Grown-up mean girls

Mean girls not  just in high schoolWatch almost any episode of the Real Housewives on Bravo (Slice) and you can see a level of nastiness that is truly shocking – and these women are privileged by any standard. While their small-screen antics can be amusing, they are far from it in real life. I have a brilliant young friend who is currently working for a bully. It is tough economy, so she is stuck there for now. Her boss drains the life out of the whole office with biting personal comments, undeserved professional putdowns, and non-stop abuse. Another friend, a PR maven, remembers one hideous female boss who screamed at her and even hit her. The tyrant knew she desperately needed the job at that time.  
Meanness is not reserved for the work place. A sweet friend who had been out of work, in spite of her best efforts, attended a friend’s baby shower. While there she was questioned about her job prospects and love life. It was all quite civilized until the dragon-like mother of an acquaintance cornered her. The gorgon began an inquisition about her personal life in the most condescending tones. She even had the nerve to ask: “Well are you going to work or can you afford to become a of woman of leisure?” My friend was disconcerted by her rudeness and her implications. This woman was well aware that my friend is a well-educated woman who has held very good positions and would again. She was simply being a *itch because she sensed that a beautiful, younger woman was temporarily vulnerable. She was an old mean girl.
According to a story in The New York Times in May 2009, based on research from The Workplace Bullying Institute, at least 40 percent of work place bullies are women. They usually bully other women. This is not shocking to anyone who went to high school. We have all seen how mean girls can be. Women are reluctant to report other women because of false notions of sisterhood or not wanting to be perceived as whiners. I was surprised by the reaction surrounding Elizabeth Lambert, the violent soccer player. As bad as this behaviour is, this type of viciousness is easy to spot and stop.
It is harder to stop put-downs, verbal abuse, backstabbing, and sabotage. We are trained to ignore it, take the blame for it, or feel bad for the needy and insecure offender. Darlings, if you are subject to bullying at work, get out as fast as you can. Keep records if it is really bad; you have rights and legal recourse.
If you are bothered by a bully in a social situation, get away from the bad person. Don’t think twice. If the mean girl is in your circle and you can’t avoid her totally, speak up. Don’t lose your cool. Practice, if you are easily rattled. Confide in a friend for advice. Find a non-hostile way to say: “back off Suzy Q”.
If a good friend is temporarily acting up because she is feeling bad about her life, find a way to give her some space. Try to be understanding, but never be anyone’s punching bag. If the bad or abusive behaviour persists, find a gentle no-nonsense way to tell her you know she is going through at tough time, but she needs to cool it.
If you see another woman getting bullied, step in and deflect it. In the work place it can be trickier to control grown-up mean girls. Be aware of your rights. If you are the boss watch out for bullies below you. We can complain about men all we want, but we need to clean up our own act. Don’t stand by and let unkindness become the norm.
Darlings, kindness is underrated. People like people who like them. You reduce your stress and that of others by being kind and joyful. Compliments, cheerfulness, and pleasantries make life nicer. One of the keys to happiness might just be finding time to be nicer and more supportive of each other, and putting a stop to the culture of grownup mean girls.

The low-down on getting ahead in tough times

Stephanie ChandlerIn these economic times, business savvy can make the difference between success and failure. In this exclusive interview, business guru Stephanie Chandler gives DolceDolce readers the lowdown on getting your business or yourself noticed in this tough market place.

