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

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yum! Fast Food and Food Stamps

Since the 2008 economic depression in the United States the demand for food stamps, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), has increased. It is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans are currently using the food stamp system. The enrollment of food stamp users has increased 8.1% in the past year.

The difference in policy between food stamps of the programs original concept, and that of today is that today: People whom are unable to cook for them selves, be it homeless, disabled, or the elderly, can redeem their food vouchers for a hot meal from approved fast food eateries such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, KFC, Wendy's, etc. In 2010 fast food restaurants collectively received revenue of 21 million dollars.

Now, fast food giant, YUM! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W, Wing Street, and Long John Silvers, is lobbying government officials to allow it's restaurants to participate in the SNAP. Yum!, wants to be able to redeem in store food stamp cards to provide "nutritious" meals to low income Americans.

At present SNAP places restrictions on food stamp purchases. Food stamps cannot be redeemed for alcohol, cigarettes, pet food vitamins or hot foods. Only 85% of food stamps are redeemed at grocery stores. This means that the classification to determine individuals who are unable to cook a hot meal has risen.

Yum!, believes that if food stamp restriction are decreased and that if the restaurant brands can persuade local governments to support the redemption of food stamp card directly in stores, that the fast food company will be able to help provide millions of Americans with "healthy foods," says Jim Wayne a Representative for YUM!

Fast Food, however isn't really food. It's loaded with preservatives and is a mixture of cost leadership ingredients. Fast Food, regardless of where it is served is not really a healthy way to eat. If Yum!, succeeds and is able to convince local regulators of the value that in store food stamp redemptions create it will only hurt the SNAP program, and Americans in need of assistance, in the long run.  SNAP was conceived to assist Americans in need of proper nutrition; not to provide cheap fatty nutritionally void meals that are proven culprits of medical disasters.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Red and The Beautiful

Red Lips are so stunning. The bold color demands presence and creates a lure of Iconic Beauty on any face. When choosing the right shade of red lipstick, consider your uniqueness: skin tone, lip shape, ideal color finish, and what you plan on wearing. 

Your lip shape offers suggestions for the ideal texture: 
Thin Lips should stick to a sheer finish which boost the illusion of a fuller lips, while full lips might want to appear more defined with a matte finish. 

And your skin tone offers suggestions for color complements. 
Fair skin tones should choose a blue or pink based red.
Olive or medium skin tones should layer on warmer more coral and orange based reds.
Dark skin tones are complemented beautifully by berry based reds.

Reds I'm LOVING!


NEON RED, ala Gossip Girl Queen Blaire Waldorf
For a strong fierce, all eyes on you look. Choose neon. It's powerful, funky, and beautiful. To copy-cat, gently trace lips with a liner and then brush in the color. To maximize the longevity of the color gently dust a thin layer of translucent powder over lips.  Nars Dragon Girl is my favourite!

Glossy Brick Red
Red Brick takes a 70's flair. Use a lip pencil/crayon for definition. The pencil colors last longer due to a wax base. To amp up the glam finish with a clear gloss. Try a Nars lip pencil in Damned.

Poppy Red
The Playful poppy red looks amazing on fair skin tones as it is a blue based red. Inspired by Andy Warhol's lip stick prints. Just remember to exfoliate well before coloring lips. I like Stila Outrageous.

Red Velvet
To get this look it is supper important that lips are well prepped. Exfoliate, and follow with a lip balm to preserve moisture. For the most dramatic look apply color with a lip brush and concentrate on the cupids bow. Try Nars Vesuvio.

Burnt Red
The brown red is a grungy 90's inspired look. The burn red is a more muted red so it can be "day look" friendly.  Try Stila Daring. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Horoscope Nov.28-Dec.4

So I'm back, at home in an airport lobby, watching the world cup ski racers navigate the Calgary airport in a European dominance way. Lake Louise Ski resorts host the worldcup world down cup every year. I am finding it frustrating to watch these skiers travel with only a small carry on bag, while I lug a massive over sized snowboard bag through customs. I guess the travel connivance stars are in favour of the racers as The World Cup associations transports the skies and gear of all participants.

