October 2014

  1. Fall beauty must-have

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    Giorgio Armani Eye and Brow Maestro is a new combination all-purpose, long-wearing makeup you can use to line and shadow your eyes, do your brows, and even touch-up your roots.

    “I wanted to offer women an innovative product inspired by my needs backstage on Giorgio Armani fashion shows,” says Linda Cantello, who created the line for Armani, “a product that does all, that would be fast and faultless when applied, long-lasting, and fault-proof.” The results are stunning. There are nine shades that range from black to gold in neutrals that have depth and glow.Browmaestro.jpg

    Unlike many other neutral shadows this makeup is far from dull or quiet. The look is soft and flattering as well and sexy and sophisticated. The pots of shadows are applied with brushes and can be built to various levels of intensity as liner, brow makeup and shadow. Two or three will give any woman all the looks she needs, from au naturel to drop-dead glamourous.

    The shadows are priced at $34


  2. “Heal” your hair overnight

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    According to Mario Russo, owner and lead stylist at Salon Mario Russo, “getting your beauty sleep” is more than just an old saying. The hair guru says you can actually help your hair with a little overnight TLC. 

    Here are Mario’s tips to help “heal” your hair while you sleep: ( Silk pillow cases can protect your hair)

    Go to bed with DRY hair!

    Water in your hair cuticle makes it more susceptible to splits and breakage as you toss and turn during the night. Wet hair equals fragile hair! If you shower before bed and don’t have time to dry it, use a cotton t-shirt (which is less abrasive than a towel), wrap your hair and keep it tucked in a turban-like creation until morning.

     Repair hair and apply a leave-in treatment

    Utilizing a leave-in conditioning treatment before bed, either a salon-professional product or natural coconut oil, allows the moisture to seep into hair for a longer, uninterrupted time. This leaves your hair super-hydrated and smooth the next day! For an added moisturizing benefit, wrap conditioned hair in a shower cap or silk scarf before hitting the hay. This will also help to save your pillowcases and sheets from getting damaged by the hair treatment.

     Brush it out before bed

    Using a brush with natural bristles (or my favorite, the Mason Pearson brush), brush hair out before bed. Yes, Marsha Brady-style! Using your brush, start at the roots and move down to the ends of your hair. This will help to transfer the natural oils from your scalp throughout your hair shaft, giving hair an added dose of hydration. Additionally, if you’ve used a lot of products on your locks during the day, this will help to break them up on your scalp as well as on your strands, so that build up won’t occur.

     Keep it straight by wrapping it!

    If you just spent money on a salon blow-dry or time in the bathroom straightening your curly locks, don’t let bedtime ruin your sleek style! Use the wrapping technique with bobby pins to keep hair smooth and straight. Starting at the top of your head, use a brush to begin arranging hair around the head and pinning it down. Essentially, you are wrapping hair in a circle pattern around the head to keep it in its straight condition. 

    Top-Knot It

    Bring out your scrunchies and top-knot your freshly washed and dried hair. As you blow-dry hair before bed, use a volumizing product on the root and once it’s almost dry, apply a texturizing spray throughout. Loosely pull dried hair upward and into a soft top-knot. The height will give you an extra boost of volume as you sleep as well as ensure that your locks will maintain tangle-free for your early wake-up call. 

    Lights off, humidifier on

    Whether you are cranking up your house’s heat in the winter or you live in a dry climate, adding extra moisture to the air using a humidifier can help to keep both your skin and locks hydrated. Moisturized hair sees less frizz and breakage and more shine. Turn the lights off and the humidifier on! 

    Switch to a silk pillowcase

    In order to extend the life of your hairstyle or blow-dry, and keep damage and breakage at bay, opt for a silk or Egyptian cotton pillow. Flannel or cotton sheets because friction on hair and over time will create damage.




  3. Trend alert: knits

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    This fall it is time to get cozy in knits.  Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Hermes and others showed layers of sweater dresses, tights, leggings, and scarves. Knits have an 80s vibe this season. They tend to be ribbed, soft, and more fluid than in the past. This look is most flattering if you keep all the pieces monochromatic. Match your tights or leggings to your knit dress or top for a leaner, taller look. Keep all layers in the same tonal group. Lighter, less bulky knits are more slimming.

    McQ Alexander McQueen knit swirl-color block sweater dress, $450  www.bergdorfgoodman.com

    Ralph Lauren cowl neck, fitted knit dress, $850 RalphLauren.comRalphlaurne.jpg


  4. Banish dry, scaly skin

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    Dry scaly skin and cracked elbows and heels can ruin your pleasure in wearing the prettiest clothes and trendiest shoes. Summer’s sun and air conditioning can dry out arms and legs, summer sandals scruff and cause calluses on your feet.  And then cooler weather and dry indoor heating makes it all worse.

    Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash with 8% Free Acid Value Glycolic Acid will help to smooth skin while Glytone Ultra Heel and Elbow Cream with 29.5% Free Acid Value Glycolic Acid will help dry cracked heels and elbows shed their shells.

