BeYOUtiful Words

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.” -Maria Mitchell

toxic3CAUTION: Kisses may be poisonous…

Attention Ladies: Does your lipstick or lip gloss contain lead? Attention Gentlemen: Have you kissed those lead-laced lips? In an analysis done of 33 different popular brands of lipstick by an independent lab, it was found that 61% contained lead. Lead is readily absorbed by the body and accumulates in our bones. It is highly toxic to the nervous system and can also cause serious gastrointestinal symptoms.  Just saying…something you might want to consider the next time you’re in the market for a new lipstick. xotoxicquote4

Even the most beautiful things can be toxic” –  Jodi Picoult, The Storytellertoxicquote2

The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.”-Francis Bacontoxicquote1

The average girl would rather have beauty than brains because she knows that the average man can see much better than he can think. Quote from: The Ladies Home Journaltoxicquote5



B well – is your food loaded with toxins & chemicals?

toxic1On Tuesday I posted about the benefits of using Ghee in place of butter.  What I failed to point out was the importance of choosing the most beneficial kinds on the market – the ones that come from “grass-fedcows. (It was noted that butter and ghee that come from grass-fed cows are rich in healthful omega-3’s but it wasn’t made clear that you should buy only that one).  You should and I’ll tell you why!  Below are four nutritious foods (some of my favourites like salmon and popcorn) that may be more harmful than beneficial if you don’t choose them carefully.toxic2


Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. But more money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. “We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure,” says Salatin.

The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It’s usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don’t see it, ask your butcher.

Budget tip: Cuts on the bone are cheaper because processors charge extra for deboning. You can also buy direct from a local farmer, which can be as cheap as $5 per pound. To find a farmer near you, search


Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. “When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract,” says North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it, according to several independent studies. “There’s not 100% proof that this is increasing cancer in humans,” admits North. “However, it’s banned in most industrialized countries.”

The solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products.

Budget tip: Try Wal-Mart’s Great Value label, which does not use rBGH.


David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. “You could eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. “It’s that bad.” Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.

The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

Budget tip: Canned salmon, almost exclusively from wild catch, can be found for as little as $3 a can.


Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. “They stay in your body for years and accumulate there,” says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.

The solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet or use an air popping machine. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.

Budget tip: Popping your own popcorn is dirt cheap.

Taken from

beautifully speaking – Think Dirty

Today’s post might have you jumping to clean out your bathroom cabinet.

the app

Don’t go throwing out ALL of your beauty products…

I’m usually good about reading product labels but after hearing about this new app I went home and read the labels on everything I used in a semi-state of panic – but before you toss anything, download this app, Think Dirty.

From lead-filled lipsticks to carcinogenic moisturizers, this app aims to help you find out what toxic chemicals you might be exposing yourself to on a daily basis through cosmetics and personal care products.

US health research and advocacy group Environmental Working Group (EWG) says that women are exposed to about 168 chemicals in beauty products each day. In 2004, the EWG launched its Skin Deep database, which lists potentially hazardous ingredients in some 78,000 products available in the US.

Think Dirty launched recently as a free iPhone app that also allows barcode scanning to find products, with ratings drawn from nonprofits like EWG, along with publicly available government databases in Canada, the US, and Europe. So far, the app contains a database of more than 12,000 cosmetic products.dirty1

The app allows you to scan the barcodes of your beauty and personal care products to get a breakdown of the ingredients and how they impact your health. The app also suggests other “cleaner” products to replace items you have that get a dirty rating.

Now the group plans to launch a new app, named Skin Deep, this autumn for both iOS and Android devices.

If you need me, I’ll be at Sephora…scanning…everything

In the meantime, check out the clean 100% mineral beauty products at MicaBeauty.  Available at:

*(I first heard about this in Alex’s post for Garance Doré)

beauty – what’s new at Nordstrom

Keeping up with the Customers!   Nordstrom Inc. is giving its beauty departments a fresher, more contemporary look designed to give customers more individualized ways to shop.

photo: Stefanie Keenan

This is good news because what I don’t like about buying cosmetics at most department stores is 1) the hard sale 2) feeling that the sales girl (who works on commission) from the line that you just wasted an hour of her time talking about is watching you go from one counter to the next to check out the competitors. 3) too many other distractions in a department store – stuff like shoes,  clothing & accessories.  Usually I tend to gravitate towards the smaller independent boutiques for most things in general. But this might make me change my mind for a time or two.

