I understand I am a Jill-come-lately with this one, this photo has now circulated and has been blog recycled ad infinitum by fashionistas on the web all over. Be that as it may, I still love this outfit ensemble completed at the House of Diane Von Furstenburg which is 70’s inspired but with a fresher approach. I love the casual quality; the simple and clean colors of the soft denim blue and the crisp white top makes this all flow beautifully. The ease by which this is presented is class in motion!

I stay away from politics as much as I can because it vexes me, period. But upon surfing through the channels last night, with nothing to do, I tumbled on the initial Republican debate of presidential hopefuls which was held in South Carolina and was aired on FOX News. Five members of the panel were noted but among the debaters, I only knew of Ron Paul, Rick Santorum; have vaguely heard of Tim Pawlenty and have never heard of the former New Mexico governor – Johnson (forgot the first name, sorry) and Herman Cain. However, by the end of the debate, Mr Herman Cain was the candidate that made quite a fresh imprint in my mind.

 At the outset, I saw and heard a genteel and well-spoken man who in fact had common sense social and economic solutions as he articulated through alliterated responses. This led me to research more on Mr. Cain and as he said in the debate, he has not held a political office but had been the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, then the President and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza Chain around the country and more recently, a radio talk show presenter in an Atlanta-based radio station. Prior to this debate I have not known of where he stands on things and I found out that he is a conservative, has a big heart for business, hard work and ethics. Going further with his curriculum vitae, Cain majored in mathematics and mastered in Computer Science at Perdue University. He also worked for Pillsbury and became an executive at Burger King Corporation. With him at the helm of the “Have it your way burger” company, reports say that his region became the most profitable for the corporation from being the least, within 3 years. This may not be public service per se, but personally, if a person has the strategy in turning losses around 180 degrees, then career politicians can eat their public service, especially if it’s tainted with pandering to special interests rather than citizen’s interests. I will omit other issues on his platform because it will be cumbersome in this piece, but to digress…

During the debate, when asked about whether his lack of public service would dampen hopes for his candidacy, the man replied indicating that there are plenty of people who desire the nomination, who served in political offices in Washington DC and “How’s that working for you (the people)?.” That was a slam dunk I think; for true enough, people are disillusioned across the board on all sides of the political spectrum. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one who noticed the entrepreneur as people applauded him. Also, among the focus groups gathered who graded each of the participants during the event, a majority of them came in not knowing Mr. Cain from atom, but left convinced of his politics, or lack thereof.

Will he get the Republican nomination for the presidency? It’s a very long shot, political analysts on FOX say; as they have already undermined and brushed him off today. But as for me, even if he doesn’t get into any public office, I am quite content that the world houses a man who seems positive and intelligent, believes in hard work, has aspirations to hold the highest office in the land, even in a cut-throat milieu yet still believing he will make things better while remaining hopeful and amiable as a person. In a naive way it’s like Frank Capra’s film about an inexperienced man who becomes a senator and goes to Washington; only this one will be called “Mr. Cain Goes to Washington.” 

Congratulations!

04/29/11

The Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge


I am a severe allergy sufferer. I get heavy bouts of it to the point of not being able to function inside or outside of the house on a pollen count of 4.9 – 7.2 which is moderate. I have tried pharmaceutical remedies like the Ephedrines and so one and so forth and so far the medication which has been able to fairly curtail my allergies is Fexofenadine (Allegra). But because I have a unique condition, Fexofenadine increases my blood pressure and is really not advisable for me on high doses. After a bit of research I tried a concoction which I tapped into in the internet, posted by a Christian lady in one of the Natural Healing sites. Her mixture of exactly 3 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 tablespoon of raw honey – indigenous to pollen of my region was what I attempted. Without much ado, allow me to share a journal of my discovery of this most helpful – Apple Cider Vinegar/Honey (ACVH) anti-allergy remedy.

Day 1:

Immediately on that day, my allergies were minimized by 95%, however, this could be attributed to the previous day’s heavy rain which decreased the pollen around the environment and; I still took a small dose of Fexofenadine by mistake as it has been a daily habit for a long time now. So if good results are felt today, I still cannot account it to the ACVH Remedy.

Day 2:

Symptoms were minimal to nil; I am thinking it maybe because the pollen is still decreased. However, I did let out about 4-7 episodes of sneezes and some “itchy-feeling” inside my nostrils with minimal to slightly moderate catarrhal symptoms.

Day 3:

There is a torrent of rain today, I feel positive because the pollen count is at a low, it will help with the allergy symptoms but I cannot relinquish the allergy in absentia to the ACVH treatment just yet. There was a very mild allergy symptom today.

Day 4:

I had symptoms of allergies by approximately 60% symptoms this day – I sneezed, dripped, almost had that exhausted feeling associated with the allergies but I was wondering if it was because of toxins being flushed out of my system? I was faintly  disheartened if it’s  not the case, but I will not give it up just yet either. I will give this a full 2 weeks just to rule out, prove  and disprove and test this remedy to the utmost. 

