Are you enough?

Skydiving builds confidence, but so does dancing and tennis.One of my recent columns kicked off some emotional discussions among women I know about the scourge of bullying.

I singled out people who denigrated the actress Demi Moore for showing off her gorgeous body. What was so surprising and sad was that many women my age still have raw feelings about things that were said or done to them as teens. It is also alarming that the problem has gotten worse. We have all heard about the father who lost it upon hearing that his handicapped daughter was bullied daily on the school bus. Then there was the tragic case of Phoebe Prince, the young Irish girl who was hounded by her classmates until she killed herself in a fit of depression. 
I started to wonder why some things cut so deeply. It seems to me that we women constantly ask ourselves “are we enough?” So, when people make us feel not beautiful, popular, slim, smart, or sexy enough, we can be crushed. Alas my darlings, most parents are lousy at preparing any of us to deal with the harsh reality of the popularity sweepstakes.
Malcolm Gladwell makes the point in his book The Tipping Point that sooner than anyone’s parents would like to believe, peer groups become the ultimate influence on all of us. He cites the book The Nurturer Assumption by Judith Rich Harris which says that the personalities of children are shaped by their peers.
What I have noticed is that the children who have the best social skills are those who coast through life. And there is the rub. How do we teach children to be dans sa peau, or to feel good in their skin? Social skills are subtle and not easy to teach. Sensitive teachers and camp counselors can help, but bad ones can damn an awkward child to social hell.
If you listen to beauty experts or any of the world’s great “dames”, they always say the true secret to making it in this world is confidence. I know they are right. Getting though this life relatively “unscarred” is about having the stuff to stand up to bullies, and maybe even being able to stop bullies in their tracks. But where does this elusive confidence come from?  
I have noticed that many ‘experts’ are silent on the subject. Most of my life I have been called a confident woman. I didn’t — and still don’t always — feel that way. But, I did realize early on, that “fake it till you make it” was good advice. You can never make others like you, but you can work on the skills that can make you feel better about yourself. That does give you confidence.
It may be superficial, but wearing the right clothes can help you blend into the crowd. These days it’s easier, as trends are quickly available at all price points. If you’re fashion individual, go for it. But most people with shaky confidence feel better blending in.
If only more parents would stop trying to tell their kids that people teased them because they are jealous. It does not help, and often it is not true. It would be better to figure out why their kids are getting teased. I suggest moving their children to a more accepting and nurturing atmosphere. Bright children do better in environments that reward their intelligence. A nerd or outcast in one school can do just fine in elsewhere. Why let a person develop a bad self image? Obviously this matters, as so many are scarred for a lifetime. It’s sad and often unnecessary.
We have to stop bullying, but I think it is just as important to teach women how to be strong, vital, and confident as young girls. Mean girls often grow up to mean women. Studies show a high incidence of bullying in the workplace is done by women bosses. An old high school friend had a terrible experience with a mean girl boss who tried to wreak her confidence. She put her down constantly and gratuitously. Once she even compared her academically to her (the boss’s) young son. Another younger friend had the ultimate boss from hell — the meanest mean girl. She would torture my friend with personal insults and an excessive workload. She liked to hit her with surprise projects as my friend was on the way out the door at 7 or 8 at night. Then she would want to be girlfriends and go out for drinks. My advice to both of them: get out as soon as you can. Maintain your self confidence through talking with friends who love you and doing things you are good at, but call everyone you know as you look for a new job!
Getting out of a bad situation is not being a quitter. I was brought up never to quit. And the thinking used to be that you had to learn to get along with all types of people. I still think it’s important to learn how to go along to get along. Sports, clubs, and other enjoyable activities are great for that. But I have also learned that certain people are dangerous and mean. They don’t play by the same rules as the rest if us. The smartest thing to do is to get away from them. The best thing my father ever did for me was get me out of gym class. I hated it. I am far from lazy, but I hate sports. I loathe getting sweaty and wet in the middle of the day. I took ice skating, dance, swimming, and host of other lessons to keep active. I walked hours as a teenager. By removing me from what I considered a “hostile atmosphere” my father kept me from feeling helpless and developing a complex. Thanks to my father, I have never hesitated to say thanks but no thanks to any situation that made me uncomfortable — from dating to work. My father was really good at letting me know there was difference between sticking for yourself and being a pain in the butt. My mentors finished my social education by explaining that life was not fair and there would always be mean girls. The trick was never to play their game. They explained I had to learn to stand up for myself without becoming mean or whiny. I was not happy to hear this , but they were right.
No one is immune to criticism or slights. Recently Kathy Lee Gifford on The Today Show recounted how Victoria Principal, the actress and beauty expert, made a remark about Kathy Lee’s figure while they were at some function. “You have a beautiful body Kathy Lee, but…” She went on to ask if Kathy Lee had “problem with dairy”. Perhaps Victoria Principal meant to be helpful. Perhaps she was being catty. But she was definitely on thin ice. No one wants to hear about their alleged physical shortcomings when they attend an event.
I can’t count the women over the years who have said rude things to me in public. I still remember with clarity the lovely women who tell would tell me that the acne I had so carefully covered with makeup was caused by the make-up itself, or by something I had (not) eaten. Some were trying to be helpful, some were not. All the remarks were inappropriate and hurtful, as none of their “advice” was solicited or private. By 16, I had a fabulous doctor and clear skin. Now I smile when women tell me I have beautiful skin. I do, but I worked for it. And as soon as my skin cleared up, mean girls found other things to pick on. 
The number of indignant and hurt friends who have told me what other women dared say about their weight, clothes, makeup, hair, children, work or personalities would fill a tome. Some have been truly shaken when the remark has come from a close friend or family member. Thanks to dear older friends, I learned many years ago to let most hurtful remarks roll off me. I stay far away from those who make them. It sounds glib, but you have to get over it!
Darlings, confidence is a gift you give yourself. Parents can help, but the best person to nurture you — is you. If you have scars, heal them. I’ll tell you a secret: happy people attract good things and feel more confident. Forgive and forget is the worse advice ever. Forgive maybe. Let whatever hurt you go. But never forget. Stay far away from toxic people. They seldom change their hurtful ways. 
Find your talents and develop them. Excellence builds confidence. Glory in your beauty, darlings. Believe me, you are beautiful. Find the experts who can help you shine. Nurture yourself. Surround yourself with love. Shine your light for others. You are enough!

