What you think of me is none of my business!

We live in modern and open times, so much so that one can be publicly pilloried for having an opinion. It seems to get worse every day. It’s A constant target of the shoe policereally rather shocking that so many people have had to defend poor Miss California, Carrie Prejean for her honest answer to a question about gay marriage during the Miss USA pageant. Her response: “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.” It was not politically correct, but it clearly stated that she recognized free choice.

This is more than can be said for Perez Hilton, the gay gossip blogger and pageant judge. He asked her the question. Since then he has made obscene and hateful remarks about Carrie Prejean. He has called her a bitch and worse. He has also drummed up a hate campaign against her for holding an opinion that he does not care for. It is really unacceptable, but not unexpected. After all what is Perez Hilton but a someone who makes his living by passing off nastiness as cleverness? His appeal has always escaped me. I am not amused by his tacky doodles over the faces of celebrities. What disturbs me is Perez Hilton is given any credence at all. It is also disturbing that it has become acceptable to publicly trash and judge people for things that used to — and should be – no one’s business.
Darlings, poor frumpy Susan Boyle got a hair cut and a new outfit and the media call it a make-over. Some of them even took a poll on it. Their readers voted yeah or nay on her ‘new look’. I don’t think she looks all that different, and even if she did, whose business is it? I would expect the media to report if she showed up done-up like Marilyn or Madonna. But isn’t asking readers to vote on it a bit presumptuous to say the least? Since when do we vote on people’s appearance?
Whether people are condemning someone for looking too frumpy, sexy, silly, rich, poor, straight, or gay, it is just plain wrong. I am not sure when it became acceptable to act as Perez Hilton did towards Miss California, but the behavior is commonplace. It needs to stop. It is shocking how few people of differing opinions can engage in a conversation these days without things getting heated and personal. To be able to engage in a spirited, cordial discussion with people of differing viewpoints used to be a mark of good manners as well as intellect. Now it is rare. We must bring back the tradition of a respectful free exchange of ideas.

Without a tolerance for ideas of others we can’t foster a climate in which art or science can flourish. 
County legend Jeanne C. Riley topped the charts with a hit called Harper Valley PTA in 1968. The song tells the tale of a junior high school student sent home with a note about the scandalous behavior of her single and divorced mother. It really gets going with the mother’s rebuttal: “This is just a little Peyton Place and you’re all Harper Valley Hypocrites”.
This song seems dated now, but at the time some considered it a feminist anthem. I think it stills ends a timely message as to how many are acting these days. On both the left and the right there seem to be too many bullies who want decide how everyone else should live. Some even confuse freedom of speech with hate mongering. They are hypocrites who love freedom as choice as long as everyone chooses their way.
Other may seem more benign as they critique other’s appearance, weight, or even choice of shoes. I have been the target of the shoe police many times. I have always wondered why another would woman care if I chose to wear heels all day. Am I hurting her feet or breaking her back? I know I am not hurting my own. I’m  not sure if my vampy heels threaten the shoe police or if they just can’t mind their own business. I really don’t care, but more sensitive types might.
 I don’t necessarily agree with Miss California’s views, but I am offended that she couldn’t state an opinion without being attacked for it. Especially as she said clearly that others had the right to chose. We have a big problem with schoolyard bullies and mean girls. Is it surprising, given the lack of tolerance many adults display over the smallest issues?
Well darlings, I think it’s time to bring back a polite exchange of ideas. And, I don’t think it should be open season on one’s appearance, relationship, and personal business, with anyone feeling free to take a verbal pot-shot at will. I had a fabulous and eccentric friend who had a wonderful way of expressing this idea. Good-naturedly, she used to say to those who had too many negative opinions ‘what you think of me, is none of my business.” The next time someone really crosses the line with you –feel free to borrow it.
 Anne Gravel commented, "Amen."

The hot new hair guru and his must-have product line

White Sands Signature LookIf you want know how to make your hair look fabulous you won’t miss this week’s interview with Fernando Salas, creator of White Sands. It is one the most innovative hair lines today. The products have been recommended on The View by Barbara Walter’s personal hair stylist. Fernando shares his in-depth knowledge of hair care, colour, styling, and trends. He also explains how and when to use his unique White Sands products.