Maybe this week will be easy; who knows. 
Check your horoscope for the week of Nov.28-Dec.4, by Georgia Nicols


You will really relate to my comments in All Signs above about feeling passionate this week. You will feel passionate about romance and relationships. In fact, you'll feel passionate about life in general. However, guard against your passion mushrooming to the point where you end up arguing with authority figures - bosses, parents, teachers, VIPs or even the police. It's wonderful to feel bigger than life. But you still have to deal with everyone "out there in the dark"- remember Sunset Boulevard? Count on your good fortune with health, employment and your job scene. Don't alienate others this week, especially those in authority who might affect your future. ("These are not the droids you're looking for.")
There appears to be something that you want very much to happen, and yet you're being silent about it. (Or you're just playing your cards very close to your heaving bosom.) You're working behind the scenes or alone on something that matters enormously to you. (In addition, some of you are dabbling in a secret love affair. Although I think dabbling is not the operative word - you're plunging in!) Well, whatever happens might affect travel plans or something to do with publishing, the law, medicine and higher education. Adverse possibilities could precipitate conflict - especially legal - in these areas. Tread carefully. Do not wake the sleeping giant.
This week you'll feel warm and loving to a friend or perhaps a group or a member of your group. You feel you can identify with them. They embody values you admire. This might even involve an old friend you haven't seen for a while. Whatever the case, be careful because arguments later in the week, about shared property, inheritances, debt, taxes or how a certain amount is spent, could suddenly turn nasty. In fact, because you are so hopeful and passionately identifying with someone, your disappointment might be even greater. You might feel let down or betrayed. (Always forgive your enemies, nothing could annoy them more.)
This will be a memorable week. No question. Your relations with powerbrokers, authority figures, parents, teachers, VIPs and the police are very intense - and very meaningful to you. In one way, everything is wonderful and going swimmingly. But don't count your chickens before they're barbecued. Late in the week, arguments with partners and close friends might erupt. It's almost like too much of a good thing is tough to handle. But you can avoid this nastiness. Try for a middle-way approach to everything. Don't be happy nuts and don't be angry nuts. You're very emotional and sensitive. Keep your cool or others will think you are silly nuts. Which, of course, you aren't - but highly emotional behaviour about things that others don't feel emotional about is always questionable.
This week, most of you can stay out of trouble if you avoid arguments about politics, religion and racial issues. Actually, avoid arguments about publishing, legal matters, medicine, the media and anything to do with travelling or higher education. Hey, let's forget specifics - why not just avoid arguments? The name of the game is to be happy, right? You are definitely a passionate sign. You live your life with passion because anything else would be stale. Meanwhile, travel and philosophical issues are important right now and you're revved up about health issues or something at work. Oy vey. You're ready to go off with the slightest provocation. Remain calm.
You have enormous financial savvy. No matter what you do for a living, you know how to parlay a little amount of money into something substantial. And even though you love your creature comforts and the good life, you are ever watchful about your cash and possessions. Perhaps this is why inheritances, shared property, taxes and debt are touchy subjects this week. It certainly looks like you can expect squabbles about sports, social expenses, child-related costs, vacations and wanting your fair share of something. But will fighting get you what you want? Probably not. Be patient but be smart. Think of your objective. ("I want it all!")
Oh dear. This is the classic week for arguments with partners and friends. For starters, do yourself a favour and refrain from telling others how to improve their lives or how to do things, even though you can see you're right. (This will go over like a lead balloon.) Ex-partners, back on the scene, might also trigger arguments directly or indirectly. Furthermore, you are sensitized because domestic stress due to chaos and increased activity (renovations? family conflicts?) has you on edge. Calm down. Don't say anything you will later regret. Partnerships can be sexy! (Just remember: A woman's place is in the house - and the Senate.)

