Fabulous Food – creamy Herb dressing

If you’re like me you put fresh herbs in everything from egg salad sandwiches to soups and pastas. Even pizza!creamyherbdressing2 It really does improve the taste and I love the ritual of cutting a few fresh stems from my herb garden. Well right now my herb garden is not looking so great except for the oregano and thyme (which is thriving since I re-potted them in a huge pot together – they seem to get along very well).  I’ve been looking for ways to preserve their freshness for as long as possible.  Nothing wrong with using dried but I love garnishing with fresh almost as much as cooking with them. So here’s an idea for preserving your soon-to-be-sad-looking herbs and a recipe for a simple dressing which you can use for everything from coleslaw & cucumber salad to potato salad or simple mixed greens.

Preserving: 

Summer might be waning, but your money-saving herb garden can be harvested until the first frost. Preserve those wonderful green bits for winter with these tips.

At the household blog Tipnut, they’ve put together a rather exhaustive list of ways you can preserve the bounty of your summer garden. On top of more traditional methods like hanging herbs to air dry, they have some rather novel approaches to stashing them away for the winter. Want to preserve your more oily herbs as-is, instead of drying them out? Try this trick:

Chop herbs then sprinkle them into ice cube trays (measure into each cube the most common amount you use in cooking). Cover with water and freeze (can also cover with stock or olive oil). Pop them out once they’re frozen, package in freezer bags and store in the freezer (remove as much air as possible from the bags before freezing). When needed for cooking, just take out a cube and pop it in the dish that’s cooking (thawing first is optional–remember to account for the frozen liquid in your recipe). Tip: Try mixing your favorite blends of fresh herbs before freezing.

If you have a consistent stable of recipes, the ice cube trick would be a great way to preserve fresh herbs and oil for easy use.

And now for the low calorie, low-fat RECIPE – Creamy always sounds more fattening right?

creamyherbdressing1Creamy Herbed Dressing

  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise (try avocado or southwest)
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried minced onion or chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon or dill (or use both)
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt or celery salt or 1/4 teaspoon of each
  • White pepper to tastecreamyherbdressing3
  1. Preparation: Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, honey, onion or chives, tarragon (or dill) and onion salt (and/or celery salt) in a bowl until well blended. Season with white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.
  2. Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the dressing for up to 5 days. Stir before using.
  3. Nutritional per Tbsp: 16 measely calories & 1 G FAT

 Tell me how you LOVE IT (a switch over from reliable olive oil, balsamic & lemon juice!)

If you were wondering: black pepper is unripe fruit (green), picked and sun dried til it turns black. White pepper is the fully ripe seed stripped of its outer husk.

Furthermore….white pepper has a little milder flavor than black pepper but in some things it shouldn’t matter. Some recipes will specifically call for white pepper but I routinely substitute black pepper for white in my recipes. Keep this in mind… if you are making a cream soup or a lighter colored soup, usually the recipe calls for white pepper so it doesn’t look like you have dirt floating around in your soup. You can’t see the white pepper like you see the black pepper. But as long as you don’t mind the color… the taste is usually just the same.

 

Lifestyle/Décor: Ideas  

On my recent outings I came across these recyclable home decorating designs.  IN the Home or Studio:

Post-IT Notes LAMP

Post-IT Notes LAMP

They might not be to everyone’s taste, but we all agree that they’re conversation starters and attention-grabbing to say the least.

Cycling Junkies

Cycling Junkies

What to do with your finished paint tubes.

What to do with your finished paint tubes.

Let me know what you think?

Inform Interiors Vancouver – http://www.informinteriors.com/

Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art - 2121 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver.

Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art – 2121 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver.