I recently tried Liquid Texture. It allowed me to blow dry my hair to perfection in less than 15 minutes. It reacts to heat to create a phenomenal shine; the more heat you the use, the shinier the hair becomes. The product also created a humidity barrier that was unreal, even in a light mist. My hair was still touchable and brushable, not sticky or stiff. I should confess that I am normally a disaster at blow-drying my hair, and the Liquid Texture helped me to control it. It is my new must-have product.
I have also used the ERFusion. It is serious rehab for damaged hair. Beauty editors are raving about this one.
DD: Can you colour and style your hair and still avoid having damaged hair? Often if you have blonde or highlighted hair, stylists tell you not to heat style it –but you want and need to style it? What is the solution?
FS: Yes, you can color and avoid damage. The dynamics are fairly simple. When you color or style your hair, the cuticle layer explodes from the ammonia, and/or from the heat of a hot tool. To fix the imbrications or breaks in the cuticle structure, we need to create the right moisture balance and compact the cuticle layer. When these two elements are equalized, the hair is flawless from end to end. To achieve this, White Sands creates products to create soft, touchable beautiful hair that protect your color 50% better and gives your tresses a second breathable skin for the correct moisture balance.
DD: What can you do if you hair is already dry and bit damaged, and you don’t want to cut it really short?
FS: A good start is deep reconditioning treatments, such as White Sands ER Fusion and Porosity the Fix which will give your hair the ability to hold moisture. The stress your hair is taking from salon services and thermal abuse makes different variations of dryness that can be fixed with proteins and moisturizers.  
DD:  There is a lot of emphasis today on preventing colour fade, but hair also grows. What is the best choice for a woman who wants colour or highlights, but who has limited budget?
FS: Subtle highlights — meaning few in number — will make your color last longer because it won’t show regrowth. Choose the tone of the highlights from the flex of your eyes. Do not bleach then tone, because the tone in the bleach will fade and you will be left with white hair. Compliment your subtle highlights with White Sands color secure shampoo and conditioner.
DD: Many women live in areas with high humidity, and five minutes after they leave the house their hair frizzes.  Are there any products that can really stand up to frizz, but leave hair soft and natural?
FS: First, we need to fix the moisture balance in your hair with our Porosity the Fix. Then, seal it with any of the Liquid Texture and Infinity sprays that have been proven to repel moisture in the toughest weather conditions such as in Florida or Japan.
DD: What do you suggest for women with curly hair who want control and shine?
FS: Curly hair that looks dull and unmanageable since the imbrications of the hair are open and lack of moisture. We recommend a reconstructive treatment like ER Fusion then Porosity the Fix to correct moisture issues. Finally apply Glaze Plus which will define smooth curls, and seal it with any of the Liquid Texture sprays.
DD: Do you have any tips on how to blow dry hair for a smooth look?
FS: Use Porosity the Fix on towel damp hair to correct moisture on any hair type, then apply Liquid Texture Medium hold over the top of Porosity and begin round brushing. When you finish a section, cure the desired effect with a cold shot before you move to the next section. This will give you a flat iron finish (silky smooth) with volume.
DD: How do you prevent you stylist from making your hair overly blonde, or highlighting you until you are a blonde? And if it happens how you do correct it without dying your hair dark?
FS: Ask your stylist to be sensitive to your request and take the extra time to be consistent with your color. When you have gone to blonde, the best correction is lowlights and highlights combined. On the lowlights, only go one shade darker than your natural color. This way you will have a natural fade and longevity.
DD:  Is there an easy way to do a simple chignon similar to the ones popular with celebrities for red carpet occasions?
FS: Pre-wrap the hair in pin curls, hot rollers, or a curling iron with the Liquid Texture Firm hold on dry hair for long lasting curls. Let it cool. Then, take the curls down and separate the hair into two or three sections. Gather a section, comb into your hand, and do a half turn (left or right). Next, push the hair down into the center and pin. Continue doing this until you have reached your desired look.
DD: What are latest trends from Hollywood for styles and colors?
FS: It depends on where the individual falls in the trends, which is the fad, the trend, or the classic because it is about identity expression. For example, Christina Aguilera falls into the fad: her blond would be considered a white minx (stark white). The classic in a similar tone would be considered silent snow (soft iridescent); where as the trendy blondes are sandy color variations.
DD: Are there any tricks to help brunettes cover stubborn grey and look less harsh?
FS:Yes! Your stylist needs to use a color line that has an opaque color molecule. This offers 100 percent coverage on all hair color. Another trick is to color the roots only. This will leave brunettes looking natural since this technique offers a soft fade.
DD: What is your best hair tip to make any one look better in a hurry?
FS: Give your hair a quick lift by using Liquid Texture Firm hold at the base to give volume. Plus, this product totally refreshes your style.

Adventures in dieting: Diet cookies

Cookie diets seem to be everywhere, but do they work? Can you eat cookies and lose weight? As femme fatale Joan Collins once said,” you could eat only chocolate biscuits and lose weight, as long as you don’t eat too many.” She had it right, as recent research confirms weight loss is all about calories. If you want to look fabulous, feel great, and stay svelte, darlings that is where good nutrition comes in.

These cookie diets have you eat “diet” cookies as meal substitutes. You eat them for breakfast and lunch and then have a healthy low-cal meal at night. It will take the weight off you, if you can stand it. The cookies are full of protein and vitamins. They don’t taste so good that you’ll be tempted to eat them all up, unlike most “diet-aid candy”. Nor do they taste all that bad. They are just dull and filling.
I recently tried the Dr. Siegal cookies. I am not sure I would do the whole diet every day. I’d most likely eat a boiled egg or tuna for lunch when I was at home. But, I love having the protein cookie for a quick breakfast or lunch option, particularly if I am on the run. They fill you up so you can control hunger and calories. They also prevent hunger headaches and stop you from getting so hungry you’ll eat anything. The biggest drawback of the cookies is the price, about $3.49 a meal. If you are eating junk food and calorie-laden take-out, it is trade-off. You can easily spend as much or more on that figure-wrecking fare. It does seem steep to those us who prepare meals at home, but it is still a good option for times away from home.
The cookies have 90 calories; 25 of them are from fat. They also have two grams of fiber and five grams of protein. I can see this diet working for anyone who can’t even taste food without falling off the wagon. Trust me; these cookies do not set off cravings, they are too dull. I think it is best as a quick start option. But this type of diet works for many women with no ill effects. If you binge and snack on regular diets, then just tuning out and eating cookies may be your ticket to success. But if you decide to try this and have a serious weight problem or eating disorders, get some professional help first. There is help available at every budget and even free, if you need it.
I have not tried Smart for Life Cookies, but they seem very similar, according to the information on their website. They cost about the same too. I like cookies much better than shakes — which I loathe — or I would have many more options for meal replacement diets. If the idea appeals to you there are definitely good shake options at different prices. Read the labels, if budget is an issue. They may not have Dr. Siegal’s special hunger-satisfying ingredients, but they may work for you. I prefer food and in a pinch a cookie.
I will definitely pack a few Dr. Siegal Cookies in my bag from now on when I travel. Airports are ruinous to my diet and figure. Darlings, better a healthy dull cookie than empty calories on the run.

Never be afraid to speak up

Confident professionals are impeccably groomed. They almost shine. Having fresh breath is essential. Who wants to open their mouth in a business, social, or romantic (horrors) situation and not be confident that one’s breath is fresh and sweet? That’s why Wisps from Colgate are the new handbag must-have. These mini-toothbrushes can fit into the tiniest evening bags. Wisps’ cleaning bristles and pick can remove trapped food from between teeth and gums, and freshen your breath. No more stale mouth or spinach on your teeth.

You don’t need water to use them either, so you can get the job done quickly or discreetly anywhere you have bit privacy. Be cool, confident and speak up – you have fresh breath and sparkling smile. How fabulous is that?

