The Leoness is a bit of everything; fashion, fitness, food, facts, fiction, fright, fun, etc.

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Keep Calm, and Party On

Ef it, It's 2012. 
It is the end of the world, and or civilization according to the lack of continuation in the Mayan calendar. 
If it is the end of the world, if the ship is sinking titanic steeze, I ain't going down quietly; nor compliantly. 
I'm going out with bang, I'm going out with glitz, I'm going out horribly fashionable and possibly a little late. 

It might be the end of the world for some, but mine is just coming into sight. The future is never to come, and the past is nothing but memories. The only time ever held is the brief moment in which decisions are made and actions performed. When the lights go out, I will glow, and I will party like it is 2012.

My attire will camouflage nicely as time explodes with the confusion of fireworks and cheers. My attire will glimmer like molted metal burning for attention. My shoes shimmering as they smother the debris of expectations and seemingly tangible existence.

My shoes will start the conversations, as the party inevitable becomes eclipsed by Y2K and other such dates which wrongly predict to deliver universal chaos.

Anarchy is not chaos, and chaos is not calm, but my feet remain grounded 6 inches above land.  The Chaos is in my head, the pain is in my feet, the frustration of a New Years as uneventful of all that have come before. New Years eve, is just another night with overly high expectations. 

I fortunately have the upper head; For The House always wins, and my shoes, so discreetly  adorned in jewels, own the house.
Happy New Years!Mr new years resolution is to dress has manically and wild as I wish. Every day is worthy of party clothes. Hell there may only be 300 more days left of a life as we know it....


Friday, December 30, 2011

Peplums please!

Peplum n, pl-lums:

1.) Clothing and fashion, a flared ruffle attached to the waist of a jacket, bodice, dress, etc.

2.) A variant of peplos: Peplos n, pl: Clothing and Fashion in ancient Greece the top part of a woman's atrire caught at the shoulders and hanging in folds to the waist.

3.) A wicked fashion trend that has been dominating the spring 2012 runways. Peplums are fabric embelishments that instantly create a curvasious hour glass figure on any body. Peplums were popular in the '80's as well as in the 40's. For 2012, the look is more polished and sophisticated that the over glam-ed 80's look, while still managing a playful look.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

workouts to-go

My Grandma certainly knows the key to my heart. For Christmas my lovely grandma not only spoiled me with home-made goodies but also took me on a shopping spree to lululemon where I got a fabulous pair of Paris Pink work out pants, and a no limit tank top. 

My brother is a percussionist, and is working on a cruise ship, For New Years, my family is off to surprise him on the boat. I'm excited; a 3 day cruise in the Caribbean, and more family time. ( The joke being on my brother whom attempted to avoid the stress of a family holiday by running off to entertain sea folk for the holidays.)

When ever I travel, I always pack my workout wear to make it easy to get my fitness in. Many hotels chains including The Fairmont, The Hyatt, and The Hilton's like to keep room temperature just slightly above a comfortable heat. The practice of keeping hotel rooms un-noticeably uncomfortable is an industry trick to  manipulate guests into ordering in-room entertainment, food services, and to encourage guests to take advantage of hotel amenities. For me, the warmer rooms just motivates me to do my Tracy and reap the benefits of  a"hot" workout. Hotel rooms make for amazing workout spaces. They always have bottled water ( 2lb weight), a chair, mirrors, and a sturdy desk to place your computer. 

I've designed this arm and leg workout to work with the furnishings of any hotel room. This leg and arm toning workout does not require must space, and the hot hotel room will really increase your body's ability to stretch into the movements while sweating out extra toxins. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Cost of Resolutions: Happy New You!

In the 90's and 000's, New Years Resolutions were simple and focused on the mantra of "Self Improvement". Companies like Lulu-Lemon, who inspired personal gratitude skyrocket to the top of consumer awareness because they encouraged the buyers of the brand to reach their self improvement goals. I am anything but perfect. I'm a work of art, a masterpiece that has yet to be fully achieved. In truth, I hope I never reach my artistic and pragmatic concept of perfection. To reach my ideal version of self, would be a disappointment and an oxymoron. Improvement and resolutions are progressive and continual; perfection in static and passé. 

