Health MATTERS: California fruit recall concern!

 Listeria hysteria…

listeria1WE LOVE FRUIT anytime but especially in summer when melons & berries are in season and ripe for eating and juicing.  Please tell me that we can still continue to enjoy them.

Word of the Week – Listeria:  I heard the name before but did some research to find out exactly what it means because last weekend someone I’m very close to got violently ill (her words) from what she believed was caused by eating an apricot.

Listeria is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle.  It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats.


Food-borne illness is on the rise, and some experts are concerned that our increasing reliance on large-scale industrial farming may be at least partly to blame. But truthfully, pointing fingers is not that easy. Listeria originates from waste– animal or human — used as fertilizer, and flourishes in water. Fruits and vegetables become contaminated with listeria when they touch soil, mud or water that contains the bacteria.

listeria2Lately canteloupes have picked up the listeria bacteria (great, my latest kitchen gadget is a double-sided melon baller), as can other melons, but so can any fruit that’s sprayed or washed with water containing listeria picked up from the soil.

It will survive!  Listeria bacteria can survive refrigeration and even freezing. That’s why people who are at higher risk of serious infections should avoid eating the types of food most likely to contain listeria bacteria.


But here’s the thing to remember, the listeria is on the outside of the fruit – it doesn’t spread throughout the flesh. So it’s not going to help to avoid certain types of fruits — the damage to your diet and health would far outweigh the potential safety benefits, statistically speaking. (Sad stories are all over California about canteloupes left rotting in the fields – and there’s nothing wrong with those canteloupes.) What to do?  Wash fruit as soon as you buy it with an antibacterial fruit and vegetable wash or, in a pinch, with antibacterial dish soap. Wash it again before you eat it, or better yet, peel it. But wash it even if you do peel it. Just peeling doesn’t cut it (seriously, no pun intended) because the bacteria could be transferred on your hands.


Ready-to-eat deli meats and hot dogs                                                                               Refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads                                                                         Unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products                                                                         Soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk, such as queso fresco, Feta, Brie, Camembert                                                                                                                     Refrigerated smoked seafood                                                                                             Raw sprouts


If you develop a listeria infection, you may experience:

Fever                                                                                                                                       Muscle Aches                                                                                                                       Nausea                                                                                                                                 Diarrhea

Symptoms may begin a few days after you’ve eaten contaminated food, but it may take as long as two months before the first signs and symptoms of infection begin.

If the listeria infection spreads to your nervous system, signs and symptoms may include:        

Headache                                                                                                                             Stiff Neck                                                                                                                       Confusion or changes in alertness                                                                                       Loss of balance                                                                                                                 Convulsions                                                                                                                  

When to see a doctor:

If you’ve eaten a food that’s been recalled because of a listeria outbreak, pay close attention to any possible signs or symptons of illness.  If you experience fever, muscle aches, nausea or diarrhea, contact your doctor.  The same goes for illness after eating a potentially contaminated product, such as foods made with unpasteurized milk or poorly heated hot dogs or deli meats.

If you experience a high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion or sensitivity to light, seek emergency care.  These signs and symptoms may indicate bacterial meningitis, a life-threatening complication of listeria infection.


Listeria bacteria can be found in soil, water and animal feces. Humans typically are infected by consuming:                                                                                                           Raw vegetables that have been contaminated from the soil or from contaminated manure used as fertilizer                                                                                                                     Infected animal meat                                                                                                 Unpasteurized milk or foods made with unpasteurized milk                                               Certain processed foods – such as soft cheeses, hot dogs and deli meats that have been contaminated after processing.

Unborn babies can contract a listeria infection from the mother via the placenta.

If you have eaten food that has been recalled because of listeria contamination, see a doctor only if you are experiencing signs and symptoms of a listeria infection.

To prevent a listeria infection, follow simple food safety guidelines:

  • Keep things clean. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water before and after handling or preparing food. After cooking, use hot, soapy water to wash the utensils, cutting board and other food preparation surfaces.
  • Scrub raw vegetables. Clean raw vegetables with a scrub brush or vegetable brush under plenty of running water.
  • Cook your food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to make sure your meat, poultry and egg dishes are cooked to a safe temperature.
  • I’d like to suggest “buying local” is best, but if you live in California that might not help. Just be aware and enjoy your summer in spite of all this.   XO
  • Sources: &



Beauty biz – LINGERIE for the skin?

What’s in a name?  Obviously something that attracts to get your attention.  Something that gives an impression of gliding on like a silk stocking or wears invisibly like a second-skin, like lingerie itself.….which appeals to me.  A good marketing tool? I had to check it out.

peau2Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Invisible Skin Fusion Foundation SPF 20 – Product Review.    

