Scene in the City – t’was the week before Christmas….

HOMEWERXand ALL was not still…..cause there was still shopping to do and stockings to fill.

 Things you need and lots you don’t.

 outsideIf you haven’t completed your list then here are some ideas from HOMEWERX on Davie

I believe in candles
I believe in candles

I’m sure you can find at least one nice item in here for that naughty person.  

For the person who as everything - a wine sock monkey?
For the person who has everything – a wine sock monkey?

To keep things simple they sell cards and they do giftwrap.

hot tea & cool music
hot tea & cool music
Maple Syrup - Oui oui!
Maple Syrup – Oui, oui!
I believe in Pasta
I believe in Pasta

Macaroons

 

I believe in Bees
I believe in Bees


I believe in Bodum
I believe in Bodum

                            

I believe in Chocolate
I believe in Chocolate
Mirror, Mirror....it's all about YOU!
Mirror, Mirror….it’s all about YOU!

       

 

 

 

 

 

I want a white robe
I want a white robe this X-mas

Life…..Style

at 1053 Davie Street in Vancouver

604.682.2204

Website: http://www.homewerx.caInside 2

Tea Pleeze
Tea Pleeze

Inside 1

AWay with Words – healthy words of wisdom

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”  ~John F. Kennedy

apple for blog health for blogJust because you’re not sick doesn’t mean you’re healthy”  ~Author Unknown

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”  ~Doug Larson

If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it”  ~Common sense

In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  ~Author Unknown

Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”  ~Josh Billings

Time And health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.”  ~Denis Waitley

B Well – MAKA me feel good!

macaGrowing high up in the Andes of Bolivia and Peru is a hearty root vegetable that has been cultivated since pre-Incan times.  It goes by the name “Maca” (Lepidium meyenii).  It is revered in the ancient Incan culture for its many medicinal purposes. According to folk belief, it is a plant known for its legendary ability to deliver energy and mental clarity, and enhance sex drives in Peruvians for more than 2,000 years. Why should they have ALL the benefits?

So why wasn’t I made aware of this before traveling to both Bolivia and Peru?  I had to find out about this powerful superfood at of all places the recent Vancouver Health Show. I was feeling somewhat sluggish so sampled a small amount given to me in a tiny paper cup. Right after drinking it I immediately felt a nice energy rush but without the jolt of caffeine.  Intriguing! I wanted to find out more so I’m reading the book thepowerofmacaThe power of Maca” by Lorrie Ingram who does a wonderful job in unlocking the magic of this ancient wonder.

In chapter nine she talks about the healing benefits of Maca – a nutrient beneficial for both males and females.

For Women: Maca can enhance libido, increase aphrodisiac activity, increase energy, stamina and endurance, increase sexual stimulation, assist to overcome depression and chronic fatigue, improve the immune system, increase general well-being, help fight menopausal symptoms, decrease stress and anxiety, reduce hot flashes, improve hormonal balance, and it may improve sleep patterns.  Maca is an adjunct to hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) and is also known to correct menstrual irregularity and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) issues, enhance fertility, improve concentration and state of mind.  IS THAT ALL?

For Men: can help to enhance libido, increase aphrodisiac activity, increase energy, stamina and endurance, assist to overcome depression and chronic fatigue, improve the immune system, and increase general well being.  Maca can assist with increasing testosterone levels, and aid in erectile dysfunction.  Maca assists with building muscle mass and is therefore a safe and effective alternative to steroids. My advice is that ALL men should take it.maca 2

Maca is also known to increase DHEA in most males and females.  It is a potent antioxidant that fights aging and provides cellular protection.  And last, but most definitely not least, Maca is known to provide significant rebuilding of bone density in individuals with osteoporosis.  And I say…what’s not to love?

