December 2014

  1. How to take a selfie

    JulieGClick on the topmost title top open

    You would think by now that most people could take a decent selfie. But a quick look at Facebook will tell you that many of us still need help. I don’t even try.

    Beauty TV expert and YouTube sensation Julie G shares her tips for foolproof selfies this holiday season:

    Find the right light. You want bright indirect light with no shadows on your face.   Julie G.

    Avoid face products with sunscreen as they can create a white mask effect.

    Make sure eyebrows are groomed. Well-shaped brows frame your face and give it dimension.

    Take a few practice selfies to figure out which is your best side. Everyone has a “best side.” Turn the best side of your face slightly to the camera. You will notice models and actresses do this.

    Pose with your neck elongated and your face pushed forward. It may feel awkward, but it looks great in photos and it eliminates the possibility of a double chin.




  2. For the DYI beauty maven

    handmadebeautyboxClick on the topmost title top open

    Do you have someone on your gift list who loves to mix up her own lotions and potions? The Handmade Beauty Box is perfect for DYI beauty maven. You can by a single box or monthly subscription for $31.50, or there are slightly discounted subscriptions for three months, and 12-month plans too. Each box, according to the creators, “delivers an all-inclusive set of ingredients and instructions to make the most popular DIY projects such as soaps, lotions, mineral makeup, bath fizzies, lipsticks, nail polishes, salt scrubs, candles, and more.” The recipient doesn’t know in advance what the project will be, nor can the boxes be customized in anyway.  The box I was sent has all the ingredients to make and wrap eight bars of herbal loofa soap. 

    This might also be a great gift for sisters who like to create together or even a fun idea for an upcoming teen birthday party.




  3. For your favourite fitness lover

    AcasciaClick on the topmost title top open

    Nothing beats a great yoga class with an experienced teacher who knows just how to adjust and motivate you. But when you can’t make it to class, Acacia Lifestyle TV gives you access to Acacia Fitness and Yoga Channel’s content with more than 100 hours of programing from experts including Shiva Rea, Exhale, Canyon Ranch, and Spark People. You can chose from barre, yoga, Pilates, and other popular workouts and watch them from your laptop or mobile device. This is a perfect gift for the busy fitness lover in your life. 

    There are three subscription packages to choose from:                             Acacia Lifestyle TV gives you access to

    Monthly: $6.99

    90-Day Burn: $14.99

    Annual: $49.99



  4. Have a truly “mythic” mane

    Lady_Godiva_by_John_Collier.jpgClick on the topmost title top open

    If you want to have the kind of hair that poets write about and men swoon over – and they really do get weak in the knees over gorgeous hair – then let go of the myths and learn the science of beautiful hair. Old wives’ tales (and it is wives’ not wise) not only won’t give you lux locks but some of these old adages, such as 100 brush strokes a day, can actually ruin your hair.

    Dermatologist Rebecca Kazin, MD, FAAD is here to save you from committing the “five worst hair habits” so you too can cultivate a “mythic mane.” Here’s Rebecca’s list of the five worst hair habits:

    Skimping on quality tools                  Lady Godiva had reason to be thankful for her “Mythic Mane”

    It’s counter-productive to spend a bundle at the salon but use sub-par styling tools. Heated styling devices are very important to the health and appearance of hair. A powerful blow dryer limits drying time and a ceramic flat iron minimizes ‘hot spots’ and hair damage.

    Rocking a pony regularly

    You may think skipping the heat styling in favor of a low-key style is sparing your hair. However, repeatedly pulling hair back can cause traction alopecia (hair loss from chronic tension on hair).


    You don’t need 100 brush strokes a day for healthy hair! Quite the opposite; excessive brushing can ruffle the hair cuticle and cause breakage.

    Shampooing daily

    Lathering up every day can be very drying to the hair. If hair is ‘dirty’ (such as after going to the gym), you can just shampoo the roots and use conditioner on the ends.

    Brushing wet hair

    Wet hair is fragile and brushing it when wet can cause major breakage. Use a wide-toothed comb to avoid excessive pulling.

    Stay away from these hair sins for long, strong gorgeous locks.

    To find out more about Dr. Kazin or to consult her:!about_us/c1a73




  5. The dos and don’ts of regifting

    Click on the topmost title top open Jacqueline Whitmore


    Thursday is National Regifting Day.

