Health MATTERS – thinking about the BOX

We went to Ernest Coffee in Palm Springs for coffee and an almond croissant and then got thirsty for some water.Ernest1  But they had no bottles – because all its water came in boxes. First time for everything.

I try to do my part as much as possible for the environment as only one little person can.  Which means carrying reusable bags and often lugging around a reusable water bottle but admit to buying bottled when it is most convenient – like travelling.

The company calls itself Boxed Water Is Better and describes itself as part water company, part art project, part philanthropy. That is more than a little affected, but the simple, chic design and the creative approach to selling water will probably pique some interest.

It started with the simple idea of creating a new bottled water brand that is kinder to the environment and gives back a bit—they found that it shouldn’t be bottled at all, but instead, boxed. So they looked to the past for inspiration in the century old beverage container and decided to keep things simple, sustainable, and beautiful.

Their argument for why boxed is better?

  • 76 percent of the box is made from a renewable resource—trees—making it one of the most sustainable beverage packages available.
  • Those trees come from certified, well-managed forests.
  • The boxes are shipped flat, which is significantly more efficient than shipping empty plastic or glass bottles.
  • The boxes are recyclable—where facilities exist.
  • The company plans on donating 10 percent of its profit to organizations working to improve access to clean water, and promote reforestation.

Are you aware:

About 30 to 40 billion plastic water bottles are discarded each year, of which 90 percent end up in landfills rather than recycling bins.

Let’s not even consider all the fossil fuels wasted in producing the bottles and trucking them around the world.

But bottled water remains a huge convenience. Let’s be honest: We can all try to do our part to help the planet but convenience is still key.

Ernest Coffee - 1101 North Palm Canyon Drive
Ernest Coffee – 1101 North Palm Canyon Drive

Photos: d. king






Feel-good Friday: Fruitful

Grapefruits the size of footballs, Oranges the size of Watermelons and Lemons the size of Grapefruit…

the bowl is a fairly large
this is a fairly large size bowl

picked or fallen from the trees right outside our front entrance.

Not until I cut the orange in half did I realize it was not a grapefruit.  Have you ever tried eating a huge orange, grapefruit style?  It works if the orange is really juicy – a pleasant discovery.  What a treat.

What’s your favorite citrus fruit?

Photo: d. king

beauty– eye Draw the Line

With Stila, Kat Von D, Nars, Marc Jacobs and More

Eye just can't make up my eyes mind
Eye just can’t make up my eyes mind…they’re all pretty nice.

So happy to have discovered this curated collection of cult classics at where else….Sephora.  Surprise, surprise.   I sometimes shop the little local beauty boutiques (I like supporting them too) but must say that Sephora really knows how to put a pretty package together – especially around the holidays.  I specifically went to buy the mascara set (the lash stash) as a gift – they only had two left.  Anyway,  “Draw The Line” is a selection of six leading eyeliners designed to mix and match.  How could I resist?  You can buy them all individually as I’m quite certain the kit is no longer available.  They sell out fast.

SEPHORA COLLECTION Contour Eye Pencil 12hr Wear Waterproof in Black Lace

These pencils have a very smooth application, so they are ideal when you want to contour the shape of your eye. They also work well for smoky eyes, as they blend well and are long wearing.

STILA Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Dark Brown

This is waterproof and one of the easiest liquid liners to use. The chocolate brown color is subdued and optimal for creating a daytime winged look.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper

This pen’s application is super precise. The brush tip has a multitude of fibers that give your hand control and stability. It’s perfect for creating any graphic liner look.

NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto

The color in this pencil is rich and creamy, and it lasts 12 hours. It’s great for creating a deeply saturated waterline, as well as a blending.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer
These pencils come with a sharpener on the end, so they are self-contained. The rich, waterproof formula glides on effortlessly and deposits just the right amount of color onto the eye. They are also excellent for smudging out.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Double Ended Eye Pencil in Perversion and Rockstar

The convenience of having two eyeliners with different finishes in one pencil is fantastic. The soft tips make them very easy to apply and create smoky eyes. Perversion (matte black) and Rockstar (dark purple) look beautiful when worn together or alone.

Not since I purchased the Fresh “sugar lips” set have I had so much fun playing with makeup.

What’s your obsession?

Style – my new TRINA TURK Tankini

Along with shoes, handbags and sunglasses…a girl can never have too many bathing suits20150120_103657I brought two bikinis to Palm Springs but was really craving a retro one-piece that would be perfect for poolside.  Okay maybe it was just an excuse to buy a new swimsuit.  Then my sister told me that Trina Turk, who has a beautiful store in Palm Springs, was most famous for her swimwear.  Fast forward…to my new tankini – which reminds me of Emilio Pucci 60’s mod-style glamour.  It will look great while sipping mimosas poolside…and oh yeah, swimming.

