People spend a lot of time trying to break habits using willpower but research is showing that habits are the opposite of willpower.  With willpower, you have to make a decision, which can be derailed by life’s stresses.  Habits require no willpower, no decision – they stick because they are effortless and automatic.

The key to changing behaviour is to reinforce the habits you want with the right reward.  Or at least that’s what a recent article in Marie Claire magazine had to say.

Then does that mean if you’re a shopoholic in order to stop you must buy more?  If so, where’s the next shoe store?

Speaking of shoes………….

The man himself - monsieur Louboutin



“Sea of Inspiration”

Summer is around the corner………or so it seems if you consider all the references to “the sea” in all the latest fashion magazines and on the runway.  Don’t we all gravitate towards things from the SEA?  We must make the most of summer months by wearing little summer dresses, seashell necklaces & carrying wicker handbags.  Oh; and flip flops.

From Marie Claire

Alright maybe it’s a bit premature but looking at these photos makes me feel better.

Carly Simon writes: Margot Datz’s ability to communicate a fragile and funny reality is unique to her. I’ve never seen anything like it.



Tell me as a little girl you never pretended to be a Mermaid.  There is something fascinating and mysterious about them.  This book by Margot Datz that I picked up in Florida is fabulous for us grown up mermaids.

It is a handbook for the landlocked mermaid, survival tips for the stranded sea nymph’s soul.

The world has changed but Fairytales are still going strong if it’s any indication from all the new movies coming out.

An excerpt

Have you ever seen a mermaid’s lingerie?  She invented the fishnet stockings!  She put the naughty in nautical!





Sunshine on a cloudy day

These photos are from the “Sunshine Market” in St. Helena, NAPA.  I’m obsessed by this market and cannot leave without making a stop.  The freshly baked breads, cheeses, olives & seafood varieties are second to none.  To qualify for “best of” one stop shopping a store should have everything from great produce and wines to a variety of fresh seafood & deserts.

My favorite (more than just a) grocery store.
wine & cheese
Olive bar
fresh sundried tomato & basil pesto breads








Around the world of cheese


I love their very European displays. It’s not a super big store but you can find everything here from high end local wines to every type of wine vinegar possible including anjou pear & gravenstein apple.

We use the cabernet vinegar because as we found out not every red wine vinegar is created equal. Also bought one combining merlot, zinfandel & cabernet - great for marinating or salad dressing.

I wanted to buy everything but was reminded we can only eat so much and no room to store it all.

Desert toppings









How many places carry heirloom beans?
So many salsas - freshly made too

My other favorites are the Mill Valley Market, the “originalWhole Foods in Mill Valley, S.F., Rouses in Louisiana (they carry Boudin) and any Publix in Florida especially for their daily homemade key lime pie which is better than most.




A little NAPA is good for you.

Here are reasons why I need a little NAPA now & again:

Life is too short to drink bad wine

I love their pour, pour attitude

Rosy cheeks means less makeup

Sunshine Market for finding all your fresh & difficult to find items.

Dean & Deluca – pristine & purveyors of everything good in food, wine, etc.

The town of St. Helena with its olive oil tastings, art galleries, little shops and restaurant/cafes.

St. Helena Olive Company
Woodhouse (handmade in the Napa Valley) chocolate.

This little piggy went to “MARKET” – the restaurant in St. Helena where we found out that they have complimentary corking for any unopened bottle of wine you bring in.  They also have an outstanding fresh market daily menu & their own extensive wine list.

Market on Main St.

Too little time – too many wineries.  Here’s what we managed yesterday:

The Coppola winery because inside its like a movie set.  Sofia Coppola has her own wine.  It must be nice to have one named after you.  Mine would be “The Whine Queen”.  Let me say his movies are much better than his wine.

The Grand Entrance to a spectacular set. That's Francis Ford Coppola as in Sofia's dad.

Orin Swift” where we took home an elusive “Prisoner” and learned a lesson.  That wines labelled “old vines” must be at least 50 years old to qualify for the name and those that are labelled “ancient vines” must be at least 99 years old.  See, older is better!

The unusually rustic but very personal feel of the Orin Swift tasting room. Right on Main Street across from Market.

Clos du Bois” in Geyserville, Sonoma County where we bought the “petit verdot”.

Chateau St-Jean” which make my favourite Chardonnay but now they make my favourite limited release pinot reserve.

On the beautiful grounds of Chateau St-Jean

The best for last was the “Jacuzzi” (Italian varietals) where you can have a chocolate shot – hollowed out to fill with wine of your choice – now we’re talking!

I couldn't help taking this photo.


Snake vs Leopard?

Animal prints are classic and they’re still being seen on the runways & all the major magazines– will we ever tire of them?  My mom used to have an amazing leopard print one-piece with mesh inserts that to this day I’ve yet to see another one quite like it.  At one time she looked fabulous wearing it too.  Unfortunately we’ve lost track of its whereabouts.

Michael Kors swimsuit - $495.00 as seen in "Elle" Magazine.

If you’re daring & obviously comfortable enough with your fab body to wear the Michael Kors snakeskin swimsuit  then my hats off to you.  It’s absolutely sexy but pricey.  If instead you gravitate towards leopard & would like an equally sexy swimsuit then the Coquette limited edition monokini is the one for you – & the cost is substantially less.

"Coquette" limited edition monokini - $79.99
Available at

Underwear as Outerwear

This months issue of InStyle magazine shows that what used to be hidden is now out in full force for evening.

The corset can also be dressed down with dress pants or jeans and a cardigan or jacket over top.

