Health MATTERS: A SHOT at Happiness

Botox for Depression – has it been in our face all this time?

Photo: Ben Hassett
Photo: Ben Hassett

A swipe of lipstick can put a smile on your face, but when it comes to beating true depression, beauty products usually don’t do the trick.  Well maybe very temporarily.

Enter Botox, the forehead-smoothing toxin that can erase fine lines, stop sweating, and even squelch migraines – a true multi-tasker.  It turns out that a vial may have the power to make you happier – and not just because your wrinkles have disappeared.

In a recent study associated with Georgetown University that involved using Botox for depression, one participant who ended up getting botox (not the placebo), described feeling something she could describe only with a word that might seem impossible to anyone living under a cloak of despair: “lighthearted.”

Of the 74 people in the study – half were given Botox and the other half were given saline placebo injections in the “frown” muscles between their eyebrows.  Six weeks later, 52 percent of patients who’d been injected with Botox felt significantly better, compared with just 15 percent who didn’t get the real stuff.

The notion that a grin or a grimace can actually influence your emotions is nothing new, says Maryland dermatologic surgeon Eric Finzi, a co-author of the Georgetown study and author of the 2013 book: The Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Mood and Relationships.

Charles Darwin theorized that our facial expressions don’t just telegraph happy or sad to the world but that they can also create and enhance those emotions.

People suffering from serious depression shouldn’t toss their meds and abandon therapy just yet, says New York psychiatrist and dermatologist Amy Wechsler.  “Depression has always been something that’s best treated by a range of things, and I think this may well be a powerful tool in our arsenal,” says Wechsler.

For the millions who suffer from depression, this could be the biggest thing since Prozac, not to mention a lifesaver, says Finzi.

To that end, Botox’s parent company, Allergen, is currently in Phase II clinical trials for its use in treating major depressive disorder in women.  Botox is predicted to become standard treatment for depression in the future.

In short, if you can’t frown, you can’t feel down.

Have any of you tried Botox?  I have yet to try it not done so and am trying hard to avoid it by trying to keep healthy and happy.

Source: Liz Krieger for Bazaar Magazine







beauty biz – THE quick FIX

How does a girl-on-the-go get a Glamorous Glow?  I will tell you….20141015_114712

GLAMGLOW was originally designed for exclusive professional backstage use in Hollywood. In 2011, GLAMGLOW became available to consumers worldwide and is now known for fast-acting and innovative mud treatments with patent-pending formulas and high-end technology to deliver instant, visible results.


I tried GLAMGLOW BRIGHTMUD EYE treatment which is a 3 minute instant eye treatment and found it very refreshing as well as hydrating and softening. It claims to minimize puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines while brightening and hydrating the eyes.  It worked but I can’t tell you how long exactly it lasted.

It’s the world’s first tap-on-wipe-off eye product designed to work for Hollywood actors in just a few minutes, just before going in front of a camera on-set.  So it would work for just before going on a date then??

The package contains 12 ChromeCells and each one provides a single treatment for both eyes.20141015_114719

Aside from the claims and everything else, the packaging will certainly get your attention.

Available at Sephora.  Price: approx $76 CDN

Style – stay chic even while you SLEEP

I love loungewear!

Apartment, the Shop
Apartment, the Shop

It’s evening or not,  you’re at home or not, it’s cold outside, you’re ready to relax, to be warm, comfy, cosy, and unwind in a pair of snuggly PJ’s.  Don’t you?

lounge3These luxe and loungy choices makes looking chic so easy, you could do it in your sleep.




This photo (from Olivia von Halle’s latest lookbook) makes me want to put on some girly pajamas, invite my best girlfriends over, pop some champagne, and frolic in the British countryside.lounge2

Photo by Grace Atwood via [StripesandSequins]
Photo by Grace Atwood via [StripesandSequins]
That last part might not be so realistic, but seriously… how dreamy is this image!? The pajamas made of 100% silk, were inspired by Coco Chanel’s lounging pajamas and designed to be something glamorous enough to have a gin & tonic in before bed… a girl after my own heart.

You don't have to sacrifice comfort for style.
You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for casual style…even at home or at bedtime.

 Bottoms Up my friends!


Food – Thai Tofu-Quinoa Salad

This healthy low-calorie, high-protein dish is simply delish!tofu2It makes a great lunch but can easily suffice as a side salad for dinner (especially with salmon or chicken).  Serves 4.  It’s only 330 calories per serving.


Extra-Firm Tofu


2 Carrots

Red Cabbage

Frozen Edamame

Green Onion



Lime juice (from ½ a lime)

Natural Peanut Butter

*Tamari  (or low-sodium soy sauce)


Grated Ginger

2 Garlic Cloves

Hot Chili Flakes

Sesame Seeds

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with oil.  Arrange half of a 350g package of extra-firm tofu (patted dry and cut into 3/4  in. cubes) on prepared sheet.  Bake in centre of oven until tofu is golden brown – about 20 minutes.  Transer to a rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Cook ¾ cup rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan according to package directions.  Scoop quinoa into large bowl to cool completely, about 30 minutes.  You can also make this in advance, like a day or two ahead.

