Style – Perennial Prints


So you’ve stocked up on solid T-shirts, dark wash jeans and other wardrobe basics —now it’s time to talk about prints! prints1

All these prints can be incorporated into your wardrobe all year long depending on the fabric and how you wear them.

1) Flirty FloralsFloralBuds are showing up on everything from dresses to shoes to purses. And you don’t have to be a teenager to wear this playful pattern. Today’s florals come in a wide variety of age-friendly colors, sizes and prints, from artsy brushstroke buds to abstract blooms in black and white. To translate this trend from runway to real-way, start by choosing separates. Hone in on one piece or detail.

2) Houndstooth – HoundstoothFrom masculine styling to minis, from large and bold to small and subtle, houndstooth was the woven pattern of the 2013 season. Designers presented more iterations than previously thought possible — and you can change your mind about what you considered old-school textile.  How do you get in on the good looks? Search for traditional houndstooth patterns in vintage shops which are ideal if you’re not into spending thousands on high fashion (or can’t).

 3)  The Power of Plaid:

PLAIDThis bold, rugged print is a perpetual fall/winter favorite. Some automatically associate it with lumberjacks, Scotsmen, and farmers but these girls don’t look like either. The pattern can be surprisingly versatile once you know how to wear it – the trick is to limit the amount.  Avoid overwhelming your look with too much of it. Either stick with one prominent plaid piece or several small plaid accessories.


Above: Arielle, Danielle, and Michaela Nachmani, the sisters behind the online shopping destination Shop Grl. You may recognize Arielle from the hit street-style fashion blog Something Navy. Danielle, the site’s creative director, is a celebrity fashion stylist. And Michaela, the youngest sister, is the muse for the site. They’re pros at styling trends to fit their own unique vibes.  I have the shirt on the left.

4) Legendary Leopard –

leopardA  beginner’s guide to wearing Leopard:  When it comes to leopard print, you prefer a purr to a roar – a little of this bold look can go a long way. One way to ease yourself into wearing the print is to simply throw on a lightweight leopard scarf or gloves.

The always chic, Alexa Chung elevates a simple black and gray outfit by carrying an oversized leopard tote -essentially, the easiest way to spice up an otherwise basic look.

5) Pretty in Polka Dots Polka Dots– bold 1950’s-inspired prints like polka dots help to bring a retro vibe to your wardrobe. This is a traditional print so while polka dots may seem like a juvenile trend (Minnie Mouse, anyone?) the truth is that they can be done in a playful, yet grown-up way that’s perfect for work or the weekend.

Not sure? In the same way that animal prints are best kept in small doses, polka dots are a fashion treat that can work best as an accessory to your look.  Pick one signature piece and work your look around that. Or just wear a dotty lingerie set even if you’re the only one who sees it.

6) Stripes stripes– When paired with the right pieces, stripes can really enhance your figure and keep you looking up-to-date. The horizontal stripes always reminds me of St-Tropez or French style in general. On the runways this season, designers were mixing wide and thin stripes or pairing stripes with florals; such matchups generally don’t work for day-to-day looks. The key to wearing stripes in the real world is to always wear just one print matched with a solid. For example, a vertically striped blouse looks great with white trousers or jeans. Vertically striped pants or skirts can make you look taller and styish when worn with a solid-colored tee.

 7) Wildcard

A Bold Wildcard Option – think of it as your weapon

when faced with a wardrobe crisis, this statement piece (you choose) will make an outfit of basics seem more special. Even if you aren’t a “print person,” it’s good to have at least one. I like lips, birds and other animal prints.

Which print do you tend to wear the most?


simply satisfying – Classic Cobb Salad

1934.  This popular dinner salad originated as a midnight snack for Robert Cobb, owner of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles.  There’s a replica of the famous restaurant at Disney World.

photo - Johnny Miller for Food Network Magazine
photo – Johnny Miller for Food Network Magazine

8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
4 large eggs
Kosher salt
2 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Zest (in wide strips) and juice of 1 lemon
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 avocados
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 large head Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
2 heads romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water. Chop the hard-cooked eggs and season with salt.