I hope to evolve and transform through out my life as I learn and grow through experience. The resolution of yesteryear's of the 90's and 2000's are being forgotten. Long gone are the self promises to quite smoking, continue education, and commit to fad diets. The highly coveted and desired resolution of 2012 have a focus on creating more; "me" time, such as to read more; or you time, through volunteer work. For 2012, the financial hangover on 2008 is still very present and people do not wish to spend a lot of money to achieve their resolutions. Bloomberg reports that gym enrollment through the last quarter on 2011 has declined; while do it yourself at home fitness gifts such as: Tracy Anderson Method, have increased in sales. 

Top 2012 Resolutions:

Get Fit at home vs. the gym
Cost of a trainer for 100 sessions: $7000, cost of a one year gym membership $600
= $7,600
$29.99 a month, $360 a year, plus $30 for a mat, and $40 for equipment
= $430 a year (saving of $7,170).

Weight loss:
$2,646 dollars of a one year membership to Equinox or $479 of a one year membership to weight watchers

Debt Reduction:
 $23 per month to enroll in a debt management plan. 

Increased Organization:
( on my list) 
$ 7, "clear your space, clear your mind." by Lina J. Parks

Read more:
Book costs....and or tablet computer cost of $699

Find a New Job:
The opportunity cost of quitting and searching for new employment, plus the necessary personal appearance investment to look presentable.

Volunteer more/serve on a non-profit board:
Time costs, opportunity costs, potential for increased stress and less time with family and friends. Potential for personal disconnect if the organization does not fit with your personal philosophies. This resolution is a a positive concentration, however it needs to complement you and your lifestyle not meet the criteria you have set to "achieve an ideal" persona. 

No one, not even those with unbelievable personal will power/ super powers has the ability to stay committed to all of the above resolutions. The trick of discovering a new and improved you is to focus on one resolution and commit. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Personal Steeze, A lesson in style

Yves Saint Laurent said: "Fashions fade, style in eternal." 

Fashions evolve, evaporate, and morph into do's and don'ts. Style is confidence, and a representation of individuality. The savvy and stezzy woman is always refined; and she never labors exasperated on the fad trends. Style is effortless, and simply chic. True personal style is a mix of past and present, textures, and levels. Personal style, is an art, it follows the structure of fine art as it is made to perform and accentuate the masterpiece of the individual. 

To master style there are a few tricks of the craft:

First, Know they body:
Regardless of your height and or shape, the most stylish women both petite and plus dress complementary to their shape. Where what you love, and emphasize your best features. I am 5'4, and do love the maxi dress/skirt look. But because I am short, the maxi skirt can wash me out if I do not create the illusion of a high waist. 

Invest in classics:
I have a quality over quantity mantra. I love investing in statement pieces and enjoy the quality of well made garments.  I don't shop credit  card loaded and ready at Forever 21. Instead I like to window shop and dig for gems. Fill your closet with an Audrey Hepburn inspired mantra: classics first; pencil skirts, cigarette pants, billowy blouses, and functional blazers. Shoes should complement. 

Embrace Vintage:
Vintage finds are the secret to commanding attention and grace. Most vintage is one of a kind, which assures that you will most likely be the only one wearing that gorgeous sweater you found at veda lux or gypsy market. If you are new to vintage start by excavating your mom or grandmas closet, ( I found a fab vintage Gucci purse in my Grandmas closet).

Dress for comfort:
Love what you wear, feel good it what you wear. A dress or suit can be stunning in theory; however if it does not fit with your psyche the look won't work, and the outfit won't be comfortable. The art of personal style is dressing according to your personality, and choosing looks that are wearable and comfortable. 

For accessory, fast fashion stores do offer cheap chic that works well for a party/event. If you see a cheep look you want to experiment with try the knock-off, or do it yourself. It you love it, then invest in the real goods. Mix designers, and brands. Don't be an advertisement for one designer, advertise the craft of your style. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Week Horoscope

In common wealth countries the day after Christmas is Boxing day. The historical tradition of Boxing Day is that of generosity. In England in the 1800's families would "box" up their left overs and deliver them to families or individuals of less fortune. In boxing day tradition the wealthier families would also gather up old clothes and toys that were no longer needed by the family and would gift them to families in need. (Think Tiny Tim, and Scrooge). Today, unfortunately, Boxing Day has morphed in to a day of chaos and shopping extravagance. 

