Showing posts with label MasterClass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MasterClass. Show all posts

Monday, July 5, 2021

Rosy the Reviewer's Master Review of MasterClass - Part 3: Tan France Teaches Style for Everyone

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I am into fashion.  I have written about it several times from "Librarian Fashion (no, that's not an oxymoron) to a history of Baby Boomer fashion ("A Baby Boomer's Fashion Show: A Short History of the Last 65 Years in the Clothes We Wore") to fashion advice for us older, curvier ladies ("Fashion Inspiration for the Woman of a Certain Age - and Size!"). 

So, of course, I would be drawn to this MasterClass. And who wouldn't want some tips from Tan France, the style guy on the new version of "Queer Eye?"  And lest you men out there think there is nothing here for you, you would be wrong.  When Tan France says " style for everyone," he means it.

In a series of 12 videos (2 hours and 19 minutes), France teaches us how to be the very best versions of ourselves.  He promises that at the end of the class "You will feel wonderful," because style commands respect and investing in your image can change your life.

With the caveat that rules can be broken, he lays out "The Rules of Great Style," and adds, yes, rules can be broken but first, you need to know the rules.

  • Know your proportions - realize your are not a super model.  You are not meant to wear those runway clothes.
  • Know yourself - don't wear something that is not you.
  • Let go of archaic rules e.g. curvy girls don't need to wear A-line dresses (thank the lord!)

  • Let go of "dressing for your age (thank, god)!"

  • Add great accessories

And speaking of accessories, he says that Coco Chanel ruined accessories for us when she said before going out look at yourself in the mirror and remove one thing.  He says NOT to limit yourself. Load up those accessories!

France then goes on to discuss the importance of a "Capsule Wardrobe," which is a collection of neutral classic pieces that you can mix and match.  

I couldn't help but laugh here.  I have the equivalent of about 100 capsule wardrobes (this is only one of my closets)!

In fact, I've written about my tendency to, uh, dare I say it?  Hoard? ("
Confessions of a Clothes Hoarder")

Anyway, a good capsule wardrobe should consist of:

1.  A great coat

2.  A leather jacket

3.  Button up shirts in neutral colors

4.  A great fitting suit

5. Neutral sweaters

6. T-shirts (black, white, navy and khaki)

7.  A couple of pairs of denim jeans (how about 20)?

8.  Wonderful footwear - white sneakers, a nude heel or a dressed up flat.

9.  A statement belt - if you need a belt to hold up your pants they are too big.  Get them tailored!

10.  A little classic dress

Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check and check.

And if you guys are still out there, note all of that capsule wardrobe applies to you too - well, maybe not the nude heel, dressed up flats or little classic dress. Instead, for shoes, you need the sneakers, as well as a black boot and a brown shoe or boot. But all of the rest applies.

Tan goes on to then show how to turn this capsule wardrobe into all kinds of looks, how to transition from brunch to work to evening and the importance of adding accessories (they show that you give a damn about how you look).

All along he shares various fashion tips and here is my favorite:

If you want to keep your denim jeans in great shape, don't wash them.  Keep them in the freezer.  The freezer will kill bacteria.  He only washes his jeans about twice a year.  That may work for guys but I don't see it working for us gals.

As for finding your own personal style?

Who do you admire?  Find someone you think looks nice.  You are not copying, you are being inspired.  Then create a mood board that has the vibe you are going for.  According to Tan, you don't need to wear designer clothes to have style.  In fact, just because you wear designer clothes doesn't mean you have style.  Style is how you put things together.  Fashion is fussy; style is fun.

He then goes on to show how to get the right fit (it's all about balance and he is really into tailoring), how to shop in person and online (I didn't need any help with that!), how to stay current (he's not into hoarding clothes - oops!), and he warns that you will make mistakes on your journey to find your style and that's okay, it happens. It's the way you learn what works for you.


And the final takeaway is this: your wardrobe should make you feel wonderful so stand tall with confidence in clothes you love.  Make an effort to make every day a special occasion day.

Yes, sir!

So, was it worth it?

Sure. Spending a couple of hours with Tan France was fun.  He is a charming guy who will give you confidence in finding your style.  However, I will say that this is aimed more at the fashion beginner, not someone like me who has been shopping her head off for most of her life and hoards, er, has lots of clothes.






And beyond!

But he did his job. If you are into fashion or just want to look good and need or want some inspiration, this is for you.  

