Big Dogs Get a Bad Rap: Lifestyle over 50

Getting a dog during your middle years is an important decision. Often, we get a puppy when our kids are young- and we have the energy to potty train…and the rest that goes along with a new pup in the house. There may be even more to consider as we’re getting older.

So many people I talk to give me their opinion on the advantages of caring for a small dog. Here are some of the advantages: Easier to travel with; better for condos; don’t need to walk them as much; they can use a pipi pad; less expensive on food, grooming… you get the picture. All these reasons are undeniable. AND- before I get into the Big dog/ bad rap thing, I should tell you though, that I ADORE little dogs. It’s that carry around and cuddle thing that gets me (along with the other good reasons listed above- don’t get me wrong).

Our family has always had dogs, sizes ranging from 2 lbs to 65lbs. This year, we moved to a new house, two of my daughters got married- things finally settled and so we thought it was time to bring in a dog for this new time in our life. We got a Goldendoodle; despite everyone telling us we should get a small dog (again, for all the aforementioned reasons). Charlie is now eight months, 55 lbs so far, and a big goofy bundle of joy.

How’s life with a big dog? Let’s talk about the potty training. He was crate trained- and never peed once inside that crate. He’s now out of it and the accidents have been minor (at least I see where he’s going- not like my tiny pooches who left me surprises in the last place I’d think of! Not only when they were puppies…they did this for years!). Plus he can hold it forever.

Sure we have to walk him- but finally this gives me an excuse to get out there and get my own exercise! Something we really need as we get older.  The walks can be so much longer, and less dangerous than for a smaller dog when it comes to them being closer to the ground and perhaps ingesting or sniffing something potentially dangerous.  They also can get cold faster than big dogs (winter alert).  It’s also a lot easier to run with a big dog.  The list goes on and on when it comes to the exercising benefits.

When it comes to the chew thing, we’ve always given Charlie plenty of chew toys- so no disasters in my house. Is he excitable? When somebody shows up with their dog- Absolutely! But we are working on it. Has he ever darted out- yes- but he’s way easier to catch than my tiny ones were- and that doesn’t break my back! As for nipping, yeah he’s got a bigger mouth…but here again, you’ve got to train your pup! Mine used to do that and it was corrected- (except for my daughter’s boyfriend, who actually plays with him this way- He allows it). But that’s where it stops.

What about manners? Let’s be clear here: A bad mannered dog is a bad mannered dog- no matter its size. I can understand that the damage could be greater coming from a large dog. But does that mean that bad behaviour gets a pass when it comes from a cute tiny dog? The problem lies with the owner. Are you getting a smaller dog because you have no desire to train a dog properly, therefore you think by getting a small breed you are scot free? Think about that.

And the barking (for those of you considering the benefits in a condo)- big dogs are generally not yappers. As for the couch and lap situation- I could not get my small dogs from running back and forth off the couches; or wanting lap attention as soon as anyone sat down. My big dogs were told No, and that was it. How do I get my cuddle fix? Well, there’s so much more dog to love, cuddle and pet with a large breed! Then there’s the begging at the table. My dog doesn’t lick counters or put his face on the table for food. I’ve seen way too many little dogs actually picked up at the dinner table (letting them sniff off plates or even eat from them…whaaat?)

Big dogs get a bad rap. When they greet you they can come right up to your face (again, if you allow this). Little dogs are not necessarily more behaved- they can do the same! Except they only can stretch up to your knees! Big dogs look scarier because of their size- but that makes it easier for us to predict their behaviour. And there is an advantage to them looking scarier (even if they’re often scared of their own shadow- or tail between their legs around a bossy Yorkie!)- I actually feel safer walking him at night.

There are true benefits to owning a big dog. More exercise for us; that much more doggy to love; easier to contain; larger bladders so less pipi accidents; Easier to potty train (don’t want to gross you out but I have to say, even the poops are easier to find in the grass- says she who’s stepped on Yorkie treasure trails way too often!); There’s the added safety and protection around you; and so much more fluff to keep you warm.

