October 2014


  1. Need help call TaskRabbit

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    Everyone is short of time these days and can use a little extra help sometimes. The problem is finding reliable and trustworthy help to clean, cook, shop, or even set up your new computer desk. Unless you are really lucky it is impossible to find someone available and competent to pick up the slack. The days of neighbourhood teens looking for extra cash are long gone in most places.  ( Download the app or go online and hiring screened help is easy-peasy.)

    In my previous city, a chance inquiry for a babysitter when my friend and her toddler came to visit landed me in help-heaven. I met a group smart, sweet, high school girls who not only babysat but loved to help me at parties or anything thing else. I called their mothers to make sure it was okay if they worked when wine was served. The girls did not serve any wine. But they were fabulous at setting up, serving food, and cleaning up.  They were my dream team.

    Since I relocated, finding help has been a challenge. I have had a few less-than-fabulous replacements for the girls. But now I have hope because of TaskRabbit. This service makes hiring help for all types quick, easy, and relatively foolproof. The site launched in 2008 when a Cambridge woman, Leah Busque, needed dog food in a hurry. She had no time to buy it herself and thought it would be great hire someone to do it. This led to the creation of TaskRabbit, a site that matched those who needed help with those willing to help out for cash. Since its creation the site has been streamlined and launched in 11 cities. I have been following this company since it launched and I recently attended a TaskRabbit presentation here in Atlanta.

    TaskRabbit calls its service providers “taskers”. The company security-screens them, and also offers them various safety mechanisms. No cash money changes hands as all compensation is paid online. Workers can accept or refuse jobs. You can hire help with cleaning, organizing, household repairs, delivery, and types of office work. The workers set their own rates and there is a wide range. Taskers are also reviewed, so you can gauge who you are hiring. The company offers a guarantee of satisfaction and also always pays the worker.

    I like everything about hiring and paying people this way. After moving to Atlanta, I find I rely heavily on reviews, and so far it works well for me.

    I was also impressed with the two friendly and intelligent “taskers” who came to the presentation. The only thing I don’t like about TaskRabbit is the name. I am not happy about calling people “rabbits,” cute though they might be. The team did say consistently refer to workers as “taskers”. As far as I am concerned if they rebrand and drop the “Rabbit” business, so much the better!

    If you need help and don’t want the hassle of screening or handling cash, try it. I am going to do the same, for my next party.

     

     

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  2. The “Curl Secret”

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    I was fascinated watching the infomercial for the Infiniti Pro by Conair Curl Secret. The curling device miraculously draws in a strand of hair and then releases a perfect shiny curl.

    It seemed impossible, so when I was offered a chance to try it myself, I was excited. I have been blow drying and twisting my hair onto electric rollers since junior high. Admittedly, I have “easy” hair; it holds a curl or blows out straight without much trouble. I have, as a beauty editor, tried no end of gadgets, but “Curl Secret” still rates as the most unusual and coolest.

    The Infiniti Pro by Conair Curl Secret is basically an automatic, timed curling iron with a

    Tourmaline Ceramic ¾-inch covered barrel and two heat settings. The ceramic barrel makes hair shine and the timer prevents burniacurlsecret.jpgng.

    You feed the device a strand of hair and draws it in, wraps it, curls it and beeps when you are supposed to release the curl.

    Does it work? Yes. It makes shiny and long-lasting curls. But there is a learning curve. It can be a little scary feeding your hair into anything. There a safety feature to keep it from tangling your hair, but having your hair sucked up is weird at first. The hardest part is learning how to hold it. It is tricky and it takes a while to get the knack of it. But then again, it took me a week not to tangle a round brush in my hair when drying it. And my first attempt with hot rollers, as I remember, was not flawless. Now I can blow out my hair like a pro and set my hair in less than 60 seconds.

    This is a fabulous tool if you like styling your own hair. It is also versatile. I was able to make ringlets, loose curls and waves by adjusting the timer and amount of hair I curled at one time. The process is time-consuming at first, but with practice it is almost as fast as using a curling iron with no risk of burns.

    It costs $99.

    www.curlsecret.com

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  3. Beauty bargain

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    Chunky lip crayons are the easiest way to wear fall’s bright berry lip colours. But don’t break the bank trying the trend. MUA Makeup Academy Lip Color Crayons go on sheer and pretty.  The colour stays moist due to Shea Butter. And you can twist instead of sharpen the crayons. We love them. They seem not break as often as when we sharpen. MUA Makeup Academy Lip Color Crayons come in six shades.

    $7 at CVS stores, or at http://muapro.com

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  4. Beauty sleep

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    gives new meaning to the expression “beauty sleep”. The manufacturer says this luscious-feeling mask “visibly tightens and restores lost volume while intensive hydration plumps fine lines and wrinkles while you sleep.”  I recently tried a sample and can report it works. Put it on at bedtime and wake up with fresh rehydrated skin. Skin also looks and feels tighter and smoother. I also like to use it for a quick pick-me-up before a special event or anytime I look and feel tired.

    Osmotics is one of my favourite anti-aging skin care lines because of its scientific approach to anti-aging skin care and quality ingredients. The Blue Copper 5 Prime Sleep Tight Mask is full of collagen stimulating the copper peptides of Osmotics Blue Copper products. It also contains Peony Oligosaccharides to help plump skin and restore lost volume as well as Glucan Biopolymer and Acetyl Hexapeptide which are both advanced skin smoothing and plumping ingredients.

    The price is $85 at selected fine department stores and spas and, of course, at www.osmotics.com

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  5. Trend alert: Lace dresses

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    At the New York premiere of her documentary The T Word, actress Laverne Cox wore a plum lace evening gown with sheer yoke, sleeves, and grosgrain details from ML Monique Lhuillier. This look is sexy but ladylike, and a perfect inspiration for coming holiday parties.

     

     

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  6. Naturally beautiful

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    Women are waking up to the benefits of organic skin care. They realize there is no longer a need to trade for effective anti-aging benefits for all natural ingredients. Orico London, an all-natural and organic skin care line, is a favourite of beauty mavens and editors around the globe.

    Orico London Dream Dew Night Perfecting Cream is “an overnight natural skin-perfecting treatment. It contains age-defying and super-hydrating natural bioactive ingredients to help illuminate skin and leave it looking dewy skin. Clinically proven Hexapeptide bioactive help to increase skin elasticity and boost oxygen levels”.  It is also packed with the super-moisturizer Hyaluronic Acid which actually draws moisture to your skin. This light, all natural cream instantly refreshes parched skin. It feels luxurious going on and leaves skin fresh and radiant in the morning.

    It cost $56.

    www.oricolondon.com

    www.dermstore.com

    www.skinstore.com

     

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  7. An Appetite for Violets

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    An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey is a lusty, greed-driven historical mystery with a delicious foodie theme.

    Obedience, Biddy Leigh is an ambitious woman. As young village urchin she saved herself from a life in the coal mines by leaning to read and cook. Now as an undercook for the local Lord she has her life planned. Biddy saves her wages until she can marry her sweetheart and start an inn. But Biddy’s plans are swept aside when the new mistress, Lady Carinna, arrives at Mawton Hall. Lady Carinna is a strange young woman and she takes an unusual interest in Biddy.

    Suddenly, Biddy is forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy. At the request of her mentor, the old cook at Mawton Hall, Biddy takes with her a household manual called the The Cook’s Jewel.  The cook asks her to record her impressions as well as the dishes she tastes and the recipes she learns on her journey.

    As Biddy and Lady Carinna travel the continent towards their destination Biddy slowly learns of the web of lies and greed that threaten her life. The characters in An Appetite for Violets travel from the North of England to Italy. Baily effortless weaves fascinating historical details through a complex plot of betrayal and revenge.

    The author, Martine Bailey, says An Appetite for Violets was inspired by 18th-century recipes. Bailey is also a prize-winning amateur cook. She even has also studied with food historian Ivan Day in preparation for writing this book. Baily’s passion for cookery is what shapes the character of her narrator.

    The book is first and foremost a compelling and complex mystery that hooked me from the first pages. Bailey drops tantalizing hints and a weaves a complex web of desires and betrayals. But Biddy, the narrator, is above all things a dedicated cook. She revels in the scents, tastes, and techniques of cookery as the tale unfolds across continents.

    Set in the 18th century, Baily paints a vivid picture of life and love above and below stairs.

     

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  8. Turmeric’s benefits in a tea

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    Turmeric has been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Recently scientific studies have confirmed its benefits.

    Curcumin, the medicinal compound in turmeric, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that mat help arthritis, blood clots, digestion, and even aid in preventing cancer and speed wound healing. Turmeric is without a doubt a powerful superfood and we are just starting to understand all its benefits.

    Numi Organic Tea is known for delicious organic, non-GMO teas and tisanes. It has a new way to new enjoy the benefits of Turmeric. Nuri’s Turmeric Tea line uses fair-trade certified Turmeric from Madagascar.

    There are four new flavours:

    Three Roots

    Earthy turmeric, spicy ginger, and sweet licorice. This is my own favourite.

     Golden Tonic

    A blend of turmeric, lemon verbena, and dried lime.

    Fields of Gold

    The mellow rich turmeric, chamomile, and f lemon myrtle.

    Amber Sun

    A blend of  turmeric, rooibos, vanilla beans and a hint of cinnamon.

    Each box costs $7.99

     

     

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  9. Good bye Oscar de la Renta

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    Recently, the fashion world suffered a great loss. Oscar de la Renta was more than a talented designer, he was a gentleman. He understood women and how to dress them to their best advantage. He made magical clothes that made women look and feel special. Oscar de la Renta knew how to dress a lady. It was fitting that his last couture commission was for what many are likening to a royal wedding. Amul Alamuddin, George Clooney’s beautiful, chic bride said in an interview that he had been her only choice.

    Make time for the things you enjoy and the people you love because, my darlings that is truly where the sweet life lies.  (Image: Oscar de la Renta FotodiMati)

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    Gracey Hitchcock

    Editor, DolceDolce

    Follow me @graceysays on Twitter

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