Feel-good Friday: water, wine, waterfalls

Impressionistic Photography?

Because I’m not a painter this is the best I could come up with to make somewhat of an impression – this week.  It seems that unintentionally I was on a little bit of a theme.

I've always loved Water lilies.
I’ve always loved Water lilies.
Waterfall Selfie
Wall Waterfall Selfie

The difference between writers and readers is similar to the difference between expressionism and impressionism. Writers want to express themselves and readers want to be impressed.” – Claire Amberkitefestival5I want both!

Mast Reflections
Mast Reflections

20150617_114002Yes, No?  It doesn’t matter – it’s just nice to capture images in general.  AND it’s Friday so nothing else really matters now except for more wine & wine water.  Enjoy your weekend.

Beauty with benefits – a MIST opportunity

A cool fix with added beauty benefits that’s what I call a facial mist, spray or essence – same thing.


I started spritzing Evian water (the equivalent of Perrier but for your face) in the spray bottle on my skin in my late teens and have been using a facial spray ever since.  It was not fashionable then but it just felt natural to do so – wish I was the one who started the trend.  Now I make my own with a combination of pure spring, exotic rose & orange blossom water and essential oils of frankincense, lavender, geranium, eucalyptus and a key natural secret ingredient (there always must be one and we can’t give away all our secrets).  Then I found this out:

It’s the One Product Allure Editors Always Have on Their Desks

A collection of face mists might seem gratuitous, but if you take a look at any Allure (the beauty magazine – I’m using this as an example since they know everything there is to know about beauty) editor’s desk you’re bound to see a mist—or five. So why are they so obsessed?

Not only will a midday spritz wake you up faster than a 3 p.m. coffee break but, depending on the formula, it can also instantly calm irritated skin and brighten a dull, dry complexion.  It leaves your skin really soft and feeling fresh and hydrated.

Some good ones to try:

La Roche-Posay
La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.

It may feel like you’re just spraying expensive water on your face, but this one tops multiple editors’ lists—and for good reason. “The mineral-rich water is immediately soothing to the skin,” says dermatologist Jason Emer.

Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water

Another…water? Yep. But this 100 percent natural mineral water is so soothing, it’s associate beauty editor Lexi Novak’s pick for her finicky skin. Emer calls it the gold standard for redness-prone, sensitive skin.spray2

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System

Shelling out $60 for a face mist sounds cuckoo. And OK, maybe it is. But there’s no getting around the fact that, on a scale of one to dewy, this mist (with minerals and glycerin) makes skin Miranda Kerr–level glow-y.

Amore Pacific
Amore Pacific

 Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist

Tatcha - nice packaging
Tatcha – nice packaging

Some editors spritz this on a dozen times a day. It’s packed with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, squalane, and royal jelly extract—that make dry skin feel crazy soft (again and again and again).

Skin so Divine - naturally
Skin so Divine – naturally

Skin so Divine Hydrating Facial Mist

This divine smelling essence in an apothecary style bottle has exotic Frankincense oil  to promote healthy cell regeneration, Lavender & Geranium to calm irritated skin, rose water to hydrate even the most sensitive skin and Eucalyptus oil to keep your skin soft and blemish free.

For all: use right after cleansing but before moisturizing.

Do you use one?  What do you recommend?

Where FOOD meets FASHION it’s always a Perfect Pairing: Burberry’s First Café

Burberry has launched its first ever café.burb1

The all-day eatery—named Thomas’s, after the brands founder Thomas Burberry—can be found within the newly expanded London flagship at 121 Regent Street.

The café will offer a menu of quintessentially British classics from afternoon tea to lobster with chips, and will be open seven days a week. Of course, it won’t just serve any produce: Thomas’s will offer the finest seasonal ingredients from small farmers and artisan suppliers across the UK.burb2

The flagship store expansion also sees the addition of a dedicated gifting area, featuring a seasonally updated collection of present-worthy products (everything from blankets, cushion covers and candles to stationery, board games and travel goods), which can all be personalised or monogrammed in a number of different ways. Purchases can be gift-wrapped at stations within the space, whereby customers will be able to choose everything from the ribbon to the greeting card.burb3

So when in London…indulge your appetite for both F&F

What’s next?  Will Dior & Chanel follow suit?

Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell for Burberry’s for Spring/Summer 2015 campaign. burb4Representing both the old guard and the vanguard of English modeling, it doesn’t get much better than this.burb5Their seasonal video was shot by none other than Mario Testino.

Pictures courtesy of Burberry

Source (for café): http://www.harpersbazaar.co.uk

Forever PLAID

bon vivant:

More recipes to come.  I’ve been testing out some fresh originals (I like to try different things to make cooking an enjoyable experience – not just necessary but fun so it never becomes boring). Look for: the ultimate all-around dry rub (use it on everything from fish to tex-mex), a very pretty looking & great tasting Meyer Lemon Tart (from a restaurant in Paris), crazy delicious Danish-style cookies (with some unusual ingredients) and MORE.

Having said that, I want food day Tuesday to not be only recipes as you’ve seen from time to time.  I’m interested in food in general so I want to talk about the latest trends, productivity, farmers markets, what’s new on the food front, etc. and throw in a sprinkling of restaurant reviews.  It’s the whole experience. Also, flavoursome new ways to cook otherwise humdrum vegetables…like cauliflower and brussels sprouts (well to me they’re ordinary and bland but even these can be spruced up to become surprisingly edible).  You’ll see!

With this in mind:

It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life – Emmet Fox

Art/Culture/Conservation – SUBMERGED in Art

Have you heard about The Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), located off the coast of Isla Mujeres in Mexico’s Maya Riviera?

Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor
Taylor’s “SILENT EVOLUTION “is composed of 450 statues, making it the largest work in the exhibit.  Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor

It’s the world’s largest underwater museum.

It looks like a pretty cool place. And, being underwater it has to be cool.  I want to dive right in.  

Composed of over 500 life-sized sculptures, MUSA offers incredible displays hidden 28 feet below the ocean’s surface. That means that the only way it can be explored is by diving or snorkeling.  For me, having already been to Isla Mujeres, and since becoming an advanced certified scuba diver it would be an adventurous outing.

Photo: Jason deCares Taylor
One of the statues in “THE BANKER” series.   Photo: Jason deCares Taylor

The project began in 2009 as an effort to protect the endangered Mesoamerican Reef (the second-largest barrier reef in the world) by diverting divers and snorkelers to MUSA.

Roberto Díaz Abraham, one of the founders of the museum, describes it as an “art of conservation.” Each sculpture holds special nooks and crannies that help to support the breeding of marine life while providing a safe habitat.

Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor
THE EAR” sculpture    Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor

Six artists helped to compose the works found in MUSA: Jason deCaires Taylor, who is also a co-founder of the museum, Roberto Díaz AbrahamSalvador Quiroz EnnisRodrigo Quiñones ReyesKaren Salinas Martínez and Enrique Mireles, but a large portion of the works are by Taylor.

Taylor models his sculptures after local residents from his nearby fishing town of Puerto Morelos and covers them with a marine-grade cement consisting of a PH-neutral surface that promotes coral growth. He allows the plaster to dry before removing it and filling in the remainder of the sculptures.

Since they’re made with this marine-grade cement, the statues have become covered in algae and coral to make for a stunning sight.

Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor
Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor

Some of Taylor’s works are a satirical commentary on humanity. He created “The Banker,” a series of men in business suits submerging their heads in sand, after attending a climate-change conference in Cancun.

“It represents the loud acknowledgment made about the issue, but when it comes to taking action nobody wants to stick their neck out and do something about it,” Taylor said about the work.

Some of his works symbolize the growth of new life. “The Resurrection” was created using coral fans that had broken off during a thunderstorm in Cancun.

The Resurrection.  Photo: Aquaworld
The Resurrection.  Photo: Aquaworld

You’ll also find statues of people you might recognize. “The Anchors” is molded from the heads of “Today” show anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, and Natalie Morales, and NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders.

But what’s most fascinating is that each of his works is built to aid in the protection and understanding of marine life. “The Ear” is a work installed with a hydrophone and hard drive. It allows researchers to study marine life via audio.

“Anthropocene,” or the Volkswagen, is made specifically for lobsters. Taylor created the piece after fisherman wiped out about 50 lobsters previously living in his “Silent Evolution” display. The car has holes to allow the shellfish to enter the sculpture, and inside it is stacked with shelving units where the creatures like to sleep.

