination).

But what do you think?

Would you ever try ingestible beauty products?




style – timeless TWILLY

twilly6twilly2Hermès Twilly – a timeless classic.

Good enough for Grace

Good enough for Grace

These versatile  silk scarves are beautifully printed on both sides and so easy to wear. It’s longer in length much like a tie and stitched

Chic Headband

Chic Headband

on both sides.

They have a playful side.  A ladies necktie?  A silk bracelet?  A chic headband or ponytail holder? Many tie them to their handbags…even if they’re not Birkins.twilly3

Tied to a Birkin

Tied to a Birkin

It is one of my favourites from the famous french house of style. Now they have a longer version – called the maxi twilly but I prefer the tinier original.  twilly5And who can resist the little orange box?


What is your

favourite Hermès silk scarf?  

Simply Satisfying –   gluten free CHOCOLATE ALMOND TORTE

torte1Also known as Torta Caprese (named for the island of Capri from which this recipe originates).

If you like chocolate with almonds you will love this flourless recipe.  It is simply delicious and fairly easy to make.  You might ask, what is the difference between a torte and a cake?  The answer is nothing because the word “torte” comes from the Italian word “torta” which means a round bread or cake. So it is in fact a cake.  In Europe, most cakes are called tortes.

When comparing tortes and cakes, you will notice that the cake is lighter than the torte. Cakes are made with cake flour which makes them very light because of the gluten content of the flour. You’ll find that tortes are denser and richer therefore a smaller piece should be enough to satisfy.


1 ¾ sticks (7/8 cup) unsalted butter

7 ounces (1 ¼ cups) blanched whole almonds

6 ounces (170kg) of the finest quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) you can find.  I use Callebaut.

4 large eggs

1 cup fine coconut sugar (original recipe calls for granulated sugar)

Garnish with confectioners’ sugar (I sprinkle it over the cake with a fine sieve) and serve with whipped cream & berries. I like using raspberries because they have a sharpness which marries well with the sweetness (but it is not overly sweet) of the chocolate.  They also add prettiness to the final presentation.

Preheat oven to 350F and butter a 10-inch cake pan.  Line bottom of pan with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Melt butter and cool.  In a food processor finely grind together almonds and chocolate.

Separate the eggs – yolks from whites.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat yolks with sugar until very thick and pale, then beat in almond mixture with butter.

In another bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites with a pinch of salt until they just hold stiff peaks and whisk one fourth into almond mixture.  Fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly and spread batter evenly in pan.

Bake torte in middle of oven for about 50 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from side of pan and a tester comes out with moist crumbs remaining.  Cool on rack 5 minutes and then invert onto another rack.  Discard wax paper and cool torte completely.  Invert onto a plate.

A restaurant style presentation with a touch of mint & a chocolate wafer.

Try a lovely restaurant style presentation with a touch of mint & a chocolate wafer.

Torte may be made one day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.






The ART of Collecting ART – building a great collection

First off, I am no authority on collecting fine art but I admire beautiful paintings and would like expert advice on how to build a worthwhile collection.  This means being true to my tastes while acquiring pieces that are of value.

Marc Chagall - I and the Village

Marc Chagall – I and the Village

Pablo Picasso - Girl Before a Mirror

Pablo Picasso – Girl Before a Mirror

If you’re like most people, you know how to buy art on a piece-by-piece basis, but may not be all that accomplished at formulating a plan for making multiple acquisitions over the long haul, or in other words, building a collection. You can find art you like just about anywhere you look and in an incredible variety of subject matters, mediums and price ranges, but that can be confusing as well as intimidating. So how do you wade through it all and decide what direction to go in? How do you relate one purchase to the next? How do you organize or group your art together? How do you present it? And most importantly, how do you do all these things well? This is what collecting is all about; it’s the ultimate case of controlled purposeful buying.

Great collectors are often as well known and widely respected as the art they collect. Take the Rockefeller collection, the Phillips collection or the Chrysler collection, just to name a few. Collectors like these are famous because they demonstrate just as much talent in selecting and grouping their art as the artists show in creating it. Likewise, each work of art in a great collection commands premium attention as well as a premium price not only because it’s good, but also because of the company it keeps.

Andy Warhol - Ingrid Bergman

Andy Warhol – Ingrid Bergman

What makes a great collector great is his or her ability to separate out specific works of art from the millions of pieces already in existence and assemble them in such a way as to increase or advance our understanding of that art in particular or of the evolution of art in general. In any mature collection, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts, the collector comes to be accepted as a respected authority and in exceptional cases, goes on to set the standards, determine the trends and influence the future of collecting for everyone.

Regardless of how you view your collecting, whether serious or recreational, there are techniques that you can use to maximize not only the quality and value of your art, but also your own personal enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of that art. Step one is being true to your tastes. This means acknowledging that you like certain types of art regardless of what you think you’re supposed to like or what seems to be the current rage. All great collectors share this trait; that’s one thing makes their collections stand out. When personal preference is ignored in favor of the status quo, one collection begins to look just like the next.  A few people dictate, the masses follow, everyone walks in lock-step, and the art you see from collection to collection becomes boring and repetitive.