Here are your weekly horoscopes for December 26th- Jan. 1st curtsey of Gorgia Nicols

In recent months and certainly for months in the future, you will want to travel more than you usually do - by far! At times, you will barely have time to unpack and repack your bags! Travel opportunities will come your way, and at other times, you will make these opportunities because you want to explore more of life and see more of the world. You want adventure and new knowledge. You feel strongly about your ideas and beliefs now. (Be careful of heavy-duty proselytizing.) Do whatever you can to expand your mind through study, meeting different people and visiting new places. This is definitely a time where you can expand your world. Some will make great gains in publishing, the media, medicine, the law and postsecondary education.

Mars will strongly highlight - for months ahead - anything to do with shared property, inheritances, insurance matters, taxes, debt and whatever you share or own jointly with others. In addition, it will also strongly energize your sex life. Well, none of this is boring, is it? Notice the terms highlight and energize. In other words, you can sink into conflict and do battle with others about these areas, or you can join forces to use joint resources (or even the wealth and resources of others) to do something that makes you proud. Don't expect too much of others. Just try to get cooperation. By the time Mars has left this part of your chart, it will signal the passing of something old to make room for something new.

I think you have the trickiest and most challenging situation in the coming months because the energetic focus of Mars is opposite your sign. This opposition can easily translate into conflicts with close friends and partners. Par for the course. Textbook. But it doesn't have to be this way. If you are very mindful and conscious of what you're doing, you can learn a lot about how you always relate to those who are closest to you. You will see aspects of your style of relating that you are not even aware of. And also, because we often submerge our grievances, Mars will give you the courage to put your cards on the table. Not always a bad thing. Compromise is how you can best work with others.

You're getting off easier than other signs with this eight-month transit of Mars in Virgo. Essentially, this situation gives you tons of energy to work hard at improving your health and improving your job. Yes it's true, you might become bossy to coworkers, certainly, in their eyes. (Ya think?) But on the whole, you can use this energy to work and delegate and accomplish a lot. And you'll take pride in what you accomplish. So roll up your sleeves and find work to do! And since you're pumped to improve your health, embrace physical exercise! Hey - you'll come out smelling like a sweaty rose! Make the most of all this energy to improve your world!

Like Aries, you're one of the lucky ones. In fact, you're luckier than Aries! All this energy is urging you to have fun for months ahead! (Imagine that. Who's going to run the country?) You want to play, and go on vacations where you sit around on white sandy beaches with half-naked people sipping drinks with little pink parasols. You don't want to discipline yourself. You want the thrill of sports events, the arts, the entertainment world, playful times with children and (how can we forget?) the thrill of frolicking through romantic love affairs. Oh yes, you are turned on! (Have you no shame? The rest of the world is working.) No fair.

This lengthy sojourn of Mars in one sign challenges you by introducing increased friction and conflict at home. You might quarrel with family members or people where you live. (Or it could be the whole fam damily!) Strife with parents is classic. Some of this is triggered by chaotic activity where you live. Perhaps it's time to say to yourself, "Self, I want to be happy. This fighting has to stop." You can't live with this tension in your private life and home until next summer. This means you have to figure out a way to accept this energy and use it to your benefit. Well, since it is pure energy, you can use it to clean up where you live and make improvements. That's obvious.

This long stretch of Mars in one sign makes you identify with your beliefs - vehemently. If others disagree with you, especially siblings and relatives, you'll take it personally! But hey - since when do you and others agree on everything? Not. Don't get into battles with others unless something important is at stake. Mars is accelerating your daily activities. You have high energy to run around doing things and this same high energy translates into your style of speech as well. You're unusually aggressive, assertive and persuasive! (Yikes.) The upside is you can use this energy to write, study, sell, act and teach. Do it.

Many Leos are house proud. (It's the royalty thang.) However, right now energetic Mars makes you identify with what you own. You're unusually focused on your possessions and your wealth or lack of it. You like the power of using your money and your possessions to extend your influence. Naturally, we all do this at times, but you are very absorbed with this right now. (Does this ring a bell, Pavlov?) This is why you might argue with others about not only what you own, but about what you value as well. Ask yourself if any of this is really important enough to harm friendships and relationships? Relationships are more important than stuff.