About Trina:trina1

Infused with bold signature prints and dynamic hues unique to each collection, Trina’s modern and optimistic outlook meld the best of classic American design with a California confidence, incorporating beautiful fabrications and impeccable quality for the effortless elan and carefree glamour.

trina3Founded in 1995 by Trina and her husband, photographer Jonathan Skow, as a women’s contemporary clothing line, Trina Turk has evolved into an iconic lifestyle brand, celebrating California style with eleven annual collections of chic women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, plus swimwearrecreation/activewear, a Mr Turk menswear line, and residential décor and textiles. Joining the lineup as of 2014 came  innovative footwear, handbag and jewelry collections.  Oh, I even like the ice buckets.

I love their active wear
I love their active wear

The Mr Turk menswear linehm_cs1_resort_v2 conveys a California dapper style and carries on the brand’s affection for vibrant color and print.  Men who want to make a sartorial statement can now select from among jackets, shirts, pants, shorts, swimwear, ties and bowties designed by Jonathan Skow. A well-known stylist and photographer, Skow does all the photography for the Trina Turk and Mr Turk brands, and also designs the distinctive men’s line.

The couple split their time between two historic, mid-century homes in Los Angeles’ creative enclave of Silver Lake and in Palm Springs, interspersed with travels up and down the coastline and around the world.  A favorite pastime is vintage shopping and their educated collectors’ eyes discover inspiration in any new destination, near or far. They also share a keen passion for architectural preservation.



Food: make a Super Bowl of creamy Three-Cheese Artichoke Dip

Artichoke dip is popular for good reason: it’s a bubbly, cheesy crowd-pleaser.

 Photograph: Jennifer Olvera
Photograph: Jennifer Olvera

                                                                                                           And if you’re watching football, it’s essential to have the perfect dip on hand. When tensions are running high, you need to be able to reach your chip into a delicious dip without peeling your eyes away from the screen. You need to know it’ll be just right: gooey, satisfying, and deeply flavorful.  Okay, I admit I’m not even a big football fan I just like to look at what the players are wearing and watch the commercials but I’m certainly game for this dip.

Note: Leftovers are tasty tucked into skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts. Just slice chicken horizontally down the center until you can open it like a book. Fill with about 1 ½ tablespoons of artichoke dip, and roast in a preheated, 375°F oven until an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F, 30-35 minutes.


  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ scant teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup Romano cheese, grated
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
  • Pita, warmed and cut into wedges


Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Beat cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, onion powder, paprika and salt in a large bowl using a hand-mixer set to medium speed until fluffy and thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in Parmesan, Romano, artichokes and garlic. Spray a 9” x 13” baking pan with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly in pan. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

Place in oven and bake until heated through, bubbly and lightly browned, 30-35 minutes. Serve immediately with pita for dipping.

Superbowl Sunday is February 1st

Source: Jennifer Olvera is the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Chicago, and she has all-but tested and developed recipes since toddlehood. She writes the Sunday Supper column for Serious Eats and regularly contributes food features to Chicago Sun-Times. She can often be found tending her garden, canning and traveling to far-flung destinations, where she writes about local edibles for pubs like Los Angeles Times and




Travel/Adventure – Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a wildlife refuge with close to 800,000 acres of protected environment and unspoiled desert scenery only a one hour drive from Palm Springs.

Venus and the Moon
Venus and the Moon at Sunset
Skull Rock
Skull Rock

It’s pretty breathtaking and I’m not sure the pictures do it justice.

Two factors make the park special; the eerie, spiky Joshua trees which grow densely in the western half, and the extensive outcrops of huge granite boulders, up to 100 feet high, which line the mountain ranges scattered over the whole area.

You can see the San Andreas Fault Line from here
On a clear day you can see the San Andreas Fault Line from this location. On a really clear day you can see all the way to Mexico.

Other prime attractions are six oases where California fan palm trees grow in their natural surroundings, all reachable by trail. This is not a place just to drive through, instead visitors should explore for a while away from the roads – climb some rocks or walk amongst the trees and cacti, but most of all spend a night here and watch the sun set.  It was quite windy and cold a few days ago when three of us had a picnic lunch and enjoyed exploring the area.

The Joshuas are especially atmospheric and spooky at dusk, when their stark, irregular outlines become quite menacing.timeline1The iconic Joshua tree, the namesake of the California park, is actually a member of the lily family.  Interesting since it looks nothing like a lily.

Reflecting.  photo: Lisa King

Such a beautiful sight.  Have you been?

Photos: d. king

Health MATTERS – ingesting healthy fat like Avocados   

AVOCADOS – A Real ‘Super Foodavocado1       If you haven’t been watching the food network or dining out at trendy restaurants lately, you don’t know that Avocados are enjoying top billing on menus and chefs are coming up with creative dishes to incorporate them .  Which is great because they’re so good for you.

