A SUMMER SUMMERY

Today is August 31st – the last day of summer!

?

Okay, the last official day of summer is really September 21st but for me today marks the end, for after today it doesn’t feel the same as we start to move slowly towards Fall.  While I love Fall for the clothes mostly I still want to hang on to summer and milk it for all it’s worth.  This summer was fantastic weather wise except for the forest fires, so the best thing to look forward to now is Fall boots and sweaters see, it’s all about the clothes and maybe Halloween.  It’s funny though how everything can change in an instant and we still tend to adapt.  Well I’m moving a bit slower this time.  My flip flops are not moving to the back of the closet just yet……….  I love the warmth and lightness of summer and think what you wilI but I just bought the Beach Boys greatest hits to listen to while glamping.  So???

In this

In this pop top Eurovan camper

Parked right at the lake

Parked right at the lake where Jia Jia is walking back from in this photo

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a pleasureable last days of summer re-cap:

Lake Kalamalka, Penticton. Jia Jia realizing he could swim.

Lake Kalamalka, Okanagan, B.C.  Jia Jia realizing he can swim.  And me too for that matter.  Just kidding, but it was coooold!

I was preparing at Kits Pool

I started preparing at Kits Pool

With good friends like family

With good friends who are like family

A friend flew in for the party

Some hot shots flew in for the get together/party/= lots of food & wine/= meeting some nice new people too and catching up with old friends like no time has passed (= good friends).

My friends place

Staying at a friends place in the Kootenays – a resort style home with an amazing view.

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Friends we met on our first stop

Friends we met at the first campsite

Freshly picked Okanagan Peaches

Freshly picked Okanagan Peaches

Jia Jia’s favourite moments:

Waiting for his ice cream cone

Waiting for his ice cream cone

His new friend Hugo

Jia Jia’s new friend Hugo, a Silver Lab.

Hugo found a ball

Hugo found a ball

Hugo found a stick

Hugo found a stick

Jia Jia found a deer

Jia Jia found a deer at another friend’s property = lotta landscape

And crossed a few bridges

And crossed over a few bridges

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

I found a salt water pool I can live in - or at least float in.

I found a salt water pool I can live in – or at least float in.  But why is the cup holder empty?

The cup must always be full!

And how was your summer?

Photos: d. king (except for the obvious)

 

contemplating loss

Experiencing the loss of loved ones is never a happy time.  It just seems to be happening a lot lately. A parent, a relative, a friend, a pet and so on. We might know it’s coming but because we don’t know when exactly, we’re not as prepared or so strong as we think when the dreaded time comes. But the circle of life continues in it’s weird and varying ways of making itself known.

80th birthday visit in Montreal

80th birthday visit in Montreal

Ada & her sister (my mom) Elva (aka Cookie).

Ada on left & her sister Elva (my mom, but dad & friends always called her Cookie).

While I was having a fantastic time taking my mind off of other issues by visiting friends in B.C., my mom’s only sister passed away suddenly in Montreal.  By sheer coincidence the remaining sibling (their brother) and his wife who now live in Florida visited with her just the day before she passed.  In fact, they left the morning of without knowing.  Their timing and hers was impeccable. We wonder if because she knew they were coming, she decided to wait until just after they left to bid a final farewell.

I would like to pay a tiny tribute to my auntie Ada 

She was the most elegant 86 year old woman on the planet who looked and acted at least a few decades younger. A very modern woman who still looked good wearing jeans. She was a great mother to four (Frankie, Adan, Elizabeth & Johnny) and a really good friend to me. Until almost two years ago she was vibrant, always on the go, curious, active and I have to say this…..she had great style!

Me, Ada, brother Brad, sister Lisa and uncle Chuck.

In the courtyard with Ada, brother Brad, sister Lisa, uncle Chuck (mom & Ada’s brother) and a chair.  Where was our DOP (director of photography)?

She was not only beautiful but she had a wicked sense of humour.  The whole family got together in Montreal to surprise her for her 80th birthday which ended up with all of us on a custom-made Tiki boat on Lac Masson in the Laurentians chock load full of booze, my uncle playing captain and only one life vest (it is Quebec by the way – you can allow for this).  Ada grabbed the vest, looked around at all of us and said “I’m the only one worth saving.”  As luck goes we didn’t capsize but the engine fell off into the water and we had to call for rescue.  It was pretty exciting.  The booze did come in handy.  It was a great family celebration vacation.

