Monday Mood: Color Therapy

Ever notice how certain colors make you feel?

Source: unsplash.com

From calming to invigorating and everything in between…while some just make you want to scream. Colors definitely have an effect on our mood. Maybe that’s why so many of us experience mood swings?

Remember the mood ring?  Me neither. The ring apparently changed color depending on your mood.  When it went black you knew you were in trouble. When it turned red you knew you were in love.  I mean without wearing the ring how would you know how you felt?

Well now I’m poking fun. But really, I’m looking into the psychology of color more seriously now because I want to re-paint two of the rooms in my house.  My bedroom walls because I have to, and my office space because I want to.

I’ve lived in the same house for 20 years now and in all that time I’ve only felt like changing the color in only one room – upstairs bathroom.  It was a boring neutral beige tone and now it’s not.  One wall in that bathroom is now turquoise but it works. I just found out that turquoise is associated with meanings of refreshment, feminine energy,  sophistication, wisdom, serenity, wholeness, creativity, emotional balance, good luck, spiritual grounding, friendship, love, joy, tranquility, patience, intuition, and loyalty.  Yes; I’m listening!

photo: d. king

That’s a lot of explanation for one color. And to think that I only painted it that color because I came across a small can of paint in my garage and thought “I’ll try to use this somewhere – how about my bathroom?”

All the rooms in my place are painted in the colors of the landscape and design found in the Southwest desert.  They’re all rich, warm tones.  I never tire of them.

My office space is actually a reconverted closet.  You would never know it unless I pointed that out.  Then you’d look at it again and say “ah, now I see why you have such a small workspace.”

But it’s a really good use of space because when you think about it, you only need little space to put a desk with laptop and a printer, an always hungry paper shredder and few other items. That’s the room I want to now have fun with.  Right now it’s a warm yellowish tone but I’ve recently been thinking of having it painted red, or somewhere in that spectrum.

When a spiritual sign appears in your life that is red, it usually represents that you are ready to take action on a new goal or project that you have been putting off.  How about that? I’m ready.

I’ve been checking out color therapy too for ideas. Color therapy uses these powers of color to heal, energize, and soothe us.  Let’s have fun with this.

Source: pexels.com

If you want to look into it on a deeper level here’s a link:

What Is Color Therapy, What Is It For, And Is It Right For Me?

https://www.regain.us/advice/therapist/what-is-color-therapy-what-is-it-for-and-is-it-right-for-me/

LUSCHER COLOR TEST – It might be fun to take this test:

The Luscher color test is based on the assumption the unconscious colors’ choice often reflects a person’s focus on a certain activity, mood, the most stable personality traits, and the functional human state.

https://psycho-tests.com/test/lusher-color

Sunday Supplement: Vitamin D

Welcome to my new weekly supplemental. Every Sunday I’ll be featuring an important vitamin and the reasons why it may be vital to your health. 

Vitamin D: Immune System Superstar

I’m not pretending to be an authority on the subject – that I’ll leave for the experienced professionals.  Although I have an interest in health, I can at least share some knowledge I’ve gained from these experts. Some of them I know personally, and all agree that Vitamin “D” is of ultimate importance, especially right now with Covid.  I’ve done my own research too. What I’ve found out is that most people are deficient in Vitamin D and even if you eat really well, there are some vitamins (D being one of them) that you cannot create in your body from food alone.

D boosts the immune system and protects against respiratory infections. However, it is found in few foods and the body only replenishes its stocks through sunlight on the skin.

Vitamin D deficiency has emerged as a primary risk factor for severe COVID-19 infection and death. Higher vitamin D levels have even been shown to lower your risk of testing positive for the virus in the first place.  According to a Spanish study, 82.2% of COVID-19 patients tested were found to be deficient in vitamin D.

Dark skin color, increased age, pre-existing chronic conditions and vitamin D deficiency are all features of severe COVID disease. Of these, vitamin D deficiency is the only factor that is modifiable. As such, it would be foolish to ignore, especially since vitamin D supplements are readily available and low cost.

*The Scottish Government is giving out free vitamin D supplements to the most vulnerable to help boost their immune system.  People who have been shielding are to be sent a four-month supply to compensate for a lack of natural sunlight. (see link below).  

So I’ve upped my intake to 5,000 UIs a day in the winter months (some take more).  In the summer I take 1000 – 3000 UIs depending on how sunny it is.  Most medical doctors will suggest 400 UIs is enough.  However over a dozen research studies completed in 2020 alone show that we need at least ten times that amount to get optimum immune system benefits.

