November 2014

  1. Chatting with Bravo’s Bleona of the Euros

    BleonaClick on the topmost title to open

    We loved interviewing Bravo’s newest star, Bleona. She is the most outspoken cast member of Bravo’s new hit show Euros of Hollywood, about a group of Europeans who are trying to make it big in Hollywood.

    Bleona is billed in the show’s tagline as “the Albanian Madonna”.  But she soon sets everyone straight: she is not a Madonna copy but an original. As an international pop star she has already sold more than 1.5 million albums and now she is out to make her mark in the U.S.

    Following in the footsteps of Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga, Bleona made her big American debut performing at the White Party in Palm Springs. The song in the video is her newest single, Famous.

    Here is our exclusive interview with Bravo’s Bleona:

    DD:  What was the most surprising thing about Euros of Hollywood? Who was the biggest surprise in a good way and also in a bad way? 

    BLEONA: I think the most surprising thing people will find on the show is how different our group really is.  American people perceive us [Europe] as one whole entity. And the truth of the matter is Europe is different from America in that we have different cultures, different languages, and different backgrounds.  When they came up with the concept for “Euros of Hollywood,” the production company thought it was going to be easy because it was just a group of Europeans trying to make it in the U.S. Basically, because of our different personalities, it was like it was like throwing a lion, a lamb, a wolf, and a fox in one cage or you’ll get ridiculous confusion!

    It was really funny because I guess the producers didn’t expect the differences between us to be that big, but things exploded into a fight the night of the first dinner.

    Another big surprise is that no one is really who they say they are in the beginning.  Every character will be perceived very differently in the first two episodes, but the truth will come out in the end.

    DD: What would surprise people most to know about you? 

    BLEONA: It’s very easy to paint me as the villain because I’m so outspoken and direct. I’m doing me everywhere I go. What people don’t know about me is that besides being a diva, which I am proud of, I’m also a real person, and I do things for myself. It may look like I have a lot of help from a lot of people, but in reality I have a very strict discipline about what I do and who I am. I’m also a real person with a real heart who has supported my family since I was twelve years old. I know I can be perceived in a negative light until people take the time to get to know who I really am.

    DD:  What are your three beauty must-haves and why? 

    BLEONA: I never go to sleep without removing my make-up.  Remember I started performing since I was five years old, so I’ve been wearing makeup for a long time.  My must-have is my special green drink that my mother makes for me every day.  It’s a power drink that really helps with everything.

    Bleona’s breakfast smoothie recipe: 1 pear (can also use 3/4 c. fresh berries, kiwi, pineapple, or papaya) 2″ cucumber or 1 whole Persian cucumber ½ stalk celery 1 small handful greens (romaine, mixed greens, kale, chard, etc.) 1/3 c. lemon juice 2″ peeled ginger 1 Tbsp. flax seed oil 2 Tbsp. Billy’s greens (or other similar green powder, algae complex) 1 Tbsp. Billy’s Vitamin C

    1Tbsp protein 1tsp Maca (can add more if needing an extra morning boost and/or weaning off of coffee) 1tsp chlorophyll

    1 c. water

    Also, Techno shape is a belt that you use when you are on the treadmill. It’s a low intensity pressure therapy, which burns your fat in minutes.  It has pressurized air which increases circulation in your mid side area…. As a result you can lose a lot of inches in your waist. It really works!

    DD: What are your fashion must-haves for every day? 

    BLEONA: My jewelry! My jewelry is – how I say this in English? – my Achilles heel. If I wear my heels and I have my jewelry, the rest doesn’t really matter.

    DD: What is the secret of your fitness routine? 

    BLEONA: My fitness routine includes chocolate. I’m just kidding. I’m going to be honest: I can’t stand the gym. I do however get expert advice from fitness professionals, and I try to do some sort of workout every day. Whether it is playing soccer or swimming, I try to do some sort of cardio workout, and when I feel tired, I’ll just do some Pilates.

    DD: What is always in your handbag? 

    BLEONA: In my handbag you will always find USB cables, a hard drive, and other professional musical devises/tools. It’s funny because when you look at me, you’d think that I just have a ton of beauty products in my bag, but I’m like a guy in that sense.

    DD:  What is one thing you want everyone to know about you?

    BLEONA: One thing I want everyone to know is that I’m a very honest person, and sometimes because of my honesty I can be perceived in the wrong way. I just want people to be patient and give me a chance to show them who I really am.


  2. Holiday Detox

    5Skinnyhabits.jpgClick on the topmost title to open

    The day after Thanksgiving my health club is full of people trying to burn off calories. For many people, holidays can trigger a cycle of overindulgence followed by starvation detoxes. But, according to David Zulberg the author of sgiving Detox, it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Zulberg has a plan to help you enjoy holidays without going from feast to famine. Zulberg’s “Turbo Phase” is an alternative to short-term detox plans that drastically cut calories to compensate for binging.

    Here are David Zulberg’s Turbo Phase recommendations for Thanksgiving:

    On Thanksgiving Day:

    Daily Affirmation: “I am staying on track and happy to be taking care of myself”

    Begin the day with two glasses of water (cold or hot).

    Exercise: At least 10 to 20 minutes of walking

    Breakfast: Fruit Meal (Light meal)

    Two glasses of water midmorning or glass of water and then a cup of herbal tea

    Snack: Low fat yogurt (Substitution method)

    Lunch: Salad with tuna topping and low-fat dressing (PV meal – majority vegetable)

    Two glasses of water mid-afternoon and/or coffee

    Snack: Strips of vegetables (Substitution method)

    Dinner: Thanksgiving Meal (V-Plus meal)

    The day after Thanksgiving:

    Daily Affirmation: “Health is not simply the absence of sickness.”

    Begin the day with two glasses of water (cold or hot).

    Exercise: At least 10 to 20 minutes of walking each day

    Breakfast: Oatmeal or all-bran cereal with low-fat milk (Light meal less than 250 calories) two glasses of water midmorning or glass of water with herbal tea

    Snack: Fruit (Substitution method)

    Lunch: Salad with chicken topping and low-fat dressing (PV meal – majority vegetable)

    Two glasses of water midday

    Snack: Fruit (Substitution method)

    Dinner: Grilled salmon and sautéed vegetables (PV meal)

    Zulberg doesn’t advocate using the plan to gorge and recover. The goal is healthy, balanced enjoyment. The Turbo Phase is designed to help you regain your balance if you overindulge without starving.



  3. Raw beauty

    kat-burki-raw-beauty-rose-hipClick on the topmost title to open

    Kat Burki’s Raw Beauty skin care line that has a lot of buzz among beauty mavens who crave natural and effective skin care that also feels luxurious.

    I am addicted to beauty oils. Nothing improves the appearance of dry/sensitive skin the way the right oils does.  I recently tried a sample of Power Trio Radiance Oil, a blend of  cold-pressed Tamanu, Kukui Nut and Raspberry Seed Oil.  It contains natural Salicylic Acid extracted from Cold-Pressed Raspberry Seed Oil as well natural fragrance to leave skin soft, blemish free, scented, and radiant. It costs $125

    I also tried the Rose Hip Revitalizing Serum. This weightless anti-aging serum is packed with anti-oxidants to bolster the skin’s natural rejuvenation process. According to the company it “helps to defend against the visible signs of aging by minimizing fine lines and wrinkles”. It contains Kat Burki’s KB 5 Herb Blend of Gotu Kola, Arnica, Calendula, Lavender & Chamomile as well as purified cold-pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil and Vitamin C.  Rose Hip Revitalizing Serum Rose Hip Revitalizing Serum also helps to boost collagen integrity, brightens skin color, and reduces damage from UVA/UVB exposure. It costs $165.

    Both products feel and smell delightful. Even more important is what they do for your skin.  Kat Burki’s use of natural raw botanicals and marine collagen leaves skin looking and feeling softer, younger and brighter.




  4. Trend alert: Shimmer for the holidays

    Silverdistedlelarose.jpgClick on the topmost title to open

    If you want to be fashionably on trend this holiday season, then sparkle and shimmer in a metallic dress. The luster can be subtle as it is in this Lela Rose black silver-dusted lace dress. Or your dress can shimmer like this sexy clover Alice + Olivia metallic lace open-back dress. Remember, metallic dresses don’t need a lot of jewelry so keep to a ring, earrings, and a watch at most. Shoes and bags should match your dress. If you can’t find matching shoes, wear a shiny patent pump or sandals that pick up a colour in your dress.

    Lela Rose dress from  $1,895.

    Alice + Olivia dress from  $208 (sale price)Alice+OliviaMetal.jpg


  5. Luminous skin, the Japanese way

    Equitance-Brightening-SerumClick on the topmost title to open

    Equitance skin care was founded in Japan 18 years ago. The line’s focus is to create radiant, luminous skin. A flawless complexion is highly valued in the East. Skin care is the basis of the Asian woman’s beauty régime.

    Equitance Skin Care utilizes the best of Eastern and Western knowledge to combine “balanced botanicals and clinically proven technology together to continuously brighten the skin”. 

    According to the company, “excess melanin production is the root cause of dark spots and discolorations, as well as the slowing of the ‘turnover’ process that discharges melanin from the skin.” Equitance approaches the problem with both topical products as well as vitamin supplements.