As for me, he was right.  Finding my personal style has made me feel wonderful! 

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Rosy the Reviewer's Master Review of MasterClass - Part 2: Jon Kabat-Zinn Teaches Mindfulness and Meditation

As I said in a past blog post, "
A Little Meditation on a Little Meditation by an Unlikely Meditator," I am not the kind of person you would necessarily think was into meditation. If you had asked me 50 years ago when I was (mumble) years old, I would have said "No way." I have never been a very New Age type, not really much into most kinds of "woo woo" and I am kind of a bossy, A-Type personality so you would not think I would be into meditation, but you see I realized at some point the importance of self-awareness (that's how I can admit to being bossy), and I learned that you can't become self-aware without mindfulness, and you can't really become mindful without spending some time with yourself in meditation.

So here I am, continuing my journey with MasterClass (after spending a few hours in my first class with Gordon Ramsay), this time wanting to get deeper into meditation and who better to teach me than Kabat-Zinn, one of the foremost experts on mindfulness? He is an American professor emeritus of medicine and a founding member of the Cambridge Zen Center.  He studied with Zen Buddhist teachers which led him to integrate yoga and those teachings with medicine which in turn led to him creating the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness in Medicine. So I would say this guy knows what he is doing.

Now I know you are all busy, so I thought I would do the heavy-lifting for you.  I have watched 20 videos (some long, some short) and spent over six hours with Zinn, and here it is laid out for you in hopes that you will be intrigued enough to either take this MasterClass or at least do some investigating on your own into the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.  I know it has helped me.  In addition to becoming more aware about myself, I have also become a better listener, I have become less of a know-it-all and I have stopped criticizing Hubby. Well, mostly. That's HUGE, right?

So here is a taste of what I learned:

What is mindfulness?  

Basically, according to Kabat-Zinn, it is an awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgment.  It is "to befriend the present moment as it is...and to WAKE UP."  How many of us are just sleeping through our lives, living out our routines with nary a thought to how we are feeling in the given moment?  So this is an invitation to "befriend yourself" and live your fullest life from where you are now. Thoreau went to Walden Pond to live a deliberate life so he wouldn't be on his death bed wishing he had really lived.  Mindfulness helps us live deliberately, to really live.

So to be mindful, Kabat-Zinn says there are certain attitudes we should cultivate:

Non-judging. This doesn't mean you won't judge.  It just reminds us of how judging we are.  Meditation teaches that we don't need to be imprisoned by our own likes and dislikes.

For example, I might judge someone on their clothes or how they dance or whether or not they like sports, but at least I am mindful that I am being judgy. I say to myself, "Rosy, you are being judgy.  Now stop it!"

Patience.  Meditation reminds us of how impatient we are and how we lose the present moment by anticipating some other better present moment. Mindfulness of our impatience throughout the day helps us to become less impatient.

For example, when someone in the car ahead of me holds up traffic to let someone into our lane and ahead of me, and I miss the present moment of getting through the light before it turns red because I am dreading a future present moment sitting at the damn light again, I might give him or her the finger but at least I am aware that my impatience made me do it.

The Beginner's Mind.  Being an expert on everything, thinking we already know the answer keeps us from really knowing.  Maybe we don't know as much as we think and if we keep our minds open - a beginner's mind - we might just learn something.

For example, does "mansplaining" ring a bell? You know who you are. And, you notice there is no female equivalent, right? I learned long ago that I didn't know everything and have learned to keep my mouth shut when I think I do, which in turn has made me a better listener!

Trust. We need to trust our own trustworthiness, that our intentions are authentic.

For example, I may screw up but my intentions are good and I have no problem recognizing when I screw up and trying to make it right!

Non-striving. This can sound like sitting on our butts and doing nothing.  It's almost un-American to not want to be a go-getter, right? -  but what this really means is that there really is no place to go, nothing to do and nothing to attain, and when we adopt those thoughts, the opposite happens, everything becomes attainable.  Yes, it's a paradox but we can attain more and do better work by not striving for the outcome but rather taking care in the journey.

For example, since I have retired, I take great care to sleep late; I can spend an entire day doing nothing; and I can be content going nowhere.  I am now waiting for the paradox to kick in.

Acceptance. This doesn't mean you don't work for change.  It just means you see the reality of the situation, it registers, you recognize it, you accept it and then you ask yourself if you can live with it.  If you can't, you change it.  For us to act, the reality has to register and then we have to accept that reality.  It's a recognition of things as they are, good and bad.