MUSA offers an exploration into a world that’s remained a mystery.

“Two-thirds of our world is water, but there’s so much in that incredible world that’s still unknown,” said Taylor.

Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor
“The Silent Evolution” exhibit before being submerged underwater. Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor

There are two different exhibits within the museum: Salon Manchones, which holds 475 sculptures and is 8m (27 ft.) deep and Punta Nizuc, which offers a shallow snorkeling area about 4m (13 ft.) deep and a semi-submersible boat as an alternative to diving.

MUSA is open year-round for public viewing; however, because the diving site is protected as a conservation area, you’ll need to sign up with one of the museum’s selected tour guides to access the site. Tickets cost about $60 for a two-hour tour.

If you can’t make it there in person, here’s some footage to mentally transport you to the stunning sight. https://youtu.be/lrpnxEHNW4Y

Source: businessinsider.com

contemplating “My Stroke of Insight”

“We are energy beings connected to the energy all around us and we can find Nirvana.”– Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, intellectual, neuroanatomist, stroke survivor.

“We are a life force power of the universe with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds and we have the power to choose moment by moment who we want to be in the world”

brain4This is an extremely interesting story by Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who had a massive stroke in 1996, and watched as her brain functions – motion, speech, self-awareness all shut down one by one.  She made a full recovery on her own by summing up her power of knowledge and understanding of the human brain – a true stroke of genius.

She lost the left hemisphere of her brain.

On the Brain front: does anyone know their LEFT from their RIGHT?

The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.  I’m left handed therefore I’m always right!

RIGHT human hemisphere is about using the present moment – right here & right now.   Left handed people (use their right side of the brain) think in pictures.  brain3They use the creative and feeling part of the brain. The side that prefers to be on vacation (well that makes perfect sense).  They’re spontaneous, intuitive. unpredictable, like to dream about things that will probably never happen, but that never hurts to dream I mean.

Our LEFT hemisphere  – makes us think linearly and methodically.  It’s all about the past and the future.  It picks out details, details and more details and categorizes things.brain3 - CopyIt thinks in language. The on-going brain chatter, the little voice that says “remember to pick up groceries on your way home”.  It says “I AM”  – It is separate from the energy flow around us.  A calculating intelligence.

I found out about this book at my Friday morning yoga class when the instructor read an excerpt.  I immediately went home to listen to the Ted Talk (link below).  Our instructor usually takes a moment to read a thought provoking quote.  I love this one by B.K.S. Iyengar:  Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.  I have a lot of practice ahead of me.

Taylor’s TED TALK is so inspiring (it’s just under 20 minutes long and well worth watching):  http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight?language=en

– I hope it moves you as much as it did me –

stroke book1About the book:

A New York Times Bestseller — Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor was chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008. Jill Bolte Taylor was a 37-year-old Harvard-trained and published brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain. Through the eyes of a curious neuroanatomist, she watched her mind completely deteriorate whereby she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Because of her understanding of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and an amazing mother, Jill completely recovered her mind, brain and body. In My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, Jill shares with us her recommendations for recovery and the insight she gained into the unique functions of the right and left halves of her brain. In the absence of her left brain’s neural circuitry, her consciousness shifted into present moment thinking whereby she experienced herself “at one with the universe.”

Source: Amazon.com

health MATTERS: oxytocin, the feel good hormone – not all hearts and roses?

 We all want to feel good. A stream of studies in the last decade have focused on oxytocin’s effects on body and mind.

the best things in life are these
the best things in life are these

Like antennas picking up a signal, oxytocin receptors are found on cells throughout the body.

Oxytocin has long been called the “love hormone” (although it sounds more like a laundry detergent) — responsible for attachment, bonding and plenty of those feel-good moments we have with other people and our pets. The naturally-occuring chemical is thought of as an anti-anxiety drug and used in couples counselling. But, new research shows the hormone isn’t all hearts and roses — there may be a dark side.