Like I said before- I get those real good reasons for wanting a small dog. But as I get older, every day I notice the benefits my big goofy Charlie brings to me. Small or big- our pets need our love and care- that’s all they ask for. After all, they have no idea how big or small they are. So please, don’t judge a dog by its size!

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Moussa…Who? MOUSSAKA: the Reigning King of Satisfaction!

So some time ago someone decided they wanted a succulent, hearty meal that satisfies not only your appetite but sends explosions of taste throughout your mouth all the while transporting your senses- making you smile, relax and enjoy life…Leave it to the Greeks to invent such a dish! (Is that any surprise?) Presenting: Moussaka!

Beware though, Moussaka is not for the faint of heart! A small portion, accompanied by a salad or Horta, goes a long way. This is, in every sense a real-deal, hearty-meal. I prepare mine with a meat sauce (lamb is more typical, but any ground meat will do). Of course eggplant rules here, along with potatoes and a mouthwatering, creamy bechamel sauce tweaked with eggs. This happens to be my husband’s favourite meal- so I prepared this one for his birthday! To keep it a surprise, this time I cooked in my basement kitchen- I love that I can switch it up like that;)

Here’s the way I make my Moussaka:

Ingredients:

  • Meat sauce (prepared in advance)
  • Sliced Potatoes (enough to fill two layers of a baking pan-of your choice)
  • Eggplant (enough to abundantly fill one layer of a baking pan of your choice)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 tbl sp of butter
  • Milk as needed
  • 3 eggs  (Some people put upto 5- let’s keep it light at 3;)
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 tbl sp of grated Graviera cheese (or Parmesan)
  • Pam or olive oil to coat your pan

Let’s begin!

(To save time, make sure you’ve prepared a meat sauce in advance).

Slice your potatoes, salt and bake on light broil till golden – turn over and broil again (no oil- just Pam on the baking sheet).

Once broiled, layer in a baking pan. Next, cover potatoes with your meat sauce.

Slice your eggplant, salt and proceed as you did with potatoes.

Once broiled, layer over the meat sauce. (Then, again, cover these with more meat sauce).

Add a last layer of broiled potatoes over the meat sauce.

Now, for the Bechamel!

In a large pot, mix butter and flour until they amalgamate.

When it starts to sizzle slightly, add milk. Continue to stir as it thickens (you don’t want it to stick to bottom of pan and burn!) AND keep adding milk.  Add a bit of salt as well.  Continue to do this until you get a nice thick sauce. Sprinkle about a table spoon of grated Graviera cheese-or- Parmesan cheese (only if you’d like!) I did;)

Once the bechamel is ready, wait a few minutes off the burner- Then place pot in fridge to speed up the cooling process.

On the same token, place eggs in warm water to heat them up a bit (so there’s no clash of temperature between the two. Otherwise,this could cause the eggs to scramble when mixing them in sauce later).

Once the two are cool – or about the same temperature, fold the eggs into the bechamel sauce. Mix it up well.

Pour the whole mixture onto that last layer of potatoes.

Bake at 350 for about an hour or so…until the Moussaka is a nice golden color. (it should also rise a bit).

And there you go! Roll out the red carpet! Kali Orexi!

#confessionoftheday : It was impossible for me to resist temptation…I had more than one piece!

Animal Print: Purr-fect Yea…or Nay?

There’s no question that animal print can add flare to your look. But is that always true? Flaunting your edgy, fashionable side- let alone being gorgeous, luxurious and stylish,-these faux-furries are all-around complexion lovers! Plain and simple, they just suit everyone. So can there actually be a downside to that adorable leopard look? I’d say, a reluctant, and unfortunate, yes. In my opinion, animal print can sometimes also layer on the years… Age is just a number, but, no one wants to look like an old cat! So, how do we avoid that?

