Seven Secrets

closeupPeople ask me what is my secret and my beauty routine, especially since I am 62 and have soft, smooth skin and I’m in excellent health. When my dear friend Celeste asked me to write about it, I promised her that I would.

What’s my secret?

1. A healthy plant-based lifestyle. This is # 1 because what we eat will affect our health and appearance. A plant-based life-style is beneficial for our skin, eyes and hair.

2. Keeping active. I get plenty of exercise dancing every day and I lift weights for my arms, just to keep toned. I also enjoy walking and biking. I’m a certified fitness instructor.

3. Staying out of the sun. I’m a shade-seeker. I wear a hat if I ‘m in the sunshine for more than 15 minutes.

4. No smoking. Smoking is not only unhealthy for our lungs but also damaging for our heart and SKIN.

5. Beauty sleep. I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing.

6. I have never washed my face with soap: just water and a face cloth.

But what cream or lotion do I use? This is the question I am asked.

7. I am a third generation user of NIVEA. My mom (and dad) used NIVEA and I grew up with NIVEA. I even bought a blue VW Beetle in 2000 which I call Nivea Blue.

NIVEALook who’s in the back seat … this is my favourite photo!

who is in the back seat

I love NIVEA because they do not test on animals and that is very important to me. No animal should suffer for vanity or fashion.

carmenI took an aesthetics course because my mom was a certified cosmetician and aesthetician (which included hairdressing in Germany). She opened her own beauty salon when we moved to Canada. No wonder she chose NIVEA.


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Posted in Fashion, Healthy living, Keeping active, Keeping fit, Nutrition, Plant-based diet | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Thanksgiving – A time to Dance

The Canadian Thanksgiving kicks off the autumn season, good timing as leaves start their dance to the ground, birds begin their southward flight and harvest-time is here: autumn in full splendor!

A robin in our backyard getting ready for the flight.


Come Dancing had their autumn dance recently and I taught several line dances.

come dancing

I wore my high low dress and my favourite black (vegan) strappy stilettos.

high low dress

It looks like a skirt and top, but it’s actually one piece that I wear with a belt.

high low dresshigh low dress

This Thanksgiving I’m making the same turkey I served last year. My grandchildren love it, and gobbled it up! They were shocked when I said I made a turkey because they know we don’t eat animals.

head is made with hummus

head is made with hummus

Gathering with family and friends around the table to give thanks to God for the abundance of His blessings is a wonderful part of our celebration.

May we be truly thankful for all the good things God has blessed us with!

Life is good!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


 Thank you Rebecca for inviting me to TREND SPIN linkup!

Posted in Autumn, Dance, Fashion, Healthy living, Keeping active, Keeping fit, Plant-based diet, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian/Vegan Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

The long drive home

I’m not fond of long distance driving, but stopping along the route for picnics and photo shoots makes it enjoyable. I love the scenery and enjoy my hobby of capturing the moments.

On our way to Connecticut we stopped for gas and a bite to eat, I met a lovely lady who was very knowledgeable about sunglasses.  I gave her my card and hope she writes! :-) This was my traveling outfit.


I saw this quaint little A-frame cottage on the way there and simply had to stop on our way home to take a photo. I could live here, I don’t need a mansion to be happy and actually prefer a cozy, clean and well-decorated home–by a river!

A-frame cottage

A view I would enjoy looking out my kitchen window. We followed this river along the highway for miles and miles.


Covered bridges always fascinate me, I love walking through them: it gives me a nostalgic and romantic feeling. Reminds me of Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

covered bridgeblack and white roses topcovered bridge side view

My traveling outfit on the way home: new black and white top I bought at PacSun and black slacks from a dollar store in Torrington.

black and white roses top

I have taken photos of old church buildings and this one was worth a little detour, from ca. 1830s.

old church building

Derelict old buildings make interesting photos, but in real life they give me the willies.

derelict building

About 11 hours on the road with stops and crossing the border …

There’s no place like home!

♥ carmen

Posted in Fashion, Memories, Photography, Scenery, Summer, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Connecticut – a day trip?

After retuning from our flight back from NYC with Jean in August, I had enough time to unpack, go to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto with my youngest son and his wife, pack up again and then drive out east to Connecticut with my oldest son and his family.

Yankee Pedlar Inn

This is not our usual day trips that I’ve been posting. This one is literally one day trip, meaning it takes one day to drive there so we stayed at the Yankee Pedlar Inn while in Connecticut and enjoyed taking a step back in time. This century old hotel is a filled with history.