Well, well, well. Here you are, with fiery Mars in your sign for months - certainly, the first time this has ever happened to you. Some of you will feel this energy until next winter. If you allow this energy to amplify negative impulses - you'll be fighting with everyone. You'll be dominant, bossy and independent to the point where you alienate others. Hey, this really isn't your style, is it? You like to get along! Since you're pumped with physical energy, channel it in a way that pleases you. An obvious outlet is hard, physical work. Or a physical workout. Naturally, these workouts can be outdoors, in the gym or in the bedroom. Bwa-ha-ha.

This unusually long journey of Mars in one sign is causing you to undergo something you might never have experienced before in your life. But it's a good thing - ultimately. You will have an opportunity to learn a lot about yourself, especially the parts about yourself you don't readily admit to being you. ("I'm not like that." Or "I would never do that.") Hidden behaviour patterns that are usually subconscious are now coming to the surface. ("I see one!") This is a wonderful opportunity for you to confront yourself about self-defeating behaviour or behaviour you would like to think you didn't do. ("I see another!")

Any kind of group activity, whether a small friendly group, a professional meeting, a conference, a team or a club, could be a source of competition and friction for you - for months ahead! You feel strongly about your goals right now, and you're keen to pursue them. If anyone or anything gets in your way you will take offense. Ironically, this means it's hard to work with others; and yet, if you use the energy of Mars to your advantage - you can accomplish an enormous amount by working with others! Go figure. Don't be a loner now or in the coming year. Mars wants you to be involved - actively and physically - with others.

You are the only sign experiencing the energy of Mars at the top of your chart - and we're talking months! Until winter of next year. This is a sure indication that you are going to be working unusually hard in the months to come because you're ambitious to achieve something. You want recognition. You want success. You're not too keen about sharing anything - you would prefer do work alone because you want to be your own boss. This is the classic time for clashes with authority figures - bosses, parents, teachers, VIPs and the police. Even coworkers might be threatened by your ambition. Is this what's going on in your interconnected binary universe?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hot Artichoke & White Bean Spread

Merry Christmas, I am enjoying christmas morning coffee with my family as we open up present and chat with friends about the days plans. My dad built a christmas fire,  and has suggested that I do a live video blog of the fire to rival the fire broadcasted on cable TV. Sorry Shaw, and Comcast. 

I'm going skiing today, like I do every Christmas and need an easy appetizer to prep for christmas dinner. And what is better than Warm Artichoke and White Bean Spread. Artichokes are a super food that have long been used to help support liver, gallbladder conditions. Artichokes help clean the blood and detoxify the body. Artichokes are high in fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Over the holidays I find myself enjoying a few extra alcoholic beverages and artichokes are great for boosting the liver ability to regenerate cells. And beans, are a great source of protein for vegetarians. 

Hot Artichoke and White Bean Spread:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion
3 gloves garlic minced
1 can cannelloni beans (15 oz)
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1 can artichoke hearts (15 oz)
2 cups spinach
2 tbsp fresh dill 
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemarry

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup grated mozzarella style cheese ( I like dayia)
cayanee pepper and paprika for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Heat the oil in small skillet and add the onion and garlic. Sauté over medium low until the onion begins to caramelize. 

Transfer the onion mix to a food processor and add the beans and cream cheese. Process until smooth. Add the artichokes, spinach, dill, thyme, rosemary, slat/pepper and pulse until the artichokes/spinach are finally chopped, but not pureed. Transfer the mix to a small oven proof container and top with the cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Sprinkle with the cayenne and paprika and serve with crackers/ bread/ tortilla chips.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winter Workouts Outside

Merry Christmas Ya'll! I'm looking outside my kitchen window, enjoying a view of the frozen bow river and the beautiful Banff Rockies. Outside, joggers are braving the winter trails and their dogs are trotting happily along beside.

 When exercising outdoors in the cold it is important to remember that there are some modifications to make. 

When ever I find a new route to run, I always map it out prior to hitting the trails. I love a web site that counts the distance of your run as well as shows you a visual representation of the feasibility of a run. If a trail is closed map my run will let you know. 

Warming up in cold weather is important. I will do my stretched and some jumping jacks inside before I completely gear up and head outside. Once out running, I will start jogging at a slow pace and allow my body to adjust by taking short 15sec breaks for the first 10 minutes. 