Collectors who aren’t afraid to express themselves yield exactly the opposite results.


A few quotes I really like:

“Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing” ~ Marc Chagall

“Art is literacy of the heart” ~ Elliot Eisner

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance” – Aristotle




Re-Fresh Friday: local artist Georgina Tapia

shoe series

shoe series – of course I was drawn to this one from the website.

georgina2These are original works of art by Georgina Tapia, a Mexican architect residing in Vancouver for 28 years. She is also a personal friend who happens to be….simply stylish.georgina7

Georgina is the founder of Suquet Interiors Inc. – a prestigious company that created a whole line of antique architectural and decorative pieces that are displayed all around the city.  At present, the Vancouver Urban Winery is in the location which used to belong to Suquet. The pieces shown here (except for the shoes) are presently on display at Haircats Studio – 2488 Stephens Street, Vancouver.georgina3georgina4

20140816_113441These works represent her personal style with graphic detail in a simplistic and minimalistic approach.

Rose Series.  Individually or in in pairs they look great.

Rose Series at Haircats. Individually or in pairs they look great.

Sorry Georgina, I don't mean to ruin the image but...these runners match my casual outfit.

Sorry Georgina, I didn’t mean to ruin the image but…these runners match my casual outfit.

To view all works by Georgina please visit her website


Beauty biz – Art Stick by Bobbi Brown

BobbiBrownArtPencils - Copy (2)


It’s a new portable two-in-one stick that delivers a punch of color to lips and (depending on which shade you choose) can also be worn on cheeks.

comes with a sharpener

comes with a sharpener

What it does: This chunky fool-proof pencil glides on effortlessly and delivers a creamy matte finish (my favourite) to punch up your look instantly. It has a blend of emollients & shea butter which creates a rich creamy texture that allows for smooth application and comfortable wear. The enclosed sharpener ensures a precision application.

I went for dusty pink

I lusted after dusty pink.

Who is Bobbi Brown?

A celebrated makeup artist, she became makeup artist to the stars by introducing a palette of wearable natural hues–and along the way became a star herself, with her name on a global brand.  Acquired in 1995 by The Estée Lauder Companies, it is now sold in 60 countries and territories at select retailers. Katie Holmes is the first-ever celebrity face of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.

Available at Sephora & Holt Renfew                                                                                                        Cost $26USD / $32CDN

style – the ART of Fashion



Dolce & Gabbana Majolica pottery dress.  Fall/Winter 2014-15

Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent.  YSL was a wise man.

Trends come and go and come back again, many times to haunt us.  Luckily, now more than ever, we have so many choices at our fingertips.  The fashion gods can dictate and we can agree to either follow them, ignore them, or rebel against them entirely.  Today there are no set rules!  Except of course you should strive to not look like a complete & utter slob. We can be guided into a current “hot” style moment but if you love something then wear it regardless if it’s a trend fresh off the runway or not.

Digital prints at Mary Katrantzou, Manish Arora and Antonio Marras

Digital prints at Mary Katrantzou, Manish Arora and Antonio Marras.

Trends will always be there, always influence and always evolve – that’s the great thing about fashion.  Real style is about how you adapt current trends into your existing wardrobe.  It’s fun to play. Let’s get started!

A look at what to expect for Fall/Winter 2014:  Abstract Digital Pattern  – Textured Prints – Ombré Effects – Mottled Pattern Plays – Beautiful Illustrative Designs – Re-Engineered Houndstooth Prints – Sixties Edge – Over Scaled Prints – Painterly Form – Scribbled and Sketched Intense Pattern Mixes – OverLaid Paint Strokes – Pottery Design -Nature & Bird Print References – Dark Muted Tones – High Contrast Prints – Colourful Florals – Animal Patterns – and more.

Bottega Veneta – Pre Fall 2014  (dresses)

Bottega Veneta – Pre Fall 2014

The captivating digital prints and patterns adorning nearly every type of silhouette are here to stay. As they progress towards Fall/Winter 2014 they are bound to grow bolder and louder, but in doing so they will still manage to hold on to some gentleness.

Preen By Thornton Bregazzi - Pre Fall 2014 Preen photos via

Preen By Thornton Bregazzi – Pre Fall 2014 

Where Dolce & Gabbana got their INSPIRATION for Runway Fall Winter 2014-15:

potteryMajolica pottery is the most iconic way of decorating pottery in the Mediterranean. Originally a glaze which was imported by the Moors in the early Middle Ages, since then it has become an art of Southern Italy, in particular Sicily.

