Silly, sullied Sarah

She ran through her reported 2 million Weight Watchers moneySarah Ferguson, A.K.A. Fergie, has never been a demure duchess. Those who chronicle the Royals say that it was her “common” side that made the Prince, who has been called Randy Andy, fall in love with her. Since marrying and divorcing the Duke of York, Sarah Ferguson has been in and out of favour. She has, as many royals and celebrities, been lauded and derided.

But, I doubt anyone would have anticipated the day we would have seen her looking like an aged call girl as she sat nervously smoking on the edge of an apartment sofa greedily reaching for her payoff.
She looked positively raddled as she negotiated to sell an introduction to her ex-husband, the Duke of York in his position as Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. The former Duchess of York was “stung” by a British tabloid jounalist. She demanded three quarters of a million dollars for “an introduction” to her ex. She has made a public apology for “her regrettable lapse in judgment” and said her ex-husband had no knowelege of her activities.
Sarah Ferguson is not new to scandal. She was photographed topless on a beach with her “business advisor” sucking her toe. Although she was separated from her husband, it was a considered a compromising and unacceptable position for the mother of two royal princesses. Recently, the Duchess of York fled to the U.S. where she seemed have to rebranded herself as the head of an international children’s charity author, and a spokesperson for Weight Watchers. Alas, that was not the case. It seems she was running up a mountain of debt with an unsuccessful promotions company, as she tried to parlay her “royal” status into a fortune.
Some feel sorry for the duchesses. One commentator on the Today Show went so far as to query how the Duchess could manage on her paltry divorce settlement of approximately $21,000 a year. A UK royal chronicler, who admits to friendship with the disgraced Duchess, claims the Royals are in “velvet handcuffs’ when comes to financing their lifestyle. He says that the public demands they act like Royals, but does not want them to work at most jobs, nor does it want to finance them. He went on to state, “she couldn’t just take a yellow cab in New York – because what would people think?” Actually, I doubt anyone in New York would care very much at all; it would have been less of scandal. Jackie O, a famous and wealthy woman, often walked around the city. I know she often drove her own car. I am also sure that many wealthy women would have managed on the $2 million she received from Weight Watchers, especially with free rent in London. It was her choice to assume a pricy lifestyle in New York.
But in retrospect, is it any wonder that in a world plagued by an economic crisis brought on by greed, that people no longer have a clear sense of right and wrong? I am still livid that so few have been brought to account for the mortgage scams – and they are scams – that bankrupted so many. I am disappointed and angry that legislators everywhere cannot seem to function without a lobbyist pulling their strings. Perhaps Sarah Ferguson was clumsily trying to set up her own lobbying firm. Sadly, her behaviour is not too different from the scams and payoffs coming to light every day. But that doesn’t make it right or any less distasteful.
It is no wonder that the defense attorney for the man who attempted to extort David Letterman thought he had a defense in that his client was “simply negotiating a screenplay deal". Why not? It seems dirty business is the way things are done these days. If you get away with it, you’re a smart alpha guy or gal – a player.
Well darlings, I don’t think so. Take a look Sarah Ferguson on that sofa grabbing for the cash and waving her cigarette about. It looks just like what it is – shady. I for one have had enough. Knowing right from wrong is not rocket science. Sarah Ferguson may not have had a fabulous education, as some of her defenders have pointed out, but she has had a privileged life with more than enough opportunity to learn basic ethics. She chose, as many have recently, a quick and greedy, way to finance her lavish life style.
She may not have broken any laws, but what she did was wrong. She let down a lot people, including her daughters, herself, and the public who paid for and admired her. I don’t give a damn that her finances are stressed. How many peoples’ finances are not a bit tighter these days, thanks to behaviour like hers? I think she will suffer in the long run, with the loss of any remaining endorsements she has. After all, a cheater does not make a good diet spokesperson – for many reasons. It will take a lot more than bravado to salvage her now-thoroughly sullied image
We need a shift in our perception of success and what’s acceptable. We don’t need to brand anyone with a “Scarlet A”, toss them into debtors’ prison, or run them out of town anymore. But let’s not be so quick to move on and forget bad behavior by celebrities, politicians, and each other. I think those who are sorry for her or who applaud her for brazening it out, as she did the next day, are misguided. She is far from the biggest problem we are facing these days, but she is part of what is wrong. Let’s be better and demand better. It’s time.

