beauty – truly

what does true beauty mean?beauty5

Does it mean fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes? Pale skin, green eyes and freckles? Or an olive complexion with almond shaped brown eyes?  What exactly is your perception?beauty2It started when I read an article from a beauty writer who grew up in a multi-cultural household.  It got me thinking about the true meaning of beauty, which we all know starts from within.

Of course having good genes helps, but if we’re being truthful we want it to show from the outside because that’s what we see right off the bat.  When people get to know you then your personality and spirit shine through to make you appear even prettier or at least interesting.  I always find pretty without personality just plain boring.  I always find a great personality on a plain face more beautiful. And different cultures have their different ideas of beauty too and that’s always interesting. It deserves a blog post of its own (coming soon). I will say this: I was considered too skinny in the Middle East for most of the men and secretly pleased by that, ha ha.

For instance, said writer claimed her dad would include wakame seaweed in miso soup to strengthen her hair because marine extracts are for real (domo arigato).  Loading up on green tea and grilled fish is also a good idea.  That’s why I now start my morning with a tea made from freshly squeezed lemon, slices of ginger, a little cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. of virgin coconut oil (that one is a new addition) and a tsp. of seriously pure honey.  The honey is a gift from a friend’s apiary in Nakusp and tastes amazing.  Followed by miso soup, grilled fish and red wine.

And then I pile on the makeup. No I don’t.  I think less makeup or even absolutely none at times (very rarely though with absolutely nothing – it must be summer) is a good idea.  Give your face a break.  I’m appreciating natural a lot more now even though I do love makeup – especially for eyes and lips (okay, cheeks too) and don’t forget the bronzer.

It’s still fun to experiment and unless I wear horse blinders I’m like a kid at Sephora looking through the aisles of makeup/skincare that we okay I think will make you look so much better (but then you get home, try the stuff on and you still end up looking the same).  Still it’s fun… I’ll never tire of looking at beautiful girly things.

And I think I’m as good a judge as any, with complete honesty on what products actually work.

So, what’s it like to be a writer in the beauty space blogosphere (or at least a reviewer of beauty products)?

Sure, the industry runs on lipstick and fragrance sales, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about redefining “pretty”; sharing the things that make people feel their best (red lipstick, cat-eye liner, or a good moisturizer); and giving a shout-out to people of all shapes, forms, and walks of life who are truly beautiful.

And feeling your best is what I think really defines beauty.  And a few good products!

 

Style: ooh law law!

Let’s see…what kind of a lawyer would I be if I were to go to law school?  I’m having a legally blond moment and I’m not even a true blond.  Did you know that you can now get a fashion law degree?  Yes, you heard it right!  I too thought it was a joke at first.

Fordham Law School has announced that it will offer the world’s first degree in fashion law, starting this fall.wrap2 - Copy

The program is backed and partially financed by Diane von Furstenberg, who has been a longtime advocate for legal reform in the industry. She’s kind of the ideal proponent for Fordham’s new program. I met her many years ago in New York when I was club hopping as part of my DJ training program well really I just sat with her and her friends and drank a lot of the champagne at their table. Her gentleman friends invited me to sit with them. I’m hoping sure she would not remember me.wrap1

If I could turn back time I would have approached her to become an intern at DVF (now a global luxury lifestyle brand and one of the premier names in American fashion).  After all I did try to re-create her wrap dress in a sewing workshop and managed to do a pretty good job of botching it up.  That’s why I have a lot of respect for designers.  Some of the most popular designs look so simple but are actually tricky to make, or at least make correctly.  I’m afraid I might make a better lawyer than fashion designer (which is pretty scary to think about).  Again, slightly off topic…

The curriculum will cover topics like fashion financing, Modeling law, fashion licensing, and sustainability.

So, this could mean greater security and stricter regulation within the fashion industry which is a good thing these days.

What do you think about this?  Serious or Silly?

That’s a wrap!

