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Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller.  Photography © Manja Wachsmuth Photography 2016. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group

Whether we are inhaling the aromas of curry with spices like cardamom, cumin and coriander, or tasting a pasta sauce rich with rosemary, basil and oregano,  generally we simply enjoy the taste and smell food sensations. But although the word spice evokes the concept of piquant flavors and aromas of foods or drinks,  most of us don’t think of the ways in which these different herbs and spices may be altering our metabolism or have a medicinal effect. 

Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta layout March 2016
Persona is "the nature of our character that is shown to or perceived by other". My present cast of characters ranges from mother, grandmother, friend, to professor emerita, medical doctor,  writer, reviewer, dancer, coach, mentor and entrepreneur. But at YVR as my daughter (Alo) and I meet up with her friend (NG) with her bubbly preschooler (EP), a new persona is added to my cast... I am instantly dubbed “Aunty Mandy's mom”. And as I explore the environs of our Mexican vacation spot over the next seven days, my “Aunty Mandy's mom” persona will provide a great counterbalance to the...
Salmon ceviche


Sashimi, ceviche - I love eating raw fish - sashimi style or marinated as in ceviche.&nbsp; One of my best memories from a visit to Lima, Peru was eating a very delicate <strong><a href="http://www.reviewfromthehouse.com/supping-away-lima-peru-la-rosa-nautica">ceviche at Rosa Nautica a restaurant located way out on the water.

Tasting Wine & Cheese: Cover photo by Glenn Scott Photography

One of my guilty pleasures, indulged in only when I know for sure that I will not be out dancing cheek to cheek, is to munch on a chunk of Dutch Cantenaar cheese topped with a scallion or spring onion. Another is to slather  toasted dark rye bread with my special butter/olive oil spread, and when the butter has soaked into the toast, smear on a layer of German Cambazola cheese.  While the cheese and onion doesn't really pair well with wine, my rye and Cambazola toast tastes wonderful with a glass of Gewurtztraminer or Riesling.

As one who has...

Martin Happer and Emma Slipp. Photo by Tim Matheson

Blackbird Theatre company celebrates its 10th anniversary of producing classical theatre with a sparkling production of The Rivals. From their first production, Schiller's Mary Stuart starring Gabrielle Rose (tonight AKA Mrs. Malaprop), their shows have always maintained a high professional standard with excellent performances and strong technical values and this production continues in that tradition.

Genevieve Fleming as Nora. Photo by Ryan McDonald

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
Directed by Tamara McCarthy
There are only three performances left of this excellent production of an Ibsen classic so get out to Jericho Arts Centre and catch an evening performance tonight or tomorrow or a 2 PM matinee (Saturday).  It is beautifully staged, the costumes are gorgeous and the performances uniformly excellent. Nora is a dream role for an actor and Genevieve Fleming does it justice.

First published and performed around 1879, at a time in Western society when women had no "rights" and their aspirations and desires were subservient to  father...

Chris Cochrane, Jonathon Young, Matreya Scarrwener. Photo by David Cooper

Less than a year after my husband succumbed to cancer,  I saw "Wit", in which Seana Mckenna played Dr. Vivian Bearing, a solitary, career-driven English Professor, undergoing treatment for terminal ovarian cancer. Despite the brittle humour and sardonic wit  which sustained the self-contained Dr. Bearing through several courses of aggressive chemotherapy, the sense of absolute solitariness in which each of us, like her,  will ultimately face death, permeated the play; and I remember that I cried silently throughout the play.
Knowing that The Waiting Room was based on musician/vocalist/composer John Mann's own encounter with colo-rectal cancer, and his album...

Spectacular mountain view from the patio

Yesterday I faced down another fear and crossed a challenge off my "to conquer" list. I realize that those hardy souls who commute daily for an hour or more to get to work will think I am a real wimp but honestly the last time I set off  to drive solo to a distant destination was about twenty years ago... and that journey ended in a minor catastrophe from which I was saved by a gang of Hells Angel's bikers. That's a story for a later post.

Cast of Les Miserables Arts Club 2015. Photo by Ross den Otter.

This is the second time I have sat in the darkened Stanley Theatre caught up in the heart-wrenching stories of Les Miserables, and wishing I had used a tear-proof mascara. I loved the Arts Club 2009 production (ReviewFromTheHouse: Les Miserables). I have seen the musical 5 times since the first touring company came through Vancouver in the late eighties, and also seen both the 1998 and 2012 film versions.  So I was expecting to be able to sit back and watch the show from a detached and objective perspective. But alas from the first notes of Fantine's  "I Dreamed...

The cast of TUTS Hairspray. Photo by Tim Matheson

The two theatrical happenings that annually signal  summer in Vancouver are the Theatre Under the Stars musicals at Malkin Bowl and  Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.  This year's musicals are Hairspray and Oliver (which I have still to see).  But with this delightful and funny production of Hairspray, TUTS has a definite winner - don't miss it.

the Junior Entrepreneurs EXPO site

For the summer holidays. my grand-daughter CJ was enrolled in a summer camp program called College For Kids at a local community college. Among the range of courses including languages, design, art, theatre  sports and more, for her first two weeks  she chose robotics, theatre improv and a class with the intriguing title,  "Future Millionaires and Junior Entrepreneurs". 

Designed for ages 9 to 16 years, "Future Millionaires and Junior Entrepreneurs" runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes each day over 8 days, culminating on Day 8 with the Junior Entrepreneurs Business Expo. The concept is to teach children how they...

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Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller.  Photography © Manja Wachsmuth Photography 2016. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group

Whether we are inhaling the aromas of curry with spices like cardamom, cumin and coriander, ...

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