In LEAP! 101Ways to Grow Your Business, Chandler has strategies and tools to grow any business. She has also included interviews with top entrepreneurs. This is a must-read for anyone with a small business or an interest in standing out in the marketplace. Do not miss a word of this riveting and valuable interview.
DD:  Why did you write this book?
SC: This is my fourth book and my goal is always to write the kind of books that I would like to read. I had a vision for an accessible, practical directory of business growth strategies that included advice from experts, authors and real-world business owners. That is exactly what took shape for LEAP!
LEAP 101 ways to grow your businessDD: Can anyone learn to market their own business?
SC: Absolutely. The key is to be absolutely committed to marketing and understand that it is a growth tool. Many business owners view marketing as a necessary evil, but when done correctly, it’s an investment in your business that should actually pay for itself. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. Thanks to the Internet and the fast-evolving world of social media, there are endless ways you can market your business without having to spend a lot of money.
DD: Do you need you need to spend a lot of money start business?
SC: It depends on the type of business you’re starting. A restaurant or retail store is expensive. A home-based business can get started with a computer and a phone! Here’s a list of 100 Low-Cost Start-up Ideas that I put together awhile back:
DD: How important is social networking and the Internet? How can you use it to gain attention?
SC: For most businesses, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can have a tremendous impact. I use all three consistently and have landed clients from around the world as a result, not to mention a lot of media coverage. Reporters, editors and producers are finding a lot of their sources online now. The key is to avoid selling with social media, and instead be a resource. Provide interesting, useful content and you will naturally attract an audience.
I like to use the example of a limousine company, which would likely have a limited amount of content it could share about its cars — and that content wouldn’t be all that interesting. But the company could become the go-to source for finding events in the area. They could post announcements about upcoming concerts, theatre events, non-profit fundraisers, and other related events that appeal to their target audience — people who will want to rent a limo when they attend those events!
DD:  How important is it to brand yourself or business? What are a few of the steps to finding and establishing your brand?
SC: I think branding is very important, and it starts with knowing what your business is all about. You have to start by considering your company values and how you want to convey the company’s image. If you own a serious, buttoned-down consulting company, your brand shouldn’t include cartoon characters or messaging that doesn’t align with your level of professionalism. On the other hand, if you own a company that’s not afraid to have fun, that message should come across too (this makes me think of
DD: If you have a limited budget what are the three most effective things a person can do to stand out?
SC: Have an impressive website that is optimized for the search engines. Engage with Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis and figure out how to do it right (it’s not about what you had for lunch!). Launch and maintain a blog — this is one of the quickest ways to drive website traffic and it integrates really well with your social media strategy.
DD: How important networking? What is the most effective way to go about it?
SC: The most important key with networking is that it’s done effectively. Showing up at every networking event in town is rarely an effective use of time. A better way is to choose a couple of events that reach your target audience and that you will enjoy attending on a regular basis. Get involved to get known.
Online networking can also be quite effective. You can participate in groups through Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other niche sites around the Internet. Some of my greatest alliances have been with people I met online.
DD: How can you tell friend from foe and avoid time wasters? How can you tell when it is time to move on?
SC: Hmmm. I have pretty good BS radar. When I meet someone who does all the talking and doesn’t ask me anything about what I do, I’m moving on. There are also relationships that can become draining over time. I guess you have to do a “gut check” and decide what value there is in your relationship. If it is one-sided, it’s usually best to let it go.

Make your hospitality lush

Lush Charity PotNothing says holiday like the scent of spice and special touches to make guests feel welcome. Fill you home with welcoming treats — and don’t forget the powder room. Place tempting bars of soap in a basket near the sink for guests to enjoy. Vanilla mist by Lush is a nice one.  Don’t forget a lovely cream or lotion to ward off chapping. Lush Charity Pot is full of a soothing lotion of almond oil, cocoa butter and an uplifting scent. Plus 100 percent of money from the sale of Charity Pots is donated to charities, groups, and good causes world wide. Lush doesn’t even subtract the cost of materials marketing or anything — all the money goes to do good! Darlings, that what’s what I call uplifting!

LUSH  Cinders bath bombAnd don’t forget to treat yourself to a relaxing bath. To warm muscles, add a Cinders Bath Bomb — only $3.95 for a soothing spa treatment!
Charity Pots are $20.95 and Vanilla Mist Soap is $7.95 for a quarter pound. Both make great gifts. Bath Bombs are fabulous stocking stuffers – or buy a box-full for the bath lovers on your list!
Free shipping on all orders over $75. Free expedited shipping in the U.S. and Xpress shipping in Canada on orders of more than $100.

Bye-bye flakes — hello gorgeous

head&shouldersOnce the weather turns cold and the heat goes on many of us are plagued by dry itchy scalps and even nasty flakes. Dandruff is tacky, unprofessional, and unfair, as it can happen to well-groomed people too. It can be a result of dry scalp or a common fungus – yuck!  Our Alice Farnsworth has been testing shampoos and tried Head & Shoulders Smooth and Silky to help revive her sunburned head and hair.
Here is Alice’s report:
I was surprised when I noticed that my daughter-in-law used Head & Shoulders shampoo and conditioner.She has beautiful, shiny, thick hair — and not a flake in sight. She likes it because Head & Shoulders has special scalp moisturizers for healthy, luxuriously hair. I found it to be wonderful for an irritated scalp.
A visit to Atlanta resulted in a sunburned scalp which itched badly as it healed. It continued even after I returned to a milder climate on the west coast of Canada. My hairdresser, who usually has the answer to all things pertaining to hair, couldn’t help. And my hair was dry from sun, colouring, and a perm.
I decided to try Head & Shoulders Smooth and Silky, and it worked. My scalp stopped itching and my hair resumed its natural shine. Try Head & Shoulders at the first sign of dryness and you may never develop those unsightly flakes. I love it.
It is safe for colour-treated hair. Head & Shoulders is now available in various formulas for many different hair types. Don’t forget to use the conditioner too for silky, shiny hair.