You're luckier than some this week because where you feel aggravated is related to job, earnings and possessions. So for the most part, your private life, home and family will be buffered from this angst. (That's a relief.) Nevertheless, relationships with co-workers will be testy because of errors, mix-ups, delays and cancellations. (Of course, this is frustrating.) Nevertheless, resist the urge to introduce reforms or suggest better ways of doing things. Not good! (Also not smart.) Be low-key. Right now Mars is making you come on like gangbusters. You're more pushy than usual. This is one reason others react so strongly to you. Remember: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Sweeten thy tongue.
A tricky week ahead. The areas you'll feel most passionately about are the areas you always feel passionately about, namely: romance, your kids, social events, the arts and your creativity. Fortunately, passion about these areas can be positive and thrilling or extreme agitation. Passion can always go both ways. Friction with finances related to these areas (like how much your kids cost) will be classic. You easily spend money on romantic partners, kids and entertaining. Just don't go overboard. Tighten your purse strings. And don't tell your kids how to live. (You know who you are, hopefully. It's tough being nostalgic with a bad memory.)
Wow! You've got energy to burn. (That's because fiery Mars is in your sign now and it's gonna stay there for the next eight months.) This is energizing for you, but do be careful while you're struttin' your stuff because your cocky, confident attitude might trigger domestic disputes or arguments with family members. Of course, this doesn't have to happen, it's just a possibility. Many of you will throw yourselves with delighted abandon into redecorating and renovating projects or home repairs. You want to see improvements where you live, especially to plumbing, bathrooms and even garbage areas. ("Let's do this recycling right.") I think you have an excellent opportunity to use this passionate influence this week in a very positive way. You can improve your life!
I mention in All Signs above that there's a particularly strong "passionate" influence this week. Some will more easily use it to their advantage, while others might be more challenged by all this emotion. Regretfully, you are in the latter category. The good news is it will make your writing, speech and communications with others very bold and passionate. If you're in law, sales, marketing, or you write, teach, act -you can really use this to be dramatically effective. However, this same influence can blind your logic and make you argue for the sake of arguing. You have to be right. Try to catch yourself if you fall into this because how silly you will look! And you're not silly. "Let the Wookie win."
This week, there's a good chance your feelings will be all stirred up about finances, cash flow, earnings or how to get a job, or something to do with how you currently earn your money. Naturally, none of this is casual stuff - not right now. This could be why you're at odds, later in the week, with a friend or a member of a group. (Ouch.) Try not to avoid this because, essentially, (just ask yourself) how can it work in your favour? Quarrels with others, and especially burning bridges, cannot help you in the future. Meanwhile, you do have a chance to boost your income (and spend it). Do this by embracing something you really enjoy. This could be related to the arts or making things look better. Get in touch with previous employers for surprise opportunities.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries

My absolute favorite after skiing treat is Home Made Yam Fries.
They are tasty, delicious, and a healthy alternative to a deep fried plain potato version.

Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Both Vitamins are powerful antioxidants that encourage cell renewal. 
Sweet potatoes offer a calming effect for muscle pains and are a great food for refueling the body after intense muscular work. 

Homemade Sweet potato Fries:

Pre-heat oven to 400F

1 sweet potato or yam
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary 
one-two cloves garlic minced
dash of salt
dash of chipolte chili powder

Cut up the potato into thin wedge like strips and put in a large mixing bowl.
Add the oil, rosemary, salt, and spice.
Bake for 20 mins, or until soft
Broil for 2 minutes to get a crisp frie like crunch

Serve as is or with humus, aioli, or mustard.

This recipe can be easily doubled to feed a larger group


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Winter Beauty-Lushes Lips

As far as I am concerned winter is the best time of year. Snow beautifully dresses up the environment which makes for a picture perfect sight. Winter activities shine, and the lure of Hot Chocolate and mulled wine is enticing. Winter is a fairy tale come true, from tobogganing to ice skating, snow shoeing to dog sledding and of course my personal favorite Skiing/Snowboarding. Winter boredom is a myth, the activities are endless.

I grew up in Banff Canada and therefore with skis on. I spent the better part of my childhood ripping through tree lines in search of bumps. American Thanksgiving has traditionally been a time of the year in which I am thankful for because it means I can enjoy the mountains. Ski resorts open, and I'm pulled by an invisible force to occupy the chairlifts. 

Sunshine Village  in Banff Alberta, is my favorite. The snow is amazing, the mountain is huge, and the lifts are fast. I love cruising the resort, and playing in the terrain park. 

