Beauty: everything is coming up ROSES

Doesn’t every woman love roses?

Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, Vogue, November 2014
Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, Vogue, November 2014

While red is the flower of love I prefer a bouquet of white roses.  And I’m the girl who couldn’t resist the crushed  rose de rose petal blush from by Terry sold exclusively at Barneys.  It’s divine.

Why mess with a sure thing?

All things Rose. The seductive, beautiful aroma of Rose, considered the Queen of Oils, has been used for beautification purposes since the beginning of time.

The usage of rosewater dates back to early Egypt, when Cleopatra (yes, that Cleopatra) used the natural product in her skincare regime.  Why not follow in the footsteps of the world’s most legendary beauty queen? And the girl who would be King!rose2

Not to mention it has found a place in almost every Indian household.  The girls who do my brows are Indian and when they finish threading they massage a tiny amount of rose gel from Bombay on my browbone to help soothe the area. The scent is so heavenly I ended up buying a jar from them.

Pure rose oil is an ingredient in my Divine Oil from *Skin so Divine.  Also I use rose water in the Divine Facial Mist.

Pure rose water is the distilled water of roses. When purchasing rose water buy only the 100 percent pure form. Often what is available in pharmacies and even some natural food stores is synthetic rose oil and water with preservatives added.

Rose has one of the most lasting effects on the body compared to most other essential oils.  The frequency of rose essential oil is over 300hertz.  This is due to the enormous amount of roses it takes to make Rose essential oil. Imagine the positive energetic frequency of that plant power when used on the skin? Its simply amazing.  There is no substitute for rose in aromatherapy, its divine therapeutic benefits are unsurpassed.

This From Vogue Magazine:

Bottles of the old-school elixir have pride of place on many a makeup table—Romy Soleimani’s included. “I’m half-Persian, so I grew up with rosewater. My aunts drink it; they put it on their face,” explains the makeup artist, who stocks Jurlique’s rose mist in her kit. On set and in the real world, rosewater does double duty, Soleimani explains: “You can use it as a hydrating toner, or spray it afterwards to reawaken your foundation, pressing it in with a sponge.” As for the reaction from those in her chair, basking in the garden-scented cloud? “It’s usually ‘Ahhh!’” she says with a laugh.

That sense of universal calm is fueling a growing passion for rosewater.  Elsewhere in the beauty world, it’s turning up everywhere from bold-face skin care (Le Weekend de Chanel) to small-batch start-ups . Of course, hydration doesn’t stop at the skin. New York–based Juice Press recently released its bottled Water + Rose, tinged with the venerable Bulgarian rose, and Juice Served Here, in Los Angeles, launched a smartly packaged version in February, touted for its anti-inflammatory and calming effects. JSH just wrapped a six-week partnership with the water-filter company Soma, in which a portion of the Rose Water proceeds benefitted clean-water projects in Flint, Michigan; a new charitable collaboration is on deck. What’s not to love?

Rose Water Beauty Tips:

  • Use rose water to prevent or reduce eye puffiness.
    Just place a bottle of rose water into the fridge for half an hour and then, apply some of it on a cotton pad and gently place it on your eyes. It will help sooth the tender skin around your eyes and prevent or reduce eye puffiness.
  • Freshen your face throughout the day by spraying rose water mist on your skin.
    Especially, in the summer time, rose water can become your faithful friend, caring for your skin like nothing else; just spray rose water mist on your face (or you can also apply it using a cotton pad), it will instantly freshen your skin, naturally hydrate and nourish it, adding a wonderful radiance and glow.
  • Add 2 cups of rose water into your bath for a divine and unforgettable experience. Rose water will soften and add freshness to your skin, and add a beautiful scent.

*Skin so Divine products – on SHOP page @

https://girlwhowouldbeking.com/shop/

 

Style: Farm to Closet

Acclaimed former interior and graphic designer Eileen Fisher launched her self-named collection in 1984 making her mark with clean lines, simple shapes, and a timeless, functional style.eileenfisherAnd she designs clothes with a conscious.  What does that mean?

Just as farm-to-table is changing the way we think about our food and where it comes from, farm-to-closet will change the way we think about clothing.  Because clothes are an agricultural act.  An odd way to think about garments maybe, but true when they’re made of natural fibers.

I love wearing my Eileen Fisher silk shells but this season her key ingredient is organic linen.  The company uses flax grown by farmers who rely on age-old practices and modern insights to control weeds and pests naturally.  It’s harder than spraying a field with synthetic chemicals, but worth the effort.

By supporting organic farming, you’re helping to protect the soil that sustains what we eat – and what we wear.  So you can feel even better about what you’re wearing.