Unveiled at stores in the California shopping centers (The Americana at Brand in Glendale and The Sh20ops at Mission Viejo) and expanding to a total of nine stores by January, the most dramatic modifications are to color cosmetics areas, where customers are encouraged to shop how they want, whether it is on their own by opening drawers brimming with makeup or with guidance from staff dedicated to specific brands. Nordstrom is also simplifying beauty shopping by breaking down its vast selection by trend and key product no matter what brand, and offering shoppers access to beauty concierges, trial sizes and applications, consultations and other services so they can more fully experience the products.

    photo: Stefanie Keenan
lengthen, volumize, curl + define.  I want ALL 3 in 1! photo: Stefanie Keenan

The refreshed approach recognizes that the traditional behind-the-counter model of selling beauty products doesn’t work for everyone. Acknowledging Sephora and e-commerce have impacted shopping for beauty products, Pete Nordstrom, president of merchandising for Nordstrom, said, “The best ingredient to success is to be reflective of what the customers are interested in. Customers evolve and change over time, not only in regards to the product, but how they like to be served. In the beauty segment, there is an opportunity to serve the customer in a different and a better way. We have to allow our stores to be able to evolve to be able to appeal to customers, not just to legacy customers, but to our new customers.”

Nordstrom will soon be coming to Canada.

Taken from an article by Rachel Brown for WWD

Trending now – Colour Coated

Who doesn’t agree that a vibrant topper will brighten up any drab day and make anything else you’re wearing feel more special? 

Photo:  (left to right) Marc Jacobs, Dior, Stella McCartney, Max Mara

  Yes, but I must admit I’m a bit colour shy after having had many a colourful coat.  There was a beautiful long soft leather fuschia (yup – that was an expensive mistake), an ankle length red wool coat, a mid length purple wrap coat and a shorter yellow cashmere coat (It was a mistake letting that one go).  Then I got tired of all the colour, went back to safe ‘go-with-anything’ neutral toppers and stuck with that.  So while they’re not the most exciting choices out there right now I know that in a year or five years from now I can still wear them.  The coloured ones  felt a bit dated…..of course until now.

Club Monaco
Club Monaco – $495.00

Blame the designers.  They draw you in, get you to drop lots of $$$ on every colour out there and then fade back to black.  This year they’re on a monochromatic kick, matching coats to the clothes underneath (I refuse), so pick one vivid hue – whether it be scarlet, taxicab yellow, hot pink or purple – and run with it.  Since you’re dealing with loud shades, keep everything else quiet.  That means clothes with minimal prints, simple shoes and a few accessories.

Bonus – if you end up checking your coat it will sure be easier to find, but why bother?  Why miss a chance to make a memorable entrance?  For me, I’ll check my black/grey/navy/camel coat at the door and wear a vibrant bodysuit underneath….perhaps.

I’m just annoyed that I let go of all my colourful cover ups.

These coats make you welcome the colder weather. Just don’t make the mistake of buying too many.

If you do buy one, which colour would you choose? For me it would be red or yellow or purple or fuschia.

simply satisfying – winter fruit crumble

A splash of lemon and a touch of vanilla add zest to this old-fashioned dessert.  crisp3

Love Bumbleberry pie but don’t want the extra calories from the crust?  Try making this healthier option using frozen fruit and  oats.  I use frozen fruit in smoothies &  shakes but this is a tasty alternative & clears up some space in the freezer.


1 cup (250 ml) quick cooking (not instant) oats.

1/3 cup (75 ml) all-purpose flour

½ cup (135 ml) packed brown sugar

½ tsp. (2 ml) ground cinnamon

1/3 cup (75 ml) butter,                                                                                                                                     Tip: if you have ghee, you can substitute a little in place of some butter.

Fruit Mixture

5 cups (1.25 L) mixed frozen unsweetened fruit (I used wild blueberries, raspberries & bing cherries but peaches & strawberries would work well too).

1/3 cup (75 ml) organic cane sugar (or granulated sugar)

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. (2 ml) pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar & cinnamon.  Add butter and mix until crumbly; set aside. (to make ahead: cover and refrigerate topping for up to 3 days).

Fruit Mixture: If using peach, cut any extra large wedges in half crosswise.  In a large bowl, toss together frozen fruit and cane (or granulated) sugar.  Pour the lemon juice and vanilla extract over top and toss.

Spread the fruit mixture evenly in ungreased 8-inch square (20 cm) baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with topping. Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 375F (190 C) for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 30 minutes longer, or until bubbly and fruit is tender.

Serve warm, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt or whipped cream.

Art/Culture/Rock ’n’ Roll

My my, hey hey..Rock and roll is here to stay – it’s better to burn out than to fade” Neil Young

Keith Richards - Rolling Stones by Dee Lippingwell Photography
Keith Richards – Rolling Stones. Dee Lippingwell Photography

A brief history of the significance of rock music:

taken from images - the cover of TIME magazine
Just in TIME – a cover of TIME magazine.  Taken from images.

