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Archive for Food

Not so mellow yellow

It is the colour of daffodils, dandelions, bananas and fall leaves. The colour of sunflowers, lemons and black-eyed Susans. From grapefruit to raincoats, and from butter to sunshine this gorgeous colour is everywhere, especially in spring. HELLO YELLOW!

A sure sign of spring!

Situated between orange and green on the colour wheel, yellow is one of the primary colours. Its complimentary colour is violet (google Pantone Violet Shade of the Year). From the palest straw to the deepest ochre, this colour is often associated with happiness (remember the smiley face?) and with wealth & prestige (think gold coins and the Oscar statuette). It is a popular an accent colour and seems to be almost everywhere when you look for it.

My new boots by Dirty Laundry

Yellow first caught my eye this spring when I needed some new rain boots. My relatively new 2 year old rain boots had suddenly spring leaks in both feet (very disappointing) and with the soggy weather upon us I needed something quick. Underwhelmed by the selection at Marshalls, it was short yellow boots with black piping by Dirty Laundry or fork over $150 for very tall Hunter boots at the Bay (no thanks).  Feeling about five years old, I brought the yellow boots home for a trial. I was surprised to find that the boots seemed to go with everything I tried them on with – blue jeans, black jeans, grey leggings, purple down jacket and midnight blue trench coat! They were cheery and fun as well as functional and comfortable enough to walk in. I kept them.

Another item I have that had been getting lots of wear lately was a yellow & grey wool sweater from Banana Republic. It too, seemed to “go” with lots of things. In reality yellow works as a neutral. You can pair yellow with brown, navy, grey, white, green, blue, tan and even black (no, you don’t look like a bee!) Try some of these combinations:

Red + yellow = fun, youthful                                                       White + yellow = summery, minimalistic

Pink+ yellow = girly, feminine                                                     Green + yellow = relaxed, cool

Navy + yellow = preppy, nautical                                              Tan + yellow = businesslike with a twist

Grey + yellow = sporty, boyish                                                   Orange + yellow = enticing, romantic

 

Inspired to mark the start of the season, I stopped in at Kabuki Spa on Locke Street South for a spring mani. Of course they had the latest colours from OPI and I picked a beautiful, sunshiny yellow hue called “I Just Can’t Cope-acabana” from the Brazil Collection. I loved it so much on my hands, I bought a bottle of my own and it is now on my toes! Alexis Fletcher, owner of Kabuki also loves the yellow coloured polish and has been wearing it herself. The wear ability of yellow extends into other makeup as well. “Yellow eyeshadow is universally flattering. Black, white and yellow skin tones all look great in yellow shadow” says Alexis. Or try a yellow pencil for a pop of colour and fun.  Don’t be afraid to give this vibrant energetic colour a try this season. Why let the kids have all the fun?

Getting organized for the holidays

Holiday season is just beginning, but the sooner you start, the easier it will be! I’m a firm believer in breaking big tasks down into smaller pieces. You can use these 12 strategies at Christmas to make it a little easier for yourself.

  1. Mark all family member’s social events on your paper or electronic calendar.
  2. Make note of the events you that require you to bring food. Plan your grocery shopping and baking in advance.
  3. Plan your wardrobe choices around your social events and try on outfits in advance.
  4. Make a list of all the people you need to shop for. As you get ideas, fill in the list. Then you will never be at the mall wondering what to get. Its much easier when you know what you’re after.
  5. Buy Christmas stamps now at the post office before they run out.
  6. If you didn’t get them on sale last year, try to purchase Christmas cards, wrapping paper and napkins on sale. You can always tuck them away for next  year.
  7. Schedule beauty and hair appointments if you didn’t already do so in September!
  8. Keep your regular schedule of gym and exercise. Its a great stress reliever.
  9. Volunteer, donate or help others – that’s what this season is about!
  10. Delegate – ask family members to help with decorating, card writing, cookie baking and enjoy some time together.
  11. Indulge in moderation – you deserve to enjoy yourself too.
  12. Revel in imperfection – sometimes the burnt turkey, mismatched slippers and forgotten presents are the best part!

Its early, but let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas!

 

 

Big Bamboo!

