Life/Style – Doggy Style

It’s at times like this that I wish I had a second dog.  Specifically a Chihuahua.dog7  A cute little female that I could dress up like I used to do with my Siamese cross-dresser cat when I was a child okay, a teenager.  I could have started the whole trend.  He was a fully grown male that looked like a baby wearing a pink bonnet and frilly dress (taken from my doll collection).  He didn’t seem to mind. dog1dog2

Fast forward to last Saturday when I strolled around Yaletown and discovered barking babies for the very first time – a lifestyle store for the hip and canine.  Of course it’s hip, it’s in Yaletown.

If I had brought my mid size sheltie along he would have come across like a bull in a china shop with all the dainty little doggies
dragged in by their Lululemon wearing owners.


dog4 - Copy

So definitely, yes, I can see myself shopping here on occasion.


And I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time before the designers have full blown seasonal canine runway shows.  Can’t you picture it?  I wonder what the resort collection would look like.


This is a BIG business. People treat dogs like children. There’s a theory that people who dress up their dogs miss having actual babies?  Do you think that’s true?


Photos: d. king


Food: basic but not boring – banana bread

Every single coffee shop offers this. BANANA BREAD has to be one of the all time comfort loaves to accompany afternoon tea.  It’s not quite a cake, not quite a bread and not really considered a conventional dessert but it’s always reliably satisfying and somewhat healthy as far as sweet things go.  Make sure you use ripe bananas – it makes all the difference.

So here’s a great classic to start withWhat you need:               

 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1/3 cup of unsalted butter at room temp.

2/3 cup sugar (I use organic cane)

2 eggs, well beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (roughly 3)

1 tsp. or more of lemon zest


Heat oven to 350F

Sift first 4 ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda and salt)

In separate bowl beat butter (adding a bit of the egg will make it easier to blend), add sugar a bit at a time beating after each addition.  Beat in the rest of the eggs.

Slowly add flour mixture, alternately with banana beating smooth after each addition.

Turn into greased 9” x 5” X 3” loaf pan.  Bake in moderate oven of 350 approx. 1 hour 10 min. or until done and toothpick inserted comes out clean.


You can vary this recipe by using a bit less banana and adding some fruit like raspberries or blueberries.

Or; you can omit the lemon zest and add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

with dark chocolate chips, candied ginger & almond – my favourite.

Try chopped up candied ginger chopped almonds and/or some organic almond extract with the chocolate.

It freezes well and is always a good thing to have on hand for unexpected guests.

ART: ANDY WARHOL – A Different Idea of LOVE

EXTENDED: Please see recent UPDATE at bottom of page.

Vancouver, March 1 – 30th.


A Warhol public ‘pop-up’ exhibition was held for the first time in Vancouver at a Yaletown warehouse and presented by MAISON AI, and Revolver Gallery Beverly Hills, in association with Christie’s, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. It was a compilation of never (or rarely) before seen works from the private collection of Ron Rivlin, a Los Angeles businessman.  Many of them were for sale.  It was fascinating and it was free.warhol9
Can’t believe I Almost missed it! 
If it was not for a very good friend of mine (one who knows how much I love Warhol) who attended an opening reception and told me all about it,  I might not have known because I was out of town and then engrossed in other matters until the very last day. But better late than never.  I would have been upset to have missed such a captivating exhibit.  warhol1 Warhol2warhol12

I’ve always been fascinated with all things Warhol.  I made a pilgrimage to “the factory” on one of my many visits to New York in the early 80’s to try to locate him.  I had imagined we might hang out, maybe take polaroids of each other and talk movie star gossip.  How fitting since he made a silkscreen portrait of Ingrid Bergman (as a nun from the movie The Bells of St. Mary’s) and I worked for her daughter (Isabella Rossellini) for a little while.  On that same trip I met Liza Minnelli (the daughter of Judy Garland and another Warhol subject) at Elaine’s restaurant.  He loved glamour and I know he had a thing for shoes so we already had at least three things in common. Plus I had a subscription to Interview magazine and loved the photographs. Well Warhol wasn’t there but other people were so I got to hang out a bit and get a tiny glimpse into his world.  At least just enough to satisfy my curiosity.  He was pretty out there.warhol3