Rock ‘n’ roll is important to our North American society just like baseball, hot dogs and cotton candy.  It has even influenced cultures in different parts of the world, especially Europe. Rock ‘n’ roll is woven into the natural fabric of our lifestyle even if we don’t always think about it. It constantly influences popular culture and starts new trends that often travel through different social arenas.  Just like its influence on other forms of music, Rock n’ roll has also influenced clothing, television and dance.  Rock ‘n’ Roll has been influenced by many different types of music as well (especially the Blues) and has paved the way for originality, self expression and free thought. It has allowed artists to speak on political issues and influence government.  It is so much more than just music…

dee3Looking at the past through a lensA NEW BOOK celebrates four decades of rock & roll photography by rock legend Dee Lippingwell.  I have the pleasure of knowing Dee through a mutual very dear long-time friend and recently attended a book signing/music event.

Dee with her original of Eric Clapton.
Dee with Eric Clapton.

I enjoyed her first book “best seat in the house” but her newly published one is filled with written anecdotes by Dee on her related experiences with many of the saints & sinners of rock/pop music – some very funny stories, some sad, a few embarrassing ones and a couple

just plain maddening – all thought provoking and stimulating.

It makes for a more interesting read.

Our keepsakes.  With Margeaux.
Our keepsakes. With Margeaux.

You’re not only looking at photographs but relating a story to many of the photos.  Through Dee I have a new appreciation for Rod Stewart but unfortunately not for Freddie Mercury (although he was super talented). It’s entertaining to experience it all through her eyes – her LENS.Tina Turner

Van Halen
Tina Turner & Van Halen –  Dee Lippingwell Photos

 Long John Baldry (Legendary Blues Artist: 1941 – 2005) was a close friend of Dee’s. This is my condensed version of what he wrote: “Dee is probably the only photographer who knows how to shoot me.  Most others aim their lenses vertically at me, I suppose to take advantage of my unusual height. Dee will climb up ladders, dangle from balconies or even be suspended from a helicopter to get that ideal shot. 

Dee with Long John Baldry
Dee with Long John Baldry

Since I have known her she has photographed me thousands of times on-stage and most of these shots have turned out to be classics.  It is a real treat to know Dee Lippingwell, the quintessential rock photographer.”

At "fan club" book signing - Vancouver.
At “fan club” book signing – Vancouver.
The Paul Allen experience music project museum - Seattle.
The Paul Allen experience music project museumSeattle.  I went to the opening to see James Brown perform live with photographer friend Jacqueline Feldman.  What a show – the man could move!

B well – let’s clarify something: what is ghee?

Do you know?

ghee1The only reason I know is because I was looking for a recipe to make butter chicken.  No where in this recipe does it call for regular butter, however the word “ghee” appears throughout my “the food of india” cookbook and so I decided to find out some info.  Of course the Indian grocery store had plenty in stock and it appears that ghee has been around for centuries and has many health benefits – always a bonus right?  For starters, ghee originated in India and is commonly used in South Asian (Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Sri Lankan, and Pakistani) cuisine and ritual.  Here’s what I found out:

Long used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, ghee (pronounced with a hard ‘g’) may well be a healthier and lower cholesterol alternative to straight up butter.

Ghee, a better butter?

First off, what is ghee anyway?


Ghee is “clarified butter” made from raw unsalted butter from which the water and milk solids are removed. Ghee is a better choice of fat than butter and other saturated fats because it has a distinctive healing property not found in other fats. According to the Ayurveda tradition, ghee enhances the ojas, an essence that governs the tissues of the body and balances the hormones. Sufficient ojas in the body ensures a strong mind and body and resistance against disease, and is essential for longevity. The healing benefits of ghee are so high that Ayurveda deems it to be a pre-eminent healing food that helps in overall health and well-being.

Nutrition in Ghee and Butter

Ghee and butter contain all of the essential fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E and K, glycolipids that have anti-infective properties, butyric acid and conjugated linoleic acid, which is known to have anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic properties. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., in his book ”The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” says that butter and ghee that come from grass-fed cows are rich in healthful omega-3s. Also, the conjugated linoleic acid found in such fats may be promising in fighting weight gain, particularly around the abdomen. Since, ghee is a source of saturated fats, Dr. Ch. Murali Manohar, author of “Ayurveda for All,” recommends no more than 2 tbsp. of ghee per day with meals.

How is Ghee made:

Ghee is made in a similar way to clarified butter, but using a different kind of cream, and it’s cooked more slowly. Ghee is simmered until all the moisture evaporates and the milk solids begin to brown, giving the resulting butter a nutty, caramel-like flavour and aroma. This extra step also gives ghee a longer shelf life and a much higher burning point, making it practical for sautéing and frying.