NEW: ART EXHIBIT at the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian ART:

Mr. Gordon  A. Smith o.c. curated this exhibition to show his appreciation of this exciting group of local artists (most were in attendance at the opening) and arts educators.  He believes the artists featured  here deserve great attention and praise for their artistic endeavors and contribution to arts education in British Columbia.  WORK IS ART speaks to Mr. Smith’s expansive definition of the term art itself – everything can be seen as ART.  It is the drive, passion, and quality of work that creates art.  Not simply putting paint to canvas, but how your chosen practice is undertaken and conceptualized.  The 11 artists featured in this exhibition have described what Mr. Smith’s mentorship has meant to their lives and artisic careers. Their individual stories paint a vivid picture of what Gordon means to the Gallery, to our community, to countless students, and to the development of art in Canada.

SEEN on the Street:  

outdoor book dispensary from wood wine crates.

Help yourself: outdoor book dispensary made out of  wood wine crates.

Words….straight from the Llamas mouth!

No, silly. Llamas can’t talk but if they could they’d say “We want to go back to Peru and walk the Inca Trail because it’s so much nicer than being kept in this pen with funny people staring and wanting to touch us.”

At the PNE

At the PNE                                                                                               D. King

Llamas are special.  Here are a few things you may not know about them:

Q: What’s more amazing than a talking llama? A: A spelling bee!

Q: What do you call a very fast llama? A: a Llamagini

Q: What’s llama’s favourite film? A: Llamadeus

Q: Who is the llama spiritual leader? A: The Dalai Llama

Q: What do you get if you stand between two llamas? A: llamanated

They can be creative

They can be creative

They like to enjoy a good night out (until things go bad):

A man and his pet llama walk into a bar. It’s about 5pm, but they’re ready for a good night of drinking. They start off slowly, watching TV, drinking beer, eating peanuts. As the night goes on they move to mixed drinks, and then shooters, one after the other. Finally, the bartender says: “Last call.” So, the man says, “One more for me… and one more for my llama.” The bartender sets them up and they shoot them back. Suddenly, the llama falls over dead. The man throws some money on the bar, puts on his coat and starts to leave. The bartender, yells: “Hey buddy, you can’t just leave that lyin’ there.” To which the man replies: “That’s not a lion, that’s a llama.”

Okay…..that’s enough (but must say I do love llamas).

Health MATTERS: SLEEP – the Ultimate Anti-Depressant

Almost everyone at one time or another has felt that down-in-the-dumps, doom and gloom feeling.Good-Friend-l

It’s as if it appears out of nowhere at all, only it doesn’t! It turns out that our gotta go, 24/7 lifestyles are starting to get the better of us – at least where our moods are concerned.  Low moods or depression could be caused by inadequate sleep. Whether it’s that exam you’ve been dreading, the horrible date you can’t seem to get out of your mind or the insurmountable workload ahead of you, lack of consistent quality sleep will take its toll on your physical and emotional health. And it doesn’t take all that much sleep loss to get the dark clouds to show either.

It Doesn’t Take Much
Studies support the fact that even one or two nights of sleep disruption can cause significant changes to brain chemistry, which negatively affects our moods. If you’re someone who truly believes you only need 4 – 6 hours of sleep per night to get by because you happen to be one of those “go-getters,” think again, because all you may be getting is a case of the blues.In fact, one study from the University of Pennsylvania found that when subjects were allowed only 4.5 hours of sleep per night for a one-week period, they all described feelings of mental exhaustion, anger, sadness and excess stress during the day. All it took was a few days of a normal sleep cycle to get these subjects to smile again.  Unfortunately, less and less of us are getting enough quality sleep. It’s been estimated that we sleep 25% less than our ancestors did even though or body has remained relatively unchanged. While the average amount of shuteye of our great grandparents in 1900 was nine hours, most people currently check in at a paltry seven.