            I said I’d never buy foundation but then I came across this one.  I think the name “lingerie” appealed to me at first and the fact that Guerlain products are “top-notch”so I had to sample it. The application felt really lightweight (you hardly need any) with a natural-finish and a light to medium coverage.  I like that it can be used even as a cover-up for trouble spots only.  It’s one of the most natural-looking foundations that still allows for adequate coverage for minor skin imperfections.  If you have just a couple of small areas to cover, it is workable to build up coverage on a spot-by-spot basis. The consistency is thin, not so thin it’s watery, but thin enough that it blends out easily and feels weightless once applied. I apply it with my fingers, but you can use a sponge or brush if you prefer. 


Its secret: hyaluronic acid, encapsulated in the Bio-Fusion micro-mesh, continuously captures and maintains water on the skin’s surface.  The unbelievably silky formula creates a natural radiance that captures and reflects light to reveal the look of naturally perfect skin.  Let’s FACE IT…it sure takes a lot of work to look Natural!

It is Formulated without:
- Sulfates
- Phthalates
- GMOs
- Triclosan                                                                                                                                - Probably some other things we can’t pronounce

Available at Nordstrom and Sephora – approx. $65.00

Have any of you tried it?



Style – I want to “take it ALL”

Shopping after hours -the way it “should” be…at least in my dreams.

after1In my DREAM I picture myself getting dropped off in front of the CHANEL Rue Cambon headquarters in Paris when it is closed for business to everyone else. A dutiful sales assistant anxiously awaits me, then escorts me upstairs so that top models can one by one parade around and model the Private Viewing Pre-Fall cowboy-inspired Collection for my eyes only.

after2In the short video (link below) by Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld I am played by *Lady Amanda Harlech (Lagerfeld’s real-life muse and right-hand woman), who undoubtedly has a fair few Chanel wares of her own.  I think she does an amazing job. This gives an insight into the exclusive world of one of the brand’s VICs (very important customers).  Top American model Jamie Bochert plays the sales assistant.

The Cowboy-inspired collection, which is rich in waistcoats, bow-tie blouses and gold tweeds, was first shown in Dallas last year and the range is dropping into Chanel stores throughout the current month. Please click on link below to get a glimpse: (NOTE: the video might start somewhere in the middle so just scroll right back to the beginning).                                                                           

*Disclaimer – It’s really not supposed to be “me” –  remember, it’s just my dream!  I can be whoever I want in it.  Oh, did you think it really was me???


Simply Italian: One-pan Orecciette with Chickpeas and Olives

getting started

getting started looks almost like soup

Here we go again….cooking with chickpeas.  Chickpeas (otherwise known as Garbanzo beans), like most legumes have long been valued for their fiber content. Do you know that people who consume garbanzo beans on a regular basis have better blood fat regulation including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides?

Orecciette pasta is much easier to find nowadays (I don’t remember how many stores I went through trying to find it years ago) – it has a tiny ear-shape look to it.  It really means just that:  from orecchio (ear) + etto (small).  There, now you can speak some Italian!

This recipe is from Everyday Food by Martha Stewart and it is a very simple but tasty dish.  So very Italian!

Then it becomes more

Then it becomes more

Ingredients to Serve 4:

12 ounces Orecchiette

1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup of Kalamata olives, pitted

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 6-inch sprig of Rosemary

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

¼ tsp. red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 ½ ounces), plus more for serving

2 cups baby arugula (about 2 ounces)

Combine pasta, chickpeas, olives, tomato paste, garlic, rosemary, oil, pepper flakes, and 4 cups of water in a large straight-sided skillet.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and liquid is reduced to a sauce that coats pasta, 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat, discard rosemary, and stir in arugula until just wilted and cheese to coat.  Add more water only if needed to thin out sauce, a few tablespoons at a time. Divide pasta among bowls and serve immediately, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with cheese and pepper flakes.


Finished Product.  I added Truffle Oil

buon appetito!








The ART of collecting ART – What Makes Good ART?

When it comes to art everyone seems to have an opinion. Of course everyone has different tastes and what someone loves, someone else might despise. But there is art…and then there is ART!

Elan Fine Art Gallery, Vancouver

Elan Fine Art Gallery, Vancouver

Have you ever wondered how experienced art world professionals separate out the best art from the rest?