Mick Jagger
Mick Jagger
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda

At the exhibit, Chris Dohm, the owner of Maison AI, apologized for the lighting which made it a bit difficult to take photos because of the glare. Even so, I was satisfied to get some pretty good shots for the blog nonetheless.  I left feeling good and happy that here in Vancouver we were lucky to get this one of a kind presentation from such a gifted artist. warhol15

Truman Capote
Truman Capote


And if you missed it, what a shame!  This city should offer more presentations of this calibre.

*UPDATE: due to the overwhelming interest, the WARHOL – A
Different Idea of Love selling exhibition will continue through to the 28th of April.
Hours are as follows:
Friday afternoons 4pm to 8pm*
Saturdays & Sundays 1pm to 5pm*

Tuesday to Friday, 11am to 4pm*
Please contact:
Serious inquiries only

Closed Mondays and Public Holidays, including Good Friday.*possible early closings for private event.

BUYING WARHOLChristie’s Amelia Manderscheid (Head of eCommerce Channel, Post-War & Contemporary Art) will be at the AI PROJECTS space this Saturday, April 4th from 2pm to 5pm, to answer questions about buying Warhol and contemporary art.

Great, you get another chance.  Don’t miss it!

contemplating…unconditional love

Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves.  It’s akin to having had the love of good parents (lucky me).

I saw this on a wall & it made me think
I saw this on a wall & it made me think

I was running with a friend when me came across this wall graffiti.  We were just talking about doing the best we can to look after ourselves in terms of working out and our overall health.  Because in actuality how can we wholly give ourselves to another person without being in tip-top shape mentally and physically ourselves?  Or at least trying to?

“No matter how many times she was told that she was loved, there was no recognition that the proof was in the abandonment.” – Markus Zusak, The Book Thiefunconditional2

“There must be a stronger foundation than mere friendship or sexual attraction. Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstances. ” -Stephen Kendrick, The Love DareuncondloveIf you want loyalty and unconditional love just get a dog. 

What do you think?

Health MATTERS – the nontraditional approach

Health and Lifestyle Choicesmedicine1 Do you ever get mixed up between the different types of non traditional health approaches such as alternative vs complementary vs integrative?

Dr. Oz says yes, but it’s subtle so people tend to use the words interchangeably and incorrectly.  Your simple shortcut guide to what’s what according to Oz:

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE –  any type of non-mainstream therapy or medication used in place of conventional Western treatment.  Example: Acupuncture may be used instead of a prescription pain med for, say, chronic migraines, or in place of hormone therapy for menopause symptoms.medicine2 - Copy

COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE (does not mean free) – Nontraditional treatments that are used in tandem with – non in place of – conventional Western medicine therapies. Example: A cancer patient gets acupuncture to alleviate the nausea caused by chemotherapy.

INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE (IM) – A comprehensive plan that combines approaches (both Western and non-Western) to care for a patient’s overall well-being – body, mind, and spirit.  IM plans are generally designed to help the body prevent illness or heal itself. Example: At the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine, for instance, practitioners use a range of therapies, from Chinese herbs and acupuncture to traditional Western medicine.

Have you tried any of these approaches?  Care to share?