Your running pace will naturally be slower in cold weather, just because it is harder to breath. Don't be hard on your self. The distance I can comfortably run outside in the cold is a lot shorter than it is in the summer. AND THAT IS OKAY. The snow covered trails add a component of stability to your workout and challenge your core in a different manner. Have fun, and watch your footing.

When exercising in the cold it is easy to forget to hydrate, you can't feel your self sweating as much in the winter especially if you are all bundled up. Stop for water, and be sure to drink up when you return from your trot. 

I like to finish my winter workout at home, inside. I find it easier to cool down when I am not terrified of freezing. Stretch inside, and allow your body a good ten minutes to adjust before shocking it with a hot shower.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ice Wine Martini

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, and my dreams of a white Christmas will be realized. I have plans to shred the slopes, with my family and my friends. I worked at this Mexican restaurant in Banff, The Magpie And Stump, for a few years when I was home for holidays. The Magpie has a great atmosphere and was an amazing place to work. Going to work, was awesome, I would get to hangout with my friends all day.

Two Christmas ago, on the office door of the Magpie was a cartoon of two ladies chilling and drinking wine. The caption said, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, but I will settle for Red." I thought it was cute.

At my favorite restaurant in Spokane, Mizuna's, the drink menu has some pretty fancy and unique cocktails. My favorite is: "The Ice Wine Martini."

In a shaker with ice combine:
Two ounces Ice Wine
One ounce vodka

Pour into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a frozen grape.

Ice Wine, is a sweet dessert wine that is hard to drink on its own, however cutting it with vodka makes for a very tasty and seasonally appropriate holiday martini.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Muscle Memory: Tramp & Floor

Muscles are smart, and lazy. Muscle Memory, is a form of procedural memory that enables one to achieve a level of expertise in an activity through muscle repetition. When developing muscle memory nerves in our muscles respond with the brain to snap shot the level of muscle engagement required to pull off the task. Initially the activity will be challenging; however the repetition the activity will become quite elementary. 

When committing an activity to muscle memory it is important to focus on proper technique and alignment. Failure to do will commit the flawed practice to memory; and make it that much more difficult to break the habit. Muscle memory needs to be challenged, and the brain needs to be engaged in order for the body to get the most out of a workout. One way to do that is to switch up the intensity levels with in a workout, or to change up the surface of activity. 

In this rebounding workout, the body in challenged by moving across the hard surface of the floor and the bouncy surface of the mini trampoline. As you move across the different surface pay attention to the change in muscle engagement. This workout inspired by The Tracy Anderson Method will help you break through fitness plateaus. 

Happy Tramping!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stressful Foods & The Grumpy Elf

The holidays; they are wonderful and all, but all the elfin around  can make me a little elfed off. The tinsel and glitter that nicely lights up the tree; are nothing but are a nasty elf in the ass to clean. The holidays are wonderful, with their sinister cheer and guilt laden pleasures. Over the holidays, my to do list morphs into a never ending list complete with impossible feats. Seasonal stress is high, and unfortunately some of the holiday pleasures can trigger stress attacks.

I've highlighted 4 stress trigger foods that are the makings of a grumpy elf.

1. Caffeine:

 I love coffee, especially first thing in the morning. My morning coffee kick starts my day and is what I look forward to each and every night as I drift into slumber. Over the holidays caffein consumption skyrockets with coffee hang-outs, friendly brunches, and just having constant access to caffein. The social norm of "get-togethers" is based around consumption. Drinking more caffein in a day than your body is used to can over stimulate the nervous system, which in turn morphs your stress level into a STRESS-a-sourus rex. To much caffiene dehydrates the body, zaps energy, and leads to brutal head aches. Try to limit your caffiene to 2 cups a day max.

2. Alcohol:

Celebrations are always a little more joyus with a celebratory glass of wine or a cocktail. The first few sips fool your body into a state of relaxation. Alcohol stimulates the same hormone that the body naturally produces when in situations of stress, cortisol. Alcohol can prolong feelings of tension brought on by stress, (sloppy drunk anyone?), which erases the pleasant effects of alcohol and replaces them with a craving for more. 

