beauty biz – best broad spectrum primer


Anthelios 50 Primer – La Roche-Posay.  This in the “best thing” I’ve bought in a long time.

What it is:
An anti-aging face primer with SPF 50 protection. It goes on so smoothly and feels like cashmere. Great base for makeup or even if you don’t wear any.  It means not having to wear a face cream or lotion with SPF as you put this on after your day cream.

What it’s used for:
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Daily Anti-Aging Primer provides high UVA and UVB protection to prevent skin damage while giving you a smoother, more refined complexion. The non-greasy and fragrance-free formula leaves your skin feeling smooth and silky. Formulated for all skin types.

I’m using this right now and in the summer I’ll switch it for La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Tinted Ultra Light Sunscreen (with SPF 50) and use a regular primer.

Having said that, no sunscreen is a substitute for avoiding the most intense sun of the day and wearing appropriate clothing.  Always wear fashionable sunglasses of course.

CNN had this to say: Beach goers and others enjoying fun in the sun will soon have a new option for blocking the sun’s harmful rays. A new sunscreen, Anthelios, offers BETTER cancer protection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Anthelios SX, an over-the-counter sunscreen that offers protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Anthelios offers various advantages to traditional sunscreens.  Most sunscreens sold in the United States mainly block UVB rays, which helps prevent sunburn and other types of skin damage. But Anthelios offers better protection from deeper penetrating UVA rays, according to the manufacturer. This may help reduce the risk of various types of skin cancer — including melanoma and basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Better UVA protection also may reduce sun-related skin wrinkling.  But the added protection may come at a cost. Products sold in Canada cost about twice as much as traditional sunscreens — or even more. From Mayo Clinic – Special to                                 

 Have you tried it?

style – on & off the runway: the belted coat

I’ve always loved the idea of tying my coat with something other than the belt it originally came with. beltedcoats1

You can get creative here too. For instance, in the past I’ve used long scarves & a long thin leather studded boot-belt accessory to tie light coats and shirts and even a removable long patent purse handle (which sounds kind of strange).  Here are a few otherbeltedcoats1beltedcoats3 examples which are ideal:beltedcoats2

Best Looks: From left to right, Reed Krakoff, Altuzarra, Max Mara, Edun, Paul Smith.  Photo -Garance Dore.
Best Looks: From left to right, Reed Krakoff, Altuzarra, Max Mara, Edun, Paul Smith. Photo – Garance Dore.  She says:  “This idea of tying them with a tiny belt or string or ribbon (or whatever you can find?! ) is a fun way to play with proportions and keep your coat closed!”  I agree.

What do you think?  Have you tried this trend?

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Simply Satisfying – Really good Roast Chicken


 roastchicken1This is a truly comforting dish for this time of season. Sweet, smoky paprika meets the mellow richness of roasted garlic in this perfectly spiced bird. Roasting the chicken at a lower temperature than most achieves a crisp skin without burning the paprika.

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 whole (3-4 lb.) chicken
  • 1/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chicken stock (made from bouillon – I recommend organic “better than”)
  • 8 heads garlic, halved horizontally
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice from ½ lemon



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together smoked paprika, oregano, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rimmed baking sheet or dutch oven, and tuck wings under. Tie legs of each bird together with kitchen twine. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub skin with 1 tablespoon oil, then with paprika mixture. Stuff 2 garlic-head halves into each cavity.


Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roast chicken for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and baste with pan juices. Scatter remaining garlic-head halves around chicken; add small potatoes cut in half, carrots, chopped leeks (white part only) and onion cut into quarters. Drizzle garlic and veggies with remaining 1/8 cup olive oil and ¼ cup ready-made chicken stock, then turn cut side down on sheet. Squeeze lemon over top. Roast for 10 minutes. Tent bird loosely with foil. Turn oven to 375 degrees. Roast until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 45 minutes more. Remove chicken to platter and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Remove garlic and veggies but keep warm. In the meantime you can make gravy (optional) by putting dutch oven over high heat on stovetop (or if using a baking sheet, pour liquid into a pot) and whisk in more stock if needed and to thicken add flour or an instant gravy thickener (like Savoie’s Instant Roux).  Add spices if needed.


Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Pop Art/Celebration – Jeff Koons’ Cracked Egg + Balloons

The artist’s record breaking sculptures SELL FOR MILLIONS

Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty  (L-R) Balloon Swan (Blue), Ballon Monkey (Red), Balloon Rabbit (Yellow) at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City on May 9, 2013.
Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty
(L-R) Balloon Swan (Blue), Ballon Monkey (Red), Balloon Rabbit (Yellow) at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City on May 9, 2013.

