beauty: Anti anti-aging!

Are you as tired as I am of hearing all the buzz surrounding anti-aging marketing?

All the advertising in magazines, newspapers and the internet implies that most of us are not content to imagesage gracefully.

While this advertising is aimed at women primarily, lots of men are paying attention too, but I find the ads are misleading. No product on earth should make these claims unless they can actually back it up with proven research (without those cheesy re-touched before & after pictures).  How many of them can?

It’s not so much the fact of getting older but rather, looking older. If there was a magic pill to turn back the clock I’m sure everyone would take it.  In the meantime, and eventually, aging is going to happen – deal with it! The notion that age can and should be transcended underlies an industry that has profits in the billions in the United States alone. Paired with the spending power and consumer habits of a characteristically youth-oriented generation, the search for a means of taking control of and ultimately conquering age has been met with a surge in available products and procedures to meet this demand.

Photo: huffington post-uk
Photo: huffington

While I’m not against those who opt for plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures, the numbers of those choosing to have them frighten me.

How about good old natural measures? We can age gracefully and stay youthful depending on how well we treat ourselves and our surrounding environment.  What about using common sense and doing the best we can to stay strong and healthy.  What we should most be concerned about is avoiding stress. If you have a lot of stress it will age you faster than anything.

Naturally good genes are a bonus, but you can eat well, exercise in moderation, try to get enough sleep, don’t drink too much, be nice to yourself, treat others well, find humour in life and use good products. (My conscience tells me not to use those tested on animals)  There is no compromising in these areas. Not only will you feel better but it will make you look good on the outside too.

Some skincare products can help prevent further wrinkles from forming and certain vitamins can help further the aging process but they can’t do all the work. You have to work together.  But no matter what you do, the facts show that having a lot of stress (which we all do at times) in life weakens your system and in turn can contribute to sickness and aging. I suppose this is where meditation comes in handy (for those who know how to do it properly) and taking time out for yourself.

I don’t think anyone truly has all the answers but for me personally I find taking a long walk in fresh air helps to clear up thinking.  Lately I’ve gone back to yoga (or semi-yoga, semi-workout since I’ve been breaking out a sweat) classes to help me work on my “core” issues. Seeing the results makes me feel better and makes me want to continue to get in the best shape I possibly can.  Listening to music while cooking is another relaxer and dancing is always lots of fun.  Anything that lifts your spirits is good for you. Shouldn’t we be concentrating on that.

mind you, there's something about his ad I like
Speaking of lifting your spirits, there’s something about this ad I like

What do you do to look after yourself?


style – the latest SCOOP for Spring

Spring Fashion is popping up all over SCOOP, Vancouver’s favourite pop-up shop.1-carousel

So what could be better than perusing the aisles while listening to music played by a deejay with a glass of bubbly in hand? That’s what happened when I attended their blogger evening last week at the South Granville Location.scoop2 - CopyWhat used to be a rather small operation for up to six weeks at a time has turned out to be two store locations for all seasons. At present, Scoop is open for 6-8 weeks at certain times of the year. Those times being Spring/Summer and November/December.scoop3

Owner Deb Nichol strives to keep each of the Scoop locations fresh and exciting by creating a bit of a buzz surrounding the night before each opening so it’s always a surprise.scoop4The thing about Scoop is that there’s so much turnover of merchandise that each time you set foot inside you find something different. They source merchandise and get inspiration by traveling to places like New York, LA, Vegas, Atlanta and Toronto. Besides clothing, they offer jewellery, cards, candles and wall hangings. If you don’t scoop up something fast you may never see it again. Then again, I did come across a pair of linen pants I once purchased that they brought back the following year. Must have been a popular item. Normally I don’t want to see something repeated, but in this case I wanted another pair anyway so it was a good thing.



The Latest Scoop on S. Granville – 2928 Granville St.

The Latest Scoop in West Vancouver – 2470 Marine Dr.

Food & Wine – California Wine Fair

“I wish they all could be California Wines”

To SIP and to SAVOUR
To SIP and to SAVOUR

The 35th annual California Wine Fair Ballroom Tasting is the largest tasting of its kind in Vancouver.  I attended “The Arts Club” hosted event (in partnership with the Wine Institute of California) last night from what I can recall at the Vancouver Convention Centre.  This was one of three California wine-inspired fundraisers taking place this month.

