Don’t Worry Darling

Reality is an acquired taste” – a line from the movie

Florence Pugh (Alice) + Olivia Wilde (Bunny)

That’s a very simple but profound statement.  When you think about it, most things in life including movies, are an acquired taste.

When I first heard about the movie “Don’t Worry Darling,” I couldn’t wait to see it.  My connection to Palm Springs and knowing the movie was filmed in the surrounding area was what interested me most. I knew it would be a stylish film and didn’t expect very much other than nice scenery and interesting sets.  

The film focuses on a young couple in the 1950s living a seemingly perfect life in the cloudless company town of Victory, California where some very shady business is taking place.  A distorted view of reality best described as Stepford Wives meets The Matrix.

Florence Pugh (Alice) + Harry Styles (Jack)

Florence Pugh (Little Women) was outstanding as Alice in the lead role, as was musician Harry Styles who played her husband Jack in his debut role as a debonair loving husband in a controlling and regressive reality.

Chris Pine plays Frank, founder of a utopian 1950s desert community known as the “Victory Project.”

Bunny; Alice’s best friend, is played by Olivia Wilde who also directed the movie (excellent job Olivia). Bunny is revealed to be a willing participant in the Victory simulation as, having lost her children in the real world, she comes to Victory to unite with them again.

I loved this movie for the suspense, the actors, the backdrop and the mid-century modern style.

I think Olivia Wilde did a superb job as director.  Didn’t look at the reviews until after.  I know Rotten Tomatoes gave it a very low score but the audience gave it a relatively high one.  It’s one of those things; you either love it or hate it.  I know people who loved the new “Elvis” movie and others who hated it. 

Like everything else; it’s an acquired taste.

Trailer

Photos: taken from TV HBO on Demand with my Samsung. 
Have you seen it?  If so; let me know what you think.

Scream of Consciousness. 

Venting on my blog is not something I like to do.  But I thought I’d switch it up for a change and tell you about my one day in the life of first world problems. Events I refer to as my Seinfeld Saturday. Remember that show was supposed to be much ado about nothing.  But it was really about something in the way it presented humorous renderings of daily insignificance that we North Americans experience and complain about.  No wonder it was so successful and it’s still relevant because every single episode was about mundane setbacks we can all relate to.

Before I begin I want to mention that a few weeks ago a tragic accident happened to someone I know who was involved in a head on car collision.  She did not survive. I haven’t been in much of a mood to write.  Life is precarious.  It’s a gift and when something like this happens out of the blue it really makes you evaluate what is important and what is not.  But we manage to move on however we can – taking in all the good, the bad and the uncertain. 

So as I’m reliving a very ordinary day, make no mistake that I’m also grateful for being alive to not only share it, but to poke fun at it too – like Seinfeld would.

Picking up my top from the same cleaners that I always go to resulted in a much higher bill for the same top which was there only two months prior. I found my old bill and noticed a $10 increase. I know; I know, the excuse of inflation, higher gas prices, yada, yada. However when I go to the cleaners I don’t expect to be taken to the cleaners!

Next was going to see my alterationist – a very skilled one at that.  I had a lining replaced in a fancy little jacket that belonged to my mom.  Her name was inscribed in the lining.  I asked that the name be cut out but sewn back for sentimental reasons.  Picked it up, got home and looked inside to see the name sewn upside down. Perhaps a metaphor for the topsy-turvy upended times we live in. When I called the alterationist to let her know, she explained that she was too busy so asked her husband to sew it on for her. Of course I had to take it back and get her to re-do it, which she did. But not happily. And extra wasted time for me.

Then I tried to register a business because I was granted the name I requested. However, in British Columbia you have to go through a “one-stop” business registry system (actually called “one-stop”) that makes you go through several non one-stop steps. Again; first world problem.  Still, I don’t understand why so much time is wasted on these unnecessary extra steps.  I’ll spare you the details.