Whisk 2 Tbsp. lime juice (half of a regular size lime) with 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter, 1 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. Tamari, 2 tsp. honey, 2 tsp. finely grated ginger, 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves and ½ – 1 tsp. hot red chili flakes in a small bowl.  Set aside.tofu1

Stir 2 coarsely grated carrots into cooled quinoa along with 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage, 1 cup thawed frozen edamame, 1 thinly sliced green onion, ½ cup chopped cilantro, 4 tsp. toasted sesame seeds and cooled tofu.  Drizzle with dressing, then toss to coat.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Do you know the difference between Tamari & Soy?

Even though both sauces are similar in color and flavor, there are actually a number of differences between the two. While both soy sauce and tamari are byproducts of fermented soybeans, the main difference between the two is the presence of wheat. Many recipes that call for soy sauce often include a note to substitute tamari in its place to make the recipe gluten-free.tofu3

  • Tamari:  Little to no wheat (always double-check if avoiding gluten)
  • Soy Sauce:  Includes wheat (not gluten-free)

    Other Differences – Soy sauce and its many forms are found widely throughout Asia, but tamari is specifically a Japanese form of soy sauce, traditionally made as a byproduct of miso paste. The differences in production give each sauce its own unique flavor. Tamari has a darker color and richer flavor than the common Chinese soy sauce you may be more familiar with. It also tastes more balanced and less salty than the sometimes harsh bite of soy sauce, which makes it great for dipping.

Instead of keeping one or the other in your cupboard, consider stocking up on both sauces and experimenting with them in dishes that call for soy.





Travel/Luxury: the Exclusive “all-inclusive”

Le blanc spa resort – Cancunleblanc5

I’m not usually into all-inclusive vacations but I think I can resort to this.  leblanc11My brother and his girlfriend just got back from Le blanc spa resort in Cancun and by what they described and by the looks of these photos it makes me want to jump on a plane right now.  In actuality I will be heading on a plane soon enough to go to a different part of Mexico but I know I won’t be getting my own private butler there.  More on this later.

Le blanc spa resort is aleblanc4 luxurious environment with an all white décor to match the all white sandy beaches. It is an adults-only all-inclusive nestled along the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean.  It is apparently a world onto itself.leblanc6

The staff is trained to serve you and make you feel that this is not your typical resort.  Service is professional, prompt and polite.  The staff looks as good as they are (I read this) and the private butler is a real plus!  The dining is fine world class. The rooms are clean with private Jacuzzi and French balcony with views of lagoon and resort or common areas.  leblanc8The spa is a sanctuary.  They have an amazing fitness facility which also offers yoga & pilates.

It comes highly recommended by some very picky people.  It seems like a dream vacation.  And what about that butler?leblanc12

I think I can do this!


Words…little style pick-me-ups

Sometimes we gals just need a little style pick-me-up

Lauren Hutten from a Bazaar fashion shoot.
Lauren Hutten from a Bazaar fashion shoot.

Glam up your day with a few fashion quotes from some favorite designers, style icons & girl crushes.classic2

“Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their days off that are the most intriguing.” —Alexander Wang

What you can wear on your day off to walk your pink poodle
DO NOT let a pink poodle upstage you at any given moment – remember You set the stage!

“The most important thing to remember is that you can wear all the greatest clothes and all the greatest shoes, but you’ve got to have a good spirit on the inside. That’s what’s really going to make you look like you’re ready to rock the world.” – Alicia Keys at a Giorgio Armani party in New York, 2009.classic1 (2)“I like my money right where I can see it…hanging in my closet.” – Carrie Bradshawclassic2 (2)

You can’t be melancholy in fashion because people don’t respond to it.” —Isaac Mizrahiclassic1

Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.” —Lauren Huttonclassic3 (2) 



beauty – AWARENESS

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month never4so I thought it would be good to post a roundup list of skincare & makeup product ingredients (in alphabetical order) to make recognizing, understanding, and avoiding these ingredients easier for you.never1


Animal fats, oils, and musks: tallow, rendered beef or mutton fat, oils or musks from animals like mink, emu and sharks that are procured after an animal has been killed. Found in: soap, salve, shaving products, lubricants, paints, and all types of cosmetics.
Benzalkonium chloridea disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.
Benzophenone and derivatives: a possible human carcinogen and hormone disruptor used as a fragrance ingredient and to absorb ultraviolet light. Found in: nail polish, sunscreen.