The amount of severely sleep deprived people seems to be exploding. Almost a third of all North Americans now sleep less than six hours per night. Pretty crazy stuff when you consider that the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, once admitted to only getting four to five hours of sleep each night. Alarmingly, the vast majority of our new sleep habits cropped up over the last 10 years or so. Our modern life is filled with text messages, energy shots, and brightly lit computer screens that keep us up well after our bodies are clamoring for a soft bed and comfy pillow.
Following are some important things about the relationship of sleep deprivation and depression that you must be well aware of:

  • Fact #1: Adequate sleep enhances a person’s well-being.
  • Fact #2: Anxiety from lack of sleep further causes agitation that could lead to chronic insomnia.
  • Fact #3: Difficulty sleeping is the first sign of depression.
  • Fact #4: Sleep restores chemical balances in the brain and body.

How Sleep-Debt Hurts
Scientists have always thought that the brain organizes and restores everything while we sleep (especially memories). This is why lack of sleep seems to disorganize our body functions and everything else in between.sleep2

Although sleep-researchers have proposed various theories about why lack of sleep makes us so moody, it wasn’t until quite recently that scientists pinpointed the exact reason. It turns out that our emotional wellbeing is to a large part regulated by healthy sleep patterns. For instance, research presented by the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, showed that people who experience a lack of quality sleep on a regular basis (called accumulating sleep debt) experience interference with the functional regulation of the amygdala – an area of the brain responsible for the processing of our memories and emotional reactions. This interference causes an overreaction of the amygdala, pushing it towards a negative emotional stimuli.

From Bad to Worse
The National Institutes of Health recently found that a battery of “cutting edge” sleeping pills only boost sleep time anywhere from 11 to 19 minutes. When it comes to side effects, prescription sleep aids make you act like you’ve just come from another planet. Many regular users report driving without remembering, sex that they can’t recall, and conversations that never registered in their minds. In other words, amnesia. A paid mouthpiece for drug companies, Gary S. Richardson, MD told the New York Times in chilling fashion, “If you forget how long you lay in bed tossing and turning, in some ways that’s just as good as sleeping.” Sorry Dr. Richardson, but wiping our memories a la Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is not my idea of refreshing sleep. When evaluating natural sleep aids, you should look for a mechanism of action that is effective, yet safe. Any natural formula for sleep enhancement should work by:

  1. Boosting melatonin or tryptophan levels in the brain.
  2. Blocking the tryptophan-destroying enzyme IDO (indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase).
  3. Lowering high levels of circulating stress hormones.

sleapDon’t let unhealthy sleeping habits get the best of you and turn you into someone you’re not. Get to the bottom of your sleeping problems to keep your moods in check and instead of using side-effect riddled and habit-forming drugs, try introducing research-proven side-effect free nutrients like; melatonin, Ziziphus jujube, theanine and 5-HTP, before bed in order to experience the Ultimate Sleep.

Note: All of the nutrients (and more) mentioned above, can be found in the product Ultimate Sleep– available through:
www.TransformingHealth.com

Credit: Brad King (from the blog) – http://dirtydiets.com/

Feel-good Friday: Picnic in the Park

It may be snowing in Calgary but here in Vancouver it turned out to be a picture PERFECT DAY for a bike ride and a picnic.  We’re so lucky.picnic1 - CopyNever plan a picnic‘ Father said. ‘Plan a dinner, yes, or a house, or a budget, or an appointment with the dentist, but never, never plan a picnic.” – Elizabeth Enright, The Four-Story Mistake.

picnic6

It wasn’t really planned so it was perfect!

An ordinary picnic can be made extraordinary simply by doing it with the right furry friends.

You are so funny.  No; you are!

You are so funny.  No…you are! 

 

Gotta enjoy it while we can!

Gotta enjoy it while we can!

We are brothers!

We are brothers and can learn from each other!               D. King

We enjoy the ride!

We enjoy the ride and the fresh air.

When was the last time you went for a PICNIC?

Let's see if you can fit in my purse.

A little too big for my bag?  Oh well.

Photos: Ping (Lynn) Li

Of course it didn’t end here….there was also happiness (thank you to whoever invented happy hour) sitting outside enjoying the view at Kits Boathouse.

Debbie & Rosa

Debbie & Rosa

Beauty biz – Self Taut!