Stephen Colbert probably summed up the meaning of Koons’s balloon animals best in an interview with the artist on The Colbert Report last year. “A lot of them are shiny, you know,” Colbert observed, “so when I look at them I can see me, and then I’m really interested in it.” Koons agreed, arguing “art happens inside the viewer… and the art is your sense of your own potential as a person.” These reflective balloon sculptures “just trigger that information in you.”

On a more somber note, Koons added, “I’ve always enjoyed balloon animals because they’re like us. We’re balloons. You take a breath and you inhale, it’s an optimism. You exhale, and it’s kind of a symbol of death.” (And somewhere, a clown just cried…)

Last year, Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog 

artforblog1 (2)went for a whopping $58.4 million at Christie’s, making it the most expensive contemporary art sculpture ever sold. On February 14, 2014, the artist’s wonderfully whimsical  Cracked Egg sculpture (Magenta – see below) part of the same series: Celebration—went to auction for the first time and fetched 14.1 million pounds, within the expected range. The winner was a client of David Linley, Christie’s chairman in the U.K. and a grandson of King George VI.artforblog3

In his own words, Koons says, “Cracked Egg is a symbol of birth. It’s already happened, so it’s about moving on and transcendence, like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It was technically very difficult to create due to both the concave and convex surfaces.” When he says “technically difficult,” he means it took a staggering 12 years to produce the impossibly thin two-piece eggshell replica. Every detail, from the reflection of the viewer in and around the sculpture to the cartoon-like, saw-tooth edges has been a carefully calculated labor.

Celebration takes inspiration from a number of calendar events, replete with Valentine’s Day hearts, Easter eggs, and other pop symbols at magnified proportions. Conceived in 1994, some of its pieces are still in progress. Those who wanted to gaze at the sculpture without reaching deep within their pockets were able to view the egg on display at Christie’s King Street in London from February 8-13, before it went to auction.

from images
from images

Koons lives and works in both New York City and his hometown of York, Pennsylvania.

How do you feel about these sculptures – elevated kitsch or fine art?

Credit: Harper’s BAZAAR magazine and Time Newsfeed.

words + music

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain – Bob Marleylovetuner3

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity.  It’s something we are all touched by.  No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music – Billy Joel.music2

Music is everybody’s possession.  It’s only publishers who think that people own it – John Lennon.music1


health MATTERS – Generic vs Brand name?

brand1 DO YOU EVER WONDER if a generic drug has the same effectiveness over a brand name when you’re trying to make a decision at the drugstore?  The ingredients listed are exactly alike but the price difference is usually much less.  If they’re both therapeutically equivalent, what gives?brand2

In Canada, generic drugs must meet the same high standards and purity as brand name drugs.  They are “bioequivalent,” a term that means that the same drug gets into the body and works the same way as the brand name drug.  So, before a generic drug can be sold, its manufacturer must prove to Health Canada that it is as effective as the brand name.  The generic manufacturer must also prove that the active ingredient dissolves at the same rate, is absorbed the same way, and is as pure as the brand name product. This has helped me when choosing allergy pills.  I now buy a generic bottle that works equally as good as a well known brand with the same ingredients for considerably less money.  Same goes for aspirin. Turns out that 40 to 60% of prescriptions in Canada are filled with a generic drug. Can you blame us?

BRAND1 (2) A generic brand may look or taste slightly different from the brand name.  While they have the same active ingredients, they may have different inactive ingredients such as flavours, colours, and fillers.  Their manufacturers must prove that any differences in inactive ingredients don’t affect the product’s quality, safety or effectiveness.

Why does the generic drug have a different name:

Each drug has a specific active ingredient that makes it work. The active ingredient is referred to by the generic name.  The generic name stays the same no matter which company makes the drug.  The brand name is the name that a specific manufacturer gives to the product, and it can be used only by that manufacturer.  When a brand name drug is no longer covered by patent protection, a generic manufacturer can make a generic alternative, but it can’t use the same brand name – it must choose a new brand name for its generic drug.  This is the name that will appear on the generic label.

When filling your prescription, ask your pharmacist if there’s a generic alternative to your medication.  You may find that you’re already receiving a generic drug and saving on the cost.  Ask questions – this is one prescription for happiness.

Taken from: The Wellness Connection

personally – procrastination is not my thing

Not all the time. Procrastinators are made not born. procrastinate

Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up – not going to happen.

