Seven Natural Health Wonders of the World

June23

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to once again style for and learn from Michelle Book the in-house Holstic Nutritionist with the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA).

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Coming from every corner of the globe, the wonders that we displayed and she spoke of have been used for centuries in other countries to help with everything from soothing bug bites to achieving beautiful glowing skin. Although you may have heard of these natural health products you may not be aware of their secret benefits and how they can be used in our daily lives. We begin our tour in Asia.

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Turmeric (Asia)

Across the globe, turmeric is used for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to help alleviate joint pain and immune disorders and digestive aid. Michelle can demo a DIY turmeric face mask, as outlined below.

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Arnica (Europe)

Stemming from an ancient plant, arnica has been used extensively to help strengthen joints and muscles. Often used as a topical cream, rubbing arnica on a sore joint or muscle can soothe and provide fast relief.

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Tea Tree Oil (Australia)

This essential oil is a microbial that can be used to treat a number of skin conditions including dandruff and acne. It can also be used to soothe bug bites, making it a must to pack on the next family trip.

Argan Oil (Africa)

This rare oil boasts potent effects for improving skin elasticity in post-menopausal women and is proven to reduce the appearances of darkly pigmented age spots. Michelle can demo a DIY exfoliating argan face scrub, as outlined below.

Krill Oil (Antarctica)

These small crustaceans are found in the depths of the seas in Antarctica. For such a small species, it packs a big health punch. Rich in omega-3s, krill oil has been proven to help combat cardiovascular disease, and helps lower blood lipids and blood pressure.

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Chia (South America)

This seed is prized for its dense nutritional profile. It’s a complete protein that contains all nine of our essential amino acids. It’s a rich source of omega-3s and fibre, which helps to slow digestion and maintain weight. Michelle can demo chia pudding, a replacement for boring breakfast oatmeal, as outlined below.

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Ginger (North America)

Ginger is packed with phenolic compounds that help improve your digestive system, when consumed regularly. It is also able to reduce the feeling of nausea, and bolster your body’s immune system to combat the common cold, flu and other similar problems. A pot of water with ginger on your stove, provides your kitchen with a natural de-odorizer.

The recipes that Michelle shared for Tumeric Face Mask and Chia Pudding are both found at the Canadian Health Food Association Website.

Kath’s quote: “The greatest wealth is Health.”  ~Unknown 

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Love never fails.

 

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Tuscany Trip Report-Day 1

June21

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We left New York at approximately 10 pm. I settled in fairly quickly, took a sleeping pill and woke up as we were landing in Milan. The process of renting our car was a hassle as everyone arrived at the same time and they only had one clerk on. With patience though we were on our way. Navigating ourselves out of the airport and Milan was a fete in itself. I spotted the first of many Lambergenis on the Autostrada. In fact, D’s constant exclamation whenever we were on the highway was “don’t look now but there is a Mercedes up my ass”!

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We stopped along the way at one of the many Autogrill Rest Stops along the highway and ordered delicious sandwiches for the road. I mean seriously fabulous-fresh bread, succulent meats and cheeses. It suddenly dawned on us-we were in Italy again!

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When the scenery started to change and we spotted rolling hills and mountains, we knew that the Tuscan countryside was near.

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The sun was starting to sink as we got more and more excited that our home for the week in the town of Montecatini would soon be in sight.

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Upon check in at Hotel Puccini we were delighted that Patrizia, the owner of the hotel was able to keep her promise and put us in a room with a terrace. This was our view from the terrace

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and this was the view of the terrace from inside our room.

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We were hungry for some supper. I had done some advance research and had seen that a local recommended a couple of his favourite restaurants. We found out from Patrizia that La Cantina del Toscano was within walking distance of our hotel. Little did we know at that time that we would fall instantly in love with the food and our server Francesco and that we would return almost every evening of our stay.

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Later we took a short stroll up and down the main street where our hotel was located to get our bearings.

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We understood that we were actually staying at a different hotel closer to the town square but decided that we quite liked that we were on a quieter portion of the street.

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This was a glimpse of our hotel lobby from the sidewalk.

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This was the covered sidewalk patio outside our hotel. We were too pooped to stop for a drink that evening but did so a couple of nights later. Our bed was exceedingly comfotable and we had a good sleep to start our Tuscan adventure the next morning.

Kath’s quote: “Life offers you a thousand chances… all you have to do is take one.” ― Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun    

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Love never fails.

 

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Dancing Noodle

June20

Flour and water-something amazing happens with these two ingredients come together. We are the happy owners of an electric pasta maker and as long as we have these two ingredients on hand, we can throw them into a broth, sauté them with herbs and garlic or pour a sauce on them and always have a meal at the ready. The hand stretching of noodles is Chinese fine art and now there is a Winnipeg restaurant where you can enjoy lamian noodles.

The Dancing Noodle is an inauspicious little spot that I actually drove by twice before checking the address.  There are only a few tables and our strategy of visiting after the lunch rush was misguided. The place was packed with students from the nearby high school who knew the people lucky enough to have a table, so it was hard to determine the first come, first serve order. I negotiated with another couple to share the next four-top that became available but in the end we joined a long communal table when two chairs finally came available.