 

Diva TIPS: Animal print, as the magnificent animal it represents, wants the throne to itself. This kind of pattern needs no help from loud accessories and other over-the-top adornments. It makes a statement all on its own. That’s not to say that you can’t wear any accessories at all though! Just keep in mind that anything you match up with animal print should be way more subdued- or, avoid wearing it altogether. Because, here it is ladies…this is where your glam look can suddenly turn into a dress-up costume…and that is not fashionable; nor, is frumpy. It’s just overkill.

Ok, so what can you wear with, say, leopard? I love a great red lipstick with subtle makeup. Gold, as in a chain, bracelet, earrings or cuff- is also great because it brings a natural glow to the skin – adding warmth to the tone of the look. Of course all other clothing pieces should be one colour. Stick to neutrals, as these compliment best; allowing the print its spotlight. Avoid patterned scarves altogether.

And by the way, animal print is also considered a neutral. So when worn as an accessory rather than the outfit, it can immediately add a touch of luxury and glamour. So go ahead and wear that printed scarf, belt, bracelet cuff or booties to accentuate any plain color outfit! You’ll notice how once again, even such a minor detail will still somehow end up as the conversation piece that will steal the show.

So my darlings, wear your kitties to your heart’s desires, but paw-lease, wear them well!

 

 

What I’m wearing:

Hat: Fiorrucci

Reversible coat: Patrizia Pepe

Faux leather pants: Guess

Booties: Syle Design &Co

Red Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Coco: Arthur

Vintage red sunglasses

#confessionoftheday: I have myself done the no-no-overkill look on occasion (this is why I know how off it can look)…But who knows, maybe I was just letting out the eccentric in me! If you’re going for that look- then hey- go for it!

The Greeks Call it Yemista- Healthy Comfort Food

Deliciously filled baked vegetables that hit the spot! Yemista as the Greeks call this rich and satisfying meal is perfect for these nippy cold autumn days. For the record, Italians make this too- they call it, Verdura Ripiena (thought I’d add that in, since today’s cook, yours truly, is Italian;)

On that note, my recipe is a mix of both cultures: A Greek delicacy with an Italian flare. I have to warn you, this dish does take a bit of time to make. Here’s my way:

About 12 vegetables

3/4lb minced meat (I use a blend of veal, pork and beef)

2 onions

1 cup rice

salt, pepper, dill to taste, chilli flakes

Pam, a tiny bit of olive oil to drizzle

You can use a variety of different vegetables such as: Zucchini, eggplant, red, green, orange..peppers, yellow zucchini squash, potatoes , tomatoes- basically any vegetable that can easily be hollowed. Today, all I had on hand were tomatoes, red peppers and potatoes.

I usually begin by scraping out the vegetables, while keeping the top for a cap (you’ll see later). Then, all the scrapings are finely chopped and lightly salted.

If you clean out the potatoes first, as I did, you will need to place them in a bowl filled with cold water. This way they won’t turn brown while you work on the other vegetables.

Mix meat, scrapings, rice and onions together. Then, in a large pan, cook the mixture. Add salt, pepper and dill to your liking. If you prefer your dishes on the spicy side (Italian touch), add some chilli flakes, or peperoncino. Keep adding water as the rice swells.

When the whole mixture is consistently cooked (rice should be almost semi cooked), just go ahead and fill up the vegetables.

Place them neatly in a greased pan (I use Pam, but you can also use olive oil). Top them with their caps (helps keep them moist and cook evenly). Add about a ½ cup of water at the bottom of pan. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil.

Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 175C (325F) for about an hour. The last few minutes, uncover and set on broil – just long enough to get them nicely roasted.

Et voila! Or as the Greeks say: Etima!

Kali Orexi! Buon Appetito!

Beauty Hoarder’s Weekend Haul!

So it was a VIP event with mega double your points at the Gallerie Beaute Pharmaprix. My youngest works there as a part time cosmetician (it’s a gene thing:)…so off I went.

