Scene in the City – Venice, L.A.

venice 4For me no visit to Los Angeles is complete without a little side jaunt to Venice (muscle) beach if just for the local flavour. 

It’s always sunny, friendly (sometimes overly), good food and anything goes. We won’t see any red carpet styles here.  Maybe the pictures will speak for themselves.

I like to start my day with a nice fresh juice with lotsa veggies and a bit of vodka.
I like to start my day with a nice fresh juice with lotsa veggies and a bit of vodka.

venice 5venice 6venice 1venice 3

Here’s what is unique about Venice Beach: Hundreds of street vendors and performers, everything from break-dancing to broken glass walking, mimes to musicians, jugglers to jesters and everything in between will make up the human landscape. You can have your fortune read, get a temporary tattoo or have your name written on a grain of rice. If souvenirs is what you are after then the boardwalk is the place to go. The Westside offers unique arts and crafts, odds and ends and one of kinds only obtainable here. Paintings, photos, rocks of various sorts and sculptures are among the popular offerings. On the Eastside are the store fronts of the boardwalk. Here you will find every sort of t-shirt under the sun. From the politically motivated to sexually charged to the plain old Venice Beach t-shirt there is sure to be one for everybody. In addition, there are tattoo and piercing stores, skate and surf shops, medical marijuana dispensaries and more. You can buy sun glasses, vaporizers, beer and shoes. This is all in addition to the large selection of restaurants, juice spots and bars. In summary, packed into its one and a half mile, the boardwalk has more diversity in demographics and retail then probably anywhere else in the world. There is reason it so famous. These pictures are only the beginning.

Yup...the landscape is lovely.
Yup…the landscape is lovely.

Photos: d. king

AWay with Words – LOVE ly quotes

I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.                                 – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Keep love in your heart.  A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. – Oscar Wilde.love

Immature love says: “I love you because I need you. Mature love says I need you because I love you” – Erich Fromm

You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” – Dr. Seuss

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.  – Eizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” – Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

Love means never having to say you’re Surrey….or something like that.

B Well – the health perks of bonding

I just picked up this book but I was sure it said “bondage.”

Daily Interactions with others – are they just as important to your health as eating well or going for a run?toasting

In her new book, Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D, suggests that true love isn’t about romance, companionship, or fondness; fundamentally it springs from something else she calls “micromoments of shared positive emotion.”  That the more loving you are in everyday life the healthier you could be.  She believes that such moments have the potential to lower our risk for disease and may even influence how our cells regenerate.

From the body’s point of view: when the brain registers love, it triggers the release of the hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin.  Your emotions can trigger hormones that influence the way genes are expressed in the body.   We know this happens with negative emotions: stress releases adrenaline, which can prime cells for inflammation, causing disease.  She believes that positive feelings, which can trigger the release of oxytocin, have the opposite effect and set us up for a healthier life.  Makes perfect sense.

Simply get out and be more social.  Getting the benefits of love doesn’t require being in a romantic relationship or living near family or friends.  Just make sure you’re connecting with others, whether it’s through conversation or eye contact.  We tend to trivialize these interactions, but they’re important to our overall well being.

Or, get a rescue dog that you love and they’ll love you back tenfoldJia Jia

Personal Post-it – Product Review

Sephora Instant Nail Polish Remover – a Wonderful Product and makes life easier.sephoraI don’t know about you but I’m always taking off nail polish because it consistently chips.  Have you ever spilled nail polish remover in your bathroom?  It’s not a good thing.  Worse is spilling a bottle of bright red nail polish on your white ceramic sink but that’s another story.  A friend once brought me back from Japan a very similar product that I remember thinking was brilliant.  Then once it was finished I forgot all about it – until Sephora came out with this one.  Easy to use because you just dip each nail one by one into the jar and presto – nail polish dissolves in seconds.  Hard to get off glitter polish too although you might have to do it twice or leave it for a few seconds longer.  Great for travelling, lasts a long time (surprisingly I’ve had mine for a few months) and it’s inexpensive. Thanks Sephora!

Note: you cannot use this for removing gel polish

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m in LOVE…..

