Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Mirabai  of Moving Free with Mirabai is hosting Fashion Flash.  These days it seems that all a trainer needs is a  lap top and a smart phone–  no credentials, no experience, no  references needed.  This is why I  have so  much  confidence and  admiration  for Mirabai.  She has more than  four degrees and 20 years of experience.  And what I think  makes her extra special is that  she  still bubbles with   a passion and enthusiasm  for  health and exercise  programs.  Mirabai  has created  fitness programs for children, heart patients, word class athletes, and  new mommies.  She knows   how every bone, muscle and ligaments  works and her science based  yet entertaining  approach  always  works, never hurts.  Check out her site for great advice and videos.  You’ll  thank me.

Fashion Flash book reviewFashion Flash  Book Review: Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville

October is National Vegetarian  Month and I have been reviewing  vegetarian cookbooks for  both taste and ease.  I started  with the classic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by the justly famous  Deborah Madison.  She was the founding  chef of the ground breaking  Greens restaurant in San Fransisco. The style and cuisine at Greens  took  vegetarian restaurants  where they had never been before.  The vegetables and  herbs were organically in their own  Green Gulch Farm

When I found  Field of Greens, by another Greens  chef, I was  thrilled.   The range of recipes   was  breathtaking–butternut squash soup  with apple confit, linguine with  orange-saffron butter and corn cakes with smoked cheese and chilies.  As a frustrated farmer, I was so grateful  for the real time gardening tips that accompanied   numerous recipes.

The recipes are glorious but   much more complicated  than in the earlier book by Deborah Madison.  Most recipes  in Field of Greens have at least 18  different ingredients and  many have as  many as 35 . Not only  does this make each recipe time consumming, they are pricey. ( By contrast,  the recipes  from Vegearian Cooking for Everyone usually need  6 ingredients including salt, pepper and olive oil). For example,  Somerville uses leeks rather than onions.  Since leeks are   at least 4X more expensive than onions,  this raises the cost of  each course.   In addition to  more ingredients,   many of the recipes  call for complicaed pre-recipes to complete  a dish.  For example,  squash  turnovers  call for homemade dough and corn soup  calls for  homemade corn stock.  The recipes are wonderful, but this is definately not  for weekday meals.

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoTHE VAGABOND SONG

There is something in the autumn that is native to  my blood

Touch of manner, hint of  mood,

And my heart is like a rhyme

With the  yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time

I am so excited to be  hosting Fashion Flash  in the fall.  I  love the sense of  renewal  that comes  in the autumn  and our  bloggers feel the same:

* There  is a chill in the air.  Josephine of Chic  At Any Age wants us to look chic and we stay warm  as she offers  great advice on choosing  the best new winter coat.

* Now that fall has officially arrived, Cindy of Prime Beauty  shares her list of her top ten fall lips and tips.

* Jodell of Black Cat Plus is excited to  see animal prints, ethnic patterns and geometric prints among  the trends plus size women will see in the Fall

* Fun vests are one of the biggest trends of the fall. Pam of Over Fifty, Feeling 40  explains  how and why they help us transition to cooler weather.

* Falling leaves are beautiful but falling  hair is not.  Positive Living Advocate Barbara Hannah Grufferman of Best of Everything After Fifty wants  women to know that its quite common to lose some hair  as we get older.  Not to worry!  She has some great tips on why it can happen and what we can do about it.

* Fall is the perfect time  to exercise outdoors.  Try adding  this easy strength training  autumn  workout designed by Mirabai of Moving Free with Mirabai.

* Fall is the start of soup weather  and Melanie of Society Wellness  has some of the best soup recipes  you will find online.   She even provides instructions so that  you  can modify  her recipes to  make them vegan,  gluten-free or increase protein.  My newest favorite is  vegan potato kale.  Just thinking about  it  makes my mouth water.

* Its fall  and to Kari of  Fab Over Forty that means sweater weather.  Today she shares  her five favorite  sweaters to wear when  leaves  start to  change colors.

* A beautiful fall setting can be inspiring in so  many ways.  Marylou of Second Lives Club shares  how one writer has created  an autumnal  environment that illuminates her work.

* Fall is definately time to try something  new and Diva Debbi shares a new  lash system that will produce  the fullest, fattest, lashes everyday… guaranteed.

* Jackie of Aging Backwards sniffs around to discover the benefits of fall inspired  aromatherapy.