Review List of The Top Performing Skin Tighteners In 2014

exfAdmittedly, it’s hard to ignore the hype: “Exponentially cleaner skin! Smaller pores! Better product penetration! Fewer wrinkles?!”  

As a rule I’m usually up to snuff on all the latest over the counter skin care products and gadgets.  At least I sample as many as humanly possible.  I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to try one of the latest battery operated facial exfoliators.  My cousin Liz who lives in Montreal (a self confessed skin care know-it-all) reprimanded me years months ago for not writing a review on the original Clarisonic which she swears by. “How can you write a beauty blog and not review the Clarisonic?” she said. I should really have paid attention but I have sensitive skin and prefer the old fashioned ritual of rubbing an exfoliant all over my face manually with bare hands (plus I have several) followed by a serum, etc.  Then I was given the Neutrogena micro dermabrasion kit. I’m not crazy about the noise and feel of the vibrating effect but I’m getting an idea of what all the fuss is about.  Still getting used to it, but I must say that my face does feel super clean and much smoother right after.  Other companies are jumping on the bandwagon as fast as I’m writing this so I’ve decided to give you a report that some other experts have written – (two girls from San Francisco who’ve tried the top four – thank you for doing our homework) which will help to make up your mind if you want to go this route.  Price points vary but you must weigh out all the details to decide.  Okay, pay attention…

After more than a decade of popularity, enthusiasm for exfoliation (and its “dead-skin-eliminating” compatriots) has been having a moment. But “over-exfoliation of the skin can actually dry out and cause breakouts,” explains Sarah Ambrosek, owner and senior managing aesthetician at Tre Balm day spa in Pacific Heights. “We prefer cleansing tools in which the brush heads vibrate, because it doesn’t scratch or tear the skin.”

Enter the Clarisonic, characterized by a whirring brush that uses “sonic” cleansing, which hit the market in 2000. It’s become a coming-of-age product, endorsed by Oprah in 2007 as “a miracle massage for your face.”

Sure, but while we aspire to achieving an (elusively) smooth complexion just as much as the next gal, you’ll forgive us for having been a bit skeptical about a triple-digit washcloth replacement. Thus, in the name of science, we put four motorized facial-cleansing brushes to the (completely unscientific) test to see if the big man on campus — the iPhone of facial cleansers, if you will — is worth the price point.

Behold: The Facial Brush Face-off. 

Neutrogena

Neutrogena

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Rejuvenator, $20

The promise: “For softer, more luminous skin today and firmer, younger-looking skin tomorrow,” this “delivers noticeable results every time you use it.” “Fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots will improve over time, with skin becoming firmer and smoother in eight weeks.” The applicator uses micro-vibrations and pads to clean.
First impression: Feels heavy and sturdy.
Ease of use: Requires 2 AA batteries (included). A new pad (“Rejuvenator Puff) must be attached for each use (starter kit includes enough for one month). Takes 1-2 minutes of massaging on each area of the face.
Durability: Seems fine in the shower. Size and durability make it good for travel.
How well does it clean? Rejuvenation Puffs are loaded with cleanser and ultra-fine crystals that remove makeup. Product creates a nice lather for the microdermabrasion.
How does face feel after? Smooth and deeply exfoliated, but spending too much time makes it red and raw. The post-use exfoliated feeling is addictive.
How does it look after: Immediately after, my skin looks sometimes raw, but this dissipates quickly after applying toner and moisturizer.
Extras: One-month supply of pads and batteries.
Overall impression: Would purchase and recommend this (but have a strong moisturizer nearby).
Need to know: It’s not particularly gentle on acne-prone or sensitive skin.

 Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System, $25exfoliate1

The promise: Olay claims that the Pro-X cleanses as well as another $200 product on the market — wink, wink — and six times better than basic cleansing.
First impression: Small size and two speeds seem convenient, but also simplistic.
Ease of use: Brush head attaches easily, but battery compartment is tricky to open.
Durability: Water-resistant and shower safe. Battery compartment doesn’t pop open when dropped.
How well does it clean? The brush bristles are soft and feel nice, but it feels like makeup is just being spun around and redeposited. Rinsing halfway through alleviates some of this.
How does face feel after? Skin feels massaged, but not completely clean.
How does it look? Minimal redness that quickly clears.
Extras: Sold with 2 AA batteries, a replaceable brush head and a starter of cleanser.
Overall impression: The price and gentle brush are attractive, but the spinning motion feels like makeup is pushed deeper into pores.
Need to know: Brush head should be replaced every 2-4 months (2-count packs for $10).

 exfoliate3Body Essentials Deep Cleansing Facial Brush and Massager, $50

The promise: “Provides 52 times more deep level vibration than our closest competitor, so you not only get visibly cleaner skin, you also nourish the deeper dermis layer.” The “patent pending deep cleaning action provides superior skin cleaning results with the unique ability to provide vibration therapy to deeper skin layers that cause fine lines and wrinkles.”
First impression: The massage option should be interesting.
Ease of use: Choose the head you want and push the button. Changing the heads and batteries takes a few tries at first.
Charging: 3 AA batteries, not included.
How well does it clean? Hesitant start. Brushes don’t seem to be firm enough, but pushing harder on the face inhibits the rotating action. Took one minute but needed more to clean. Has three speeds but there’s no real way to discern what’s “best.”
How does your face feel after? Soft.
How does it look after: Normal.
Durability: It’s water resistant but not waterproof: “Do not use in the shower or bath.”
Extras: Two additional heads (one smooth one for applying moisturizer and one with nodes for extra massaging “stimulation”), gentle cleansing gel.
Overall impression: Novel idea, but seems a bit delicate.
Need to know: Recommended to replace the brush every 90-120 days ($5).

 Clarisonic Mia, $119exfoliate2

The promise: The Clarisonic brush, “from the creators of the Sonicare toothbrush” “oscillates back and forth more than 300 times per second,” and is “proven to remove six times more makeup and two times more dirt and oil than manual cleansing.”
First impression: Is it worth the money?
Ease of use: Push the “on” button and move over face until it turns off (after one minute). Some models “beep” when it’s time to move to a different part of the face.
Charging: Universal voltage charger that connects to the handle.
How well does it clean? The cleanest skin has ever felt, without feeling stripped or irritated.
How does your face feel after? Soft, smooth.
How does it look after? Smooth, glowing and a little shiny. Pores not as noticeable.
Durability: Waterproof.
Extras: Can choose from a range of brush heads according to skin type, comes with trial size Refreshing Gel Cleanser, comes in multiple colors.
Overall impression: Sign us up!
Need to know: They recommend replacing the brush head ($25) every three months. Confession: We’ve been delinquent and it still seems to work.

Source: Maghan McDowell and Maggie Winterfeldt of http://blog.sfgate.com

Have you tried any of these?

 

style – covetable clutch  

clutch3Birkin, you are not entirely forgotten about (hardly) and I have not totally given up (to give up is to die) but I’ve found something that you cannot match…a Gummi Bear Clutch bag! Okay, clutch2it’s not luxurious but it is whimsical and adorable and big enough to carry all the essentials…phone, lipstick, credit card, gummy bears (preferably chocolate covered ones).

clutch1In this case I think it best to keep the rest of your outfit simple.  Designed by none other than the original “girls just wanna have fun” shoe designer Charlotte Olympia Dellal.  Dellal is committed to bringing the playfulness back to fashion.  She is inspired by nature – things like animals and fruit and the thrill of making them wearable.  I had the pleasure of visiting one of her boutiques in St. Helena, Napa.

Her sought after kitty flats are now iconic.  Not to name drop but some clients include  the likes of Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Alexa Chung.  The shoes deserve a whole post of their own which I promise to do one day soon.

which kitty are you?

which kitty are you?