Bansih the morning blues

Philips Wake-up lightIf you hit the snooze button on dark, chilly winter mornings and then drag yourself out of bed feeling cranky and sleepy, you are not alone. A recent survey by Philips found that nine out of 10 people hit the snooze button.
The Philips Wake-Up Light is an alarm clock that simulates a natural sunrise. Research has shown a slow dawn effect is clinically-proven to have an impact on the quality of awakening and subsequent energy levels at the start of your day. It even improves mood. Studies have shown that “dawn simulation” can help alleviate seasonal affective disorder, stabilize circadian rhythms, and help people feel happier and more energetic all day long.
I wake up happily all summer long as the bright cheering light floods my bedroom. Then I huddle against the winter’s dark and chill no matter now long I sleep. I just can seem to pop happily awake in pitch dark at the sound of a jarring buzz.
The Philips Wake-Up Light warms the room with a soothing glow 30 minutes before wake time, coaxing your body to awaken naturally. Once the “dawn has broken” you can choose from a variety of nature sounds or FM radio to add to your soothing morning ritual.
The Wake-Up Light Premium has a feature to simulate dusk to help you fall asleep. You can also get an iPod docking station to play your own music in the morning.
The Philips Wake-Up Light is the kinder gentler way to wake up. That makes it a perfect gift for any of your favourite night owls who are forces to be larks. And it is also a delicious idea for your wish list, if — like me darlings — you are just a little fragile in the morning.
For studies on sleep and dawn stimulation:

Creamy Moussse

Anne  GravelBeauties who colour, process, and heat style often worry about products that can dry their hair. It’s a dilemma, as the current vogue for curls, waves, and sleek chignons mean that that hair often needs a little help. Redken Aerate 08 Bodifying Cream mousse is a new styler that combines the benefits of a mousse with the conditioning of a cream. This creamy product is designed to boost volume without drying hair or weighing it down. This original aerated cream mousse has cellulose to plump up body and volume. There is also a bonding system that uses cationic conditioners and style polymers for shiny manageable hair. There is also a UV filter in the colour safe formula.

Redken aerate08DolceDolce’s Anne Graveltried it out recently on her luxe blonde mane. It left her hair full, shiny and very glam.

Luscious lips

Demaglow lip plumperdermaglow upper lip repairSome women start to show their age around the mouth. Little lines on their upper lips cause lipstick to bleed. It can also give women a pinched look, even when they feel ripe and juicy. Genetics, sun exposure, smoking, and even habits like using a straw can all contribute the problem. But fear not darlings, Dermaglow Nuvectin Advanced Upper Lip Repair can help restore the power of your pout.
The advanced peptide formula reduces lip furrows and lines and even helps to stimulate new collagen. Combine it with Dermaglow Collagen Lip Plumper with biometric peptides, and lips will look fuller and sexier. This patented plumper hydrates and stimulates collagen. It comes in four colours: pink, café latte, bronze, and clear. Wear it under your favourite lip colours, too.
Darlings, these state-of-the-art treatments will work wonders to give you luscious lips at any age. Remember, when you begin to see fine and wrinkles is personal; it depends on genetics and your habits. But darlings, also remember that it is never too soon or too late to take a healthful and positive approach to beauty. Now go blow kisses! for online sales to the U.S. and Canada. Also available at most Canadian pharmacies.

For cooks you love

The  Competent CookThe Competent Cook: Essential Tools, Techniques, and Recipes by Lauren Braun Costello is a neat compendium for the inspired beginner. The handy volume is a modern how-to that covers a remarkable amount of information while still managing to be thorough. Costello leads her reader though stocking the pantry and mastering basic techniques. I loved the illustrations. She even includes recipes for classic dishes as well as a few not-so-classic items that the newly accomplished cook will enjoy presenting with a flourish! This is a great gift for the aspiring chefs in your life.

Jasper's Kitchen CookbookJasper’s Kitchen Cookbooks: Italian Recipes and Memories from Kansas City’s Legendary Restaurant by Jasper J. Mirabile, Jr. will make you salivate. It is full of the heartwarming food and tales that make fabulous family-run Italian restaurants a perennial favourite. The old family photographs and anecdotes in this book are priceless.
Jasper Mirabile shares the origins of prized recipes; some of them date back decades. There are also variations on basic recipes and sauces to spark creativity. This master chef and restaurateur makes cooking joyful, and his book is a treasure trove for any Italian food lover.