    Some people gasp at the idea of a regift and others like mega-celebrity Tyra Banks, are all for it. I think it is fine under certain conditions. I can’t imagine giving away any gift from a close friend. I also think it is important to make sure all gifts are something the recipient will love. Some of the best gifts I have received have been regifts – and I knew it because I was told. I really didn’t care at all. The gifts were fabulous – jewelry, designer clothes, gadgets, furs, and even a trip. They were all given with love and things I adored. Some were passed on as a legacy and others were swag from very lavish events. In all cases I just felt like a lucky lady.

    , author, and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach is against regifting. But, she stresses, “the most important thing is to keep organized, as giving an obvious regift to someone can be humiliating”.

    Here are her tips to keep regifting in the spirit of giving:

    Designate a space for potential regifts. Keep a stockpile of gifts you’ve received throughout the year that you don’t want or haven’t used. You’ll be able to pull one from the pile when you find the perfect recipient or when someone surprises you with a gift. Keep items in plastic bags to avoid dust and fading from sun exposure.

    Don’t include any gifts you’ve used or opened. The item you plan to pass along should be in good condition. Ideally you’ll want to give the gift in the original box with the seal intact. If you plan to give a perishable item, check the expiration date to make sure it is still fresh.

    Ensure the item is worthy of regifting. Be sure the person will enjoy and appreciate the gift. Promotional items or free swag bags from someone else’s company should not be re-gifted to anyone unless you plan to participate in a gag gift exchange.

    Remove the evidence. Before you regift, remove the original card that may be tucked inside the gift.

    Rewrap the item. The gift should look brand new. Use fresh wrapping paper and include a personalized card. There’s no need to announce the item is a regift to the recipient.

    Don’t regift in the same social circles. Make sure the person receiving the gift doesn’t know the person who originally gave you the gift. To prevent a mistake, jot down when you received it and who gave it to you.

    Know when you can’t regift. Ensure the receiver of your present will enjoy the gift. If you have a pile of unwanted fruitcakes and tacky holiday sweaters, it’s probably time to dump them or donate them to your favorite charity.

    Don’t feel guilty. If you’ve followed all the guidelines above, you’ll avoid wasting a gift while giving the recipient a present they’ll love. When done correctly, there’s no shame in regifting.

    DolceDolce note

    Some swag – if you are lucky enough to be on the right lists – includes pricey cellphones, designer bags, and other lovely items. This swag is excellent for re-gifting.



  6. For the writer or artist

    BlackwingClick on the topmost title top open

    Blackwing pencils have been a Hollywood staple for years. The elegant pencils were the choice of writers such as John Steinbeck, Chuck Jones, and Truman Capote. Blackwing pencils are available in three chic styles made with a genuine incense-cedar casing and Japanese graphite core. Completing the design is the iconic ferrule and removable eraser. At $19.95 for a 12-pack they make a perfect stocking stuffer or last minute gift for hard-to buy-for creative on your list.



  7. Beauty 911

    ConaircurlsecretClick on the topmost title top open 

    The quickest way to revive limp, dropping hair is with electric rollers. You can set your hair and then brush it out in minutes for volume, loose waves or curls. It is the kind of beauty 911 that is perfect during the busy holiday season.

    Conair’s new Secret Curl snap rollers make styling easier than ever. They heat up fast and   the clip-free design is no more marks in your hair or slippery clips. They are coated in silicone for extra shine.  You can find The Infiniti Pro by Conair Secret Curl Hot Rollers for $59.99.  The make a great last minute gift for any budding beauty mavens –and you can even buy them at drugstores if you are a last-minute shopper.




    Block 9


  8. Maker’s Mark Tipsy Salted Caramel Trifle

     Maker’s Mark Tipsy Salted Caramel Trifle

    Maker’s Mark Tipsy Salted Caramel Trifle

    Click on the topmost title top open

    If you are looking for an easy but posh looking dessert for holiday gatherings try my Maker’s Mark Tipsy Salted Carmel Trifle. It is decadent, chocolaty, and a little boozy. I made it with brownie mix and homemade caramel sauce but you can use your own brownie recipe, store-bought brownies, and – if you must – a jar of gourmet caramel sauce with Maker’s Mark bourbon added.

    This recipe serves six but it can be doubled or tripled.

    You can make it in advance and keep in the refrigerator. Do not leave it out as the cream will spoil.

    You can watch me make it

    I also make the caramel. It is foolproof and can be done days in advance.

    Maker’s Mark Tipsy Salted Caramel Trifle 

    2 cups of Brownies cut in ¼-inch cubes.

    I baked a Duncan Hines Brownie mix.

    I used the option given for “Cake Brownies and replaced half the water called for with Maker’s Mark bourbon.

    2 frozen chocolate-covered toffee bars, broken into small pieces, mixed with half a cup of toasted walnut pieces. ( I like to freeze the candy bars and then hit them with a rolling pin while they are still wrapped.)

    1 cup of heavy cream whipped with 3 tbsp. of icing/powdered sugar in to soft peaks. You need to keep it very cold.

    Salted caramel bourbon sauce or 2/3 cup caramel sauce warmed with 1½ tbsp. Maker’s Mark bourbon.

    Salted caramel bourbon sauce:

    In a heavy bottom sauce pan with a cover on high heat place

    2/3 cups sugar and 1/3 cup of water and cover

    Near the stove have:

    Small bowl of ice water in case of burns

    ½ cup cold cream

    1½ Tbsp. Maker’s Mark bourbon

    Wait 3-4 minutes

    Remove cover and watch sugar boil


    Hot sugar is dangerous

    Keep children away and keep the pot handle turned in

    Do not leave the area

    Watch and you will see it turn caramel and smell “butterscotch”

    Once it turns into caramel it goes quickly

    Move off heat

    Add half of cream slowly as it bubbles up

    Stir with a long spoon

    Add the rest of cream stir

    Add the bourbon and stir

    Add 1/8  tsp sea salt stir

    Cool before using.

    (If you use a jar of Caramel Sauce warm it and add the salt and Makers Mark.

    Do not heat it to the boil just warm it.)

    To make the trifle:

    In a wine glass or old-fashioned highball glass; layer the following:

    Spoon 1 generous spoonful of Caramel sauce

    3-4 brownie cubes

    Spoon of whipped cream

    Sprinkle of toffee and nuts

    Repeat the whole series of ingredients

    Finish the dessert with a spoon of whipping cream, a drizzle of caramel, and a sprinkle of toffee and nuts. Sprinkle lightly with a little sea salt.

    Sometimes I also add dark preserved cherries, layering them in and topping the dessert with them. Do not use Maraschino.



  9. Gift of experience

    Gracey HitchcockClick on the topmost title top open

    Recently a dear friend called to chat.  Growing up it was wonderful to have an older friend who I could rely on to guide me. I could always count on her to tell me the truth even when it was hard to hear.

    I will never forget the first time she and another friend had to guide me through dealing with mean girls. I was fourteen and the subject of an unprovoked attack by so-called friends. It was mean and unfair – and I later found out very normal. Their advice was to do nothing and say nothing and it would soon blow-over.

    It was excellent advice. They were very sympathetic and kind. But they were also wise and realistic. They explained it was a no-win situation. They said I remained calm and quiet, they would soon stop and go on to make a fuss about something or someone else. And that was exactly what happened. The whole thing just stopped. I have shared the same advice times with my own young friends.

    I could only smile when she began to tell me how impressed she was with actress Jada Pinkett Smith for sharing her life experience with young people on Facebook. It was such an appropriate story for my dear friend to share with me during this season of giving.

    I want to wish all of our readers, contributors, and PR contacts a very joyful Holiday Season and a very healthy and happy 2015.  I am very grateful for the support of each and every one of you! I hope the coming year brings you sweetness and light. We will return on January 15, 2015 with a New Year and a new issue!

    DolceDolce is free. Please forward us to all your friends. And please follow us on Facebook at We post new items and tips weekly, except during our posted hiatuses several times a year. Please send us your comments by emailing us at the same address, or sharing in Facebook. We will respond! We want to know what you think. Let’s start the conversation!


    Until next time, have a sweet week and please follow us on Facebook at   

    We would love to hear from you. Tell us what you think.

    Gracey Hitchcock

    Editor, DolceDolce

    Follow me @graceysays

    All contents copyright © 2014


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