A great meal is only as good as its ingredients, and a great look is only as good as the materials it’s made from.

A few favourites taken from the website:

Organic Linen Long Tunic - USD 228.00
Organic Linen Long Tunic – USD 228.00
  • Eileen Fisher tunic in lightweight, breathable handkerchief linen.
  • Available in your choice of color.
  • Ballet neckline.
  • Long, dropped sleeves.
  • Loose fit.
  • High-low hem hits mid-thigh.
  • Pullover style.
  • Organic linen; machine wash.
  • Imported of Italian material.

    Long Organic Linen Jacket USD 248.00
    Long Organic Linen Jacket USD 248.00
  • Eileen Fisher organic handkerchief linen jacket—available in your choice of color.
  • Mini mandarin collar; button front.eileen7

Their vision: for an industry where human rights and sustainability are not the effect of a particular initiative, but the cause of a business well run.  Where social and environmental injustices are not unfortunate outcomes, but reasons to do things differently.

The Tank Dress
The Tank Dress
Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher

To view all styles:  http://www.eileenfisher.com/

Source: Eileen Fisher

Avocados – the new FRUIT on the block

Okay, technically avocados are a fruit but most people treat them more like a veggie which is unfair considering how versatile they are.avo2

I just ate avocados from Mexico for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Granted as much as I love avocados, that doesn’t usually happen.  It’s just that on Sunday I spend part of the afternoon at the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver for the second Avo Showdown Event with chefs who prepared amazingly creative dishes using avocados from Mexico.  It inspired me to incorporate avocados into more dishes.  You should have seen what these chefs came up with and how delicious everything tasted with 10 savoury concoctions and 7 desserts.  Avocado toast is so 2015!

20160410_140641It was difficult for the judges to decide on a first place winner (the winning prize was a trip for two to Club Med Cancun) but the Cannoli where the pastry chef substituted avocado in place of ricotta cheese was the outstanding #1 winner.    

Justin Darnes from Drinks Undressed demonstrated a unique cocktail using smoked avocado and banana infused Cachaca (sugarcane liquour) and passion fruit. avo9avo8 He garnished it with cinnamon dusted banana & avocado coins. Divine! Chef Jonathan Kinney from the academy demonstrated an elegant layered parfait with granola, yogurt and fresh fruit in a wineglass (or sundae dish) topped with sliced avocado and toasted coconut.  Simple but amazing.  And that’s the thing – it is so simple!

Since I am not in favour of wasting food I try to combine leftovers in my fridge into some kind of edible substance, and I like being creative so…..

avo3

I did not enter but I think my original Avocado/Tofu Ceviche recipe is a winner. Next year!
I did not enter but I think my original Avocado/Tofu Ceviche recipe is a winner.         Next year!

Breakfast:

?

I make my own homemade granola so using what was in my fridge I just layered it into a margarita glass with yogurt, sliced mango, blackberries and sliced (a little riper than I like) Mexican avocados.  It worked together extremely well and tasted great.

Lunch:

Tuna Avocado Salad on Hearts of Romaineavo11For the dressing I mixed a small amount of mayo and ripe avocados – creamy and perfect! A healthy alternative to mayonnaise. Chopped cucumber, green onion, cilantro & red pepper were mixed in the bowl along with the albacore tuna and avocado chunks.  Hearts of Romaine are a healthy alternative to bread.

Dinner:

MexiGreek Salad for starters – a chopped salad of not overly-ripe Mexican avocados, sweet onion, grape tomatoes, cilantro, cucumber and feta cheese (black olives; optional).  Dressing: lemon olive oil, S+P.

My skin is already looking so much better.  Now I’m not sure if it’s on account of the La Mer Concentrate I’ve been using combined with my own skincare, or the avocados. or all of the above.

The Winners
The Winners

Do you have an original simple recipe using Mexican avocados that you’d like to share?

Photos: d. king

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art/Culture – EVITA “the hit Broadway musical” comes to Vancouver

Vancouver Opera’s Company Premiere of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award winning smash hit EVITA will open at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 30th.

evita8

Few women in history have had the allure of Eva Perón,  She once said My biggest fear in life is to be forgotten.”  Her legend lives on….

A very brief bio because the musical will explain everything in about 2 hours and 45 minutes including a short intermission:

*Don’t cry for me Argentina

Maria Eva Duarte de Perón was born out of wedlock on May 7, 1919, in Los Toldos, Argentina.  Eva (commonly known as Evita), left school when she was 16 and went to Buenos Aires in the 1930s to pursue her dream of becoming a star. She had reasonable success as an actress before marrying Juan Perón in 1945, who became president of Argentina the following year. Eva Perón used her position as first lady to fight for women’s suffrage and improving the lives of the poor, and became a legendary figure in Argentine politics. She died in 1952.

