You certainly don’t need me to tell you that living in the moment and being fully present is the key to a successful life. Easy to say when your life is full and you don’t have health or money issues… but when it’s not going so well – those times when you feel hopeless and feel like you’re living in despair, broke, hungry, out of work, and can’t make ends meet or see the light at the end of the tunnel. THINK again:
Take a moment to think about those who lost their lives in the recent Paris shooting. Innocent victims – mostly young and just out enjoying a normal evening. Never thinking that their lives would end…in such a barbaric manner. Think about the freedom we have and how lucky we are to have the kinds of choices available to us like we do in North America. Our world is changing and we have to adapt and get used to these new changes. We have to remain strong and we need to prioritize. I am as guilty as anyone for taking some things for granted and wallowing in some things I don’t have the control to change. It doesn’t do any of us any good. But still we do it because we’re human. Sometimes we need a reminder.
Food for Thought:
The secret of health for both mind & body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly – Buddha.
Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence. Eckhart Tolle
Have a lovely weekend and value all the good that you now have and try to change what is not working for you
From Pantry to Personal use. COFFEE and COCONUT oil are two natural ingredients with many benefits that most people have in their kitchen and use on a regular basis.
Smart women know that the secret to soft beautiful skin besides lathering on a winter rich body lotion is to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! At least before applying your special brand of body lotion, cream, oil or body butter. It makes skin soooo much smoother and you need to do this especially if you plan on using a self tanner. Did I make that clear?
Okay, so I was having coffee with my sister this past weekend and we were using colourful one-cup bodums. My sister asked me what I plan to do with the coffee grounds after. What I don’t use to fertilize plants I put into a recyclable container which eventually gets disposed of. She asked if I have coconut oil. Of course I do, doesn’t everyone?
Then she asked me for a jar and before we even had a second cup of coffee she whipped me up a delightful and very useful personal body scrub using both the coffee grounds from the bottom of my bodum and some melted coconut oil. I tried it first by massaging it on my legs in the bathtub and it worked amazingly well – as good or better than any other I’ve ever used – even the most expensive ones! She added that we can double it to use as a face mask, just by adding a bit of honey to the mix. Hey, sounds delish! So I say save money where you can and splurge on other products.
A coffee scrub is not only packed with antioxidants making it anti-aging and detoxifying, it is a natural astringent that temporarily makes your skin tighter and firmer. Exfoliating with coffee grounds improves circulation, leaving you with smooth, glowing skin. Coffee helps to break down fat cells and gets rid of toxins.
Coconut oil has tons of Vitamin E, which is the ultimate anti-aging vitamin. It is a great moisturizer that delays wrinkles and sagging, plus it has antibacterial properties. I would advise using this scrub in the shower, first thing in the morning for an added buzz!
COCONUT & COFFEE BODY SCRUB
1/2 Cup of coconut oil
1/2 Cup of ground Coffee
Add coconut oil (if it’s solid melt in a sauce pan or microwave) and coffee into a mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
Keep it stored in a jar in the fridge – take it out to come to room temperature before using.
A model walks the runway at the Ralph Lauren fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015 at Skylight Clarkson SQ. on February 19, 2015 in New York City.
I’ve always been a hat woman. I go for all kinds of hats depending on my mood, what I’m wearing, the season and the occasion.
A hat can be that one accessory that sets you apart, whether you’re at a formal event or you’re just out running some errands. Sometimes I feel like wearing a baseball cap even if I’m not out running, but other times a wide-brim felt or fedora does the trick. Colours are always neutral.
A great hat can add polish to an otherwise basic outfit. It also keeps our head warm but can add a bit of mystery (a la Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca) and they look so darn chic.
Every woman can find a hat to suit her but if you’re like my sister Lisa, then you look good wearing any hat. She’s lucky that every single hat that comes in contact with her head looks like it was made for her.
Do you wear hats? What kind of hat is your preference?
I AM NOT A WEAK PERSON although I can be kind of needy at times. But at least I’m not alone and Barbra was right…People who need people are the neediest luckiest people in the world.
