Feel-good Friday: Global Warning

Oh those poor men – they often don’t know what hit them.

If women came with warning labels….. warninglabel4 I may or may not kill you.  If I don’t F….you then at least I’ll F…with your head!warninglabel6

Because I’m worth ALL the trouble
warninglabel5what would your warning label be?

Me? Sorry; someone tore mine off when I was born.

Men seem to like it when we’re being a little nasty.


Always read the fine print!

“The spider’s web: She finds an innocuous corner in which to spin her web. The longer the web takes, the more fabulous its construction. She has no need to chase. She sits quietly, her patience a consummate force; she waits for her prey to come to her on their own, and then she ensnares them, injects them with venom, rendering them unable to escape. Spiders – so needed and yet so misunderstood.” – Donna Lynn Hope


beauty: an apple a day

Going Green

juicebeauty4I’m striving to get my Vitamin C any way possible especially during the colder months. Luckily I love apples. Green Apples have multiple beauty benefits aside from being good for one’s overall health as they also help keep your teeth and gums healthy.  It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call it a natural beauty remedy.

  • If you’re a person focused on your beauty and skin health, then you’ll certainly reap the benefits of green apples. They contain vitamins A, B, C, as well as E. They also help keep your skin fresh and glowing.

juicebeauty1And even though we’re lucky to see a ray of sunshine now, we should still be applying a moisturizer with SPF daily.  At this time of the year I lower the amount to at least SPF 15.  This is the lowest SPF you should consider. In my opinion anything less is a waste of time and anything higher than 30 (unless you ski) may not be necessary either.

So I was really pleased to receive a full size Green Apple Brightening moisturizer with SPF from natural beauty company, Juice Beauty.  It was in my Spring Box of Style but I just only started using it.

I just received my Fall Box of Style which I’ll share with you next week….it’s amazing!juicebeauty3As it so happens the brand’s new creative director of makeup is Gwyneth Paltrow.  She should know a thing or two.  Apparently she benchmarked every item against conventional versions (mostly prestige), pushing the company’s chemist, Mimi, to match their efficacies. “It can’t be that the makeup is organic and that’s why you should use it,” she says.  “It has to be as good or better than anything else.  That’s how you’re going to move the needle in a real way.”

 So guess I’ll be trying some of the makeup next….

Have you tried any of their products?  If so, which ones and how do you like them?

Style: Lost in Transition

For fashion lovers, making the transition to a full-on Fall wardrobe can be FUN.fashionshow1falltrans1hats2

Just another excuse to wear leopard - for Fall

Just another excuse to wear faux leopard in Fall

Paris Fashion Week Fall 2016 Street Style. Photo by Adam Katz Sinding.

Starting with COATS: Paris Fashion Week Fall 2016 Street Style. Photo by Adam Katz Sinding.

The leather bomber jacket

The leather bomber jacket over a jean shirt.

Beanie and a Cape

Beanie and a Cape.  I love this guys jacket.

Higher waisted pants & blazer - perfect for work

Higher waisted pants, turtleneck & blazer – perfect for work

Show some Shearling

Show some Shearling

And for those of us living on the West Coast we must be prepared for this:falltrans8falltrans9 falltrans14For that in-between time we must be prepared. It can go from sunny one minute to wet and cold the next. We’ll need warm sweaters, trench coats and rain boots (by the way I’m loving my rain boots).  And for people like me who walk more than one dog at a time…




This shop in Vancouver has great hats. I just bought two.

This shop in Vancouver has great hats. I just bought two.  Goorin Bros. in Yaletown

katehatI bought this exact same wool hat.  I swear that I did not even see this photo until after. And I’m pretty sure that I’m the one who started the leopard trend.

But what does that tell you? Great style icons think alike!

The ART of FOOD – Alinea

As I mentioned before, the series Chef’s Table is not your run-of-the-mill cooking series.

A dish containing duck, huitlacoche, strawberry & white corn on an acrylic art piece designed to act as a plate.  Photo: Nathan Weber for the New York Times 

A dish containing duck, *huitlacoche, strawberry and white corn on an acrylic art piece designed to act as a plate.  Photo: Nathan Weber for the New York Times.

I just finished watching the series on NetFlix.  Many of the restaurants in the series are Michelin star or at the very least, way above average. Some are destinations in that they are in very remote locations. They all take food to a whole other level.  It’s a total experience for the senses. They are among the 50 best in the world.  If you love food then prepare to be inspired!

