Health and Happiness

I’m so happy to be reporting again about happiness and health going hand in hand.  It’s really everything you need to live a good life.  And it’s always timely because…health2

Good health and happiness: to achieve one, you need the other, but bumps along the journey can get in the way of our goals.

“Without good health it’s hard to be happy,” says Michelle W. Book, holistic nutritionist for the Canadian Health Food Association.  “Focusing on a few key pillars can make all the difference.”

Understand your nutritional needs is for everyone to consider, not only Canadians.

Ideally, we’d all be eating balanced meals rich with nutritious, organic foods.  Reality is, many people often eat convenience foods because of their busy lives or treat “cheat days” too kindly.  As a result, they aren’t getting the necessary nutrients.

Most of us don’t consume enough minerals like magnesium, calcium or potassium, and fail to get enough vitamin D and fibre in their diets.

Strengthen your immune system

Getting sick is the worst.  Sickness motivates an entire pathway inside our bodies that can lead to something called “sickness behaviour.”  This can lead to confusion, lethargy, social withdrawal, anxiety and depression, the result of our immune system cells releasing tiny chemicals, called cytokines, which impact the way our brain sends signals and can slow us down and depress our mood.  Keeping our immune system in good working order can help to reduce the severity and duration of illness.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help as taking a good multi-vitamin to fill in the nutritional gaps.

Keep Stress at Bay

Stress increases our need for nutrients.  Heightened stress increases the breakdown of carbohydrates and protein, which rely on Vitamin C and B to be broken down, meaning you use up your store of these nutrients more quickly.  Finding time to eat a healthy, balance diet when you’re stressed can often be difficult.  When dealing with stress, it’s important to ensure your body’s mineral needs are met.  High stress levels deplete the magnesium in the body, which can result in a “downward spiral” in one’s ability to cope with stress.  Mineral supplementation, including magnesium and zinc, may improve psychological measures of anxiety or stress.

Here are a few other foods you may want to consider to improve your immune health:

Nuts: Include nuts in your diet, which provide you with a perfect blend of immune-boosting nutrients, including protein, vitamin E, zinc and selenium. Cashews and pecans in particular are some of the higher nut-based zinc sources, while Brazil nuts are high in selenium.

Kimchi: This fermented cabbage dish from Korea is rich in vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and antioxidant enzymes. It’s also a healthy whole-food source of probiotics, the good gut bacteria that keep your immune system in check.

Garlic: This member of the allium family has been shown to reduce cold symptoms and improve immune cell activity.

Probiotic supplements: Lactobacillus probiotics in particular have been shown to improve the immune systems of both our gut and our entire body.

Mushrooms: Reishi mushroom extracts contain bioactive compounds called “lectins” that increase the activity of our white blood cells.

And Mindfulness is of growing importance:health3

A nasty unexpected virus attacked me while traveling which was of major concern.  I don’t know where it came from and don’t remember ever having taken antibiotics before but I was willing to do whatever it took to get rid of it, or discontinue the trip and go back home. I felt like the worse version of myself. Anyway, the reality is that while it took at least one week to clear up and feel almost back to normal, the worst part lasted for only two days. Not bad considering.  I can only attribute it to an overall healthier way of living.  Granted I did get sick in the first place but I guess it could have lasted a lot longer. I suppose you can call it being more mindful in general. So I’m right on trend.

A growing trend to de-stress is practicing mindfulness. There’s research connecting the benefits of stress reduction through practicing mindfulness with the health of our immune system. Practicing mindfulness has a number of positive impacts on the immune system, including reducing inflammation markers and stress hormones, and has also been shown to increase some immune cells and improve activity in the areas of the brain responsible for coordinating the immune system.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” ~Sharon Salzberg

Incorporating mindfulness into your lifestyle can actually help to minimize the occurrence, length and severity of the flu or common cold. Some aspects of mindfulness can be simple to include in your everyday routine, such as paying attention to your breathing, tuning into your body’s physical sensations and practicing mindful meditation.healthy1

I like this quote:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Source: Canadian Health Food Association

Feel-good Friday: in my core

Quoting President Obama – “I think everything is going to be allright”feelgoodfriday1

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.

Let’s stay positive that it will ALL WORK OUT!

She's way too tall for me!

She’s way too tall for me!