Day 5:

Today, I prepped a 500cc bottle of the ACVH with a measurement of 4 tbsp and 1 ½ tbsp honey and I brought the mixture to work. I had very minimal to no symptoms at all but I noticed that my heartburn was acting up. This is an acidic drink after all. Or could it also be because I added the Cider by 1 more spoon – it became more acidic than normal. I hope this remedy will not affect my gastrointestinal system to a point  that I have to give it up. It would behoove me, because I feel a great difference in the relief of allergy symptoms.

Day 6:

Allergy symptoms  are almost non existent today; however, just as I suspected; the acidic component of the vinegar began eating up my stomach. To combat this, I started to eat light breakfast foods like 1 wheat waffle or 1 cup of oatmeal before drinking the ACVH concoction, I thinking was, if this will work for my allergies it’s worth the adjustments and I need make this work.

Day 7:

The stomach symptoms were being kept at bay with the current regimen of having light breakfast first before or even while drinking the ACVH; but just a note to self,  I should never, ever forget to take the  acid-reducer; and as far as the allergy symptoms go, I barely feel the tingling in my nose anymore and the sneezes a very few and far between.

Day 8:

At this time, I also began an exercise regimen which is deemed to be very physical for my stature. The kind that has endless jumping jacks (though I modify mine); I have noticed that I have not had the urge to take an analgesic for it even with a rigorous exercise like this. Yes, there is soreness but as I take the ACVH, if not instantly, in a few minutes, the soreness is either minimized or obliterated altogether. The Apple Cider Vinegar alone has known anti-inflammatory properties, I knew this before. I attribute this additional benefit of not having groaning joint pains to my new found concoction. 

Fast forward to…

Day 12:

By now, I have become a believer of this natural remedy; and I am happy to have read that article that the Christian lady posted which educated me of this anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory solution. It’s almost like a cure all! No, it’s not perfect and there are side effects like heartburn and hyper-acidity of the stomach if one is prone to it; but with a very few adjustments, I am overjoyed with the results of ACVH and will be taking it perhaps for life. To some people, it may seem menial, but to a person who has suffered badly not just with allergy symptoms but also the sequelae that follows said symptoms, I am very grateful for this natural, least-costly, highly effective anti-allergy therapy. Thank you Lord!

Let Me In” by Mike Francis

I was listening to Mike Francis’ “Let Me In” some days ago and that indelible tune and voice brought me back to high school and college in an instant. It was just very recently that I found out that Mike Francis had passed away in 2009 by reason of lung cancer and as I dwelt into the song, it was only natural that melancholy would follow.

His voice and songs to me signify the moments in my life when I still had dreams, when I still dreamt; and having the time with friends that I would keep perhaps through the rest of my life. Those memories are now suspended in youthful buoyancy, in a place where there were no worries, just smiles, echoing laughter, a sense of belonging-ness and not a care for whatsoever which seemed to last and last.

I remember dancing to “Let Me In,” “Friends” and “Survivor” in this joint we had in our tiny little island-town and everyone in the whole club would dance in unison almost like a choreographed wave to this 3 to 4-step swaying movements that we all knew and at that moment, did anything else matter? I remember us talking over the smooth beats set to the loud acoustic systems, asking each other if so and so walked in yet?  I liked it that we did that; to me it exhibited our dedication to socialize at all costs. I also liked it that girls danced with girls and even boys with boys in groups and no one thought anything of it. Fun to us was defined in innocent ways; not really attached to mating, hooking up or any sort of these unnecessary dramas that beset the youth of today.

During those times, we could just be lounging around in a common hangout place for all the friends and a song by Mike Francis would be the music on the background. Our FM stations also knew when to play his tunes – which was all throughout the day; week in and week out.  The music did not seem to get old because it had that laid back, relaxing sound to it and it was not a surprise to me that much of Francis’ music fostered the Chill-Out and Lounge mixes of late.

As I deviate back to Mike Francis and the song however, I recognize that with all the people that connect me to this song having grown up, living their own lives and our youth concluded, I get a well-defined pang of sadness. Even though the time, the music and the people still continue in the 80’s – dancing, laughing, talking over the songs and swaying uniformly in my mind, the slight tightness in my chest reminds me that I am not there anymore.  And with the musician gone, I feel that my moments with his music now remain in another time and place which I love and cherish but cannot go to anymore.

 

Grazie per la musica e ricordi. Ciao Francesco…

Afterword:

When I first met Señor Husband, I was excited to share Mike Francis with him but it was taken with a cold reception at the time. Not too long ago though, he heard a Chill-Out/Lounge mix titled I love Youand told me this was his new song for me. When I first heard it, I was certain I knew the voice and with more research, he found it was one of Mike Francis’ last recordings and that’s when I discovered he died only a few years back.  At this moment, Husband cannot get enough of Mike Francis’ tunes and I liked it that Mike’s music had come full circle in my life.