My dog needing grooming but since we were on a two month wait list for the local groomer I decided to take her to a dog store with a DIY service.  I bathed, blow dried and thinned out Layla’s coat there. I may have used too much conditioner because Layla had so much static after blow drying that her fur was sticking straight up.  She looked like Rod Stewart. So we showed up at the regular groomer right after. Even though busy with other dogs, someone who works there decided to spend a few moments with Layla to straighten out the situation.

Later in the day, looking back on the day, I laughed over how many little things upset me.  Life’s little problems.

I always loved a good rollercoaster.

It’s a new week with a whole new set of adventures and little problems.  I wish you a wonderful week.  See you back here soon.

Whistler Film Festival

On the heels of the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) comes the Whistler Film Festival (WFF). Not that anyone needs an excuse to go to Whistler; but while you’re waiting for ski season to start (soon enough) film buffs might want to take in this unique little (but getting bigger) festival.  Also; while there, make sure to check out the Audain Art Museum (housing the private art collection of Michael Audain) which is amazing in itself.

Art, Music, Movies, Documentaries….it’s all here!

Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has announced the full lineup for its 22nd edition taking place in-person from November 30, to December 4 2022  in Whistler, BC, and online from December 5 to January 2, 2023. 

Selected from over 2,000 submissions, the lineup includes 86 bold and inspiring films curated into nine program strands. There are 41 features and 45 shorts from 19 different countries, including award-season contenders, new breakthrough Canadian features, heart-stopping extreme adventure films, and previously unseen projects from around the globe. 

”With a particular emphasis on Canadian content creators and distinct and emerging voices, Whistler Film Festival continues to fill a valuable niche within the film festival ecosystem,” says Paul Gratton, WFF’s Director of Programming. “WFF has evolved into a premium showcase for exciting new motion pictures not previously shown at other film festivals. With our strongest lineup ever of Canadian gems, coveted international festival titles, and an inspiring selection of award-hopefuls, our 22nd edition hums with the energy and creativity that result when new voices mix with established filmmakers in one of the most awe-inspiring settings for a film festival.”

WFF is pleased to present an exciting line-up of documentaries, with a strong focus on sports and music.

A little sneak preview:

Acclaimed actor and director Jason Priestley returns to WFF for the World Premiere of OFFSIDE: THE HAROLD BALLARD STORY. Big money, big headlines, and a long list of enemies – Harold Ballard made them all during the two decades he owned the crown jewel of Canadian sports – The Toronto Maple Leafs – down the road to ruin. This not-to-be-missed feature-length documentary explores one of the most controversial figures in Canadian sports history. Directed by Priestley, this world premiere marks the star’s return to the festival for the first time since the release of his critically-acclaimed film Cas and Dylan – the opening night selection at WFF in 2013.

Music has a large presence in the WFF doc mix this year. A special screening of BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: CARRY IT ON, with a live-streamed and in-theatre Zoom conversation with the iconic  singer, songwriter, and activist, takes place on December 2. The documentary is directed by Madison Thomas, an alum of the Whistler Film Festival Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship (2017). 

WFF will screen the too-crazy-to-be-believed behind-the-scenes concert doc REVIVAL ‘69: THE CONCERT THAT ROCKED THE WORLD. Coined “the second most important event in rock & roll history,” the Toronto Rock & Roll Revival was a one-day event held at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium. 

It features John Lennon in his first post-Beatles appearance, as well as Yoko Ono, Klaus Voorman, Eric Clapton, Alice Cooper (and the infamous chicken incident that put him on the map), Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and The Doors, plus a couple of hundred bikers used to provide Lennon with a motorized escort from Pearson Airport to Varsity Stadium to make the concert in time. A must-see for any rock historian.

Music fans will love BOY CITY, a funny throwback to the era of boy bands and those who loved them, directed by Sean Cisterna and featuring Jonas Chernick. Chernick is also the co-lead in the comedy THE END OF SEX directed by Sean Garrity, a sort of spiritual successor to MY AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVENTURE which won the Audience Award at WFF in 2012.

This all sounds amazing!

