New and nutritious: “pharmacy in a fruit”  

Cupuaçu

Have you heard of it?  

When I lived in Brazil I was introduced to an abundance of new (to me) super foods like Açaí, Guarana, Mangosteen & Acerola.  I was blending up these seeds and berries to make delicious smoothies long before they became known and popular in North America. As a matter of fact I never felt healthier than during the year I lived in Brazil. Now there’s a new fruit hitting the market.  It’s called Cupuaçu (pronounced koo-poo-ah-soo) and grows in the Amazon Rainforest drainage basin in northern parts of Brazil.

Some of the Benefits

Cupuacu contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 (niacin) fatty and amino acids, and at least nine antioxidants including vitamin A and C and minerals such as calcium, selenium and others.

Cupuacu’s primary health benefit is stimulating the immune system thus supporting the body’s ability to fight disease. Cupuacu has an energetic effect, but does not contain caffeine. It is one of the few cocoa relatives that does not.

Cupuacu’s benefits are synergistic. For example, the energy-boosting effect mentioned is a result of the fruit’s heightening of the immune system, lowering of blood pressure and the overall body-boosting effects of the fast-acting nutrients and vitamins from the fruit. Unlike most energy drinks or caffeine, though, there is no tired feeling afterwards.

Other synergistic effects include healthier skin and hair, lowered cholesterol levels and improved libido. In addition, many of the fruits nutrients are boosters for the gastro-intestinal system and the cardiovascular system.

Cupuaçu is wildly popular in Brazil as well as other parts of South America. For centuries, natives of the rainforest have used the fruit of the cupuaçu tree as a main source of food and it continues to be a delicacy in the more populated towns of South America.

Today, cupuaçu pulp is often used for making juice, ice cream, smoothies, mousse, jellies, chocolates called “cupualte” (the seeds used for producing this product have similar characteristics to chocolate, but contains nutritional value and is healthier.

The pulp of the fruit is frequently used in the cosmetic industry for shampoos, soaps, lotions and creams due to it being highly hydrating with its emollient power giving similar effects to your body as cocoa butter. I noticed it listed as one of the main ingredients in the jar of Suzanne Organics (by Suzanne Somers) body butter which by the way is amazing in itself.

Other common traditional uses for cupuaçu include:

  • To lower blood pressure
  • Healthy hair
  • To lower cholesterol levels
  • For Increasing libido
  • To improve brain functions
  • To boost gastro-intestinal (GI) systems
  • To stimulate skin rejuvenation
  • To achieve weight loss
  • For combating diabetes
  • To increase energy

The Amazon is so vast with its wealth of  flora and fauna that in time I’m sure we’ll be acquainted with many more amazing edibles to come.

Source: amafruits.com

 

We’re all ANIMALS

In Chinese Astrology I’m an Earth Dog.

Earth Dog Jia Jia on a hike –  March 9, 2017.  Image: d. king

Not a Pig; as formerly thought.  I had an expert look into it for me (because I’m born on the cusp it was confusing and if I put my actual birthdate it always came up “pig”) and since my boy Jia Jia was born in China, it makes perfect sense because the stars are aligned – we’re both extremely loyal and commited. We relate to each other perfectly! I always suspected I was a dog – after all, Jia Jia thinks I’m a perfect bitch!

The Dog comes in five types: metal, wood, food, fire & earth each with a specific personality description. Sharing Earth Dog similarities were Winston Churchill, Voltaire, Lady Godiva, Brigitte Bardot, Cher, Mother Teresa, Jacques Cousteau, Elvis Presley, George Gershwin, Judy Garland & Shirley Maclaine.  I must say, not a bad lineup.

But enough about me……

Predicting the future by observing the stars and planets was an ancient art long before Europeans discovered/invented the mathematics necessary to make these same predictions. However, the yearly Animal signs bear the much same relationship to Chinese Astrology as Sun Signs have to Western Astrology – a cursory overview, and over simplification. As with Western Sun Signs, the twelve Animals of the Chinese zodiac do represent archetypes useful to writers.

Find Your (or Your Character’s) Animal Sign

Style: pre-Fall preview

It’s not yet Spring let alone Summer, but since fashion is on its own calendar, the fashion folks are already calling out Pre-Fall 2017 collections. Is there really another reason for another season?

L-R:  Monse, Altuzarra, Givenchy

Pre-Fall is one of those fashion terms that doesn’t really make sense to the general public. Isn’t it kind of Spring/Summer…sort of? Pre-Fall collections arrive in stores in late Spring, and many are available through the end of the year.  As such, they tend to be full of the  wearable, versatile, seasonal clothes you live in, as opposed to runway looks.

Editors called out their favorite looks: the items they’d beg for because they need them right now, like the bold striped outfit from Monse; the dreamy, not-so-practical looks they’d like to borrow, like Altuzarra’s romantic head-to-toe floral; and the looks they’d like to steal because they feel totally new, like Givenchy’s monochromatic ruby pantsuit (with a huge agate pendant).  I wonder how many women can wear these outfits as effortlessly as these models?

FYI: I almost bought a pair of Red trousers today but it just didn’t feel… quite like me just yet.

I’m not into begging or stealing but I might consider borrowing.  How about you?

Image: Vogue

Food: the forgotton few

Two things I picked up recently at the supermarket: Sunchokes & Watercress.I haven’t had watercress in ages mostly because I rarely find it other than farmers markets.  I almost forgot the nice peppery taste and how great it goes in salads either as the main leafy green or added to a mix of others.

Watercress Salad

One time in Jamaica I swam across an area of the wild cruciferous plant so I snapped off a bunch of the leaves and took it back and made watercress sandwiches (with thinly sliced onion on the advice of someone who swore how delicious & nutritious it was). It used to be a staple of the working class diet in England. It comes with good recommendation. The ancient green is said to have also been a staple in the diet of Roman soldiers with a long history of benefits like immunity boosting properties, a cancer preventative and support for thyroid. In fact, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used watercress to treat his patients. What was good enough for the Romans & Hippocrates is good enough for me.

Sunchokes

Sunchokes are a different matter.

They are a vegetable formerly known as “Jerusalem Artichokes” and are neither from Jerusalem nor are they related to artichokes.  They are originally cultivated by Native Americans. I guess that’s all the history I’m getting or giving for now.  They look like large pieces of ginger but taste a bit nutty and sweet at the same time. It’s pretty weird sounding.

I am neither used to seeing them or cooking with them but since I’m always up for trying something new, I bought a package. I asked a supermarket employee in the vegetable department what to do with them.  He said “cook em up like you would a potatoe.  Peel, leave skin on, mash, bake or boil – they’re delish!” I decided to slice them fairly thin with skin on, drizzle olive oil over top, a little sea salt & fresh dill and bake them in the oven.  They baked in very little time and were quite yummy with more of a root vegetable taste.

Orange roughy with asian marinade, steamed broccoli & baked sunchokes.   Image: d. king

I will make them again and try different ways of serving them.

Have you tried them?

 

Arts/Crafts: La Quinta Arts Festival

It’s the whole package!art1This has to be the most remarkable outdoor arts festival I’ve ever been to.  Certainly the largest.art5

what can be nicer than art in a stunning landscape with music, food & friendship.

what can be nicer than viewing art in a stunning landscape with good music, food & friendship?

art20No wonder it has been ranked #1 in the Nation for many years.

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This is the 35th year the Annual La Quinta Arts Festival has returned to the visually stunning setting of La Quinta’s Civic Center Campus in the greater Palm Springs area.art13

As one of the Coachella Valley’s premier attractions, the award winning event attracts art patrons and tourists from across the nation.  The festival raises funds for the Foundation’s non-profit mission of promoting & cultivating the arts.art15art10

The world class artists have traveled from all over to present the very finest in contemporary artwork.  Only 220 gifted artists and crafters are chosen from over 1,200 applicants who vie for the opportunity to showcase their incomparable works of art in the magnificent outdoor gallery.art16art21

Live music, entertainment, delicious food (Ruth’s Chris Steak House had a kiosk with filet steak sandwiches & champagne), wine and beer complement the experience.  A few examples on this page.art18art19

art6images: d. king

Vancouver designer  and textile artist Joanna Staniszkis (r) & Joanne wear her  beautiful creations.

Vancouver designer  and textile artist Joanna Staniszkis (r) & Joanne wear her  ethereal creations.

art9

Tox-Sick Talk with Suzanne Somers  

Because if you live toxic free you will feel better naturally.

I was thinking about starting a series about women who inspire me and who better to start off with than Suzanne Somers.20170302_144013Suzanne said people magazine once described her as the dumbest woman in America.  Which means she did a great job of playing the blond bombshell bimbo Chrissy Snow in the long running sitcom(edy) “Three’s Company.”

But she had the last laugh because the idiot who wrote that didn’t realize her full potential.  A cancer survivor, she is a well respected health and wellness advocate, a *best selling author having written 25 books (her latest is called Tox-Sick – From Toxic to Not Sick), singer, dancer, Vegas nightclub performer (who was once named Female Entertainer of the Year, the same year Frank Sinatra was named Male Entertainer of the Year, ) and savvy business woman with her suzanne organics skincare & cosmetics line.  It’s a pretty impressive resume.  There’s so much to her, but for now we’ll focus on her pure organic skincare line because I was waiting for something beauty-wise to inspire me for a beauty post – this is it!  And it’s never just about looking good (although we love that); it’s about feeling good from the inside out.  Which by the way, always makes one look better on the outside.

“It’s as if we are all on a big, chemical drunk, and the hangover is a killer.” – Suzanne Somers, in TOX-SICK

20170302_144328So I was thrilled to meet her alongside her handsome hubby Alan Hamel (I do remember well his successful TV talk show in Canada) when she launched her Radiance Facial Kit at Clark’s Nutrition – a fantastic family run natural foods market in Rancho Mirage.  Wait; it’s not just the facial kit she has – it’s a complete line of body care, skincare, sunless tanning, haircare and now cosmetics.  It’s a great line because it’s more than natural and organic…it’s certified ToxicFree.  What that means is a lot of NO’s!  No Pegs, Parabens, chemical emulsifiers, artificial colors, fragrance and of course NO animal testing.  She doesn’t kid around.  She walks/eats/looks the talk!  She even grows her own food.  It’s exhausting to even think about. She really does live toxic-free.  She discussed this along with her belief about a new way to age.  On close inspection I decided if she uses her own stuff (which she completely does) and looks that good I better buy me some.

As you may know I make my own little line of pure products so I’m very picky about what I choose to put on my face + body but I went for the coco mango body butter (a friend of mine swears by it – “it f….ing works!” Also the ageless serum (because it’s loaded with sea algae extract and African Birch) and a lipstick in caramelized peach (because it sounded yummy & looked pretty).  Just so you know.  All made in California.

Suzanne says she’s always loved the idea of pure organic skincare but had never experienced any anti-aging benefits so would end up reverting back to chemically-based products.  Now she has the best of both worlds.  She works closely with the formulators to use the power of nature to find the most effective anti-aging actives for clean, beautiful products to feed, nurture and hydrate precious skin.  It is like superfood for your skin.

OMG I never realized just how much we have in common!  I never even told her that I met her “Three’s Company” co-star John Ritter in Tokyo years ago on a TV series and how nicely he treated me.  But maybe she knows that now.

*On one of her many books about health and nutrition “Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness,”: She scored a big coup with “Sex and the City 2.” Her book is heavily featured in the movie.  Kim Cattrall‘s Samantha–who announces that she’s “fifty-f-ing-two” and going through menopause–declares that she lives by it. She hands it to everyone in the movie. By the end of the movie, women are exchanging copies of “Breakthrough,” with the cover very prominent. A book publisher’s dream.

And if all that isn’t enough, she’s nice too!  An inspiration to all women!

websitehttp://www.suzannesomers.com/

images: d. king

 

Style: blending an iconic denim brand with Art

Calvin Klein has always been known for attention grabbing advertising campaigns.

Images from Calvin Klein's spring 2017 campaign.

Images from Calvin Klein’s spring 2017 campaign.

I mean unless you weren’t born yet, who can forget a young Brooke Shields flaunting her jeans, a skinny Kate Moss and a buff  Marky Mark (Wahlberg) wearing all American classic T shirts & underwear…and nothing else.

Now we have Raf Simons (previous creative director for Christian Dior) blending Art with Denim in a New Calvin Klein Campaign.

Images from Calvin Klein's spring 2017 campaign.

Images from Calvin Klein’s spring 2017 campaign.

Continuing to drop hints online about his direction for Calvin Klein, Raf Simons has unveiled a spring campaign for underwear and jeans that juxtaposes those iconic items with modern and contemporary art.

Images from Calvin Klein's spring 2017 campaign.

Images from Calvin Klein’s spring 2017 campaign.

Just released on Calvin Klein’s web site and its own social channels, the ads showcase archival denim, a cotton tank top and quintessential men’s briefs in playful contrast with works from the second half of the 20th century. The clothes strike up a conversation with the art — much the way designers and artists in New York’s Pop heyday — on the streets of SoHo or on the dance floor of Studio 54, the company said.

Works by Andy Warhol, Dan Flavin, Richard Prince and Sterling Ruby are featured, photographed at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the Rubell Family Collection in Miami.

Images from Calvin Klein's spring 2017 campaign.

Images from Calvin Klein’s spring 2017 campaign.

Simons, chief creative officer of Calvin Klein, is well known for his passion for art.  “It’s a celebration of Calvin Klein’s iconic underwear and jeans, acknowledging their status as Pop and showing them in the world of art,” he explained.

Pieter Mulier, creative director of Calvin Klein, added, “Looks were specifically chosen from the Calvin Klein archive for the campaign; it’s both a recognition of design firsts and the photographic history of the brand that made these garments famous.”

The eight advertising images were photographed by Willy Vanderperre and styled by Olivier Rizzo, featuring a largely unknown cast.

One ad, for example, features a guy in jeans standing in front of a 2,000 joke painting by Prince. It reads: “A guy goes to a psychiatrist wearing only Saran Wrap. The psychiatrist says to the guy, I can clearly see your nuts you nut.” Another shows a guy in a pair of jeans and taking off his white T-shirt and standing in front of Warhol’s 1976 “Skull” painting.  And a third shows a guy in underwear and a girl in jeans and a white tank top admiring Warhol’s “Elvis 11.”

Images from Calvin Klein's spring 2017 campaign.

Images from Calvin Klein’s spring 2017 campaign.

Each of the ads features a description of the artwork and a snippet about the artist. Ads launch this month on billboards, the Internet and in magazines.

Photos credit: the series of eight distinct advertising images was photographed by Willy Vanderperre.

Source for story: Lisa Lockwood for WWD.com

Website: http://calvinklein.com

Food: Fish Tacos

Making fish tacos is the closest I feel to being at the beach in Mexico. 

fishtacos1 Because some of my best food memories is eating fish tacos on the beach in Mexico.

Somebody said that it’s not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.

But I never follow a set recipe for tacos because there are so many variations.  These are closest to typical baja style with a little twist and without the sauce. Okay, maybe they’re just my own version.

Buy small street tortillas (they’re easily found in many supermarkets now – I prefer corn to flour) and make pico de gallo from scratch.

Pico de Gallofishtacos2

  • Chopped fresh red + yellow grape tomatoes, jalapeño, sweet maui onion, handful of cilantro, sea salt + squeeze of fresh key lime.
  • Sprinkle chili/lime seasoning blend on both sides of fish (I used Mexican seabass but you can substitute any white fish). Grill until done – a couple minutes per side. Divide fish among warmed tortillas and add pico de gallo, shredded purple cabbage, extra salsa if you like, top with more cilantro, sliced avocado, squeeze of lime & fold in half.  Add a side of chopped mango for added sweetness.

Buen apetito!

They’re fairly fast and fun to make and definitely delish!

Photos: d. king

 

 

 

Art/Nature: DesertX

Well the thing is, art can be found everywhere, even in the desert.  And it makes perfect sense; beauty with beauty.whitewater3

whitewater1

Wildlife with Art

Wildlife with Art

I realized that while taking a nature walk with the dogs right after a picnic.  The location being Whitewater Preserve about 20 minutes northwest of Palm Springs.  An absolutely stunning setting of over 2,000 acres of pristine desert with hiking trails and wildlife.  From a distance I came across what looked like a birding roost, and on closer inspection found out it was made from sand bags.  It’s actually an art piece. built to replicate how pigeons in Israel are put to roost. But it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on around town especially now, so I had to find out *more.
whitewater5whitewater6

*From Feb. 25 through April 30, 2017, the Coachella Valley and its desert landscape will become the canvas for a curated exhibition of site-specific work by established and emerging artists, whose projects will amplify and articulate global and local issues that may range from climate change to starry skies, from tribal culture and immigration to tourism, gaming, and golf.  The artworks, in various indoor and outdoor locations will be available for free and will offer visitors a way to see the valley and reflect on serious and playful issues through the lens of the participating artists’ creativity and work.

You never know what you will encounter while out on a simple walkwhitewater2

CHECK out this short VIDEO:

https://www.desertx.org/about-us/

You never know what you will encounter while out on a simple drive

On the drive to the nature preserve you will come across hundreds on windmills20170224_140637The windmills are there for power generation with renewable energy.  However I hate them for the fact that the valley is infamous for the number of birds that are killed because of them.

Photos: d. king

 

 

Oscar Night – let the parties begin

Image credit: Chris Pizello/AP 

Image credit: Chris Pizello/AP

Entertainment and entertainers in general are more important than ever these days when we want to lose ourselves in someone else’s drama rather than our own at home.

And if you want a really good laugh and you haven’t already seen it (most have) you’ve got to check out Melissa McCarthy’s SNL portrayal of Sean Spicer. Way too funny!  It’s a way of finding lightness & humour in the absurd day to day real life performances. She should get an Oscar. As they say there is always something good that comes out of something bad.  Which brings me to tonight at the Oscars.  It’s Hollywood’s biggest night and with all talented people involved there is only one who gets to take home the prize in each category.  Every year it seems more difficult to choose only one winner when there are so many deserving nominees.

Past Winners: Penelope Cruz, Halle Berry & Audrey Hepburn.

Past Winners: Penelope Cruz, Halle Berry & Audrey Hepburn.  LOVE the dresses!

You might be surprised to find out who the biggest losers of past academy award shows were.  I know I was, which just goes to prove….there is more than just one winner in each category. Before finding out which dreams will come true and who might be overlooked, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest surprise Oscar snubs of years past.

The most fantastic biggest Losers:

1) Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage 

The 1934 film adaptation of  W. Somerset Maugham’s novel starred Bette Davis as tea-room waitress Mildred Rogers, who draws Philip Carey into an obsessive and abusive relationship. Davis originally did not receive a nomination for her performance, and the public was so upset by the oversight that a special write-in campaign was permitted to recognize her.

2) Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz

Possibly my all-time favourite movie!  Judy Garland won hearts all over the world with her performance in the MGM musical as Dorothy Gale, the plucky girl from Kansas who ends up over the rainbow and determined to return home. The New York Times described her as “a pert and fresh-faced miss with the wonder-lit eyes of a believer in fairy tales,” yet Garland did not receive an Academy Award nomination for her timeless performance.

3) Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia

Peter O’Toole was heralded for his performance in this 1962 blockbuster film, which won seven Academy Awards. Its accolades included best picture, but failed to recognize O’Toole’s performance chronicling his experiences in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. O’Toole went on to earn seven more nominations throughout his career — but he never took home an Oscar.

4) Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver

This psychological thriller is famous for the cast, the story and the famous line, “You talkin’ to me?” But one aspect of the film that wasn’t entrenched in history was an award nomination for director Martin Scorsese — even though the film received nominations for best picture, best actor in a leading role for Robert De Niro and best actress in a supporting role nominations for Jodie Foster.

5) Jack Nicholson, The Shining

The idea of Jack Nicholson accepting an award for his performance as Jack Torrance by saying, “Here’s Johnny!” is a thrilling fantasy, but the opportunity never materialized, as Nicholson did not receive an Oscar nomination for his role in the Stanley Kubrick-helmed adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

6) Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic

Despite his starring role in the 1997 blockbuster that drove devoted fans to watch the movie over and over, Leonardo DiCaprio did not receive an acting nomination for his performance as Jack Dawson. The movie took home 11 Oscars of 14 total nominations.

7) Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty, a grim, gritty and powerful film, was nominated for best picture — but its director, Kathryn Bigelow, was not recognized with an Oscar nod. Long criticized for its lack of racial and gender diversity, the Academy was accused of overlooking Bigelow — who became the first woman to win two best director awards from the New York Film Critics Circle — because of her gender.

8) Ava DuVernay, Selma

The critically acclaimed civil rights film that narrated the epic march from Selma to Montgomery tapped into heated emotions about racial relations in America — and that was before the cast wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts to a screening. The film, considered controversial due to its depiction of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, received nominations for best picture and best original song. The omission of director Ava DuVernay, a black woman, from the nominations was hotly debated.

9) Alfred Hitchcock

Despite securing five nominations, somehow the acclaimed director known for suspenseful films like Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo and Rebecca never won an Oscar.

Possibly my all-time favourite dress is drumroll….

Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior Couture

Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior Couture

Source (for biggest losers): Carey Purcell for Arts.mic