Feel-good Friday: humming right along

The incredible lightness of being – that’s THE HUMMINGBIRD.bird1 - Copy

Beautiful, delicate, swift, changing direction quickly and smoothly, gliding seemingly from one place to another. bird2 I’ve always loved hummingbirds and they’ve entered into my life from time to time when my spirit is in need of a little lift.  You can’t help but enjoy their presence, everything seems light and bright whenever they appear.  I have been drawn to them, and they to me. They have emerged in some strange places (like right inside my camper van in the desert at Dead Horse Canyon, Utah) and in strange ways (flapping around my head in Jamaica with no nest or feeder in sight) and more recently to some feeders in Palm Canyon, California.  I decided to look up the spiritual meaning of hummingbirds.bird3

Hummingbird Meaning

The Hummingbird is the joyful messenger and a symbol of health.  When a hummingbird appears, healing will follow.

The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. Additional symbolic meanings are:

  • Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
  • Being more present
  • Independence
  • Bringing playfulness and joy in your life
  • Lifting up negativity
  • Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
  • Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly

When the hummingbird shows up in your life, it may be an invitation to flex your path, perhaps even bending backward or forward, in order to accommodate life’s circumstances. You may be required to adapt to a situation that is a bit more demanding than usual. The wisdom carried by this spirit animal emphasizes flexibility and lightness in your approach to the unexpected.  Oh; I get it.bird4

Photos: d. king                                                                                                                     (click to enlarge)

beauty: Best in BALM

SUPER SEVEN!  Exotic, Organic beauty.  Paraben + Cruelty Free.   It’s called Divine Balm by SkinsoDivine.


Why?  Because it’s a special 3 in 1 *balm which contains seven superstar ingredients rich in moisture and vitamins to help smooth and soften the skin on your eyes, lips and cuticles.  A divine selection even if I say so myself.

Why should I say so myself?  Hmmm…seems like forever that I’ve been trying to formulate what I believe to be the most effective of all balms.  The balm of balms. I’ve tried out so many different concoctions to get it right. And of course at first I had to get some extremely picky friends (but then again most of my friends are unbelievably picky) to try it out and give me their totally honest feedback.  I’m very happy with the results.  There are three other products in the line all made with 100% nourishing natural oils for all skin types, even those who suffer from rosacea.  Having said that, I will be the first to admit that anyone can have an allergic reaction to any single ingredient so it’s best to read what is in each product first.  I have sensitive skin and it works for me.

Yes, these are my products but I wasn’t even going to tell anyone that I formulated them myself because I don’t want to appear like I’m pushing my own line.  But it seems that many bloggers are doing exactly that.  They either have something of their own to sell or they promote other people’s products.  And while I’m comfortable talking about and helping to promote other products and things I believe in then why shouldn’t I talk about my own? I guess because I’m a bit uncomfortable with doing so and it doesn’t come naturally.  But I’ve also been researching and sourcing the best oils from all over the world (for the individual products) so all I can say is that if you are at all interested in checking out the Skin so Divine product line please do so at the link below.  If you feel like purchasing anything (or the complete line) and decide you don’t like it or it’s not working for you within 30 days then send it back and I will refund your money.  Guaranteed. Whew!  That wasn’t so hard after all.  Here’s what is in it:

1) Soybean Oil – one of the major benefits of soy oil is that it’s a very good oil for protecting skin from UV rays. Soy oil helps to cure skin damage and gives it a healthy glow.  It is a rich source of linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid. It contains B vitamins along with Vitamin E and Vitamin K. In addition the Vitamin E in soybean oil keeps the skin smooth and healthy.

2) Jojoba Oil (native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico) – One big bonus is that it contains almost all of the vitamins and minerals essential for healthy skin: vitamin E, B-complex, copper, zinc, selenium, iodine, and chromium. And it’s even gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin without causing allergic reactions.

3) Rosehip Seed Oil (Chile) – is high in linoleic acids, vitamin C and Vitamin A (retinol). It will help to regenerate tissue and eliminate wrinkles, fine lines & sun damage. It actually deserves a whole post of its own (coming up I promise).  A little gossip…it wasn’t until former Victoria’s Secret Angel Miranda Kerr name dropped it as the secret to her radiant complexion that we decided to further explore this oil.