Unfortunately another family member bites the dust.  It happens but it sucks big time.  Especially when you’re hoping to see that person again, have good conversations or silly ones where you laugh a lot out loud which we did.  It sucks because at 86 you can still be young if you’re lucky to be like Ada.  She taught me a lot about life.

We did some acting together when I lived in Montreal. Ada continued on and just had fun with it doing lots of commercials and bit parts in movies – many major ones.

A coiffed Ada said Christopher Reeves was a real Super Man!

Found this in my photo album. An overly coiffed Ada said Christopher Reeve was a real super man!

She loved being on set and made lots of friends and was well liked.  My cousin Liz shared a funny story about one of the movies Ada worked on.  Liz asked her mom which actors she was working with.  At the time, Liz was in love with Rob Lowe (I know, but it was then) and had posters of the actor plastered all over her bedroom wall (before her Motley Crue phase).  Ada said Jodie Foster, Nastassja Kinski and some pipsqueak.  Liz wanted to know who the pipsqueak was.  Ada replied “I think his name is Lob Rowe.”  Of course she meant Rob Lowe.  Liz freaked out and her mom had to take her on set (refer to photo of a stunned and stunning Liz with RL) to meet him.  Ada could make anything happen.

Pretty boy & Liz

Pretty boy Rob Lowe & my cousin Liz

Of course our conversation then went on to “whatever happened to Rob Lowe?”  Besides playing one of the sons in Brothers and Sisters he was picture perfect playing a plastic surgeon (lots of p’s) in the film about Liberace’s life.  But this post is really about Ada’s life.  A life well lived, a life cut short (because I think 86 is way too young) a life many people would treasure.  Those close were lucky to know her and my cousins will surely miss her along with Ada’s grandchildren Shanny, Tyaa, Ginger & Finlay.  I’ll close with this saying:

Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.

adaThe sky just got a bright new star! 

Give my mom and your parents a big hug – love to all of you & miss you always. XO

Art & Beauty – taking it to the Streets

MAKEUP FOR URBAN WARRIERS

Photo: Courtesy of Oyama Enrico Isamu

Photo: Courtesy of Oyama Enrico Isamu

If I’m going to use an eyelash curler at all it will always be one from iconic Japanese beauty brand Shu Uemura.  No other curler compares – case closed!  I like their mascara too but have not tried any other makeup from them.  But I do admit to judging a palette by it’s cover.

I just found out about their latest collection which is one for the books (and your makeup bag). The brand teamed up with artist Oyama Enrico Isamu Letter (a Tokyo native who now calls Brooklyn home) to devise a range of colors and compacts guaranteed to help you stand out in a crowded concrete jungle.  Which would you rather be: warm and vibrant or cool and chic?

Shu Uemura Haute Street Eye Shadow in Cool x Chic and Warm & Vibrant. $65

Shu Uemura Haute Street Eye Shadow in Cool x Chic and Warm & Vibrant (me). $65

Despite the fact that Shu Uemura’s international artistic director, Kakuyasu Uchiide, paints faces and Isamu oftentimes considers the city his canvas: there are more similarities between makeup and urban art than one would think.

Oyama’s explanation is “Just as a piece of street art uniquely corresponds to specific spaces in an urban environment, makeup also corresponds to shapes and functions of each part on a face, which varies person to person.” And similar to how an artist establishes an identity through his/her work, makeup can be used to “transform” its wearer from “ordinary me” to “ideal me,” he added. The limited-edition line includes two eyeshadow palettes, highly pigmented lip and cheek tints, creamy eyeliner pencils, bright lipsticks, and a striking brush set—some of the tubes and compacts emblazoned with Oyama’s work.

Photo:Katsuhiro Saiki

Photo:Katsuhiro Saiki

Nice!

As seen on style.com

Something Sweet – crazy for Cookies

If you love cookies as much as I do, then count this as your lucky day! I have 3 kitchen tested recipes for you.  Starting with:

Cornmeal Chocolate-Chunk with Raisins and Fennel Seeds

Photo: d king

Photo: d king

These are delightfully different, light and crisp – they remind me of Danish style cookies.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and finely ground
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 5 ounces coarsely chopped milk chocolate (1 1/4 cups)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar and fennel seeds on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg until combined. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt and beat just until combined. Stir in raisins and chocolate.
  2. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough (or use a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop) onto parchment-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating sheets once, until edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks at least 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature. Cooled completely, cookies can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days.