We already know that Vitamin D is good for a variety of illnesses and disorders such as depression (no surprise here – sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.  Oh; you too?), hypertension, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, oral health, inflammation…

The point being there’s tons and tons of research out there. I’ve narrowed it down to some choice statements taken from various sites.

  • **Dr. Michael Holick, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine and colleagues studied blood samples of more than 190,000 Americans from all 50 US states and found those with deficient levels of vitamin D had 54% higher COVID positivity compared to those with adequate blood levels of vitamin D. The study was published in PLoS (the Public Library of Science One) peer-reviewed journal. Many people are vitamin D-deficient because there are only small amounts in food, Holick said.

For the Top 25 Vitamin D Publications in 2020 go to:

*Sunday Times UK – Coronavirus in Scotland: Vulnerable will receive vitamin D supplements:

 
Out of curiosity, how much Vitamin D do you take regularly?
 

Feel-good Friday: Outlook

We don’t need a life coach or shrink to tell us what we already know – that our attitude and outlook on life says a lot about who we are.  

I keep witnessing unpleasant remarks on Facebook from people I’ve otherwise admired. Even quotes that are neither witty, profound or significant in any way.  Just plain offensive and meaningless.  Questionable at best – although others seen to find them funny.  Disappointing.  Has our human race taken a dive?

Positive Attitude = good

Negative Attitude = bad

It’s that simple.  However, it’s not easy to maintain a positive attitude at all times in our present climate of overwhelming discord over health and politics – both of which have a profound effect on our lives.

For our personal sanity at this time in history it makes sense to pay attention to what’s going on while maintaining as positive an attitude as possible.

The idea of Positive Thinking is almost a cliche in the personal development world that can be polarizing. Some people shy away from it, believing it to be pretentious, while others swear by it as if it was some sort of magic pill.

My friend Michael (one of the two smartest people I know in the whole world) has this to say about positivity: it can mean all, or some of the following: 1) Optimism 2) Proactivity 3) Constructiveness 4) Resilience 5) Hopefulness 6) Confidence

If any, or all of these resonate with you, go for it! 

When we consciously cultivate positivity in our minds, we think we can get through anything.  And it’s been scientifically proven to improve your work life, physical and mental health, and relationships.

A University of Michigan study, led by psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson, explored the importance of positive thinking and emotions on our experience of:

  • joy,
  • interest,
  • contentment, and
  • love.

These four positive emotions have a number of ripple effects on our behavior.

Fredrickson had this to say:

Joy sparks the urge to play, interest sparks the urge to explore, contentment sparks the urge to savour and integrate, and love sparks a recurring cycle of each of these urges within safe, close relationships.

By adopting a positive mindset, our resilience increases and with it our capacity to explore the world, while feeling confident and secure. Negative thoughts and emotions, on the other hand, can skew our perspective and in the long-term, damage our self-esteem.

One way to get into the habit of thinking positively is to peak into the minds of other positive people’s quotes by reading what they’ve said or written.

Hope you enjoy the quotes I found here.

Gratitude is the seed that sparks Positivity.

It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”– Germany Kent

Kent went on to say…”Gratitude is a key tenet in all major philosophies, religions, and schools of thought. That’s because gratitude is a foundation of positive thinking. We only have a limited amount of focus, so when you are able to be appreciative of what you have, your brain is unable to give life and energy to thoughts about what you don’t have. Seeing events in your life as gifts allow you to perceive how they may help you grow and become a better person, and the application of this attitude during tough times is the hallmark of resilience.”

The most important thing you will ever wear is your attitude.”– Jeff Moore

 

Debbie’s Delicious Carrot Cake

A heavenly-spiced, double-decker cake iced with cream cheese frosting.  Apple sauce makes it extra moist and delicious.   Makes 12 servings.

Photo: d. king

I’ve tried several carrot cake recipes including my mom’s (which included in the ingredients crushed pineapple and some mayo).  Sorry mom, it was always my favourite, however my carrot cake connoisseur boyfriend says this one knocks them all out of the park.  But we’ll let you be the judge. 

For the Cake:

1 ½ cups sugar (I always use organic cane sugar)

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (if you have the time, making it yourself is best)

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups *flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground cloves

3 cups grated carrot

1 cup walnut or pecan pieces

1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease and flour 2, 8-inch round cake pans.

To make doubly sure the cakes do not stick, cut 2 rounds of parchment  (I swear by parchment – it’s a baking life saver) the same size as the bottom of the pans and set them in.  Place the sugar, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla in a bowl and mix until well combined.  Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices into another bowl, and then mix into the wet mixture until just combined.  Fold in carrots, nuts and raisins.  Divide and spoon the batter among the pans.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of each cake pulls out clean.  Cool the cake on a baking rack in their pans for 30 minutes, then un mould and cool to room temperature.