Okay you’ve got me!  How many of us suffer from at least one of the symptoms listed? To know that there’s a natural, nutrient rich, healthy food that you can safely add to your diet to improve your system AND assist you in feeling great is the best thing going!

ultimate maca liquidUltimate “Maca Energy” liquid extract from Preferred Nutrition available at link below:

http://www.pno.ca/preferred-nutrition-products/item/brad-king/macapunch-liquid-extract.html

Don’t miss this interview from Voice America’s “Transforming Health” with host Brad King about the powers of Maca.  It will give you all the information you need to know at link below.

http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/65644/peruvian-superfoods-what-you-need-to-know

Book “The Power of Maca” available at Amazon.ca

Personal Post – The beauty of bowls

divided woodJust like apples and oranges you can’t compare bowls… but they sure look nice with apples and oranges in them.  

or ice cream
or ice cream
mahogany from Durban
mahogany from Durban, S.A.
Scallop bowl from Italy
Scallop glass  from Italy
hand painted ceramic from Israel & local artists.
hand painted ceramic from Israel & local artists.
From Vancouver Island
From Gabriola Island, British Columbia
wood oblong from Kenya
wood oblong from Kenya
From local ceramics artist Beth Aline
From local “Clayzone” ceramics artist Beth Aline.  I won this one – lucky me.

ceramic 2

Salmon ceviche from Shuraku
Salmon ceviche from Shuraku restaurant

INtrigue INsider – Keeping FIT

Shopping online for a bra can be an ordeal. YET there are several lingerie websites that do incredibly well selling online.  One of my competitors Her Room is one of them. The problem is you see something you want but you’re not sure of the fit.  Then to make matters more confusing there’s the European & South American brands where size becomes a guessing game & you just hope for the best.

This from the Vancouver Sun - ad ad for Dianne's Lingerie where they do bra fittings.
This from the Vancouver Sun – ad for “Dianes Lingerie” where they offer bra fittings.
blush bustier
blush bustier

Intrigue Imports features two distinctive brands of lingerie. The beautiful blush line from Montreal in basic North American sizing so if you normally wear a size 36B then you would purchase the same size and there should be no problem – you can consult the blush sizing chart on our website just to make sure.

SI01B-chica - CopyThen we have the lovely jesus fernandez couture collection from Buenos Aires available in French sizing only.  Again, you can consult the jf sizing chart to find out what your equivalent North American size would be.  It might take a bit longer but I assure you it’s worth the extra trouble.

Tomima Edmark founded HerRoom selling lingerie online since 1998 and gets what women are looking for – at least when it comes to underwear. She started her business with entrepreneurial instinct and exhaustive research – learning from consumers, design teams and manufacturers. She probably knows more than she wants to about the complex engineering that goes into designing lingerie and about the unique relationships our bodies have with the lingerie we wear.  fit-tomimaTomima’s Bra Fitting Tip: “You’re a smart person. Since you’ll be wearing the bras, you’re better off taking a few minutes to understand what a perfect fitting bra should look and feel like, and recognize the signs if your bra is the wrong size for you.”

HOW TO  MEASURE AND FIT A BRA IN THREE EASY STEPS..                               Note: if you receive this blog via e-mail and the numbers come out in a jumbled mess please click on this link to my blog at https://intrigueimports.wordpress.com

STEP 1: Measure for Band size:

Keeping the measuring tape parallel with the ground, measure around your bra directly under your bust after expelling all air from your lungs – you want this measurement to be as small as possible. Round all fractional measurements to the nearest whole number. Look below the measurement to find your correct band size.

Measurement:    27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38

Band size:          30, 32, 32, 32, 34, 34, 34, 36, 36, 36, 38, 38

After a 38 band size, the band size should be the closest higher even number to your actual measurement So, 41.5″ is a 42 band. A 41″ measurement is a 42 band.

STEP 2: Measure for Cup size:

Standing straight, with your arms at your side, measure at the fullest part of your bust (while wearing a non-padded bra) making sure the measuring tape is parallel with the ground and not binding.  Round all fractional measurements to the nearest whole number.

STEP 3: *Calculate your bra size:

Subtract your band measurement (step 1) from your cup measurement (step 2). Generally, for each inch in difference, the cup goes up by one size. See the cup size conversion chart below.

