Weighty matters

Rita Hayworth portrayed the iconic siren Gilda, she stayed svelte on the 1/4 portion diet

The more I talk to readers, the more it seems that weighty matters are on all our minds. We are finding it harder to keep weight gain at bay.  It is truly maddening. For many us, additional pounds creep up on for a variety of reasons. Busy schedules make it hard to find time or eat well or exercise. This affects women of all ages. Options in food courts and airports are fattening and far from healthful. I am still appalled at what some restaurants can do to make a simple salad or sandwich top 800 or 900 calories. Long hours, stress, exhaustion and other factors can all add up to gains of 10, 20, and more pounds in a year.
 
And we all know losing weight is harder than gaining it.
 
That’s why sabotage, in the form of hidden calories, fat, and sodium is really not to be tolerated. I like to bring most of my snacks with me. I’ll take my raw almonds and miso any day over the stuff I am offered in most convenience stores and food courts. But even then, I have to resort to grabbing a quick fast food snack at times.
 
That’s why I love the idea of menu labeling. New York City requires it for fast food chains, and the measure has been adopted by several states. Now it is about to become U.S. federal la and a recent study by Decision Analyst, Inc., indicates that most American consumers support it.
 
The law was part of the health care legislation bill signed by President Barack Obama on March 23. It requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to disclose calorie counts on their food items. Additionally, restaurant chains must supply information on how many calories a healthy person should consume in a day.
 
The situation on menu labeling in Canada is patchy, as it is mandated provincially. But consumer groups are calling for menu labeling, and Health Canada and provincial ministries are looking is looking into it. I think it is essential.
 
There is healthful fast food out there. Some fast food chains offer sushi and salads, and other healthful, low-cal options. Other chains offer deceptive and deadly options. Many of us are still shocked to find out that picking the wrong burger, fries, and soda combo can give women their calorie allowance for most of the day in just one meal. I am not kidding. A meal at McDonalds of a Big Mac (at 560 calories), medium fries (310 calories), and a large Coke contains 1,220 calories. That is the daily allowance for a small middle-aged woman. 1,500 to 1,700 calories is the daily allowance of a moderately-active 30-year-old woman. You only need to the math.
 
McDonald’s is far from the worst offender. A regular McDonald’s hamburger and small fries, with water, unsweetened tea, or a diet drink is exactly 500 calories. It is not an ideal daily meal as it lacks vegetables, but it will not break the calorie bank once in while.
 
Let common sense rein in fast outlets. A single slice of thin-crust pizza is your best choice, if you want the treat. If you order a salad you need to order dressing on the side and skip the fried “goodies”. Avoid salads loaded with cheese. A serving of cheese is about 1½ tablespoons. Lean chicken, turkey, or plain seafood is best. The serving should be the same size as the palm of your hand or deck of cards. And we all know this, but they load the goodies on lettuce to make it seem healthful.
 
Darlings, most us battle creeping weight gain. I know I do. It’s not about being thin; it is about being the weight you want to be, and being in control of what you eat. Remember, danger doesn’t just lurk in fast food restaurants either.
 
Eating is joyful, but gaining weight makes most us sad. Remember your visual cues at fine restaurants. Simple things help. First course-sizes of pasta are actually dinner-sized portions. A portion is only 1 cup. Sad but true, so order it for dinner. Tip the staff well and they will be happy to see you next time. At home, use a smaller salad plate or a bowl.
 
Screen legend Rita Hayworth — famous for the role of Gilda — had to diet later in life. Her trick was the quarter-portion diet. She allowed herself only a quarter-portion of anything on her plate. She ate everything, but only in small amounts — and she played golf and tennis. 
 
Darlings, there is nothing new under the sun. I remember reading that Dolly Parton finally succeeded in keeping her weight down with the quarter-portion trick. Good for her! At five feet tall, this is one of my challenges, and from what hear, I am not alone. My advice darlings, never give up, don’t deprive yourself, exercise makes it easier, and food is not the enemy.
 
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Tips to care for your clothes

Lingerie bags let you wash delicates in the machine without damageBetween the economy and the price of clothing, the thought of ruining anything in the wash could make you cry. And the cost of dry cleaning can drive you crazy. I have always washed my husband’s cashmere sweaters and my silk ones successfully. I even use a sweater bag and pop them in the washer on delicate with special detergent. I dry them flat and press lightly. They look perfect and smell fabulous. Recently, a dear friend and DolceDolce reader tried it. She was thrilled. Her cashmere sweater washed perfectly — and she saved $13! 

 
To get the real lowdown on wardrobe preservation we went to Heidi Fuentes, a fabric care scientist at Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of Woolite products.
 
DD:Cashmere is fabulous, but the cost per wear can be high, if dry cleaning is used every one or two outings. Is it better to dry clean or wash cashmere sweaters?
HF:  If the garment label strictly says “Dry Clean Only,” I advise to follow the label. There are various reasons why the garment may be considered “Dry Clean Only” such as colorfastness or the potential to shrink.  Washable cashmere can be laundered in Woolite For All Fabrics, a detergent that won’t cause shape loss and keeps fibers strong.
 