4) Carrot Seed Oil (obtained from wild carrots which are usually found in Europe) – is high in antioxidants and will help protect your skin from environmental assaults like UV rays & pollution.  It has an amazing ability to rejuvenate the skin and stimulate cell growth and repair damaged skin. While it can’t turn back time, it can help you look younger and more radiant.

5) Kukui Nut Oil (Hawaii) – is fortified with essential fatty acids, Vitamins A, C, E and antioxidants.  Also rich in Linoleic  acid – an omega fatty acid that your skin will devour. Kukui nut oil also works well as an under eye treatment for the prevention and softening of crow’s feet.

6) Sea buckthorn Oil (Tibet)  is loaded with antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, and studies show that these two nutrient powerhouses can prevent wrinkles. Of the essential omega fatty acids found in Sea Buckthorn, one of the main moisturizing essential fatty acids is Omega 7 palmitoleic acid. Palmitoleic Acid (Omega-7) is a natural component of skin. It is considered a valuable topical agent in treating burns and healing wounds.

7) Shea Butter (Africa) –  is very rich in fatty acids as well as Vitamins A and E. Applied on the skin, it intensely hydrates and soothes the skin as well as helping to restore the natural skin barrier.  Good to prevent black under eye circles.

*A balm has a different consistency than a cream or lotion, it’s more of a thicker ointment that glides on easily and sinks right in.

Do you use an eye or lip balm?  If so, what do you recommend?



style – chic speak!

How many times have you said a designers name incorrectly?

Christian Louboutin
Christian Louboutin


To help you not ever make that mistake again here is a list of famous designers with names that many of us (but not me) have difficulty properly pronouncing.


They make beautiful things, the least we can do is get their names right.


click to enlarge
click to enlarge
Chanel S/S 2015
Chanel S/S 2015

designer5You’re fashionably welcome.

Food: cookbooks – the next generation

We’re looking at a few ways of eating that are all the rage these days.

Classic cookbooks like Betty Crocker, Julia Child and The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking are handed down through generations and are still unprecedented references to go by.  But our lifestyle has changed and along with it our ways of eating too.20150315_122106 - CopyI still enjoy a good old fashioned breakfast on occasion…like once a week.  A break from granola & yogurt.  Except now I spread avocado in place of jam on toast and fresh fruit on homemade waffles.  Well it’s a start.

No longer banned from the food pyramid, (good) fats are now seen as keys to weight loss.
No longer banned from the food pyramid, (good) fats are now seen as keys to weight loss.

20150320_132823 - Copy - Copy

I don’t know what appeals to you but let’s have a look at some of the new age cookbooks as seen on Flipboard.

The paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet—i.e. food you might have foraged or killed.
The paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet—i.e. food you might have foraged or killed.
Move over, kale. There's a new darling on plates, and they call her quinoa.
Move over, kale. There’s a new darling on plates, and they call her quinoa.  (Keen-wah)
Health concerns aside, many people say a gluten-free diet just makes them feel better. Read
Health concerns aside, many people say a gluten-free diet just makes them feel better.
Over a thousand (!) articles and recipes about whole foods, vegetarianism and veganism.
Over a thousand (!) articles and recipes about whole foods, vegetarianism and veganism.
 LOCAVORE A magazine that seeks to strengthen your connection with food, culture and the land.

A magazine that seeks to strengthen your connection with food, culture and the land.

A new study (ha!) out of California’s Loma Linda University found that vegetarians live longer and were especially less likely to die of heart disease than carnivores.  The studies found that the mortality rate of meat eaters was as much as 19 percent higher than that of self-identified vegetarians, and the effect was significantly greater for men than for women.  The Loma Linda studies showed an even longer lifespan for pesco-vegetarians, or those who included fish in their diets.

Until the verdict is in, meat eaters would do well to eat ample servings of fruits and veggies, limit intake of red and processed meats, eat fish often, and consume fewer calories overall.  Vegetarians should find ways to get plenty of protein, iron, calcium, zinc, B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are often lacking in meatless dishes.

