Beauty Sleep, It’s a Real Thing

We as hosts see so many new products, whether it’s fashion, electronics or beauty. However, once in a while one comes along that blows me away!  I will be 55 years old this year and at this point, it’s not beautiful shoes that I notice on someone, it is their skin.  I am always on the lookout for the fountain of youth…and I think I may have found it!  I am talking about Evoté Skin Care.  This brand debuted exclusively at Evine in May and it is different than anything I have seen, read or presented.  So when I was fortunate to get to host the worldwide launch of this evolution in skincare, I was really excited.

Evoté was started by a husband and wife dream duo, Irena and Nik James.  Irena is a highly respected instructor at UCLA and well known around the globe for educating on the latest in skincare innovation and cosmetic ingredients. Nik is the President and Chairman of YG Laboratories, a private label skincare manufacturer and developer. Nik was born into the beauty business as the son of the world’s most preeminent cosmetic ingredient expert, Rebecca Gadberry.

Evoté’s claim to fame is that it is a scientific, patent-pending system that works with your skin at NIGHT when your skin and body are biologically programmed to restore themselves, AKA “Beauty Sleep.”

OK, when I heard what they had to say I was intrigued and I had to try it for myself.  Fast-forward 1 month since I first tried Evoté and I am sold!  I started off with the Evoté Step 1 and Step 2, 12 hour bio complex to kick start my Evoté journey.  I did this for 20 days and my skin looked brighter and firmer with better elasticity and radiance. I then moved onto a nighttime only routine with Evoté. I use the night cleanser, the night serum, the night eye cream, the night neck & décolleté cream and the night lip serum.  This routine is easy and very effective.  I continue to see improvements in the appearance of my skin with less fine lines and a more youthful look to the texture of my skin. I gave Evoté a HUGE stamp of approval!

OK, so enough about me…I thought it would be fun to get to know the couple behind this new skincare line so I did a Question & Answer session with the power couple, Irena and Nik James.

1. What was the first beauty product you ever created?

Irena:  An egg white, lemon, sage and sour cherry masque that I made from the ingredients from my fridge and the sour cherry tree that grew in front of my parents house.  I was 12 years old!

Nik:  I can’t even remember that was so many products ago.

2. How did you get into this crazy business of beauty?

Irena:  I grew up around very strong women who were my mentors from a very early age and watched them apply the knowledge of ancient European herbal modalities, modern biology, horticulture, agriculture, skin care sciences and cosmetic chemistry into daily life.  My own skin struggles pushed me into professional skin care research, education and formulation.

Nik:  I was literally born into it!

3. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Irena:  Must have a mix of both, how about a combo?

Nik:  Chocolate!

4. What inspires you?

Irena:  Being able to help others achieve their potential, believe in themselves and recognize special and unique value they can bring to the world.  I am also inspired by the strengths of the human spirit, life and nature and the relentless will and need to evolve in order to survive better on this planet. This includes all life forms, from my children and my husband, animals and plants and those invisible creatures, microbes we coexist with.

Nik:  My family.  Seeing my kids feel confident and secure because they know we’ve always got their backs as well as the belief and support of Irena.

5. Where is your happy place?

Irena:  Weekends at home by the pool with my pile of books and 3 highlighters listening to my husband singing along with James Brown hits while cooking one of his delicious Sunday family meals.

Nik:  With my family in our backyard on a sunny Southern CA Sunday afternoon.

6. If you weren’t doing Evoté and in the beauty biz, what would you be up to right now?

Irena:  Working on my degree in Social anthropology and promoting charities that make it possible for underprivileged children and orphans from war affected areas to get education and clean water.

Nik:  Stand up comedy and running a charity for abandoned bulldogs.

7. What were you like in high school?

Irena:  The mix of 2 opposites.  Mostly studious, serious, nerdy and mildly anti-social, but also adventurous, loved to travel and learn about different cultures.  I always felt out of place growing up in Eastern Europe and always felt my home was somewhere else.