For tickets + info:

Home

 

the essentials

Skincare is an important part of Selfcare

Reigning Face Oil + Essence

Speaking about self-care, there are numerous essential oils that promise so many benefits for a multitude of  purposes and problems.  Some reduce stress and help elevate your mood, others treat fungal infections, relieve headaches and help you sleep. For the face, I wanted to narrow down to a concentration of what I refer to as the delightful dozen. These essential oils will help to keep your skin barrier smooth and nourished. I discovered that a certain cult favourite contains 22 essential oils which was the exact amount in my former product.  I don’t want to compare, but in my opinion that’s a few too many.  However having said that, the main thing overall, is the quality of the ingredients.  Quality over Quantity – always!

 In a nutshell (incidentally, some oils are extracted from nuts):

These Essential Oils are known to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties for a variety of skin care concerns. They’re basically plant extracts, made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant from flowers, trees, leaves or fruit. It takes the processing of many plants to create one bottle of essential oil.  All are highly concentrated and as such, too strong to use on their own as they can cause skin irritation.  That’s why we add them to a carrier oil such as coconut among other oils so that they dilute the essential oils to be able to carry them to your skin. Most carrier oils are unscented or lightly scented and don’t interfere with an essential oil’s therapeutic properties. How to choose from the multitude out there?

Below are the 8 essential beauty oils I chose for their nourishing, protecting and effectiveness properties.  And of course they’ve been tested on various skin types.

Baobab (pronounced Bow-Bob)

Baobab OIl

I encountered my first Baobab tree in Masai Mara, Africa.   It was the most unusual looking tree.  It’s known as the bottle tree, or the tree of life, for its ability to store up to 1,200 gallons of water in its trunk. I, along with many others wasn’t aware of the benefits used as an essential healing oil.  

Baobab Trees

The properties of Baobab oil prevent water loss, keep the skin moist, and provide protection against dryness. It’s nutrient rich, loaded with vitamin E, A, and antioxidants, as well as fatty acids – high in linoleic acid, a kind of omega-3 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, baobab oil may help reduce skin redness and irritation. Lightweight and non-greasy, it is perfect for sensitive skin types.

Baobab oil is derived from the fruit seeds by a process which starts with the seeds being air dried in the sun. The seeds are then stored for months before they are cold pressed to give the oil.

Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot Seed Oil

I first tried using carrot seed oil when making homemade eye cream. It’s known to have antibacterial, antifungal & anti-inflammatory properties. It’s extracted via steam distillation from the carrot seeds of the Daucus carota plant – a flowering plant, found in North America and Europe, known for its white blossoms and carrot-scented roots. Combining skin-mending vitamin A, collagen-boosting vitamin C and moisturizing vitamin E, this essential oil helps smooth lines, helps repair sun damage, scars and any other skin trauma.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose oil has emollient properties, meaning it helps soften and smooth the skin, improving the skin’s overall texture and elasticity. It also helps lock in moisture to minimize water loss. With anti-inflammatory properties, it can help soothe irritated, inflamed skin. Additionally, this oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins C and A.

The oil from evening primrose seeds contains omega-6 fatty acids, including gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). It comes from a plant with yellow flowers native to North and South America that also grows throughout Europe and parts of Asia. The flowers open at sunset and close during the day. This oil, although not as common as let’s say jojoba, can also be used as a carrier oil to dilute other essential oils.

Frankincense Oil

A bottle of frankincense essential oil with frankincense resin and a candle in the background

Story as old as time; Frankincense Oil is an effective natural remedy to calm the complexion as it strengthens, tightens and improves skin tone. So it’s good for irritated or damaged skin. If you were to go back in time to Ancient Israel or Asia, many people would consider Frankincense to be more precious than gold. Today, Frankincense essential oil is still worth its weight in gold in a number of applications. Frankincense oil is prepared from aromatic hardened gum resins obtained by tapping Boswellia trees originating from Africa, India and the Middle East.

Ginseng Essential Oil

Extract of ginseng root and ginkgo biloba leaves

The ginseng extract (or oil) is a powerful herbal ingredient but its use as a beauty remedy is fairly new in North America.  I only recently discovered its benefits as the #1 ingredient in a skin repair serum I bought from a top spa.  Though ginseng may be making its way into more and more beauty products in the Western hemisphere, it’s been a staple in Eastern Asian beauty for centuries and a primary ingredient in traditional Korean beauty philosophy. Legend has it that ginseng was the biggest skin-care secret of Hwang Jini, a historical figure known as the most beautiful woman of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). Worth giving it a go; no?