I came across a website about the business of ART by Alan Bamberger, a San Francisco art consultant, advisor, and independent appraiser of all aspects of original works of art including art-related documents, and art reference books. He has been selling art since 1979 and has been consulting and appraising for artists, galleries, businesses, organizations and collectors since 1985.  He is the author of “The Art of Buying Art.”

Mr. Bamberger asked some Art World Pros for answers.  Here they are:

Brian Gross, Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco: Art that is unique in conception and well executed.

DeWitt Cheng, freelance art writer and critic, Bay Area, CA: Good visual art looks stunningly right and, in retrospect, obvious, or inevitable– yet it’s also continually surprising. It is a powerful paradox. How can someone have possibly made this? How in the world could it not have been made?

A magnificent piece by Joseph Kyle brings life to a downtown office.

A magnificent painting by Joseph Kyle hangs in a downtown office bringing light and life to an already beautiful space.

Cheryl Haines, Haines Gallery, San Francisco: Clear intention, unwavering dedication, patience, perseverance, self awareness and the drive to make for yourself and no one else.

Robert Berman, Robert Berman Gallery, Los Angeles: Reality is by agreement. The reality of art is usually by some kind of agreement. The arbiters are the museums, the museum curators, the people who spend their lives and their time actually being critical of what they see and judging what they see. If you add in four or five art critics who are then able to write about it, if you get four or five major collectors who are passionate about what they collect to patronize it, and several major auction houses to auction it, then a consensus or vetting process begins to unfold. Of course there’s magic dust involved, so this is not a sure way, but it’s a safe way to go about judging what is good art.

by Marc Séguin

by Marc Séguin

Catharine Clark, Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco: When it has its own internal logic. It took me a long time to get to this place, but that is the answer that I now give. I used to say that good art is like porn; you know it when you see it.

Mat Gleason, Coagula Art Journal, Los Angeles: The moment and the memory. It has to be something that engages you, on one of a million levels, in person, and establishes a memory that remains positive. This can be an artwork that challenges you and then makes you think about it days later or one that seduces you and delivers pleasant feelings days later. There are as many ways to produce this 1-2 effect as there are artists, but so much art that grabs you is glib and you forget it or is lousy and only recalled as something you sped past or upon which you only regret wasting your day.

Robert Shimshak, Collector, Berkeley, CA:

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall

Good art is timeless. It will assume a new relevance to each generation, and to yourself as you grow. It will connect to the past and feed the future. It has a simple and rigorous beauty that commands your gaze and thoughts whenever you look at it. The best work will break your heart. As a collector, you will know it when you see it. It’s personal. You will not have to be convinced by anyone to acquire it; it will be something you simply must have. It is like a good marriage that completes a feeling inside you, something that lasts forever and grows with time.

Marsea Goldberg, New Image Art, Los Angeles: Originality, representational of the time when it was created, passion, a frame of reference, freshness, intellectual content, and is uniquely identifiable as the work of that particular artist. The art should effortlessly have as many of these characteristics as possible– or none at all. It also has to have magic; if you try too hard, the magic could fly away. The artist needs to have a vision and it’s important that the work doesn’t go into a dead end. It’s helpful if the artist has the capacity to reinvent their creativity through various skills and mediums.

Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation, San Francisco: It is truly an unanswerable question without stating something that appears pretentious… the perception of what makes art “good ” revolves around the application of that difficult word, “taste” which I observe to be in considerably short supply in society today. People are not willing to take the time and effort to develop their own personal sensibilities through study or reflection but are prone to “go with the flow” from the “tastemakers” so as not to be seen as square and out of touch… so sad…

Jack Hanley, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York: I like something where the intensity of the experience of the person making it comes through. Maybe somebody is turned on by the nature of the materials, a psychological issue or some kind of narrative. Maybe some people have greater intensities of experience than others. What makes art good on a grander scale is how extraordinary and profound the components of those experiences are. Some artists are maybe better than others at tapping into their own idiosyncrasies and conveying them to others.

Justin Giarla, The Shooting Gallery, White Walls & 941 Geary, San Francisco: What makes good art is when you see a piece from across the room, you immediately fall in love with it without knowing anything about it and are in love with it forever.

Paul Kyle, Private Art Dealer, Elan Fine Art, Vancouver: A good work of art for me, is a piece that has the ability to awaken and remind me of my essence or the highest aspect of my being, if you will.  To successfully accomplish this, I as viewer, must be open to allowing the work to reveal itself to me without pre-judgement, what I call contempt prior to investigation. Also, a great work of art gets better the more it is viewed.  Often it is the work that has an immediate impact that is the one that wears thin over time, being the one with little real substance, as opposed to the one that takes time to reveal itself as the one with the greatest depth and meaning. There are certain elements however that the work must contain before the experience I seek is possible. Two elements that I look for in art are: Beauty and Elegance.  Beauty, not referring to “pretty” but beauty referring to directness and honesty.  Elegance is where there is nothing that can be added or taken away from the individual work.  This can only be accomplished by an artist with great technical competence and authentic original vision.