To frost and decorate

250 gram pkg. hard cream cheese, at room temperature (I use Philadelphia)

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups icing sugar (I used organic icing sugar for the fist time and while still sugar; it made me feel better about eating it – it was also easier to beat ).

Place the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until quite light.  Gradually beat in the icing sugar until fully incorporated.  Set 1 cake layer, crowned-side down, on your cake stand.  Spread a ¼ inch layer of frosting on it, and then set on the second cake, crowned-side down.  Frost the top and sides of the cake, doing so as neatly and smoothly as you can (not so much for me this time).

If desired, after frosting, you could also coat the sides or top of the cake with unsweetened shreds of coconut and/or walnuts or pecans.

The Added Touch

You could also decorate the top of the cake with small carrots made of marzipan.  To do so, color 100 grams of marzipan orange with **food color.  Divide it into 12 pieces and roll each one into a carrot shape.  Use the back of a pairing knife and make a few shallow, indentations on one side of each piece to give it a slightly wrinkled carrot-like look.

Arrange the carrots on top of the cake.  As you can see, I omitted this extra special step this time around.  

*You can easily make this gluten-free by substituting regular flour for gluten-free.  This time I used “Namaste gluten-free Perfect Flour Blend” and it was divine.  Having said that, I have to admit that using regular cake & pastry flour makes for a perfect tasting allover cake. I was quite pleased though with this gluten-free flour blend.  Make sure you read the package to see how easily adaptable it is for baking – not all are created equal.

**Juicing carrots will provide you with a natural dye alternative that will emit NO additional flavor when used moderately. For a more saturated color, reduce the liquid into a syrup.  This will produce a more vivid color, without changing the properties of the dish.

Enjoy!

Monday Mood: Resolutions

I didn’t make any resolutions this year because I remember what happened last time.

Actually I didn’t make any last time either.  But I can see what happens when you do.  It can get disappointing. 

One of the most popular resolutions is to get more in shape starting January 1st.  Like making a resolution to work out more at your gym, but wait a sec…your gym is no longer open.  Or; to finally take that trip or cruise you’ve been putting off forever.  Except…notice that they’re making it a little harder to travel by air or boat these days? Or; sign up for that new course or maybe take a dance class…but we’re not allowed to sit together or touch one another.  It’s a whole new era.  One hard to get used to, and one that will hopefully change sooner than later.  Add to that, the political climate (history has a way of repeating itself but this time it’s really different) and all appears out of control

On the plus side is having to come up with alternatives and solutions.  We’re more crafty and smarter than we give ourselves credit for.  

We must take control of our own lives.  We must do our own homework and critical thinking because depending on who you talk to, you’ll get two completely different versions.

Forbes Magazine said:

“We are living in a new era dominated by Millennial hoodie-and-Converse-wearing billionaires, a world in which a staggering rate of change and disruptive innovation is the order of the day. Old-fashioned charisma is no longer enough to get attention, get ahead, or get the job anymore. Now, it’s those with the fearlessness to go after what they want and the audacity to do it how they want, who are making their mark and changing the world.”

I can’t change the world but if I could change some things about myself…

Here is my personal Wish List of outstanding attributes in a person in no particular order:

The Wit of Fran Lebowitz

The Body of Raquel Welch (circa One Million Years B.C.)

The Knowledge of Einstein

The Power of Oprah

The Talent of Meryl Streep

The Voice of Whitney Houston

The Riches of a Rockefeller (I don’t need to have as much as Bezos – a Rockefeller will do).

The Athletic Ability of Serena Williams

The Strength of Wonder Woman

The Chutzpah of Cher

The Charisma of Princess Diana 

The Style of Coco Chanel

The Chicness of Jackie O

The Coolness of Kate Moss

The Patience of a Buddha

The Tenacity of Ruth Bader Ginsberg

The Respect of – Rodney Dangerfield

How about you? 

Answer really quickly. TRY IT.  If you could have:

The Wit of

The Body of

The Knowledge of

The Power of

The Talent of

The Voice of

The Riches of

The Athletic Ability of

The Strength of

The Chutzpah of

The Charisma of

The Style of

The Chicness of

The Coolness of  

The Patience of

The Tenacity of

The Respect of

This was fun right?