Dessert – Peach Crumble (the poor man’s pie)

If you saw my post yesterday then you saw the photo of the big barrel of peaches from the Okanagan – soon to be out of season.  They were the tastiest, juiciest I can ever remember having.  What to do with them all?20150831_181936Of course I gave some away but can’t possibly eat all the rest before they start to go bad. I decided to make peach crumbles instead of pies.  Why? You can cheat on not having to make pie crust which is more time consuming and finicky especially if you like using real butter instead of lard (as I prefer, per Martha Stewart). Also crumbles are lighter, you get to taste more of the ripe fruit which is in season this way and then you can eat twice as much (ha).  Top with vanilla or caramel ice cream for perfection.  If you want to add liquor (as some people like to) then add some rum or brandy to the filling.  I prefer it just as is maybe a shot of brandy on the side.  Peachy clean!

What they fail to tell you in many recipes:

You must first remove the skin.  The easiest way is by blanching.  First you need to cut an X into each peach with a knife as in the photo above. Have two pots ready.  One with boiling water, another with ice water.  Take one by one by slotted spoon into a pot of rapidly boiling water for about 15 seconds each.  20150831_182011With same spoon drop gently into another pot filled with ice water.  This cools it to make it easier to peel and also stops the cooking process. 20150831_182029See how easy it is? And to think I invested in a soft fruit skin peeler! 20150831_182105

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE FILLING

  • 2 pounds peaches or nectarines, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (6 cups)
    about 6 -7 large size peaches

    about 6 -7 large size peaches


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling: Combine peaches, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish or pyrex pie plate.
  2. Make the topping: In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt and, with your hands, mix until large pieces form. Scatter over filling.
  3. 20150831_141649Bake until center is bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes, tenting loosely with foil after 30 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.?  Square or Round?  I did both but prefer the round shape.  I think it tastes better.

COOK’S NOTES: the topping freezes well, so why not make a double batch and save half for another day?

CONFUSED between Crisps, Crumbles and Cobblers?  You’re not alone.

Inquiring minds need to know:

  • Crisps– Crisps have a bottom layer of fruit, but their topping is much more crunchy than cobblers. Instead of a dough-like pastry that rises, the crisp is topped with mixture of butter, sugar and flour that is mixed together until ‘crumbly’ and is briefly browned in the oven. Crisps might include oats or granola in their topping as well.
  • Crumbles– The crumble also begins with fruit at the bottom, but is topped with a different butter-flour-sugar mixture called a ‘streusel’. The three ingredients are mixed just until crumbly and then poured on top of the fruit. This dish is very similar to a crisp but the crumble originated in Britain whereas the crisp is seen as more American. Crisps are also more rich than crumbles with higher amounts of sugar, butter and flour.
  • Cobblers– Cobblers also have a bottom layer of fruit but are topped with biscuit dough. The result is a dense, rich dessert. Most popular cobbler ingredients include apples, peaches and cherries.peach crumble1

Call it a crisp or call it a crumble but it’s not a cobbler…and all I can call it is good!

Recipe: courtesy of Martha Stewart (maybe not her personally, but on her website)  Photos: d king

A SUMMER SUMMERY

Today is August 31st – the last day of summer!

?

Okay, the last official day of summer is really September 21st but for me today marks the end, for after today it doesn’t feel the same as we start to move slowly towards Fall.  While I love Fall for the clothes mostly I still want to hang on to summer and milk it for all it’s worth.  This summer was fantastic weather wise except for the forest fires, so the best thing to look forward to now is Fall boots and sweaters see, it’s all about the clothes and maybe Halloween.  It’s funny though how everything can change in an instant and we still tend to adapt.  Well I’m moving a bit slower this time.  My flip flops are not moving to the back of the closet just yet……….  I love the warmth and lightness of summer and think what you wilI but I just bought the Beach Boys greatest hits to listen to while glamping.  So???

In this

In this pop top Eurovan camper

Parked right at the lake

Parked right at the lake where Jia Jia is walking back from in this photo

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a pleasureable last days of summer re-cap:

Lake Kalamalka, Penticton. Jia Jia realizing he could swim.