A minor irritation I have towards winter is, the curse of chapped lips. The cold air, dehydration, and outdoor activities do a number to my lips. I hate the feeling of stiff dry lips. Luckily with a few minor beauty adjustments you can prevent and avoid dry lips. Allowing you the freedom to flash a beautiful lushes smile all winter.

First: Ditch drying lip products such as matte and long wear lipsticks. If you need color to dress up your pout choose a tinted lip balm, and reapply often through out the day. If you go and enjoy the outdoors, remember to wear sunscreen and choose an SPF lip balm. The UV rays reflect of the snow and can hit skin with extra force. 

Second: Choose the right lip balm; you want  to fight and heal the cracking sensation. Choose lip care with ingredients like: shea butter, hyaluronic acids, dimethicone, and natural waxes.

Third: Add a soothing oil, oil can help restore moisture to dry skin. Try cocoa butter, beeswax, and Argan oil. Oil is rich in vitamin E and Fatty acids which help prevent skin dehydration.

Fourth: Avoid Fragrances!

Fifth: Eliminate Flakes by using a lip exfoliant or scrub. Lips need a more gentle exfoliant than your skin, so to avoid further irritation gently scrub lips and be sure to reapply lip balm and oil immediately after to help nourish the fresh skin. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

It is the busiest shopping day of the year! It is only 10 am and already many retailer have been open for hours; struggling to crowd control crazed shoppers. Black Friday is the official start of the Christmas shopping rush with door buster sales and ridiculously low prices on the seasons best electronics.

Black Friday has always been an oddity to me. I am Canadian and therefor am familiar with "Boxing Day," deals. In Common wealth countries retailers mark down excess inventory left over from Christmas shopping. Retailers hope to liquidate over stocked inventory to make room for new products. Black Friday in reverse, kick starts the shopping season with unbeatable prices and temporally reduced profit margins for retailers. Black Friday utilizes a volume approach sales method to catapult holiday shopping.

The name, "Black Friday," has many rumored reasons:
- In the early 2000's the massive rush of shoppers caused a system blackout at a major retailer.
- Accounting principles rumor the day as the first day of the year retailers get out of the red (debt) and into the black (profits)

However the official story behind Black Friday is credited to the Philadelphia Police Department in 1966. The term was used to describe the masses and mobs of eager shoppers overflowing retailers and causing massive pedestrian and traffic jams. The term was a vulgar description of the chaos emerging from cash loaded consumers. The Philadelphia Police Department recognised a need for scheduling extra on-duty officers to help calm the riots caused by deal seekers.

Black Friday has officially been the largest, and most dangerous shopping day in the united states since the mid 80's.

 Target's Black Friday TV ads allude to the fierce competition and athleticism required to survive and reign victorious over the Black Friday deals.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Post-Thanksgining Cardio

If you are anything like me you have been enjoying the goodies of the season and starting to feel a little umm...burnt out/ worried that you might not be able to fit into that wicked New Years cocktail dress you've been eyeing. My solution is a Tracy Anderson inspired trampoline Cardio session.

 Urban Rebounding has recently been featured on "The Doctors." The show highlighted the massive health benefits of rebounding which include: a lymphatic shake, increased muscular strength, increased balance, and an easy on the joints cardio workout.  Urban rebounding is a fun way to bounce back into fitness; just 10-30 minutes a day on a mini tramp can transform your workout,  detoxify your body, and burn off all the Thanksgiving feasting.

Tracy Anderson my fitness idol has long incorporated urban tramps into her workouts, and I have added a new low impact high calorie tramp workout  as a holiday workout bonus.  

For more Info on the benefits of Urban Rebounding.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

one of a few

I love Vancouver with all of its flair. I love Vancouver with it's over the top quirkiness, and I love Vancouver with it's somewhat moody weather. Vancouver is a blast; it hosts some of the best Canadian attractions (Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge, The aquarium...), not to mention the wonderful shopping,  the sporting  events, and eateries in Canada.

For the 2010 Olympics Vancouver put in the incredibly convenient Canada Line. A line on the sky train that zips any passenger quickly and efficiently from the YVR airport to Waterfront station the portal/ hub of  Vancouver with easy access to: historic Gas-Town, Granville and North Van.