When it comes right down to relationships I heard this quotefrom a strong woman I met many years ago in New York – designer Diane von Furstenberg:
the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself – DVF
However true that may be we do need others to offer support and enhance our lives. Those who love us, encourage us, guide us, instruct us and assist us. And let’s admit that that is not always so easy to obtain. So here’s the ROUNDUP of the mytwelve most needed people in your life which was inspired by an article written for It’s a lovely life….beginning with:
Significant Other or SO (I prefer this term over Spouse, Partner, Boyfriend/Girlfriend, etc.). I’m no role model but I think the journey is a lot more pleasant with someone close by your side. You don’t have to be married to your SO but it should be as healthy and solid a relationship as possible. It’s not always easy but when it works out it’s the best thing. And it helps to have common interests and a comfort zone. For instance, I don’t smoke and am allergic to smoke so I prefer not to be around someone who does. Also I’m well aware that many of us don’t have a so-called significant other. In that case then, a good trusted friend is the next best thing. Or a dog. Sometimes even better as they offer unconditional love. At least they don’t talk back and the only smoking dog I knew of in my city no longer exists (it was a French restaurant in Vancouver). Okay, dog makes the list of people we need! One of my SO’s is very furry!
Family Doctor – You need a good doctor that knows you and your medical history. A family doctor will be able to help you because he knows you personally and knows your medical history.
Dentist – for obvious reasons. Teeth upkeep is of the utmost importance because if we don’t look after them properly our teeth can interfere with our overall health, not to mention the exorbitant cost if something goes wrong. I make sure to go twice a year for cleaning and general maintenance (sometimes a home whitening touch up too).
Lawyer – No one really wants an attorney/lawyer in their life. The circumstances for hiring a lawyer are rarely pleasant, but not knowing who to call to help you with legal issues is even less pleasant. A good lawyer contact is definitely someone you need in your life.
Counselor/Therapist –for a shoulder to cry on. There are times when you need help. Whether for your marriage, children, life decisions, or just working through your own issues, have a good counselor you can go to who will listen and also give good guidance. They don’t always have to be paid professionals, but a professional counselor would be good too. I’m lucky that one of my best friends just happens to be a professional counsellor however at times we help counsel each other.
Best Friend – You need a good, close friend who knows you in your life. Someone who will laugh and cry with you. Someone who has your back and you have theirs. Best friends don’t have to talk every day, but they know when to step in and be there for you and with you.
Hairstylist (can also double as counsellor or bartender) – An easy way to ruin your day is with a bad haircut. A good hairstylist can put you at ease and help you feel and look great! Finding a new hairdresser is hard. Just like men/women and dating sites, there are tons of hair salons & stylists out there, but few great ones. Hang on to those good ones!
Role Model/Mentor (could be your hairdresser?) – Role Models don’t have to be TV stars or superheroes and aren’t just for kids. They can be an older couple with a great marriage who have done a good job raising their kids or someone with drive and success you admire. Give yourself a good role model to follow. Remember: You don’t have to BE them. Just LEARN from them.
Accountability Partner – (could be a best friend or SO) – No one likes to be bugged and held accountable for things in our lives. But sometimes we need someone who will take on the job of encouraging us and pushing us to keep to the goals and decisions we made. They can’t be afraid to confront us when we stop or push us to go a little further then we think we can. Accountability partners can help keep us on track with a new diet, quitting smoking, drinking, saving money, and so much more.
Mechanic – If you have a car, then you need a mechanic. There are so many mechanics out there that either don’t know what they are doing or will charge you for things you do not need. Make friends with a good mechanic! Know that you have someone qualified and reliable to help you keep your vehicle in good working condition.
Handyman (or men) – (aka professional renovator). In my post the other day I mentioned my handyman (Bill) who could repair anything. To be correct, he’s not mine personally, I selflessly share him with another friend. But my friend read my post and corrected me: He’s not just a handyman, he’s a professional renovator. Also, if anyone out there wants him, he’s not available. You may be able to tinker around and beg your dad or boyfriend to help fix a minor plumbing problem or broken outlet. Know a good handyman who can do the big repairs. If your furnace breaks in the middle of winter you will be very glad to have a handyman in your life!
Neighbours (love thy neighbour; maybe not literally) – I’m talking good neighbours and at least one trusted one. One that has an extra key to your place in case of an emergency and who will look out for your place or water your plants and take your mail when you go away. Once I had a neighbour call to alert me that I had left my key in the door. But again I lucked out because my next door neighbour has become like a member of the family. Many neighbours past and present have become lifelong friends.
Who else would you add to your list of people you must have in your life?
It’s a little like a love affair It starts out great, makes you feel good and then there are a few bumps along the way. You begin to doubt yourself. You settle in, become comfortable with the same steps and work into a routine. But if you want to improve your dance and keep things fresh you have to always evolve and work at it. You have to be eager to take it one step further to keep it interesting and alive. And to make the leaders want to dance with you.