Visit Charlotte’s Web at: http://www.charlotteolympia.com/homepage

Photos: taken from Images

 

Food: making sense – Ummmmami!

They say style is A MATTER OF TASTE so maybe the same goes for food. Not to be outdone by fashion, there are now TRENDS IN FOODumami4

What’s the latest? UMAMI (the correct spelling but pronounced “oo-mommy”), at least here in North America although it originates from Japan.

Have you ever eaten something only to have a hard time describing the taste? What you may have been unable to describe is umami.  A distinct, difficult to describe flavor caused by the interaction of glutamates  (a naturally occurring amino acid, with receptors on the tongue).  That in itself is a tongue twister.  Anyway…

WHEN HUMANS EAT, they use all of their senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste) to form general judgments about their food, but it is taste that is the most influential in determining how delicious a food is. We’re familiar with the four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. However, it is now known that there is the fifth primary taste: umami.

The literal translation of the Japanese term means “pleasant, savory taste” or “yummy,” but that hardly gives you much to go on. Let’s put it into terms you can understand. Think fatty meats like steak.umami6

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Few letters have the power to stop conversation in its tracks more than MSG, one of the most infamous additives in the food industry. Why is it that whenever I go into a new Chinese restaurant I always say “do you use MSG?” without even knowing exactly why or even if I have a reaction to it.  It’s just a safe bet that if the proprietor says “yes” that I’ll go elsewhere.  Interesting…what influence the media (and some people) have in creating havoc with our decision making abilities.

The three little letters carry so much negative weight that they’re often whispered sheepishly or, more often, decidedly preceded by the modifier “NO” that seems to make everyone breathe a collective sigh of relief when they go out to eat. Nobody wants MSG in their food—the protest goes—it causes headaches, stomach aches, dizziness and general malaise. It’s unhealthy and, maybe even worse, unsexy, used by lazy chefs as an excuse for flavor, not an enhancement.

On the other side of the spectrum lies umami: few foodie buzzwords pop off the lips with such entertaining ease. Enterprising young chefs like David Chang (of Momofuko fame) and Adam Fleischman, of the LA-based chain Umami Burger, have built their culinary careers on the basis of the fifth taste, revitalizing an interest in the meaty-depth of umami. It’s difficult to watch the Food Network or Travel Channel or any food-based program without hearing mention of the taste wunderkind, a host or chef cooing over the deep umami flavors of a Portobello mushroom. Where MSG is scary, umami is exciting.

What few people understand is that the hated MSG and the adored umami are chemically related: umami is tasted by the very receptors that MSG targets.

On the other hand, MSG’s glutamic cousin umami suffers no public scorn: in 2010, umami was deemed one of the most delicious food trends to watch. When Adam Fleischman’s Umami Burger (a burger chain devoted to all things umami) opened a New York outpost, the wait for a meaty bite stretched on for three-hours. In addition to piling natural glutamates onto their burger to ensure the most umami flavor, Umami Burger enhances the burger with their “umami dust (not unlike fairy dust),” a blend of dried mushrooms and seaweed, and umami sauce, which includes soy and Marmite.

“Most people don’t know the connection between umami and MSG. They know about it from the fifth taste, and the fifth taste was always called umami and not MSG,” Fleischman explains. “We didn’t feel that using MSG was creative enough. We wanted to do it ourselves. By doing it ourselves, we could create a flavor that was umami without the stigma of MSG. MSG, whether you like it or not, has been marketed so poorly, it sounds like this horrible thing.”

By harnessing natural glutamates for their burgers, Umami Burger avoids negative connotations associated with MSG. But the “natural” glutamates in an Umami Burger aren’t chemically any different from glutamtes in MSG.

“The short answer is that there is no difference: glutamate is glutamate is glutamate,” says Richard Amasino, professor of biochemistry at University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It would be identical unless different things created a different rate of uptake.”