What’s your eye-Q?

 Ask any woman who is serious about skin care and she will tell you that eye cream is essential. I have used one since I was 16, and each passing year, I am glad I have done so. 

The eye is surrounded by delicate tissues that age quickly if you don’t care for them, so wear sun block, sunglasses, remove your eye make-up, and wear eye cream. Not removing your eye make-up can lead to irritations and infections and it looks revolting in the morning. Be gentle and use a non-oily remover. If you are lazy or a party girl who collapses into bed, keep one-step make-up remover towelettes by your bed. They’ll take off all your make-up. Try Olay Daily Facials Express Wet Cleansing Cloths or L’Oreal RevitaLift Radiant Smoothing Wet Cleansing Towelettes.
Finding the perfect eye cream can be hit or miss. I always use a few different ones at the same time. There are many excellent choice at many different prices. Here are a few we really adore and why. There are too many to do them justice in just one item, so we will share more of them in the next few weeks. One may be perfect for you.
Olay Professional Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex is part of the new Olay Professional Pro X line. It’s sold in drugstores, but don’t be fooled; this eye cream is luxuriously silky and effective. Olay used a team of top scientists and 14 dermatologists to create a skincare line that rivals those sold in dermatologists’ offices. The eye cream has caffeine to help moisturize and reduce puffiness. Patented peptides help stimulate cell growth and diminish wrinkles, improve skin quantity and repair sun damaged skin. There is niacinamide or B3 helps to repair skin damage. Make-up glides over this eye cream. It can cost more than $40, but there are always specials and online coupons. 
Relastin Eye Silk
Many top dermatologists recommend Relastin, but it also is the secret weapon of celebrity makeup artists. This skin-firming, wrinkle-smoothing eye gel does double duty as a makeup primer and anti-aging cream thanks to its anhydrous gel formula. Many Oscar nominees received Relastin Eye Silk and Relastin Ultra Emollient totake home after the show.
The line has only three products. Relastin Skin Revitalize is a light moisturizer with the zinc firming complex. Relastin Ultra Emollient is a vitamin-rich hydrating cream. Its ingredients include Zinc Firming Complex, which helps your body "kick-start" elastin production. Vitamin C helps brighten, moisturize and encourage collagen production, while Vitamin A encourages collagen production and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Peptides help visibly reduce surface wrinkles and firm skin. Ultra Emollient can be used all over the face and under the eyes, too!
These products cost from $69 to $99. You can get a free Relastin Eye Silk right now, if you buy any two products directly from the company.
Environ Ionzyme C-Quence Eye Gel is from of one of my favourite skin care regimes. South African plastic surgeon, Dr. Desmond Fernandes created it. Using just the three core products from this line can transform skin. The eye gel contains three powerful peptides — argireline, matrixyl and dermaxyl — which are proven scientifically to combat the appearance of wrinkles. The super luxe formula also contains Vitamins A, C, and E, with soybean and Rosemary extracts.
I usually loathe eye gels as they leave my eyes tight and dry. Environ’s eye gel leaves you looking fresh. The skin is smooth and any puffiness and bags are banished. I have several friends who are addicted. It is $69.99 -79.99 CND
The Cor Silver Series is a relatively new skincare regime based on the healing and anti-bacterial properties of silver. It also contains silica, to exfoliate skin.
Cor’s Silver Eye Cream also contains palmitoyl pentapeptide to help renew the skin, generate new collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans. Acetyl Hexapeptide is an amino peptide added to relax muscle contractions. It reduces the frequency of contraction. The formula also includes macadamia ternifolia seed has a high concentration of palmitoleic acid, a naturally-occurring fatty acid produced by the sebaceous glands. Also included are the antioxidants Vitamin E and C. Ascorbyl glucoside is a stabilized Vitamin C derivative for brighter, healthier, younger-looking skin. Rosehip oil is added for its high concentration of Vitamin C, and for its moisturizing properties. Vitamin C helps to prevent and fade discoloration from hyper pigmentation. This is fabulous eye cream when you need results fast. It seems to reduce puffiness immediately and isn’t greasy or irritating. $115 USD
ABS Skincare from Dr. Craig Austin also has a great eye cream. AB eye has all the right stuff: anti-oxidants, Vitamins A, C and E, green tea extract, and CO-Q 10. It has a super luxe feel due to its high hyaluaronic acid content. It hydrates instantly; you can even use it to plump your lips. Austin is one skin doctor who did not miss a trick. This is a fabulous eye cream if you have dry skin and fine lines they will seem to disappear. $55 USD 