For example, I know that the reality of my life is that I will never be besties with Oprah, that I will never win the lottery and I will never lose that last 20 pounds.  I accept that but that doesn't mean I will give up. Acceptance of my reality allows me to take action, so I will continue to stalk Oprah, buy lottery tickets and wish I could lost 20 pounds.

So once you have some attitudes that are condusive to meditation, the next step is to get your butt on the cushion. 


Well, Kabat-Zinn said "ass," but you get the drift.  And it doesn't need to be on the floor.  You can sit in a chair or lie down but the main message is to do the practice.

Kabat-Zinn then goes into the practical basics of meditation practice, both formal and informal, how to breathe and how to deal with all of those thoughts running through your mind (you just let them come and go) followed by some guided meditations that will help you practice.  And the more you practice, the more the practice of meditation will become a rich part of your life. You will realize the importance of BEING over DOING. It's an act of love for yourself.

Kabat-Zinn also tackles dealing with pain and suffering (make friends with it), starting your morning with some hatha yoga (he shares his morning routine but he lost me at getting down on the floor!), the science behind meditation and how it positively affects our bodies. Meditation is an act of loving kindness to ourselves. 

He then ends the course with how mindfulness can heal the world! The world heals when we step out of our small-minded, self-interested personas and see the world as more than just our own tribe. Small shifts in our own attitudes can have huge effects. The present moment is all we have and we want to be present. Meditation and mindfulness helps us to do that.

When I talk about meditation, many people say "I would like to try it, but I just can't control my thoughts" or "I'm just not good at it."  Kabat-Zinn reminds us that there is no need to strive for perfection in meditation (or anything else for that matter) because we are already whole, we are already perfect just as we are.

So, was it worth it?

Yes!  Who doesn't want to be awake for one's own life? My only criticism would be that the course is long, but if you have been interested in getting started with meditation and mindfulness or you just want a refresher, this is a worthwhile and inspiring course. The guided meditations alone will help you.

Meditation has made me a better listener and a more compassionate and caring person. And after taking this course, I feel that the even better, more improved, non-judging, patient, open, trusting, non-striving, accepting and just plain groovy Rosy is right around the corner! After that, I'm going to help heal the world!

Now on to MasterClass #3 -  Tan France Teaching Style for Everyone!  You knew I would have to get into fashion at some point, right?

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Rosy the Reviewer's Master Review of MasterClass - Part 1: Gordon Ramsay - Teaches Cooking 1

To begin with, I don't know about you, but I am a bit of a celebrity watcher.  In my youth, I had aspirations to be an actress and have always been fascinated by the lives of the rich and famous.  Let's just say, I always thought that Oprah and I would have been great friends.

So when a friend of mine asked if I would be interested in a "special" that MasterClass was offering - a two-for-one kind of deal - I decided, yes, I wouldn't mind spending some time cooking with Gordon Ramsay or getting writing tips from Roxane Gay.

So, first of all, just what is Master Class?

In a nutshell, MasterClass is a subscription online education program where experts (and yes, celebrities) give pre-recorded tutorials and lectures. Topics range from music to cooking to writing to sports to business to government - you name it.  But the fun part is - you get to hang out with a celebrity or an expert on a topic and learn something at the same time.

I decided to start with some cooking classes with Gordon Ramsay, because as you know I love to cook (I have written about my own cooking adventures in "Rosy's Test Kitchen #1,#2, #3, #4 and #5).  Next I want to try Mindfulness and Meditation with John Kabat-Zinn because I want to be mindful and improve my meditation practice, then on to writing tips from Roxanne Gay because as you know I love to write and then style tips from Tan France (the style guy on the new version of "Queer Eye") because you know I love fashion. I am reviewing my very first MasterClass! 

Gordon Ramsay - Teaches Cooking 1

I have always been a Gordon Ramsay fan from "Hells Kitchen" to his latest "Uncharted" adventures.  I figured out early that despite his sometimes raging, angry television persona, he is really a pussy cat.  And, after seeing this first Masterclass, I am not only convinced of that, but also see why he is considered a chef at the top of his game.

His Masterclass consists of 20 videos, each ranging from 6 minutes to 25 for a total of almost four hours. It begins with a four minute intro with arty shots of Gordon's hands and some vegetables, which you can skip, but after that it's a riveting display of Gordon Ramsay's skills as a chef with so many good tips for us amateurs that my head is whirling (good thing there is a downloadable workbook available). 