Procrastination is something that most people have at least a little experience with. No matter how well-organized and committed you are, chances are that you have found yourself frittering away hours on trivial pursuits (like watching TV, checking your Facebook status, shopping online) when you should have been spending that time on other projects. procrastinate1

Do you realize that twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators? For them procrastination is a lifestyle, albeit a maladaptive one. And it cuts across all domains of their life. They don’t pay bills on time. They miss opportunities for buying tickets to concerts. They don’t cash gift certificates or checks. They file income tax returns late. They leave their Christmas shopping until Christmas eve.  We all know at least one person like this.

I’m definitely not in the chronic category – but I can be a part-time procrastinator – but only when it doesn’t interfere with my work or life in general. I always make sure to pay bills or file taxes on time, even if it comes down to the very last minute before they’re due.  I hate getting charged a fee for missing the due date – it’s so irresponsible.  I never miss cashing a gift certificate or check mostly because I don’t receive them very often and I always consider the possibility of the institution closing before I get the chance to cash in.  My procrastination is usually exercise involved – but it does get done.  Obviously it is done out of necessity – not love.  I hope that changes.  I just signed up for another half marathon which takes place in August so now I’m wondering if July will be too late to crash-train for it? Maybe that’s a motivational problem instead.  It’s not really the same thing is it?  How do you know if you’re a chronic procrastinator?  Let us count the ways:

1)     Let’s begin by blaming our parents (always a reliable excuse) – after all they set the blueprint for us turning out the way we are.  Why do you think so many of us are seeing shrinks? It is one response to an authoritarian parenting style. Having a harsh, controlling father keeps children from developing the ability to regulate themselves, from internalizing their own intentions and then learning to act on them. Procrastination can be a form of rebellion, one of the few forms available under such circumstances. What’s more, under those household conditions, procrastinators turn more to friends than to parents for support, and their friends may reinforce procrastination because they tend to be tolerant of their excuses.

2)     Procrastination predicts higher levels of consumption of alcohol among those people who drink. Procrastinators drink more than they intend to—a manifestation of generalized problems in self-regulation. That is over and above the effect of avoidant coping styles that underlie procrastination and lead to disengagement via substance abuse.

3)     Procrastinators tell lies to themselves. Such as, “I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow.” Or “I work best under pressure.” But in fact they do not get the urge the next day or work best under pressure. In addition, they protect their sense of self by saying “this isn’t important.” Another big lie procrastinators indulge is that time pressure makes them more creative. Unfortunately they do not turn out to be more creative; they only feel that way. They squander their resources.

4)     Procrastinators actively look for distractions, particularly ones that don’t take a lot of commitment on their part. Checking e-mail is almost perfect for this purpose. They distract themselves as a way of regulating their emotions such as fear of failure.

5)     There’s more than one flavor of procrastination. People procrastinate for different reasons. Here we can identify three basic types of procrastinators:

  1. arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
  2. avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
  3. decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.

6)     There are big costs to procrastination. Health is one. Just over the course of a single academic term, procrastinating college students had such evidence of compromised immune systems as more colds and flu, more gastrointestinal problems. And they had insomnia.  In addition, procrastination has a high cost to others as well as oneself; it shifts the burden of responsibilities onto others, who become resentful. Procrastination destroys teamwork in the workplace and private relationships.

7)     Procrastinators can change their behavior—but doing so consumes a lot of psychic energy. And it doesn’t necessarily mean one feels transformed internally. It can be done with highly structured *cognitive behavioral therapy.

According to psychologist Piers Steel, people who don’t procrastinate tend to be high in the personality trait known as conscientiousness, one of the broad dispositions identified by the Big 5 theory (to be discussed separately in another post) of personality.  People who are high in conscientiousness also tend to be high in other areas including self-discipline, persistence, and personal responsibility.  Falling prey to these cognitive distortions is easy, but fortunately there are a number of different things you can do to fight procrastination and start getting things done on time.

Fear is one of factor that contributes to procrastination. This can involve a fear of failure, a fear of making mistakes, or even a fear of success.  Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychology Today contributor and author of The Search for Fulfillment, suggests that challenging your faulty beliefs is important. If you are afraid of success because you secretly believe that you don’t deserve it, it is important to realize that your self-handicapping might be keeping you from achieving your goals. By addressing the fear that is keeping you from getting started, you can begin to overcome your procrastination habit.

* Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that is guided by the understanding that feelings are very important AND that feelings are informed by our Thoughts and our Behaviours. We can’t change how we Feel but we can interact with our Thoughts and Behaviours in such a way as to invite different Feelings to emerge.

There are 16 key reasons why people procrastinate:

  1. Not knowing what needs to be done
  2. Not knowing how to do something
  3. Not wanting to do something
  4. Not caring if it gets done or not
  5. Not caring when something gets done
  6. Not feeling in the mood to do it
  7. Being in the habit of waiting until the last minute
  8. Believing that you work better under pressure
  9. Thinking that you can finish it at the last minute
  10. Lacking the initiative to get started
  11. Blaming sickness or poor health
  12. ??? – I forget this one
  13.  Forgetting
  14. Waiting for the right moment
  15. Needing time to think about the task
  16. Delaying one task in favor of working on another

My unprofessional theory is that this is a problem generally easy to overcome.  There’s just way too much to do in life and it’s easy to let things start to pile up.  And we tend to take on too many tasks without thinking things through.  If we just try to get things done little by little and stop saying “yes” to people when we really mean “no” things will start to get done.  Just do what you can – don’t take on more than you need to. You’ll feel much better.

 Do you fall into any or a lot of these 15 categories?procrastinate1 (2)

Credit: Psychology Today

Beauty biz – the NAKED eye

naked6RELAX Ladies.  After all the reporting on eye makeup product reviews I’ve been telling you about for ages we’re now being given permission to put down the mascara wands. No really.

naturally beautiful
naturally beautiful

 It’s officially a trend.  How do you feel about that?

When it comes to wearing makeup they say “less is more,” which was obviously the philosophy this year at Paris Fashion Week. Many models took the runway wearing little to no makeup, showing off fresh, natural faces instead of complexions caked with layers of foundation, blush, bronzer, and everything in between. A refreshing breather.

Fashion Week runways aren’t usually where we pick up low-maintenance beauty tricks, but this season has been ripe with easygoing inspiration. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the Spring 2014 Balmain show during Paris Fashion Week. Top models like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Georgia May Jagger (albeit young and naturally gorgeous) sauntered down the runway wearing little more than a dab of concealer.

 Clockwise from upper left: Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Isabel Marant, Valentino – for
Clockwise from upper left: Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Isabel Marant, Valentino – for

naked7The Natural:

The runways continued to make a case for just how cutting-edge minimal beauty can be—and there might be logic to support the claim. During the fall 2013 shows, when we began seeing the bare complexion, makeup artist James Kaliardos said he imagined it would be the way women looked in the future. At that time, he added, our society would be so advanced that we would have all the know-how and technology needed at our fingertips to look our best without the extra embellishment cosmetics provided. But I think that the ritual of applying makeup would be lost.

even with no eye makeup Cameron's blue eyes are stunning.
even with no eye makeup Cameron’s blue eyes are stunning.


So, I’ve decided to embrace this trend and get ready for Spring makeup Break especially after seeing the photos of famous people braving the look. If they can do it – so can I. While there are probably quite a few women who will go with this trend wholeheartedly and hope that it’s here to say — I’m sorry, but I just can’t bring myself to get on board with it every single day – just on occasion.

Kate Winslet for Vanity Fair.  Photo: Chuck Close
Kate Winslet for Vanity Fair. Photo: Chuck Close
Julia Roberts - for Vanity Fair.  Photo Chuck Close
Julia Roberts – for Vanity Fair. Photo Chuck Close
Scarlett Johansson for Vanity Fair.  Photo: Chuck Close
Scarlett Johansson for Vanity Fair. Photo: Chuck Close
Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson

There’s always a Flip Side (see below) to everything:naked5

So don’t  ignore my makeup product reviews totally – they’ll still come in handy.


On the flip side (below): 

Style – what lies ahead for Spring

Bags – Shoes – Clothing.  What’s to like – what’s not to like?

New York Fashion week just ended so now we can look ahead to see what we have in store(s):

Longer skirts, midriff tops.  The midi is back.
                        Longer skirts (the Midi is back) and midriff tops (definitely means back to the gym).  Choose your trends carefully.
Fringe, Color, Snakeskin
     Fringe, Color & Snakeskin abound
A real mix bag....of shoes from kitten to clunky.
A real mix bag….of shoes from kitten to clunky.
Some basics worth hanging on to – Cardigans, Checks & Florals are always IN style. (Harper’s Bazaar)Basics worth keeping

I love a jumpsuit
                                          I love a jumpsuit
More fringe?
More fringe?