Jimmy Choo I love you!

The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe by Lauren Goldstein-Crowe and Sagra Maceira de Rosen. This is tale of the first shoe brand to shoot to fame on Sex and the City, a virtual paean to designer goods: Jimmy Choo. It is also the story of the first successfully-created luxury brand. All other successful luxury brands have been around for decades: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Lanvin, Balmain. The whole pantheon of established designer houses have pedigrees going back several decades or more.

Jimmy Choo is a Chinese immigrant who trained as a shoe designer at the prestigious St. Martins College in London. He’s quiet and creative, but was so mocked for his accent and lack of language skills, he became even more withdrawn and reticent.

London socialite Tamara Yeardye, daughter of model Ann Yeardye and Tom Yeardye, who helped launch Vidal Sassoon, discovered Jimmy Choo while working as a fashion assistant at London Vogue. Fashion editors and socialites flocked to Jimmy Choo’s small and unglamorous atelier for fabulous, ethereal handmade shoes. Jimmy Choo had garnered a name as the man who could make any shoe a Vogue editorial would need, anything to delight even the most discriminating fashionista.
Tamara formed a partnership with Jimmy Choo. Her father backed the deal financially, and offered his guidance as a savvy entrepreneur. She opened her first shop in London, and Jimmy Choo quickly attained cult status among fashionistas everywhere. What followed is one of the greatest fashion business success stories ever told.

The authors are Lauren Goldstein Crowe, a fashion and business journalist, and Sagra Maceira de Rosen, head of the luxury and retail division of Reig Capital Group. Their knowledge and expertise shines. The book is a page-turner, as well as a primer on the business of fashion. I could not put it down, nor will any fashionista! This is a must-read. Buy it for your fashion-loving mother for Mother’s Day — she will love it!

Perfect Powder

Jenn FalikRecently, I sat down with fellow beauty maven Jenn Falik when she was in town. Jenn introduced me to some of her favourite products as we chatted about our mutual passion – beauty. She shared one of her must-have items:  Darac’s Beauty TourQuam 3-D Face Sculpting Brush and Sifted Blur Powder Compact. It really is amazing.

The TourQuam brush is designed to recreate a make-up artist’s skill. It places just the right amount of powder evenly over your face to prevent caking or a dry, powdery look. The handle of the brush has a magnet in it to help the beautifully angled bristles pick-up just the right amount of powder. This works as all cosmetic powder is infused with magnetic minerals, such as titanium dioxide. It is one of the best and most effortless I have ever used.
You can use it with any good powder. I tried it with many of mine, and it worked fabulously. I also tried it with Darac’s Sifted Blur which is described as containing “micro-spheric optic pearls” that disperse light a diamond to create a halo effect. The powder also contains sodium hyalauronate which helps the skin attract and retain moisture. The powder is light as feather. It helps to mask flaws and set make-up, but does not show the skin. It is really lovely powder that gives a soft, ethereal finish.

Sew green


Sewing green – 25 projects made with repurposed and organic materials by Betz White is one of the best books of it type I have read in years. The projects are hip, not hokey. They contain instructions on how to make things that are sold in pricey boutiques. The projects range from simple, for beginners, to more the elaborate. I love the retro apron from repurposed men shirts, and the wrap skirt from antique table clothes. White includes home décor, gifts, and more. 
The book also profiles interesting artisans in the eco-sewing movement as well as sources for materials and tips. If you have ever wanted to start sewing, this may be fun place to start, so jump in!