Are hair extensions for you?

Keratin bonds attach to the hairAs a rule, I don’t recommend hair extensions because of the expense, maintenance, and the potential damage. But, some women still want them for special occasions, or because they have dramatically thinning or problem hair. Some women have them applied to "pouf up" thin hair. Others have them put in for a wedding or a special occasion because they want long dramatic hair, and have neither the time nor ability to grow it themselves.

Until I saw the Tony Odisho method there was no process that I felt comfortable recommending. The Tony Odisho method is gentle and less destructive to your own hair. Extensions need special care, so he has developed an excellent line of products from light foaming mousse to dry shampoo, to help keep extensions beautiful. The products are so luxe you may want to try them even if you don’t have hair extensions. If are – or have ever – contemplated hair extensions, don’t make a move without reading this informative interview. All extensions are not the same.
DD: Why do so many hair extensions cause hair loss, and how are yours different?
TO:  Tony Odisho Hair Extensions do not damage the clients’ hair. The bond is made of 100 percent keratin protein. It has the same structure and behavior as the protein in our natural hair, so it expands and contracts at the same rate as our own hair.  Because of this keratin protein bond, there is no damage to the clients’ hair during installation, removal, or during the life of the extensions.

Tony OdishoThe perception that hair extensions damage the hair is really a misconception based on old techniques and old technologies.  Years ago, when the bond was made from non-organic materials such as resin or glue, extensions could easily damage the hair.  But in the past five to 10 years, the technology used for quality hair extensions has improved dramatically.  As with any product and service, incorrect use and application can cause unwanted outcomes.  That is why Tony Odisho Extensions offers intensive training at its dedicated training institute, so that stylists have the skills and confidence to not only install hair extensions expertly, but to educate their clients on the maintenance of their extensions to ensure beautiful, long-lasting hair.
DD: Can the extensions be put up and styled different ways? 
TO:  Yes.  Hair extensions are applied at least one inch from the perimeter of the hairline so that when the hair is up, you will not be able to see the bonds. Tony Odisho Hair Extensions are made of 100 percent high quality human hair so they can be blow-dried, flat-ironed, or curled with a curling iron, and styled using your favorite styling products.
DD: Are they appropriate for women who already have issues, such as thinning hair or other hair damage? 
TO:  Yes, most clients who get hair extension are people with thinning hair. There are a myriad of reasons why a client has thinning or damaged hair.  The use of extensions to repair or conceal these issues would be decided on a case-to-case basis.  The application would be different for an aging or post-menopausal client wanting to achieve thicker hair, than for a client with chemical damage who is looking for help getting through the awkward period of hair recovery.
DD: How long do the extensions last? Do the extensions need to removed? If so, how? Does this damage the hair? 
TO:  Hair extensions last from three to six months, depending on the type of application and by how well the client maintains them). For people with thin hair, not more than three months and for people with thick hair, up to six months.  Hair extensions must be removed by a certified hair extensions stylist.  A specialized solution is applied to the keratin bond.  The solution penetrates the bond and crystallizes it.  A removal pincer breaks up the bond so the extension slides off the clients’ hair with no damage to their hair.
DD: Do the extensions require special care?
TO:  Yes, proper client maintenance is the secret to long-lasting extensions.  There are several simple yet important steps a client must follow to maintain beautiful extensions:
·        Brush the hair twice a day using an extensions brush;
·        Sleep with the hair put up in a loose ponytail;
·        Wash the hair with hair extensions shampoo or professional, salon-quality shampoo.  Shampoo with the head upright using a downward, zigzag motion.  Rinse in the same manner;
·        Apply a quality conditioner from the middle down to the ends while the hair is wet.  Use a wide toothed comb to work the conditioner through the hair;
·        Dry the hair using a blotting motion.  Never turn the head upside down and rub;
·        Wear hair in a ponytail or in a cap when swimming;
·        Style using quality hair care products.
DD: How long does the application take?
TO:  A full head application, which is 100 to 150 strands, should take a maximum of three hours including cutting and blending.  Experienced stylists can apply the extensions in closer to two hours.
Finished resultsDD: Do you use all human hair? Can it be colored and styled to match any client’s hair?
TO:  Tony Odisho Extensions uses only human hair from India.  The hair is completely Remys System, meaning the hair is harvested and kept as an intact bundle with the top and bottom clearly marked throughout the manufacturing process to ensure that the hair cuticles all face the same direction.  (Some companies offer ‘brushed Indian hair’.  This is gotten from women who do not want to cut their hair, so they brush it out into a ball, which is then combed out and put into strands with the cuticles facing opposing directions.  This hair is completely unmanageable and will tangle and mat when washed. Also, Tony Odisho Extensions does not use Asian/Chinese hair.  This hair is inexpensive and in great supply, but it is much thicker than Caucasian hair and thus must be processed to a much greater extent, causing the hair to lose its structure.  This hair is often covered with silicon to mask this problem, but after a few washings, this hair starts to disintegrate and turns to gum. Tony Odisho Extensions are 100 percent Remys Human Hair from India.
The hair comes in a wide range of colors and combinations.
DD: Can you match any hair texture?
TO:  Tony Odisho Extensions come in straight and curly.