When you melt butter and let it boil for a little while, the water will gradually evaporate and the milk protein and solids will settle down into the bottom and be strained away. The butter fat that is left will be solid at room temperature, and since the moisture content is very low and there are no more milk solids left in it, it can be kept for a long time without refrigeration.

This process was used primarily in the Middle East and South Asia to preserve dairy.

Types of Fats in Ghee and Butter

When comparing ghee to butter in terms of health, one reason for the more favorable past research record of ghee versus butter might be the increased amount of medium- and short-chain fatty acids in ghee. Butter contains about 12-15% of these medium-chain and short-chain fats, whereas ghee contains about 25%. (Our bodies metabolize medium-chain and short-chain fats differently than long-chain ones, and medium- and short-chain ones are not associated with cardiovascular problems in the same way as the long-chain ones are.)

Other benefits:

Ghee will last for a very long time without going rancid, although I do keep mine in the fridge to prolong its life. It should last as long as you need it to: months and months at least. You can use it as a cooking oil anywhere else you would use butter or oil: cooking vegetables, frying rice before steaming it, or searing meat. Since it doesn’t have the milk solids of butter, you can fry with it at higher temperatures without it smoking.

 It is very high in fat of course, so do use it with good judgment!

**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 – #1 internet radio station in North America.

Here’s the link:

Taken in part from



Personally speaking – what more does the future have in store?

“Life is like a box of chocolates, You never know what you’re going to get” –Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump.amber3At present I find most people live in the past and worry about the future while waiting for things to happen.  This article I came across while scouring the internet intrigued me enough to want to share it.  No matter what, in order to grow we must get used to sharing the future with new technology and make friends with it.  It’s jumping ahead pretty quickly so get used to it.  Here’s how one person lives in the future.

How to live in the future – now

Amber Case, cyborg anthropologist who works at software company Esri, isn’t waiting for the future – she’s living in it.

She is surrounded by electronic devices, but those devices don’t control her: They step out of the way and let Case be a better human.

Amber Case
Amber Case

Case’s world is the world of the invisibl button, a world where she walks around and things just happen. Her phone — which is just one of a slew of devices that is constantly receiving information about Case and her environment, processing it, and returning useful nuggets of insight — tells her whether she’ll need to bring an umbrella for the walk to the meeting she’s heading to later, and reminds her that she should eat chicken and greens for lunch and skip the chips.

Case didn’t wind up in this world by accident. She thinks about technology — where it is now, where it’s going, where it should go, and how that will change how we interact with it and with each other — constantly. Here are a few of the things she looks for when she’s dreaming of the future:

1. Imagine what would happen if the stuff you have and love went away forever.

If there’s anything we know about technology in the twenty-first century, it’s that it changes fast. Huge players disappear and leave holes behind — holes that someone else will fill in a new ways. One trend Case thinks is imminent is personal ownership of our own data via home servers. How will this catch on? If people realize that an abrupt exit by Google or Facebook means their documents/photos/memories/life’s ephemera will be effectively erased, they’ll scramble for a way to log their own data before sending it to the data giants.

2. Look to the past.

“If the future is unevenly distributed,” said Case, “then there are little pockets where people are seeing the future early on.” Case looks for those pockets in the present and the near past. For example, her current obsession is the evolution of the user interface from solid (machines that had to be reconfigured) to liquid (software that can be rewritten to redefine the meaning of a button) to air (no button or physical at all – just you interacting with information and the environment). To vaporize the user interface, Case looked at the work of Steve Mann, who built wearable heads-up displays thirty years ago. Sure, Mann’s inventions weighed as much as a Golden Retriever, but they essentially predicted Google Glass.

3. Hang out with weirdos.

Weirdo is just another word for visionary, according to Case. Activities happening on the fringes right now could one day fall into the center. What’s regarded as bizarre will someday be mainstream. If you want to beat it there, head for the passionate group of people in the corner, wearing forty pounds of sensors and hacked electronics and drinking home-distilled spirits.

4. If you don’t see the future you want, don’t wait for it: Make it.

Unlike some futurists, Case doesn’t just speculate about the next big trend – she creates it so she can start to play with it and understand its dynamics. “If I don’t see somebody making something, I build it,” said Case, “because I can’t wait around for five years.”

“To predict what will happen in the next period of time is impossible, but If certain things haven’t been made, then I will have to make them,” said Case.

And there’s no reason why you can’t, too.

We have the world at our fingertips!
The world is at our fingertips!  From Images.

Remember, the only way to get to the future is through a series of todays.