This old switchboard reminds me of when I used to be a switchboard operator for a chartered account company in Toronto. Hello? Are you there?

old switchboard

The original wagon used to pick up guests from the train station.

old horse carriage

A fabulous mosaic!

horse mosaicStrolling around and browsing through shops. My grandchildren were fascinated at the pottery shop and got to watch pottery being made.

I brought my yellow neon skinnies to wear with different tops. These were my favoutite pants this summer, worn here with a black tank top …

yellow skinnies with black top

and here with a white tank top …

yellow skinnies with white top

Jean and I bought honey comb necklaces in NYC.

honey comb necklace

I taught two dances at the Piper’s Gathering, where my son spent the weekend playing the small Scottish bagpipes.

Summer is past but thanks to photography memories are in living colour!

Hope you captured your special moments too!

♥ carmen

Posted in Dance, Fashion, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Port Dover, Lake Erie

Another fabulous day calls for another fabulous adventure. We had the best weekend in September.

With the long cold winters of Canada, I don’t want to miss any opportunities to enjoy a day outdoors when it’s bikini weather!

A leisurely Sunday afternoon drive to Port Dover on Lake Erie makes for another marvelous day trip. I wore my black and white tunic which is normally too short to wear without leggings or capris, but suitable for the beach as a coverup because I am wearing my bathing-suit underneath.


 Palm trees in Canada? YES!

Port Dover

 Classic cars around town when the weather is this nice…


A beautiful view of the lighthouse.


I always wear a hat on the beach until after 4 PM

looking at lighthouse

Doing my happy dance because I am so happy to enjoy another day at the beach.

happy dance

There’s something nice about day trips: being home again at night to sleep in my own bed.


What day trip have you enjoyed this summer!

How’s the weather where you are?

♥ carmen

Posted in Autumn, Beach, Day Trips, Fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Exploring Toronto Island – an adventurous day trip

If you are within two hours of Toronto, the island is a fantastic day trip.

If you are ever visiting Toronto, be sure not to miss it, it makes for a fun time, with kids and especially without!

Saturday was a perfectly warm day to enjoy a last hurrah at the island before cooler temperatures will be creeping in.

Stopping at a charming parkette to watch 24 swans swimming was both magical and worth the little detour. It is a well-kept secret place and I will share it with anyone interested in seeing it, although, I can’t promise the swans will be there, I can promise a gorgeous view of the Toronto skyline.

parkette swan

Can’t wear fall clothes with temperatures in the mid 20s. My little white cotton sundress that I bought at the CNE was cool and comfortable.


I love wall art anywhere I find it, this one was at a gas station on Lakeshore Boulevard.


We took our bikes which makes exploring the island so much easier and more fun. This is my brand new folding bike. I’ve had my orange one for many years and my new one is a 5 speed. First time riding it, not counting a test drive on my street.


A charming old lighthouse.


I don’t swim in Lake Ontario but wading up to my knees and dancing in the sand is fun.

Lake Ontario

My new bikini is a wild orange and black tiger print.


Matches my animal print scarf and I dance like no one’s watching, even if they are.

The view of the CN Tower is spectacular.

CN Tower

Sunday was another warm day, a glorious weekend, so we decided to take advantage of it and drove to Lake Erie (another fabulous day trip) that I’ll tell you about next time. The great lakes are so big that they look like an ocean. My visitors from Germany are always amazed at the size.

Lake Ontario

What did you do this weekend?

Remember to enjoy life!

♥ carmen

I’ve linked up with Visible Monday

Posted in Beach, Day Trips, Fashion, Healthy living, Keeping active, Keeping fit, Toronto | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

NYC and all that Jazzzz

I’m still flying high from my New York City adventure this summer.

Just walking by the Apollo in Harlem was exciting, knowing the history of this place. The legendary Ella Fitzgerald–my favourite jazz singer (one of her great songs At Last) began her career there performing on Amateur Night.


The sights and sounds are still vivid and playing in my mind. Spending time in the National Jazz Museum was inspirational.

What we wore …

Going to the Blue Note Jazz Club with Jean to listen to a talented up-and-coming Jazz singer (her scatting was phenomenal and I loved her choice of songs) with a fantastic jazz band was a musical highlight of our trip.

What we wore …

I was overjoyed to see one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, Comedy of Errors–a delightful and witty play; the acting was superb. We enjoyed drinks at Dear Irving after the play, fabulous ambiance.

What we wore …

Summerstage was a great opportunity to watch two fantastic dance shows: one in Central Park and the other in Harlem. These shows are free and people can simply donate what they can afford.