"LOVE STAR" by blush lingerie
"Private Affair" by blush lingerie





"Le Bustier" by jesus fernandez.
"Le Soutien" by jesus fernandez All blush & jesus fernandez lingerie available at

Interesting Tidbit:  Design queen Vivienne Westwood was the first to popularize the corset as outerwear (more in previous post).  Jean Paul Gaultier designed the cone corset for Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour further bringing the corset into the main stream.

On another note I love this photo of Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover of Bazaar Magazine.  She looks so glamorous in this Yves Saint Laurent jumpsuit.

Bazaar has always been known to have the best magazine covers. This is the first issue of their new look.

Interesting Tidbit:  Design queen Vivienne Westwood was the first to popularize the corset as outerwear (more in previous post).  Jean Paul Gaultier designed the cone corset for Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour further bringing the corset into the main stream.

Real Hooters

Sometime after midnight last week I saw a large owl sitting on top of a lamppost in New Orleans.  It hung out for several minutes before taking flight.  It got me questioning why we never see more of them.  Then I remembered that a shop keeper in Brazil gave me a little owl charm for good luck just before flying back to Vancouver .  I wanted to find out more about owls as they seem to be popping up more lately & they represent a list of symbolic meanings such as:

  • Wisdom
  • Mystery
  • Transition
  • Messages
  • Intelligence
  • Mysticism
  • Protection
  • Secrets

I read that the Owl Comes to Those Who are More Scorpionic and Plutonian as The Owl is a Night Bird and Awakens Its Higher Self at Night.

If like me, you are curious to know more about what the mysterious owl represents read on………………

Not my photo – taken from photo gallery

Owl symbolism

Owls have been associated with magic, wisdom and heightened senses throughout history from ancient Greece to Asia and America. Plains Indians wore owl feathers to protect themselves from evil spirits, and in Middle Eastern cultures the owl was seen as a sacred guardian of the afterlife.

Native Americans associated the meaning of owl with wisdom, foresight, and keeper of sacred knowledge.  The Owl has Always Been Seen as The Bird of Wisdom , The Mind of All Knowingness and Mind of All Seeingness.  It should be clear that the owl was honored as the keeper of spirits who had passed from one plane to another. Often myth indicates the owl accompanying a spirit to the underworld – winging it’s newly freed soul from the physical world into the realm of spirit.

In ancient Egyptian, Celtic, and Hindu cultures the symbolic meaning of owl revolved around guardianship of the underworlds, and a protection of the dead.

In Greek mythology the owl was attributed to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and as the symbol was used on Greek coins owls also became associated with wealth. However in medieval Europe owls had a bad name; a symbol of witchcraft involved in the secret powers of the night, which is in sharp contrast to the symbol of knowledge and education that we commonly associate the owl with today.

In modern Japanese culture owls are still quite significant as many Japanese people commonly carry an owl charm, but what does it symbolize?

The owl is the symbol of magic. Powerful magic, good omens, prophecy, astral travel, power to see the un-seen, all seeing knowledge, great wisdom, good luck, power of the moon and night, insight, giving and receiving messages, clairvoyance, religious beliefs, communication with the spirit world, and insight into others true motives.

The owl – quite a significant icon!

Bess Bistro, Austin

We just had dinner in the vault of an old building that used to be a bank in Austin, Texas which was converted into the “Bess Bistro” restaurant.  It should be called “Best Bistro”.  The restaurant has a warm & comfy grotto-like feel with exposed brick walls, spanish sconce wall candles, exposed wood beams and booths in little nooks & crannies.  We heard it had an excellent & eclectic menu, a twist on old classics. It did not disappoint.

We started with Fried Green Tomatoes served atop a caper & crab salad, garnished with *sriracha.

My main course was the roasted (line caught) Gulf red fish served with grilled mushrooms and braised leeks, finished with a meyer lemon beurre blanc.  It’s one of their signature dishes and the waiter’s #1 favourite.

Don had grilled Texas quail served atop a bed of sautéed green French lentils, crispy fried Swiss chard and a balsamic fig reduction.  Both excellent!

The table next to us started with a share plate of Mac & Cheese au Gratin which looked delicious so we ordered a plate for take-out.  I must say its every bit as good as the one we had at Mango’s (on Lac Masson, Montreal North) and that one was the best.

Interesting tidbit: Actor Sandra Bullock is the sole owner & eats there quite regularly when she’s at her combo shop/bakery across the street.  It’s nice to know she has the integrity to offer exceptional food & ambiance to the customer.  Impressive.

*not sure but whatever it was it was a nice addition to the fried green tomatoes (it was also one of my all time favourite movies).


urbanemporium: Mobile, AL

The urbanemporium is a non-profit store for new start up retail businesses located in the heart of downtown Mobile, Alabama.  Basically it’s a great shop filled with all kinds of fun stuff and the feel of an upscale flea market.

What really got my attention was the window with the funny but very practical & colourful waffle robes monogrammed with “property of the Betty Ford clinic.”

Well I needed one anyway and might end up there one day.  Don’t they have a BYOB policy? (bring your own bathrobe).

Doesn’t everyone need a sock monkey backpack?
A wall full of funny tile quotes – mostly true.

What’s really neat about this store is that there is an art wall with marine murals done by young artists from the Southwest Alabama Regional School for the Deaf and Blind in Mobile.  They paintings are made on black tar paper. Words aren’t necessary as paintbrushes illustrate the fanciful aquatic images swimming in their imaginations.

Annabelle.  She gave me a pamphlet on the Dauphin street historic district walking tour of interesting places.  The school is selling the paintings to the public to raise money for a new multi-sensory room that will provide deeper therapy for multi-disabled students.
Overhanging Cypress trees line the streets in Mobile

Interesting tidbit:  Did you know that Mardi Gras originated in Mobile in 1702 before New Orleans.  Now New Orleans hosts the biggest Mardi Gras but they still celebrate big time in Mobile.


Photos: d. king