 

 

beauty: TIDAL

THE FIRST WINTER LAYER

tidal2

Among my Winter Box of Style findings was a full size Sunday Riley Brightening Enzyme Water Cream.  I’ve been curious about trying this product but thought I don’t really need it,  I already have my skincare routine.  But after having been complexionally (yes, it’s a word I created) & seasonally skin stressed with having to take antibiotics and now being in dry desert air, it has become my morning skin savior to pack major moisture before adding sunscreen.

That’s why I’m putting it in my beauty post.

Apparently it’s also a solution for dark spots, dryness, fine lines and wrinkes. But personally it’s for sucking in more moisture.

If you want to know more…
Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream delivers an intense water drench with two forms of hyaluronic acid and tamarind extract, creating visibly hydrated and plumped skin. Papaya enzymes smooth and exfoliate while alpha-arbutin and giant white bird of paradise extracts work to diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation and illuminate the complexion.

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

“I was inspired by the skin-plumping power of water creams, but I wanted to make something special. I formulated Tidal to be a brightening treatment, infused into a water cream for a cutting-edge answer to both alternative signs of aging, including hyperpigmentation. The quest for the ultimate, all-skin-types moisturizer was born. Papaya enzymes smooth the skin and gently exfoliate for immediate improvement in texture.”—Sunday Rileytidal3

Other than the price of $65, this product is cruelty-free

I guess that’s all you really need to know.   You can buy it at Sephora.

Style: day by day

Remember days of the week underwear?days1

This Alberta Ferretti limited edition capsule collection is related to those, only in a high-fashion (with a price to match), we want to show you kind of way.

day2

The pre-fall 2017 launch is available for purchase fresh off the runway (she’s the most recent designer to join the see-now-buy-now movement).

Happily named “Rainbow Week,” the collection comprises seven luxe knits in a variety of punchy, mood-boosting hues, each emblazoned with a different day of the week—a reminder to live every day with optimism. Style them with your favorite high-waist, straight-leg jeans for the perfect off-duty look or dress them up with a sexy sheer lace skirt.

If you don’t want to amuse them, confuse them.  Wear the wrong day!

Alberta Ferretti available at saksfifthavenue.com | $495

Source: Andrea Cheng for InStyle

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Snack: Harvest Fruit and Vegetable Strips

My food posts have been in remission since I’ve been traveling. fruitstrip1Which means I haven’t been cooking as much as I normally do.  It’s hard when you move around from place to place and while it’s great to eat out I do prefer to make most of my meals at home.  I just started cooking again and trying to incorporate some wholesome meals.  But what about snacks and something sweet?  I love chips, chocolate, gummies, ice cream, popcorn……etc.  Yeah, it’s pretty bad.

Speaking of sweets I’m laughing to myself right now because I just received a text from a friend who read my Palm Springs post and asked “did you really buy a pied-à-terre or was it a Pomme de Terre?” Funny.

Thought I’d re-start my food post with something simple, tasty and with fewer ingredients that are cleaner than most store-bought varieties.  This version taken from Vista Magazine includes vegetables, which don’t really affect the taste but add an extra punch of nutrition.fruitstrip3

Ingredients:

4 medium sized apples, peeled and roughly chopped (galas are perfect for their sweetness)

1 small beet, peeled and sliced

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup chopped kale leaves

2 Tbsp. honey

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 200F and line a 12”x18” rimmed baking tray with a Silpat (silicone) baking sheet or parchment paper.
  • Put the apples, blueberries, beet, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium sized lidded pot and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the apples and beet have softened. Stir occasionally to make sure the fruit doesn’t start to burn on the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the cooked fruit and veggies in a blender with the kale and honey and blend until smooth.
  • Pour mixture onto your prepared tray and spread evenly. Giving the whole tray a gentle jiggle can help.  (It will look quite thick at this stage but thickness will decrease once it’s dried.)
  • Bake in the oven for 5-6 hours, until dry to the touch.
  • Allow to cool on the tray, then cut into 2 inch wide strips.
  • Roll up the strips and keep in a sealed container at room temperature. They will keep for at least one month.  Makes 6.

Hope you like it.  Your feedback is always appreciated.

 

 

Life Palm Springs Style

It’s all about the simple things; sunshine and resort style living.  A mimosa here and everywhere there.  A nice pool.  A mimosa by the pool.