Ginseng’s roots in beauty are based on legends, but modern research backs up some of the claims. These include: reducing wrinkles, promoting elasticity and collagen production, reducing puffiness and brightening skin.  It’s known to have firming properties and boosts hydration. The oil is prepared by extracting oil from the seeds of ginseng fruit. The originating area of ginseng is known to be in Shangdang, China. It is also native to the Far East, including China, Korea, and far-eastern Siberia. 

Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine Essential Oil

I had to include Jasmine because of that heavenly scent but I’m happy that the oil also acts as an effective natural antibacterial, soothing dry skin and eczema. The botanical extracts of jasmine increase skin’s elasticity and help balance moisture in the skin to naturally reduce dryness.

The essential oil is derived from the white flowers of the common jasmine plant, also known as Jasminun officinale. The flower is believed to originate from Iran, but can now also be found in tropical climates. It’s a very expensive oil for a number of reasons. The flowers are extremely delicate and are only hand-picked at night to preserve their fragile scent. An experienced picker can harvest more than 10,000 blossoms in one night!

The jasmine trade provides Egypt with 6.5 million U.S. dollars annually and contributes to the income of some 50,000 people, according to the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades (IFEAT), which says 95 percent of the world’s jasmine extract for perfumes comes from Egypt and India.

Rosehip Seed Oil

Rosehip Seed Oil

Rosehip seed oil has great benefits for several skin conditions. It helps to brighten and exfoliate.  Due to the high content of vitamin C, rosehip seed oil can brighten and even out the skin. Plus, it is packed with vitamins A, E, and K. Also, it is one of the best oils for treating fine lines and wrinkles.

The oil is derived from the rosa canina rose bush, which is grown mostly in Chile. Unlike rose oil, which is extracted from rose petals, rosehip oil is pressed from the fruit and seeds of the rose plant. Rosehip bushes grow wild and thrive in the inhospitable, mountainous landscapes. This is not considered a true essential oil, as it is extracted by cold pressing. It is often described as a carrier oil as it can be used by itself and also be used to dilute concentrated essential oils in order to balance the essential oil and allow it to be applied to the skin. Rich in Vitamin A, which is known to help fight against age spots and wrinkles, rosehip seed oil is great because it’s packed with molecules that are small enough to penetrate deep layers of the skin, improving moisture and collagen levels, while reducing wrinkles and fine lines.

Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea Buckthorn oil is excellent for reducing acne breakouts, because it signals the oil glands to stop creating excess amounts of sebum. Also helps to reduce inflammation in the skin. 

Sea buckthorn oil has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for various ailments. It is extracted from the berries, leaves, and seeds of the sea buckthorn plant (Hippophae rhamnoides), which is a small shrub that grows at high altitudes in the northwest Himalayan region. Sometimes referred to as the holy fruit of the Himalayas, it’s a popular remedy in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines.

The berries from which the oil is made are especially rich in vitamins A, C, K, and E. They also contain considerable amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and zinc.  Among the benefits, Sea buckthorn oil is also rich in palmitoleic acid, which is a type of fat naturally found in human skin that can be used to treat burns and promote wound healing. It’s commonly added to various pro-aging or wrinkle-reducing products and a common ingredient in products intended to treat dry, irritated, flaky or itchy skin.

So there you have it.  The protective essentials that go along with the nourishing benefits of *coconut, *argan, *jojoba and *sweet almond that make up the base of my skincare product. This combination contributes to a most luxurious and effective product for day and/or evening – to use on its own or a few drops added to your regular moisturizer.

*if you missed reading about the benefits of these particular carrier oils please refer to the “beauty” category on my website and you’ll find the information you need.

