Feel-good Friday: last weekend of

Yippee!

Here are 10 things to feel good about this weekend...besides two glorious days off:

  1. Getting your taxes done (it’s not really feel-good but you will feel better when they’re done).
  2. Something to look forward to – May weather should be drier.
  3. Getting a bike tune-up (I just did) for good weather riding.
  4. I’ve gone a few shades lighter with wispy bangs & rounder sunglasses

    Lighter clothing.

  5.  Change a little something about yourself even if it’s only your hair.
  6. Tulips & Daffodils.
  7. Cherry Blossoms.
  8. Better weather (did I just say that?).
  9. April is from the latin verb “Aperire” which means to open yourself up.  Go for it – you have two more days!
  10. April showers bring May flowers.  It’s a cliché I know but…it’s true.

 Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy whatever is left of April.

Beauty: BioActive Externals

Youthful and Ageless

Two key words that jump out to grab our attention in the packaging of many skincare lines.  After all, we all strive to be youthful and ageless for as long as we can.

If we’re being true to ourselves we should know that we cannot rely on one miracle topical product to turn back the clock.  But we keep hoping.  I think even with *good genes the key ingredients to staying youthful is remaining curious, being active, refrain from stress (as much as humanly possible), eating and sleeping well, hydration and the bioactive externals like good clean skincare.  Basically looking after yourself as well as you can because you’re all you’ve got! Keeping this in mind, and aside from my own products, I’m always open to checking out new and improved skincare regimes.  I also love the ritual of applying them morning and night.

After having met and listened to Suzanne Somers promote her Suzanne Organics skincare line which is exclusively at Clark’s Nutrition in Rancho Mirage, Ca., I felt obliged to try a few products.  If only because Suzanne is her own best testament to the products and philosophy behind them.

Makeup + Skincare by Suzanne Organics

I’ve been using her ageless serum which is loaded with sea algae followed by her Bioactive Moisturizer which among other active natural ingredients is loaded with CoQ10, Argan (last year my sis brought Argan oil back from the Atlas mountains of Morocco for me) oil and sea buckthorn berry which acts as a superfood for your skin.  Of course you have to eat whole food for your skin to look its very best but let’s just agree that the ingredient listing is excellent.  It feels great on my face too. The whole collection is Toxic Free.  The coco-mango body butter is my absolute favourite. Find out more at: link below

*Having good genes doesn’t mean you’ll live longer, it just means you’ll look better doing it.

https://www.suzannesomers.com/

BENEFITS: 

  Formula uses only pure, organic ingredients

  No animal testing

  No synthetic fragrances

  Beech Tree Bud Extract supports the skin cells. This organic extract moisturizes the skin and assists in the look of wrinkle reduction by supporting the skin

  Argan Oil is one of the rarest oils in the world, this desert plant restores moisture so skin can survive dry climates, such as air-conditioning or heating

  Just as this plant protects itself from the desert heat, the oil from the tree’s fruit helps our skin to be protected from the elements.

  Sea Buckthorn Berry is a rare plant that contains essential fatty acids, Omega 3,6,7 and 9! Our skin loves these essential fatty acids and to find all of these essential fatty acids in one plant is remarkable

AND MORE…

If you’ve been fortunate enough to try her line I’d like your comments.

Style: Tailor Made

I always say a trustworthy tailor is right up there with finding a good dentist, doctor, hairstylist & cobbler (if there is an updated term for someone who mends shoes I’m not aware).

A good tailor is worth his/her weight in gold thread.  How many of us have been in this scenario: you found the almost-perfect dress, skirt, pant or jacket but if it only had a little tweaking it would fit perfectly.  That’s where the magic of a good tailor comes into play.  Anything is possibleWell, almost.  There are some things worth taking in or altering and there are others that just don’t make the cut (pun intended).  I know; I’ve been through it all.  I’ve had things altered that I’m really happy with and a few other items that have just been costly mistakes.  Like re-working a well-made floor length fitted brocade vintage opera coat that no matter how lovely it looks, even the fact that Grace Kelly wore one almost identical (I have the photo to prove it)…I will never wear.  Not even to the opera! The friend who gave it to me said her well dressed mother wore it to the opera & wanted to hand it down to someone who’d appreciate it.  Sorry! She should have given me the Chanel suit instead.