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The menu is succinct and embellished by a couple of specials on a white board. We immediately ordered both the specials and then had more time to get caught up and peruse the menu. First up was a tasty and unusual two layered crepe. We tried to determine the ingredients but were left dumb-founded even though my palette is typically discerning and I was lunching with a home economist.

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The ingredients of the second special of a cucumber salad were more obvious and equally delicious.

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We chose a bowl of beef noodle soup to share. This was no ordinary soup. The thinly sliced beef which floated on the surface was delectable on its own and incredible when slurped up with the savoury broth and swarms of noodles. The latter had the most unusual texture, almost as though they had been soaked but not boiled. I understand that is achieved when the noodles are hand twisted, stretched and folded into strands. We oohed and aahed with every scrumptious spoonful.

Dancing Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “Ramen is a dish that’s very high in calories and sodium. One way to make it slightly healthier is to leave the soup and just eat the noodles”. -Masaharu Morimoto

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Love never fails.

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J & H’s 40th Anniversary on July 1, 2016

June19

Drop into 2635 to wish them well and stay for cake. Imagine, a family business sill going strong after 40 years!

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NYC Trip Report-Day 3

June16

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The view from our room at Wingate by Wyndham Midtown. Perfectly located within walking distance of so many attractions, the room was comfortable, the staff helpful and accommodating.

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Since 1884 Bryant Park is situated behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Although I love Central Park and others in the east village, Bryant has been my favourite since D discovered it whilst roaming around and killing time while I attended a media seminar in Times Square.

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The park itself invites is set up in a relaxing fashion with chairs available to pull together and face the sun.

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The perimeter of the park is as picturesque as the park itself with many historic buildings that can be viewed through the trees.

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The Bryant Park Grill features new American-style dining set against the stunning backdrop of Bryant Park. Seasonal patio and rooftop dining provide great views of the park. It is located behind the library, on Bryant Park’s Upper Terrace between 40th and 42nd Streets.

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A bronze bust can be seen just to the west of the Bryant Memorial. Sculptor Jo Davidson created a bust of the American writer Gertrude Stein in 1923, now in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Bryant Park bust is a cast made from the original.

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The lawn is lush and green and the flowers change seasonally but Bryant Park is more than a garden. When you first discover it, nestled in its canyon of skyscrapers, it’s like an oasis–a refuge of peace and calm. But Bryant Park is a city park, full of historical monuments and urban amenities. The park is a social place where friends meet, eat lunch, chat, stroll, listen to music, work on the wireless network, or simply sit and think. Winter, summer, spring, and fall, New Yorkers love this park.

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Six flower beds border Bryant Park’s Lawn to the north and south–two on the shady South side and three on the sunny North. They are planted seasonally with 100 species of woody shrubs and herbaceous perennials and 20,000 bulbs.

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Today’s version of Bryant Park–with its gravel paths, green chairs, and jaunty le carrousel–is a recent invention. Though the space has been called Bryant Park since 1842, the park has had a checkered career. By 1979, it was the site of frequent muggings and drug deals and was avoided by knowledgeable New Yorkers. An almost ten-year effort, begun in 1980, transformed the park and its reputation.

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Along the Northern and Southern sides of the park are twin promenades bordered by London plane trees (Platanus acerifolia). This is the same species found at the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, and contributes a great deal to Bryant Park’s European feel. These trees can grow up to 120 feet in height.

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At the western gateway to the park is the pink granite Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain, dedicated in 1912. This was the city’s first public memorial dedicated to a woman. Lowell (1843-1905) was a social worker and founder of the Charity Organization Society. Charles Adams Platt designed the fountain.

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Pétanque is a French game of “boules” (French for balls), where each player strives to throw metal balls as close as possible to a smaller wooden ball, named the “cochonnet”. Most games are played in teams, and are staged on the gravel area near the Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street corner. Tournaments are played on the gravel paths around the Bryant Park lawn. Game strategies include “pointing” when a player throws his ball to have it roll as close to the cochonnet as possible, and “shooting” when a player aims for the ball of an opponent, hoping to move him out of a favorable spot.

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I get out my novel and perch my feet on an extra chair while D loves to linger over a New York newspaper. We pretend that we are New Yorkers.

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Since Bryant Park s right next door to the New York Public Library, we often stop in there as well. When we first visited we found the reading room that looked like it was right out of “Ghostbusters”!

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Sculptor Edward Clark Potter created the lions, which were carved in pink Tennessee marble by the Piccirilli brothers. They were later nicknamed “Patience” and “Fortitude” by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.

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The New York Public Library building was designed by John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings. The magnificent Beaux-Arts building sits on a terrace that was designed to elevate the building above surrounding streets, to provide gathering places for people, and to provide a setting for public sculpture.

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The fountains on either side of the library’s entrance are Truth” on the (South) side and “Beauty” on the (North). They are the works of the major American sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies.

Feeling a little peckish by this time, we find a New York deli called Ben’s. Read all about it here.

Kath’s quote: “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”  ― John Updike

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

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