Throw Pillow from Shag

Throw Pillow from Shag

A place to escape to when the weather starts to turn for the worst.  A playground for those who like to golf, hike or swim.  Or just take it easy or go listen to live music.  There’s a lot of happy people here.  A lot of folks from Vancouver and other parts of Canada. Happy hour is a biggie and there’s plenty of good dining everywhere.

The Tuna Tower at Lulu's California Bistro is a favourite

The Tuna Tower at Lulu’s California Bistro is a favourite

Love Bill's Pizza. The caesar salad is the best.

Love Bill’s Pizza. The caesar salad is the best.

There’s the Palm Springs International Film Festival which is just ending and attracts Hollywood’s biggest stars to flog their films or just show up and party.

There’s Modernism Week in February.  An annual signature event and celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture. With more than 250 events including the Modernism Show & Sale, Signature Home Tours, films, lectures, Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours, nightly parties and live music, walking and bike tours, tours of Sunnylands (to some extent regarded as the “Camp David of the West”), classic cars, modern garden tours, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, and more…like Martinis on the mountain.

Then there’s Coachella (my sister is excited about going for the first time), the annual Valley Music & Arts Festival. As of this spring Beyoncé will make history yet again as she will be the first woman of color to headline Coachella. EVER. She is also the first woman in ten years to headline the festival (the last woman to headline was Bjork in 2007).

There was “Oldchella” which was the fitting nickname for the festival’s official title “Desert Trip.” It appears the nickname came about because  headliners such as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones and The Who average about 72 years in age.  But can these guys still rock or what? Nobody seems sure how annual this festival might be.  There is talk of it dying off.

Art Glass - Trina Turk

Art Glass – Trina Turk

The shops at thirteen forty five

The shops at thirteen forty five

Daydreamer

Daydreamer from the shops at 1345

But you can count on “Opera in the Park” a premier cultural event in April held at Sunrise Park. The concert of arias draws thousands of people from all over Southern California (& beyond) in a celebration of great opera music with a professional orchestra. You can take a picnic lunch – how great is that?

There’s the usual art markets, *antique markets, **vintage markets & the Thursday night street fair. Free street parking is a bonus. There’s even a free bus or buzz” Thursday through Sunday that’s also dog friendly as is the rest of P.S.

There’s other places of interest you can drive or bus to within a few hours driving distance like: Los Angeles & San Diego if you miss the ocean or more traffic.  A little longer than that and you can find yourself in Las Vegas or Arizona.  So there’s plenty of variety and no excuse to be bored.

The Shops at thirteen forty five

The Shops at thirteen forty five

20170114_120151So I went ahead and bought myself an early birthday gift.  A little pied-à-terre right smack in the middle of exactly where I want to be.  A perfect location. Something so unexpected and unplanned…yet ideal.  As I’m writing this I’m spending my first night in the new place after having rented in the area for two weeks prior to this with a short hotel stay prior to that.  I’ve been coming here for several years and what’s funny is that this time the trip was going to be a short one.  I just wanted to take in the film festival and be back before the end of January.  There were reasons why it had to be cut shorter than usual….however you never know what life will throw your way.  Now I’ll stay a bit longer than planned.  And have a set place to come back to.

In another sense…I fully expected this to happen! My horoscope said that it’s my year to charge ahead, make bold changes for progress & success.  The Sun-Pluto conjunction in January empowers and emboldens my sign all year long.

Mimosa at Spencer's before brunch

Mimosa at Spencer’s at brunch

2016 was such a downer year for multiple reasons.  We lost so many amazing people and of course the election craziness. Here’s to new growth and positive change. Not just for me, but for everyone. We have to take our sunshine where we can get it.  And orange juice doesn’t quite cut it.

*an antique is “a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at least 100 years ago.

**The term “vintage,” when used in a way similar to the term “antique,” refers to items that are over 50 years old, but less than 100.

A modern kleenex box

A modern kleenex box

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Photos: d. king

The shops at thirteen forty five is a collective of luxurious shops in an iconic E. Stewart Williams designed building.  1345 N. Palm Canyon Drive20170114_125031Home Sweet Away from Home!                       Have you been?