I loved all the shows but I think my favourite was the one which appeared the most artistic – that of Alinea Restaurant in Chicago.

Chef and Restaurateur Grant Achatz is more than another rock star chef; he’s a true artist.

Restaurateur Grant Achatz, left. Source: Alinea Restaurant

Restaurateur Grant Achatz, left.  Source: Alinea Restaurant

Plateless dessert. Source: Alinea Restaurant

Plateless dessert.
Source: Alinea Restaurant

Helium balloon dessert made with apple. Source: Alinea Restaurant

Helium balloon dessert made with apple.
Source: Alinea Restaurant

The opening scene shows him staring at an abstract art painting and appreciating what he sees.  He tries to incorporate art into his food while retaining the integrity of the taste and overall dining experience.  He offers something unique.  You’ve got to appreciate that.

Alinea is a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

If you’ve never eaten at Alinea – where diners must purchase a ticket in advance rather than pay on the day – you may have a long wait: every meal for the rest of the year (apart from New Year’s Eve) is sold out.

 Alinea’s tasting menu costs diners between $210 and $295 per person, depending upon availability and demand and excluding beverages.

There is a difference between dining and eating. Dining is an art. When you eat to get most out of your meal, to please the palate, just as well as to satiate the appetite, that,my friend, is dining.” – Yuan Mei

Website: http://alinearestaurant.com/

*What is Huitlacoche?. Pronounced whee-tla-KO-cheh, huitlacoche is also known as corn mushroom, corn smut or Mexican truffle. It is a fungus, which randomly grows on organic corn (not sprayed with any fungicide). It is rare, as it develops on the corn ears as they ripen after the rainy season or an errant rainstorm. Huitlacoche will consume the corn kernels and push itself out through the corn shucks, easily visible in a cornfield.

Your guide to Michelin Star Restaurants around the Globe:


Life at Large: the HUMAN condition

 Paraphrasing Janis Joplin: Happiness/Freedom are just two words for nothing left to lose.

Last week I watched a gripping, disturbing and captivating docudrama (with lightness at times) which was part of the VIFF screenings on….everyone…everywhere…everyday…appropriately entitled…human1

And guess what?

We’re pretty much all the same in the sense of what we all really long forsimple happiness.

I think that’s what first attracted me to the title of an Italian subtitled film that was on my list to see called “The Complexity Happiness.”  Without knowing a thing about the film I wanted to see it…because happiness is a complex thing and not so simple for many to attain after all, is it?

Because everyone wants something…else. We’re different in the sense of what we own, the clothing on our backs, our environment which of course encompasses our living conditions, language, family and our bank accounts. But other than that we only really want happiness.  And we all know by now that happiness does not come from having more money.  Money minus love equals emptiness.  End of story.  There’s only so much pleasure you can attain by buying more….things.  Having said that, there are more people in the world who have nada, but many are happy with what little they have if they have a strong family connection or for many, faith (in whatever they believe in).  And we would be stupid to assume having no money at all is a good thing even if your family situation is balanced.

Balance in life is important for everyone and how can you be truly happy if you’re always fighting to find a way to feed your family, find a job, look after yourself and those around you?

It’s a BIG WORLD out there and for the most part…it’s out of whack and completely and unfairly UNBALANCED.human2

WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM THIS POWERFUL FILM overall is… the world we live in can be a pretty sad place!  I mean even checking out what’s going on with the U.S. election campaign…who would have ever thought it would come to this for the most powerful position in one of the most powerful countries?  It’s a bit of a joke like a Jerry Springer gong show. And just before this film I saw “American Honey” which deals with misfit millennials looking to find work and fit into society and have some fun. The list goes on.

So yes, it was depressing to see more than enough faces from all over the world talk about their personal living conditions and socio-economic situation.  It was meant to inform and upset from where we were sitting, in comfortable seats in a warm movie theatre with our popcorn & sodas.  On a more uplifting note, there are some feel-good parts to the film as well. And we find out that some of the monetarily poorest people on the planet are the happiest.

But even happy people are not constantly happy…life gets in the way.  How many people have you heard about in the past couple of years alone who are/were famous with lots of money who died from drug overdose, committed suicide, are or were severely depressed? How many are in rehab?