    I recently tried their Brightening Serum & Spot Corrector. It is designed to “zero in on hyperpigmentation and dark discoloration” with linoleic acid from safflower oil, a stable form of Vitamin C, as well as skin-brightening botanicals. The result is brighter, more even skin tone without the use of harsh, harmful chemicals. It costs $125.

    I also tried their Hydrating Brightening Cream. This light but rich cream contains a cocktail of clinically-proven brightening ingredients such as Linoleic Acid from safflower seed oil, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate from licorice, yogurt extract,  and shell ginger extract, which is derived from the Japanese alpinia speciosa leaf.  There is also shea butter and cherry blossom leaf extract from the Japanese sakura tree to soothe, soften. and help protect skin. It costs $70.

    The company uses “microcapsules, also known as Liposomes” as the main components of their patented delivery system.  

    Equitance has designed complete skin care regimes complete with supplements for different skin types. You can buy a trial or travel version for $37. Or you can add one or two products to your current régime.

    This is a beautiful, luxurious skin care line and very good value.

    If hyperpigmentation and anti-aging are your beauty issues, this one to try.



  6. Trend alert: Bling is still the thing

     20141026_153205 - CopyClick on the topmost title to open

    Jewel-encrusted sunnies that put a shine on shade can break the budget. This bejeweled pair by Anna-Karin Karlsson Coco & the Row Sunglasses cost almost $1,000. Chanel’s Butterfly gold-studded glasses cost about $800. They are gorgeous but if that is too much for your budget, don’t despair: we found a similar pair for much less. Morgan sunnies from The Crystal Cult are only $40. These crystal-studded shades cost much less but really look and feel very posh.morgan__76391.1405328837.1280.1280

    Top Image: Chanel Bottom Image:The Crystal Cult Morgan


  7. More Regency romance

    Never Judge A LadyClick on the topmost title to open

    Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover may be the sexiest volume in her best-selling Rules of Scoundrels series.

    In this final tale of the series, Chase, the mastermind of the Notorious Fallen Angel Gambling Club decided it is time to return to society as Lady Georgiana, the disgraced sister of a Duke. She resolves that she must marry a title and ensure her illegitimate daughters’s future in “society”.

    But she suffers a return to society for her daughter’s sake. She wants to marry a titled husband who will overlook her past disgrace in exchange for her fortune and guarantee her daughter’s place in the world.

    While attending her first ball, Georgiana runs into a group of “mean girls”. They taunt her with her past and cast aspersions on her daughter. She also comes face to face with powerful newspaper publisher and editor, Duncan West. He once ran a scandalous cartoon about her. West now feels badly about it and is determined to aid Georgiana’s return to society. He is however unaware of the details of her double life.

    As the season progress Duncan falls in love with Georgiana. The two are drawn not only in to a burning hot romance but a dangerous web of lies.

    This is a sensuous and serious romance that will have lovers of the genre swooning. Fans of the Series will be over the moon with this final stand-alone tale. It’s the perfect book to stay warm with on cold afternoon.




  8. Seville orange Glazed Carrots

    Seville orange  GlazedCarrotsClick on the topmost title to open

    I just love orange with carrots.

    That is why I wanted to share this recipe from Crofter’s Organic. It uses their Seville Orange Just Fruit Spread to give carrots an exotic twist that is perfect for the holidays.
    Seville Orange Glazed Carrots

    2 ½ cups of 1/2 inch crinkle cut or plain sliced carrots

    3 tbsp. Crofter’s Seville Orange Just Fruit Spread

    1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger

    2 tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

    1 tbsp. butter or margarine


    In a medium saucepan, cook carrots covered in lightly salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. In the same saucepan over medium heat, combine Crofter’s Organic Seville Orange Just Fruit Spread, ginger, orange juice concentrate

    And butter or margarine and stir until melted.


    Return carrots to saucepan.

    Cook uncovered, over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until carrots are just tender and glazed, stirring occasionally.




  9. Demonstrate don’t demand

    graceryheadsmClick on the topmost title to open
    I wish people would stop telling me to be grateful. I wish they would all just cut it the hell out. Sorry, darlings, but I find it offensive and a bit naif at best.

    I am grateful for many things. But I don’t need or want someone else to demand I feel grateful, forgiving, loving, or any other emotion. I was taught the way to show gratitude was through kindness and sharing, not through platitudes. 

    If this sounds harsh, that is exactly how it sounds to me when people try to order up my emotions. I wish wanna-be gurus would consider that it be would be more effective, as well as authentic, to demonstrate these qualities rather than demand them. The teachers I admire most do just that and it is a pleasure to hear all that they share.

    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

    Editor, DolceDolce

    Follow me @graceysays

    All contents copyright © 2014




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