Example:
Step 1: 34″ under measurement = 36″ band size
Step 2: 39″ over measurement
Step 3: 39″ – 36″ = 3″ or C Cup Size
Your Size is probably a 36C

The cup size calculation starts falling apart at 4 inches larger than your band size, and if you have droopy or pendulous breasts, your measurement will not be accurate.

If The Differtence Is:

Your Standard Cup Size Is:

 

0″ to 1/2″ (1.3cm) AA
1/2″- 1″ (2.6 cm) A
2″ (5.1 cm) B
3″ (7.6 cm) C
3″ (7.6 cm) C
4″ (10.2 cm) D
5″ (12.7 cm) DD * or E *
6″ (15.2 cm) DDD * or F *
7″ (17.8 cm) G *
8″ (20.3 cm) H *
9″ (22.9 cm) I *
10″ (25.4 cm) J *

*Important Note: this measuring system tends to become less accurate as the cup sizes go above a D. Additionally, some manufacturers name larger cup sizes differently.

http://intrigueimports.com

http://herroom.com

 

 

décor & design – The Doors Part Two

Take a step back in timeZanzibar Doors

 STONE TOWN is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar where little has changed in the last 200 years.

It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors – there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork.  Here are a few: Zanzibar Door 1

Zanzibar Door 2

 

We really enjoyed spending hours wandering through the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways.  We could have spent days.

Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO..

Zanzibar fruit stand

visit   PINteresting places at:  http://pinterest.com/intrigueimports/

It’s also the birthplace of the incredibly talented lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury.   For anyone wanting to make a Mercury pilgrimage, two good places to start are the Zanzibar Gallery, with a gold plaque on the outside to memorialize Mercury, and the popular Mercury’s restaurant. More at: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tanzania/zanzibar

Zanzibar Door 3

Simple & Satisfying – the Best Bolognese

If you’re in the mood for a classic tomato, wine and meat sauce then this is the ONE with a slight twist of course. The original recipe is from Bologna. bolognese

It’s simmered slowly in a big pot and deliciously tossed with noodles of your choice.  I switched up the original ½ lb. (250g) of lean ground beef and ¼ lb. (125g) each ground veal and ground pork using all hot Italian sausage.  If you wish to stick to the original by all means do so but substituting some or all the meat with the sausage was absolutely wonderful & warming for this time of year.  It got ravenous reviews from our group.        Buen Appetito!

¾ cup (180 ml) olive oil

2 ounces (60 g) pancetta, coarsely chopped

1 lb. best quality hot Italian sausage – casings removed

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 small carrots, finely chopped

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

One 28 ounces (840 ml) crushed canned Italian Plum Tomatoes

2 cups (500 ml) dry red wine or 4 cups – two for you!

*1 tsp (5 ml) hot red chilli flakes (optional if using only the hot Italian sausage)

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) nutmeg

¼ cup (60 ml) coarsely chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano

3 Tbsp (45 ml) coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

1 piece Parmesan cheese rind, about 3 inches square (for flavour)

2 tsp (10 ml) brown sugar

Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

*I also add 21 vegetable seasoning salute (or a variation of) and Bay Leaf.

2 pounds (1 kg) of fresh or packaged pasta of your liking will be good to serve 6 people for dinner with a side salad.

Heat ¼  cup (60 ml) of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the pancetta and sauté for 1 minute.

If using ground meats, gradually add them and cook breaking up any large chunks, just until browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove meat with a slotted spoon to a wired mesh sieve to drain any excess fat.

**OR; remove casings from sausage (about 4) and cook with a little olive oil breaking up pieces in skillet until cooked through & no longer pink.  Set aside.

In a dutch oven preferably or solid pot heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 3 minutes.  Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery and cook until the onions are translucent.  Stir in the drained meat or *sausage,  tomatoes, wine, red chilli flakes, nutmeg, Italian parsley, oregano & rosemary.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Add the Parmesan rind and brown sugar and season to taste.  Simmer slowly over low heat, uncovered, about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Remove rind.bolognese in pot

Bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta until just tender to the bite, al dente stage. Reserve a little liquid from cooking water and drain the pasta in a colander.