We can always try to imagine what it’s like to be in another’s shoes.   Speaking of shoes:

Talk about ‘dream’ shoes

In light of everything that’s happening now (or not) my plan in the absence of going to film and wine festivals, fashion shows, restaurant openings and other gatherings, will be to focus on publishing health and beauty articles, tried and true recipes, art, fashion, culture and canine news. May the gatherings be temporarily put “on hold.”

“Unreported Truths” author Alex Berenson stated “Don’t be afraid of Covid. “ Don’t be afraid of one another.” This is a respiratory virus. It spreads between people. And the only way to make it go away permanently is to lock us all away permanently. And that can’t happen. That is not compatible with life.

Life is short.  We want to Live it!

So what’s it going to be for you?

2021 here we come

Okay let’s be real; 2020 sucked Big time!

Leap Year
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves –  Bill Vaughan (American columnist and author).  Is it possible to be both an optimist and a pessimist?  I think in this case it is.

 It’s already 2021 Somewhere

Here are some things to consider as we get ready to close the door on one of the most horrible years of our lifetime:

The dumbest thing we could have ever bought was a 2020 planner.

The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house & their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!

Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas should be reserved for quarantine and bedtime (even though I’ve actually worn mine under a coat – but only on occasion.  I  mean, who’s looking?).

This virus has done what no woman has been able to do. Cancel sports, shut down all bars & keep men at home!

I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are!

I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.  You too?

I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the Backyard. I’m getting tired of the Living Room.

Never in a million years could I have imagined going up to a bank teller wearing a mask to ask for money.

While we’re on the subject…

Regardless of whether you are FOR or AGAINST masks, FOR or AGAINST social distancing, FOR or AGAINST shutting down the entire economy, FOR or AGAINST the vaccine, FOR or AGAINST being able to meet with a few healthy friends or even healthy family members, FOR or AGAINST the mainstream media, our governments and even the medical establishment not even uttering a single word about the importance of maintaining a robust immune system through proper diet, supplementation (hello vitamin D), exercise, stress-reduction, etc., we are quickly falling down a rabbit hole with no end in sight.

My brother Brad King (health + nutritional expert) added…

You are the only ones who can make a difference in your overall health – YOU! Stop living in a constant state of reaction and start becoming proactive. If you sit on your behind and expect your health to be taken care of for you, you are sadly mistaken.

Wake up, move your body, eat some healthy food, stop watching so much negative news, smile more (yes even with a mask on), breath some fresh air (please don’t say you wear a mask when you’re out hiking or taking a walk outside), expose your skin to real sunlight (obviously never get burned), sleep deeply and love with all your heart.

Here’s to a much, much better 2021 and beyond. Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

 

The Artful Photography of Janet Slater

Capturing the ordinary and making it extraordinary.

This in a nutshell is what best describes the photography of Janet Slater.  You can see for yourself in the splattering of her work shown here on this site.

I had the pleasure of meeting Janet this past summer in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.  We had dinner at a mutual friend’s house.  I was amazed at her creativity, imagination and ability to capture small details.  It’s the small details that an experienced photographer uses to capture emotion and turns it into an art form. And so, it’s not just another sunset, another beach shot…you get the picture (pun intended).

Janet shows a lot of diversity on her web page so I had to pick and choose which ones to showcase here.  That alone was a challenge.  Her interest runs the gamut of architecture, nature, ballet, bridges and barns…and more.

Did you know that it wasn’t until the 1940’s that photography was accepted as an art form?

Alfred Stieglitz ( American photographer, Author; The Photographer’s Eye, Art Dealer 1864-1946) is credited with getting photography accepted as an art form.

Obviously a different effort put forward than painting or sculpting, although the capture is what defines the art.

It’s the peaceful moments in a noisy world. The element of surprise and the unexpected. It’s the calm before the storm, the water droplets, the perfect and imperfect smiles and a sparkle in the eyes; these are some of the short-lasting emotional moments that makes every photographer’s dream shot.

Janet was awarded the FCAPA (Fellowship in the Canadian Association for Photographic Art). A high honour in recognition of her high standard of photographic  achievement. More on the link below.

You can browse more of her work and also make a purchase at:

https://janetslaterphotography.smugmug.com/browse

FCAPA Award at:

https://capacanada.ca/janet-slater-awarded-fcapa/

Feel Good Feelin’ Music

I’ve been meaning to post something about my talented, beautiful singer/songwriter friend Jenni Doyle ever since I first met her in Palm Springs the last time I was there.  She and her husband live in Vancouver and also have a home in Palm Springs.

I feel like I’ve known Jenni a lot longer than I have because I’ve heard so much about her through two friends that we’ve both known forever, although these two other friends have never met.  Our mutual friend Susanne has written lyrics to some of Jenni’s songs, while our other mutual friend Michael, wrote music for her album “Night Angles.”