The Prisoner - a favourite
A rep holds up The Prisoner – a favourite

As much as I would have like to, I couldn’t possibly have sampled all of the 350 wines from over 100 highly-regarded wineries that participated.  I might have managed about half of that.  Among the classic labels with interesting vintages, there were new favourites from an abundance of family run and boutique operations.winefair2

One of particular interest is Dancing Coyote, a family owned & operated old-world style vineyard located in a beautiful stretch of land in California’s Clarksburg appellation.  They’ve been farming in the Delta region along the Sacramento River for five generations. They make a wonderul Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah.

I really enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek Vineyard Inc.  No wonder, as their Director of Export explained to me that they were the very first winery to plant the grapes in the Dry Creek Valley area, in 1972.  The Cabernet Sauvignon is excellent too.

Chateau St. Jean is a winery that is known for always producing exceptional wines.  An interesting tidbit: their winemaker, Margo Van Staaveren was the first woman to win winemaker of the year in 2010 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine which helped to put Sonoma on the map.

Forgive me if I've Zinned too much lately
I’ve Zinned & loved it!

While I don’t discriminate against any great wine growing region, I have a special affinity for these wines because of having been to many of the vineyards while traveling through California. Places like Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Monterey, Lodi & Temecula.   I can tell you one thing, the choices are getting broader for which wines will go with which dishes. I also love hearing the stories about how the wineries got their names.

These wine makers work with great care and passion to product wonderful vintages which keep getting better and better.  All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable sipping and mingling evening.  I hope to attend again next year.

Have you been?

Art/Nature – GREEN PORNO

The iconic Isabella Rossellini was in Vancouver to perform her provocatively acclaimed and comedic one-woman show Green PornoGreenPorno-Sold-Out-1200x590at a sold out, one night only performance Saturday night at the Vancouver Playhouse.  Presented by The Vancouver PuSh Festival and the Italian Cultural Centre.

Green Porno, explores the fascinating sex lives of land and sea creatures. C’mon, tell me you haven’t ever wondered? Encouraged by actor-filmmaker Robert Redford (who is tremendously supportive of experimental, independent films and very interested in nature), Green Porno was originally a popular web series for the Sundance Channel. Green Porno featured Rossellini live on stage discussing and acting out the scientifically accurate reproductive habits of marine animals and insects in an extremely entertaining manner.  The opportunity to learn about the mating habits of some creatures which aim to astonish anyone.

I am personally fascinated by the femme fatale of all insects –the female praying mantisShe always devours the male after mating, sometimes even during if she can’t waitI can understand this if he doesn’t please her and his services are no longer required; but must this always happen?

Rossellini exposes the intricate and often surprising reproductive rituals of the natural world—from pachyderms (very large mammals with thick skin, like an elephant or rhino) to bugs (no need to explain) to shed light on the fragile balance of our ecological future, to which humans are inextricably linked. From stage, Rossellini delivered a riveting presentation with props, costumes and remarkable wit and charm, accompanied by her Green Porno short films.

I had the opportunity of catching up with the glowing Rossellini at a reception following her performance

I asked how her daughter Elettra was doing. No surprise to find out she’s a successful New York model (discovered by Bruce Weber), and has a very interesting food blog (which I will talk about soon, since this blog is about Isabella’s show). But I can’t stop…In 2014, Elettra hosted the first ever Live Stream of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala.  She’s founded a charity called “*One Frickin Day” for which she won the “Young Environmentalist Award” in 2011, among other things. I am so impressed by everything this woman is setting out to accomplish or already has. Needless to say, her mother is very proud.

I found out that my green porno name is “Black Widow” (be careful, I bite!)

Rossellini’s films include Blue Velvet (a personal favourite), Cousins (filmed in Vancouver), Immortal Beloved, The Saddest Music in the World and many more.  She was the face of Lancôme Cosmetic Company for 14 years and had a modelling career that lasted for 25 years. Isabella was recently seen in the romantic comedy Late Bloomers.  She’s still blooming.

*A charity aimed at equipping PIH clinics (Partners in Health) throughout the third world with solar power via another partner, Solar Electric Light Fund.

Contemplating the Conscious

Being conscientious means you have a conscious.  If everyone listened to their conscious it would likely be a better world.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity – Martin Luther King, Jr.

And it is only through constant training that the two can learn how to work together.  From THE HAPPY SHOW.
There are two kinds of artists in this world; those that work because the spirit is in them, and they cannot be silent if they would, and those that speak from a conscientious desire to make apparent to others the beauty that has awakened their own admiration – Anna Katharine Green (American poet and novelist).
 Then there’s pre-consciousness. Freud‘s original German term for the preconscious was das Vorbewusste.  He claimed:

“If consciousness is then the sum total of everything of which we are aware, pre-consciousness is the reservoir of everything we can remember, all that is accessible to voluntary recall: the storehouse of memory. This leaves the unconscious area of mental life to contain all the more primitive drives and impulses influencing our actions without our necessarily ever becoming fully aware of them, together with every important constellation of ideas or memories with a strong emotional charge, which have at one time been present in consciousness but have since been repressed so that they are no longer available to it, even through introspection or attempts at memory.”