Combine the chicken, lemon zest and juice, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and a large pinch of salt in a medium saucepan; add enough cold water to cover the chicken by 1/2 inch. Bring to a bare simmer over medium heat (do not boil) and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees F, about 7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a serving bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified; season with pepper. Dice the chicken and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing in a separate bowl.

Halve, pit and dice the avocados. Season the tomatoes with salt. Add the Bibb and romaine lettuce to the serving bowl on top of the dressing. Arrange the bacon, hard-cooked eggs, chicken, avocados, tomatoes and blue cheese in rows on top of the lettuce. When ready to serve, toss the salad and season with salt and pepper.

Next week – I’ll post a recipe for Classic Niçoise  Salad.  I’m really into salads more and more these days and it’s nice to incorporate some oldies but goodies into the salad mix.

If there’s a specific recipe you’re looking for please let me know.

WORDS…using your Brain

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.” — George Jesselbrain1

A man paints with his brains and not with his hands – Michelangelo


Money without brains is always dangerous – Napoleon Hillbrain3brain2

In countries where innocent people are dying, the leaders are following their blood rather than their brains. Nelson Mandela


health MATTERS – the aesthetic costs of Extreme Thinness.


Many of us still don’t realize quite how much our ads and magazine spreads are being manipulated. This was taken from a very recent article in the Huffington Post.

A former editor at Cosmopolitan, Leah Hardy, recently wrote an exposé about the practice of Photoshopping models to hide the health and aesthetic costs of extreme thinness. Below is an example featuring Cameron Diaz:cameron

 The story about Diaz, in The Telegraph, includes the following description of the image’s manipulation:

  • Face: Cheeks appear filled out
  • Bust: Levelled
  • Thighs: Wider in the picture on the right
  • Hip: The bony definition has been smoothed away
  • Stomach: A fuller, more natural look
  • Arms: A bit more bulk in the arms and shoulders

Another example was posted at The Daily What. Notice that Karlie Kloss‘s (model in photograph) prominent rib cage has been photo-shopped out of the photograph on the right, which ran in the October 2012 issue of Numéro.

 Hardy, the editor at Cosmo, explains that she frequently re-touched models who were “frighteningly thin.”  Others have reported similar practices. Jane Druker, the editor of Healthy magazine — which is sold in health food stores — admitted retouching a cover girl who pitched up at a shoot looking “really thin and unwell.” The editor of the top-selling health and fitness magazine in the U.S., Self, has admitted: “We retouch to make the models look bigger and healthier.”

And the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, has quietly confessed to being appalled by some of the models on shoots for her own magazine, saying: “I have found myself saying to the photographers, ‘Can you not make them look too thin?‘”

Robin Derrick, creative director of Vogue, has admitted: “I spent the first ten years of my career making girls look thinner — and the last ten making them look larger.” Hardy described her position as a “dilemma” between offering healthy images and reproducing the mythology that extreme thinness is healthy:

At the time, when we poured over the raw images, creating the appearance of smooth flesh over protruding ribs, softening the look of collarbones that stuck out like coat hangers, adding curves to flat bottoms and cleavage to pigeon chests, we felt we were doing the right thing… We knew our readers would be repelled by these grotesquely skinny women, and we also felt they were bad role models and it would be irresponsible to show them as they really were.

But now, I wonder. Because for all our retouching, it was still clear to the reader that these women were very, very thin. But, hey, they still looked great!  They had 22-inch waists (those were never made bigger), but they also had breasts and great skin. They had teeny tiny ankles and thin thighs, but they still had luscious hair and full cheeks.

Thanks to retouching, our readers… never saw the horrible, hungry downside of skinny. That these underweight girls didn’t look glamorous in the flesh. Their skeletal bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots and dark circles under their eyes were magicked away by technology, leaving only the allure of coltish limbs and Bambi eyes.