If making this as main course for 6 people, add the drained pasta to the sauce and mix well, adding a bit of the pasta cooking water if needed to coat the pasta evenly.  Cover and cook for one minute.  Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese & a little flat leaf parsley for garnish. Very Important: Don’t forget the vino – it makes everything taste better.  Salute!

SCENE…in a Giant of a sleepy little town in Texas.

MARFA, Texas: An Unlikely Art Oasis In A Desert Town.  Ever heard of it?

marfasighThis tiny town perched on the high plains of the Chihuahua desert is nothing less than a deceiving world class art station like Art Basel in Miami, or Documenta in Germany. It’s a blue-chip arts destination for the sort of glamorous scenesters who visit Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum ( & let’s not kid ourselves – the drugs too).

Although the locals have mixed feelings about being an art mecca, Kaki Aufdengarten-Scott, Marfa’s one-woman chamber of commerce, says without art tourism, “this town would have dried up and blown away.”

This town has one bank, one pizza place, one coffee shop, one laundry, one radio station, one bookshop — basically one of everything, except for the things of which it has none: billboards, pet stores, chain stores, clothing stores, bowling alleys or traffic lights.

What in the devil? Seen just off U.S. Highway 90.
What in the DEVIL? Just off U.S. Highway 90.  See our Eurovan in reflection?

Was this someones idea of a cruel joke? A shopping mirage? Guess the joke was on me when I tried to open the door and it just would not open.  Believe me I tried.  Hope there was no camera!  My husband laughed at my expense because he knew it would have been at HIS expense had the shop actually been open.

Prada, Marfa is a faux boutique displaying luxury bags and shoes in the middle of the sparse Texas landscape. It was created in 2005 by artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.

When Hollywood needs Western desolation, it comes to Marfa.giant movie

Hotel Paisano - an oasis in itself.
Hotel Paisano – an oasis in itself.

With Hollywood types, it doesn’t hurt that Marfa is, well, a different sort of Texas town, with just one blinking traffic light but 14 art galleries, an independent bookstore and an organic grocery.  Are you getting the picture?

“No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” were filmed here, which made actor Daniel Day-Lewis (of the latter film) a regular jogger up and down the main drag, Highland Avenue, for a while.

Inside hotel paisano
Inside hotel paisano

Also, more than 50 years ago, famed filmmaker George Stevens also settled on this area for his epic Texas oil tale “Giant,” which starred Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. (Stevens won a best director Oscar for “Giant” in 1957, the only win of that film’s 10 nominations).

Hey, I’ve been to the hotel where they stayed at (Paisano) which was a beautiful little find and even saw the rooms they stayed in which made my imagination run wild at the thought of all sorts of shenanigans going on – who was with who, etc.  Well we now know who Rock wasn’t with!   Above Photos: d. kingelizabeth2

Okay, back to 2012. I don’t want to blow Marfa’s cover too much because who knows.. they might even consider opening up a Starbucks? Oops.. maybe they already have.

what woudlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

The Scandinavian-born, Berlin-based artist collaborators Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset with their permanently installed sculpture aptly entitled Prada Marfa, which actually stands some 30 miles outside of Marfa. The boutique’s resemblance to its major-city counterparts, however, is purely external; visitors are not invited to enter the installation. Yeah I know that! And how does designer Miuccia Prada feel about the work of art, which features pieces from her fall collection in the windows? The answer is easy: she picked the shoes herself.

AWay with Words: Tea Quotes

A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. Eleanor RooseveltTea So Divine

“Remember the tea kettle – it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!”- Unknown

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James

“Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.” -Ancient Chinese Proverb

Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.”
Lewis Caroll – Alice in Wonderland

“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.

In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea.