If something is really worth fixing to form (an heirloom piece or something you can’t part with) it may be worth the splurge but there are times when it’s just not.  You’re better off to go and buy new.

It can be more involved but worth it depending on the item  to fix things that have beading.

Here, six next-level alterations any tailor worth her salt can do, and a few things even the pros can’t fix.

They Can Rework a Neckline
If you’re worried about showing a little too much décolletage, or not enough, a tailor can help adjust a neckline by adding fabric, removing collars or turning a basic V-neck into a plunge worth carrying around a roll of double-sided tape for. (If that’s your sort of thing.)

They Can Add or Move a Zipper
If you avoid wearing a particular dress just because it’s a pain to pull over your head, you might want to consider adding a zipper instead of tossing it in the donation pile. This alteration does require enough fabric to accommodate the zipper, so it isn’t realistic for a dress that’s already pretty tight. Alternately, if you hate struggling to get into a dress that  zips up the back, a tailor can remove that zipper and add one under the arm instead.

They Can’t Take Something in More Than Four Inches
If you’re talking about pants, the cutoff is closer to two inches. After the four-inch mark, the original proportions of the item will be thrown off and start to look wonky in a whole new way. A good rule of thumb when making things smaller is that you shouldn’t try to reduce something by more than one size.

They Can Fix That Gap in the Waistband of Your Jeans
You finally found a pair of jeans that make your bum look Kardashian-level amazing. Only problem: The waistband is gapping in the back in a way no belt will fix. Have no fear, this is actually a super-simple problem to fix. If your tailor isn’t too busy, he or she might even have it done in time for your dinner date the very same night.

They Can Add a Lining to Simple Silhouettes
Adding a nude-colored lining to a slightly sheer summer dress means you’ll get infinitely more use out of it (and infinitely more compliments). A-line skirts, shift dresses and straight-leg pants are all good contenders for adding a lining, but be aware that not everything is easy to line. Anything too tight or too complicated is going to pose more problems for your tailor than it’s worth.

They Can’t Adjust the Shoulders Much
Think you can just remove the shoulder pads from that ’80s power suit and wear it proud through the rest of 2017? Think again. Adjusting shoulders is a risky move that rarely pays off. Removing shoulder pads often leaves excess fabric that’s difficult to sort out, and attempting to narrow the shoulders of a too-wide top often requires deconstructing and rebuilding the entire thing.

They Can Dye Natural Fabrics Darker
Fabrics like denim, cotton, linen and muslin are easy to dye a few shades darker or even make black. So instead of tossing those red-wine-stained white jeans, give them new life as a pair of sleek black skinnies.

They Can’t Dye Manmade Fabrics or Lighten Anything
On the flipside, there are certain fabrics that don’t accept dye very well, and few fabrics at all can be lightened more than one or two shades. Polyester and acetate can’t be dyed without factory-grade machinery. Leather is also very difficult to alter. So if you’ve been itching to turn your leather skirt pink (like you’ve seen on all the street-style stars), maybe consider just finding one off the rack.

They Can Alter a Heavily Sequined or Beaded Item
Take this one sequins. If you’re unsure of a tailor’s abilities, ask to see examples of his or her previous work. Many—especially those with a high skill level—keep portfolios at the ready in order to entice new clients. with a grain of salt. It is possible to shorten or take in the waist of a fully sequined pencil skirt, but it should be done only by someone who has experience working with

They Can’t Alter a Corset (damn!)
Corsets by nature are supposed to fit your body like a glove and are actually easier to build from scratch than they are to alter because of all the pattern pieces and boning required to make one. If you really have your heart set on a corset dress or piece of lingerie that isn’t fitting quite right in the store, take lots of photos and bring them to a specialist who can recreate your dream piece so that it fits you (and your girls) perfectly.

A quote from someone I admire:

Fran Lebowitz , the cultural critic, writer, and sometimes actress :People care more about trends now than they do about style. They get so wrapped up in what’s happening that they forget how to dress, and they never learn who they are because they never learn how to take care of anything. So much of what my generation was taught regarding clothes was how to make them last. How to wash and care for them.