Avocado has sometimes received a “bad rap” as a vegetable too high in fat.

  •  While it is true that avocado is a high-fat food (about 85% of its calories come from fat), the fat contained in avocado is unusual and provides research-based health benefits. Avocados are an excellent source of “healthy fat” along with organic raw butter, coconut oil, and organic pasteurized eggs, just to name a few.
  • Like other high-fat plant foods (for example, walnuts and flaxseeds), avocado can provide us with unique health benefits precisely because of its unusual fat composition.
  • Avocados (which are actually classified as a fruit) are rich in monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. It is also very high in potassium and will help balance your vitally important potassium to sodium ratio.


  • Consider adding avocado to salads, and not only on account of taste! Recent research has shown that absorption of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—increases significantly when fresh avocado (or avocado oil) is added to an otherwise avocado-free salad. One cup of fresh avocado (150 grams) added to a salad of romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots increased absorption of carotenoids from this salad between 200-400%. This research result makes perfect sense to us because carotenoids are fat-soluble and would be provided with the fat they need for absorption from the addition of avocado. Avocado oil added to a salad accomplished this same result. Interestingly, both avocado oil and fresh avocado added to salsa increased carotenoid absorption from the salsa as well. That’s even more reason for you to try our 15-Minute Halibut with Avocado Salsa a great-tasting recipe that can help optimize your carotenoid health benefits.
  • The method you use to peel an avocado can make a difference to your health. Research has shown that the greatest concentration of carotenoids in avocado occurs in the dark green flesh that lies just beneath the skin. You don’t want to slice into that dark green portion any more than necessary when you are peeling an avocado. For this reason, the best method is what the California Avocado Commission has called the “nick and peel” method. In this method, you actually end up peeling the avocado with your hands in the same way that you would peel a banana. The first step in the nick-and-peel method is to cut into the avocado lengthwise, producing two long avocado halves that are still connected in the middle by the seed. Next you take hold of both halves and twist them in opposite directions until they naturally separate. At this point, remove the seed and cut each of the halves lengthwise to produce long quartered sections of the avocado. You can use your thumb and index finger to grip the edge of the skin on each quarter and peel it off, just as you would do with a banana skin. The final result is a peeled avocado that contains most of that dark green outermost flesh so rich in carotenoid antioxidants!

Source: (world’s healthiest foods)




Feel-good Friday: pretty & powerful

My Intuition says:20150117_121335even if these natural gemstone bracelets (designed by Shaman Sisters) which are beneficial for a multitude of reasons didn’t work, they’ll still make you feel good wearing them. Here is a sampling of what they do:

Black Tourmaline –
  • Powerful protective stone
  • Grounds energies
  • Transmutes negative energy into positive energy
  • Helps with positive thinking
  • Protects from electromagnetic frequencies from computers, cell phones etc.
Labradorite –
  • Powerful protective stone
  • Enhances psychic abilities
  • Increases self confidence
  • Inspires creativity
  • Regulates metabolism
  • Chakras – Sacral, throat, crown
Tigers Eye –
  • Attracts good luck
  • Increases manifesting
  • Balances emotions
  • Helps release fear
  • Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras
  • Grounds energies
Magnesite Turquoise –
  • Opens heart Chakra
  • Calming stone
  • Assists with headaches and migraines
  • Enhances psychic abilities
  • Crown Chakra

20150117_122903Bracelets stretch over your wrist. Comes smudged with sage and charged with healing energy.  Includes silk pouch.  SOLD!

To purchase and view whole collection:

*Shaman Sisters is passionate about women’s empowerment and transformation, a percentage of every purchase is donated to women’s shelters.

Nice touch ladies!

photos: d. king

Beauty– velvet or satin?

NARS lip pencils in rich VELVET Matte or creamy SATIN lip

Warning: you can become addicted

20150120_103030The application of a lipstick combined with the convenience of a pencil in a jumbo crayon design.  Which kid like me doesn’t love drawing with crayons right?

The result is long-lasting (more for the matte shades), non-drying and enriched with emollients for a creamy texture.  Use for lining, all-over lip color, or pair with another lip product.  Enriched with vitamin E.

François Nars

“I wanted to create a modern way to wear a very classic lip.  The creaminess of the texture makes them very easy to use.”


For a sophisticated look with intense shades that won’t dry out your lips.


A modern, long-wearing, vitamin-enriched formula in a jumbo pencil format to provide great wear and intense color with a satin finish.

Key Benefits:

* High-impact intense colour

* Convenient, easy and precise application

Price: Canada $31  US $25

The *two universally flattering shades shown in the photo were a birthday gift from Sephora. Thank you.  photo: d. king

*Matte in Cruella & Satin in Rikugien