Anyway, that’s my little analogy of the dance
You just can’t take a crash course to be a tango dancer in a movie – Robert Duvall
Dancing is not only social and good exercise, it makes me feel good. But I’ve been lax in going regularly for a long while now and I feel like I need to improve. With tango, it seems so easy but you never quite feel like you’ve mastered it. It is said that it takes a lifetime. Well since I have some time left I started lessons with one of the best instructors – Nadia of “Strictly Tango.” She spends several months a year in Buenos Aires. She’s professional but makes it fun, doesn’t miss a beat, watches your posture, corrects you on the spot and her dance space is incredibly appealing – the most ambient dance space for learning in Vancouver. Her base is ballet – actually the best base for any dance. She’s lovely. (See a short bio below). I already feel a big improvement. But I have a looong way to go.
“A good dancer is one who listens to the music…We dance the music not the steps. Anyone who aspires to dance never thinks about what he is going to do. What he cares about is that he follows the music.You see, we are painters. We paint the music with our feet.” – Carlos Gavito
I also started taking West Coast Swing – opposites attract! ThinkPatrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing (but not as dirty). I took West Coast Swing years ago but was travelling and didn’t continue when I came back and forgot the steps. It’s more funky, casual but lots of fun and the music is upbeat…a mix bag of rockabilly, country, blues and current pop music – club style dancing with a partner. The opposite of tango although there is a mixer where both dances are incorporated into the evening which should be interesting. My instructor Pamela Podmoroff is one of Canada’s top competitive dancers – but she knows HOW TO TEACH. A rare package. She’s fun, friendly and patient. Both of these classes are gender balanced.
A good reason to dance West Coast Swing – CHECK OUT this short video:
Strictly Tango with Nadia (BIO):
Nadia’s love affair with dance began early, with lessons in classical ballet at age ten in her home country, Iran. By the time she was fourteen, she’d earned a scholarship to study ballet in New York City. By nineteen, she was the youngest company soloist of the San Diego Ballet. Even when university studies and a successful career as a high school teacher demanded her focus — and took her from the United States to Canada and on to New Zealand— Nadia continued to teach ballet at the urging of her students. Her love of dance also took her to Cuba on three occasions, where she studied modern dance. In 2000, back in Vancouver and ready for a change, Nadia put dance on centre stage again, devoting herself full-time to her own studio, the Forufera Centre for Dance.
Have you given much thought to the importance of BEAUTY IN THE BATHROOM?
After all, it’s the place where we store all of our treasured beauty products. It’s where we disappear to first thing after waking to brush our teeth, wash our face, etc. and the last place before bedtime to repeat the same routine all over again.
I absolutely love my bathroom! Maybe that sounds strange, but I do.
It’s smallish but has windows which brings in natural light and it’s my personal private refuge and I like to keep it neat and tidy. I also like to surround myself with things of beauty that I love and products that make me feel good. I also have a few items sitting on my shelf that I rarely if ever use just because I only like to admire them – only for show – only for me, no one else. That can’t be considered shallow then, right?
Things like delicate and gorgeous collectible perfume bottles (some as gifts) and a few Hermès beauty items (on the opposite shelf) that haven’t been touched because they seem almost too pretty to disturb and an aquarium window with fish decals stuck to it. So I can remind myself of my scuba diving days. I’m such a child. Also an Amber room spray in a beautiful old-fashioned French perfume bottle from L’Occitane. I want to feel like I’m somewhere else for a little while. I need to escape. I consider it my womanly equivalent of the “man-cave.” Speaking of man caves, I visited a friend this summer and her boyfriend actually has a man-cave…really! I thought they were just a myth. It’s locked (only he has the key) and my friend doesn’t even know what’s inside. I won’t tell you what’s in it – because I had a glimpse when I snooped he opened it up to show someone (I was shocked) and it’s not at all my style but then again I can’t relate to what men like to hide. Which makes me think that we need to have some privacy away from our significant other – a sanctuary of our very own. Even if it’s only a corner space. And some things should really be kept private. Do you agree?
I adore my old-fashioned cast-iron bathtub (the feet have been re-painted white from the original silver) and when I take a bath, I take a bath! It’s a ritual with bath salts, bubble bath and candles and at night sometimes a glass of wine (I have a wine holder on my tub). So relaxing! It has piped in music. I light some candles and just relax! I use masks, scrubs, and lotions. It’s like my little haven. It’s definitely a girly bathroom. Now I have two orchids sitting on my bathroom window ledge – gifts from two friends. They look beautiful – not too much. They sit among some of the many shells I’ve collected (I could actually live outdoors in perfect climate condition). One is a large clam shell that I found snorkelling in the Sinai Peninsula and there’s also a beautiful piece of fan coral that washed up on the beach in Negril. I still can’t believe I was able to get away with taking it on the plane. It’s so very delicate that I just carried it on in a plastic bag. My overall tastes run high and low. I value things I’ve pick up on the shore as much as my Hermès dusting powder which sits in its gorgeous silver case (on my shelf of course, to be admired). I love my illustrated mermaid book from an art store in Florida. Everything has a meaning or a meaningful memory.
I love flowers, perfume, and feminine things. That has never (and probably will never) change. My mother was the same way. She was very feminine and took care of her skin and had a signature scent. I miss her so much. She was so genuine and took pleasure in simple things and loved nature. I think it’s important to hold on to things like that. We really lose track of how to relax in such a fast-paced world.
This year I had my bathroom painted a colour I would have never considered before. Chocolate Brown. I had a few samples narrowed down and for fun asked my dog to make the final decision. He actually put his paws on one of the samples, so I chose that one. When I turned the sample around it was named “Dog Paw.” This is no word of a lie – I swear! Can you believe there is even a colour with a name like that? Neither could I. But maybe they’re referring to dirty dog paws and the tracks they leave on your floor. Well that makes sense. Then I had a wall painted a tropical blue as an accent colour – just to remind me of being in the Carribbean. Thought it might be a bit too much but it could always be changed…. ended up loving it. It’s bright and cheery. Bill the handyman really did an excellent job. He can do anything. I’m going to write a post soon on the people we need in our lives – a handyman is one of them! TRUE!
I think you need to make each room in your home a little different, but meaningful.
It’s not only me right?
Below are a some photos of bathrooms that appeal to me – from martha stewart living:
This is knot your typical boutique. I love the overall organic feeling of this Vancouver shop.EVERYTHING inside is imported from Japan which is another reason to like it so much.
What would a Japanese
boutique be like without a few teapots?The place where I bought this comfy and cute cotton/crinoline sweater dress. I like that it’s casual (mostly) and feminine. It can be dressed up or down & belted (to emphasize the waist) but I just let it hang loose. I think it looks better when wearing shoes or better still; boots.
The Japanese have such eclectic taste and a lot of the styles appeal to me because they tend to go against the grain. You will find clothing & accessories that are NOT run-of-the-mill. Sometimes we want to have that bit of an edge.
SUKIYAKI is the perfect nutritious dish for cooler weather to share among close friends. My friend Ryoko makes the most wonderful Sukiyaki. Being from Japan it comes naturally to her, and I’m so glad that she showed me how to make it. We sat at her counter while talking and chopping the veggies. She explained that the meat you use is very important. She gets it sliced thinly from a butcher and prefers rib eye – the thinner the better for fast results. You can’t buy readily cut meat for sukiyaki otherwise, and it’s almost impossible to slice it yourself.
You could cook it on the stove although an electric skilletis the simplest and best thing to use since all the ingredients are served at the table. It’s actually quite easy to make if you chop and assemble everything beforehand. Just add what you like and noodles are optional – but since I love noodles I prefer adding them at the very end.
Add a little *dashiof this and a little **mirin and soy sauce to taste. If you’re not used to using these condiments you can go to any Japanese grocery store and ask someone that works there. They’ll know what you need.
Ryoko never uses a specific recipe but if you’ve never made it before I found an easy one online that you can adapt to suit your taste.
What you need:
Common ingredients include beef,tofu, negi (green onion), leafy vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and shirataki noodles. Have fun cooking and eating at-the-table!
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 lb. thinly sliced beef (she buys paper-thin rib-eye. You must get the butcher to cut it for you otherwise it will be too thick.
1 cube tofu
1/2 head nappa cabbage
1 bunch green onions
2 medium onions
7-8 shiitake mushrooms
7-8 white button mushrooms
1 Tbsp. oil
1 package frozen *udon noodles (optional)
1/3 cup soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium)
3 Tbsp. sake (Japanese rice wine)
3-5 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)
3/4 cup water
Cut all ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Arrange all ingredients on a large plate for a beautiful display.
Mix ingredients for sukiyakisauce in a separate bowl.
Add a little vegetable oil to an Electric Skillet, and set the temperature to high. Once the surface is hot, sauté some of the beef slices until brown. Add other ingredients.
Pour half the sukiyakisauce in the pan, and close the lid. Simmer until the ingredients are cooked through.
Everybody should take as much as they’d like to eat. Keep adding more ingredients and sauce as they disappear from the pan. Feel free to add more or less sugar, soy sauce and water to adjust the flavor of the sauce.
If you can find frozen udonnoodles in your supermarket, add it to the sauce to enjoy a whole new meal.
楽しみます= Tanoshimimasu = ENJOY!
*What is Dashi?