Best advice: take care of what you already own!  Re-work only what you have to & shop smart: buy classic pieces you can wear forever and don’t pay a lot for trendy items.

Alteration info: Abby Hepworth; Pure Wow.

Recipe of the Week: Seafood in Coconut Curry Broth

Last week I made this delicious flavorful dish for an important celebration

my 25 year wedding anniversary! And I might add that the time has flown by.

Who says you have to go out? An evening spent at home with good food, good company, good wine, conversation, music and candlelight cannot be beat by going out to a restaurant.  Add to that a glass or two of bubbly to start…a perfect evening!

We were craving seafood and I hadn’t made this in a very long time.  It’s quite simple as everything is made in one pot.  You can alter the seafood depending on what you like as it’s adaptable as long as you’re using a variety of fresh seafood.  I have to admit the mussels make a huge difference for added flavour & appearance.  Originally I followed a popular recipe from an Indo-American Bistro, but as per usual I changed it and did it my way and it turned out perfect.

1 Tbsp. butter

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

2 green onions, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

1-2 tsp. Madras curry powder

salt + pepper to taste

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup fish stock  (you can make from scratch by boiling bones in water or you can buy from your local seafood store).  I bought frozen halibut stock which dissolves quite easily).

Splash of dry white wine or more (or none)

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Saffron threads

For Seafood: I used scallops, halibut, prawns & mussels

½  lb. sea scallops (if large, cut in half)

1 lb. white fish cut into chunks (halibut or cod)

1 ¼  lb. mussels (scrubbed + debearded)

8 large prawns (shelled + deveined)

Recipe serves 4 people

In a large saucepan, melt butter and sauté garlic, shallot and green onion for a few minutes over a low heat.   Add the olive oil and turn to medium high heat.  add tomato and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until soft.

Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper.

Add coconut milk, stock and cilantro.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Add scallops, fish, mussels and prawns all together.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Discard any shellfish that have not opened.

Best served in large soup bowls with naan bread for dipping.  YUM!

Enjoy!

Photos: d. king

Feel-good Friday: style tips from a 95 year old icon.

Attitude, Attitude, Attitude!

Iris Apfel

Iris Apfel is a model and an inspiration to women everywhere.  I loved watching the documentary about her.  Here is the latest video ad campaign for Macy’s.  Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEUv8aa2-4M&t=31s

Words to live by:

“I never buy what someone says is ‘in’ or a ‘must-have.’ I buy what makes me happy.” Iris Apfel

Learning from our ancestors

Balance.  Moderation.  Variety.
It seems to be the key ingredients to living well and that includes eating well. Whether you were recently celebrating Passover or Easter you more than likely enjoyed good food amongst friends and probably overate a little…or a lot.  Without really meaning to.

Never mind the Passover Brisket.  I will pass over that one. On Easter Sunday we had dinner at a friends house.  Spiral ham with pineapple, homemade scalloped potatoes, caesar salad, etc.  Of course dessert afterwards and then we all went home with a selection of curated individual goody bags from Purdy’s filled with chocolate easter eggs, bunnies, English toffee, etc.  But it’s a special treat and thank goodness it’s only once a year. It should really be guilt free but we always complain later that we should not have gone for that second third helping.  Why do we have friends that make it so darn difficult?  Why are they such good cooks?

Anyway I’m way off topic because where I was meaning to go with this post was to talk about ancient foods being the key to preventative medicine.  Our grandparents used to talk about the many ways people of their time used to heal themselves for common health issues and illnesses.  It’s just something to discuss and consider.

The use of traditional remedies, usually homemade preparations and herbal infusions was common practice. The lack of readily available medicines and healing remedies now known to us existed but were not as widely accessible as today. This forced our ancestors to focus more on prevention as a priority.  It’s a good start.

Hippocrates’ famous quote “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”, dating back to 400 B.C., reflects this ideal of focusing on prevention.  The concept of using food for prevention is even found as far back as 2000 B.C., with the Egyptians using honey, garlic, radishes and turnips as well as figs, nuts, salts and spices in their daily diets to fortify the body.