Majolica is one of the first exports of luxury items made in Italy, with these intricately glazed ceramics taking pride of place at courts of all of Europe in the Renaissance. It is said Queen Elizabeth I was a huge fan of the glazing and ordered many samples to be made for her in Italy during her reign.

Majolica has continued to attract art lovers, and today fashion lovers since its inception, and remains a thriving art in Sicily. The coloured tiles, pots and vases decorate homes, and even roads in the picturesque town of Sicily.



Simply Satisfying – Scallops in Sparkling Wine

Yesterday’s post got me reminiscing about cooking with wine which is something I do all the time on occasion.  Sometimes I even put it in the food (yeah, we’ve all heard that one before).  20140817_144919

Visiting wine country (where ever there is a country with a wine growing region to be found) is a fun experience and you learn (or at least taste) something new every time.  One of the wine regions I really like to visit in Canada (besides the Okanagan in British Columbia) is Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  This recipe is from a cookbook bought at the Hillebrand Estates Winery which I made tons of tasty recipes from.  It’s a guide to creating the perfect union between fine wine and superb food. Many people cook with the standby white for seafood and red for meat dishes but how many have tried sparkly?20140817_144946

Sparkling wine is wonderful to drink and this recipe is simple to prepare.  The tiny bubbles add sophistication and a sense of celebration to any event.  It is also a great ingredient in wine country cooking. The happy little bubbles work magic to transform sea scallops into the most delicate shellfish you will ever taste. This is Tony de Luca’s version of famous Mexican *ceviche.


1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup sparkling wine

1 Tbsp. coriander, finely chopped

1 tsp. lightly toasted mustard seeds

2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated

1 tsp. granulated sugar

pinch of cayenne pepper

1 lb. (500g) fresh sea scallops

Add all the ingredients except the scallops to a large bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the scallops and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 3 hours.  Remove the scallops from the marinade.  Discard the marinade and serve the scallops.  Makes 6 servings.  Enjoy!

*Traditional Halibut Ceviche from a previous blog post:

wineBook Review: the book is organized by wine variety, from light and lively to full-bodied. Each chapter begins with a description of the wine, followed by seasonal menus complete with detailed ingredient lists, thorough explanations of techniques and easy-to-follow instructions.  The author displays wit and wisdom from years of international culinary experience.  The ART of fine dining in the comfort of your home.

Lifestyle/Sommelier 101:  a crash-course on the ART of wine.

Don’t know your Sauvignon from your Sangiovese?



If you don’t know your Pinot Blanc from your Pinot Noir then you should definitely be ashamed of yourself and you probably flunked French.

You cannot become a wine expert overnight but you can find out how to get the most from your Merlot and a few other tips…because most of us (I said ‘most’) don’t know everything!  However, SOMM of us have the answers for everything wine.

I watched a captivating documentary called SOMM that was about the taxing process and tireless attempts on how to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier exam, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world. Put it this way, it seems much easier to become a lawyer.  This is a different BAR exam. Luckily the movie theatre I watched it in had a wine list.

Great Doc!

Great Doc!

Between trying to remember ‘that one you had last time that you really liked’ (not to mention that one that you really didn’t), and not wanting to reveal your utter confusion over the different varieties of grape, region or age on offer, it’s little wonder so many of us just give up trying to choose a wine and opt either for the house or a fail-safe favourite.  How very boring!

Here is advice from Jane Parkinson, resident wine expert on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, on how to appear sommelier- like and impress those at the dinner table:

Hold a wine glass by its stem (providing it has a stem of course). It prevents the wine from warming up too quickly by the heat of your hands.

Know your regions from your grapes. Chablis is chardonnay; Sancerre is sauvignon blanc; Soave is garganega (white Italian wine grape); Burgundy (red) is pinot noir; Rioja is tempranillo; Bordeaux (red) is cabernet sauvignon and merlot; Chianti is sangiovese.

Be brave about chilling red wine. Serving wine at room temperature was advice given pre-central heating, which means today’s reds are generally served too warm.  I generally prefer my reds at room temperature and my whites cold, but the correct way to serve whites is not by being too-cold because you don’t get to experience the true essence.

Get to know the on-trend wine regions. These include Swartland in South Africa, the Etna region of Sicily, the Douro Valley in Portugal and, for sparkling wine, England.

An appetite-whetting Sherry is a great alternative to fizz as an aperitif. Fino and manzanilla are the two sherry styles that are zesty, fresh and always bone dry.

Avoid heavily tannic (chewy) red wine with spicy food because they clash. Instead choose wines that are unoaked and/or made with a low-tannin grape, like barbera from Italy.

If in doubt about what to order off a wine list, go for a versatile food-matching grape. Try pinot noir for red, sauvignon blanc for a lighter white or chardonnay for a richer white.

Screwcaps are less romantic than corks, but they’re not inferior or solely for cheaper wines. In fact, they’re perfect for aromatic and vibrant wines, white or red.

There….now you are sommwhat of an expert!  

Exercise is Important

Exercise is Important

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