My expertise in this particular area comes mostly from general interest.  It includes holding a diploma from George Brown College – School of Makeup and Esthetics in Toronto. Other than that and from taking some evening courses, I’ve learned through trial and error how to formulate many skincare products myself.  I’ve made creams, body lotions, bath salts and soaps from scratch.  My work in progress is awaiting license and may take some time.  I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s ready and on my website for sale.  

Every person should learn to be their own skincare expert – Bobbi Brown – makeup artist.

Night at the Opera

On Saturday I attended the opening night of “The Pearl Fishers” – George Bizet’s 1863 opera taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.

Emily Cooper Photography

I went with my friend Rosa, who is an opera buff and always fills me in on what is good and what is not. The Pearl Fishers; a good Opera, is here in Vancouver until October 30th.

Emily Cooper Photography

The opera is an aquired taste. Going to the opera is either a love or hate relationship for most people – unlike the storyline involved in most operas where love and hate coexist. I’m somewhat in the middle.  If the sets are beautiful, if the costumes are exotic and the music is wonderful (and of course the singing is always excellent) then I’m happy.  But like going to a foreign film where you have to read the subtitles to know what they’re talking about, in an opera our eyes tend to wander up and down between the stage and reading the lines high above the stage to find out what exactly they’re trying to convey. Things happen fast in opera land. It’s emotionally charged and super dramatic. Obviously over the top to make sure the point gets across, but with soulful song and dance.  And simply gorgeous costumes. 

If you want my simple synopsis of this opera, think Popeye the Sailor Man and his old muscular navy buddy Bluto whose friendship ends due to their rivalry over Olive Oyl.  Maybe this is how bullying began – on the account of a woman.

Emily Cooper Photography

If you want the real synopsis here is the overview taken from the opera website:

The Pearl Fishers returns to Vancouver Opera for the first time in nearly 30 years. Directed by Vancouver favourite Rachel Peake, this dramatic opera tells the tale of two devoted friends and the woman that comes between them. The famous “friendship duet”,  Au fond du temple saint, is one of the most beautiful and recognizable pieces in the opera repertoire. Be swept away by the lush orchestration and Bizet’s trademark melodies.

Emily Cooper Photography

Do you see the similarity but different?

To purchase available tickets please visit:

Okanagan Wine Time

Holiday in OKANAGAN, British Columbia, Canada.

Photo: d. king

I’ve been to some fabulous wine tasting parts of the world including Argentina, California, France, Italy & South Africa.  It always seems more exotic when you’re far from home, but here in Canada one of the loveliest wine regions which can now compete with the rest, is in the Okanagan – about a four and half hour drive from Vancouver.

Summerhill Winery + Bistro. Photo: d. king

I can’t imagine driving through British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan wine valley (a top producing wine region in B.C.) and not taking the time to stop in to have a look around and do a tasting at one or two or more wineries. It’s not even all about the wine…although…it’s also the locations with magnificent views, top-notch restaurants on the premises, the art & the people and their stories.

Stone Sculpture outside Cedar Creek Estate Winery. Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

You cannot possibly visit every vineyard on one trip – there’s just too many, close at hand and far between.  There’s always new ones opening up too.  From world-class operations to family-run boutique vineyards, the Okanagan Valley wineries are rich in tradition and character, consistently ranking among the world’s best at international competitions.

At Kismet. Photo: d. king

Aside from Summerhill Pyramid winery in Kelowna which I always visit because the proprietor is a friend (the wine is also great), on this most recent road trip I kept it simple and focused on only a few. Summerhill held an amazing Autumn Equinox in the Pyramid which my boyfriend and I attended.  After only hearing about it, I can now say I’ve experienced it.  It’s a community gathering to celebrate our connection to each other, the earth and the universe, with a guided group

Que Syrah, Syrah at Kismet. Photo: d. king

meditation in the Summerhill Pyramid. Followed by a vegetarian potluck dinner, and drumming and dancing around the sacred fire in the Kekuli.  It was dog friendly too so Layla also experienced it. We met some nice new friends.

At Tantalus. Photo: d. king
Lounging at Cedar Creek.  They didn’t seem to mind that I was wearing my Summerhill t-shirt.
At Kismet. Photo: d. king

The other wineries I visited on this trip were Tantalus and Cedar Creek in Kelowna, NK’MIP Cellars in Osoyoos and Kismet in Oliver.  These were over several days as we were staying with a friend in Peachland and then onto the Kootenays to stay with another friend.

Tantalus:

Photo: d. king

Tantalus is known as one of the oldest continuously producing vineyards in British Columbia.

At Tantalus Photo: d. king
Calendar at Tantalus – Dogs of the Okanagan Wineries. I had the pleasure of knowing Fortuna – RIP.  Photo: d. king

I’m a chardonnay lover and heard through the grapevine (pun intended) that they have a really good one.  Yes; they do, but I ended up loving the off-dry Riesling as much or even more so. Which is a surprise because I find most Rieslings too sweet – but this one was just right.  Overall, the view and location is fabulous, the tasting was really good and the art on the bottles is created by Tahitian, Tlingit artist, Dempsey Bob.  I must admit that I like a good label.

Cedar Creek: winner of 2022 winery of

the year award. One more breathtaking view with floor to ceiling windows that look over the Okanagan during a relaxed all-organic tasting.

State of the Art Tastings at Cedar Creek. Photo: d. king
Cedar Creek. Photo: d. king

Kismet

My tasting here, like the name, was meant to be – especially since it was not planned.  A few people have mentioned this winery to me as having unique wines. I was interested in the sparkling moscato as they use a rare orange muscat varietal which is cold fermented, resulting in a crisp refreshing flavour. I opened it over Thanksgiving and it did not disappoint.

Nk’Mip

Photo: d. king

Time in a Bottle. This is my second time at the very first Indigenous-owned winery in North America. Located in Osoyoos – the hottest and driest part of not only the Okanagan; but all of Canada.

Nk’Mip. Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

The spectacular Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre (pronounced in-ka-meep) is a state-of-the-art interpretive centre of architectural marvel sensitively constructed into a hillside. Discover the fascinating stories of Canada’s only desert and share in the rich living culture of the Okanagan people.  Websites below:

https://www.summerhill.bc.ca/

https://tantalus.ca/

https://www.kismetestatewinery.com/

https://www.nkmipcellars.com/About-Us

I hope you enjoy the photos.  Let me know if you’ve been to any of these wineries or if you have a favourite winery in your area.

Header photo: d. king

The kekuli. Photo: d. king

VIFF Closing Film: Broker

BROKER, the closing film from the Vancouver International Film Festival, is about a baby adoption scam gone wild.

There might be a loose theme to Japanese film director, producer & screenwriter Hirokazu Koreeda’s movies.  He won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 for the crime drama Shoplifters, about a family that relies on shoplifting to cope with a life of poverty. It could almost be a present day theme as well. A line from “Shoplifters” that ties in with his new movie “Broker” –

“Sometimes it’s better to choose your own family.”

Broker is about broken people trying to make a living making all the wrong choices – but with heart. It was purposefully written so viewers would end up not hating the offenders and maybe give more thought to what makes people do what they do – good and bad. Along with feeling contempt for the situation and the characters in this film, there is a glimmer of hope and love among the desperation.

This film was not what I expected. To be fair; I wasn’t completely sure what I expected, but I thought this movie would be more of a comedy.  While it had comedic moments in it for sure, for the most part it was more about human behaviour and what can transpire when you are given and not given choices.  It’s a judgement call when you don’t have all the missing pieces of the puzzle.  When you do and you start putting them together it makes more sense. 

I’ll leave you with the intro from the VIFF programme:

Working for the first time in South Korea, long-term festival favourite Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters) has come up with a sprawling crime story about a baby adoption scam. But in characteristic Kore-eda style, the tone is predominantly compassionate and melancholic—even the cops warm to the perpetrators. It helps of course that the baby broker, Sang-hyeon, is played by Song Kang-ho, the charismatic star of ParasiteMemories of MurderThe Host, and so many others (Song was named Best Actor at Cannes for this performance). His scheme involves intercepting infants abandoned at a church baby box, but things get messy when a young mom (Lee Ji-eun) changes her mind and discovers his racket. She decides to go along with him to meet the the baby’s prospective buyers—actually cops in a sting operation.

Kore-eda fashions plenty of twists and turns as Sang-hyeon, his accomplice (Gang Dong-won), and the girl try to evade the law and find a safe home for the child, but as always, he’s more invested in character than plot mechanics, and the truths we learn about this thrown-together family are revealed in simple, telling gestures, looks, and shadings.

Miraculous in its sensitivity, asking questions about issues of ethics, of choice, of money, and murder, and family, and how to find love in all this sorry mess.”—Ella Kemp, Indiewire

 Best Actor (Song Kang Ho), Cannes 2022

Lavender Farm

Do you know anyone who doesn’t love lavender?

Photo: d. king

Whether fresh, dried, scented in a candle, spray or body lotion or even in food…the scent is quite heavenly and soothing.

There was a time when I thought ok; enough with the lavender – it’s too common and it’s everywhere. But that only lasted for so long. Just can’t seem to stay away from it.  I have dried lavender bundles throughout my house in places that I know won’t keep the aroma for as long as I’d like (by a window for example) – but it looks so pretty and even though over time it starts to lose its potency, it’s one of those dried flowers where the scent seems to last for months on end.

I like using dried lavender as part of my special gift baskets and the essential oil for a calming facial spray.  I even use the oil in a spray bottle to spritz over my sheets and anywhere I want a fresh scent around home.

where do I go first?           Photo: d. king

Very recently when in the Okanagan Valley wine region of British Columbia, I came across a sign for Okanagan Herb Lavender Farm. 

This farm is a family business nestled in the hills of the Okanagan Valley on land where the family has farmed for four generations.  A place where they grow, harvest, dry and distill over 20 aromatic plants to make award-winning botanical products.

Their pure, small batch, unadulterated lavender essential oil is extracted in small batches through steam distillation of the Lavandula x. intermedia and Lavandula angustifolia plants  grown on the farm.  Their plants are 100% spray free and are harvested at their peak to ensure utmost quality.

SCORE!  I left with dried lavender bundles (for myself and for baskets) and a Lavender essential oil which I’m incorporating into the facial spray I make.  I wasn’t aware of the different types of lavender and their uses (being only familiar with English style) so they helped me choose the one to go best for my facial spray in orange blossom water and sweet orange essential oil (more on that later).

When storing lavender: commercially packaged dried lavender does not spoil, but it will start to lose potency over time.  Properly stored, dried lavender will generally stay at best quality for about 2 to 3 years. To maximize the shelf life of dried lavender purchased in bulk,  store in containers with tight-fitting lids.

Photo: d. king

Below taken from fignut.com

Important things to care about when storing lavender

  1. The most important thing to care about is that lavender is dry enough. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks to dry it properly. It is properly dry when the flowers and leaves are sharp and starts to fall off the stems. If you store it while still not dry, the moisture will cause a mold to develop which will destroy your flowers.
  1. Lavender should be stored in a dark place, away from the direct sunlight and away from the sources of any heath or humidity. It means the kitchen or living room are not good places to store it. The sunlight will fade its colors and possible humidity will make it go stale. So, keep it in a cool, dry, and dark location. If you don’t have a pantry, the dark corner of the corridor is a good place to store.
  1. It should be stored in airtight containers to preserve its fragrance. Otherwise, the fragrance will soon fade away.
    Photo: d. king

But hey; if that happens, just buy more!

https://www.okanaganlavender.com/

Sweet Almond Oil

What’s so sweet about Almond Oil you might ask?

The oil is a natural skincare superpower.  Almond oil, which is extracted from the popular tree nut, is known for its nourishing properties. The almond itself is small but mighty and referred to widely as “the king of nuts.” Aside from sweet almond oil, there’s also a bitter almond oil which is commonly used to provide scent and flavour.  Sweet almond oil is full of vitamin E, A, mono saturated fatty acids, protein, potassium and zinc.

Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic practices have used almond oil for centuries to help soothe and soften the skin and to treat minor wounds and cuts. Today, it’s not uncommon to find almond oil in a wide variety of cosmetic and beauty products.

Healthy raw nuts still growing in the farmer’s orchard

It contains:

  • Vitamin A: The retinol in vitamin A has the ability to stimulate the production of new skin cells and smooth fine lines.
  • Vitamin E: This nutrient has antioxidant properties that may help prevent cell damage and help reduce ultraviolet (UV) damage to the skin.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These nutrients may help prevent premature aging and safeguard against sun damage.
  • Zinc: This is an essential nutrient for healing acne or other facial scars. However, it’s worth noting that zinc is more effective for this purpose when taken orally.

All in all, the nourishing nutrients and emollient properties this oil contains will help revive skin’s natural glow.

My product contains 100% pure certified organic cold pressed + UV protected virgin sweet almond oil. From Naka Platinum – made in Canada.  It’s Hexane-free meaning it does not use any such harmful chemicals during the extraction process and is free of all synthetic chemicals. 

Source for some info: healthline.com

Important: there’s one major caveat with this ingredient, regardless of skin type: Those with allergies to almonds or other tree nuts should avoid almond oil.

Jojoba Oil

Everyone has heard of jojoba oil and has probably tried it before as it’s well known and has been widely used in many skincare and hair products.  And there’s good reason for that.  Centuries before cosmetic companies starting including the benefits of jojoba oil in their formulations, Native Americans were using the oil from jojoba seeds to treat their skin wounds and sores.

Jojoba oil in transparent glass, fruits and natural leaves.

There’s plenty of evidence supporting the use of pure jojoba oil as a remedy for acne, dry skin, and countless other skin conditions.

However sometimes we don’t know where a plant originates or we forget about why the oil is good for us.

A bit about the plant:

The jojoba plant is a hearty, perennial plant that grows in North America and parts of Mexico. 

Not only does it thrive in the harsh, desert climates that could kill most living things, but it also produces a nut with many healing properties. The plant grows as a kind of shrub and produces large seeds that are harvested for their oil. The oil comes from a wax like substance within the seeds. Similar to the process of harvesting olive oil, jojoba oil requires the pressing of the seeds in order to extract the oil. 

It’s a sustainable plant, not considered to be endangered and the harvesting of the seed doesn’t require the death of the plant…so new land doesn’t need to be cleared for the planting of new jojoba plants.

jojoba tree

An interesting fact: Prior to jojoba oil’s wide acceptance in America, Americans were using sperm whale oil for cosmetic products and perfumes, and to lubricate machinery parts. But sperm whales were being hunted to extinction, and the U.S. banned the hunting of sperm whales in 1972 (thank goodness for that). That’s when it was discovered that jojoba oil was not only a substitute for sperm whale oil but that it was in fact superior to it. Not only does jojoba oil come from plants – it doesn’t require anything to be killed in order to obtain it for commercial use. (taken from herbal dynamics beauty).

Flawless skin starts with a flawless skincare routine

Benefits for skincare:

Like the other oils that make up the base for my deluxe face oil, this is also non-comedogenic so it will not clog pores. I use 100% pure jojoba from a source in California.

For centuries jojoba oil has been used for its healing properties on the skin. Whether it’s used to moisturize dry skin, treat oily skin, help minimize acne problems, heal wounds, or simply provide a defense against the natural aging process – jojoba oil is shown to work.

When you slather it on your face, jojoba oil mimics the skin’s sebum and balances out your complexion, adding more sebum where it’s needed, and winding down production where it’s not. 

And the oil is rich in iodine, which is shown to tackle harmful bacteria growth on the skin’s surface. 

When applied to the skin, it provides exceptional moisture balance and control, and unlike other oils or petroleum products, it is non-greasy. It is also an excellent and powerful moisturizing agent that leaves a non-oily feel on the skin’s surface. At the same time, it prevents water loss which gives a more supple feel to the skin.

The components of jojoba oil are tocopherols, which are compounds that are fat-soluble and have high antioxidant properties that are very important in helping to stabilize cell membranes. They’re high in vitamin E as well, which serves as an excellent antioxidant to fight free radicals, which damage skin and accelerate the aging process.

Taking care of your skin is more important than covering it up.