I’m really looking forward to this musical especially having been to Buenos Aires and since visiting the mausoleum of Evita in La Recoleta Cemetary.  It is most definitely one of the most amazing cemeteries I’ve ever seen.

Tickets are selling out for the VO’s brand new full-scale production taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre with only 6 performances, from April 30th – May 8, 2016.  It has won 7 Tony Awards.

La Recoleta Cemetary - CNN listed it as one of the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world.
La Recoleta Cemetary – CNN listed it as one of the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world.

VO’s Evita will star three seasoned Broadway stars with international followings.

Ramin Karimloo will star as Che. Mr. Karimloo has played both Jean Valjean (Les Misérables) on Broadway and The Phantom (Phantom of the Opera) in London’s West End. He was personally selected by Andrew Lloyd Webber to star in the London World Premiere of the Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies. This will be his first appearance as Che.

Caroline Bowman will play Evita, a role she has also played in the Broadway revival and on tour in the United States. She also starred in the Broadway productions of Wicked (as Elphaba) and in Kinky Boots.

evita1John Cudia will play Perón. Mr. Cudia is the first and only performer to have played the roles of The Phantom and Jean Valjean on Broadway. Equally at home on opera, theatre and concert stages, Mr.Cudia is a lyric tenor who has also sung Alfredo in La traviata with Lyric Opera of the North.

SONY DSC

I have one thing that counts, and that is my heart; it burns in my soul, it aches in my flesh, and it ignites my nerves: that is my love for the people and Peron.” – Evita

She will not be forgotten

*Don’t Cry for me Argentina is a song composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice. It was first recorded by Julie Covington on the 1976 concept album Evita, and was later included in the 1978 stage musical of the same name.   It appeared at the opening and near the end of the show, initially as the spirit of the dead Eva exhorting the people of Argentina not to mourn her, and finally during Eva’s speech from the balcony of Casa Rosada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty: La Mer “The Concentrate”

Designer products for your face

It’s very seldom that I spend a ton of money on a single skincare/makeup product.lamer5 It’s not that I haven’t done it before but I’m simplifying so many areas of my life right now and skincare is amongst them. Add to that the fact that I make my own natural products.

In the exceedingly competitive beauty market it all comes down to what works for you and what you can afford to spend.  If money is not an issue and you believe an expensive product will work better then by all means go for it.  Sometimes the simpler the better but I won’t knock anything before trying it.  And contrary to the naysayers, some of the more pricey products are superior and seem to work more effectively.lamer3

I’ve  received various products to test out and blog about and even though I’m under no obligation to do so, I like to share my favourites. Which brings me to the most recent one from La Mer. It’s called The Concentrate or; the Miracle Worker (after all it has a trademarked miracle broth secret ingredient). I’ve  been using it for only two weeks and it seems to have smoothed out a rough patch on an area of my face created by an allergy to something. I love the soothing texture and how evenly it spreads and helps hydrate.

Here’s the thing.  In the short time span I’ve been using it, it appears to be a first-rate product but I would look around before I shell out several hundred dollars for a tiny bottle. Can I pay $320 for 1 oz of this so-called miracle product?  The answer is yes. Do I want to? The answer is no.  Will I?  It’s possible only if it works. The high prices on many skincare and makeup products are beginning to put me off.  I’m questioning where to draw the line on spending. Do you feel the same way?

Here is what the company has to say:

THE CONCENTRATE

A saviour of skin, the Concentrate complements skin’s natural healing process with the restorative power of the sea. Designed to soothe visible irritation and redness caused by cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments, it is infused with a dose of highly concentrated Miracle Broth™, the heart of La Mer’s profound powers of transformation. Irritation appears soothed and dry, fragile skin made strong for a radiant renewal.

Thoroughly massage onto affected area at least twice per day. For optimal results, follow with your *Crème de la Mer moisturizer.  *another several hundred dollars.