3. Refined Sugar:

If there ever were a time of the year to pig out sweets its Christmas, with all the baking and party platters. Sugary foods have no nutritional value and spike blood sugar levels and insulin levels, which much like alcohol stimulates the body to produce cortisol to counter balance the high sugar flood in the blood stream. Sugar highs, and their crashes are an unpleasant ride which can taint the body with uncomfortability for weeks to come (yeast infections).

4. High Sodium Foods: 

I have low blood pressure, and am encouraged to add a little more salt in my diet than needed. However the norm sodium content in packaged and restaurant prepared food still surpasses my recommended intake. You know when you are chowing down on a tasty bag of popcorn and all off a sudden you get a mad attack of the thirst, well sodium is a super groupy of fluids. The more salt you eat, the more fluid your body will retain. The excess body fluid creates more stress for your heart, and leads to massive bloating which doesn't dress to well. Next time you wake up feeling bloated; drink some water and blame the puffiness on your consumption of too much salt. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Recessionistas

In 2008, when the housing market collapsed in part due to bad loans, and in part due to snake like underwriters cleverly crafting consumer friendly collateral debt obligations (CDO's). The CDO's were comprised of the bottom tier of an unrecognizable and highly risky mortgage rate interest revenues. In 2008, when the economy turned south I was clueless as to the severity of the crisis. I understood that a record number of homes were being foreclosed; I understood that banks were not lending money as willingly as they had just months before. But I did not, understand how close the US economy and subsequent global economy came to a full scale economic depression with the capacity to rival that of the 1930's.

(This is a short video that explains CDO's)

In 2008, the popping of the economic cherry was surreal, and the severity of the situation was not translatable to the regular investor with limited financial/ financial policy knowledge. The 2008 recession was made real with the Bear Sterns crisis and bail out, and then the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. During Bush's presidency, Henry Paulson, a former wall street ninja master was appointed as the Secretary of Finance. Paulson knew the financial game, and feared a moral hazard involving the insolvency issues of major financial institutions. The concept of moral hazard was one of the main arguments against a state assistant bailout of Lehman Brothers. Paulson was unprepared for the systemic risk and impact of the failing of a major financial house. Shortly after Lehman's bankruptcy the largest American financial insurance company filled for bankruptcy. The failing of an insurance company would be detrimental to any economy in a healthy time, let alone amongst the furry of the tropical economic storm CDO.

Alexandra Lebenthal, is the CEO of Lebenthal & Co. LLC, and one of the most successful woman on wall street. In Alexandra Lebenthal book, "The Recessionistas,"she has translated the economic crisis of the 2008 into an understandable and enjoyable read. "The Recessionistas,"  profiles the wall street "esq" characters, and their well pampered wives as the lives of Upper East Siders are buried and pummeled by the financial avalanche of bead risk and unethical profit compromises the stability of the economy. "The Recessionistas," is a truth based tale of the wall street chaos that took place in September of 2008. The book gently colors the crisis in a language that even those least savvy of finance matters, can follow and understand. "The Recessionistas" is a chic lit with a lesson in current affairs, current history, and finance.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekly Horoscope: Dec.19- Dec.25

My goodness, Christmas is less than a week away, and 2012 is just around the corner. The past year has flown by for me. It has been an interesting year, full of lessons and surprise blessings. I have a full month of school for  winter break; and am enjoying my paradise, Sunshine Village in Banff Canada. I drove up from Spokane to Banff on Saturday. The roads through the mountain passes were treacherous. As a winter storm accompanied me through the pass. I don't mind driving in the snow, only because I know the skiing will be fantastic. Here is you weekly horoscope for Dec. 19 to Dec. 25, by Gorgia Nicols.


Once again, the Sun has returned to your sign where it will stay for the next month recharging your batteries for the rest of the year. Yay me! This is a glorious opportunity for you because it attracts people and favourable circumstances to you. Quite obviously, you want to make the most of this because you feel high-energy, witty and quite dazzling! (This year is, after all, your hour, n'est pas? In fact, you're in for a long, fabulous run.) Continue to make travel plans. (Have you even unpacked your bags from the last trip?) School plans look exciting. Explore opportunities in the media, publishing, medicine and the law. So many choices. Tra-la, tra-la, it is to laugh.