……With a pair of SHOES

therealreal.com is a designer shoe website
therealreal.com is Luxury Designer Resale  – it puts a SMILE on my face.007

Maybe I’m feeling a bit jaded because I’ll be in Hollywood soon and just read a funny column by Jackie Collins wondering if Valentine’s Day really matters?  We can leave that up to you. Her real real favorite story goes like this:

One very beautiful Hollywood wife – married to a man 20 years older than she – is having an affair with a hunky young actor who’s just hit it big on a TV show.  Valentine’s Day is approaching , and both men want to buy her something substantial.  “An important piece of jewelry,” offers her husband, fired up with Viagra.  “Whatever you want,” says her young lover, fired up with testosterone.  The Hollywood wife thinks about this.  Surely she has been presented with an opportunity to score big-time?  Advantage must be taken, so she visits a fancy jeweler, picks out an exquisite yellow diamond cocktail ring, and proposes to the jeweler a deal:  Her husband buys the ring for her, paying full price.  Then her boyfriend buys the same ring, except the jeweler gives 90 percent of the price to the wife without anyone knowing. So now both men have bought the same ring, and not only does the Hollywood wife get the bauble  but she gets to wear it with either man because each is under the impression that he gave it to her as a special Valentine’s Day gift.  She’s happy with plenty of extra spending money.  Hunky lover is delighted he gave her such a magnificent present and so is hubbie.  And the jeweler walks away with a handsome profit.  Satisfaction all around.  Valentine’s Day – Hollywood Style!

I love a storybook ending!Valentine's

Wishing you a lovely day filled with sunshine and exquisite jewels (but I’ll be happy with just the sunshine).

style & design – the wonderful world of WOLFORD

wolford stockings3I can’t imagine a world without Wolford!  I’ve never enjoyed wearing stockings so much and they’ve made it difficult to go back to basics.  Wolford is a remarkable brand onto themselves.  A stunning range of fashion tights & hosiery incomparable to anything else on the current market.  Basically no other stocking can compare. They make a fashion statement on their own.  Instead of putting your stockings on last, you put these on first and then find something to go along.  Most likely people won’t be able to take their eyes off your legs so you can stick on the plainest dress or skirt overtop and it will look great. wolford1

Wolford is known mainly for glamorous legwear but they’ve grown to include an international premium brand of ready-to-wear, lingerie, swimwear and accessories.  The company whose head office is located in Austria,  spans over 60 years and  fulfills their claim of being both unique and unmistakable.  For instance their sought after bodysuits do not have any seams. wolford stockings2

In the late 1990s, the company’s advertising campaign was shot by the photographer Helmut Newton.

Shapewear
Sexy Shapewear

Rachel D. from Los Angeles, Ca has this to say: The gentleman who gave me my first pair of Wolford tights sparked a serious and expensive addiction.  These beautiful patterned tights are warm, cozy and totally sexy.  I went back and bought a pair of twenties-style fishnets that make me feel like a million bucks.    Sexy legs deserve the best in hosiery. Wolford is the only way to go!

Luz C. from Brooklyn, N.Y. writes:                   Once you go Wolford, you’ll never go back. I’ve had some pairs for years and washed them many, many times without ever seeing a degradation in quality or durability. I would say if you can swing it price-wise, they are one hundred percent worth the cost. I would always prefer to pay more for something of good quality that will last a long time than pay a low price for something of poor quality that I’m going to have to replace ten times.

Poster with bodysuit & stockings
Poster with Wolford bodysuit & stockings

Vancouver Location is at 753 Burrard St. (between Robson & Alberni).

Simply Satisfying – put the lime in the coconut and mix it all up….

Sablefish (black cod) with Lime and Coconutblackcod

Why not try making this dish for a special Valentines day dinner?

This recipe was originally inspired by “pescado con coco” – fish with tomato, garlic and coconut from the Dominican Republic.

 I’ve made this on several occasions and if you love Black Cod otherwise known as Sablefish (one of my favorites) and the best replacement for Chilean Sea Bass which has been endangered for some time now, then this recipe is sure to be a hit.

Recipe:

1 ¼ pound skinless black cod fillet

4 tsp. fresh lime juice, divided

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 ½ cups chopped leek (white and pale green parts only; about 1 large)

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

1 tsp. (packed) grated lime peel

1/3 cup chopped cilantro (and a sprig or two for garnish)

 Preheat oven to 350 F.  Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, place in 11x7x2 inch glass baking dish.  Drizzle with 1 ½ teaspoons of lime juice.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add leek and garlic; sauté 7 minutes.  Add coconut milk and remaining lime juice; boil until thick, about 4 minutes.  Stir in lime peel.

Spoon sauce over fish.  Bake until fish is just opaque in center, about 20 minutes or until there is no resistance when pierced with a fork.  Transfer to platter.  Whisk juices in baking dish.  Spoon around fish; top with cilantro.  Makes 4 servings.