    The high concentration of Glycolic Acid insures deliver speedy and effective exfoliation. According to the company, Glytone Glycolic Acid is the Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) with the smallest molecular weight. “It provides the greatest penetration, a particular advantage for smoothing the thick skin of the heels. Exfoliating Body Wash also helps to minimize the dry, red bumps of Keratosis Pilaris (KP) that show up on arms and thighs.”

    Follow the directions and have smoother skin all over in just seven days.

    Glytone products are recommended by dermatologists because of their high quality and innovative approach to skin care.

    Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash is priced at $30

    Glytone Ultra Heel and Elbow Cream is priced at $50

    www.glytone-usa.com for a physician directory







  5. Stay healthy

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    I never travel without wipes/hand sanitizer. The last time I forgot to pack them for a plane trip I got sick for two weeks. When I board a plane I clean the trays, armrests, vents, and seat pockets. I refuse to touch anything in the seat pocket. The seat pocket is where people stuff dirty tissues, diapers, and garbage. I line it with a clean plastic bag.

    If you think I am germ freak, think again. Studies show you have a 20 percent chance of getting sick from air travel. Most airlines do not deep-clean planes more than once a month or even wipe them down more than once a day. It is gross and scary.

    According to studies some bacteria and viruses that can make you sick with cold, stomach flu, and other illnesses can live on surfaces more than 24 hours and, in some cases, days.

    GermBloc antimicrobial spray and hand sanitizer lotion have been created with travel in mind. According to the company, “Germbloc anti-microbial spray and hand sanitizer lotion create a barrier that physically breaks down the germ molecules, and keeps doing so for up to 90 days.”

    A spritz of GermBloc antimicrobial spray can quickly disinfect places in hotels and on airplanes, and elsewhere where you put your hands.

    GermBloc hand sanitizer lotion doesn’t contain alcohol that can irritate skin, so you can use it without worrying about your hands.

    I will have this little duo tucked in my hand bag and gym bag from now on. The world is a dirty place and it isn’t getting any cleaner.

    Germ bloc has a full line of effective products but the Travel Pack containing a 3 ounce spray and 3 ounce lotion that will pass TSA regulations is $19.95.




  6. Trend alert: anti-aging skin care to go

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    Skinn Plasma Fusion Setting Veil will set your makeup while remaining virtually invisible on your skin. Best of all this talc-free powder is packed with anti-aging and brightening ingredients. The yellow core of the compact contains a stable form of Vitamin C, Argan Oil, and antioxidants. Pop this pretty compact in your bag and reapply an effective anti-aging as needed.

    Fusion Setting Veil is priced at $29.78

    Skinn Moisture Rush Volumizing Wand uses hyaluronic Filling Spheres to plump and help disguise fine lines. It is also infuseunnamed (5)d with brightening pigments to instantly illuminate and brighten your face.  Skinn Moisture Rush Volumizing Wand will make those little lines under your eye or around your mouth seem to disappear. Keep it in your handbag to combat dryness from air conditioning or heating all day. You can swipe it right over makeup to refresh parched skin.

    These new Skinn products are anti-aging skin care “to-go”.

    It is priced at $29.87 


    Both debut on ShopHQ, October 17th! Tune and get special pricing during the Skinn show on Shop HQ


  7. download (17)Click on the topmost title to open and scroll

    Author Alex Marwood knows that most terrifying evil is ordinary. It is chilling to think that creepy, perverted killers may be living right next door, but some of the grisliest murderers have evaded detection by their ability to remain unnoticed. When they are caught their neighbours always tell reporters, “he was the last person you would ever suspect.”

    Marwood is a masterful storyteller. In The Killer Next Door she pulls us into the sad but cozy little world at 23 Beulah Grove, a rundown rooming house in a slightly, seedy part of South London. The lodgers are an odd bunch. Each one of them has a reason to hide where no one, including the nasty landlord, asks too many questions.

    The elderly Vesta has lived her entire life in the basement flat. Vesta likes to play mother to fellow tenants Cher and Hussein. She also hosts little gatherings to make life less bleak and lonely. Cher is a teenage runway. She supports herself by shoplifting and occasionally stealing a drunk’s wallet. It is dangerous, but Cher is desperate and alone.

    Gerard is a divorced family man who keeps to himself.  Handsome Hussein is a political refugee from Iran with courtly manners. He is gallant to Vesta. Hussein also likes Collette, the “new girl” on the run from the mob. Finally there is Thomas, the minor bureaucrat who recently lost his job.

    The group – with exception of Vesta, Hussein, and Cher – live separate lives in the dreary house until two horrible events bring make them all conspirators to protect their desperate existences.

    Marwood imbues her characters with humanity,so that the reader is drawn into their lives. As in The Wicked Girls, Marwood’s first award-winning mystery, the reader can’t help but relate and be repelled at the same time. The ending is too good to even hint at, so I won’t.

    This book is a must-read if you love to be creeped-out in style.