Smooth operator

You may not have heard of Cover FX, but it is an international makeup company that specializes in foundation makeup with skin care benefits. Their primers are fabulous. If you don’t use a primer, consider it, especially in the city. They not only help makeup go on smoother, but the new primers help to perfect and protect skin.

Cover FX Skin Prep FX Nourishing Foundation Primer and Anti-aging serum that glides over your face. It hydrates and helps to “blur” fine lines and pores.  It is oi and fragrance-free, so sensitive skins adore this moisture rich primer. It’s also an excellent night cream if you like something light. It makes your skin feel like silk.
Cover Brite FX Prep UV primer guards against photoaging. It makes skin look more luminous and has an ingredient to help fade age spots – perfect for those with freckles, discolorations, or age spots.
Cover FX Clear Prep FX is a matte primer with an anti-acne treatment. It helps to heal and hide blemishes.
All the Cover FX primers will keep makeup in place and help your skin look and feel fresh and beautiful. They cost $45 and are available in the US. and Canada. For more info, check out

Saggy face

Facial exercises tighten the neckFacial exercises have been around for ages. Legendry Cosmo Magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown recommends them in several of her self-help books. Celebrities Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow are reported to do facial yoga, an ancient form of facial exercise. I have done it for years.

Facial exercises are controversial. Some plastic surgeons and dermatologists will tell you they are useless. Others will even claim they can hasten the formation of lines and wrinkles. Still others recommend them.
I think there’s some truth to both sides. I avoid exercises that make me wrinkle or tug at my face. It’s common sense. I do exercises that feel like they are tightening or flexing things are might droop – like my neck, jowls, or forehead. I also like exercises that will work the small muscles around the eye without scrunching.
Recently, I tried Cynthia Rowland’s Facial Magic. Her DVD has a nine-week program of facial exercises. She insists one must wear white cotton gloves to do the exercises and "anchor" the muscles. I don’t get why you need the gloves, but the exercises are sound and she explains her program clearly. Most importantly, she never instructs you to scrunch or wrinkle your face. Cynthia Rowland’s Facial Rejuvenation tackles things that droop or sag. She has some fabulous neck exercises. I have become hooked on them because not only do I feel my neck lifting in front, but they pull the kinks out of the back of my neck too.
Facial exercises, are something to try is natural way is your preferred route to ageless beauty –but don’t scrunch your face!
The basic kit starts at $99 and you can see a sample exercise on her site before you buy.

Metabolism magic

If you haven’t heard, strength training is one of the keys to kick-starting a stubborn metabolism into gear. If like me, you are engaged in shaping-up, you may want to check out the Step-by-Step Strength Training with Petra Kolber.Learning the proper form and technique is what affects your results. 