Needed replenishments in some of my favourite Shiseido serums…but the show stoppers were the lipstick stains by Stila cosmetics! What won me over were the gorgeous reds. Jona the Make-up artist showed me a few tricks on how to vary the shading by simply dabbing and smudging ever so lightly- and honestly the incredible variations in colour just blew me away. The liquid eyeliner was another winner for me. Precision and smoothness in longwear- just what I need. Thank you Gorgeous Jona!

The whole experience and ambience with Mimosa cocktails and delicious hors-d’œuvres- all very chic and elegant. Oh, and did I mention the tons of gifts with purchase? Deluxe samples in an ever so elegant black and red box, plus makeup bags- all from Shiseido. Extra goodie bag from the pharmacy. Clinique baggie plus samples. Stila’s fabulous, real handbag plus plenty of samples.

So much stuff, I’m out of breath!

If you ever get called for a Pharmaprix VIP event- go! You’ll get way more than you ever walked in for.

#confessionofteday: Blew my budget once again.

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Quebec Designers- Montreal Fashion You Just Can’t Resist

La Braderie de la mode Québécoise is a yearly showcase and sale of Quebec’s designers. It takes place at Marche Bonsecours in Old Montreal. Here you can find the finest of our home designer’s specialties. The fashion is incredible and the talent, exceptional.

I absolutely LOVE going to this event which takes place every year, right here, in Montreal’s most historic site, by the Old Port. Every year I try so hard to contain myself from buying just about everything and anything. Too hard on myself! Not only is the merchandise fantastic- I’m just so incredibly proud of our home talent.

This year, I was sad that my beloved Ophelia (hats!) was not there (or did I just miss it in all the hustle and bustle- sigh!). But! I fell upon a fabulous handbag discovery! Do you know Mathilde CRIQUI (www.mathildec.com)? Love at first sight!

Mathilde designs all her handbags-the leather is Italian- but they are designed and manufactured here in Montreal. My heart cried out for this mustard/beige backpack/ handbag. To keep it practical and hands-free, use it as a backpack. But then, the belts just slide up and poof! It turns into a shoulder handbag. So practical! With a front pocket that can carry my tablet, and a larger pocket perfect for my Chrome notebook (or Mac notebook), there’s still extra space for all the rest us Divas like to stash in there.

Honestly, I wasn’t shopping for a handbag, but when I saw this gem- I could not resist. It took all of 10 minutes and-sold! It was mine:) It was also a great pleasure for me to meet the designer herself- she’s a sweetheart. You can find Mathilde’s beautiful handbags at most luxury boutiques on Laurier street- or of course, through her website.

I do hope you get a chance to get to the Braderie (you must because it ends this Sunday!)…oh- and I forgot to mention; prices are at least 50% off regular retail price!

If you do go to the Braderie- let me know!

I should also mention that after all that shopping you may want to step out – right next door for some refreshments at Pub Brewskey.

Cheers!

#confessionoftheday: I promised myself I would be good. Would not buy a thing other than a pair of gloves. Could not keep my promise.

All is Well…Keep the Joy

Took a great deal of life to get us where we are dear Divas. Most of us have had our share of life’s ups and downs, with all the caring, nurturing, loving, raising, care taking and working that we’ve done. We deserve to be happy and enjoy the smallest or mega things we embark on. Happiness is a choice. Joy is a feeling that belongs to us. No one has the right to take that away from us. So- don’t let anyone.

Easier said than done- especially if you were rarely first on your list of priorities. Still. Make this a priority. Take the time, breathe and allow yourself. “All is well” This is my new motivating phrase. It’s my new liberating spot. We’re smart enough to know that things are not constant. Everything passes. So why not begin today by accepting your joy?

Today, if someone or something tries to steal your joy, don’t let yourself be dragged into the trap. Breathe and say to yourself: “All is well”. (Cause eventually, you know it will be). Start now. Embark on that new venture. Do what makes you happy. Keep the joy.

Have a wonderful day beautiful Divas. “All is well”.

How do you keep your joy?

#Confessionoftheday: Am working hard at making this a priority- and it ain’t always easy, but it certainly is a work in progress!

Cheers,

Lucy ❤️