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Cindy of Prime Beauty is hosting Fashion Flash.  This  all beauty site is an extraordinary resource for the best of the best in every beauty category.  I always check out this site for new  products you won’t see anywhere else. She even has has a  button for free samples!

Fashion FLash Book Review: Brunette AmbitionFashion Flash Book Review:  Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

I’m usually not a big fan of celebrity lifestyle books.  Its hard to read a  book by a tall, blonde glamazon offering style tips that only work if you have 4% body fat.  Usually  they credit their flawless complexion to good genes and  gallons of water.  The secret  to  perfect body?  A combination of  a brutal exercise routinue  and a claim  that  they  can  eat anything and never gain weight. Seriously.

I  aproached Brunette Ambition cautiously.  I’m a  major Glee fan and  I love the mix of real life dynamics,  great  music and insanely talented  performers.   I really didn’t want to read  another self-serving book  that capitalized on  fame. Not to worry.  Brunette Ambition is an honest, genuinely helpful and beautifully produced book.

Lea Michele is not your standard star.  She is a petite, dark haired beauty with natural  features.   Despite astonishing talent, she is open about her vulnerabilities, her career and the hard  work that  is behind her appearance. For example she describes  her disciplined  low carb, nutrition packed  meal plan  and her daily  yet realistic  exercise program.  Her real time fashion advice is rare and valuable information for petite frames.

At 25, she  has a maturity way beyond her years.  She clearly wanted a book to be a genuine reflection of her core beliefs and values.  She has set very high standards for herself and she follows through in all areas of her life. For example  her menus and  recipes are easy, affordable and delicious.  I am  trying to eat  more protein-packed beans and her recipe for lentil burgers  topped with  avocodo and  lentil soup topped with  melted cheese  are so good I’ve added them to my regular menu rotation.

My favorite part is probably the extensive and unique hair and  make-up section.  Rather than random, generalized advice or  blatant pitch for  products, Brunette Ambition provides detailed instruction for five different looks.   From a date night  to a business meeting to red carpet glamour, she provides easy to follow instructions.  On behalf of all dark eyed, dark haired women, I have to say  thanks!  This book is a keeper.

 

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Mirabai of Moving Free with Mirabai is  hosting Fashion Flash!  She is an amazing  health educator with  an unmatchable set of credentials.  When  she makes a recommendation on diet or exercise   you can be certain that it is  the best available information and not  made to support a  marketing  plan of a brand. Sort of  no-nonsense fitness!

 

Fashion FLash Book Review:  Seven Sisters StyleFashion Flash Book Review: Seven Sisters Style

The new Ralph Lauren store on Fifth  Avenue has a bookstore!  This was all it took for my  bibliophile husband to go willingly into a clothing store.  The small bookstore  was a treasure trove of style books, many of which were out of print classics.  This  did not work for my husband, but I was in heaven.  Seven Sisters Style by Rebecca Tuite was  the perfect book for this temple of preppy chic– and at $35  was probably the least expensive item in the entire three story store.

I   went to Bronx High School of Science and   New York University,  very far both geographically and socially from  the Seven Sisters colleges.   I loved  going to school in Greenwich Village, but I still would stare like a deer in the headlight  at the  girls in camel coats and  loafers that came into the city on the weekends.  Each Sunday in the New York Times magazine section, John Mayer  advertised  yet another  print shirtwaist and  I could not wait to discuss the pros and cons  of each dress with my  equally unpreppy  friends. .    And as it turned out, this iconic look captured and held  the imagination for many years.   Seven Sisters Style  deconstructs the look of saddle shoes, cashmere   cardigans, Bermuda shorts, blazers  and of course pearls. The vintage photos are priceless from  real life Vasser girl Meryl Streep to scenes from  dorms and classes in the 50’s.  I never realized the rigid uniformity behind the  plaid skirts and  rolled up jeans, but I can see why the sea change of the 60’s  changed forever how women dressed.

While  true prep style  is long gone from the now mostly co-ed seven sisters, author  Truite closes with a look at the designers like the late  Perry Ellis   and of course  the very current Ralph Lauren  who  were  inspired by this  timeless, quintessential American  style.

Its Fashion FLash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week the amazing Kari of Fab Over Forty is hosting  Fashion Flash.  This beautiful site  covers, skin care, make-up,  and fashion with a hands-on  advice that I have come to depend on.  I have to admit that I am an eye liner  junkie and I am always looking for the  perfect tool for the perfect  line.  Kari   tries them all and now I know what brands and  products will deliver the results I want.  Check out  her recent posts on the perfect sports  bra and the new Laura Mercier  just launched fall colors.  You will thank me.