Your thoughts on the cost of beauty and where do we draw the line?

http://www.cremedelamer.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Style – the Happy Hatter

A tip-off to hat lovers everywherehat1

“Wide brimmed and narrow, some tall, some not, some fancy, some colorful, some plaid, some plain. She doted on changing hats at every opportunity. When she met the Prince, she was wearing one hat, when he asked her for a stroll, she excused herself, shortly to return wearing another, equally flattering.” – William Goldman, The Princess Bride (loved that movie).hat2Hats are radical; only people that wear hats understand that. Philip Treacy (Irish milliner/designer based in London).hat3

Take off your hat,” the Girl King said to the Mad Hatter.
“It isn’t mine,” said the Hatter.
“Stolen!” the King exclaimed, turning to the jury, who instantly made a memorandum of the fact.
“I keep them to sell,” the Hatter added as an explanation; “I’ve none of my own. I’m a hatter.”  – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glasshats1hats2hats3hats4    The Wide Brimmed Stetson, a Personal Style Favourite (last 4 photos)

Taken by Garance Doré (blogger, photographer, illustrator, author). 

Wear them weather permitting and without permission.

 

Tattered Tarte Tatin – from Flop to Fabulous

The lady and the tart.  It began with a bunch of Pink Ladies. They looked so fine – I decided to put them to good use.

the apples (cut in quarters) are caramelizing
the ladies (cut in quarters) are caramelizing with the help of a turkey baster (not in recipe).

I like to challenge myself in general and many times it involves cooking.  When things get too comfortable I like to switch it up and expand my repertoire to make meals more unexpected and interesting. I love trying new things and just when I think I’ve tried them all I find another recipe to inspire me.

like this one
like this one

For desserts I have my standards that I know work out but pie crust pastry at the best of times is always challenging to get it just right especially if you prefer using butter over lard or Crisco (as per Martha Stewart and moi).

For Easter I made dinner for eight and decided to attempt a new dessert.  It was going to be elegant and impressive. According to the recipe it was supposed to be shockingly simple to make, and it was shocking all right but in a messy, hard to assemble kind of way.

in proper stages
Another Option: shown in stages with apples cut into slices & pre-packaged crust.

I should have realized this beforehand because anything that requires flipping over I usually end up flipping out over.  My omelettes usually turn out to be fancy looking scrambles (or scramblets as I like to call them).  They might taste good but they’re not your typical perfect looking omelette.  Still working on it.  My pan is usually to blame.   The lip is too deep or something like that.  But perhaps, just saying…maybe I’m not a natural born flipper. What made me think it would be different for an apple tart? This was a French Tarte Tatin (maybe I just liked the name) – a show-stopping dessert baked in a cast iron pan (I’m a big fan of cast iron like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Meet the Fockers). I liked the photo and the fact that you don’t have to par-bake the crust.  Traditionally it’s made with puff pastry but making puff pastry from scratch takes a long time.  Never say “should have” but – should have used puff.

when it came out of the oven
when it came out of the oven – not supposed to look perfect – only taste so.

END RESULT

dessert reconstructed - but delicious nonetheless (very important!)
dessert reconstructed – but delicious nonetheless (very important!) – apple pie in a bowl.

By some miracle I managed to turn this flop into a fabulous dessert with some quick thinking. No one even knew it wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.  The original recipe is below (with some added comments) but here’s what happened.  At the start everything looked great and even taking it out of the oven it looked almost perfect and smelled amazing.  Should have left it in the pan. But no; had to flip it over onto a wood cutting board….that’s when it fell apart.  So instead of crying I was a big girl about it.  Scooped it into individual little round bowls that could be put back into the oven just before serving.  Topped with a scoop each French vanilla & whipped cream, a chocolate wafer on top...Pffff.  Everyone said it was delicious even the crust. And I forgot to drizzle dulce de leche over the ice cream.

Tarte Tatin

Makes *one 9-inch tart

*Ideally, but remember if it falls apart, you have another option.  Or, just serve it straight from the pan if you suspect it may fall apart. Let me know how it works out for you – but don’t tell me it worked out perfectly.

PASTRY:

1 cup salted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes

2 cups all purpose flour

ice water

TART:

1/2 cup salted butter

3/4 cup white sugar (I recommend fine organic cane)

4 – 5 (I used 6) large baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters*

1/4 cup Calvados or Cognac (optional).  I didn’t have either so substituted with a little less over-proof rum (brought home from my Appleton Rum factory tour in Jamaica & still potent as ever).  This helps to caramelize the apples but you can try omitting it entirely.

Apples: Honeycrisp, Ambrosia, or Pink Lady are good options

First, make the pastry. On a clean, flat surface, combine the butter and flour, tossing the butter through the flour to coat on all sides. Using a rolling pin, roll the butter into thin strips, using a pastry scraper or the back of a large knife to lift any stuck bits from the surface or the rolling pin. Keep doing this until all the butter is in long strips.