ENJOY with jasmine rice and a green veggie like string beans or asparagus.

Scene in the City – Long before Sephora there was Shifeon

SHIFEON is one of Vancouver’s best independent beauty retailers and for those not familiar with them,  one of Vancouver’s Best Kept Secrets.  I’ve been visiting Shifeon for years…way before Sephora set foot in this city.  Since day one, they’ve been providing customers with some of the biggest and best selections in town.  Some products are exclusive to them.

Fiona (left) and Shirley to her right.
Fiona (left) and Shirley to her right in their new location.

Anna Sui, Burberry, “butter” London, Clarins, Dolce & Gabbana, Eminence, Escada, Gatineau, Gucci, Sothys, Thalgo……..+ tons more under one roof holding the most beautiful chandelier.

I love that it’s a family run business where they seem to care about the customer and are friendly and professional.   They’ve owned it since 1995 and the name Shifeon is taken from the combo of Shirley and her daughter Fiona.

With Shirley’s three decades of industry experience, and her relentless drive to provide only the best to her customers, Shifeon simply has some of the best selections of cosmetics, skin care, and fragrance products in town.  I was able to find OPI “The Man with the Golden Gun” 18K gold top coat there. They have a lot of “Hello Kitty” products too –  not only for kiddies.  They offer additional services such as boutique facial and spa.

Shifeon-About-01

They’ve just moved a few blocks from their original location on Robson Street.                  You can now find them at 1291 Robson Street (corner of Jervis) and luckily for me right across the street from where two good friends live.

AWay with Words – chocolate quotes

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ― Charles M. Schulz

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ― Linda Graysonkoko1

“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M’s and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” ― Dave Barry

“Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.”  ― Dave Barry

“Don’t wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty.  Chocolate isn’t like premarital sex. It will not make you pregnant.  And it always feels good.” ― Lora Brody

dark cho“If there’s no chocolate in Heaven, I’m not going.”              Jane Seabrook, Furry Logic Laugh at Life

It’s not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. Chocolate is, let’s face it, far more reliable than a man.” – Miranda Ingram

This guy found a bottle on the ocean, and he opened it and out popped a genie, and he gave him three wishes. The guy wished for a million dollars, and poof! there was a million dollars. Then he wished for a convertible, and poof! there was a convertible. And then, he wished he could be irresistible to all women… poof! he turned into a box of chocolates.

Giftbox of 16
Koko Monk – Giftbox of 16

B Well – the healthy (thank you god) benefits of dark chocolate.

dark choCHOCOLATE AND YOUR HEALTH

The Basics:

It’s more than wishful thinking — chocolate can be good for you. Studies show that eating chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, may contribute to improved cardiovascular health. Packed with natural antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cacao beans (or cocoa beans), which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients. Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate’s health values because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore more flavanol antioxidants.

My late afternoon snack will now consist of a cup of green tea with dark chocolate over blueberries.  What time is it?

An Antioxidant Powerhouse

Dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in cell-protecting antioxidants — natural compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. Read what scientists are studying regarding antioxidants and cardiovascular disease & premature aging.

Matters of the Heart

Recent studies have shown dark chocolate and cocoa may be good for your heart. In short-term clinical trials, dark chocolate has reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow, showed mild anti-clotting effects and may help prevent plaque formation in arteries.

Okay so it's not dark but it's Beckham.  Try to take a bite out of that!
Okay so it’s not dark but it’s David Beckham. Try to take a bite out of that –  I’m sure he’s very good!

Sweet News For Managing Blood Sugar

Despite its sweet reputation, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index similar to that of oatmeal — meaning it does not send your blood sugar spiking. Find out more about the surprising chemistry behind your favorite treat.

Vital Minerals

Like any plant-based food, chocolate naturally contains an array of minerals.

Chocolate and Your Brain

Is it more than just the taste? Why does chocolate make us feel good? This is what they do know: chocolate contains more than 500 natural chemical compounds, some of which have been categorized as mood-elevating and pleasure-inducing.

Emerging Science

Buoyed by positive findings, more research is being conducted on chocolate’s health benefits, including potential cancer-fighting abilities and improved cognitive function. Learn about chocolate’s future in health studies.  Taken from allchocolate.com

**Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on VoiceAmerica.com – #1 internet radio station in North America.  You can also listen to past episodes.  Here’s the link:
http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1686/transforming-health