You’ll need hand weights and a chair to follow this effective DVD. Beginners may want to start with lighter weights (three pounds) and work up. It’s divided into two 10-minute segments that target the lower and upper body, and two additional 20-minute segments that offer a total-body tone-up. You can mix and match to get your beach body in no time at all. Bonus Features include: Eight “Before You Begin” tips/guidelines, Eight Bonus Moves, and bonus workouts, including Step-by-Step Belly Dance and Dance and Be Fit: Brazilian Body.
Petra Kolber is the 2001 IDEA Instructor of the Year and was named Best Female Presenter by ECA in both 2003 and 2004. She travels the world educating other fitness professionals, and hosted Acacia’s Cardio for Beginners DVD. She is a survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Born in England, Kolber now resides in Los Angeles.
Get started.
I love Acacia’s selection of workout DVDs. They have the best instructors and offer wonderfully produced DVD’s. Check our archives for reviews and Acacia for more fabulous exercise options.

Thrill me, chill me

The Dead Lie Down by Sophie Hannah is a thriller that twists, turns, and at times chills you with its creepiness. Sophie Hannah is brilliant. She sneaks up on you with the riveting ordinariness of her characters. It is the very normalcy pervading her tales that renders them so horrifying, as she draws you into the mystery. In The Dead Lie Down she brings together two couples: an engaged female police sergeant and her cold and distant detective fiancé, with an odd, haunted woman and her creepy partner. Hannah slowly unwraps psyches and secrets and slowly it becomes apparent there is serious wrong doing a foot. But until the very end we don’t know whodunit. It is compelling, riveting, and the perfect thing to send a frisson up your spine during the sultry summer.


Polish like a pro

Colgate ProClinical toothpaste is professionally-inspired line. It comes in three different types suitable for daily use. The new sleek packaging reflects the high-tech science behind the new formulas. These new toothpastes are different from Colgate’s previous whitening offerings as they have polishing crystals. Polishing is a popular alternative to peroxide. All these formulas are peroxide-free and are safe and effective for everyday use.

Colgate ProClinical Daily Whitening with ProLuminex crystals contains clinically-proven technology to remove discoloration and surface stains, and help prevent new stains from forming to give you whiter teeth. Colgate ProClinical Daily Cleaning polishes with Prophy Silica micro-buffers, an ingredient similar to what dentists use. This advanced formula fights plaque with regular brushing. 
According to Colgate, Colgate ProClinical Daily Renewal for Enamel with ProMinerals complex fortifies enamel, and leaves gums feeling rejuvenated after every brushing.
I am hooked on the clean feeling these new polishing toothpastes give my teeth, but not everyone loves the “gritty” feeling. The only way to find out is to use it yourself. I am convinced they leave teeth whiter and cleaner.

Sweet summer slaw

This summer crowd-pleaser is low-cal unlike its creamy cousinThis slaw is sharp, sweet, and tangy – perfect with any deli sandwich or BBQ. The secret is the dressing made with grainy mustard, garlic, and raspberry vinegar. It’s a crowd pleaser. And the best part is unlike many creamy slaws, it is low-cal due to the low-oil vinegar dressing that uses Splenda or Truvia. I hand grate the cabbage on a mandolin, but you can use a food processor. The trick is to cut it fine. If you are not used to a mandolin, it may be much safer to cut it with a fine slicing blade in a food processor.

(If you are wary of artificial sweeteners check out the facts on the more healthful sweeteners Splenda and Truvia.)
Finely slice a medium-sized head of rinsed red cabbage
Slice very thin (transparent) ½ medium sweet onion
Grate medium 2 large– peeled carrots
Mix and salt very lightly with kosher or sea salt
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
3 packages of Splenda, or 1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. grainy mustard (you can use Dijon)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1½ to 2 tbsp. good oil
Mix well and toss with slaw
This is a great change from salad and does not wilt or spoil in the heat. This slaw is so delicious you’ll eat it for the taste.
Red cabbage is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium, and a very good source of fiber, Vitamins A, C, K, and B6, as well as Potassium and Manganese.  The salad is low in calories due to the type of vegetables and the low amount of oil.