Nik:  I was a friend with every clique and group, (I was actually 2nd runner up for Senior Class Friendliest) despite the fact that I looked very different from everyone else.  I had green hair, or purple or blue and piercings in my nose, lip etc. and sang in a punk rock band!

8. How did the 2 of you meet?

Irena:  Nik’s mom was my Cosmetic Chemistry mentor and hired me to work as her Director of Education and co-instructor at UCLA Extension Cosmetic Sciences program.

Nik:  My mom “imported” Irena from Canada and brought her on to be Irena’s mentor.  I was managing HR at the time and the rest they say is history.

So is Evoté a skincare story or love story?  For Irena and Nik, I think a love story.  For me Evoté is now the chance for me to love my skin!

Thanks Evoté!

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The “Earth” Without “Art” is Just “Eh”

Outside of Evine I am an art junkie.  Yep, there you go, I admit it.  I have worked in the fine art business for about 2 decades.  When I am not on-air shopping with you, I work in a fine art gallery on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, Minnesota.

I got into art as a part of the design process when working with residential and commercial design clients.  The art was always the most fun part for me, the icing on the cake, and the jewelry for the home.

All types of art mediums and styles fascinate me.  At the gallery we carry fine art on paper and canvas, giclees on paper and canvas, serigraphs, lithographs, silkscreens, etchings, encaustics, glass and acrylics.  Many of these pieces are multimedia with many techniques in one original piece of artwork.  The styles that surround me at the gallery are abstract, architectural, figurative, landscapes, musical, floral, photography, realistic or even sculpture.

People often ask “How do I know what kind of art to buy for my home?”  My response is always, “Oh, you will know, you will feel it.”  Art is such a personal choice.  If it makes you go “wow” then you have a personal connection.  Go with your emotions; go with your gut when choosing art.  Great art that you love gives you the ability to run away without ever leaving your home.

I am lucky enough to go on an art buying trip every year for the gallery and meet some incredible artists and see some really amazing art.  The artists I have met over the years have been creative, sometimes tortured souls, who see the world as their canvas; they just see things that some can only get a glimpse of. Some have formal training, most are just lucky enough to have their talent nurtured from the time they were children.  My favorite spot to pick up new art is down in Atlanta, Georgia.  I know what you’re thinking, “Atlanta, really?” The art community in Atlanta is HUGE!  There is a place I visit that is an old margarine factory converted into artist studios.  Here the imagination runs wild and the sense of community and support is infectious.  I will bring back over 300 original works of art as part of my job as art curator for the gallery.  This is always an exciting time for my clients because they get to come into the gallery, see the new art and dream a little.

So there you have it, an art junkie.  I crave it, I love it and it makes me happy.  Feed your artist soul, visit an art gallery and see how you feel.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”

                           -Pablo Picasso

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Cooper the Wonderdog

In honor of my fur baby Cooper’s 5-year adoption anniversary I thought I would blog about the way too skinny, battle weary, “vicious” stray with broken ribs, broken legs and worms that changed my world!
Yep, you heard it right. He was battered and broken and a stray on the streets of Texas that eluded the local dogcatcher for over a year.
Once an animal rescue finally got a hold of him they deemed him virtually “unadoptable.”  You gotta love an underdog, right?

So this is our story. Our story of trust, love and friendship.  My little monster is a Miniature Pinscher that we named Cooper.  Yes, he has baggage and yes he can be terrifying, but he is the furry love of my life.  About 5 years ago the kids were all out of the house to college in another state.  So we were empty nesters.  Sounds awesome right?  It had its moments of awesomeness but it’s really quiet after 2 ginormous boys are not taking up space in your house any longer.  On one of those really quiet Saturdays, I took out my motor scooter and went into town to run some errands and ended up in an accident.  Surgery was next and a LONG recovery process.  This is where the Coop comes in.  Since I was laid up I knew that I had some pity points with my husband and could pretty much talk him into anything.  Now was the chance for a new puppy!  I started looking into animal rescue places and found one called Midwest Animal Rescue right here in Minnesota.  I wanted a Miniature Pinscher because it was a good size and because I wanted a dog that would go everywhere with me and be up for any adventure.