When ever I visit Vancouver I usually find myself caught up in a blur of activities;  wishing I had more time to enjoy the city.

I have, only, one must do when in Van, and that is a quick shopping trip to my all time favorite boutique "One of a Few." The shop is a utopia of design forward fashion combined with the utilitarian concept of re-newing past fashion idols. Old furs, leathers, keys, and countless other textiles have been reworked and shine like new amongst the more modern pieces hanging on the racks.

The past refurbished in a fashion manner including a 50's inspired pair of driving gloves with a rich fur cuff. Love.

The ladies that employ One of a Few, and it's sister shop Two of a Few are incredible. They are friendly stylish, truthful, and always ready with useable/workable advice. Both shops are unique and well worth the detour.

It a perfect world I would be able to spend endless hours browsing One of a Few, trying on every suggestion. Unfortunately for my shopping pleasure my time in Vancouver was limited;  I am so pleased with the vintage pieced I found courtesy of Gypsy Market, and a beautiful Gestuz cocktail dress. Next time I'm in Vancouver I making sure I pick up a pair of the most perfect heels: high, sexy, and comfortable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Barbie got inked.

I have come to accept, that Barbie has the closet and shoe collection to foster fierce jealousy among any sane female. I can only dream of having a closet to rival hers one day. Which I am presuming to be monstrous. To house the extensive look collections of Barbie, one would need a massive, non-barbie sized walk in closet. The marketing genius behind Mattel who have dressed Barbie in every designer, and have given her a wide portfolio of careers, and designer outfits, have recently cause a bit of commotion with Barbie's latest designer fetish.

Barbie, today has chosen a look that is a little edgier. She has recently collaborated with the Milan fashion house Tokidoki; which is inspired by Japanese lifestyle. The Tolkidoki Barbie is on trend with current fashion. She is rocking a pastel pink bob, leopard leggings, metallic stilettos, and an over sized sweater.  Barbie in tokidoki looks like a regular hipster, sporting trends, and body art.

The Tokidoki Barbie is making headlines because of her tattoos. Parents and advocates of the "Barbie as a Roll model campaign,"  are protesting that a Barbie Doll covered in Tattoos send the wrong message to children.

 I'm confused, and laughing at humor of the tatted up doll. Aren't these the same parents that protest that Barbies figure, or endless career confusion send the wrong image to kids. I personally believe that as adults we are coloring a relatively harmless toy with our own judgments. Body art is a part of today's culture. According to the academy of dermatology one in four adults aged 18-50 has at least one tattoo. Not to mention the vast majority of pop stars worshiped by tweens are coloured in more ink than many coloring books.

A spokesman for Mattel, states that the Tokidoki Barbie is designed to be a collectors doll, and is intended for an adult audience. The Tokidoki Barbie is just the latest doll in a collection of  high priced dolls, made after big time designers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Horoscopes for Nov.21-27

Happy Monday! It's the monday before US Thanksgiving and I could not be more thankful for a fantastic sports filled weekend with my family in Vancouver. The Zags won basketball, the Canucks OT won, and the BC Lions are headed to the 99th grey cup; hosted in Van. I'm sitting in my hotel, thankful to have caught Vancouver or a dry weekend. 

Horoscopes for the week of Nov. 21-27. Hope you all have a merry US Thanksgiving.


