“Gatsby” style

Carey Mulligan and Leo Dicaprio -sizzle 
The trailer for Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby looks and sounds like the book reads. Leo DiCaprio, as the mysterious Jay Gatsby, is tough with an easy charm. Carey Mulligan is seductive as the ethereal Daisy Buchanan. The movie seems to sizzle with a pulsating soundtrack by Beyoncé, Bryan Ferry, and Jay-Z.  
Ever since I can remember F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has been everyone’s favourite novel. I am exaggerating, but not by much. Only last summer, at a dinner party I attended, the mere mention of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris – and its allusions to Fitzgerald – provoked a spirited discussion. In the film, the Woody-alter ego character, Gil, is magically transported to a bygone time in Paris, and meets the American literati who inhabited Paris in the 1920s. “Hi, we’re Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald,” the characters tell the astonished screenwriter, Gil. Midnight in Paris portrayed that stylish era so electrically, that at the dinner party I attended, all the twenty- and thirty-somethings vied for the title of “biggest Gatsby fan.” That included one young man, who, I am fairly certain, never read the book.
Excitement is building for Baz Luhrman’s remake, especially among fashionistas and hipsters. Over the years many have dismissed the book as trite and simplistic. It hardly matters, as fans still adore it. What attracts generation after generation to the stylish tale is the reckless passion of Fitzgerald’s star-crossed lovers.
When another Great Gatsby, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, opened in 1974, it caused a sensation – but more for the sumptuous fashions and perfect profiles than for unbridled passion.  In spite of poor reviews, 1920s fashions and parties briefly became the rage. Even at my high school for a few weeks everything was all about Gatsby. People who read neither the book nor even a syllabus were suddenly caught up in Fitzgerald fever.
I predict we are in for more of the same marvelous madness.  This month the cover of Vogue features Carey Mulligan as Daisy. It makes sense; even though the Luhrman version promises to be hot and dangerous, it still all about the clothes. Tiffany and Brooks Brothers are official partners in the film. Tiffany is supplying the sumptuous pearl and diamond jewelry that Daisy wears . Jay Gatsby will be dressed in classic white flannels from Brooks Brothers.
Miuccia Prada helped to design Daisy’s wardrobe. According to Vogue UK in a story by Elle Alexander, “(Miuccia) Prada worked with costume designer Catherine Martin to create over 40 looks for the movie, each inspired by styles from the Prada and Miu Miu archive.”
So darlings, drape yourself in yards of pearls and satin, and get ready to shimmy the summer away “Gatsby Style”. The movie is scheduled to open May 10th.

Tips to save your summer clothes

Gentle laundering will keep summer clothes looking fresh  and vibrantWarm weather clothes will look better and last longer if you launder them at home rather than subject them to harsh dry cleaning or commercial laundries. And if ironing scares you, relax. Newer blends and weaves of natural fabrics need little or no ironing, if you tumble them dry and hang them promptly.
Also, when you hand-wash, never ring out your clothes; it breaks the delicate fibers and sets in wrinkles. Press out the moisture. If the garments are small and light, you can spin them in a salad spinner and then hang them to dry, or place them on a clean dry towel.
If you want to preserve your pricy workout wear, consider a specialty detergent. Roux Maison Sport is designed to launder sports gear. It eliminates dirt, odor, and bacteria while preserving the elasticity of Lycra and spandex, as well as hi-tech and performance fabrics.
A concentrated bottle that is good for 40 washes or 80 hand washes, according to the website, costs $16.99. I always use a little more than recommended.
Never wash workout wear, swimwear, or lingerie in hot water, or expose it to dryer heat. High heat will destroy the fabric and the ruin the fit. Perspiration and direct sunlight also degrade elastic fibers.
Dryel-On-the-Go stain remover penis designed to remove stains from dry clean-only clothes, but I use it on washables, too. It works better than any other product I have tried at any price. I have used it on designer silk ties, suits, and silk chiffon dresses. It works like a dream. 
At home rinse stains with plenty of cold water, plain running water can loosen many stains. Then treat with a pre-wash stain remover and launder. Never place a stained garment in the dryer without first making sure the stain is completely gone. The heat from the dryer will set in stains, making them very hard to remove.