What a unique manhole shaped like a honeycomb. Have you ever seen one like this? No I’m not wearing different colour nail polish on my toes–one foot is Jean’s and the other is mine, we have the same shoes but didn’t plan that.


 Wishing you all a fabulous Friday!




Posted in Fashion, Jeanofalltrades, Memories, New York City, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Time to say goodbye

Today is the first day of autumn and time to say goodbye to the summer of 2014.

Summertime means garden parties; gathering with family and friends to enjoy the warm summer days and pleasant evenings. I’m posting outfits I’ve wore at garden parties.

garden party

I hosted a garden party in June.

Fruit is so refreshing anytime but at garden parties it’s a feast for the eyes to see a platter of delicious fruit in all colours and flavours. There’s lots more savoury vegan dishes to satisfy everyone’s taste buds and tummies.

fancy fruit platter

Susan’s annual garden party is always fun with dancing in the back yard. I wore my favourite sundress. Do you see the butterfly on my shoulder?

My son has a friend who invited us to a pond party; a very exclusive community in our city has a private pond (spring fed) that they share.


I wore my new daisy lace skirt I bought in NYC (made in USA) to a very special birthday party for my granddaughter in August at Victoria Park gardens.

daisy lace skirtdaisy lace skirt 2

My Elisa Cavaletti is so versatile, I’ve never regretted buying it. Our neighbours had a Patio Party and I wore my black and white tunic.

This garden party had a lovely man-made pond.

by the pond

goodbye summer

Leave room in the garden to dance!


Posted in Birthdays, Fashion, Photography, Plant-based diet, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Biking the lovely trails of Southern Ontario

my grandsonmThe bike and hiking trails are endless; walks through forests and along the river paths are plentiful. Conservation areas and inner-city parks are within driving distance of anywhere. I love nature and enjoy the serene beauty of the scenery: from simple forest paths to grand mountain trails. (No mountains in our neck of the woods, but I have gone wandering in the mountains in Germany and Austria, and the rolling hills of Scotland.)

My grandson showed me a trail (in Cambridge, Ontario) meandering through forests, over streams on little bridges and going under the largest highway in Ontario (401).  We enjoyed a bike ride along this beautiful, peaceful path. It’s good to get off the beaten track, travel a road less crowded.

My orange folding bike–made in Germany–is so practical, I can fold it in half and throw it in my little blue VW Beetle.

There’s no air fresher than in the forest, the fragrance of cedar and pine is intoxicating!

my orange bikeI’m wearing my pink polka dot capris, very practical for biking. We used to call them pedal-pushers because they are perfect for biking; they can’t get caught in the chain when you ride a bike.  I bought two pair, my other ones are gray polka dots.

my orange bike 2

… my boys

my son and grandson

Can you spot the turtle?


The sky was a magical sight!


Do you own a bike?

What adventures do you enjoy?

Have a fabulous weekend.

Keep active, be happy!

Stay safe especially if you are going mountain climbing!


Posted in Day Trips, Fashion, Healthy living, Hiking, Keeping active, Keeping fit, Nature, Photography, Scenery | Tagged , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Langdon Hall – a luxurious day trip or weekend getaway

Langdon Hall (1898) is just a five minute drive from where I live, but if you are an hour or so away from Cambridge, Ontario, this is a lovely place to go for a day trip. If you live further away it’s a luxurious overnight or weekend getaway.

My dear friend Janet (passed away in 2007, only 55 years old) was my kindred-spirit sister. We were the same age and said we were twin sisters born from different mothers. It was Janet who introduced me to Langdon Hall. Over the years I have been there several times for high tea with a friend or a group of friends.


We’ve enjoyed some sunny warm September days; it’s still summer till the 23rd and I refuse to wear autumn clothes yet. My dear friend Maggie and I had a ladies’ afternoon and relaxed on the deck sipping our drinks and having a pleasant conversation.

MaggieMaggie is always stylish, I just love her outfit: beautiful net top (Spanner) with white crop pants. I’m glad I bought this dress in spring, made by a local seamstress. I wore it in NYC in August. It’s my go-to sundress, and you’ll see it once more before I put my summer clothes away.

Maggie and carmen

The grounds are meticulously kept and it feels like the garden of a Gatsby movie.

Langdon Hall garden

This grand estate was the summer place of an extremely wealthy family over 100 years ago. Today it is the exquisite Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa (since 1989).

Day trips make lovely memories!

Have a wonderful week!

♥ carmen

Posted in Fashion, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments