Monday Musings – Face Masks, Hair, and Ballet

Happy Monday ladies. It’s Memorial Day here in the USA and we are doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary at our house so I’m actively looking for distractions.

Here are a couple of things on my mind this week-


I began taking Royal Ballet classes in downtown Toronto at 5. By the time I was 15, I was taking Cecchetti Ballet classes, dancing many hours a day, 6 days a week. To say I love ballet is a gross understatement. It’s the most elegant form of exercise I’ve ever found and also calms my mind.

I found an online adult Ballet class this weekend and almost wept with joy. I’ve been gradually losing my flexibility and as much as I enjoy Yoga, it’s hard on my wrists and hurts my arthritic thumbs. Ballet builds strength, increases our flexibility and if I close my eyes, I can feel my body moving with the sort of grace that feels calm and restorative. Perfect for me, then and now.


Face masks are all the rage and I don’t expect that to fade anytime soon. Many people here seem to be relaxing their usage but I suspect we’ll be seeing them for a long time. They’re going from a necessity to a fashion statement They’ve Many brands and designers are making face masks so there is enough variety to have your make a fashion statement. If you love boho, Anthropologie has masks for you. More of a minimalist? There are pattern free simple ones in neutrals everywhere. Even Disney has facemasks to order which will put a smile on every face, literally. If animal print is your thing you can find them in a mask here, and here.

There are plenty of Hermes “type” scarves available or you can buy one sewn from a real Hermes scarf. How cool is that?

Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is super popular so I’m surprised I haven’t taken it up until now. I’m vigilant about using body oil and lotion yet my skin has taken on a lizardy look that I’m not happy with. Dry brushing is done on dry skin, before your shower. You use a body brush with medium to stiff, plant-based bristles and brush towards your heart. It’s reported to improve cellulite and lymph drainage but honestly, I suspect it just helps exfoliate dry skin which is what I need. It’s not recommended for sensitive skin and you need to be gentle.

Thinning Hair

I’ve shared my struggle with thinning hair here, and here, and here. When I got my health scare earlier this year, I reexamined everything I was putting in and on my body. I’ve been a devotee of clean beauty products for years but made exceptions for my hair. However armed with a health worry and since my hair was looking pretty good, I stopped using the Rogaine. I’m here to report that the package directions are correct. When you stop using Rogaine, any regrowth you’ve gotten from the product will come out, and it did. Now that my health worries have been cleared up I have begun using Minoxidil again. It doesn’t help every woman with thinning hair but it did help me so I hope it will again.

Many of you recommend this Viviscal product which has excellent reviews online.

This Nutrafol also has excellent reviews so I may try one of those.

I have had my eye on this helmet for a long time and am getting very tempted. It’s FDA cleared and proven effective…I just wish it didn’t look so dumb.

*Here’s how I apply Rogaine.

Bird Update

I hate to keep talking about my Hummingbirds, but I’m simply obsessed. I’ve hauled out our binoculars to get a closer look and find myself waiting for a sighting at the expense of my book and magazine reading. Yup, I’m obsessed. I do have an aggressive little fellow who spends his energy shooing other birds away from the feeders. I know they’re territorial but I’ve ordered a few more feeders so there’s plenty for everyone.

I’m having problems with bees so I’ve ordered several dish feeders that are designed to prevent bees and ants from being able to access the nectar. I also ordered a feeder to stick on the window for up-close viewing. Yup…obsessed:)

What’s on your radar this week?

Be well and remember to wear what you love that makes you feel confident.



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  1. Jen
    May 28, 2020 / 8:22 am

    I’ve been enjoying fancy masks (I have the anthro ones on order too.) It’s adds a bright spot to otherwise bleak errands. I took adult ballet classes at the National Ballet with Ballet Bob in the late 90s. One day a newspaper photographer came in and I ended up in the pages of the Toronto Star doing barre work. My male investment banking colleagues thought it was pretty hilarious but I loved that class. Stay safe. I’m making a career pivot and am up to my ears in Zoom classes but will pop into read you when I have a moment since I so enjoy your blog! Xx

    • Jennifer
      May 28, 2020 / 4:16 pm

      That’s wonderful Jen! Best of luck xx

  2. Molly
    May 25, 2020 / 3:59 pm

    Have, fortunately, lots of hair in my short pixie cut, but it’s superfine. Highly recommend Giovanni Root 66 shampoo and conditioner. It’s for “limp, lifeless hair” and works wonders on building volume. Also healthy ingredients.

  3. Penelope
    May 25, 2020 / 1:04 pm

    My mother so much wanted me to be a dancer. At age 5 after unsuccessful attempts at ballet and tap, we discovered I have an inner ear imbalance. One turn and I was on the floor. That was the end of dance. However at age 35 I discovered yoga and it was the perfect calming exercise for me until again balance issues arose. Now I walk when it’s not too hot and humid.

    Regarding hair loss, I’ve read that clogged follicles are the issue. I’ve seen natural products to help cleanse these and encourage growth. Chemicals are not an option for me.

    We have wonderful birds in our area.. some are comical, others graceful with beautiful night songs at dusk. My favorites are mynah , sharma, and doves. Cattle egrets are abundant, ( beautiful creatures) as well as wild chickens.
    It’s taken a while to appreciate the chickens.
    No hummingbirds that I’ve seen.

    What is getting me through this week is gardening.
    We have red, sticky clay that is a pain to work in , and constant worry about poisonous centipedes in the underbrush, but nonetheless, it’s been inspiring to get out and dig in the earth. It’s good for “grounding” and getting some healthy Vit D. Many plants here are easy to root so we simply take cuttings and stick them in the ground. No need to buy expensive plants. It feels good to be beautifying the earth in our little corner of the world.

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2020 / 4:43 pm

      That sounds very relaxing. Gardening is very relaxing

  4. AHW
    May 25, 2020 / 12:59 pm

    Jennifer, your concerns with fine, thin hair resonate. Have you consulted a trichologist? Over a year and a half ago I made an appointment with Capilia here in Victoria, BC; just months after my first treatment (completely non-invasive) and conscientiously using only their products the improvement was visible. My hair thickness and body continue to improve. The trichologist at Capilia cautions against Rogaine which brings on what she terms ‘false hair’ and can have negative side-effects.
    Although Capilia – doesn’t appear to have a facility in California, I notice they offer a free virtual consultation to advise on the likely cause of your thinning hair (there are so many different possible reasons) and a suggested course of treatment. Alternatively, undoubtedly there are other reputable trichologists near you.
    Good luck!

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2020 / 4:42 pm

      I have been looking into their caps too! Thanks

  5. Anon
    May 25, 2020 / 12:44 pm

    I hope that face masks will be adopted as they have been in Japan. People wear them there when they have a cold or flu, as a courtesy to others. In a country as crowded as Japan, civil society is a thing. I wonder if this practice is why Covid-19 was not as bad as it could have been in Japan. Also, the lack of central heating in most places, with its associated vents and airflow could have played a role, but masks are probably #1.

  6. Kay
    May 25, 2020 / 12:11 pm

    This post is full of good stuff! I’m also watching the humming birds. My cat is beside herself with the excitement of those birds right outside the window. Dry brushing sounds exactly what I need, I hadn’t heard of it before. I’ve been making my own masks (with my brand new sewing machine) but I do love the idea of a Hermes mask! Toronto! My hometown. I haven’t been in ages, but when this plague subsides, I’m going to The Bay on Yonge and spending the entire day there. I miss a proper department store.

  7. Claudette
    May 25, 2020 / 11:09 am

    Great articles. I also love the birds and this year I have a nice group of red headed and yellow finches. I use sunflower seeds. All the babies are out with the parents and it is so much fun watching them. They are messy but it feeds the birds that are more ground feeders and our neighborhood squirrels. I have read several articles by people who now work at home and have become bird lovers. They were so busy with their lives prior to having to stay at home they never noticed the birds. Headed out to sweep up the daily mess. LOL

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2020 / 4:01 pm

      I would love to have birdseed but we live on a hill and I don’t want to attract the rats! We’ve already had an issue with them.

  8. Bea
    May 25, 2020 / 9:17 am

    So were you born in Canada, Jennifer? Just curious because my daughter went to the University of Toronto and ended up marrying a Canadian (now lives with her husband and four children just northeast of Toronto). Don’t you hate the closed border?

    Enjoy your online ballet classes and the holiday too. Best wishes.

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2020 / 4:00 pm

      Yes, I was born in Canada and lived there until I was 12. I do hate the closed border!!!

  9. Lauren
    May 25, 2020 / 9:13 am

    Waiting…… as are a few others who commented here to learn where to find the on-line Ballet classes. Thank You Bernice Harper (teacher) for my ballet classes when I was young 🙂
    I am a Canadian and so many things on Blogs are all to purchase from US websites and the damn dollar and Duty just make that hard “sigh”….the Sales right now make it possible to get a decent price 🙂

  10. Terry
    May 25, 2020 / 7:30 am

    Jennifer, I tried dry brushing a couple years ago. There is a warning about veins. If you have varicose veins do not dry brush. Well, I had some veins but not varicose veins…but I do now! My legs look terrible. Please be careful and do your research, ladies.

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2020 / 3:59 pm

      Thanks for the tip Terry

  11. Ainsley
    May 25, 2020 / 6:53 am

    Would you please share the link to your online ballet class? Many thanks!

  12. Alison
    May 25, 2020 / 6:52 am

    Would you please share the link to your online ballet class? Many thanks!

  13. Kristine
    May 25, 2020 / 6:49 am

    I took ballet classes for many, many years also…..will you please share where you are taking your online classes? Thank you.

  14. Rose
    May 25, 2020 / 6:27 am

    Love all your topics today. I too did ballet for many years as a child. I loved it and found I really enjoy a class on TV called classical stretching. Way more beneficial then one would think. I have never given up using Nioxin scalp therapy. Seems to work for me. We went to the cemetaries yesterday to lay flowers for our loved ones and today we are golfing for the first time this year, can’t wait!

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2020 / 3:56 pm

      Happy Memorial Day Rose!

    • Sue
      May 28, 2020 / 2:57 pm

      Thank you for reminding me about Classical Stretch with Miranda Edmonde-White. I find her routines work muscles that don’t get attention in my usual exercise routines so have added one of her workouts to my Wednesdays. Our local PBS station runs her series.

  15. patricia mccall
    May 25, 2020 / 6:11 am

    Jennifer, I so enjoy your daily articles. Such a variety of topics…fashion, books, food, wine and
    just your personal likes and preferences….I pray your health issues are all taken care of….
    Happy Memorial Day!!!

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2020 / 3:55 pm

      Happy Memorial Day!

  16. Noelle
    May 25, 2020 / 5:31 am

    All these lovely looking masks make quite a fashion statement, with Hermès even getting on the band wagon. However Covid-19 information sites I’ve read say wear once and wash in very hot water before using again, so I’m at a loss how it makes sense to use anything except 100% cotton or linen.

  17. Yvonne
    May 25, 2020 / 5:11 am

    So let me guess – you would have gone to see The Nutcracker every Christmas at the O’Keefe Centre and you had your ballet recitals at the Eaton College Street Auditorium. My mum sent me to ballet lessons, which I hated as I have 2 left feet, but for exercise it was great and I can remember my muscles actually shaking after classes LOL.
    And yes, I need some fashionable face masks!

    • Jennifer
      May 25, 2020 / 8:48 pm

      Yes, every Christmas. We went often throughout the year. I never had recitals but I did have Royal Academy Dance exams which were terrifying at the time:) This was serious business at my school which I loved!

  18. Jan
    May 25, 2020 / 4:57 am

    Maybe now more than ever, I need to fill my day with a variety of activities. I do some simple yoga stretching before I go out and walk. I think it has improved my flexibility and balance issues. Maybe your ballet would have the same benefits plus add that fun element to your daily routine! How great is that!?
    Dry skin, thinning hair…it’s all happening in my world! I have tried so many lotions over the years and just want to give a shout out to the Dr. Theals product line. I love the citrus lotion in particular. Smells great and absorbs quickly.
    I haven’t been able to attract the finches but am having so much fun with the orioles! Oranges and grape jelly continue to be on my grocery list! Lol

  19. JMod
    May 25, 2020 / 4:24 am

    I would love to hear more about the online adult ballet class! Please share more, if you don’t mind.

  20. Anne Missere
    May 25, 2020 / 4:09 am

    I really enjoy your blogs. Much more informative than simply fashion, but I totally enjoy that too. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Janet
    May 25, 2020 / 3:40 am

    Jennifer, I get so much great information from the information you share! Today is no exception.
    Question: I know nothing about ballet but it is an interesting idea for strength and balance. Is it a good option for a 60 year old out of shape body? I can’t do yoga due to sore hands, knees and hips. You mentioned an online group. Any more information? Thanks.

    • Audrey
      May 25, 2020 / 6:06 am

      Janet, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall started taking ballet classes 18 months ago. She 2ill be 73 years old in July

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