Talk about a small world and having something in common aside from our love for dogs and Palm Springs.

Her single “Only One Cook” was filmed at philanthropist Joe Segal’s breathtaking waterfront mansion in Vancouver and directed and edited by Dave Benedict. Jenni’s make-up by Safina Kataria.  Photo from her website.

Jenni has been entertaining people since the ripe age of two, when she donned her first pair of tap dancing shoes. After her early years in musical theatre and dance, she was accepted into Canterbury High School for the Arts in Ottawa, which then led her to Vancouver where she studied acting at Vancouver Film School. In the years to follow, Jenni was one of the top 25 finalists out of 4,000 girls, to make it onto the Global T.V. reality show “Popstars.”

This experience propelled her into the music industry, where she worked with producer/songwriter John Dexter (Carly Rae Jepsen, Bif Naked, D-Cru). She recorded two songs on the D-Cru album “Into the Future” which was released in stores across Canada. She went on to sing in a duo called “JeLL” where they performed their “Night Angles” songs and  “The Star Spangled Banner” live on ESPN in Los Angeles. 

Jenni has also had the honour of singing “Oh Canada” and performing her Shania Twain act in front of thousands of people at B.C. Place. 

With Gloria Macarenko, longtime host of CBC Vancouver’s supper-hour television newscast at 6:00, and Tina Turner and George Michael lookalike performers. Jenni does a tribute to Shania Twain. That’s her up on the screen.

Jenni also shared a heartwarming story about meeting her cute little Shih Tzu named Bella.  This is her second Bella.  Her first Bella passed away from cancer at a fairly young age.  Jenni loved the dog and was completely heartbroken.  About two years after Bella’s passing a friend suggested it was time Jenni get another dog.  She wanted another Shih Tzu. When she went to look at a litter of pups one got very excited, ran right up to her and jumped into her arms.  The owner said the dog’s name was “Bella.”  On her birth certificate was written “Bella Comes Back.” True story!

I just heard this song Feel Good Feelin’ for the first time yesterday.  I thought since the title has Feel Good in it, how appropriate for an uplifting Friday note.  Hope you enjoy it even if you’re new to country music.  Be sure to check out the Kelowna, B.C. scenery (and the tattoo on her arm in the very beginning).

Have a great weekend!  The last one before Christmas.

https://www.jennidoyle.com/

Shortbread Snowflakes

With Christmas around the corner and families staying put, it’s beginning to look a lot like a different kind of holiday season. Lots of things are up in the air and I’m not talking flying.  Life as we knew it is a little blurry right now.  I’m trying to look at the positive, but with so many small businesses getting shut down again and struggling to survive, it can become dispiriting. “This won’t last forever,” encouraging as it sounds…is not soon enough.  We should help to save lives while also saving livelihoods. We have to take care of ourselves the best we can.  Little things here and there help to uplift our spirits. 

So I’ve made cookies.  Lots of cookies.  Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin with Indian spices, Thumbprint with Jam, Peanut Butter/Chocolate Chunk and finally holiday shortbread.  The one with the least amount of ingredients and the most challenging. 

This one is a Martha Stewart original.  The only thing I’ve changed is instead of using granulated sugar I’ve substituted with organic cane sugar.  They’re really yummy.  My added touches: some are cut out round and sprinkled with chili cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar.  Or; should you decide to melt chocolate, you can dip half the cookies in the chocolate, as shown.

Shortbread Cookies with Cardamom

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground *cardamom

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar (original recipe calls for using granulated).

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Whisk flour, salt & cardamom in a medium bowl.

Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Mix in Vanilla.

Reduce to low, and gradually mix in flour mixture.

Press the dough into a 10” x 15” rimmed baking sheet on top of parchment paper. (the recipe doesn’t call for this but this way turns out being a lot easier to work with the cookie dough).

Press parchment paper onto surface and smooth top.  Remove top parchment; wrap sheet in plastic.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.  This will help the dough become harder and therefore easier to cut into cookie shapes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using snowflake (and other) cookie shape cutters, cut out cookies, and arrange by size on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with sanding (icing) sugar.  Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Let cool on sheets on wire rack.

You can freeze what you don’t immediately eat.  I freeze all my cookies.  Once thawed they’re as good as new.  Enjoy!

*Cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. Cardamom pods are spindle-shaped and have a triangular cross-section. The pods contain a number of seeds, but the entire cardamom pod can be used whole or ground. The seeds are small and black, while the pods differ in color and size by species.