Maybe the secret to happiness lies in being contented. I think contentment counts for a lot.  It’s a good balance of being mostly happy with a few disruptions along the way.  We are, after all only human.

And unfortunately, unfairness is a way of life…for most.

Human trailer:


This is my last VIFF review until next year but I want to let you know that my friend Ann Marie Fleming WON for her feature length “Window Horses” – in the best Canadian Film Category. I am so happy for her.  The wonderfully animated movie about poetry has an encouraging message.  I highly recommend seeing it.

We must take happiness in doses…BIG or small!

Shaking things up – prose and cons

Bob Dylan was just awarded the Nobel prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Ill: N. Elmehed. © Nobel Media 2016

Ill: N. Elmehed. © Nobel Media 2016

What’s so wrong with that?

To the person who asked “does this mean that I can win a Grammy?” No!  It just means that people are taking more notice of great songwriting and poetry which have their place (or prose) in the writing world.  If so, then in my opinion Rodriguez (of searching for Sugarman fame) & Leonard Cohen should be next in line.

Maybe they should open it up to noteworthy artists who paint for a living.  They are like literature for the soul.  Open up a new category?  Something to think about?  I think so!



Film: Seduction/Secrets – The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden was my chosen last film to see from VIFF.  It was an intriguing change from all the other selections.handmaiden5It’s an erotic thriller with many a twist and turn.  I can only imagine what the men in the audience must have been thinking in a few of the scenes….given what I believe men like to envision.  But it was much more than that.  Beautifully directed from acclaimed writer-director Park Chan-Wook who is considered the King of Korean cinema.  His first English language film was Stoker starring Nicole Kidman.handmaiden3

Synopsis: with help from an orphaned pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri), a Korean con man (Ha Jung-woo) devises an intricate plot to seduce and bamboozle a wealthy, innocuous young Japanese woman (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance.  The woman lives on a large secluded estate and the Korean pickpocket is hired to serve as her new handmaiden.  But who is really fooling who here?

This movie was inspired by Welsh author Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith; with the setting changed from Victorian era to Korea under Japanese colonial rule.handmaiden2

It was a captivating piece of work.



The film festival has formally ended but extra screenings of some of the more popular films will play in select theatres over the next several days.  To find out more please visit: https://www.viff.org/

Feel-good Friday: meet my new love

He’s black, he’s bright, he’s shiny and he’s brand spanking new. I like that he’s in touch with his feminine side.  Unfortunately this will only be a fair weather romance because he doesn’t like to get too wet or too cold, pay for parking or buy me things. But people have said we look good together.scooter6

We’ll enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.

There were two others before him. Someone stole my last love while I was sleeping so I was keeping my eyes open for a replacement. And the previous one that I was keeping on the side was getting too old so I finally dumped him. He held vintage charm but was set in his ways and I had a hard time controlling him.

So with this new one I didn’t even look around – he was the first thing I saw.  I didn’t think I would consider his type but when I spotted him looking so fine in the shop –  that was it.  I said hey, we belong together. When you know, you know. scooter7


Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the ride.  Remember not to carry too much baggage.scooter5Now I’ve got to find something on the side…..(for my dog)

Lifestyle/Film – from FRANCA to FREIGHTENED

The Vancouver Film Festival is almost over. For the past two weeks I’ve seen my share of GLOOM to GLAMOUR through cinema and ended up going home with either a smile on my face or more often than not, with a heavy heart.franca1Being a film critic is not as simple as it seems. Did I say film critic? Well you know what I mean..my version.  It’s kind of like speed dating (not that I’ve ever done that) – you have to weed through many movies before you come across a great film.  But that great one will stick with you and may even change your life forever.

I even have a film buddy now.  Someone I met in the pass holder lineup from the very beginning of the festival and we kept bumping into each other, sitting together, crying at times and finally comparing films and such and sharing real life moments in time (while waiting for each film to start).  We promised to keep in touch and meet up every so often to see a new movie because we seem to have the same taste in film.  And let me tell you that finding the perfect film buddy is a lot harder to come across than the other more popular kind of  “F” buddy.

So I have only a few more reviews to share, a very small amount compared to all that was offered at the festival.  I’m sending them into the VIFF press office and hopefully they’ll decide to invite me back again next year. This has not only been a real pleasure and a privilege but a great opportunity to share with you some very engaging films and a chance to expand my audience.