Why Big? This miracle grass is sustainable, regrows without replanting and is the fastest growing woody plant on earth. It can be grown without pesticides and herbicides, so its organic. It is strong, durable, soft and smooth. It both dyes and drapes well. It can be eaten (bamboo shoots), drank (beer, tea, wine) and used to make furniture and flooring. You can use bamboo to make toilet tissue, coffee filters and even biofuel. It has insulating properties, so will keep you cool in summer, warm in winter. The two Pandas at the Toronto Zoo eat bamboo as the mainstay of their diet, going through approximately 10-15 kilos daily of the 50 that is offered to them. The bamboo incidentally, is air shipped by Fed Ex in a refrigerated container from Memphis, Tennessee!

( Pandas love bamboo and eat large amounts daily

So what’s new, Bamboo? Its BREATHABLE! This may be more of interest to my female readers who experience sweaty nights, but bamboo sleepwear is becoming more popular and easier to find. Nationwide one of the first retailers I knew of to carry bamboo sleepwear was Soma (in the Chico’s family of stores).  I recently bought some beautiful soft mint green bamboo pyjamas at Ecomystic  (136 James Street South) in Hamilton made by Yala.  The store has a nice selection of bamboo and organic cotton items. I slept very restfully and the pj’s breathed nicely!  I’ve also purchased bamboo footless tights, a bra top and V-neck T shirts (that are great for working out) made by C’est Moi at Dakota Mae in Westdale.  There are lots of other items in the C’est Moi collection. The bra top came in very handy when I need to get an MRI (your own clothing can be worn as long as there is no metal in it). Of course, now that there are bamboo pyjamas and clothing, sheets can’t be far behind! Yes, I’ve seen a few sets on my travels and I’m eager to try them.

In Asian countries bamboo grows easily and it has been used to make houses, bridges, hats and musical instruments for centuries. Bamboo’s long life makes it a Chinese symbol of longevity; in India it is a symbol of friendship while in Vietnam “bamboo is my brother” – according to a proverb. Around the globe certain varieties of bamboo are being planted in North America.  Maybe someday you’ll be bathing in a bamboo bathtub, pedalling a bamboo bicycle or buying your grandchildren a bamboo skateboard. Meanwhile, enjoy all the things this new/old plant has been providing to earthlings for thousands of years.

For Mother’s Day

The author as a toddler with her mother

If you are among the fortunate majority, you probably grew up with your mother. Or maybe a female relative was like a mother to you. Lucky you! My deepest sympathies for those who did not know their mothers or had them for too short of a time.

She is often our primary caregiver and role model. A person you may wish to be like … or someone you may not wish to be like. Or both! A person who shaped our lives, our beliefs, our faith – almost everything about us. Our mothers!

My Mom was a stay-at-home mother and I always remember her freshening up before my Dad got home from work. She changed her dress, washed her face, put on lipstick. A nice idea!

She made our clothes, and matching ones for our Barbies. She made our meals (Shake ‘n’ Bake, anyone?) and taught me how to bake. Mom taught me how to sew, knit, write thank you letters and do laundry. She wouldn’t let me wear jeans or pierce my ears. She made me take piano lessons and practise daily. She bought me round toe brown oxfords because they were good for my feet. She also bought me these amazing pearlized leather pumps for my wedding day thirty years ago …

My mother – My Friend, Globetrotter, Social Butterfly and Shopper Extraordinaire! Maddeningly self sufficient with energy to spare and in excellent health! I want to be you when I grow up!

Twenty nine years ago I became a mother and its a role I always wanted. I am fortunate to have both a son and a daughter and even though they are adults now, its true what my mom always said – You never stop being a mother! Its one of the strongest bonds between human beings and vital for our survival. It will be interesting to hear what my children think I taught them someday, but truly I probably learned as much from them! Thank you Mike and Shannon for letting me be your Mom!

Contrary to my own popular belief, Mother’s Day was not started by Hallmark Cards – its roots trace back to ancient Greek times. Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in the UK since the 1600′s. It does not need to be a huge commercial celebration. Most of my friends who are moms appreciate time with their grown children – and moms with little ones underfoot generally appreciate some time with themselves! However you celebrate it – enjoy your Mom, your kids and your day!

Happy Mother’s Day! And thanks Mom!