While everyone around you is running around madly socializing, by contrast, you are seeking sane, soothing shelter. (With or without alliteration.) There's only so much insanity a person can handle. Plus, privately, your sexual energy is very high now. This means you want privacy for lots of reasons! Play it low-key. Work alone or behind the scenes because this is the perfect time of year for you to plan what you want your new year (birthday to birthday) to be all about. Be specific about what you want to achieve next year. The more specific you are about your goals, the more likely they will materialize. (But you know this.)
You're facing a social whirlwind ahead for the next six weeks. Accept all invitations. Everyone wants to see your face. Not only will you enjoy the company of friends, you'll also be very involved in clubs, groups and organizations. The month ahead is a wonderful time to share your hopes and dreams for the future with others because their feedback will definitely help you. With Mars opposite your sign, you are a bit impatient with others. (Oh yes, you are.) Use this very social month to smooth over troubled waters. Pick up the tab for lunch. Give someone flowers. Remind them how truly caring and thoughtful you really are. (Works every time.)
Heads up! The Sun will be at high noon in your chart for the next six weeks and this is the only time all year this happens. This has the effect of casting a spotlight on you, making bosses, parents and VIPs notice you more than usual. Furthermore, this is definitely great lighting! ("You look mahvelous dahling, mahvelous.") Because of this, you will be asked to take on increased responsibilities for something. Fear not, you won't have to be a super action hero to handle it. Ironically, it will require nothing special! Therefore, say "Yes!" Meanwhile, in the depths of your book-lined-leather-furniture-with-Aubusson-rug den (whaaat?), give thought to your life direction in general. Do you know where you're headed?
You've got the travel bug. (Forgive me, this current bedbug infestation is scary, isn't it?) Nevertheless, you intend to travel because you want to broaden your horizons. You want to grab more of life. If you can't travel, you'll read and watch documentaries of exciting places. You're hungry to learn more and you're also hungry for adventure. Think of the joys of eating scrumptious, exotic foods yet to be discovered. Do make this happen because you want to take a vacation! You want some fun! Add a dash of romance and sprinkling of flirtation and you're set. You must give yourself a treat like this in the next month (or longer).
In the next six weeks, you will feel much more passionately intense than usual. Yes, this passion will apply where you might hope. (Two guesses.) But not only will you feel highly sexed, you'll feel passionate about practically everything! In addition to your recreational stimulation, you'll also focus on dull, boring, red-tape material connected with insurance, inheritances, wills, taxes and shared property. You can't avoid this. You might have to enter into discussions about these topics, or you might just be cleaning up old paperwork. (What fun!) Nevertheless, you actually have the energy to do this now, so do it. You'll love yourself later for getting it done. (Kiss-kiss, hug-hug.)
You're going to need more sleep in the next six weeks, just accept this. In fact, don't just accept this, respect your need for it. Get more sleep! The Sun is now as far away from your sign as it gets all year and the Sun is your source of energy. Do the math. However, this opposition of the Sun also brings up another matter, namely, heavy-duty focus on partnerships and close friendships. (Oh yeah.) Observe yourself in these relationships (carry a mirror at all times) to see your style. You've been coming on a little heavy lately, haven't you? Are people raising their hands in front of their face? (That's always a good clue.) Gently, dear Cancer, gently. (Don't get your belly in a rash.)

Suddenly, you're running around with an outboard motor on your ass. You're on this big kick to turn over a new leaf and get organized. You want your home cleaned, you want your workplace cleaned, you want your car cleaned, you want your closet colour-coded and smelling great. (Yes, this includes finding the closet floor.) What's up? For many, it means company's coming. You like to entertain in style and you certainly like to look like you have your act together (even if you don't). One does have a reputation to keep up. But actually, you just have the urge now to be efficient, effective and productive. Good luck!