Honey, for example, is one of the oldest recorded foods, used for preventative purposes.  Its unique chemical composition, low humidity and high acidic levels create a low pH environment (3.9 on average), an unfavourable atmosphere for bacteria and other micro-organisms to grow.  Raw honey is a true natural antibiotic. I put a teaspoon of raw, organic unfiltered honey in my lemon water almost every morning to help protect my immune system.  I now add turmeric, cayenne + fresh ginger to the mix.  You can never be too sure.

Vinegars, salts and spices have also been important cornerstones in the diets of our ancestors.   Vitamin C, although it was not discovered until the 1900’s, played a critical role in the everyday diets of the past. Water soluble vitamins found in fruits and vegetables were not yet understood however they were known to consume large quantities of fruits like oranges and lemons high in vitamin C.

In the Amazon of Peru, natives have historically consumed Camu Camu, a superfood that we know today is packed with the highest concentration of natural Vitamin C in the world.

Eating well means to ingest diverse food each day to get the nutrients your body needs to support and maintain good health.  It’s all about balance, moderation and variety.  Even without technology, our ancestors understood this and there’s still much to learn from them.

We can only do our best.

Source: Jorge Urena (founder, president & CEO of UHTCO Corp. – a Canadian company dedicated to create, manufacture and distribute the most unique high quality products from Peru).

 

Style: Standout Handbag for Spring

Striking + Sustainable.  A Spring Carryall with a Purpose

Photo: Robby Mueller
Carry It Everywhere

Sunny days are bound to be coming our way sometime soon I hope.  When they do I’ll be carrying my handmade handbag which was the hero item in the Spring Box of Style sent to me from the people over at the Zoe (Rachel Zoe) Report.

I wanted to share it with you because not only do I think it’s attractively versatile and convenient to carry around, the black and white carryall by *Tribe Alive is made with love by female artisans in India. “Without meaningful employment these women could have fallen into the sex trade epidemic which runs rampant in the communities we work,” shares Tribe Alive founder Carly Burson. This bag provided invaluable skills training and fair wages to its creators, making it even more special to carry for festival season or on the daily.

courtesy Tribe Alive

*Tribe Alive is a fair-trade accessory label that supports independent artisans in developing countries.  The striking carryall is made of foot-loomed fabric and cognac brown leather and produced on a small-batch scale to ensure the highest quality.

The beautiful handbag provided five months of employment for more than 150 Indian artisan partners in three cities. From the weavers in Panipat to master tailors and leather workers in Delhi to the logistics team in Jaipur, this bag positively impacted every link of the supply chain.

courtesy Tribe Alive

That’s truly a wow factor.

 

 

Feel-good Friday: Road Trip

Have Van, Will

This had to be one of the more pleasurable road trips I can remember ever having taken from Palm Springs to Vancouver.   

Normally once the decision is made to drive back, we’re anxious to get going and get home as quickly as possible.  Even though you can make the trip in two days we never have.  The norm is a three night hotel stay.  But this time we took a few extra days to take it easy (vacation from vacation?) and explore uncharted territory (read wineries & hotels).

The Dancing Fox in Lodi

Delicato Winery in Lodi with Cher & Jack.  He didn’t like the wine.  And here we look like lumberjacks.

After the first night in Fresno we drove to the cute little town of Lodi for wine tasting and lunch with friends who were also making the trek back to Vancouver in their own truck with their own dog. We stayed close and on their excellent recommendation we stayed at the Gaia Hotel & Spa just outside Redding Ca. by the Sacramento River.  It was very relaxing with great service, a good restaurant and waterfalls. 

The next day we went to the picture perfect artistic little city of Ashland, Oregon for lunch.

Lunch at Louie’s sitting outside by the Ashland Creek.

After spending the evening at a hotel in Salem, Oregon we decided to part ways with our friends because we wanted to check out a rescue dog in the area – a 7 yr. old female sheltie.  Though we never ended up meeting the dog as the lady who had her decided to keep her. I thought it would be a nice idea to get a female to mix with the males but since it never happened – maybe it’s better for both parties.  In the end I only want what’s best for the dog.

So we ended up having lunch at the Willamette Valley Vineyard instead which was amazing. Our charming server Robert looked after us very well.

Willamette Valley  on an overcast day

I had a few good flights to make the road trip easier (happier?)