Insightfully, Hardy describes this as a “vision of perfection that simply didn’t exist” and concludes, “no wonder women yearn to be super-thin when they never see how ugly super-thin can be.

It’s bad to police people’s bodies, no matter whether they’re thin or fat. This is an important point (made well here) and while I agree that some of the language is harsh, that’s not what’s going on here. The vast majority of the models who need reverse Photoshopping aren’t women who just happen to have that body type. They are part of a social institution that demands extreme thinness and they’re working hard on their bodies to be able to deliver it. This isn’t, then, about shaming naturally thin women, it’s about (1) calling out an industry that requires women to be unhealthy and then hides the harmful consequences and (2) acknowledging that even people who are a part of that industry don’t necessarily have the power to change it.

A version of this post originally appeared on Sociological Images and Business InsiderLisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the principle writer for Sociological Images.  She is on Twitter and Facebook.

Personally…can we draw the line on left-brain/right-brain theory?

I don’t like being labeled.  I’m left-handed which means being a creative and thoughtful type instead of detailed oriented and logical like my right handed, left-brained counterparts.brain2

That’s because a left-handed person is ruled by their right brain; and a right-handed person is ruled by their left brain or so we’ve been told. But according to a new book “Top Brain, Bottom Brain,”coauthored by leading psychologist Stephen Kosslyn PhD, we’re really top-brain/bottom-brain users.   brain1How so?

In the book he explains that in practically any brain-imaging study, you’re going to see activation in both hemispheres.  The two are different in very precise ways, but the broad generalizations people have been encouraged to believe about them aren’t true.

His team analyzed a tremendous amount of research and found that the top is exclusively involved in creating and monitoring plans.  The bottom, meanwhile, classifies and interprets information.  The striking difference is that people who made high use of the top brain could use the bottom brain minimally, a lot, or at some level in between.   And this could happen vice versa.

Each part of the brain influences and interacts with the other. Kosslyn came up with four modes of thinkingmover, stimulator, perceiver, and adaptor – that emerged from the interactions he saw between the top and the bottom brain that go beyond basic function.  People who tend to operate in stimulator mode make extra use of the top brain; perceivers make extra use of the bottom brain; movers make strong use of both top and bottom; and adaptors don’t utilize either in any additional capacity – instead they let external circumstances guide their actions.  Interesting, no?

The Four Modes:

MOVER – extra use of both top and bottom brain.  You’re good at making plans and anticipating consequences.  You likely play a leadership role in some capacity – company manager, school principal, head of your community board.

PERCEIVER – strong use of bottom brain, little extra use of top brain.  You’re a natural at seeing the big picture.  You may be quiet,  but you’re always tracking what’s happening and can often offer a perspective others miss.

STIMULATOR – strong use of top brain, little extras use of bottom brain. You’re an out-of-the-box thinker who’s good at making plans, but not so good at coming up with new ones when things go wrong.

ADAPTOR – Little extra use of top or bottom brain.  You may not be the one pitching new ideas, but that doesn’t make you any less hardworking or efficient.  You’re often one of the strongest team players when it’s time to execute a plan.

Take the 20-question quiz at to see where you land.

 So…what mode do you fall in?

beauty biz – skincare will travel

I’m excited to share with you these new product offerings from “Get SpOILed” which are STARTING TO FLY:

The package
The package

Introducing 1st CLASS NATURAL SKINCARE  a 100% natural and effective skincare set that will meet all your necessary skin requirements for travel or home.

  • 1st CLASS NATURAL SKINCARE – an ‘all-inclusive’ Flight Package containing 4 product offerings that will work non-stop to keep your skin in-check &  baggage to a minimum.  Each hydrating skin product comes in a 50 ml (1.7 oz) bottle or jar (contained in plastic toiletrie bags) & packaged in a cute Chinese take-out lunch box.  PERFECT for traveling (or just when your skin needs that extra boost of hydration).  Easy for carrying on board (you can always separate them) in your purse or packed away in a suitcase.