I reached out to see if they had a Min Pin for me; I wanted one that no one else wanted and that is how I found the greatest dog in the world.  The rescue place sent me this picture of “Lambert” – that was the name they gave him.  He is SOOO NOT a Lambert – and I went to see him.

 

I knew that this was the dog for me; he needed me and I needed him.  Even though he had a REALLY rough history he was amazingly adaptable, was playing with the other puppies and was very inquisitive.  I wish that I could tell you it was love at first sight for Cooper but he was leery, can’t blame him.
Fast forward 5 years, that’s 35 years in dog years, and now Cooper is the smartest, quirkiest dog that knows how to dance like Beyoncé, jump like Wonderdog, sit like an angel and shake like a gentleman.  He can also sing to Bruno Mars “Locked out of Heaven.” He goes to the dog park, puppy day care and loves to find a sun puddle to lie in at home.  He has the run of the house and my entire heart!  The house is NEVER quiet now, the boys LOVE him and he has made my empty nest full of crazy Cooper fun.  I hit the puppy lottery when I adopted him- that too skinny, battle weary, “viscous” unadoptable stray just needed someone to trust and someone to love.  Guess what?  The unconditional love that he returns to me is 10 fold!

 

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Norton Family Merriest Moments Christmas Tradition

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Norton clan! 

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We kick off our family holiday season by sitting down as a family; me, John (hubby), Connor (26) and Alec (22), to get our Christmas card together.

It starts out as a time to reflect on the past year and recall what we are grateful for and what have become our Norton Merriest Moments. 

We started this tradition rather than writing a Christmas letter, it was hard enough to get the boys to sit down and think of their Merriest Moments, much less get them to commit to write part of a Christmas letter….

Let me give you some background on this…so when we sit down as a family to eat a meal, we started sharing what we were grateful for for the day.  Now it didn’t have to be a life-altering, earth-shattering thing to be grateful for, all it was was a moment to find goodness in that day.  This way if it was a particularly hard day at school for one of the boys, or a trying time at work for us, we would have to pause and find gratitude in something, anything, for the day.  It could be, “I am thankful for the dessert mom made,” or, “I am thankful for my friends,” even, “ I am thankful that Cooper the Wonderdog didn’t poop in the house today!”  This tradition continued when friends joined us for dinner as well.  At first the guest would be self conscious about the whole grateful thing but after time, returning friends and family were looking forward to the “what are you grateful for today” moment at the Norton table.  So many times this opened up conversations that would not have been had. One special moment for a friend of my son’s and his mom who were at our house for dinner, for the first time in a very long time, the son said he was grateful for his mom.  Seems small right?   Not to that mom who was so happy to hear something other than grunts from her teenage son.

OK and THEN it morphed into “Sunday Steak Nights.” That, has taken on a life of it’s own at our house.

The Norton table is open every Sunday night to friends, family, coworkers, strays and people needing a fix of love.  Some Sundays there are 2 at the table some Sundays there are 12!  And the “what we are grateful for for the day” goes on and on and on.  So fun!  The more people at my table the more grateful I am!  And there is always somehow enough to go around, a little like the tale of the loaves and fishes.

So back to the holiday tradition…we wanted to have a family holiday card to be about what we were grateful for, since it’s kind of “our thing” now but we wanted it to be what we were grateful for for the YEAR!

It got crazy long so we shortened it for the holidays to: The Norton’s Merriest Moments

 

For 2016 the Norton Merriest Moments are:

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2016 Merriest Moments Continued

Past Norton Merriest Moments

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2014 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2010 Norton Merriest Moments

 

 

 

 

 

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My Life Changing Trek

Kathy blog 2 15There are moments that you never forget, those moments that could be called ‘life changing’.  One of those times for me was my mission trip with Smile Network. This is a humanitarian organization that provides life-altering reconstructive surgeries and related healthcare services to impoverished children and adults in developing nations.  When you make a donation for a dollar, ten dollars, five hundred dollars or more, you are giving someone in need the priceless gift of dignity.  In fact, I learned that 45 minutes and $500.00 changes a life forever.