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These rich cookies should seem a bit soft when you take them out of the oven. They firm up as they cool, so be careful not to overbake them.

Photo: Antonis Archilleos

Photo: Antonis Archilleos

  • YIELD: MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, 4 ounces coarsely chopped, 4 ounces cut into 1/4-inch chunks
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Melt coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Transfer chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks.
  3. Scoop batter using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop; place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces begin to crack, about 15 minutes. Transfer on parchment to wire racks. Let cool 5 minutes. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Source: Martha Stewart Living

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies 

Yield: about 3 dozen regular size or 2 dozen large (I prefer large) after-dinner cookies

Photo: d king

Photo: d king

INGREDIENTS

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa-make sure to use dutch process for a rich/dark flavor
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 bag of mint chips-I used Guittard

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream butter until light and fluffy.  Gradually add sugar.  Add eggs, vanilla and 2 tsp. water and beat until smooth.

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add to the butter mixture and mix well.  Fold in oats and raisins.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving enough space for the cookies to spread out.  Bake approx. 10 minutes, until golden.

Source: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

My Just Cookies Board for Pinterest:

Feel-good Friday: people are talking…

books and mindless chatter.  When you don’t want to take life too seriously…book1

Girls always want to have FUN

Talk is a hilariously irreverent and racy testament to dialogue: the gossip, questioning, analysis, arguments, and revelations that make up our closest friendships. It’s the summer of 1965 and Emily, Vincent, and Marsha are at the beach. All three are ambitious and artistic; all are hovering around thirty; and all are deeply and mercilessly invested in analyzing themselves and everyone around them. The friends discuss sex, shrinks, psychedelics, sculpture, and S and M in an ongoing dialogue where anything goes and no topic is off limits. Talk is the result of these conversations, recorded by Linda Rosenkrantz and transformed into a novel whose form and content put it well ahead of its time. Controversial upon its first publication in 1968, Talk remains fresh, lascivious, and laugh-out-loud funny nearly fifty years later. nyrb (New York Book Review).

This book makes total sense

I love fiction so this book makes total sense – read and learn!

Amanda Brooks tells us all about her twenty years in fashion, from being a it-girl, to an assistant to Patrick Demarchelier, to fashion director at Barney’s.  This book is honest, simple, personal, fun, and it answers lots of questions we’ve all asked about the fashion world.

And lastly….

Even in Vancouver?

Even in Vancouver?  I don’t think Parisians wear fleece.

Summer Reads: summer is not completely over yet, and what better way to pass the time at the beach but with one of these mindless stylish books.

Maybe I’ll write a book after all.

Style: Fashion Attraction – the Way we Dress

I have heard it said that women dress for other women.  Unless you are dressing
specifically for your man (wink wink), I think for the most part that may be true, but I dress for myself and the occasion. I like to feel good about the way I look even if I’m at home alone and no one else sees me. Even if I’m wearing pajamas, they must be somewhat stylish. Even when I’m glamping…I tend to look like this photo (in my dreams).  In my recurring dream I’m stepping out of a rolls in NYC wearing a low cut LBD and pillbox hat. Uh huh!women1While men may be appreciative of a woman’s overall style, women tend to make more of an effort for other women and there is nothing wrong with another woman appreciating the way you look and paying you a compliment. I do it all the time.  Women like to look good for their girlfriends because we tend to pay attention to all the little details.  Some men too, but those men are rare or gay. Sometimes it feels more special when another woman pays you a compliment because she is saying nothing more than “I like the way you look in that outfit.”  The overall context of this short film is that we should be able to openly celebrate, look and appreciate one another.   

The Way we Dress – “Notes on the Gaze” by Chelsea McMullan

*Short Film (if you are receiving this post via e-mail and cannot see the video please click on the blue title above:

Chelsea McMullan is a filmmaker whose works have premiered at Sundance, The Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Photography Festival. Her award-winning shorts have been featured by Nowness, Dazed Digital, Vice, and Vogue Italia. Whenever possible Chelsea inhabits the space between documentary and fiction filmmaking. She is a member of the artists’ co-operative What Matters Most and a secret but fervent topiary enthusiast.