Like love, this powerful hormone is a complicated thing and it affects men and women differently. Here’s how the oxytocin is affecting your relationships, from sex to breakup recovery.Oxytocin1

1. It Makes Breakups Worse
Have a painful memory of your ex that never seems to go away? A new study found that oxytocin has the ability to enhance anxiety and fear for stressful events in the future. So, when something is negative, like your failed relationship, oxytocin activates a part of the brain that intensifies, even prolongs your bad thought, which increases the chance it’ll become a long-term, painful memory. Ouch. As if breakups weren’t bad to begin with.

2. It Puts You In The Mood
A drug that gives you a better sex life? Nope, not talking about Viagra. Oxytocin, along with it’s ability to facilitate hugs and touches, has also been proven to boost sexual arousal. In a study from the University of California, men who sniffed a nasal spray containing oxytocin became more affectionate, had a stronger libido and they even were more satisfying lovers. Naturally, the wives weighed in for that one.

3. It Makes You Fall Head Over Heels … Sometimes Too Quickly
Released during sex, oxytocin is what connects us to our partner. The chemical accelerates an emotional connection right after a physical one. Studies suggest the bonding hormone is more powerful in women, making them attached to the men they sleep with — whether they’re a friend with benefits or a husband. Sound familiar? Your Tango expert Moushumi Ghose writes that there may be a such thing as an oxytocin overdose. And, studies show that too much oxytocin can cause men to be even less interested. “In this all too common scenario, one person may feel attached and therefore chase, while the other will run away.”

4. It Strengthens Your Relationship
The bonding hormone has been known to increase trust, make us generous and keep us supportive, but it’s also keeping you there for the long haul. The chemical is also responsible for the longevity of a relationship. A study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology discovered that couples with high-oxytocin levels laughed more often, touched more frequently and even finished each other’s sentences than those with low levels of the hormone.

5. It Makes You A Better Mother
The powerful hormone isn’t just affecting your romantic love — it’s responsible for maternal love, too. It plays an essential role in helping moms give birth and bond with their babies. Not only does it help induce labour, post-birth, it’s makes moms affectionate with their little ones. Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel found a strong connection between the levels of oxytocin and the amount of attention new moms paid to her baby. In fact, it was the first trimester of the pregnancy that was most significant in predicting the mother-infant bonding behaviour. Higher levels of the hormone during that time period correlated to more bonding and embracing after the birth.

6. It Helps Resolve Your Arguments
Several studies have found that increased oxytocin levels can improve facial reading, empathy and how we determine others’ emotional states. But it might go beyond understanding our partner’s feelings better. Researchers from the University of Oxford argue that giving oxytocin nasal spray to couples may end marital conflicts, decrease stress hormones and boost the relationship.

7. It Makes Men Monogamous
Oxytocin is an essential hormone for monogamy in the animal kingdom and it’s been proven to foster trust in humans, but a recent study reveals it may also be what’s keeping your man faithful. Researchers in Germany found that oxytocin may be strengthening your bond even when you’re apart. The study found that attached men who were given a oxytocin-filled nasal spray kept a significantly greater distance between themselves and attractive women than the single participants did. Good work, oxytocin.

Now, where to get that nasal spray??

It works the same way with our pets.

What is it about the bond between human and dog that is not like the relationship between parent and child?

KIRA , I will definitely miss our sleepovers. XO

Now science offers a new explanation for the similarity. When our dogs gaze into our eyes with that “you are everything to me” look, our bodies — and theirs as well — are flooded with oxytocin, the hormone of love and nurture that cements the bond between people.

Feel-good Friday: Instagramification!

Picture this!  I’m playing with a new app that popped up on Instagram to turn personal photos into crazy collages.  As if posting regular photos wasn’t enough!

Kaleidoscope of flowers - taken from a freinds garden.
Kaleidoscope of flowers – taken from a friends garden.

It doesn’t take much to amuse me. I’m sure you can do so much more with these, be quite creative but what you see here are my very first attempts to locate various photos taken on my phone and multiply them.

Various Sunsets in various places

I’m pleased with how they turned out but I’ll have to figure out more ways to make them look more interesting.