Health & Happiness MATTER – How Happy Are You?

The writing is on the walls…literally.  Scribbled all over the MOV’s latest exhibit.  

I am usually rather bored with DEFINITIONS
I am usually rather bored with DEFINITIONS
why? will that add to my happiness?
Why? wouldn’t that work against happiness?

Health, wealth and happiness (usually signed on cards) are the three best wishes in the world but only one of those wishes are we able to be more in control of.  

I think mine stopped at 9
I’m leaving room for improvement

If you could rate your overall happiness on a scale between 1 and 10 (10 being the highest score), what would it be? If you were given a post-it note to write down what makes you happy, what would you write?  If you had to choose your happiest activity (besides having sex) what would you do?

You might be surprised to find out that attending a religious service ranked higher than having sex, according to a happiness graph meter at the Museum of Vancouver’s (MOV) latest exhibit appropriately entitled “THE HAPPY SHOW.”

Not being the religious type, I was surprised but not totally shocked since happiness means different things to different people.  Although when it comes to relationships with other people like family and friends, it seems we are all the same in rating it highest for personal happiness.

the screen changes while you pedal the stationery bike.
the screen changes while you pedal the stationery bike.

I was happy to be inside the MOV on an unpredictable Vancouver day that had periods of rain, hail and everything else in between.  Snippets of happiness include gumballs and ginger candy which were at the exhibit and made everything better.  This show is interesting, introspective, interactive and informative However, the exhibit will not make you happier or take away any anxieties.  A couple of hours spent there flew by so quickly.

If you're happy and you know it write a note
If you’re happy and you know it write a note

The exhibit reflects a 10-year exploration of happiness by award-winning designer, Stefan Sagmeister.  Sagmeister’s clients include HBO, the Rolling Stones (he designed album covers for them among other groups) and the Guggenheim Museum.  He has also delivered several popular and disarming TED talks, a few of which you can watch and listen to (with headphones) at this exhibit.  You will also get a sneak peek at the soon-to-be-released documentary, The Happy Film  (depicting experiments with meditation, cognitive therapy and mood-altering pharmaceuticals) which I will definitely go do see.happy2

A few interactive tidbits:

My friend and I were looking at a graph that indicated the happiness levels of those who were single, to those who were married or in a relationship. It claimed that men, if given the complete freedom to do exactly as they please, would do exactly as they please (surprise, surprise). A woman standing right behind me sighed and said “so true; my husband left me for my best friend.” She was on the low end of the happiness meter.happy8

Then while reading a wall that said the ancient Indian Sanskrit language contains sixteen words for happiness, while German includes none…..a man visiting from Germany standing right behind me said that that’s not true.  The German language apparently has three words and he wrote them down for me.  glücklich (happy), freude (which actually means pleasure) and frohlich (merry).  So I learned three German words today which mean almost the same thing – which made me somewhat happier to know.happy9

 I highly recommend this show which runs April 23 to Sept. 7happy3

In closing, it might seem crazy what I’m about to say but the link below is bound to give you a HAPPY lift:images (1)

We had to pick a random card.  My chosen card told me to try to make a stranger in the museum smile.  Does laughing count?

Photos: d. king

Feel-good Friday: Poetry in Motion

The next time someone tells you to go fly a kite “does anyone still say that?”

d. king - Kits Point
d. king – Kits Point

just do it!

A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;
because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.

A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won’t give up,
or the wind die down.

A kite is the last poem you’ve written
so you give it to the wind,
but you don’t let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.”                                                                                                  – Leonard Cohen, The Spice Box of Earth

Speaking about flying high & feeling good:

It’s nearly time to raise a glass at the ever popular California Wine Fair featuring award-winning vintners , happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Monday, April 27. The fair is presented in partnership with California Wine, an organization not only committed to showcasing the fine wines of the Golden State, but also giving back to the communities.  Meet you there!

beauty – Divine Skincare

I’m very pleased to announce the launch of my new skincare lineSkin so Divine.skinsodivine - Copy - Copymakeup1It’s been in the works for many months being tested and approved by people of all ages with all sorts of different complexions and skin types.  I wanted to make sure it was fit for sale before announcing it on my blog.  It’s been meticulously but lovingly formulated and re-formulated to finally acquire the perfection it has now become. Yes, I’m aware of the multitude of products out there and have probably tried hundreds of them myself.  From Crème De La Mer to Dr. Hauschka,  you name it!  There are many good ones on the market.

What makes these any better?  It’s my personal choice to want to create something completely natural and effective from scratch using high quality ingredients that are proven to be beneficial. I’m pretty picky – that’s all.natural1

About Skin so Divine:

The ingredients used to create these four products were sourced from the world’s finest from my various travels. I’m always curious wherever I go to find out what local natural products women with beautiful skin are using.  For instance in Brazil I discovered (well apparently I wasn’t the first one) the benefits of Maracuja oil. Maracuja oil contains 72.6 % linoleic acid, which is an omega- 6 fatty acid. This data comes from just one source. This makes maracuja oil undoubtedly one of the best sources of linoleic acid on earth.  In Hawaii it was Kukui Nut Oil (This oil contains vitamins A, C, and E) and in Africa it was Pure Unrefined Organic Shea Butter which now many other skincare lines are incorporating into their product line but you have to make sure you get the right kind.  The face oil contains Baobab Oil from Africa. If you haven’t heard of it, the baobab is the most intriguing and probably the best known tree in Africa.  It is often referred to as the “upside-down” tree which can have a lifespan of up to 6,000 years.  Of course this doesn’t mean that if you use this oil you’ll live longer but the oil from this tree contains nearly equal amounts of saturated (33%), mono-unsaturated (36%) and poly-unsaturated (31%) fatty acids, and the essential linoleic acid is of special interest.

I found a great supplier for Camelia Oil which is made from the seeds of actual green tea and has outstanding moisture and emollient properties. It has been used for centuries for beautifying purposes by women in China and Japan. Geishas of Kyoto used to moisturize their skin and hair with this Camelia oil. Enough said! Samurai used to wipe their swords with the oil to protect it from rusting and corrosion, which is early evidence of its excellent antioxidant qualities. This is assurance that your face won’t rust.  I had to say this. It penetrates skin as fast as water, leaving it supple and hydrated. The oil contains mono-saturated essential fatty acids and very high in oleic acid (Omega 9 fatty acid). Camellia oil contains vitamins, A, B, and E and  Squalene, which is a natural component of human sebum. With age the deficiency of squalene results in dry skin, premature aging and wrinkles. So applying just a few drops of camellia seed oil replenishes this deficiency, protecting, nourishing and moisturizing skin.

Some of the other exotic oils used are Rosehip Seed, Sea Buckthorn and good old Coconut.  Some old standbys like Avocado, Jojoba and Apricot Kernel even out the line.

Many of these oils you have already heard of, now that they’ve gone mainstream but that doesn’t make them any less effective.  Some are easy to buy (like Lavender) and others are more difficult (like good carrot seed oil) and quite expensive (like Frankincense).  Some smell incredible (like Jasmine).  I enjoy the whole process.  I’m not looking to change the marketplace, just want to find my niche within the market and hope other women, like me will appreciate something simple, straightforward but rich in quality.skinsodivine - Copy - Copy (2)

What makes these products unique:

The Divine Makeup Remover is not only 100% natural but it will remove all your makeup (even waterproof mascara) gently, quickly and efficiently.  It’s a complete makeup remover to be used all over your face including eye area.

The Divine Facial Mist is beautifully hydrating, uplifting and smells heavenly.  It doubles as a toner (which you can use to remove any extra makeup remover if you feel like it).

The Divine Facial Oil is just that!  Use it alone at night after cleaning & spraying your face or in conjunction with your daytime moisturizer with SPF.  I like to mix a little with my daytime tinted moisturizer that has SPF.

The Divine Balm is the closest thing to a miracle product that I’ve come across so far (even if I dare say so myself). It completely melts into the skin around your eyes, lips and cuticles.  I even put it on my eyelashes before bedtime and sometimes during the day instead of mascara (just use your eyelash curler right after).

The products, even though completely natural do not have to be kept in your fridge.  Just try to keep them away from direct heat or sunlight.  A cooler dark place (like your bathroom cabinet or in the bedroom) is best.  For the time being they are being sold exclusively online.

And remember, you can be allergic to anything in any product, natural or otherwise.  Look at the ingredient listing to make sure.

SHOP page on blogsite:

Style: Glamming up Gingham

When I think of gingham the first things that come to mind are usually old fashioned picnic table cloths and quaint Italian restaurants and the frock Dorothy wore from the Wizard of Oz (one of my & my mom’s favourite movies of all time). gingham2Then I came across these photos of Audrey Hepburn and Jane Fonda and these women look stylish & glamorous.
The fabric that’s been around forever and is more cutesy than sexy, is getting a makeover.