Art/Film/PSIFF – The Dancer & King of the Dancehall

Fresh from the Palm Springs International Film Festival:danceTwo more movies with two intriguingly distinctive avant-garde dance styles and the ensuing competition that goes along with them. Because I wanted something artistic and upbeat as the festival draws to a close.

The dynamic energetic movies revolving around dance could not be more different from one another.  One resembling poetry in motion and the other raw & sexually charged.  Adversity is the only thing the main characters have in common and a drive to succeed.

I knew THE DANCER would if anything be visually stunning and I was correct.

Soko in

Soko in “The Dancer”

I loved it.  It was based on the true story of Loïe Fuller (perfectly played by French singer, songwriter, musician and actress Stéphanie Sokolinski, better known by her stage name “Soko”) an American dancer who became a sensation in Europe in the early 20th century-only to be swept aside just as quickly when a greater talent emerged on the scene. Don’t you hate when that happens? Said talent was Isadora Duncan whom you may have heard of as she became quite famous (gracefully played by Lily-Rose Depp in her first screen acting debut).  The story relates how Fuller went from living a difficult life with her father in the Midwest to ending up at the prestigious Paris Opera creating a dance that was unlike anything that was seen before. She became the toast of the town and a legend who helped almost by accident to create another living legend. A hauntingly striking film.

King of the Dancehall

kingofdancehall

In Jamaica they really do dance to a different beat.  I chose this movie because of the subject but also because I spent a lot of time all over Jamaica and part of that time was spent in Kingston where the film was shot.  It was written, directed and produced by Nick Cannon (host of America’s Got Talent) who was also the main star.  In other words a Nick Cannon production.  Cannon was at the screening and answered some questions at the end.

Shot in actual Jamaican outdoor dancehall venues, Cannon plays Tarzan (they all have nick names), a Brooklyn drug dealer fresh out of prison, whose mother (Whoopi Goldberg) is ill and unable to pay her medical bills. As he contemplates ways to make money he heads to Kingston where he contacts his cousin Toasta (Busta Rhymes) in the hopes of striking up a deal to export the island’s finest ganja (aka weed) back to his hometown.

The movie is in English with English subtitles that I assure you helps with understanding the dialogue because a lot of it is in Patois.  At least it’s authentic.

Toasta introduces Tarzan to the island’s nightclub scene with its vast network of fearsome gangstas, and his wife’s virginal (and sexy gyrating dancer of a sister) Maya whose suspicious bishop father (Lou Gossett Jr.) keeps her under a watchful eye.

Maya teaches Tarzan all the necessary moves so he is able to enter a contest in hopes of winning enough money to help out his mother.

What you need to know is that superstars like Beyoncé and Rihanna have used a lot of the original Jamaican dancehall moves in their shows and music videos.  The North American audience says “that’s a great move” while the Jamaican dance audience say  “she’s doing the (such and such…they all have names) move.”  In Jamaica, the dancers are celebrities in their own right, known all over the island as dance stars.

All my time in Jamaica I never visited a dancehall such as in this film, but I did go to a nightclub and in Negril the locals & others dance to live Reggae music at night on the beach.  This is where I witnessed very similar sexy dance moves as in the film. I had never seen dancing like that before….not here in North America!

PSIFF Documentary: Bright Lights

Mother/Daughter: Hollywood Stylebrightlights2The bittersweet and timely HBO documentary “Bright Lights” about Debbie Reynolds and her extraordinary relationship with daughter Carrie Fisher was screened last night at the Palm Springs International Film Festival to a sold out audience.

Even though HBO decided to air it recently (months ahead of schedule) due to the tragic untimely deaths of both women, I enjoyed watching it on a big screen with director Fisher Stevens there to talk about the film and answer questions at the end.  Debbie Reynolds lived in Palm Springs and had circumstances turned out differently then Carrie Fisher would have been in attendance at the screening.

It’s still shocking that only one day after Carrie died, her mom, the dancer who rose to stardom in Singin’ in the Rain and earned an Oscar nomination for The Unsinkable Molly Brown died at 84 with so much life ahead.