Now your attention turns to earnings, cash flow and financial matters. (Yet again, there is too much month left at the end of the money.) It's very easy to identify with what you own and what you earn, and assume this adds up to your worth in life. But you are not your bank account or your possessions (but, of course, you are your car). Many of you are looking for a new job. Others want new duties or more money or both. Your best chances will be to get in touch with old contacts from the past, i.e. old jobs, old employers, etc. because potential opportunities are definitely there in the next six weeks. Many of you are thinking about what really matters in life. In other words, what values are truly worthy?
For the first time in 11 months, the Sun is back in your sign. Yay! This is your turn to recharge your batteries for the next year. Use this powerful energy to your advantage. Important people and auspicious circumstances will be attracted to you. Be open to this and make the most of it. However, retrograde Mercury is also taking place in your sign. This is a signal you will be involved with ex-partners and old friends - perhaps briefly, maybe longer. (Yup.) Use this as opportunity for closure or clearing up old business. Make goals for the next year. Be specific because the more precise your objectives are, the more likely you will achieve them.
The month ahead is a wonderful time for research of any kind. You will definitely prefer keeping a low profile and working alone or behind the scenes. Projects related to publishing, the media, medicine and the law have your attention, that's for sure. The month ahead is also a wonderful time to make travel plans. Some of you will be actively involved in politics, religion or racial issues because you strongly identify with your beliefs now. However, fair Venus in your sign makes this a marvellous time to schmooze with others! You'll be oh-so-charming and diplomatic. This is a good month to shop for wardrobe items because you like what you see in the mirror. ("I rock!")
Expect your popularity rating to increase during the next six weeks. You'll be out there flying your colours, chatting to friends and acquaintances, and increasing your interaction with clubs, groups and organizations. Meanwhile, in your private fantasies, you'll be giving more serious thought to your goals and dreams for the future. Ironically, something will tape-loop you into the past, bringing old friends and acquaintances back into your life. But lo! This can be extremely helpful. These old pals know your history. Share your future dreams with them to see what their thoughts are. Their feedback will help you.
Heads up. For the next month (and this is the only time all year) the Sun will be slowly crossing the top of your chart acting like a spotlight on you. This means bosses, parents, teachers, VIPs and the police will notice you more than usual. Fortunately, this wonderful lighting makes you look fabulous in the eyes of others. (Milk this for all it's worth! Demand the advantage.) If there's something you want, ask for it! Now is the time to promote yourself by asking for a raise or endorsement. In fact, your best luck will be with previous authority figures and bosses from your past. Meanwhile, Mars sits opposite your sign testing your patience with loved ones. Hey - this is a test you can pass. Relax.
It's time to get outta Dodge! For the next six weeks, you're eager to travel. Your sense of adventure is heightened and you're keen to learn anything new. Above all, you want fresh, stimulating experiences. Obviously, travel somewhere new would be ideal. Unfortunately, retrograde Mercury could cause delays and snafus if you do this. Travel to somewhere you have already been before will be preferable. (Easier.) The month ahead holds lots of opportunities in higher education, medicine, the law, publishing and the media. You can easily wrap up old business in these areas. Old friends from other cultures might cross your path. "Kemosabe! Is that you?"
The next six weeks are the perfect time for you to wrap up old issues about inheritances, wills, estates, banking matters and anything to do with insurance details or shared property. (Boring but necessary.) Actually, closure in these areas will be easy. For one thing, you're keen to make advances in these areas because you have some concerns. Secondly, retrograde Mercury will actually help you to do this. In other words, looking back over your shoulder and finishing old business will be the easiest thing to do right now. Sign papers. Clear up red-tape details. Hey, you'll love yourself later when you see how much you get done. Just wade in and tackle some of this stuff.
The next month is the only time when the Sun is directly opposite your sign (as far away from you as it gets all year). But the Sun is your source of energy! Conclusion: You'll need more sleep. Factoid. Respect your need for more rest. Sleep on the job. Doze watching TV. Let someone else drive while you catch 40 winks. Meanwhile, during your awake moments, you'll deal with ex-partners more than usual. (Whaat?) Fortunately, this coming month is an excellent time to wrap up old business, especially with ex-partners. (Perhaps closure with past issues?) Relations with partners and friends will be a strong focus but they can be pleasant, diplomatic, warmhearted and friendly. Be patient with stuff at home, especially family members.
Capitalize on your urge to get better organized working at home or at your job because this will please you in the next six weeks. Somewhere deep in your psyche, you have made a personal decision to be more efficient, effective and productive. Yes! No slack asses allowed! Ironically, at this same time, while you're setting your sites so high, retrograde Mercury will likely sabotage some of your efforts. (Bummer.) Expect delays, confused communications, lost paperwork, cancelled appointments and silly, goofy errors. Nevertheless, your desire to pull your act together will be a match for these obstacles. (We shall overcome!)
It's playtime for Leos! ("Candygram for Mongo.") The next six weeks are ripe for pleasure, entertaining diversions, parties, flirtations, movies, the theatre, musical performances, clubs and playful times with children. Basically, you want to have fun. And you will! Flirtations and love affairs will pique your interest. (You adore being adored.) This is also a fabulous time to slip away on a vacation. Warning: While schmoozing and living it up, expect to encounter some old flames. (Oh yes - your checkered past comes back to haunt you.) Quite likely, you'll blow a lot of money but, hopefully, you'll be clever about boosting your earnings as well. Ka-ching!
Oh boy! Mars is in your sign for the next eight months. (Get used to it.) Actually, it won't be any trouble for you, it will be a challenge for others! (Oh yeah.) You'll be high-energy and super assertive about going after what you want. No holds barred! Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, your focus turns to home, family and domestic matters for the next six weeks. Relatives might be camped out in your kitchen, cooking and chatting with others from the past who are suddenly camped on your doorstep, sleeping on your sofa, and eating out of your fridge. Oy! Fortunately, Virgos are marvellous hosts. You give good hotel. No wonder your guests never leave.
You're entering a very busy month ahead (perhaps longer) full of short trips, increased errands, conversations with everyone (especially neighbours and siblings) plus increased reading, writing and studying. (A mildly hysterical pace because, as usual, you're trying to do it all.) However, you cannot ignore (except at your peril) Mercury retrograde, which will cause transportation delays and confusion in all your communications. (Cell phones, computers and conversations.) Prepare for this: Stay on top of car repairs, charge your batteries, pay your phone bill and back up your computer. For the next month, Murphy's Law rules. (Groan.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vegan Chic'n Caesar Salad