My dog Jia Jia - part #1
My dog Jia Jia – part #1 – he hit the jackpot allright
Jia Jia the Wonderdog - Part #2
Jia Jia the Wonderdog – Part #2   (out of 346,000 other amazing photos)

Guess it’s healthier than other addictions!app1

 Oh; one more tiny important tidbit…….#nofilterneeded

beauty – the passion of Maracuja Oil

I first found out about this strange fruit called maracuja when I lived in Brazil and found it sitting at the bottom of my favourite cocktail at the time – a caipirinha with a twist…of passion.  It was divine.

Passions Fruit (Passiflora edulis) Maracuja
Passions Fruit (Passiflora edulis) Maracuja

Now I put it on my face.  Well not just that alone, it’s part of my nighttime ritual “cocktail for the face” that I mix along with other essential oils in the “Skin so Divine” Facial Oil.

Maracuja oil (pronounced mah-rick-oo-jah and is portuguese for passionflower) is derived from the passion fruit in the amazon and only one crop is harvested each year by the amazonian women.

The vitamin C content in Maracuja Oil can help to make your skin look brighter, while calcium and phosphorus work to nourish and enhance skin’s healthy appearance.

Maracuja Oil is very rich in essential fatty acids and has a high antioxidant activity.  It contains nearly 80% linoleic acid together with oleic, palmitic and stearic acids.  These essential fatty acids not only work as a great moisturizer but they also have anti-inflammatory properties helping to alleviate inflammatory skin concerns such as rosacea and acne. By calming inflammation in skin, less sebum or oil is released and thus the likelihood of blocked pores in acne is greatly diminished.  Because of its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, Maracuja Oil has a balancing effect being suitable for all skin types including sensitive, dry and oily skin.  What it does:

  • rebuilds and repairs
  • soothes and heals redness and irritation
  • hydrates and brightens
  • reduces lines and wrinkles
  • improves elasticity, tone and texture
  • boosts collagen production thanks to the vitamin c

Have you tried it?

oil1To order:  http://getspoiled.myshopify.com/products/get-spoiled-facial-oil

Style – meet my new Boy.Friend!

Watch out boys –  we girls want what you want!


Wearing a watch now is more of an accessory or fashion statement because everyone can check the time on their cell phones and since every single person carries a cell phone….no need to wear a watch…unless it looks something like this one by Chanel.chanel3For the first time since the 2000 launch of the J12 , a watch designed by a man for men but that was picked up by women everywhere – the French powerhouse is unleashing a watch inspired by classic masculine codes but designed for women.  Some male editors were overheard coveting it too.chanel5

Called the Boy.Friend, this watch comes with a wait period (please don’t tell me this will become the watch version of the Birkin). It’s being released in Chanel stores this September, and when it does, it will appear in just a handful of iterations, ranging from the sparest, small quartz model in beige gold with an alligator strap to the large, diamond-trimmed style in white gold – priced from $12,500 to $27,000 USD. You don’t have to wait, however, to see some styles, as modeled by Sam Rollinson here. chanel2Anyone interested in a preview of what Chanel has in store for Fall should check out the Paris editors vamping it up on Instagram with the hashtag #meetmyboyfriend.

Speaking of Instagram, it’s such a powerful tool now that I want to discuss it more in another post –  I’ve been playing around with it.

In the meantime, I like this watch (more reliable than it’s human counterpart) but I love the advertising campaign photos even more.  So artistic, but then we wouldn’t expect anything less from Chanel would we?

Photos: Chanel

Story: Style.com

Food: appy hour – salmon paté

This is an easy appy idea that your guests will love! It’s a take on an old-fashioned recipe. salmon pate My mom used to serve something like this in an actual salmon-shaped mold.  I’ll be on the lookout for one of those, but in the meantime if you know where to find one please let me know.

One 213g tin of wild red salmon (preferably Sockeye) drained

One 227g package – lite cream cheese (or a bit less) softened

Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) about ½ cup or a combo of panko and chopped Walnuts

Grated cheese (like Parmesan or Asiago) about ½ cup

Chopped green onions (2-3)

1 tsp. prepared Horseradish

Worcestershire Sauce to taste

Dash of Hot Pepper Sauce

Lemon Pepper Seasoning

1 Tbsp, fresh lemon juice

Chopped parsley (optional)

Leave it in the fridge overnight before forming it into a ball, it will be much easier.

Decorate with chopped parsley or green onion.

Serve with crackers, tortilla chips or plain melba toast.