Lake Kalamalka, Okanagan, B.C.  Jia Jia realizing he can swim.  And me too for that matter.  Just kidding, but it was coooold!

I was preparing at Kits Pool

I started preparing at Kits Pool

With good friends like family

With good friends who are like family

A friend flew in for the party

Some hot shots flew in for the get together/party/= lots of food & wine/= meeting some nice new people too and catching up with old friends like no time has passed (= good friends).

My friends place

Staying at a friends place in the Kootenays – a resort style home with an amazing view.

20150822_15105620150822_15083620150822_17303420150822_150651

Friends we met on our first stop

Friends we met at the first campsite

Freshly picked Okanagan Peaches

Freshly picked Okanagan Peaches

Jia Jia’s favourite moments:

Waiting for his ice cream cone

Waiting for his ice cream cone

His new friend Hugo

Jia Jia’s new friend Hugo, a Silver Lab.

Hugo found a ball

Hugo found a ball

Hugo found a stick

Hugo found a stick

Jia Jia found a deer

Jia Jia found a deer at another friend’s property = lotta landscape

And crossed a few bridges

And crossed over a few bridges

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

I found a salt water pool I can live in - or at least float in.

I found a salt water pool I can live in – or at least float in.  But why is the cup holder empty?

The cup must always be full!

And how was your summer?

Photos: d. king (except for the obvious)

 

contemplating loss

Experiencing the loss of loved ones is never a happy time.  It just seems to be happening a lot lately. A parent, a relative, a friend, a pet and so on. We might know it’s coming but because we don’t know when exactly, we’re not as prepared or so strong as we think when the dreaded time comes. But the circle of life continues in it’s weird and varying ways of making itself known.

80th birthday visit in Montreal

80th birthday visit in Montreal

Ada & her sister (my mom) Elva (aka Cookie).

Ada on left & her sister Elva (my mom, but dad & friends always called her Cookie).

While I was having a fantastic time taking my mind off of other issues by visiting friends in B.C., my mom’s only sister passed away suddenly in Montreal.  By sheer coincidence the remaining sibling (their brother) and his wife who now live in Florida visited with her just the day before she passed.  In fact, they left the morning of without knowing.  Their timing and hers was impeccable. We wonder if because she knew they were coming, she decided to wait until just after they left to bid a final farewell.

I would like to pay a tiny tribute to my auntie Ada 

She was the most elegant 86 year old woman on the planet who looked and acted at least a few decades younger. A very modern woman who still looked good wearing jeans. She was a great mother to four (Frankie, Adan, Elizabeth & Johnny) and a really good friend to me. Until almost two years ago she was vibrant, always on the go, curious, active and I have to say this…..she had great style!

Me, Ada, brother Brad, sister Lisa and uncle Chuck.

In the courtyard with Ada, brother Brad, sister Lisa, uncle Chuck (mom & Ada’s brother) and a chair.  Where was our DOP (director of photography)?

She was not only beautiful but she had a wicked sense of humour.  The whole family got together in Montreal to surprise her for her 80th birthday which ended up with all of us on a custom-made Tiki boat on Lac Masson in the Laurentians chock load full of booze, my uncle playing captain and only one life vest (it is Quebec by the way – you can allow for this).  Ada grabbed the vest, looked around at all of us and said “I’m the only one worth saving.”  As luck goes we didn’t capsize but the engine fell off into the water and we had to call for rescue.  It was pretty exciting.  The booze did come in handy.  It was a great family celebration vacation.

Unfortunately another family member bites the dust.  It happens but it sucks big time.  Especially when you’re hoping to see that person again, have good conversations or silly ones where you laugh a lot out loud which we did.  It sucks because at 86 you can still be young if you’re lucky to be like Ada.  She taught me a lot about life.

We did some acting together when I lived in Montreal. Ada continued on and just had fun with it doing lots of commercials and bit parts in movies – many major ones.

A coiffed Ada said Christopher Reeves was a real Super Man!

Found this in my photo album. An overly coiffed Ada said Christopher Reeve was a real super man!