The series begins with Gordon explaining how he became a chef. I feel I can now call him Gordon after spending almost four hours with him just him and me.  He was a rugby star but at 16 snapped his leg so that was out.  So his parents made him take a foundation course in catering and the rest is history.  He is very candid, unscripted and talks off the cuff - all very Gordon but nary a "f**k me" to be heard!  Well, I know.  That would be asking too much so there are a few. Okay a lot, but you will hardly notice. He actually mostly says "beautiful!" when describing him own cooking!

So then with video #3, we get into the nitty gritty of cooking with him giving me a tour of his kitchen and explaining the importance of a good kitchen layout and the basic essentials of a good kitchen - great pots and pans, good knives, not sure about the blow torch and the smoking gun, though. That video is followed by mastering vegetables and herbs, knife skills, poaching the perfect egg, elevating scrambled eggs, breaking down a chicken, how to cook fish and meat, making pasta dough and ending with some "Advice for Life."  In the meantime, he unlocks the secrets to his iconic Beef Wellington as well as demonstrating how to cook some dishes - Salmon with Shellfish Minestrone, Lobster Ravioli, and Chicken Supreme with Root Vegetables.

Some of this might be overwhelming for the amateur cook.  Will I be making my own pasta or breaking down a whole chicken or a whole fish that is as big as my arm any time soon?

Will I use sea urchin to elevate my scrambled eggs?  Probably not.  I don't even know where I would find a sea urchin, but at least now I know how to break down a chicken and a fish, if I wanted to, and make killer scrambled eggs!  

But whether or not you can see yourself following through with some of these recipes or techniques, watching Gordon do his thing is fascinating.  He has such a reverence for the ingredients.  When he breaks down the chicken, he handles each piece so gently and places it so beautifully on the counter. Even if you don't believe in eating meat or fowl, at least Gordon gives those ingredients respect.  And when he plates the chicken for his Chicken Supreme, I was in awe of all of the details he used to make it perfect.

So, here are some of my main takeaways:

  • Do not chop herbs.  Drop them whole onto the dish at the end.  Chopping them destroys the flavor.
  • Don't peel carrots.  "Brush them."  And the worst thing you can do to a baby carrot is dice it.
  • Don't be scared by "ugly" vegetables such as celery root and fennel.

  • When using aluminum foil in your baking, always have the shiny side up.
  • Use olive oil for most things but grapeseed oil for chicken and meat.  Olive oil can't stand up to a lot of heat.
  • To scramble the perfect eggs, don't whisk them  Put the eggs in a sauce pan and gently stir and stir and stir.
  • Always cook salmon skin side down (it protects the fish) and score the skin to keep the salmon from buckling, but serve it skin side up. Oh, and never cook fish cold from the fridge.  Let it "relax" to room temperature.
  • Scallops have a top and a bottom - the bigger, fattier part is the top.  Store them top up and you are half way to cooking a perfect scallop (and do NOT store them in water)!
  • Chicken stock actually works well with fish dishes because it gives the recipe body.
  • Roll your lemons and limes before cutting and squeezing them.  That makes them juicier and easier to squeeze. Also to avoid squeezing the pips into your recipe, cut around the center rather than cutting them in half.
  • A cast iron pan will become your best friend in the kitchen.

And it wouldn't be Gordon if he didn't end it all with some "Advice for Life."  If you have seen his "Kitchen Nightmares," you know he is part disciplinarian and part psychologist.

So here is his advice: 

Finding your passion in life is the most important thing you can do.  Once you find that, everything else will fall into place.  Be vulnerable, take chances, be determined.  Now" go and f**kin cook!"


There you have it - the summary of my very first MasterClass.

So...Was it worth it?  

Yes!  What cook wouldn't want to hang out with Gordon Ramsay and learn how to do what he does? And he really cares about giving out great cooking tips.  No way did he mail this in. It's candid, unscripted and inspiring. I love him even more now!

MasterClass offers us regular folks a chance to spend some one-on-one time with, well, dare I say it?  The Masters. And at the same time, we can absorb what they know. The MasterClass website is a bit difficult to navigate, but that is a minor complaint in what has turned out to be a fun and educational adventure!  Join me!

Now on to Masterclass #2! Mindfulness and Meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn!  See you there!

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!