Food: chop, chop, slice and dice!

Here are some basic professional techniques on how to correctly slice, dice, and chop Vegetables and Herbs by hand (even without the help of a slap chopper) from a real pro. chop1chop3

The pro being someone by the name of Martha, not me.  God knows I’m always slicing and dicing and I’m very lucky to have never chopped off my fingers before now.  I’ve been scolded about not following the correct guidelines (maybe being left handed has something to do with it) so how about going by these simple rules.

The most important being:

Always use a sharp chef’s knife, and tuck under the fingertips (oops) holding the food to keep them from getting nicked.

For julienne or very small dice, begin by slicing a vegetable very thinly lengthwise. To make julienne, stack several thin slices on top of each other, and slice them into matchsticks; to dice, gather the matchsticks together and chop them into equal pieces.

Chiffonade” refers to very thin strips of lettuce or herbs, like these basil leaves. Stack several leaves, with the largest on the bottom. Roll them up, and thinly slice them from one end of the roll to the other.chop2

The best way to chop an onion is to start by cutting it in half from top to bottom; then place the cut halves, flat side down, on a work surface, and slice off the stem ends. Remove the skin, and make vertical cuts lengthwise without cutting through the root end, which holds the onion together as you work. Make a few horizontal cuts from the cut edge toward the root end, then chop across the onion to make cubes.

KITCHEN AID:

I’m one of those people who have kitchen helpers. Unfortunately I don’t have a kitchen staff, but products to help make the process of cooking easier.  Things like a food processor with all the attachments which I rarely use because then you have to clean the darn thing, a Starfrit Mandoline to help slice, julienne, grate and shred but it’s messy so I used it like once.  I have an avocado slicer but the avocado usually gets stuck in it, a melon-baller but I rarely buy melons and when I do I forget that I have one.  Then there’s the George Foreman grill which makes great grilled cheese sandwiches that I used a couple of times before becoming too lazy to take it out and so I end up using a cast iron (flipping the bread and pressing it flat with a spatula – but you don’t get the grill marks). Forget about the waffle maker (this is the most useless gift by the way) because the mix spills out of the sides all over the counter, and the Jack Lalanne juicer makes nice juice but the pulp (which is the best thing for you) separates from the juice.  That recipe book that tells you how to use the pulp? Believe me, I tried using the pulp in muffins, etc. It might be good for you but it certainly does nothing to improve the taste. The slow cooker can be a great helper when you can get it together to figure out what you want to put in it and No, you can’t just throw anything in it and expect dinner in 8 hours. Now they come with a faster time slot, but isn’t the idea to s l o o w w w l  y cook your dinner?

So that leaves: my vitamix which I mostly use to make amazing smoothies and it’s super easy to clean, a hand held mixer (now why is it I do not have a real kitchen aid mixer to help speed up baking?? – Oh, I don’t have any more room on the counter that’s why), a toaster (the best thing for making toast if you have one with wide enough slots – it’s one of the best inventions of all time),  a microwave (for warming up leftovers), an electric braun masher (best mashed potatoes), and a variety of easy hand held gadgets to help peel and grate (I love my Ikea graters) and scoop ice cream with.

What about you?  Which of your kitchen appliances/doodads do you tend to use the most?

Source: every great chef and Martha Stewart Living (for guidelines & photos)

The ART of the Dealer – the True Believer

As it is believed behind every brilliant actor or musician there is a remarkable manager, it seems behind every great art movement there is an exceptional art dealer.

Renoir’s Dance at Bougival, 1883, is one of the masterworks that seduced Londoners in the famous show Durand-Ruel presented at the Grafton Galleries in 1905. Image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

One of my favourite paintings: Renoir’s Dance at Bougival, 1883, is one of the masterworks that seduced Londoners in the famous show Durand-Ruel presented at the Grafton Galleries in 1905. Image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

An important new exhibition at the PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART  (PMA) celebrates the keen eye of Paul Durand-Ruel, the Paris dealer who defied the scorn of critics to promote the raggedy brand of pioneering young painters we now know as the Impressionists.