I liked the Irish way better.” – C.E. Murphy, Urban Shaman

Here’s my go at it..

Nothing soothes the soul better than having a hot cup of earl grey in the afternoon while reading by the fireplace (with anything chocolate).

Tea tastes better over gossip (so I’m told).

Life is sweeter when you can share a cup of tea with someone.  

I promise not to waste your time with my tea quotes ever again.

B Well – Divine Intervention

Vancouver’s Best Kept Secret – “Tea So Divine!”

signThe name of a unique little shop I discovered for the first time last week after having sushi.  It looked intriguing from the outside (as in not so sure exactly what to expect) and it’s not your typical tea shop.  Indeed not! I had to step inside. (double click on any photo to enlarge).

magic 2I loved all the different one-of-a-kind hand painted tea cups from the Orient and their great smelling variety of teas.  Not to mention a few healthy skin care products, jewelery and cooking oil.

Tea So DivineI bought what is supposedly the “world’s best” Earl Grey loose leaf.  It apparently won the award but even if that wasn’t the case the smell alone was enough to grab me. Yes; I’d love to take a few photos and write something for my blog so more people will know about this new find.

cups & cannisters
cups & canisters

Stephen the owner is clearly not impressed and asked me why I would want to do that when he hadn’t even explained to me the “real” uniqueness of his shop.  I was missing a few key elements.

For instance, his magic tea cups made of Tourmaline & 20 other crystals that generate far-infrared rays & negative ions. So they were more than just a pretty cup!  He is the only person carrying them and explained that it makes any drink taste better.

Stephen holding up a "magic" cup.
Stephen holding up a “magic” cup.

Makes tap water taste like spring water, tea & even coffee smoother, sweeter, softer & cleaner.  He really educated me on the whole deal and all the health benefits involved.  Soft clean water boosts metabolism, blood circulation, weight loss, immunity & well being.  How just holding the magic cup brings relaxation & clarity to the person holding it.  He insists the cup will change my life. Magic words. Maybe he’s just a really good salesperson but he was so convincing that I’m going back to pick my “perfect” cup.  I have to give it some thought as it will be my “cup for life!”  We’re not finished…

magic

tea 2

Then

there’s the Tea “Seed” Oil (not to be confused with tea “tree” oil) oilwhich is cold pressed and extracted from green tea seeds and Stephen says it has better health benefits than that of both virgin coconut & olive oil. He’s very convincing but it’s almost too much for me to take in.  I start looking into it myself and find out that yes, it contains one of the LOWEST levels of saturated fats and is one of the HIGHEST levels of healthy mono unsaturated fats.  It has a great source of vital Vitamin E, antioxidants, healthy omega 6 and 9 fatty acids.  Rich in vitamins & minerals, it contains high levels of vitamins A, B and E.  It is also a good source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron manganese.  Hey there’s even more but the thing is it is also the healthiest all-purpose cooking oil as it has one of the highest smoking points (252 C, or 486 F).  Also an excellent carrier oil for skincare products. AHA moment!  In that case we’re looking into adding it to our new “get spOILed” facial oil.  I leave feeling slightly overwhelmed but satiated with this new discovery.  I’ll mull it over a cup of tea at home.

This one appeals to me
This one appeals to me
This one too.
This one too.

Store location:  3175 W Broadway in Kitsilano.  Tel: 604.783.3909

Website: http://teasodivine.biz

more….

Best selection of healing teas.
Best selection of healing teas.
Store Front
Store Front

p.s. This could be a whole post on its own but yesterday I went in to take these photos and was in for an unexpected treat.  Feeling a bit run down I was ordered asked to sit down and drink several cups of healing tea inside a magic cup of course, while sitting in front of an infrared heat lamp (he has so many gadgets not available in North America) while wearing an infrared heating pad, crystal chain, healing bracelets and was treated to a very effective but somewhat painful Meridian point neck massage.  This guy is not fooling around & he seems to know what he’s doing because I did feel better after.  Not to mention more relaxed and centered. Talk about getting spoiled!