A treat for achy muscles

The Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Collection was created as a treat to be enjoyed after hours bent over flower and vegetable beds. I confess I don’t garden. I am a city girl with a black thumb, but I love to indulge in a long soak with a Gardeners Muscle Soak Packet after overdoing it at the gym or spring cleaning. The botanical extracts and mineral salts soothe aching muscles while a blend of oatmeal and sunflower oil  moisturizes dry skin. $4 a packet

Help for aging hair

Yes, even your hair ages. How depressing! According to Nexxus hair experts, there are several signs of aging hair: breakage, roughness, less shine, dryness, brittleness, unruliness, and loss of color vibrancy.
Nexxus Youth Renewal is a new product line that helps to replenish and revive aging hair. It includes five products including a shampoo, conditioner, and dry shampoo as well as a serum and a blow-dry spray. They all contain the “Vita 8 Complex a blend of Omega 3, Vitamin E, Wheat Protein, sunscreen, Keratin, Essence of Pearl or pearl powder which is a protein and luminizer, Argan Oil, and CoQ10 (anti-oxidant).
I tried the NexxusYouth Renewal Rejuvenating Serum, which contains a combination of finishing agents to make the hair look better, as well as rich botanical oils. I also tried the Nexxus Youth Renewal Blow Dry Spray.  It has similar ingredients but is designed help build volume that lasts without weighing your hair down.
Both products have silicones added for shine and manageability. I don’t mind silicone in hair styling products if they are not too heavy. I did not find either product heavy even when used together on my fine hair.  After blow-drying and styling my hair was full, shiny, and bouncy all day – even after a vigorous workout. A friend even mentioned how full and manageable it looked.
If your hair is looking flat and limp, and you feel that it feels finer and more brittle, this line is definitely worth trying. Follow the directions for best results.
Note: Sudden serious hair loss or thinning should be reported immediately to your doctor.

Liquid soap with pure essential oils

Liquid soap is wonderful for many reasons. It is hygienic and easy to use. But it is hard to find liquid soap that is as wonderful to use as fine bar soap. Too often liquid soaps are too harsh. Even “natural” or “organic” brands can sting and dry out your skin. And, they often have strange scents. Boutique brands with lovely scents are costly for daily use. EO Everyone is only $9.99 for 32 ounces and little goes a long way.
EO Everyone Soap smells and feels fabulous. The versatile liquid soap comes unscented or scented with EO’s pure essential oils. It is the perfect soap for bathing and hand washing for whole family.
There are three great light scents in addition to the unscented version. I love the Lavender-Aloe.

Vegan food gone gourmet!

 DolceDolce.com reviewVegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen by Merida Anderson will change your perceptions about vegan food forever. Merida Anderson offers gourmet recipes that rival any elegant home entertaining cookbook.
Make no mistake, this is a serious vegan cookbook. Anderson offers comprehensive recipes for making your own vegan cheese from nuts, as well as how to use many other complex vegan staples. But there are also many recipes that take no advance preparation. Anderson uses Middle Eastern, Indian, European spices to create layers of flavour that will make your mouth water. She even has a decadent chocolate cake.
The recipes and menus are from her own Vegan Secret Supper Club, a private dining club that she founded and runs in New York. Vegan Secret Supper will forever dispel notions of a bland and heavy cuisine based only on tofu and beans.
This is an inspiring and accessible book for beginners and experienced cooks. I wish hotel chefs and caterers not versed in, but offering, vegetarian and vegan options would all get a copy.

Canning on a small scale

Little Jars, Big Flavors by the Editors of Southern Living Magazine is a great book if you have ever wanted to try canning but have been intimidated. Or, perhaps like me, you are half of a twosome in a condo and don’t have the space or need for large-batch canning recipes. This handy little tome covers the basics of canning and preserving with small batch recipes. 
It contains good selection recipes for pickles, relishes, sauces, and jams. There are even recipes for no-cook freezer jam, if hot water kettles make you nervous. I like the mix of homey recipes, such as bread-and-butter pickles and Asian-inspired slaws. This fun, accessible collection of tasty, colourful recipes will have you heading to the farmer’s market. 

Try a Bloody Maria?

This Bloody Maria by Elsie Larson looked so fresh and tasty I decided to accept her offer to share it. It is from her blog ABeautifulMess.com. I think it is perfect for spring and would be popular at a Mother’s Day brunch. Her Carrot Bloody Maria is made by infusing tequila with the new Carrot Curry Savory Tea from Numi Organic Tea.
I love the idea of Numi’s new Savory Teas, which are revolutionary veggie-spice tea blends. Numi describes them as “kissed by sweet carrots and bright cilantro, the earthy, vegetal and piquant notes are marvelously woven together into this full-bodied Carrot Curry blend.”  This tea sounds so good I know I will try this drink without the Tequila, too!
Carrot Bloody Maria by Elsie Larson
Serves one
Fresh carrot juice
Bloody Mary mix
2 ounces Numi Carrot Curry Savory Tea-infused tequila**
Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce
Fresh veggies for garnish
Black pepper
In a tall glass with ice, add tequila then fill the rest of the glass with half bloody Mary mix and half carrot juice. Add a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and the juice of half a lime. Mix with a spoon, sprinkle a little black pepper on the top, and garnish with celery and fresh veggies.
**To infuse liquor with tea, just fill a glass container with liquor in the amount that you need for your recipe. One tea bag is enough for up to 8 ounces of liquor. Seal your container with an airtight lid and store it in a dark area. Allow it to infuse for 48-72 hours before removing the tea bag.