Venturing out to consignment store/s and finding good deals is pleasurable to me. Today, I was on the hunt for long skirts because I miss wearing them. I head out for the Goodwill Superstore in our town and I found nice skirts while at the clothes section. However, today’s activity won’t just be spent at this section because invariably, I will detour to the Home Section where there is a candy-store-to-a-child appeal to me there. The routine that usually works for me for a day like this is as follows:

Clothes – this can take up to 1 to 1.5 hours because one must fastidiously inspect second-hand clothes not just for holes, stains, wear and tear, but also for uhmm, brands, (please forget I said that, I am not a brand worshipper, honest!). And just like when I shop at the mall, I have to visualize how many outfits would go well with an item that I buy. Matching tops with pants, skirts etc. My finds today are dark teal (pic 1) and green (pic 3) long skirts with ethnic prints, a Jones NY asymmetrical top and a new (un-used) white, stretch, long-sleeve shirt still with tags (not featured).

Then, it’s off to the shoes section, this only takes a few minutes because sadly, shoes are the hardest of the items to find a good deal on at consignments. Most donated shoes are really worn out, stinky and the newer ones are either poorly made or ill-fitting, hence they are given away. However, a person may find one that’s worth it. Tip: I saw a pair of Popov Tsubo Crocs-like mule and a Michael Kors before. Cole Haan and the other Cole (Kenneth) as well as Guess shoes are mainstays here too!

Next stop: the home items; as previously mentioned, this section of the consignment/thrift/second-hand store is fun to me. When I see fine china, bone china and porcelain material, my eyes lock on to them like an F14’s missile launcher would lock on to a MiG 21 on hostile airspace during the Cold War – with precision. My excitement builds up as I approach the item, and as I lift the it up, I hold my breath, if it’s Bavarian-made, I let out a sheepish smile (you naughty little tea cup, you..). If it’s English – I have a treat! And if I see a particular brand at it’s bottom, like Wedgewood for instance, my mouth waters and I am not exaggerating, I feel mini-butterflies up and down my back. I will confess though, that I am yet to get my hands on some Royal Albert tea set designs, there is an endless supply of the old country rose design but that is not the one I want.  I have argued to myself before to just buy it new; but really, the story behind that acquisition won’t be as interesting. Portugal-made ceramics can be found but not always, complete dinnerware sets from Japan (Noritake), China and the USA, Cornings and Corelles are always available. On one occasion, I found this complete set of earthen dinnerware made by Heath but I didn’t get it; I have been into white-colored dinnerware for a few years now. Today’s finds are: a Theodore Haviland tea cup (2), Portmeiron olive and vinegar bottles (4) and a Pier One incense holder (6). Yay!

Books are touch and go; sometimes there are good ones, but mostly the shelves contain romance novels with Fabio on the all covers but with different outfits. This Fabio dude is one prolific romance novel writer *wink.  Today, my book finds were a hardbound, illustrated copy of “The Secret Garden” and a light-read about a chef and his advice for a beginner chef, titled “Letters to a Young Chef” by Daniel Boulud (5). Maybe this chef is the Rilke of chefs.  One thing curious I found with this book; there was an inscription at the back flap which read:

“There is nothing which every man/woman is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he/she is capable of doing and becoming.

Proud of you kid.

Much love w/ everything you decide to do.”

I would like to speculate that this was given by a grandfather to his grandson before the latter entered culinary school. I wonder what the real story behind this book really is (need to see “Serendipity” again).

My consignment soiree for the day is almost over, I head for the Cashier ‘s area but not before a brief stop at the bags section. I will say, the more seasoned bargain hunters get the deals before I ever do with bags. Because in my days of second hand shopping, I have only found something worthwhile once in this section. Today, there was a Kenneth Cole school style bag, still pristine, which I could’ve gotten but I did not need it. We have to be practical after all. After paying for my plunder I head for home.

… and so goes one relaxing day for a shopaholic on a budget like me. I’ve had my therapy for the biweekly but unlike shopaholics who hasn’t undergone consignment store intervention yet, I only paid $34.25 for my treatment today!

As the world stays riveted with the tragedy unfolding in Japan in front of our TV sets, I cannot help but tip my hat to the Japanese people with admiration and inspiration. This may be the worst earthquake that the nation will experience in this lifetime, but I could not overlook their preparedness, the calmness by which the citizens handled such magnitude of an event and how organized they were.

Perhaps because they are a people that has come to accept natural calamities as a part of their lives, their readiness and bravery in action is something for the rest of the world to learn from. As news footage on the various networks revealed the earthquake’s and the tsunami’s devasation, we saw the Japanese people taking cover, being unnerved but not helpless or petrified to the point of disability. Reports indicate the warnings were as short as 5 minutes and citizens all over the different cities like Sendai, Minamisoma and others, sprung to shelter as far away from the epicenter of the quake and body of waters as they could. Reports further state that the death toll may not be as high for a natural disaster with this intensity and that is good news the world and especially the Japanese people would want to hear.

Consider this track record, in 1917, a Typhoon ravaged Japan with 4,000 fatalities; in 1923, an earthquake claimed 143,000 lives; in 1945, an atomic bomb caused 136,000 deaths; but by the start of the 21st Century, Japan has managed to be the world’s most developed country in 2007 and the 17th richest country in 2010. In the coming days, as the aftermath of Japan’s March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami unravels, undoubtedly we will witness a people and a country, displaced, injured and battered; but I would venture to say they will not be down for long.