She loved being on set and made lots of friends and was well liked.  My cousin Liz shared a funny story about one of the movies Ada worked on.  Liz asked her mom which actors she was working with.  At the time, Liz was in love with Rob Lowe (I know, but it was then) and had posters of the actor plastered all over her bedroom wall (before her Motley Crue phase).  Ada said Jodie Foster, Nastassja Kinski and some pipsqueak.  Liz wanted to know who the pipsqueak was.  Ada replied “I think his name is Lob Rowe.”  Of course she meant Rob Lowe.  Liz freaked out and her mom had to take her on set (refer to photo of a stunned and stunning Liz with RL) to meet him.  Ada could make anything happen.

Pretty boy & Liz

Pretty boy Rob Lowe & my cousin Liz

Of course our conversation then went on to “whatever happened to Rob Lowe?”  Besides playing one of the sons in Brothers and Sisters he was picture perfect playing a plastic surgeon (lots of p’s) in the film about Liberace’s life.  But this post is really about Ada’s life.  A life well lived, a life cut short (because I think 86 is way too young) a life many people would treasure.  Those close were lucky to know her and my cousins will surely miss her along with Ada’s grandchildren Shanny, Tyaa, Ginger & Finlay.  I’ll close with this saying:

Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.

adaThe sky just got a bright new star! 

Give my mom and your parents a big hug – love to all of you & miss you always. XO

Art & Beauty – taking it to the Streets

MAKEUP FOR URBAN WARRIERS

Photo: Courtesy of Oyama Enrico Isamu

Photo: Courtesy of Oyama Enrico Isamu

If I’m going to use an eyelash curler at all it will always be one from iconic Japanese beauty brand Shu Uemura.  No other curler compares – case closed!  I like their mascara too but have not tried any other makeup from them.  But I do admit to judging a palette by it’s cover.

I just found out about their latest collection which is one for the books (and your makeup bag). The brand teamed up with artist Oyama Enrico Isamu Letter (a Tokyo native who now calls Brooklyn home) to devise a range of colors and compacts guaranteed to help you stand out in a crowded concrete jungle.  Which would you rather be: warm and vibrant or cool and chic?

Shu Uemura Haute Street Eye Shadow in Cool x Chic and Warm & Vibrant. $65

Shu Uemura Haute Street Eye Shadow in Cool x Chic and Warm & Vibrant (me). $65

Despite the fact that Shu Uemura’s international artistic director, Kakuyasu Uchiide, paints faces and Isamu oftentimes considers the city his canvas: there are more similarities between makeup and urban art than one would think.

Oyama’s explanation is “Just as a piece of street art uniquely corresponds to specific spaces in an urban environment, makeup also corresponds to shapes and functions of each part on a face, which varies person to person.” And similar to how an artist establishes an identity through his/her work, makeup can be used to “transform” its wearer from “ordinary me” to “ideal me,” he added. The limited-edition line includes two eyeshadow palettes, highly pigmented lip and cheek tints, creamy eyeliner pencils, bright lipsticks, and a striking brush set—some of the tubes and compacts emblazoned with Oyama’s work.

Photo:Katsuhiro Saiki

Photo:Katsuhiro Saiki

Nice!

As seen on style.com

Something Sweet – crazy for Cookies

If you love cookies as much as I do, then count this as your lucky day! I have 3 kitchen tested recipes for you.  Starting with:

Cornmeal Chocolate-Chunk with Raisins and Fennel Seeds

Photo: d king

Photo: d king

These are delightfully different, light and crisp – they remind me of Danish style cookies.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and finely ground
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 5 ounces coarsely chopped milk chocolate (1 1/4 cups)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar and fennel seeds on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg until combined. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt and beat just until combined. Stir in raisins and chocolate.
  2. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough (or use a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop) onto parchment-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating sheets once, until edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks at least 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature. Cooled completely, cookies can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days.

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These rich cookies should seem a bit soft when you take them out of the oven. They firm up as they cool, so be careful not to overbake them.