Bisphenol A (BPA): a hormone disruptor that may also alter DNA, used in plastics and resins. Found in: plastic bottles, lining of aluminum food cans, possibly in eyeshadow and styling gel.

Butoxyethanol: a solvent used to control viscosity, or a “fragrance” additive. It irritates skin and may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. Found in: fragrance, hair color.

BHA and BHT: synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors, and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients: a byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo.

1,4-dioxane: a by-product of manufacturing that is a probable human carcinogen (a known animal carcinogen) as well as toxic to organs and the respiratory system, and a skin irritant. Likely to be present where ethoxylated ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, PEGs, and ceteareth are listed on ingredient labels. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): a chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.

Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA): surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.

Formaldehyde: used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol) and several other preservatives are listed. Beautycounter does not use any of these formaldehyde-donating preservatives. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Hydroquinone: a skin lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin
and is a linked to cancer, organ toxicity and skin irritation. Found in: skin lightening creams.

Methyl cellosolvefragrance ingredient and solvent that is an irritant and a possible neurotoxin, developmental toxin, and cause of DNA mutations that could lead to cancer. Found in: anti-aging creams.

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone: chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash.

Mercury and mercury compounds (also listed as Thimerosal): metallic element used as a preservative and antiseptic known to damage brain function. Found in: ear and eye drops; may be used in mascara.

Mineral Oil (also listed as liquid paraffin; liquid petrolatum; paraffin oil): a by-product of petroleum distillation that may cause contact dermatitis. Found in: baby lotions, cold creams, ointments.

Oxybenzone: sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.

Parabens  (methyl-, isobutyl-, proply- and others): a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Specially, parabens mimic estrogen; they can lock on to our cell’s own estrogen receptors and mess with important natural signals. They may play a role in triggering breast cancer. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.

Phthalates  (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.

Resorcinol: a colorant and fragrance ingredient that is a skin irritant, toxic to the
immune system and organs, and suspected to cause hormone disruption. Found in: hair color.

Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A): a nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Found in: moisturizer, anti-aging skincare.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Synthetic flavor or fragrance: an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000+ stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets, and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.

Toluenea volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can
cause birth defects. Found in: nail polish.

Triclosan and Triclocarban: antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.

Print out an Always-With-You Never List and carry in your wallet for easy reference while on the go.


Style – the Great White


Two great Classics!
Two great Classics!

A crisp, white button-down shirt is one of the most important pieces in a womans wardrobe.  It must be spotless whether it be long, short, fitted or loose and above all… perfect!white3

Ask any stylist or wardrobe consultant what the most important staple in a woman’s wardrobe is, and you can almost guarantee the answer you will be met with is a classic white blouse. white1For decades, white blouses for women have been both a basic workwear go-to and a stylish statement. The versatility is unmatched and the variations are endless.


Looking at both historical and modern perspectives, it is clear that white blouses for women will never lose their relevancy.

The white shirt can even be worn to black-tie events.

Layer your collar and cuffs with some statement knitwear, likeLupita Nyong'o on the Miu Miu front row.
Layer your collar and cuffs with some statement knitwear, likeLupita Nyong’o on the Miu Miu front row.
tunic style worn
tunic style paired with a classic black pant.

It can also be worn to black-tie events

casual on Cameron & flirty on Kate
casual on Cameron & flirty on Kate

A white shirt is a true workhorse.  It will see you through all seasons and all occasions.  It will look fresh, sporty, relaxed and SEXXXY!  What more can you ask for from one simple piece!?


Do you have a favourite?

Source: and


Food – milk chocolate oatmeal cookies

I’m always in the mood to eat cookies brsugarchoccoconutbut I don’t always feel like making them. Part of the problem is that whenever I do make them I end up eating more than I should. This recipe is really easy and fairly healthy as far as cookies go…..(brown sugar instead of white, oats and only 1 egg) so I couldn’t wait to make them.  They’re quick and delicious and I just added coconut flakes.  You can double the recipe but if you want to ensure you don’t eat too many, maybe it’s a good idea to stick to the original.

Brown Sugar Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. fine sea salt

½ cup unsalted butter, either at room temperature or slightly chilled

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

½ quick oats

1 cup milk chocolate chips

unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  If you don’t have parchment then spray baking sheets lightly with oil.

Stir flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat butter with sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until combined.  Stir in oats and chocolate chips.  Spoon 2 Tbsp. portions of dough, 3 in. apart, onto prepared sheets.  Flatten them slightly using your fingers.

Bake in centre of oven until edges are golden but centres are soft, 12-15 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.  Pour yourself a glass of milk!

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  But let’s face it – they’ll only last one or two days at most.

Makes 12-16 cookies.

If you really need to know they’re about 200 calories per cookie.

 Below are links to some other cookie recipes I’ve made and posted before (all equally delicious):


Sweet ‘n Salty


Ultimate Dark