Add a few tablespoons of water and then lift and fold the mixture using a pastry scraper or back of a knife. Continue adding water, a few tablespoons at a time, lifting and folding the mixture to incorporate each addition until the dough just starts to come together.

Use your hands to flatten the dough, then fold it over itself. Do this until the dough is a cohesive mass, but is still very pliable. You don’t want to overwork it.  Useful Tip:use parchment paper to help you.

On a well-floured surface roll the dough to the size of your cast iron pan. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate.

Next, assemble the tart. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a medium cast iron pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and sprinkle the sugar evenly over top. Place the apple quarters in concentric circles around the pan, flat side down. Pour the Calvados or Cognac over top, if using, and let the apples slowly caramelize. When the liquid around the apples turns medium brown, remove the pan from the heat. This should take about 20 minutes. Useful Tip: use a turkey baster to help baste liquid over apples.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on top of the apples. Immediately place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry has browned nicely.

Let it sit for at least 10 minutes (or up to 30), and then put a board or plate on top of the pan. Carefully flip the whole thing over; the tart should pop out quite easily (ha, ha). If an apple or two sticks to the pan, use a fork to put it in its rightful place.

Serve immediately, or wait a few hours (or even a day) and warm gently in the oven before serving.

Source: Claire Livia Lassam, Edible Magazine

ART/Culture: Undressed – a BRIEF history of Underwear

From practicality to provocation, one of our most everyday objects tends to attract interest, debate and sometimes controversy.

undressed1

Every fashion maven knows there is an art to well-made undies.  And for those of us who appreciate them a new exhibit (CN Traveler Magazine calls it one of the ten best fashion exhibits) at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London from 16 April 2016 – 12 March 2017.

This exhibition will address the practicalities of underwear and its role in the fashionable wardrobe whilst highlighting its sensual, sexual appeal. The exhibition will explore dress reformers and designers who argued for the beauty of the natural body, as well as entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators who have played a critical role in the development of increasingly more effective and *comfortable underwear.

jesus fernandez lingerie (Buenos Aires)
jesus fernandez lingerie – the line I represented and sold in Canada after meeting my match in a  Buenos Aires shoppe window

Undressed:

A Brief History of Underwear will display more than 200 examples of men’s and women’s underwear from about 1750 to the present day. In particular, it will investigate how underwear design combines the practical and personal with the sensory and fashionable, in the process both protecting and enhancing the body. The exhibition will map developments in underwear design and explore the ways in which fashion designers have transformed underwear into outerwear.undressed2Curating an exhibition is a process built on collaboration, between conservators, researchers, designers and other specialists.

The exhibition, Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, will be on display at the V&A from 16th April 2016 to 12th March 2017.  V&A Museum: Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL, United Kingdom

Sponsored by Agent Provocateur and Revlon – two brands who aim to celebrate and empower women.

Agent Provocateur is delighted to partner with the V&A to be the leading lingerie sponsor for the Undressed Exhibition. Founded in 1994 Agent Provocateur’s unique brand image is renowned for being provocative while empowering women.

Revlon: With over 80 years’ experience revolutionizing the beauty industry and allowing women to express their most glamorous selves, Revlon are thrilled to be a sponsor of the exhibition Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.

A word from an undergarment connoisseur know-it-all:undressed3*Like most women I love a “no show” so I say hurrah for the invisible comfortable seamless pretty and practical (no VPL) every day wear brands like Commando and Cosabella .  Then there’s all the others………….let’s face it, G-strings and some bustiers are not the most comfortable undergarments.  But like high heels they make you feel sexier and in my opinion,  necessary options to the fashionable woman’s wardrobe.

Check out my love of lingerie board on Pinterest:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel-good Friday: It’s April!

I think the best day of the year to ask someone to marry you is April 1st!
april

because if she/he accepts and you get cold feet, you always have an out – after all, it’s April Fools! 

Things to love about APRIL

For starters the Spring bouquets.  Friends brought these over last Sunday.  20160328_091519

It brings us that much closer to SUMMER.

My sisters birthday is in April (infact she was born on an Easter Sunday).

We can always put more SPRING in our step as things begin to lighten up.

In April everything seems to come to life again, birds have a lot to say, animals are in heat and some people too.

easterAfter Easter we get a long break from major holidays and can relax more.

Everything is in bloom or starting to bloom and looking much prettier.

I think the quote below (unlike mine above) from Shakespeare pretty much sums it all up:

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything” – William Shakespeare, Sonnets.

Youth and Spirit are two of the most uplifting words in the English language.  I hope things are looking cheery and brighter for everyone.  At least for me, that’s the promise of Springtime.