Thursday, January 12, 2017

Turmeric - not all it's spiced up to be?

Put down the turmeric. It's not the answer to all your aches and pains. Gold as it may appear, it's not the miracle gem you thought it is, but could be fool's gold. 

For the kitchen-challenged, turmeric is a spice that has been used in cooking for centuries. In the past, scientists have shown biological activities associated with intake of turmeric, although they do not fully understand the whys and hows. Further studies pointed to the specific substance in turmeric, curcumin, which showed anything to everything cure - from preventing inflammation to detoxification, to preventing kidney damage, to treating cancer. Then, recent experiments showed that turmeric could also interfere with chemotherapy drugs. It's also still unclear how curcumin may interact with other medications.This leads to the question on whether this spice is helpful or harmful.

Take a read hereThe main takeaway is that turmeric extracts contain dozens of compounds besides curcumin; some are very closely related molecules. So it's possible that observed activity findings are ascribed to the wrong molecule. Research is ongoing, but until it's conclusive, talk to your doctor before using any herbal supplement or chugging down the spice rack.

Ah, Science. Always setting people straight. But no one says this should stop you from enjoying your curries!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My firecracker turns 6!

This was commissioned to mark her extraordinary
and uber funny imagination at 5 yo!

The big girl is 6 today, September 28. Everyone tells you that time will fly when your kids are young and you better embrace every minute of it. I want to believe that I did, and that I am still doing that. We've traveled together to Sesame Street, Neverland, to the Death Star and back. We've been in and out of black holes, and from inside a cake to inside the body on a magic school bus.

Every conversation with this girl is punctuated with "whys" and "hows". And I will never tire of answering her questions, or at least try the best I can; she can be very persistent! The years have been wonderful so far, and we can't wait for this next chapter as she starts kindergarten. My wish is that her curiosity will not be tempered, and that we can continue to nurture her imagination. 

Cheers to you, my dear!


Friday, September 2, 2016

Manchester Diary, Day 4: Here's one for the Fashionista!

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. Coco Chanel
Read more at:
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
Read more at:
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
Read more at:
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel. 

I was still recovering from last night's heavy fish and chips, so today was a day of light eating. I opted out of the lunch spread, and headed to the Manchester Art Gallery instead.  2 days ago, the sign outside showed that there's the an exhibit that featured how women's fashion silhouettes and social codes had changed when the men left for war in 1914 and the women were left behind to join the skilled trades and participate in military service. This meant new freedom and responsibilities for women. On top of this, they were featuring Vogue's 100 year celebration. It was definitely nothing like exhibits I've seen before at other museums.

I was hemming and hawing about going because I knew I'd have limited time. But this morning my newsfeed was filled with remembrance of Diana's death on August 31. In addition to being a people's princess in her time, she was also such a big fashion icon. That's the one nudge I heeded.

Since the museum is pretty big, I only focused on 2 exhibits; both made pretty big impression on me.

Fashion & Freedom

The 3rd one, I named the "inverse-corset".
At this exhibit, the displayed fashion art collection recognized women's physical capabilities and trials in the World War I era, highlighting how fashion was interwoven into the social and political history. One section was the epitome of ultimate show of freedom in fashion for me exposing breasts, knees (!) and lots of skin. A bit extreme, maybe, and nothing I'd wear.  Some women were required to work in munitions factories, which earned them the nickname "munitionettes", or canaries,  like the yellow songbirds, because the exposure to the explosives turned their skin yellow.  

Canary-inspired. I think I can actually wear this.

Since the 19th century, there was also transition to free the female body from constrictive corsets and frothy clothing that shows women as "ornament to men." After the First World War, out came the more natural silhouette that prioritized function. This exhibit reminded me of what women went through to gain independence, and I'll be looking at my wardrobe very differently.

Interpretation for women in aviation
Celebrating the Red Cross

Vogue 100
Vogue 100: A Century of Style will showcase the remarkable range of photography that has been commissioned by British Vogue since it was founded in 1916, with over 280 prints from the Condé Nast archive and international collections being shown together for the first time to tell the story of one of the most influential fashion magazines in the world.

The Vogue100 exhibit was free to view, but no pictures were allowed. I'm guessing for Copyright reasons. As I entered the foyer, I was greeted by a smiling picture of Katherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. She was on the 1st cover celebrating Vogue's 100th anniversary, the January 2016 issue. I walked my way back to the past, seeing familiar faces of Cate Blanchett wearing pompom headband, Kate Moss naked on a stallion, Prince Charles feeding chickens (!), Sofia Coppola in College (?), Gwynneth Paltrow and Kate Moss representing the 21st century. 

The 90s highlight for me was Princess Diana, the most photographed woman in the 20th century, beaming in a strapless gown and signature short hair. The 90s also featured the supermodels Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, etc.  There was also a cute photo of Winona Ryder in a tutu. And more Kate Moss.

The 80s' surprise for me was a 1982 picture of novelist Salmon Rushdie. He may not be such a big name then because Midnight Children just won the award in 1981.

HA! This redefines "Model Airplane" for me. 
Then there's this haunting picture from the 60s - A1967 photo highlighting technological revolution showing a model being chased by an airplane on the runway. This was definitely not Kate Moss.

The era that impressed me most, however, was the coverage during World War II. It was such a different Vogue. There's one photo that caught my eye particularly,'Rococo Rubble', which was a vintage photo from September 1945, described as "A defiant last stand at the University of the Philippines" featuring a statue of a man peppered with bullet holes from the war. It's not the photo one would associate with a fashion magazine, especially not Vogue.  

I learned that there's more to Vogue than pictures of pretty clothes and women. Main lesson for me - Don't judge a book, or a magazine, by it's cover.  What a truly great insight on the 100 years of fashion in history.

The day didn't end here, but my trip to Downton Abbey requires a separate post, so stay tuned.

*These photos from Vogue100 were all online.