Embrace your inner egghead

We are back! Sorry we were down. We had growing pains, due to increased traffic. We had to take some time and adjust our technical details! We are back!  Thanks for understanding.
Marilyn embraced her inner book worm --she really did love to readI have always been a bit of a nerd. I cheerfully describe myself as an egghead in stilettos. As a little girl, I won a prize from our local library for reading the most books over the summer in my bookish home town.
I have spent most life my life with my nose stuck in a book. The idea of a free time and big pile of books still delights me.
I have been lucky enough to travel widely. I know I would not have enjoyed it half as much without all of my advance research. When we first went to Thailand and Vietnam, I researched the travel routes, hotel, restaurants, museums, and history. It was fabulous. And lest, my darlings, you think my preparation left no room for serendipity — banish the thought. On the contrary, it allowed us to find the best hotels and avoid the predictable and boring hotels recommended in the travel books. Planning ahead and researching like crazy led us to the luxe and historical Bangkok Oriental and fabulous private guides. When we visited Vietnam we stayed a white marble palace called the Majestic Hotel inSaigon. And I will always dream of the colonial charms of the Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi – and its hundreds of ceiling fans and the echo of Indochine.
From fashion to cooking studying and immersing myself in my passions has always led, not only to a deeper appreciation, but to adventure.
There is something to be said for a love of knowledge, for knowledge’s sake alone. Our definition of education and accomplishment has become too narrow. So few adults take time any more to paint, practice music, sew, or embrace new skills and arts. It is sad and self-limiting. It’s also ironic, as so many are so involved and preoccupied in a search for meaning. All too often the pursuit of knowledge is an attempt at advancement, validation, or to impress others; how tiresome, boring, and shallow.
It was stimulating to grow up surrounded by accomplished professionals with interesting and varied hobbies. It was exciting and inspiring. It never occurred to me that anyone would stop learning no matter their age or profession. 
Grace Kelly wore glasses and men still made many passesI was also inspired by women I admired. Jackie Kennedy was an accomplished artist as well as a writer and editor. She too had been a glasses-wearing book worm, who gravitated towards intellectuals. Grace Kelly was a sexy, spec-wearing nerd who grew up to be a movie star and a princess.
Watching these women, I never saw a conflict in being both a bookworm and a bit of bombshell. Actually, it was an appealing idea.
Carla Bruni --so chic and so smart Carla Bruni, the first lady of France, is another contemporary woman who follows her passions and seems to have no problem being attractive and intelligent. She was one of the highest paid models in the world, but left modeling devote herself to music. Many of her songs are based on classical works, and she writes many of them herself.
There are scores of inspiring and creative women from all walks of life. These are a few of the women who have inspired me; you will have your own list. I am often inspired by my own friends and mentors who never cease to amaze me with their talents.
Darlings, embrace your inner-egghead. There are exceptions, but almost anyone who gets anywhere in life is a bit of nerd. The trick is to be sexy and chic and still nerdy and confident enough to love the library and even Star Trek — if that is your thing.
Do I even have to mention Bill and Melissa Gates? They met at Microsoft. If she wasn’t super-smart and a hard worker, he would never have looked at her twice. Did it hurt that she was a tall, good-looking brunette?  Darlings, what smart man can resist a smart beauty?
The moral of this story is that you are single and looking; embracing you inner bookworm may help you meet an interesting guy. But do it for you.
So the next time you hear of a place you would like to — or plan to – visit, do some research. Don’t just get a guidebook or brochure. Read a history or a few novels set there. Delve. Study the art and cuisine too. It’s fun, enjoy it. If you plan to go to France, why not read a novel by Collette? Perhaps read Julia Childs’ My Life in France too,even if you are not a foodie. If you can read a bit of French, pick up French Elle or Paris Match. Darlings, there are just a few suggestions, brainstorm your own.
If you have time, take a course on your destination’s art or décor at your nearest university. Make a private study of architecture or design using library and museum resources. Let the possibilities awaken your senses. Obviously these suggestions apply to any destination — Boston, Bolivia, Bombay, or Bangkok!
I keep mentioning travel as so many find it stimulating. If it is out of reach now, think closer to home. I have had illuminating experiences as close as 30 minutes from my own home.
·        Go to lectures on any subject that interests you, from ancient civilizations to astrophysics. There are no tests or entrance exams, so walk right in and sit down. They are often free or inexpensive and you may meet interesting people. Go to a variety of things that interest you, from The National Geographic Society to a fashion lecture at a design school! Be sure to look fabulous. You will feel and look better if you make an effort And if you are single, you never know who you might meet.
·        Learn to use your local library. You can reserve almost anything online. There almost no limits to the wealth of information and materials at your disposal. They will send it for free to the branch nearest you.
·        Take a class. Look for a weekend class if you are short of time or money, you can learn a lot in even a few hours. Go online and look for reviews of any class before you choose.
·        Learn a foreign language. A smart group of women I know are all studying Mandarin. Why not? I am not particularly talented at languages, but while living in Moscow I did mange to learn Russian well enough to communicate when I needed to. Word to the wise, avoid overly-competitive and negative people. They can kill your confidence and they are a buzz-kill.
·        Make art. Learn to paint, sculpt, copper enamel – whatever turns you on. Even learn to collect inexpensive art and display it artfully. Enhance and enchant.
·        Read, explore, be open to your own creativity.
·        Trust yourself to be your own teacher.
·        Never let perfection be the enemy of the good.
·        Find role models to inspire you and mentors to guide you. I find the stories about successful and gracious women immensely instructive and uplifting.
·        Avoid negative and overly critical people. Embrace and cultivate teachers and mentors help you reach your goals. You are a smart beauty. See yourself that way ands surround yourself with others who share your vision.
Darlings, life is a rich and wonderfully sweet experience, but you need to reach out and grab the goodness. You can skim the surface or you can work to become a person of substance and knowledge. It can be a delightful process. Embrace your inner egghead, happily dressed in chic outfit and really cute shoes.

The quick and effective work-out guru

Carrie RezabekIf you are short of time and find you are neglecting your fitness regime, read our interview with fitness guru Carrie Rezabek. We like her attitude. According to Carrie, “health and fitness should always be a priority regardless of budget.”

Carrie Rezabek is the creator and CEO of Pure Barre. She grew up dancing, performing and choreographing events all over the U.S. Carrie has extensive training in dance, Pilates, and fitness — as well as the Lotte Berk Method, NYC. After earning a business degree from Michigan State and a law degree from Wayne State, Carrie opened her first studio in Birmingham, MI where she developed the Pure Barre Technique. We love that it that combines many effective techniques and yet is quick and easy to do.
DD: Why did you create Pure Barre?
CR: It’s a combination of my history:  dance, Pilates, soccer and group fitness.  None of the other fitness classes did what I wanted them to do in one hour.
DD: How is it different from other fitness methods?
CR: It works the muscle to fatigue and then stretches it right back out, so it is extremely effective.  There is no bouncing or impact. And it incorporates great music.
DD:  How long will it take to see results?
CR:Just 10 times.
DD: How will Pure Barre change one’s body?
CR: It will lift your seat, tone your thighs, and flatten your abs. And it also burns lots of fat.
DD: Can anyone do it?
CR: Yes!
DD:  Do you also need a separate cardio regime with Pure Barre or is a total fitness routine?
CR: Pure Barre is a total body workout, but some bodies will still need additional cardio. Walking may be enough for some and other bodies may need something more.
DD: What equipment do you need?
CR: Nothing, just your own body.
DD: Do you have any tips for those who may be using Pure Barre as part of weight loss program?
CR: Do Pure Barre three or four times a week for a month. You will be amazed at what happens.  When you combine it with healthful eating, the results are that much faster and dramatic.

Have your own eco-savvy soda fountain

Soda at the push of a buttonWe love the machines from Sodastream. It’s fabulous to be able make fabulous fresh soda water in minutes using filtered water from own fridge. It takes only minutes, costs pennies, and we always we have it on hand when we want it.  The machines don’t need batteries or electricity. They work with recyclable canisters of C02.
The new Genesis drinks maker is a compact, light, inexpensive plastic model that is great for any small space. It is perfect for families who are eco-conscious and want to reduce waste. Those who are budget-minded will like the system too as it is very economical. It is also great idea for students going off to school. Just think how great it would be to have a tasty selection of soft drinks and flavoured waters on hand without the bother of carting heavy bottles – or the having to store them in a small room. 
There is a choice of 25 standard soda flavours such as cola and diet cola. There are also essences to make the new poular flavoured-water drinks. We really like the diet pink grapefruit and cranberry-raspberry flavours. There is even a concentrate for an energy drink. Each bottle of flavoring makes 50 servings. The diet drink mixes contain Splenda instead of cheaper sweeteners.
The Genesis Starter kit with two canisters of C02 and two bottles to hold soda is only $119 in the US or Canada. Flavour mixes are extra.
This is a fabulous gadget. It is perfect for the bar, school, cottage or boat – anywhere you entertain and relax with family or friends. http://www.sodastream.com/aboutsodaclub

A pain in the neck

No one should live with a pain in the neck. But if, like so many of us today, you spend hours at a desk or behind the wheel, chances are you are a neck pain sufferer. Yoga to the Rescue for Neck & Shouldersby Desiree Rumbaugh provides relief. Our DolceDolce testers who tried her previous DVD, Yoga to the Rescue for Back Pain, report amazing results.

Don’t wait until you are reduced to pain shots and harsh medications. Make a relaxed and flexible neck and shoulders a priority. You’ll be glad you did. A flexible and pain free body keeps you young and beautiful.
The DVD includes a 30-minute tutorial and a 30-minute flowing sequence. http://www.acacialifestyle.com/

A little TLC for your face

Sunburn, windburn, overwork, stress, and even the blues can all affect your skin. If my skin is looking less-than-fresh, I always reach for a masque. It works every time. Clarins Super Restorative Comfort Masque is perfect for almost all skin types that need little TLC – although I would not recommend it for acne. It has been created to address the problems of skin weakened by age-related hormonal changes, but I think any dry and sensitive skinned women would benefit from it. It’s full of nourishing mango oil and shea butter. It also has Pueraria Lobata, a healing substance derived from the Kudzu root.

Spread this heavenly potion on a freshly-washed face. Lie down with your eyes closed on your bed or in a bath and calm your mind. After you remove the masque your face will be smooth, relaxed, moist and glowing. How fabulous is that?

Sweet Scrub

Soft sugar scrubsThe most divine moisturizers and precious oils in the world won’t help to soften your skin, if it isn’t free of dead cells, flakey scales.
Lush Sugar Scrub and Sugar Babe are delightful scent balls of sugar and essential oils you can sue to smooth away the dead stuff. Sugar Scrub is invigorating with fresh fennel oil, lavender oil, and ginger. Sugar Babe is little softer with extra virgin coconut oil, beeswax, the scent of mimosa absolute, and ylang ylang.
Both use Fair Trade sugar. They are an indulgent little treat at $4.95 a treatment –but the smell and feel so sweet!

Pout like a young Bardot

Brigitte Bardot

Darlings, if you try the new L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Anti-aging Serum Lipcolour, you may never buy another lipstick. It’s amazing, and I am not the only one who thinks so. This phenomenal formula is a hit with women of all ages. I was lunching with a chic younger friend and she immediately noticed the effect as I reapplied my fabulous trendy Natural Nude lip colour. My lips were instantly glossed, plumped, defined and somehow juicer. And darlings, that’s a tall order as I my lips are not particularly thin or dry.  

Our gorgeous 20-something editor Anne Gravel has tried it. She thinks it’s fabulous too.
Our consensus is that it feels wonderful; very zingy and fresh, and makes your lips look drop-dead sexy, even when you are wearing it in a lady-like way. It must be the anti-aging complex of Pro-Xylane and Collagen. We all agree that it is never too to soon to protect delicate lips from aging. After all darlings, I started to wear eye cream nightly from 16, and I am ever so glad that I did. I also like the fact that L’Oreal has loaded the lip colour with rich Omega 3 and Vitamin E. 
Right now nude lips are a hot look. Try it if it suits you. If not, classic reds, as well as deep reds, well-blotted are all rage in New York and Europe. Expect to see more of both of these trends this fall. I love the L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Anti-Aging Serum Lipcolour Naturally Nude and Classic Red. There16 shades to choose from in the range. It will be hard for to find a more flattering or sexy lip colour at any price. Try it darlings, and pout like a young Bardot.

Rescue me, naturally!

It’s been all the rage among European fashionistas and jet setters for years. Now, Bach’s Rescue Remedy can rescue you from any situation. The new range of Rescue Remedy includes new sprays to provide an energy boost or help you to drift off to sleep. The range has added Rescue Pastilles in addition to the sprays.
Dr. Edward Bach created the original Rescue Remedy 60 years ago. He also created Bach Flower Essences to address the emotional causes of illness. The Rescue Remedy is totally natural and contains five of the 38 Bach Flower Essences: Rock Rose for terror and panic, Impatiens for irritation and impatience, Clematis for inattentiveness, Star of Bethlehem for shock, and Cherry Plum.
Dr. Bach created the Rescue Remedy for stressful situations. Use it to help calm nerves jangled from traffic, overwork, or any type of stress. I have always liked the Rescue Remedy since I first discovered when I was working as an editor for Russian Vogue. I use to put a few drops in a glass of cold water or under my tongue and took time out for a few deep breaths.
If you like a natural approach to stress management, Rescue Remedy may be for you. http://www.rescueremedy.com/introduction/