These two documentaries will make you question everything you buy.

Franca: Chaos and Creation

The high price of fashion…

I was looking very forward to this documentary about legendary editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia, considered the world’s most important fashion magazine.  It’s the magazine for fashion insiders to visit the territory where fashion, art and provocation meet. Her astonishing but often controversial magazine covers have not only broken the rules but also set the bar high for fashion, art and commerce over the past 25 years.

Sozzani remains deeply committed to exploring subject matters off limits to most and occasionally redefining the concept of beauty in the process.

The film features interviews with Karl Lagerfeld, Bruce Weber, Baz Luhrmann, Courtney Love and many others.  A film for style buffs.

*Trailer for Franca:


Freightened: The Real Price of Shipping

The higher price of fashion.  There’s always a cost.  How much are we willing to pay?

This is in stark contrast to Franca and something to give serious thought to.

“There are three kinds of people in the world.  The living, the dead and those that are at sea” – a line from the movie.

This film sheds real light on where a huge portion of our clothing really comes from.  It will make you question your choices (hopefully) the next time you shop for that next great deal.  Maybe we should read clothing labels like we are now paying more attention to our labels on food.  Because there’s a story behind them and it’s not a pretty one. Those $20 jeans weren’t just shipped here from Bangladesh: the constituent parts traveled thousands of miles before they met in the factory.  But it’s not just about clothing, it’s about everything we consume in our crazy world of WANT.  And 90% of everything we consume arrives via ship so this is essential to know about. Because many of us are unaware of the consequences of industrial container shipping as it is today and has been for many, many years. And it’s drastic impact on the environment….which affects everyone and the future of the planet.  But it’s not too late to make some changes…if only they will listen (but we don’t know who they really are because the owners are hard to track down).

Denis Delestrac is opening our eyes to the incredibly important implications of things we take for granted. And you won’t believe your eyes.

From the VIFF website:

Freightened is indeed a scarifying look at our oceans and harbours, and what the behemoths and leviathans that ply our seas are doing to them. It’s all because of what we buy!  The unit travel costs of huge industrial container shipments are astonishingly small, but the environmental costs are ridiculously large. Why bother to learn more? Why think global and buy local? The open seas are shockingly free of oversight and regulation. Dirty fuels, chemical leakage and animal-killing noise abound in a regime of tax avoidance and maintenance neglect, and we know so little about it. What are the plans for our Port of Vancouver?

Food for Thought?  

*Trailer for Freightened:


Design/Film: The Architect

“As an Architect  I have the job of transforming hopes and dreams into wood, glass, steel and concrete.  But if the dreams aren’t there, there is very little I can do.”

– a line from the  The Architect

Clip from the Film

Still from the Film

Last night I attended the VIFF premiere of a new movie called “The Architect”.  I wanted to see a light comedy after the heaviness of the last several movies.  Something with a design element to it.  The Architect was reminiscent of “The Cable Guy” starring Jim Carrey but only in the sense that the architect (played by James Frain) was annoyingly cloying in his attempt to help out, thus getting on the nerves of his employers as he tries to infiltrate their lives.

The movie was written and directed by Jonathan Parker who was in attendance to answer questions from the audience as was one of the main characters, Eric McCormack (Will & Grace, Broadway, etc. Parker Posey plays his wife in this bizarre tale of obsession and deceit when a couple (played by McCormack & Posey) hire a supposedly top notch visionary architect to build their dream house right after buying a tear-down.  But what they’re not prepared for is the architect’s brash ego informing them to follow his own designs and desires.  The wife, a creative type of her own,  gets swept up by the architect as creative designer – a stark contrast to her husband’s very practical side.  A husband by the way,  quite skeptical of the intentions of the architect in question.

You begin to realize who the dream house really belongs to –  The Architect.architect1

What’s funny is that Eric McCormack (originally from Vancouver) is building a home here and his own architect was at the screening.  He pointed him out in the audience at the Vancouver Playhouse.  He said if that wasn’t enough he also hired an interior designer.

Some lines from the film:

I don’t know why people hire architects and then tell them what to do

I believe it is just as important to design a chicken coup as it is to design a cathedral

Q & A

Q & A with Director and Actor.  Photo: d. king

The Trailer:


For more information on the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) please visit: