beauty – lather up

RAISING THE BARS

Long ago there was only Ivory and Dove.  Then along came totally transparent Pears as the soap de jour.  Soothing olive oil followed…then exotic shea or was it just jojoba? Not sure.  Anyway, I think it’s fair to say…

THEY DON’T MAKE SOAP LIKE THEY USED TO

these are handmade in Kaslo, BC. I have Cedar & Saffron.
These are handmade in Kaslo, BC.  I’m using Cedar & Saffron right now.  Moths will stay away from me and saffron makes me feel rare & expensive.

It’s much, much better now and the choices are immense.  From goat’s milk and honey to hemp and everything else in between.  Some have dried flowers, essential oils and come with fancy names and really different funny combinations you would never ever dream of.  They can be pricey too.  A single bar of soap can cost upwards of $15. I think the most I paid for a bar I loved was about $12 and I thought it was outrageous and didn’t use it for the longest time.  Of course I used soap but just not that particular bar.  It was meant to be saved for a special occasion shower I guess.  It looked so pretty just sitting by the tub and I didn’t want to disturb the design. But eventually it got washed up and I’ve never looked back on using regular soap since (but I don’t even know if there is such a thing anymore).

A party soap for dirty girls
Party in the Tub – for dirty girls

I wanted to learn how to make soap from scratch not as a way to save money (actually cost me a small fortune to buy all the stuff to make it) but to create signature varieties and fragrances. In the same vein that I tried making candles, but that was not my passion. My kitchen became a lab for a while. In turn I became obsessed with finding molds to shape them in the way of starfish, shells, the cameo girl (I was really excited when I found that one), you name it. Then I became obsessed with a really clean simple but elegant square although those had to have dried flowers like lavender or roses and you had to either see them or they were a surprise. Sometimes not the best surprise because you had to clean up the mess after – but they were pretty messy.  It was fun and creative and they made good gifts as part of a package for a while.  I would personalize many, it was a lot of work but a clean (ha) rewarding hobby.  I still make soap on occasion.

Do I wash with it or do I eat it?
Do I wash with them or do I eat them?

Now I feel outdone by all the unbelievable assortments you can find in almost any drugstore.  I make them for myself and a few friends who appreciate handmade works of art things. I never intended to rent a table at a craft fair to sell them.  I enjoy the process of making something from scratch the same way I once made a rag doll (not quite raggedy ann but she was soft and cuddly like her), photo albums (no one needs them anymore), a beautiful book for scribbling your thoughts that was bound with Japanese rice paper and tied together with ribbon (for a gift but now everyone uses their IPad or tablet and even phones come with pens) and all those dried flower arrangements (Instead of buying them already dried, I hung fresh flowers upside down in a pantry room for however long it took them to dry, but over time they gather dust and I have allergies).

Lovely packaging from Crabtree & Evelyn - London Drugs
Lovely packaging from Crabtree & Evelyn – London Drugs

But I still have a curiousity about how to make something from nothing.  Although, it does not extend to anything too technical because I can’t even turn on a barbeque (I always let the guy handle it). And it does not extend to making a straw hat out of banana leaves that I never intended to wear or weaving another little wicker basket, or tye-dying anything or hand painting bathing suit cover ups and wraps (from having free time on my hands in Jamaica).  I loved making the clay doll with fruit basket on her head but it was very detailed and kind of knick knacky.

I took a sewing workshop once with a topnotch instructor because I wanted to make the DVF “wrap dress.”  I thought ahhh, it looks so simple it will be a breeze. Not so.  I did with some trial and error end up choosing a pattern and satin fabric (printed red & black design) and made the darn dress just to prove to myself that I could.  I even wore it once.  I have much more respect for Diane Von Furstenburg and her so very simple little design that got her on the cover of Time and is still being sold and others are copying it.  I wanted to do just that.

My castaways using a combination of goat's milk, oatmeal + olive oil. I collect boxes and tins to contain them.
My castaways using a combination of goat’s milk, oatmeal + olive oil. I collect boxes and tins to contain them.  Lavender has lavender oil & real dried lavender flowers that I dried myself.

Of late I’ve created a signature scent eau du parfum just for myself (selfish me) because scent is personal and I am so curious how they make Chanel No 5 (or anything remotely close to that).  Now that is something intriguing to me – to learn to work all the right notes and combinations. It’s something of a science really (they never tell you their secret, they always leave something out on purpose). That’s why I’ve decided not to publish or share a few special recipes. Things that should remain a family secret, just because. Not to be a complete open book and retain a tiny bit of mystery…which is lacking.

But what you can never do, try as you may…

…you can never recreate an original masterpiece…be it a dress, a painting, a perfume or even a great bar of soap! Yes, getting back to soap now…

Things of beauty right?  And the names!  Good clean fun.

What about you?  Have you tried making soap or anything else kind of crafty or crazy?

Photos: d. king

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Feel-good Friday: mingle, shop, eat, drink, dance, love

When it rains, it pours…literally in Vancouver

Blue Tango Project
Blue Tango Project

It’s never a good idea to double book appointments but you might have to if it means going to the opening of a swanky USA new to Canada flagship downtown department store called Nordstrom (don’t worry Holt Renfrew, we’ll still see you once in a while) and another event featuring Vancouver’s top chefs and award-winning winemakers joining forces to create mouth-watering plates perfectly paired with delicious, complex BC wines. Decisions, decisions. I try not to spread myself too thin but such is life! 

Should I take shooter before or after shoe shopping?
Should I take a shooter before or after shoe shopping? Nordstrom Vancouver

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I really like this wine glass holder
Red Shoe at The View – my kind of wine glass holder
A tasting pairing
A tasty pairing – one of many

Then there’s music and Argentine tango combined with soulful singing, haunting harmonica, and fabulous flautist (flute by lovely Astrid Sars– she produced this show).  Last night at the Orpheum Annex (with an amazing sound system by the way) I witnessed a collaboration between Argentine Latin Grammy nominee María Volonté on guitar and vocals, and California harmonica player Kevin Carrel Footer. They call themselves the Blue Tango Project and they celebrate the deep spiritual bond where tango and the blues merge together.  Their on tour one-stop in Vancouver show featured original songs mixed with oldies by Louis Armstrong & Leonard Cohen while scenes of Buenos Aires played on a projector in the background and an elegant tango couple (Deborah & Santiago I think they only have first names) appeared in a few sets.  I’ve been to Buenos Aires twice so this was definitely tango magic!  I’m looking to take a few privates soon….to brush up so to speak.

María Volonté
María Volonté

Last but certainly not least, Jack is Back!  I don’t know for how long exactly but my little Jack Russell terrorior is staying and playing with me.

uh ohh!
uh ohh….I smell trouble!


It should be a good long weekend.

 XO LOVE XO  

the Loving Spoonful(s)
the Loving Spoonful(s)

ChefmeetsBCGrape: I was too busy mingling and sampling to take many photos but the event was FABulous.



contemplating what filters through

INSTAGRAM – welcome to our picture perfect world!

I call it INSTAGRAMification because everyone looks happy, lives well, eats well and plays well.

Life can be so Idyllic!
Life can be so Idyllic!  #nofilters  #lifeisgood  #readytopicnic         photo: d. king

The popular phone app gives us leeway to play with our photos using different filters to brighten or diffuse and colour our world a whole lot brighter (but make sure to use hashtag #no filters if not using any, so it appears even better).  Our world can actually be falling apart but you’d never know it by the photos we choose to post. We’re always busy, popular, travelling to exotic locales or at least eating in exotic restaurants and we want you to see what we’re having for dinner….again!  Yeah I know, I’m guilty of this too.

I drank champagne and ate oysters all summer long
I drank champagne and ate oysters all summer long #nofilters
The wine I drink comes with cute labels. I won't drink lie it otherwise.
The wine I drink comes with cute labels. I won’t drink it otherwise. #bigfatlie

If you think about it for a moment why would we want anyone to see us at our worst? Why not create a fantasy world of perfection?

I wonder if it would make us feel happier or depressed to look at other people’s photos of really plain food (is there such a thing?), waking up first thing in the morning (unless you’re Angelina Jolie who I’m sure never has a bad looking day), sick in bed or just getting in your car to go to work (boooring!).

I only swim in salt water pools...a lot by the way #nofilters #havingwaytoomuchfun
I only swim in salt water pools...a lot by the way  #wishIusedafilter  #havingwaytoomuchfun

Maybe we should try it? 

Okay, you go first!  Nahhh…forget it. Let’s keep up the fantasies, the world is a tough enough place as it is (for most of us). Let’s keep up appearances and show everyone the best of our little world! XO

While I take another bubble bath...with a bubbly in hand. Wait a sec...that's not even me - it's my dog! Get outta the tub.
While I get ready for a bubble bath…with bubbly in hand. Wait a sec…that’s not even me – it’s my dog! #bigmistake

Feel-good Friday: Obsessions

Some things I’ve been obsessed with on a recent road trip (and it has nothing to do with fashion).  Things like:

These Bunnies:

I think she's a bit weird
“I think she’s a bit weird and that dog….he thinks we’re squirrels!”

Bambi:

“Oh, not the paparazzi again. Please…no more photos!”

This place (Sanderella in the cute little town of New Denver, Slocan Lake – Kootenays) where Jia Jia is patiently waiting outside for me.  I love their bistro bottle cap stools & table. The shop is adorable with lots of eye candy including real candy.

We're not in Paris
We’re nowhere near Paris – not even Paris, Texas or Paris, Ontario (did you even know there was a Paris in Ontario?  It’s apparently considered the prettiest town in Canada but I cannot attest to that in a farm community and they have gourmet cheese).  See, you learn something new every day.

The Homemade Gelato at Sanderella:

especially the coconut cream
especially the coconut cream pie gelato (but that’s because I love coconut cream pie – my mom used to make the best)
This dog
This dog – she has a sweet temperament similar to Jia Jia.

Good Bites: I would be happy to trade in potato chips for these delicious farmer grown carrot chips. You can’t eat just a few. Between this and the Wasabi roasted Seaweed, I will have the most healthy snacks.20150821_113425

then there’s CHOCOLATE (but I’ve always been obsessed with chocolate). The thing about Easter I like the most is the chocolate covered bunnies.  I like to bite the heads off first.

Especially these chocolate covered black licorice pieces - can it get any better?
Chocolate covered black licorice – can it get any better? Yes, what about red?

I’m afraid I have OCD:

Yeah, I'm OCD!
Yes, for sure I do.  I’m in love with Jennifer’s Chocolates in Nakusp.  Total Joy!

Have a great long weekend and try to refrain from eating too much chocolate.  But how much is too much?

New Rules: don’t forget that after Labour day you can still wear white.  How much is too much?…when you blind people wearing too white a white!

Photos: d. king

Style: ooh law law!

Let’s see…what kind of a lawyer would I be if I were to go to law school?  I’m having a legally blond moment and I’m not even a true blond.  Did you know that you can now get a fashion law degree?  Yes, you heard it right!  I too thought it was a joke at first.

Fordham Law School has announced that it will offer the world’s first degree in fashion law, starting this fall.wrap2 - Copy

The program is backed and partially financed by Diane von Furstenberg, who has been a longtime advocate for legal reform in the industry. She’s kind of the ideal proponent for Fordham’s new program. I met her many years ago in New York when I was club hopping as part of my DJ training program well really I just sat with her and her friends and drank a lot of the champagne at their table. Her gentleman friends invited me to sit with them. I’m hoping sure she would not remember me.wrap1

If I could turn back time I would have approached her to become an intern at DVF (now a global luxury lifestyle brand and one of the premier names in American fashion).  After all I did try to re-create her wrap dress in a sewing workshop and managed to do a pretty good job of botching it up.  That’s why I have a lot of respect for designers.  Some of the most popular designs look so simple but are actually tricky to make, or at least make correctly.  I’m afraid I might make a better lawyer than fashion designer (which is pretty scary to think about).  Again, slightly off topic…

The curriculum will cover topics like fashion financing, Modeling law, fashion licensing, and sustainability.

So, this could mean greater security and stricter regulation within the fashion industry which is a good thing these days.

What do you think about this?  Serious or Silly?

That’s a wrap!

A SUMMER SUMMERY

Today is August 31st – the last day of summer!

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Okay, the last official day of summer is really September 21st but for me today marks the end, for after today it doesn’t feel the same as we start to move slowly towards Fall.  While I love Fall for the clothes mostly I still want to hang on to summer and milk it for all it’s worth.  This summer was fantastic weather wise except for the forest fires, so the best thing to look forward to now is Fall boots and sweaters see, it’s all about the clothes and maybe Halloween.  It’s funny though how everything can change in an instant and we still tend to adapt.  Well I’m moving a bit slower this time.  My flip flops are not moving to the back of the closet just yet……….  I love the warmth and lightness of summer and think what you wilI but I just bought the Beach Boys greatest hits to listen to while glamping.  So???

In this
In this pop top Eurovan camper
Parked right at the lake
Parked right at the lake where Jia Jia is walking back from in this photo

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a pleasureable last days of summer re-cap:

Lake Kalamalka, Penticton. Jia Jia realizing he could swim.
Lake Kalamalka, Okanagan, B.C.  Jia Jia realizing he can swim.  And me too for that matter.  Just kidding, but it was coooold!
I was preparing at Kits Pool
I started preparing at Kits Pool
With good friends like family
With good friends who are like family
A friend flew in for the party
Some hot shots flew in for the get together/party/= lots of food & wine/= meeting some nice new people too and catching up with old friends like no time has passed (= good friends).
My friends place
Staying at a friends place in the Kootenays – a resort style home with an amazing view.

20150822_15105620150822_15083620150822_17303420150822_150651

Friends we met on our first stop
Friends we met at the first campsite
Freshly picked Okanagan Peaches
Freshly picked Okanagan Peaches

Jia Jia’s favourite moments:

Waiting for his ice cream cone
Waiting for his ice cream cone
His new friend Hugo
Jia Jia’s new friend Hugo, a Silver Lab.
Hugo found a ball
Hugo found a ball
Hugo found a stick
Hugo found a stick
Jia Jia found a deer
Jia Jia found a deer at another friend’s property = lotta landscape
And crossed a few bridges
And crossed over a few bridges
Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden
I found a salt water pool I can live in - or at least float in.
I found a salt water pool I can live in – or at least float in.  But why is the cup holder empty?

The cup must always be full!

And how was your summer?

Photos: d. king (except for the obvious)

 

Décor – casual island living

When you live on the water I think you want something reflective of your surroundings. These photos from a friends house overlooking a lake show a balance of simple comfy casualness mixed with sophistication. Of course I love all the sea details with starfish, shells and fish strewn throughout the house.

This is a little sitting nook to have coffee, afternoon tea or just relax or read a book.
A little breakfast nook to have coffee, afternoon tea or just relax and read
The view is the main attraction
The view is the main attraction but there’s no shortage of places to sit & chat
Country Style
Country Style hanging pots & pans with lots of sunshine that flows from all directions
I like the wood details & oversized comfortable sofa & chairs
I like the wood details & oversized chair & sofa – well suited for the location

prospectdesign4

I like this stained glass piece in the entryway
I like this stained glass piece in the entryway even though the owner wants to replace it with something different.

Colourful artwork is displayed all over the house but I’ve decided not to post photos as they are stolen private.

Do you have a favourite home style?

For me, it’s a mix of belongings picked up from various travels.  All that matters is that they have meaning to me and bring back memories of places, people and times.  I like a combination of rustic and modern, colour,  black & white or plain white walls with lots of art.  I’m leaning towards less is more now (don’t laugh, I mean that). Ideally, I would have several small homes and each one would be different. A pied-à-terre in Paris, New York and something on the beach. In the meantime, I will live vicariously through some of my friends. It’s always nice to see other people’s tastes.

Photos: d. king

Lifestyle: Vancouver/Gulf Island Living

Ahhhhh…the life of some people!

View from house on Piers
View from living room – house on Piers Island (Gulf Islands in the distance)

Spending the summer in Vancouver near the beach makes me feel like I don’t really need to escape.  The weather has been perfect and with plenty of picturesque places to walk, run, rollerblade, ride a bike or just relax in a chaise lounge, why go anywhere else?

but I didn't want my deck shoes would go to waste
because I didn’t want my deck shoes to go to waste

But having said that, I just came back from spending three amazing days & nights on two little hidden gems.  The first day/night was spent with a friend who lives on Prospect Lake where the water is warm enough to swim in and we watched a resident bald eagle at fairly close range. And we ate very well.

Prospect appies that houseguest Bill prepared - cordon bleu style
Prospect appies that houseguest Bill prepared – cordon bleu style.  He even made homemade elderberry jelly.  I don’t even know what an elderberry looks like but the jelly is superb, especially on homemade pecan smoked duck breast. Oh; he also made goat cheese filled siljans with roasted red pepper & garlic jelly…yeah!
Next door neighbour flying high
The bald next door neighbour is a member of the extra mile high club

The last two days/nights were spent on a friends oceanfront property on Piers Island which is a little island near Sydney, B.C.  There are only about 40 permanent residents and about 123 ocean front lots. We took his boat from Canoe Cove and landed on his doorstep about a 15 minute ride dock to dock.

From dock to deck. On Piers we didn't go very far.
From dock to deck.  On Piers we didn’t have far to go – to get to where we were going.

Soooo I can be an island girl as it turns out..at least for three days.  A break from the city is a nice change and doing nothing but taking in the view, eating good food while taking in the view and walking the dogs while taking in the view is really as good as it gets.

Prospect View
Prospect View with a bowl of homemade soup

There were two dogs on Prospect and three on Piers and they were in doggie heaven. Piers has no cars so we could take them off leash through the trails. People leave boxes of unwanted stuff outside their places with notes attached that say “help yourself.” Someone left a bike and our friend was going to buy one so we ended up bringing him the one we found.  At least I’m hoping it was meant to be taken (it was).

From the back of the house on Piers - to the trails
From the back of the house on Piers Island – to the trails that feel like you’re in the country

Many arty people who have little work studios and make jewellery and glass objects live there.  More people tend to paint and make jam in these places.  Come to think of it, the last time I went to Gabriola to visit a friend we overnighted on Saltspring, left with a bag of quince berries from a B+B we stayed at and went back to Gabriola to make quince jam…because that’s what you’re supposed to do in these quaint locations.  Take it easy and make jam.

Bill made me a Nespresso Cappuccino Fantastico
Bill made me a Nespresso Cappuccino Fantastico.  Those machines are a great investment.

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Tea Time on Prospect Lake
Tea Time on Prospect Lake

What is it about these small islands that brings out your artistic side? 

Is it because you have more time on your hands or is it simply a better place to be?

– Only no time will tell –

I tried to load one more little thing from the wheel barrel to the boat....looks like I'll have to wait.
I tried to load one more little thing from the wheel barrel to the boat….looks like I’ll have to wait until next time. Hope that time is soooon.

Photos: d. king

Feel-good Friday: Playful Pink Piano

Move over Elton John…

It’s been a long time since I’ve played piano (if that’s what you can call it) so imagine my joy to see this strategically placed pink piano on my walk over the bridge…  just had to plant myself down for a few minutes, enjoy the view and try to come up with a tune.feelgoodpiano1

?Well at least I tried!  I think the Red piano in Vegas performs better.

Photos: Lisa King

Culture/Lifestyle – Vancouver Pride Parade 2015

The 37th Annual Vancouver Pride Parade took place yesterday and is one of the city’s flagship events! pride3Pride1

Attracting crowds of more than 650,000, it is considered one of the largest.

It was certainly fun sitting with a few tiki inspired friends from the comfort of a condo on Robson.

We looked down on the crowd so to speak and our gracious hostess with the mostest made sure we were looked after.

From where we sat - VIP (very interesting people) section.
The VIP (very interesting people) section
I always did love roller blading
I always did love watching roller blading in the nude
The cleanup that happened moments after it ended - like it never happened.
The cleanup that began moments after the parade ended – like it never happened
The party never ends - Sunset Beach
The party never ends – Sunset Beach after the parade –  Food/Music/Vendors
My pride inspired cookies. Actually Oatmeal/Raisin with a splattering of rainbow coloured Indian Fennel candy.
My pride inspired cookies.        Oatmeal/Raisin with a splattering of rainbow coloured Indian Fennel candy.

A gay time was had by most

Photos: d. king.