Kathy blog 2 4 So here is my story.  After a major health scare and recovery, I was feeling pretty lucky, blessed.  So I wanted to give back.  Turns out my good friend and college roommate, Dawn, felt the same way.  We went to a meeting to find out more about the organization and the work they were doing in Peru with many children from the Ketchwa tribe.  Wow!  Here is what we signed up for . . .

 

Kathy blog 2 21We were going to be gone from our families and the basic comforts of home for 17 days.  The first few days in Peru we acclimated to the elevation in the beautiful town of Cusco.  Beautiful people.  Then, it was off to the classic Inca Trail where we would be bonding with our surgical team by hiking together for five days and four nights.  We hiked about eight hours each day and summited at ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ at around 13,000 feet above sea level.

 Kathy blog 2 9The Inca Trail is really three overlapping trails: Mollepata, Classic, and One Day.  Mollepata is the longest of the three routes, with the highest mountain pass, and intersects with the Classic route before crossing Warmiwañusqa (‘dead woman’).  Located in the Andes mountain range, the trail passes through several types of Andean environments including cloud forest and alpine tundra.  Settlements, tunnels, and many Incan ruins are located along the trail before ending at the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain.

Kathy blog 2 12We trekked with moms, dads, teenagers, photographers, porters and even a Peruvian shaman, Roni.  There were lots of laughs, really bad camp food, twisted ankles, altitude sickness and NO BATHROOMS!  The trail tested our physical fitness, mental toughness, even our modesty.  But, man-oh-man, was it ever life changing.  I was truly present for every moment.  Nothing but the trail and your walking stick for days.  The scenery was breath Kathy blog 2 22taking, but the moment that we got to the Sun Gate – the end of the trail – Machu Picchu was beyond words.  We were exhausted, dirty, hungry and SOOOO awe inspired to see in person what we have only seen in pictures.  I mean when was the last time you did something for the very first time?   Machu Picchu is enormous!!!  We spent hours there soaking it all in and then it was off for showers and food! 

Kathy blog 2 13But after all that, the REAL adventure was about to start.  We were there for a medical mission and it was time to start the process, our higher purpose.

 Day 1 of the mission was where we started the screening process.  Some families had walked for days to just get the chance to see one of the mission doctors in hopes that their child’s face could be repaired and life changed.  There were hundreds that came in to be screened, and Kathy blog 2 14less than 75 that would get this life changing surgery.  I have to say, much of that day was heartbreaking, having to turn away families and knowing what they had gone through just to get there, much less what their lives were like back home.  Gut wrenching really.  The doctors are made up of volunteers from all over the world; pediatricians, plastic surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, all here ‘on vacation’ working 15 hour days to give the less fortunate in this world another chance.

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Days 2-4:  Surgeries began and recoveries continued.  Most of the families didn’t speak English or Spanish but rather a Ketchwa dialect that required translators to help them discuss the surgery and what to expect.  Mostly Kathy blog 2 3for me, it was telling moms that it was going to be okay by dishing out a lot of hugs and prayers.  It’s so surreal – a mother handing over their child and their trust to you while they really can’t begin to understand what is happening.  I became a ‘godmother’ to many of the babies that we were able to help.  I actually even got to assist in the surgeries, becoming sort of a ‘scrub nurse’, in what are not modern surgery centers, but more like M.A.S.H. units.  Pictures tell it best.  Truly, in 45 minutes, these doctors and nurses changed lives forever, mine too. 

This experience has changed the way I think about the world and my life . . . forever.

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Traditions

kathy blog 2 homeThere is something so nostalgic and a bit romantic about creating great traditions with family and friends. We started going ‘up North to the cabin’ every July with our college friends about 30 years ago.  Back then we were just a group of crazy couples (with even some of our parents), then babies came and weddings and funerals  . . . but we never missed this time together.  Fast-forward to more recent years and it’s back to just us crazy couples – now all empty nesters!  The events of the week have started to revolve around food, what could be better?!

kathy blog 2 beach fireSo picture this . . . lakeside cabin with a great beach, bonfire, loons (the bird not the people) and some great classic rock music . . . and now add in a traditional CLAMBAKE!