You will receive:

package - Copy (3)Ready for Take-Off” – a gentle eye + face makeup-remover.  One swipe of this blend of Apricot Kernel, Coconut and Avocado oils will completely remove all traces of makeup while helping to condition your skin at the same time.

Flying HIgh” – hydrating facial mist.  package - Copy (4)This refreshing spray incorporates exotic floral waters of rose and orange blossom with lavender, geranium, eucalyptus and frankincense essential oils.  Use as part of your morning and/or evening skincare ritual, just before applying your moisturizer or oil. Can double as a toner. Use it after “Ready for Take-Off.”

package - CopyLuxe Lounge” – Facial Oil (same ingredients as in getspOILed – see below). If you haven’t jumped on the facial oil bandwagon yet, now’s the time — not only does it give your regular moisturizer a boost, but it helps your makeup to go on smoother—and the dewy effects of this infused potion of 19 key ingredients makes for the perfect winter beauty routine.

Delight in an exotic blend of essential lavender, geranium, rose, evening primrose, maracuja (from Brazil), jasmine, boabob (from the African tree), argan (Moroccan), chamomile, sweet basil, juniper, clary sage, olive, camellia (green tea seed), coconut, avocado, sweet almond, jojoba and vitamin E oils.  A real treat!

It’s a Balmy Day” – advanced care for eyes/lips/cuticles.  007This special 3 in 1 balm (which is full size) contains jojobarosehip seed, carrot seed, kukui nut & apricot kernel oils with rose water and beeswax – rich in moisture and vitamins to help soften the skin on your eyes, lips and cuticles. It really works!

Plus, we have a frequent buyer program – your 10th order is FREE!

Price for kit: $95.00

DEAL – For the remainder of January 2014, all shipping & handling will be included in the price.

Here’s the link:


Style on the Streets – MEN in MILAN


If the MEN ON THE STREETS outside the European fashion shows are any indication, the double-breasted blazer is officially back, neon trainers are finding their place amongst the fashionable set, floral prints are popping

Man Jewelry
Man Jewelry & Bag

menstyle2up all over, and the man bag is getting chic. Have a peek:

Man Jewelry & Sunglasses
Man Jewelry & Sunglasses

Men Bright Trainers

man camouflage bagChic Leather Bags
Man – Chic Leather Bags
Man Loafers
Man Loafers
Man Peacoat
Man Peacoat
Men Camo Jacket
Men Camo Jacket
Man Floral
Man Floral


And of course there are T-shirts!
And of course there are logos!

Simply Satisfying – cooking with coffee

Have you ever cooked with coffee?
I’m not talking about coffee cake which doesn’t even have coffee in it –  it just tastes better when you have it while dunking it into drinking a cup.  With all that coffee has going for it (which in moderation helps to improve cognitive performance, enhance alertness, boost your overall mood and is a rich source of antioxidants) why limit it to only a mug? Cooking with your favorite ground or brewed coffee can bring a whole new dimension to your recipe repertoire.  Coffee can enhance the flavor of other ingredients (like in homemade barbeque sauce) while lending a subtle earthy undertone to a dish. 

Here’s a healthy & hearty soup for a perfect cold weather lunch or light dinner paired with salad.

From Alive Magazine
From Alive Magazine

Cowboy Black Bean Soup

1 lb. (450g) dried black beans (about 2 cups/500 mL)
1 Tbsp (15mL) Coconut Oil
1 cup (250mL) diced onion
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced across the stalk
½ cup (125mL) carrot, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp (10mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5mL) smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
4 cups (1L) water
2 cups (500mL) brewed coffee
2 cups (500mL) butternut squash, cut into ½ in (1.25cm) cubes
½ tsp (2mL) salt
2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 Tbsp (90mL) reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup (60mL) fresh cilantro leaves

Pick over beans, making sure to discard any stones or broken beans.  Rinse well, place in large bowl or container, and cover with 2 in (5cm) cold water.  Let beans soak overnight.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add onion, pepper, celery, carrot, jalapeño and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes.  Stir in cumin, smoked paprika, and bay leaf, cooking for another minute.  Pour in water and coffee.

Drain beans, rinse well, and stir into soup base.  Turn heat up to high and bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam that accumulates on surface.  Cover pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, steam squash until just cooked, about 5 minutes.

Once beans are cooked, remove pot from heat.  Remove bay leaf from soup and stir in salt.  Purée about half the soup in blender until smooth. Return purée  to pot and stir until incorporated.

When ready to serve, warm soup gently over medium heat, stirring often, until warm.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cooked squash, a sprinkle of green onion, a dollop of sour cream, and a few torn cilantro leaves.

Serves 6.  Each serving contains 329 calories.

Do you have a favorite coffee recipe you’d like to share?

Art/Memorabilia/Nostalgia – For What it’s Worth


I’ve only been to two auctions in my life so far.  One was an art auction and the other a general auction where I purchased a carousel horse and a diamond tennis bracelet.  The bracelet was by accident….well sort of as I waved to someone I knew just at the time the bidding ended….with me getting the bracelet.  So crazy because I don’t even play tennis.  But at least it didn’t cost the person who ended up buying it for me a fortune.nostalgia2

Lately I’ve been watching Pawn Stars and it got me wondering about the many possessions of so-called memorabilia – some of it fascinating, some of it junky. Where does it originate, how do people end up with the stuff they end up with and what is it really worth?   More importantly, how do you evaluate what something is worth?

Then I read an article by Shawne MacIntyre for Montecristo magazine on unusual memorabilia and the auction block.  It is on the auction block that both Elvis Presley and Justin Bieber have something in common other than hordes of screaming girls and megahit singles.  In 2011, clippings of the Bieb’s hair was offered on eBay and sold for just over $40,000 USD.  But in case this makes you nauseous (as it did me) be placated by the fact that the proceeds went to an animal rehabilitation organization.  This is not the first time a star’s strands have been offered up for sale; Elvis’s locks have been sold for up to $15,000 USD over the years.  An enterprising personal stylist had been hoarding the hair.  In the hair clipping department I’m surprised that Elvis’s didn’t fetch more money.

It’s well established that baseball card trading has made some people very wealthy although I can’t understand why – mostly because I don’t know the players or the game very well.  Now I can see why Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “subway” dress sold for $5.6-million in a 2011 Beverly Hills auction but what I don’t get is Justin Bieber’s hair clippings being sold for over $40,000.  While the baseball card market continues to thrive (since the 1800s) star memorabilia has been growing steadily over the last few decades.

Here’s an interesting fact: In 2009 an American widow by the name of Elsie Poncher sold her husband’s burial spot which was in a prime location – directly above film legend Marilyn Monroe (Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles) so that she could pay off her mortgage. This of course after the exhumation of her husband….and we didn’t ask where he went after that.  The ad read:

“Here is a once in a lifetime and into eternity opportunity to spend your eternal days directly above Marilyn Monroe.”   It sold for $4.6-million in an eBay auction.  In fact the person occupying the address right now is looking face down on her.

There seems to be a healthy market in the trade of everything from baseball cards to paper contracts to antique jeans.  If there is a seller, there is a buyer, and often at surprising values.  The reasons why people collect sundry objects of daily life vary from investment opportunities to association with greatness to nostalgia and historical value.  Sometimes the owners of Pawn Stars have to call in an expert to evaluate an item they don’t know too much about to determine the value.  Which brings me to question how anyone can correctly know the worth of a certain item – or is it just a guestimate? It’s very interesting. And people will pay any amount they can afford (or not) to obtain what they want because….

People’s fascination with the lives of others means there will always be a collectibles and memorabilia market. 

Now if only I could get my hands on Audrey Hepburn’s black strapless dress (not that it would fit) or even her cigarette holder from Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Jackie O’s Oversize sunglasses.  In a perfect world – what joy that would bring!