An exhibition celebrating his brave achievement, “Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting,” is on view at the PMA through September 13th. It features scores of intoxicating canvases by Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, all beloved now, but in their own day savaged.

“Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting” features more than 90 intoxicating canvases by the movement’s masters. Photo by Graydon Wood

“Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting” features more than 90 intoxicating canvases by the movement’s masters.  Photo by Graydon Wood

The success of Impressionism was largely due to the intrepid zeal of Durand-Ruel. Or should one say survival? “Without Durand, we would have died of hunger, all of us Impressionists,” a grateful Claude Monet exclaimed shortly after the dealer’s death in 1922 at the age of 90.

A man of conviction, who went to mass every morning, Durand-Ruel never wavered in his belief in his artists. During his long life, he purchased approximately 1,000 Monets, 1,500 Renoirs, 200 Manets, 400 Degases and 800 Camille Pissarros. He once owned Eugène Delacroix’s epic Death of Sardanapalus, 1827, now in the Louvre, and Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-81, one of the treasures of the Phillips Collection, along with other masterpieces that ended up in the PMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery in London and Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

In 1851, when he was just 20 years old, Durand-Ruel joined his ailing father at his family’s picture gallery near the Place Vendôme, which over the next 70 years he would transform into an artist-promoting powerhouse. He had a discerning eye, trusted his instincts and was not afraid to sit on stock — or even purchase it back. He introduced such now standard practices as operating his gallery in several cities (London, Brussels and New York), mounting solo shows, sending work to international exhibitions, organizing public lectures, publishing exhibition catalogs, backing art magazines and giving his artists stipends.

The American expat Mary Cassatt was among the many painters Durand-Ruel discovered. She focused on domestic scenes like The Child’s Bath, 1893. Image courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago: Robert A. Waller Fund

The American expat Mary Cassatt was among the many painters Durand-Ruel discovered. She focused on domestic scenes like The Child’s Bath, 1893. Image courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago: Robert A. Waller Fund.

At last, in Philadelphia, Durand-Ruel is getting the credit he richly deserves for having put Impressionism on the map. We may be late to the party, but Renoir always knew this day would come. “Your love of art and your defense of living artists,” he presciently told Durand-Ruel in 1885, “will be your claim to fame.”

Source: title changed and condensed from an article written by Phyllis Tuchman for “Introspective Magazine”

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life – Pablo Picasso

This quote by Charles Dickens (Bleak House) best sums up giving credit where credit is due – “He didn’t at all see why the busy bee should be proposed as a model to him; he supposed the Bee liked to make honey, or he wouldn’t do it — nobody asked him. It was not necessary for the bee to make such a merit of his tastes.” – Dickens

Feel-good Friday: lucky dogs!

My therapist has fur and four legs and all I have to do is feed him.

Four dogs, Three nights, Two locations, One great little adventure!

Jack (jack russell), Jia Jia (sheltie) & Max (blue heeler) on Piers Island

Jack (jack russell), Jia Jia (sheltie) & Max (blue heeler) on Piers Island   Photo: d king

Taylor (1 1/2 yr. old Border Collie) & Jia Jia - Prospect Lake.

Taylor (1 1/2 yr. old Border Collie) & Jia Jia – at Prospect Lake just getting to know each other

Dogs enjoying the freedom to run around Piers Island

Dogs enjoying the freedom to run around – Piers Island.  It’s always an enjoyable time with these fellows.  Photo: Mel d’Souza

Jack enjoying the view from his living room - waiting for the boat to arrive with more supplies

Jack enjoys the view from his living room – waiting for the boat to arrive with more goodies. Now he’s just getting over being stung on his behind by a wasp, poor thing.  He might have sat on it.    Photo: d king

Me & my posse

My posse & me at the dog park which is basically the whole island.  Max blends in with the rocks so well that we can only tell it’s him when he sticks out his tongue.  Photo: Mel d’Souza

It’s a Ruff Life

Reflections

“I hope Jack can’t swim”     Photo: d king

Have a great weekend with your posse!

A look at Jack & Jia Jia on Pinterest:

Link to dog park picnic with Didi (almost one year ago):

 https://girlwhowouldbeking.com/2014/09/11/feel-good-friday-picnic-in-the-park/