Here’s how we did it, and now it’s part of the tradition and everyone can participate.

Start with a visit to your local fish market to get the clams, shrimp, mussels and lobsters!  And the rest is kathy blog 2 lobstereasy.  We wanted to do this on the beach over an open fire, so we started with a huge galvanized tub and started picking rocks out of the lake to use at the bottom of the tub. Filled it with lake water – yep, lake water (a really clean lake) – and then started layering in all the goodies.

Here’s the recipe I use (not created but use, and it’s perfect every time):

Beach Clambake

1-½ lbs of baby red potatoes                                                                        1 lb little neck clams                                                                                         2 cups water                                                                                                      4 tablespoons salted butter                                                                              2 large yellow onions, cut into eighths                                                           8 garlic cloves                                                                                                   ½ bottle of dry white wine                                                                               1 ¼ lb of kielbasa sausage, cut into bit size                                                    3 lobsters, each 1 1/2 lbs or larger                                                                      5 medium ears of corn, husked and broken in half                                         1 lb of deveined shrimp                                                                                    8 lemons, quartered for serving                                                                 Tons of melted butter for serving                                                     Sourdough bread for serving

  1. kathy blog 2 guysPre boil the potatoes until tender
  2. Fill large bowl with cool, slated tap water and submerge clams for 30-45 min. This way they purge the sand.  Scrub.
  3. Start adding ingredients to the tub in this order (with enough water in the tub to cover the rocks) and steam the ingredients: onion, garlic, wine, cooked potatoes, sausage. Steam for 5 minutes by covering with wet beach towel. Add the lobsters and cook for 6 minutes. Add the corn and clams and cook another 6 minutes. Add shrimp, cover and cook another 6 minutes.
  4. Pour onto a newspaper-covered table and serve with lemons and melted butter and some fresh warm sourdough bread.

The bar is easy, we usually have cold beer in a tub and some crisp, cold, white wine.

We spread newspaper over a picnic table down at the waters edge, throw out a few plates and lobster crackers, and go to town!

Dessert?  That’s easy….s’mores of course!  Enjoy!

kathy blog 2 filled tubs

 

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Fore!

I LOVE summer!  Living in Minnesota, what that means is trying to make the most of all (what seems to last) 15 minutes of it before winter kicks in again!

Being a bit of a hippie, my ‘normal’ (but seriously, what is ‘normal’ for this girl?) summer activities are all about hitting up as many outdoor music festivals I can, and I will for sure do that this summer.  BUT, a once in a lifetime event is coming to Hazeltine National Golf Course (my home course): THE 2016 RYDER CUP!  Okay, so if you’re not a golfer, you’re thinking, huh?  The Ryder Cup is a biennial men’s golf competition between the best 24 players from Europe and the United States. The competition is played every two years, with the venue alternating between courses in the USA and Europe. It will only be at Hazeltine National this one time, EVER!  Here is a picture of me and my hubby, John, with the Ryder Cup trophy:

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The trophy is only 17″ tall and weighs 4 lbs. but is fiercely fought over.  It’s not the traditional quiet, golf-clap kind of tournament, it’s one of the most patriotic events you’ll ever see.  In fact, you can barely hear yourself think over the “U- S- A” chants and the Europeans “Ole Ole Ole”!  The Ryder Cup tournament is actually bigger than the Super Bowl, and more like the ‘golf olympics’.  We’re expecting over 1/4 million people from all over the world right, here in my hometown!  The construction of the massive corporate villages and grandstands has already begun on the course, taking 4 months to get it all built!  As a member, I’ve been really involved in helping find private homes to rent for corporations and golf enthusiasts from all over the world.  I’ve met celebrities, corporate giants and even a cricket team with one thing in common….they LOVE golf.  I’ll keep you posted about all the happenings as we get ready to tee up for the greatest game ever played!  Fore!!

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