Alan Bamberger, itinerant artster, San Francisco: At its most fundamental level, good art is an effective combination of concept, vision and mastery of medium (the ability to get the point across). Good art is also uncompromisingly honest, unselfconscious, bold, ambitious, enlightening, original, challenging, and a feast for the senses. It doesn’t necessarily have to have all of these qualities, but at the very least it has to keep you coming back for more… and never ever bore.

art1An easy-to-understand book on how to buy, sell, evaluate, appraise, and collect art. Soft cover; 284 pages. By Alan S. Bamberger, noted art expert, author, and syndicated columnist. Available at



Health MATTERS: good Intentions

Intention is Everything!  Oprah Winfrey quoted Martin Luther King “If you can see it and believe it, it is a lot easier to achieve it.”  It’s about Visualization.  I find this fascinating and believe it to be true.win1

Actor Jim Carrey parked his car on Mulholland Drive every night before anybody knew about him, with the visualization of becoming the Hollywood star that he inevitably became. He even wrote himself a ten million dollar check for a movie deal, and dated it five years from that very day. Can you guess what eventually happened? Not long before that date came along, he secured ten million dollars to star in the movie Dumb and Dumber.  That Jim is no dummy!

Being that Jim Carrey is one of the funniest comedians in history I thought it would be pretty cool to meet him, and luckily I had the pleasure of doing so not just once, but on several occasions through a mutual friend.  I found him to be extremely intelligent, captivating and humble all at once.  And I never thought it unusual to be in his presence because I visualized being there as normal.

The power of visualization has been instrumental in turning dreams into reality for not only folks like Jim,  but elite and successful people in every field: professional athletes, business CEO’s, speakers, singers, and performers…YOU?

Please take time to watch this inspiring 11 minute video of actor Jim Carrey sharing his life changing realization.  Take from it what you will but whatever your beliefs, I hope you agree that having good intent and positive visualization makes for healthier living. Have a great weekend.


Credit: (a website about cultivating joy and meaning through meditation in a western society lifestyle.)


Re-Fresh Friday

20140711_141358samsung6Pack Light!

suitcase1It’s vacation time for many of you right now.  You’re getting
ready to pack up.
Have a look at how travel bags have changed.  If you happen to have any of the old ones still lying around or taking up space in your storage locker here are some great uses for them for anything other than traveling.  They might even make you want to pick one up from a thrift shop, especially if you have cats.samsung5









Coffee Table, Plant Stand, Bed








Bye, bye old friends….you were wonderful and trustworthy although heavy & cumbersome at the same time.  You won’t be missed!


As far as old cameras go…..stacked high up on a shelf is best.  Sorry; I sadly can’t think of any other use for them.  I now use my Samsung Galaxy for capturing images & Instagramming them (my latest passion) right away.  Gone are the days of taking my film into a shop, waiting for the processing to be done (remember when they had the 1 day option for a little higher price?) and then paying for them whether they turned out or not.


Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4


beauty biz – BUXOM beauty

It’s not unusual for me to walk into Sephora and see products that have my name written all over it…meaning that I recognize something that I think would be perfect for me.  20140623_164944But this time I really did see something with my name written on it which of course garnered my attention.  On closer observation I realized it was also my colour and the caricature of the person on the packaging looked just like me was wearing something I like and also sell.  Co-incidence? I think not!

What it is:
Besides a good marketing tool, it’s a bestselling sheer, shimmering lip gloss with a tingling, plumping effect.

What it does:
A sheer, high-shine lip polish. It creates the look of fuller, more voluptuous lips with a refreshing tingling sensation and gentle plumping effect. Vitamins A and E help keep lips soft and protected.

What else you need to know:
Dolly is a cult favorite, but if you love pinks, go with Katie and Sugar. For a plum obsession, go with Brandi or Gabby. Orange-lovers will gravitate toward Amber and Debbie. Add a splash of sparkle with Clair, Starr, and April.  Leave it to them to choose names like Sugar, Brandi & Starr….I’m sure porn stars wear lipgloss too

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
- Parabens
- Sulfates
- Phthalates

For kisses that’ll have them coming back for more.

20140623_164907Available exclusively at Sephora – 100 shades that just might have your name on it.

Are you a LISA?

Are you a LISA?