Photo: Antonis Archilleos

Photo: Antonis Archilleos

  • YIELD: MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, 4 ounces coarsely chopped, 4 ounces cut into 1/4-inch chunks
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Melt coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks.
  3. Scoop batter using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop; place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack, about 15 minutes. Transfer on parchment to wire racks. Let cool 5 minutes. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Source: Martha Stewart Living

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies 

Yield: about 3 dozen regular size or 2 dozen large (I prefer large) after-dinner cookies

Photo: d king

Photo: d king

INGREDIENTS

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa-make sure to use dutch process for a rich/dark flavor
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 bag of mint chips-I used Guittard

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream butter until light and fluffy.  Gradually add sugar.  Add eggs, vanilla and 2 tsp. water and beat until smooth.

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add to the butter mixture and mix well.  Fold in oats and raisins.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving enough space for the cookies to spread out.  Bake approx. 10 minutes, until golden.

Source: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

My Just Cookies Board for Pinterest:

Feel-good Friday: people are talking…

books and mindless chatter.  When you don’t want to take life too seriously…book1

Girls always want to have FUN

Talk is a hilariously irreverent and racy testament to dialogue: the gossip, questioning, analysis, arguments, and revelations that make up our closest friendships. It’s the summer of 1965 and Emily, Vincent, and Marsha are at the beach. All three are ambitious and artistic; all are hovering around thirty; and all are deeply and mercilessly invested in analyzing themselves and everyone around them. The friends discuss sex, shrinks, psychedelics, sculpture, and S and M in an ongoing dialogue where anything goes and no topic is off limits. Talk is the result of these conversations, recorded by Linda Rosenkrantz and transformed into a novel whose form and content put it well ahead of its time. Controversial upon its first publication in 1968, Talk remains fresh, lascivious, and laugh-out-loud funny nearly fifty years later. nyrb (New York Book Review).

This book makes total sense

I love fiction so this book makes total sense – read and learn!

Amanda Brooks tells us all about her twenty years in fashion, from being a it-girl, to an assistant to Patrick Demarchelier, to fashion director at Barney’s.  This book is honest, simple, personal, fun, and it answers lots of questions we’ve all asked about the fashion world.

And lastly….

Even in Vancouver?

Even in Vancouver?  I don’t think Parisians wear fleece.

Summer Reads: summer is not completely over yet, and what better way to pass the time at the beach but with one of these mindless stylish books.

Maybe I’ll write a book after all.

Style: Fashion Attraction – the Way we Dress

I have heard it said that women dress for other women.  Unless you are dressing
specifically for your man (wink wink), I think for the most part that may be true, but I dress for myself and the occasion. I like to feel good about the way I look even if I’m at home alone and no one else sees me. Even if I’m wearing pajamas, they must be somewhat stylish. Even when I’m glamping…I tend to look like this photo (in my dreams).  In my recurring dream I’m stepping out of a rolls in NYC wearing a low cut LBD and pillbox hat. Uh huh!women1While men may be appreciative of a woman’s overall style, women tend to make more of an effort for other women and there is nothing wrong with another woman appreciating the way you look and paying you a compliment. I do it all the time.  Women like to look good for their girlfriends because we tend to pay attention to all the little details.  Some men too, but those men are rare or gay. Sometimes it feels more special when another woman pays you a compliment because she is saying nothing more than “I like the way you look in that outfit.”  The overall context of this short film is that we should be able to openly celebrate, look and appreciate one another.   

The Way we Dress – “Notes on the Gaze” by Chelsea McMullan

*Short Film (if you are receiving this post via e-mail and cannot see the video please click on the blue title above:

Chelsea McMullan is a filmmaker whose works have premiered at Sundance, The Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Photography Festival. Her award-winning shorts have been featured by Nowness, Dazed Digital, Vice, and Vogue Italia. Whenever possible Chelsea inhabits the space between documentary and fiction filmmaking. She is a member of the artists’ co-operative What Matters Most and a secret but fervent topiary enthusiast.