  8. Spicy roasted butternut squash soup

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    There are many versions of butternut squash soup. At my house, this one with a hint of curry and sweetened with a touch of maple syrup, has converted even diehard vegetable-haters into squash-lovers. It is easy and delicious, and the seasoning sets it apart from blander versions. This soup is also very easy to make, so it is a perfect starter for dinner parties. You can make it advance and focus on your other courses. It has no added starch, butter, or cream, so it very healthful. The only thing you need to do is plan time to roast the squash.

    1 large onion chopped

    2 cloves of garlic minced

    1-2 inches of ginger grated (use more if you like it hot and spicy.)

    For the curry powder, use your own blend or any good store blend you like. Again this is soup, not Indian cooking, so a store blend is fine. Sherwood’s madras curry mild or a Jamaican curry work well. 


    2 quart/liter boxes of organic chicken stock or broth. I use chicken, but you can use vegetable stock if you have a vegetarian in the house!

    Preheat your oven to 350f 

    5 cups of butternut squash peeled and chopped into about 2-inch cubes.

    Use pre-peeled fresh or frozen squash. I prefer peeled and cut squash, as butternut is very hard to cut and peel. Frozen is fine for soup. Roast the Squash

    Toss the cut peeled squash with a small amount of any oil to lightly coat. I like olive. Be through.

    Place the peeled squash on a cookie sheet lined with foil.

    Lightly salt and pepper.

    Roast the squash about 30 -35 minutes it can be a little under done.



    Sauté your onions, garlic, and ginger. Do not brown. Add 1 heaping tbsp. of curry powder and stir. Add the curry powder a little at a time if you are not familiar with it. You don’t want it too hot and spicy. Go slow – you can add more, but it is hard to take out. Add the squash and cover with the stock. Simmer10 minutes, check the squash with a fork. Turn off the heat, and when the squash is very tender, mash it with a potato masher. Really go at it; this makes the soup easier to blend. ( You can make this soup with raw squash but the flavour is not quite as good and you will need to cook it longer until the squash is very tender.)

    If you want to finish the soup in the pot with a stick blender, begin to add more stock until the soup has a nice thick consistency. If you intend to purée the soup in a food processor or blender, it is easier without additional stock in the pot to splash at you. Then transfer the puree back to the pot to be thinned. After you thin the soup with additional stock, add 1 to 2 tbsp. of maple syrup. Stir and taste. Also correct and add salt and pepper. I often add the juice of half of a lemon as well as an additional tsp. of curry powder. 

    This soup is a crowd-pleaser served on its own with a few fresh cilantro leaves on top, or a dollop of low-fat sour cream or yogurt. Everyone loves it, including picky children. It makes a grand lunch or light supper with any type of sandwich or salad. The only problem is that the pot seldom lasts out the day, even in my small household.

    If you like this item tweet it out or tweet me @graceysays


  9. Dr. Nancy needs to set an example


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    If you have been following the Ebola story on the news – and most of us have – you may have heard about Dr. Nancy Synderman. NBC’s chief medical correspondent allegedly violated a voluntary medical quarantine after she and her team were exposed to Ebola.

    While covering the story in Africa, Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance cameraman hired to work as part of her team, was diagnosed with Ebola. Mukpo was sent for treatment to a hospital in Nebraska. The rest of the team, including Synderman, were sent home and placed under voluntary quarantine for 21 days.

    That should have been the end of it. But the online forum Planet Princeton reported that Synderman was seen in a car outside a local restaurant, while a companion went inside to get takeout food.Nancy_Snyderman

    Dr. Snyderman issued a statement that some might call an apology. NBC anchor Brian Williams read it on NBC Nightly News:       (Right: Dr. Nancy Synderman)

    “While under voluntary quarantine guidelines which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21 days,” Dr. Snyderman wrote, “members of our group violated those guidelines and understand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21 days have passed.

    “We remain healthy and our temperatures are normal. As a health professional I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public, but I am deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused. 

    “We are thrilled that Ashoka is getting better and our thoughts continue to be with the thousands affected by Ebola whose stories we all went to cover,” the statement concluded. 


    Clearly, this statement leaves a lot to be desired. Synderman did not say what she did herself. She did not confirm or deny the reports of her appearances outside. Instead she deflected blame onto members of her “team.” Who exactly broke quarantine? She did not say what many wanted to hear: “I am sorry for what I did. I was wrong.” Instead she stops halfway, as do so many in these days of the half-hearted “apology”. I have always liked Dr. Nancy. I think she is smart and I like her take on issues. I agree with Matt Lauer that anyone can make a mistake. But I would feel better about Nancy Snyderman if she realized that as a doctor and journalist she has to set higher standards for her own behaviour. If you want to be regarded an authority, your behaviour needs to be an example.


    So, don’t casually break quarantine for the wrong reasons. You, Dr. Nancy, are a doctor; please set an example. And when you make a mistake, own it. Apologize graciously and completely. That is how a leader moves on.

    Make time for the things you enjoy and the people you love because, my darlings that is truly where the sweet life lies.


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    Gracey Hitchcock

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