I am pretty much always in the mood for a big delicious caesar salad. The traditional caesar dressing is loaded with mayo and anchovies; foods I find especially nasty. I've crafted my own version of a traditional caesar dressing using vegan and diet friendly ingredients. 

Caesear Dressing: 
1/3 cup raw unsalted cashew nuts
4 cloves of garlic (peeled)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 package light silken tofu
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
I tbsp capers
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 tsb mustard powder
1/2 tsb red chili flakes
1 tsp salt and pepper 

In a food processor combine all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Add more lemon juice/oil as needed.

Preheat the oven to 375

1/4 olive oil
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt, pepper, spice
old bread torn into bits

combine the oil, garlic and lemon juice mix well. Coat the bread in the mixture and place the bread bits on a backing tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

some roasted beets or other veggies of your choice
1 large head of romaine lettuce
1 cup of arugula 
1 small red onion

Mix the salad greens together, add the dressing, and mix well. Top with the croutons, seitan, and beets.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

All is fair in Price Wars

Price wars, are an economic term to indicated a state of extreme price rivalry within a sector. Price wars are battled by competitors through a series of price reductions in aims of undercutting competitors.  Price wars are enticing at first to consumers who can be lured in to shopping for obscure items at the premise of a sale. Once the novelty of the war has subsided consumer feel remorse or dissatisfaction toward the "super low priced product/service," they've purchased.

Price wars are a bullying strategy enacted by massive corporations. Companies like Wal-Mart, Target, Sara Lee, Coke, Pepsi, The Marriott, etc...Can afford to drop their prices/rate below or equal to the cost; The industry bullies can afford to eliminating short run profits. These massive corporations have a large bargaining power with suppliers which enables them to reduce their production/service costs while fighting a price war. The competitors with more modest bargaining power do not have the ability to reduce inventory, product, or service costs; nor can the scrawny small business afford to operate on a skimpy diet: short run negative cash flows.

An easy way to understand price wars is to think about a party being thrown by a very likable but somewhat dorky dude. You want to go to his party cause you like him, and you know it will be fun; but at the last minute as you leave the house you get an invite to the coolest party ever with Cirque Du Soleil performers and houte couture goody-bags. The choice is simple; you attend the glamorous event.

The trouble of price wars, is that they are all in fact an illusion. The prices are cut temporarily to gain customers and to eliminate competition. Once the war has proven victorious the winning entity raises prices, without raising the service or quality.