You have a fabulous month ahead! You're high energy because fiery Mars is in your sign. (Say no more!) In addition, other planetary configurations are encouraging love affairs, romance, and all kinds of fun, social diversions. You couldn't pick a better time for a vacation. Slip away somewhere if even for a weekend or a few days. Your month ahead is also a great time for sports, the arts and playful activities with children. Enjoy movies, the theatre, parties and schmoozing with everyone! Essentially, an explanation for why this is a wonderful combination is (a) you have the motivation to have a lot of fun (b) you have the opportunity to have a lot of fun, and (c) you have the energy to actually do it!
Without question, your focus turns to home, family and your private life. (Bake those cookies. Easier yet - buy quality dark chocolates.) Invite the gang over. If you put out fresh flowers you don't have to dust. Theatre is really just smoke and mirrors. Family relationships, especially with a parent, will be lively and dynamic. Something hidden, behind-the-scenes is present but no worries. It is what it is. Enjoy good times with loved ones. And while the place is looking so good, entertain everyone you know! They might bring the cookies! It's much easier to entertain back-to-back because everything is set up. (You know what I mean.)
The next six weeks are going to be busy because the tempo of your days is accelerating! You're doing the white rabbit routine: "I'm late! I'm late, for a very important date!" Just accept the fact that life will be hairy because of your jam-packed schedule, including short trips, mucho errands, and running around talking to everyone. But you will love it! The air has more electricity and you feel alive! Group activities are particularly boisterous (but do watch out for heavy-duty competition that could become fractious). You love meeting new people and picking up tidbits of gossip. "Really? Last week?"
Money, money, money! You're thinking a lot about cash flow, how to earn money, and how to earn even more money. That's because you have ambitious plans! And when you have big ideas (and when does a Sagittarius not have big ideas?) you need money! Fortunately, you have lots of money-making ideas right now. (Clever you.) Make an effort to stay on top of your scene: watch your cash flow, be aware of your assets, liabilities and even your possessions and how you might possibly turn something into some folding green stuff. On a more serious note (money isn't everything) you're thinking about your values in life. You want to know what you can do with all that money.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gingerbread Men

Nothing kicks of winter holidays better that holiday backing, fresh snow, and gingerbread men. I love dressing my edible friends up with frosting, cinnamon hearts, and whatever else catches my fancy. 

3 cups pastry flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, or coconut oil softened
3/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cup brown sugar backed
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tbsp ground flax powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

(Preheat the oven to 325 F, and grease a couple cookie sheets.)

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix well (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt).

In a separate large bowl combine the margarine, molasses and brown sugar. Whisk until smooth. 

In a small bowl combine the ground flax powder the soy milk, and the vanilla. Then add to the sugar/butter mix. Whisk well. 

Slowly fold in the dry ingredients, and mix well with a spatula to form a dough. The dough should be moist and a little sticky. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

When ready, preheat the oven to 325 F, and roll the dough out onto a floured surface. The thicker your cookies are the chewier they will be. Cut into shapes and place on the cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Decorate em however you want! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Party Shoes, and new invites

I am of the belief that one can never have to many shoes. I love shoes; and one day aspire to have a "Ferris Wheel of Heels" in my yet to be designed glorious walk in closet. I don't discriminate against shoes. I love them all. I love me heels, my boots, my flats, and my runners.

I'm pretty sure that my love for heels is unrequited, and somewhat abusive. I love them; yet they constantly torture my poor feet, and always end up making a scene. Considering it is party season, my heels have been a little more out going than usual, and my feet are passively resisting the inevitable of going out in high heels. I have been looking for a pair of convertible flats for a while, at first I tried the Dr. Sheol's and was disappointed by how flimsy and ugly the shoes were. 

I'm sorry Dr. Sheol's, but I am at a party, rocking a party dress. I don't really want to wreck the look with your flimsy, might as well be wearing sandals in the snow type shoes. After my disasters evening with Dr. Sheol's I gave up and mocked the ludicrous promises of convertible shoes. That is until I discovered Tieks. 

Tieks, are a designer ballet flat reinvented. Tieks by Gavrieli, are innovative and stylish, the shoes have taken the split sole design made popular by convertible shoes and have applied it to a more stylish and sturdy shoe. Tieks are being marketing as: " Designer Flats, that you can fit in your purse and wear all day, every day." 
...And that is exactly what they are. I am so thrilled with my teaks; the company, and of course the little blue box they came in. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dear Mr. Mailman

Send me a card, 
No send me a purse. Yes that's more desired. 
You can send it by mail, no envelope required. 
Just address to me, and I will thank you profusely when it comes. 
You don't need to worry, 
The purse is secure- It seals effortless with a click.
The postal system is magnificant. 
Really, you shouldn't be concerned.
Send me a letter, so beautiffuly addressed in an oversized Foley & Corinna clutch

- Love this bag!