Dashi is a flavouring stock used in Japanese cuisine, giving that quintessential Japanese flavour to your favourite foods. It all starts with something called “umami”, which when translated from Japanese to English, “savoury” is probably the closest word. Umami was discovered as one of the five senses to accompany sweet, sour, bitter and salty and is a more friendly name for the taste of glutamates.
**What is Mirin?
Mirin is a common staple used in Japanese cooking. It’s a type of rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol and higher sugar content.
Not to be confused with some of the characters you may have met along the way. Those specific characters (they know who they are) make life interesting, colourful and never dull.I’m referring to a persons overall general disposition – the natural traits that define each of us as individuals. Have you ever had reason to doubt someones character?
Unfortunately I’ve come to discover the hard way that I may have thinner skin than I was aware of. It’s interesting that for all my travels and life experience how un-jaded I still am. I take words at face value and am always surprised when people are not as meaningful or as spiritual as they’ve led me to believe. I’m disturbed (not in a life threatening way) by how hurtful people can become even if they don’t intend to be that way. And at the same time I’m grateful to be the kind of person I am, to take people at face value, and believe that their intentions are honourable. I’m forever optimistic and never ever bitter. I just don’t understand the way some people operate. Which led me to this character post in the first place. And it leaves me vulnerable since it’s all so (also) personal.
Our character explains who we are, how we act and it highly influences the choices that we make in our lives.Day to day I take the good character of those I know for granted, but of late I’ve been impacted by the lack of integrity by some I believed I knew well. In general I don’t have any bad feelings towards anyone but I do question why someone would feel the need to say something they don’t mean or make a promise they don’t intend to keep because they think it’s what you want to hear. It hurts more if it were someone you were once close with. Maybe they don’t have the wherewithal to be completely open, or you’re of no use to them now that someone else has taken your place. They lead you to believe that you still matter, yet their actions prove that you don’t. They may not want to appear in a negative light. They attend to their own needs and you no longer play a part in their life. That’s fine although now they end up treating you with indifference – the very same way they do not wish to be treated. It’s understandable that circumstances change in your life, but a total shift in attitude is disheartening. Then you begin to doubt how well you read people.
People who feel the need to say things they think you want to hear but don’t mean are just playing head games with you. But maybe that is their intention – to play a game. I can’t get used to that kind of behaviour. Feelings are feelings. I value them. That’s why the saying goes – actions speak louder than words. Because words are just that – they’re only words. And you can only judge a person by how they act.
This is just an observation. Something to think about. We all disappoint someone at one time or another and lifecircumstances can partly be responsible for our actions but here’s the breakdown for each of us to consider:
Character traits will determine how a person responds or reacts when faced with a certain situation in life. For example, if someone has honesty as a character trait, he will always be truthful and say things that are true as opposed to a person who is not honest. They’re authentic.
You are able to be your real and true self, without pretension, posturing, or insincerity. You are capable of showing appropriate vulnerability and self-awareness.
Why Character is Important
Character in life is what makes people believe in you and is essential both for individual success and for our society to function successfully. Each individual must do his or her part every day by living a life of integrity. Integrity is adhering to a moral code of honesty, courage, strength and truthfulness – being true to your word. When you don’t exhibit integrity, other people get hurt. But you hurt yourself even more.
When you cheat, your “success” is false. When you break a promise, you are showing that your word is meaningless. When you lie, you deceive others and lose their respect. All of those examples destroy your reputation and break the trust others have in you. Without your good reputation and trustworthiness, your relationships fail.
Relationships and Success
Relationships are the foundation for success in life.
For example, when you destroy the relationships with your friends, you will have no friends. You will be isolated and alone.
If a student promises not to cheat, but does, he is taking unfair advantage to put himself ahead of others without deserving it. He can ruin his reputation, his academic record and his job prospects forever.
When a businessman makes a promise to customers and doesn’t deliver, he destroys his relationships with his customers. His customers go elsewhere and his business fails.
By breaking your relationships, you break the foundation forsuccess in your life. What is true success? For example, who is more successful? Someone who is famous and makes a great deal of money, or someone who has no fame, makes little money, but is a great parent? Today, in school, is too much emphasis being placed on “good grades” and “high test scores” – so much so that are these things, rather than good character, how we define success?
Your good character is the most important asset you have. It takes a lifetime to build but can be lost in an instant. Once lost, it is difficult to regain. Your true character is revealed when no one else is looking. Often, people decide to act based on short term gain, or an easy fix to a problem and end up doing the wrong thing.
The old adage “you are what you do” is true. Failure to consider the long term consequences of your acts can be disastrous. By study and focusing on the importance of character, you will be guided by principles, moral strength, and integrity to do the right thing. Nothing is more important for true success in your life. Riches and resources are one thing, but good character counts for much more.