Price wars are a dangerous tactic that make numerous casualties of small and locally owned business. This in turn increases an areas unemployment and reliance on credit. Ironically the victor of a price war is supported and raised to a monopolistic leadership position through the purchasing votes (dollars) of the people (consumers). As consumers we perpetuate the growth of multi national organizations by allowing ourselves to be bought by the premise of "everyday low prices." The concept spawns the occupy movement. If consumers shop at only 1% of the businesses of course that 1% is going to grow and account for 99% of the market.

As a civilian in a price war; ask your self what are the hidden costs, and opportunity costs associated with the battle.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stardust, a readers delight.

Go, and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot, 
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep of envy's stinging,
And find
What Wind
Serves to advance and honest mind.
- John Donne 

"Stardust" By Neil Gaiman is an imagery rich, prose written, novel. The story begins in late April of 1839; when John William Draper had first photographed the moon. The Story begins from the perspective of Dunstan Thorn. Dunstan is a young man, madly in love, who lives in the city of Wall, ( human city on the boarder of Faerie). The town is named and protected by a large wall, which is guarded at all times to prevent the people of Wall from leaving. Only once a year when the market comes to town, are the residents of wall free to roam. 

Dunstan is 18 when the story begins.  He has just finished a shift as the wall guard, when he meets a vagabond in need of lodging. The vagabond pays Dunstan in gold, and in a promise of his hearts desire. Dunstan does not think twice about his hearts desire as he wonders the market in search of a gift for his love, Daisy. He finds a glass charm and makes an exchange with a Violette eyed slave girl. 

9 months later, an infant is pushed through the opening of wall. He sleeps in a cradle and is accompanied by a card introducing him as Tristan Thorn.

The Story begins again as Tristan Thorn comes of age and begins to compete for his hearts desire. Tristan is infatuated with a young lady by the name Victoria Foster. In lust Tristan Thorn promises to fetch for Victoria a star they witnessed fall. Tristan embarks on a journey deep into Faerie: a journey of discovery, surprise, magic, and destiny. 

I was unavoidably detained by this novel. The story is beautifully written with characters so full of charisma. In a quest to quench one's heart desire the self discovery can illuminate the disparity between the minds desire and the hearts. Stardust is a tale of love, loneliness, courage, and patience. It is a wonderful read, that will steal your heart and question your mind.   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jingle Free Arms

Every woman has a different body; and that is essentially what makes us all beautiful. The trick to sex appeal is working with "what we've got." I'm 5'4, and no matter how many leg lifts that I perform I will never have the uber lean, lengthy and sculpted legs of Gwyneth. Instead I can achieve perfect legs, and perfect arms in perfect proportion to my body. 

My arms are my point of contention. I find them exceeding frustrating to tone, with out bulking. Historically, pre-TAM, I would be on the verge of self congratulations when at the last minute my state of victory would be defeated by a mini-armpit muffin top poking out from a strapless look.  

I like to use light weight and my own body weight to tone. In this mini- arm workout, all you will need in a chair. Follow along, and be sure to extend the energy from you arm as best you can. If you need more of a challenge, put on 1-3 lbs wrist weight on each arm. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Versace for H&M

In order to get student tickets to a Gonzaga Basketball game, one must wait in line. This often means pitching a tent and manning the fort. I mostly can't be bothered to camp outside for standing room tickets. However if i were in London this week, I would happily camp outside the London Regent Street H&M store as rumors circulate that, Donatella Versace, HERSELF, will be making an appearance at the Regent Street H&M Store tomorrow to officially launch her collaboration with H&M to the masses. 

Donatell Versace rarely makes public appearances outside of the protective shield of either Hollywood or of Fashion runways. So for regular admires of the designer genius this could be a once in a life time opportunity to meet and greet the creative mind behind some of the most stunning fashion advancements of our era. 

Versace for H&M opens Thursday Nov. 17th in the UK; and November 19th in Canada and the US. H&M is expecting shopper chaos and commotion for the opening day. To combat the war of green eyed cash loaded shoppers H&M will be handing out bracelets with time sensitive shopping allowances. There is no limit on purchases however shoppers only have fifteen minutes to make purchase decisions.

The Versace collaboration is teasing fashion freaks with its promise of authentic and imitable Versace glamour at budget friendly prices. The line boasts a mix of prints, silhouettes, and jaw dropping statement pieces. 

The Versace for H&M runway show