Fashion FLash Book Review-- Vegetarian Cooking for EveryoneFashion Flash Book Review:  Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

There is a very simple reason  that Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is a classic– its just amazing! Published in 1997 it was decades ahead of its time.  The comprehensive   650 page  book covers essential ideas  while offering more than 1000 recipes that are simple, healthy and delicious.

The  first 50 pages could be a short  book all on its own.  It offers a wide range of fundamentals of equipment, best choices of staples and essential cooking techniques.   I love the way Deborah Madison drills down into each and every subject.  For example she clearly explains the differences between the five different types of peppercorns and how each impacts on the flavor of a dish.  She does the same for different types of oils, salts, vinegars, and olives.   So  many dishes are ruined with the wrong  form of an ingredient– a total waste of time and money. With this book,  it should  never  happen again in your kitchen.

Ingredients are especailly imporant in vegetarian  cooking and these recipes illustrate how to deliver powerhouse  texture and flavor.   For examle, I could not understand why my avocodo  and tomato sandwich was  just blah while I devoured  them at my local   vegan spot.   Madison’s recipe  included a light layer of mustard and mayo as well as a sprinkle of arugala.  It made all the diffference.

Madison really understands the  challenges  of creating  satisfying vegetarian  main  dishes that don’t rely on cream and cheese.   There are recipes for  gratins, stir-fries, veggie fillings for crepes and  chunky veggie stews.  My current favorite  is a veggie souffle that is totally satisfying as it uses up  all those bits of leftover veggies from other dinners.

Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone is such a welcome difference  from the weak celebrity  or  TV food show cookbooks.  These days there seems to be an arc  to a celebrity career– initial job followed by book, then product  line and then some type of cookbook.   The scope and   passion of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone   has a rare integrity  in a reality TV dominated culture.

 

 

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week the always elegant Josephine of Chic At Any Age is hosting Fashion Flash. She is one of those rare women that  looks effortlessly chic  whether  she is relaxing in the sun or attending a concert at Albert Hall.   I tend to stare at these women trying to deconstruct what they  did to  look so good.  When I discovered  Chic At Any Age  it was like the Rosetta Stone for style.  She explains  the reasons behind her fashion choices in a way that I adapt her ideas to my style isues.  If you’re already a fan  you know what I mean.  If  Chic At Any Age is new to you, you will have  a lot of fun drilling down  into her archives for beautiful, wearable fashion ideas.

Fashion FLash Book Review; IconsFashion Flash Book Review:  Icons by Dodie Kazanjin

When I think of icons, I think of unique, famous people.  But this time, icons refer to those items of clothing that  carry  their own fame and legend.  Well known Vogue writer Dodie Kazanjian   does an up close and personl  experence  with  style icons  that include Manulo Blahnik shoes,  the Chanel suit, the Armani jacket and the Kelly  bag.  She braves the elite of the elite stores to try  on and select a legendary piece of fashion history.

As she chronicles  her journey to actually be able to acquire  each piece ( there are waiting lists for $3000 bags!), she spins  out the back story behind them.  For example,  she details the extraordinary features  that are in each Chanel jacket,   and that the big Hermes bag that Grace Kelly used to hide her pregnency from  photographers was there after known as  the Kelly. My favorite chapter chronicles her  search for the perfect  Little Black Dress.  Fashion editors are forever recommending  the LBD as a fashion staple,  but no one  has ever actually   described  how hard  it is to find the perfect one.  Most designers seem to create for that ubiquitous freakishly   tall blonde with 4% body fat. Ms Kaszanjian is 5 feet, 2 inches with a wonderful  mane of curly  dark hair.  Her journey through  one shouldered,  feather trimmed, ruffled and cut out black dresses is  so relatable that I was chuckling as  I read  the piece.  The fact that in the end  she walked away empty handed, made me  love this book even more.

 

 

 

 

 

Its Fashion FLash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week my favorite fashionista Diva Debbi  is hosting  Fashion Flash.  There  is  reason that she has more than 12,000 Polyvore followers.  Her eye  for color , shape and texture  comes through in her  amazing style posts.  With fall  hard upon us, I can’t  wait to see what she  has created for  colder weather.