Glutamtes that occur naturally in food come intertwined with different chemicals or fiber, which the body is naturally inclined to regulate, explains Amy Cheng Vollmer, professor of biology at Swarthmore College. MSG, however, comes without the natural components of food that help the body regulate glutamic levels. It’s like taking an iron supplement versus obtaining iron from spinach or red meat: the iron supplement creates an expressway between the iron and your bloodstream that you wouldn’t find in natural iron sources.

“The bottom line here is context is everything,” Vollmer adds.

So does MSG deserve its bad rap? For the small section of the population that shows sensitivity to it, probably. But for the rest of us, maybe it’s time to reconsider exactly what we’re so afraid of when it comes to MSG.

Is it a matter of taste or are we being too sensitive?

and there is also paste....

A spinoff – and there is also paste….

FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions.

Other Sources: http://republic.comhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/

 

Travel/Lifestyle: Stone Town, Zanzibar –  a step back in time

dhow2Like legendary Timbuktu or Kathmandu – the name alone is almost reason enough to make the trip.

Exotic Zanzibar is a maze of narrow streets, winding alleys, bustling bazaars, crooked passages and crumbling houses with overhanging balconies. But there is romance a plenty on this island with collectible antiques, local wood carvings, spice market and historical hotels.

but then there's this hotel - the Manta Resort if you're looking for James Bond type experience of staying underwater.

but then there’s this new under water hotel – the Manta Resort if you’re looking for a James Bond type experience…and who isn’t?

Zanzibar Door 3From Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, we boarded a ferry boat to lengendary Zanzibar and spent the day wandering around exotic old Stone Town.  The name is appropriate considering all the old stone walkways.Zanzibar Window 2Zanzibar window 1

Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar where little has changed in the last 200 years (except for the hotel above). The original owners of the many grand Arab houses vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors – there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork. You can spend many idle hours and days just wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways. The symbol of Zanzibar is the dhow boat (photo above).  Many of these boats can be seen along the shores ferrying people around the island and taking fishermen out for the day’s catch.

Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.Zanzibar fruit stand

The market is a great place to visit even if you don’t want to buy anything. It is a vibrant place where everything under the sun is bought and sold. People bring their produce here from all over the island, and other people come to buy things they can’t get in their own villages. Of special interest is the huge selection of brightly coloured kangas (worn by the local women, it is a rectangle of pure cotton cloth with a border all around it, printed in bold zanzibar1designs and bright colours) and the auctions that are held regularly.  I brought back many colourful striped scarves and two chunky neckpieces not normally my style (shown here in photos).

a chunky turquouse/coral/amber neckpiece

old turquoise/coral/amber choker

jewelryzanzibar2

Zanzibar – an Island Tour:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTPhCjQvQc0

Source: Zanzibar.net and the book called “1,000 places to see before you die” – a traveler’s life list by Patricia Schultz.

 A MAZE ing!

A MAZE ing!

 Have you been?

 

Photos: Lisa King (except for Manta Resort).

words – about meteors

A few weeks ago I was out walking my dog around 10:00 at night near the beach when I suddenly looked up….to witness something super bright shooting above my head at lightening speed. meteor showerIt seemed to be very close but I didn’t know what it was.  There were a few other people around although they didn’t seemed to notice. It was brief but undeniably other worldly, and seemed to land in the water only a few feet away.  I thought that maybe it was my imagination but on the news that evening there were several reports of a big bright meteor falling from the sky.  Very cool.

negative4I love this description:

“I have realized; it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. That I see and feel who I really am, the most! I think that’s what a comet is like, you see, a comet is born in the outer realms of the universe! But it’s only when it ventures too close to our sun or to other stars that it releases the blazing “tail” behind it and shoots brazen through the heavens! And meteors become sucked into our atmosphere before they burst like firecrackers and realize that they’re shooting stars! That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! I discover a smile I didn’t know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn’t know existed in me… I see myself. I’m a shooting star. A meteor shower. But I’m not going to die out. I guess I’m more like a comet then. I’m just going to keep on coming back.”  – C. JoyBell C.