Diane von Furstenberg, Altuzarra and Michael Kors were all inspired to show gingham on their Spring 2015 runways, collectively creating the pattern's renaissance in the fashion world.
Diane von Furstenberg, Altuzarra and Michael Kors were all inspired to show gingham on their Spring 2015 runways, collectively creating the pattern’s renaissance in the fashion world.
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall

It’s been showing up on designer runways and on everything from cropped pants to suits and dresses. For me, the best way to wear it would be a little bit of fabric here and there like on the heel of a pair of shoes or on a shirt (which seems farm girl style when worn with jeans).

Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner

But these photos are giving us a few more ideas of ways to incorporate it into a wardrobe. From the photos you can see different looks from movie stars of yesteryear to today’s glamour girls.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
THE FASHION SHOOT Model Candice Swanepoel is captured by Terry Richardson at the Grand Canyon in Dior for Harper's Bazaar's August 2013 issue, proving gingham can work in almost any location.
Model Candice Swanepoel is captured by Terry Richardson at Monument Valley in Dior for Harper’s Bazaar’s August 2013 issue, proving gingham can work in almost any location.
Brigitte Bardot inspired dozens of style moments, from her iconic cat eye makeup to bouffant hair and black headbands. Here, she proves that a sweet gingham dress can have a sultry side.
Brigitte Bardot inspired dozens of style moments, from her iconic cat eye makeup to bouffant hair and black headbands. Here, she proves that a sweet gingham dress can have a sultry side.

What goes around comes around…or never left.

It fashion girl Alexa Chung
It fashion girl Alexa Chung from “House of Style”

I’m liking it.

Diane Von Furstenburg Spring/Summer 2015 Ad Campaign.
Diane Von Furstenberg Spring/Summer 2015 Ad Campaign.

Source: Bazaar Magazine

CooKing – Crazy for Curry

It’s been too long since I made an Indian curry. curry3Now that I have I won’t leave it so long until the next time.  Kind of crazy because curries are one of my favourite foods.

This recipe from scratch comes courtesy (sort of) from a friend’s grandmother who was from England and lived in India for many years.  When I used to visit her she always fed me this amazing curry and I always wanted her recipe.  Only thing was she didn’t have one.  So I asked her to invite me over the next time she made it and I sat and watched and copied down everything she put into it.  This is the way I work sometimes.

A lot of the spices you might already have.  If not, buy them and you’ll be using them over and over again.  Plus these are so beneficial (especially turmeric) for you health wise.

Chicken Currycurry4Chicken (either 1 medium chicken, disjointed with the skin removed, or boneless chicken pieces).

Two medium size russet potatoes (cut into bite size cubes)

3 Tbsp. organic coconut oil

3 medium onions (finely sliced – they boil down)

1 tsp. Himalayan salt

1 tsp. powdered ginger

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. coriander

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. allspice

½ tsp. dried mustard


Juice from ½ squeezed lemon

3 Tbsp. plain greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. ketchup

  • Season dry chicken with dry spices (mix of lemon pepper, masala curry powder & everyday seasoning). Rub all over chicken.
  • Brown chicken with a bit of coconut oil in an oven-proof skillet. Sauté on all sides until nicely browned & remove from pan.
  • Next, in the same skillet heat the 3 Tbsp. of oil & sauté the onions until slightly brown.
  • Mix all ingredients (omitting the lemon juice, yogurt & ketchup) with half vinegar & half cold water to form a paste. About 4 tsp. of each (not too thick but not watery).
  • Drop paste into skillet with onions & fry gently for 5 minutes, stirring over medium heat.
  • Place cut up (already browned) chicken pieces in skillet with the potatoes & stir to prevent sticking.
  • Add 2 cups of hot water or *chicken stock (I prefer using stock) and simmer with lid on and cook until tender. At least 30 minutes. Do not let liquid dry out – if so then add more water.
  • When cooked through add the lemon juice, plain yogurt & ketchup to skillet and stir well until mixed thoroughly.
  • Serve with plain white *basmati rice (well rinsed) or savoury rice. Don’t forget to get your add-ons like lime pickle & mango chutney.  Also Tandoori Naan bread. Some of the breads now you can put right into the toaster. Garnish with cilantro.

    sweet mango chutney, lime pickle & mango/coconut sauce.
    sweet mango chutney, lime pickle & mango/coconut sauce.

*For this recipe I prefer using plain basmati and mix a bit of raisins or currants, a little peas & carrots and sliced almonds into the pot at the end. Top with saffron.

For savoury just add a bit of curry powder & turmeric.  Use bouillon in hot water for the liquid.