DD: Silk jerseys are so popular now. Many designers use them in dresses that are worn frequently to work and elsewhere. What is the best way to care for them?
HF: Items like silk jerseys are so popular because they are so versatile. Of course that means more wear and more washes. Take a look at the care label first. Washable fabrics can be laundered using Woolite For All Fabrics. Wash the item in the coldest temperature and on a gentle cycle. You may also want to wash the garment separately from items with hooks and zippers to prevent possible snags. 
 
DD: What best way to clean the inside of a good handbag lined with fabric, felt, or leather?
HF: Removable lining, like fabric and leather, can generally be washed in Woolite For All Fabrics. You should be a little more careful with washing felt as its quality may vary and shrinking may occur.
 
DolceDolce Tip: I clean my non-removable hand-bag linings each week with a gentle diaper wipe or damp wash cloth and gentle bath soap to remove grime and small stains. It keeps my expensive bags pristine. I also wipe down the outside of the bag and then polish with a clean dry cloth.
 
DD: How can you keep pricey cotton T-shirts looking pristine?
HF:  Cotton t-shirts are such a staple item, I’m so happy you asked this question. Keeping those colors vivid is the most important part of keeping high-end T-shirts looking their best. Wash on a cold temperature using Woolite For All Colors.
 
DD: Sweaters and T-shirts have a brand-new pressed look when they come from the dry cleaners. Can that be duplicated at home, and if so how? 
HF: People often forget about timing after they throw their clothes into the dryer. Try to grab the items just as the cycle is ending so they are still quite warm. Wrinkles form when the clothes cool down in their crumpled state. Hanging your T-shirts immediately after the cycle ends will create that crisp look. The same goes for sweaters, but make sure they are 100 percent dry before hanging. Hanging while still damp will stretch the fabric. Of course, you can always pick up a hand-held steamer with a press attachment. This little tip is mentioned a few times in the virtual look book on www.findthelookkeepthelook.com.
 
DD: Is there a secret to keeping designer jeans looking as fabulous as their price tag?  HF: Ingredients like bleach, phosphates, and enzymes can be harsh on your jeans, causing them to fade over time. Turn your jeans inside out to help protect against fading.  Always wash in cold water and with a color-safe detergent like Woolite For All Darks, which does not contain any of the previously mentioned harsh ingredients.
 
Bra bags are good for all types of  small fine washablesDD: Is there safe way to machine-wash good lingerie? 
HF: To save your bras and money, they should washed in specifically designed Woolite bra bags. Wash other nice lingerie on the gentle cycle, in cold water, with Woolite For All Delicates.
 
DolceDolce Tip: I swear by lingerie bags for all delicate laundering. You can wash hose, sweaters, bathing suits and all types of delicates this way. Love this idea!
 
DD: Almost everything you buy, except for most underwear, says “Dry-Clean Only”. How can you tell what is safe to wash? 
HF: As I mentioned earlier, garments that are labeled as “Dry Clean Only” are usually marked that way for a reason. That being said, they could potentially be washed using Woolite For All Fabrics, but test an inconspicuous area of the garment first for colorfastness. Woolite also makes Woolite Dry Cleaner’s Secret Dry Cleaning Cloths that can be used for “Dry-Clean Only” clothes that need a quick refresher.
 
DD: What can you do about rings on the collar on white cotton, or underarm staining? 
HF: Pre-treating is a simple step that so few remember to take.  Underarm staining is difficult to remove because the stain is caused by a chemical reaction. Washing as soon as possible gives your shirts a fighting chance of staying stain-free. The longer you wait to wash the garment, the more time the stain has to set into the fabric.
 
DD: Is there a secret to making cotton dresses really crisp in the summer?
HF:  A quick mist of spray starch can help achieve that crisp look.
 
DD: Many vintage clothes from the 1960’s and 1980’s are synthetic and can have slight odor when you buy them, or pick up odors when wear them. What is the best way to clean them?
HF: Avoid over-washing because that can weaken the fabric of vintage clothes.  When you do launder these garments, make sure you use a detergent that is formulated to care for all types of fabrics, such as Woolite For All Fabrics. If your clothes are practically odor-catchers, store them with potpourri packets to give them a light, sweet scent.
 
DolceDolce Tip: Spray sheets of stationary with your favourite scent and use them instead of potpourri to scent drawers and clothes. Lingerie drawers are the place to store your scented soap.
 
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European hair hydration

Now you can hydrate you hair with Pure Water Drops by Purity Design by IT&LY Hair Fashion Milan Italy. I love this new European product, with its soft romantic scent. Only a few drops give freshly blow-dried hair extra shine and bounce. I like to wash and style daily, but when I can’t, just a touch of Pure Water Drops helps bring back my bounce.
 
Pure Water Drops provide concentrated protection against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. It contains essence of sandal, barley, and philodendron that gives hair a beautiful glossy shine and helps prevent and disguise split ends.
 
This versatile and weightless product can be applied to wet or dry hair for soft, manageable, beautiful locks. Pure Water Drops  will tame and gloss thick, coarse curly hair, but will not make fine fly-away hair greasy. It also makes a great detangler. $22  www.italyhairfashion.com. Readers can also find where to purchase by calling 800-621-4859.
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Get Bethenny’s booty

The original “Skinny Girl”, Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York, now has her own workout DVD. And it is not bad at all. Bethenny and her personal trainer, celebrity instructor Kristin McGee, present a relaxed, but effective workout. Bethenny’s workout recipe is combination. There is a 40-minute hatha yoga workout that will tone, sculpt, stretch, and flex. She follows it with a basic stretch workout. Many women do not realize that working out with weights is what will help you lose weight, not cardio! You need both, but the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn!

 
There is even a quickie bonus booty work-out! I loved it. It was deceptively simple, but very effective. This would make great mother’s Day gift, if Mom is a fan of The Real Housewives of NYC or Bethenny. Or, get it for yourself. It is the perfect  get-in-shape for summer DVD.
 
Bethenny Frankel is a New York Times bestselling author of Naturally Thin and The Skinnygirl Dish. See the archives for our reviews.
 
Bethenny and KirstinA certified personal trainer, Pilates master, and yoga instructor, Kristin McGee has worked with numerous celebrity clients including Steve Martin, LeAnn Rimes, and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.
Available for pre-order now, Body by Bethenny will be sold exclusively at Amazon.com on May 4. http://www.amazon.com/Body-Bethenny-Frankel/dp/B002W6ZXOS
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Soft, Lush, and “green”

These are two of the simpler wraps at Lush

We love the way Lush is wrapping-up Mother’s Day in Japanese-inspired scarves. The Furoshiki-inspired technique or “Knot-Wrap” uses scarves, either made of recyclable materials or vintage fabrics. It’s environmentally friendly as well as attractive. These scarves can be used and reused in a variety of ways, and can be wrapped to carry products of all shapes and sizes. The wraps are 27×27 inches or 68.58 cm. There are two permanent patterns as well as limited-edition Mother’s Day scarves. There are employees trained in fancy Japanese origami-style wrapping at all Lush stores, so you can watch and learn, my Geishas. www.lush.com
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Guilt-free chocolate

Enjoy the taste of chocolate and don’t gain an ounce. Eco Lips has created three new organic lip balms based on flavours from Dagoba chocolate’s award-winning chocolate bar collection.  Made with Dagoba’s organic cocoa powder, these USDA Certified Organic lip balms are pleasing in taste and contain moisturizing and soothing oils for healing protection. “We’ve taken three of Dagoba chocolate’s top-selling consumer favorites and turned them into a blissful experience for the lips,” says Mark Patterson, CEO of Eco Lips.

 
The Dagoba Certified Organic Chocolate Lip Balm Collection includes the following flavors based on these favorite Dagoba organic chocolate bars: 
 
·        Raspberry: Raspberries, rosehips and dark chocolate bring the perfect balance of sweet and tart;
·        Mint: Dark chocolate blended with mint oil and rosemary essence refresh the senses and awaken the mind;
·        Lavender: Lavender, blueberries and dark chocolate offer a divine, calming experience.
 
Now you can have the sweet kiss of chocolate on your lips without the extra calories .
 www.ecolips.com. For more information, call 866.326.5477.
 
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Funky-fabulous DYI

The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor: More than 100 Inventive Projects for Cool Homes like Yours by Mark Montano is a treasure trove of fashionable, fun, and funky do-it yourself decoration projects. Montano has easy decorating projects to suit all decors as well as fabulous tips and tricks to disguise tacky hand-me-downs or generic big box buys. Most can be done for a few dollars in an afternoon or a weekend at most. His style has a definite edge, but never looks too crafty.

 
Mark Montano is a designer and well-known host. He has been on TLC’s While You Were Out and 10 Years Younger, We’s She’s Moving In, and Style Network’s My Celebrity Home. He is the author of CosmoGIRL Cool Room, The Big-Ass Book of Crafts, Super Suite, and Dollar Store Décor. Montano is based in Los Angeles and New York.
 
The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor is a great Mother’s Day gift for crafty moms with a chic side. Get it for yourself, if you have been dying to give your place a makeover, but have the recessionista blues.
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Spicy Moroccan-inspired shrimp salad

Low-cal shrimp, fresh veggies, and the kick of curry1 pound of peeled and deveined large shrimp – you can buy them this way. Or if you can, get fresh Matane shrimp from Quebec, or fresh small gulf shrimp – they are delicious too! Small shrimp are fabulous in salads, but make sure they ultra-fresh!

 
Add to shrimp and toss:½ tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 crushed clove of peeled garlic
Refrigerate for 20 minutes or more
 
Sauté the shrimp in Pam or 1 scant tsp of good oil on medium-high heat. Shrimp are done when they are just opaque. Cool.
 
Add:
¼ cup each thinly sliced: celery, sweet red pepper, sweet yellow pepper, sweet onion
Add: 1 scant tbsp good quality mayo
Juice from 1-2 limes
1 tbsp good spicy curry powder Jamaican or any mellow blend of curry.
½  cup cashews or almonds
 
Serve on shredded lettuce or in mini baguettes.
 
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