So, which category do you fall into?

Source: Flipboard for cookbook photos & New study by Kellee Katagi for Natural Choices.

breakfast photos: d. king



ART/Abstract Attraction

ABSTRACT ART Does anyone know enough about it – are we supposed to?

Hans Hofmann
Painting: Hans Hofmann

 My appreciation for abstract has grown through the years.  I certainly do not confess to know anything about it other than a strange attraction to its form, colour and content even though it appears to be convoluted to some degree.  It makes you question what it means and wonder just what the artist’s intentions were.  After all, a tree is a tree for all to see.  Abstractally speaking, do you see something totally different to what the artist intended you to.  Does it matter?  What if we just admire the piece for what it is…whatever it is.  Which brings me once more to a former question – what makes good art?

I can only surmise that if it moves you then it must be good art.  Abstract art is sometimes misunderstood, but that, ironically, is what makes it beautiful. Abstract art is art in its purest form. Below is a brief history of abstract art and an easy-to-understand, layman’s introduction to the term. And a beautiful way of expressing the form.

“Experiencing Life Through Painting”

Courtesy, Art by Mona.

Most art produced today can be said to be abstract art and, in fact, that has been the case for more than 100 years. The development of photography in the late 19th century and its evolution today have freed artists from the obligation to recreate “picture perfect” paintings that reflected reality precisely. And that has given birth to the everlasting abstract art revolution. Artists today are no longer expected, nor do most even desire, to simply paint what their eyes see. Instead, they paint their interpretations of what they see, and that is abstract art. This lack of objectivity means that today’s art is often complicated and easily misunderstood. But, for the art lover willing to spend time studying paintings for their subtle merits and messages, abstract art is endlessly exciting.

Abstract art is best compared to poetry or literature. Rather than to simply report the facts, the way a piece of non-fiction does, a good poem gives much more: it reveals the writers attitudes and feelings towards what he is writing. Abstract art does much the same. By experimenting with shades of colors that would not necessarily be found together in nature, an abstract art painter can portray moods that would not be seen in a painting that attempted to create a scene realistically. Just the way, say, the legendary writer Edgar Allan Poe took great care to choose every word of his poems and stories to evoke a constant feeling of horror, a good abstract art painter can choose every brush stroke and every color to conjure a specific emotion. This is what makes abstract art, perhaps, the purest form of art. It captures, as many scholars and critics have noted, all that it means to be human.

Art by MonaAbstract art, despite its beauty and excitement, can be difficult to interpret (just as some poems are), and that leads to frustration among many viewers. Often, for example, novice viewers will stroll through a museum filled with abstract art and marvel at what appears to be paint simply splashed thoughtlessly on canvas after canvas. “Gee, I can do that,” the uninitiated might be heard to mumble under their breath.

Eventually, though, the novice art lover will come to understand that, even the most amateurish looking of masterpieces, are, underneath the service, elaborate, master-crafted works of art. The artist has carefully chosen every drop of paint to evoke a certain feeling and express a certain attitude. Sometimes the feelings and attitudes can be directed toward a specific thing, but often, they are simply evoked for their own sake. Only abstract art, for example, can make a viewer feel happy (or sad or frightened or angry) without providing anything concrete to be happy (or sad or frightened or angry) about. A bright yellow painting with plenty of pink, green and light blue brush strokes strategically arranged can brighten up anyone’s day – even if those brush strokes represent nothing in particular.

Abstract art, like nothing else, helps us all to experience everything that it means to be alive.

So, do you agree with Mona?  I do.  Except for the part about amateurish looking paintings which are not master-crafted works at all.  Remember what Matisse said: “everybody is sensitive to art, but that doesn’t mean that they are capable of making it.”

Source: German born Monika Heckenbach (known best simply as Mona) has created hundreds of inspiring paintings that are on display in private residences and galleries across the globe.