Lastly, when we were only a few hours away from our destination we decided to spend two nights in a downtown hotel in Seattle and visit with old friends who used to live next door to us in Toronto.  There we used to have dinner parties, always kept in touch and luckily they moved closer to us, to Seattle, Wa. Yay! We have stayed in a guest bedroom before but they have two cats and we have two dogs.

With Miranda who cooked us a delicious dinner while her husband Dave went to get a 2003 Tuscan red from his wine cellar

King Arthur or Merlyn (I can never tell which is which)

They love their hotel sleeps

Why even bother making the bed??

You know the road trip back will ultimately lead you home, but you never know where the road in between will take you.  Writer Henry Miller once said “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

 

 

Somewhere under the Rainbow, way below…there are cows.

And it’s always an adventure to see new things as well as check in with old friends and find out that everything and nothing has changed since you last saw them.

Le Panier at Pike Place Market is a must for pastries, or bread, or sandwiches, or…pretty much anything

Sweet!

Photos: d. king

Style: Fair Trade Fashion

I always look forward to Spring Break!

accessorize, accessorize….so why not an accessory for an accessory?

But to me Spring Break means a good excuse to let loose with the wardrobe. Exchange bulkiness for something reflecting the warmer (hopefully) temperature.  More color and lightness. Accessories are playful and important. Speaking of, there’s no accessory more versatile than a lightweight scarf. Especially one that is sustainable, versatile and lightweight.

This is a first of a series on sustainable fashion beginning with:

The Symbology Scarf received in my Rachel Zoe Spring Box of Style is both pretty and purposeful.  This exclusive collaboration is also feel-good Fair Trade Fashion.

The bright, screen-printed iteration of sustainable fashion label Symbology is so much more than a pretty add-on. Boasting a chic peacock-feather print and a gold-berry colorway that pays homage to Indian bridal saris, the creation of this warm-weather staple also empowered women artisans from start to finish.

Founder Marissa Heyl was inspired to start Symbology while on a research trip to India to assess how fair trade empowers craftswomen. She met artisans in remote villages and sprawling slums.  She was inspired by their resilience and incredible talent in a myriad of art forms. Watching Gita, a young mother of three, block-print a beautiful tablecloth, Marissa envisioned it as a dress. It was her aha moment—combining her lifelong passion for fashion design with women’s rights.

Indian Inspiration

The Zoe Report x Symbology scarf was handcrafted by ten women in the desert region of the Indian Village of Sanganer, where bright sun and dry heat create the ideal conditions for printing. In this region virtually all printing is ordinarily done by men but these women were trained specifically to create this scarf for those who ordered the Spring 2017 box of style. The peacock feather design symbolizes integrity and beauty, while the deep berry and gold hues emulate Indian bridal saris.

Armed with their new skill set, these women have far greater access to design opportunities and sustained income in the future.  Which makes me feel even better wearing it.  Thank you!

Source: Zoe Report

 

 

Food:  plated pretty   

It’s a feast for the eyesmaybe more so than the palate.  Not something to be wolfed down. But she’s a pretty good looking egg when she gets properly plated.

Free-range eggs on an Isabelle Poupinel plate at the Hotel Thoumieux.                           Credit: Alban Couturier

Sometimes a so-so dish can get an upgrade by an artful placement on a pretty plate.  You get to first admire what you are about to digest and by doing so and taking a bit more time, everything seemingly tastes better too.  At least in my opinion.  If you don’t believe me check this out:

The Chef & The Potter

At his eponymous restaurant inside Hotel Thoumieux near the Eiffel Tower, chef Sylvestre Wahid has earned two Michelin stars for his artful food — served on equally imaginative dishes. “The plate is like a canvas on which the dish and its colors are realized,” he says. The 300 handmade pieces in his collection were designed in collaboration with French potter Isabelle Poupinel. “I love the handcrafted aspect of her creations; the dimensions, the natural, mineral aspects to them,” Wahid says. “This parallelism between the content and the containers is really an interesting way to create harmony.” Poupinel, who has created ceramics by hand, on a wheel, for nine years, agrees — but claims that collaborating with chefs isn’t always so easy. “At first, he wanted the raw plates without enamel. I said, ‘no way!’ With sauce, or whatever, they’d get ruined. Sometimes, you have to control what chefs want in order to protect the work. They can be crazy!” she says with a laugh.