Fashion Flash Book ReviewFashion Flash Book Review:  Dropping Acid– the Reflux Diet  Cookbook and Cure

My BFF from college never smoked, but when she turned 50, Annie  developed a chronic cough  that never  went away.  A non-smoker  she has tried the usual medications for asthma,  but nothing  really seemed to work.  When she asked my pulmonologist  husband  for help, he suggested she visit a ear, nose and throat specialist ( ENT)  to examine  her larynx.  He explained that  about 30% of his patients with  annoying, chronic  coughs had reflux rather than pulmonary problems.

Dropping Acid by Jamie Koufman, MD not only explains how this works  but offers  a full lifestyle program to control problems.  The list of “don’ts”  is long, but Dr Koufman  offers  extensive  science behind her recommendations.  For example,  she  explains   how  soda triggers symptoms and that the rise in the number of peope with reflux is prarallel to the rise  of  soda consumption. Other recommendations include no food three hours before going to sleep. The list of food triggers can be daunting  to  cooking and eating out but Dr Kaufman offers  dozens of  genuinely appealing recipes.

Garlic, onions, butter  and tomatoes are  well known reflux triggers  are also key ingredients  to  many  cooking styles and countries.  Dropping Acid  has managed  to coax  rich enjoyable flavors without  the usual  seasongs.  She uses ginger, coriander and prociutto to build taste and texture  for meals that are delicious  and reflux proof.

Dr Kaufman, a noted laryngologist   now has  a companion book – The Chronic Cough Enigma.  She  offers a clear differtial diagnosis of the different types of reflux and  the  best treatment options.   Keep in mind that  over 50,  reflux  is increasingly likely  and this pair of books is  a valuable tool for dealing with this  all too common problem.

As it turned out Annie , an attorney for Holocaust survivors, does not keep 9-5 hours ( more like 9 to 9). And as long as I have known her, she has had an open can of Tab on her desk. I gave her my copy of Dropping Acid and I am looking forward to hearing the results.

 

 

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

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Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Cindy of Prime Beauty is hosting Fashion Flash.Before I discovered Prime Beauty I had boxes of lipsticks,  foundations, bronzers,  and mascaras that failed to deliver  for me.  This site  changed my failure/success rate with new make-up choices.  Cindy does the heavy lifting, testing each one  and providing in-depth analysis of  fragrance, texture and color. The ads promise so  much that its easy to get drawn in. Prime Beauty gives  me  much better info to make good  beauty purchase decisions.

Fashion FLash Book Review: Cuisine SanteFashion Flash Book Review: Cuisine Sante by Christopher Buey

I recently reviewed  Afro Vegan by Bryant Terry which offered meat-free versions  of  African and  Carribean cuisine.  It beautifully captured the flavors  of the original cuisine but  with a fraction of the fat and calories.  I  wondered if there was  an equivalent  book that did the same for traditional french recipes.  When I had tried  myself to  simply to cut back on the butter,  cream, bacon and salt  on french cookbooks,  the meals  just didn’t taste French. When I found Cuisine Sante in a quirky  second hand book store  in  upstate New York,  I was inspired to try again.

The book genuinely drills down into the subject.  It  starts with clear, well illustrated  photos  for techniques like filleting a fish, boning a chicken and prepping  vegetables  in traditional  french style.  It  offers recipes  for  stocks with full flavor yet  lower sodium levels by compensating with additional seasoings like ginger and mushrooms.   For creamy dishes, Cuisine Sante substitues Greek yogurt for heavy cream and  exchanges  olive oil for butter in braised  dishes.  I love  carot soup  but it usually is packed with butter and  cream.    I love a  true rich quiche but  the  fat and  calorie   count is truely scary. I’ve tried making a low fat version but  they were watery and bland.   The  Cuisine Sante version  cuts calories by “sauteing”  the onions in a mixture of wine and thyme until lightly carmelized and mixing a bit of  cream with skin milk for the custard.  The result?  Even better than the original.

I  wish that  Cuisine Sante  provided nutritional breakdown of their recipes. Cuisine Sante does not consider their recipes diet food, but  healthier versions  of beloved french meals, but I really like to know what I am eating.  Some of the recipes are time  consuming and others are technically challenging.  But   there are  many  simple  yet hearty   dishes like glazed  pork loin,  ratatouille, “creamy” carrot soup which allow me to both eat  French and wear French.