Still, the show must go on

Debbie Reynolds, recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and her daughter, actress Carrie Fisher, pose in the press room during the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 25, 2015.(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Debbie Reynolds, recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and her daughter, actress Carrie Fisher, pose in the press room during the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 25, 2015.(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The documentary which was filmed over the course of 2014 and 2015, and ends with Reynolds receiving the 2015 SAG Awards Life Achievement award was touching, funny and very candid.  Even with her frail health towards the end, Reynolds was a real trouper not ready for retirement. The private family film clips from early on are entertaining and you get more than a little glimpse into the world of this legendary talented Hollywood family including Reynolds marriage to singer Eddie Fisher and references to Elizabeth Taylor.  Carrie Fisher and her brother Todd have wonderful singing voices too.

Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell.” ― Wishful Drinking (an autobiographical humor book by Carrie Fisher, published by Simon & Schuster in 2008 based on her one-woman stage show).

feelgoodfriday4

the 13th!

Art/Film/Style – putting your best foot forward

JULIE AND THE SHOE FACTORY (SUR QUEL PIED DANSER)julie2

Another French Film and a partial musical at that, which is very unFrench.

From “New Voices/New Visions” category at PSIFF

But I think there’s no need to explain the only main reason why I chose this film.  It takes place in a luxury shoe factory!  I mean if I were to work in a factory…..It’s fun and it’s whimsical but La La Land it is not.

It centers on Julie (played by Pauline Etienne “The Tokyo Fiancée”), a young woman who is trying hard to make ends meet and ends up taking a trial position in an upscale shoe factory where she works packaging up shoes in the shipping department.  After a short period of time it appears the business will be either substantially downsized, sold or moved offshore for cheaper costs.  Julie’s co-workers will stop at nothing to keep their positions.

Julie joins in a song and dance number with the group of female co-workers responsible for making the shoes in a protest to the proposed change.   They end up raiding the shoe archives to discover a well-designed retro model in RED which they decide to revive to save the renowned brand and keep it from going to China. In doing so they stir up intrigue and interest.

Ahhh, you’ve got to love the French.  This is my third French film in a row and I think mostly I’m drawn to these films because one of my best friends growing up in Montreal was very French from France.  She was daring, beautiful, lots of fun and had an unbelievably bad temper if she didn’t get her way.  I can sympathize.

Some newer red shoes I happen to like
shoes1shoes2And if you go boating (or want to look like you go boating) these from Gucci are pretty nice.shoes3Vive la France!

Art/Film: Souvenir

Sometimes you just need a modern day fairy tale to round out your film festival going.souvenir1

Isabelle Huppert as Isabelle in Souvenir

The US premiere of the Belgium/Luxembourg/France production of “Souvenir” starring French superstar Isabelle Huppert was a welcome departure from the last two movies I saw which were both on the depressing side.  This film was not without a teeny amount of dysfunction but more in the tone of optimist meets pessimist.  According to Bavo Defune, the film’s director “a pessimist is an optimist on a bad day!”  But what appealed to me and why I chose this film 1) Isabelle Huppert is the main star 2) it has a successful comeback component 3) she sings who knew? 4) there’s a hunky young buff guy in it. Judge all you want, I don’t care! 5) it’s more of an art house film.

What I didn’t quite get but decided to dismiss (because it’s best not to question every little detail) is why Liliane (Huppert’s character) was working in a pâté  factory in Belgium.  It wouldn’t matter so much except that in the past (30 years ago to be exact) she was on the brink of stardom.  She was a pop-music sensation who entered a Eurovision song contest and came in second-place….to ABBA.  Losing to ABBA is not the worst thing that can happen in life but nonetheless…..a pâté factory?  I guess it’s indicative of the total opposite of what life can offer and especially after such a long period of time.  And we’ve heard what happens with some actors/singers who were successful in the past.  I still had a hard time believing her day in-day out routine.

The good news is that a young co-worker named Jean (Kevin Azais) realizes who she is (was) and  tries to pursue the very reluctant Liliane to pick up the pieces and re invent herself once again with him as her manager and love interest.  Liliane feels definitely bitter about the past.

There were a few moments that left me wondering about the credibility of the situation but all in all with Huppert at the forefront, it was a very engaging and enjoyable film to watch.  Besides…

She just took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a drama for her performance in Elle which I saw at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). Other nominees were Amy Adams “Arrival”, Jessica Chastain “Miss Sloane”, Natalie Portman “Jackie”& Ruth Negga “Loving.”

It is definitely a win-win situation for this talented actress.

TRAILER (in French):