Beauty: Blueberry Exfoliant

Blueberries and Acai berries

are normally reserved for my smoothies, not my face.  But this was a nice alteration.

I’m usually a bit skeptical of “too good to be true” deals but recently on a shopping trip to Washington State I stopped in at Trader Joe’s and found this little beauty. T.J’s Blueberry & Acai facial scrub is surprisingly effective, smells great and the price is right.

Essentially, it’s an antioxidant rich gentle exfoliant that helps to slough off dead skin cells and leave you feeling smooth and pampered. It also contains alpha-hydroxy acids, which is supposed to treat acne and improve the appearance of scars. I quite like it.

What It Claims To Do
Here’s what it says on the Trader Joe’s website: “While this Scrub is exfoliating, save for a few stray blueberry seeds and its very slight general graininess, it’s not really its texture that does the exfoliating—it’s the alpha-hydroxy acids, or AHAs. We also include colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, meadowfoam seed oil, and various plant extracts to soothe and pamper that beautiful mug of yours.”

Beauty Bonus: the break-up

My powder blush broke into a million pieces.  What do I do?

Gather all of the broken pieces of makeup into its original container, and crush the whole thing up (even the parts that may not have broken). 2. Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the compact, and let it soak in. Use your finger (pre-wash hands of course), the back of a spoon, or anything, really, to rub and smooth down the makeup. Leave it overnight for best results. Apply.

Your welcome!



Style: the Jumpsuit

I’m not even sure the words style and jumpsuit belong in the same sentence, but here we have it.

I’m torn with the same feeling I have for overalls. I’m not a big fan.  A catsuit; now we’re talking! It’s sexy. Although a good jumpsuit (a tad more upscale than overalls but definitely laid-back) worn a certain way can carry itself. Maybe this should be entitled “how to style a jumpsuit.”

And let’s keep in mind worn in the desert with combat boots, a fashion statement it does make.

For me a style post is getting harder and harder to do, if only because the best style is personal, and while one person can pull something off, another person can look totally ridiculous wearing.  And trends come and go, as we’re well aware.


Image: atelier dore

So when I spotted this jumpsuit on another website, I had to re-think the whole thing. Because it looks fabulous.  And in pinstripes; you can’t go wrong. The fact that the model is in Morocco with the sun shining certainly doesn’t hurt.

But honestly, I was interested enough to go online to find out who the manufacturer was.  Then to my surprise I found out that the one-piece is unisex no less.

I wasn’t aware that men wore jumpsuits, so this is all new to me.

Honestly, how do you feel about this statement piece?


Afternoon Delight: High on Tea

High TEA,

as opposed to having an ordinary cup of tea and a biscuit, is a welcome time-out to a dreary afternoon. Complete with finger sandwiches, scones and sweets, let’s just say it’s a bit more indulgent.

I’ve always taken advantage of any good recommended ‘high-tea’ in any city I’ve been to that happens to have one.  Some of my past favorites have been at the Empress hotel in Victoria, B.C., Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aries, Claridge’s in London and the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal.

In Vancouver we have the Secret Garden Tea Company. I like that it’s a family run business with a story. Owned and run by Sisters-in-law Kathy and Erin Wyder, who were inspired by their two remarkable grandmothers (Gammy Bentall + Nan McBeath). I recently ordered several dozen sandwiches for a gathering that did not disappoint.  But I think the best thing is to actually go there in person to take in the ambiance.

A brief history – the British tradition began in mid 1700’s as an afternoon meal usually served between 3 and 4 o’clock. Initially, it was a meal for the working man, taken standing up or sitting on tall stools, thus the term ‘high’. Tea. Me; I’ll take mine sitting down.

From the website:

In a world of franchising and fleeting trends, the values at the core of The Secret Garden Tea Company are timeless: Stay small. Be good at what you do. If it sounds like The Secret Garden is a bit of a throwback to simpler times, it is.

Maybe that’s why, since it’s inception in 1995, people come from miles around to the cozy little teahouse. Certainly for the delicious food and soothing tea, but also for the good feeling they take home with them. A feeling that comes from relaxing instead of rushing, and from reflecting on all the sweet little good things of life. Like family. Like friends.

And a lovely cup of tea.

Kathy and Erin Wyder.

The Secret Garden Tea Company

Location: Kerrisdale Village

2138 West 40th Ave.
Vancouver BC
V6M 1W5

(604) 261-3070


Trashy Art

We belong to a generation that is extremely consumerist, materialist, and greedy. It’s total garbage!  But here’s how an inspiring artist gets around it while creating breathtakingly beautiful work.

Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, known by the moniker Bordalo II, is showing off some bold new street art in an abandoned Lisbon warehouse. The artist, who was born in 1987, revitalizes end-of-life materials discarded by others to create his pieces. Bordalo draws attention to wastefulness by creating massive vibrant animals out of discarded plastic car parts, and other trash  – and the whimsical designs are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Garbage is given new life as colorful animal sculptures in Bordalo II’s solo exhibition Attero – the Latin word for ‘waste.’ The trash is locally sourced and might come from old cars, construction materials, or whatever else the artist happens to find. He often transforms the debris into animals because they are particularly vulnerable to harm from our society which too often throws items away, polluting the environment.

Attero calls us to reflect on our own consumption, according to Lara Seixo Rodrigues, founder of nonprofit arts organization Mistaker Maker, which curated Attero. She remarked “Whether on a large or small scale, his unusual sculptural creations oblige us to question and rethink our own role as actors in this static, consumerist, and self-destructive society, which exploits, often in an abusive way, the resources that nature offers us.”

Check out more of Bordalo II’s pieces on Facebook and Instagram.

Taken from article by Lacy Cooke




Self Care: riding the wave

I’ve been warned.

Somewhere in Sinai, Egypt. Taken from a photo album.  Photo: d. king

How after someone very close to you passes, where you’re first in mourning, then experiencing major grief, after a certain time period you suddenly begin to get a bit stronger, then you reach a low point.  Then you’re okay again, then you’re not. Kind of like riding a wave.  It’s happening. An ebb and a flow.  High tide and low tide. I suppose lack of sleep and sometimes not eating properly doesn’t help the situation.

I know what I’m supposed to do.  Just go with the flow and ride it out, hoping for the time when the memories will become pleasant instead of painful.  Actually they’re not really painful because most are joyful, but it’s in the joyfulness of remembering what was good that brings on sadness if that makes sense. For me it’s the physical loss of the person who’s no longer here for himself, not just for me. It’s his loss even more so than mine. What hurts most is the person having lost the fight and having lost hope. It seems in the end you never really know the truth. Whether they came to terms and finally let go with acceptance. As for the rest of us, we have to continue to live our lives.  That’s where I’m at.

Among the Bedouins in Sinai, Egypt

It may also have something to do with yesterday, sitting for hours finally clearing out a locker space filled to the brim with stuff I haven’t seen in many years.  In an over-heated room no less.  And sorting into 3 almost equal piles, suitcases and boxes filled with clothing, equipment, photos, etc. 1)keepers 2)salvation army 3)dumpster. And who keeps every single report card they ever had? It went into the “keeper” pile (just in case one day I want to remember how well (or not) I did in math in Grade 3). And re-discovering a photo album with amazing memories from Egypt & Israel then going home and turning on the news only to be shocked and saddened about the senseless killings in Egypt. Which puts everything into perspective.

On the terrace overlooking the river Nile

So after a restless night of a little doggy waking me up 3 times to go out (at least she woke me; smart girl – better than the alternative) I have not been able to get back to sleep.  And I couldn’t make up my mind what to eat for dinner and didn’t feel like cooking or even seeing anyone. So I ended up going to my favorite cheese shop and getting the grab-bag (they choose for you), then my favorite pastry shop and getting a fresh baked baguette (white bread, no less), and a little pumpkin pie and on the way home stopping at yet another local place for homemade cookies.  I chose 3 kinds – heart shaped jam filled, chocolate/marzipan + coconut macaroon.  I don’t feel too guilty cause due to no effort of my own I lost 6 lbs. without even trying.  Although for health reasons I don’t intend to make a habit out of this. So if I gain 3 back tonight so what.

On my way home, feeling like I could use a little therapy, I stopped by the local wine shop for a sampling of a wine called “therapy”.  After 4 sips (from 4 different bottles) I could already feel it. No more for me.

I realize this is a “self-care” post.  So I don’t know if my message is clear or if I even have a message.   If there is one, it’s just that sometimes you just have to give in to what is and not question why. Sometimes self-care is doing what feels right, right at the moment.

After all, tomorrow is another day, godammit.





Little things

Life is a good teacher and a good friend.  Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it.  Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about.  The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation apparently , a situation in which we don’t get caught, and in which we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit.” – from When Things Fall Apart.I am now the proud mom of Siamese Twins

And the little camper that could go practically any place, from beach to rocky road and everywhere in between

It’s all BIG!

Outerwear: staying stylish while braving the elements

In this case, It’s what’s on the outside that counts!

In the Rain

My friend Colleen always manages to look stylish, rain or otherwise

It’s almost impossible to look stylish in the rain. I live in Vancouver and when there’s a crazy torrential downpour (like right now) all I want is to stay warm and dry.  Which leaves me wearing a practical gore-tex jacket (which I’ve tried to retire time and time again only to take it out of hiding at this time of the year) with hood pulled up tight over my face and childlike gum boots or waterproof hiking boots.  The only way anyone can tell that it’s me if I’m wearing this getup is because there’s two sheltie dogs dragging tagging along beside me, usually wearing raincoats of their own.  This is truly the best (or most useful) dreadful weather dog walking gear I can think of.  This is when practical works best.

Love Yellow Gum Boots Credit: Van City Buzz

But when there’s a lighter rainfall it’s much easier to look more put together.  I wear a dressier looking raincoat (as if you can refer to a rain coat as being dressy, but I mean one that you can actually wear a dress under), black rain boots (duh) and a fashionable rain hat (because I prefer not to carry an umbrella). I found a great all-weather leather Dooney & Bourke handbag from a vintage fair in Palm Springs.  I knew when I first spotted it that it would be my go-to at this time of the year.  It pulls everything together.

Here’s another example of keeping stylish in the rain – having people fend off the elements for you when you go to Paris Fashion Week.  And don’t worry about freezing in your gown because of course there’ll be a warm car waiting for you.

In the Snow

What I remember most about living back East was that even when it snowed it was a lot brighter out.  Even though it was cold, the sun was still shining.  Not all the time, but a lot of the time.

Home for the Holidays – Cameron Diaz

You have more fashionable options in colder weather.  Winter is not my favorite season but I love winter coats because there’s so many choices. It’s the last thing you put on before going out the door and first thing people see you in.  You can have fun with them.

The snow won’t ruin wool or cashmere so covering up definitely gives you more options.  When I lived in Toronto I had several nice warm and stylish winter coats.  From a  full length bright red Hilary Radley (Canadian designer) wool coat to a fake leopard fur ¾ swing coat and many others in between. Even some down coats can look stylish (see above). And if you’re not sure you can never go wrong with a long camel coat, preferably in cashmere.  And then there’s the boots….but that’s for another post.

How do you stay stylish on the outside in winter?






Moroccan Muhammara

This is a delicious crowd pleasing recipe courtesy of my friend and neighbour Geoff.  He brought it over twice, and twice it was gobbled up in no time.

It sounds exotic and it tastes exotic but basically it translates to: red pepper and walnut spread.  This good-for-you recipe is also easy to make. Which in my estimation is always a plus.

What you need:

3 Roasted Red Peppers (from a jar or if you dare to, roast them yourself)

1 cup of walnuts (using chopped in bulk is fine)

2 slices of good quality whole wheat bread

1/2 tsp cumin

2 big cloves of garlic

2 Tbs Pomegranate molasses. (available from Persian Food stores or Middle Eastern markets).

Juice of 1 lemon (or more, to taste)

Salt + Pepper to taste


Geoff cooks by trial and error so he recommends breaking the process down into parts to get the texture and taste you’re looking for.

Preheat the oven to 350, and toast the walnuts on a cookie sheet for about 10 mins or until they become fragrant.

Start by whizzing the peppers, garlic, cumin, pomegranate molasses, and lemon juice in a food processor, then pour  (it will be pretty liquidy) into a separate bowl.

Then process the toasted walnuts until they’re almost like coarse breadcrumbs.

Take them out of the blender and reduce the bread to coarse breadcrumbs.

Gradually mix the whizzed pepper and crumbed bread into the walnuts checking the texture as you go.  You may want more or less breadcrumbs.  Keep blending until you have something like a smooth pâté.  If you try to do everything together, you’ll end up with that smooth pâté, or something more like a dip than a spread.  The processing can end up getting out of control very quickly….

Again, you can process part of the walnuts and part of the bread till they’re fine, then do the rest more coarsely if you like.  It’s an experiment every time!!!

At the end you go by taste and fold in more molasses and/or lemon juice if needed until you get it right – to your liking.

Serve with pita bread.

Trust me; you’ll like it!


Celebrate Good Times

because eventually all good things come to an end

Photo: d. king

It was one hell of a good run while it lasted.  It is with a huge void,  big hole in my heart and ultimately resigned acceptance that I finally got it together to organize a celebration of life for my husband Don. Just short of three months after he passed, and on Remembrance Day no less.

He didn’t want a service, big hoopla or anything pretentious.  Just a gathering of people closest to him at home with food, music and memories.  He never mentioned a slideshow although with help from a friend we managed to put together a lovely showing of images from past travels and our life together and some heartfelt words from those who treasured him.  Hooked up by computer to TV, it continued to loop around while people mingled.  My dear friend Ryoko, who is responsible for us meeting was here and gave an unrehearsed funny speech and managed to sum up in a few short minutes what Don was all about.  It was perfect in it’s simplicity,  warmth and endearment.   Just like Don himself.

Outside a winery in Napa – 2013

I’ll try my best; no promises.