The lash-master

Stephen MoleskiHollywood makeup artist Stephen Moleski is the lash-master — the man celebrities flock to when they need to look stunning on the red carpet. 

Moleski created his own line of affordable but luxe lashes that are hit with Carrie Underwood, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson and Marcia Cross. Carrie Underwood even had him design custom-made lashes for her wedding.
His Smoke and Mirrors Beauty lashes feature a lightweight, flexible band that is also invisible. They come in seven different styles, all uniquely-designed after the cities Stephen has worked in. We had Stephen share his glam secrets in this exclusive interview.
DD:  What makes Smoke and Mirrors lashes different?
SM: We have custom 100 percent human hair eyelashes that are crafted on a silicone band. They all have an individual eyelash effect, as opposed to the usual heavy black band.

DD: Is there a trick to applying lashes yourself? What is the best way to put them on?
A trick is to do one light layer of mascara on your real lashes so they stiffen up just a tad. Then place the lash (with glue on) onto your lash line. It is easier to place with that one light coat of mascara. Let it dry. Once completely dry, apply mascara as you normally would to blend your lashes and the S&MB lash together.  
Stephen glams up Kim KardashianDD:  When should you apply lashes: before or after your liner and shadow?
I recommend for the beginner to put them on before anything. That way you know what you are doing and you don’t risk messing up your eye makeup.

DD:  how do you choose the best lashes to suit your eyes – or for an occasion?
All of the SMB lashes will work depending on your needs. You need to take into consideration of length your eye shape and the length you are comfortable with. Kim Kardashian loves the Vegas lash for its length and feathering effect, whereas Carrie Underwood goes for a softer, fuller lash like the Nashville.
DD: How many times can you wear a pair of lashes?
You can wear my lashes about two to four times depending on how you apply them and what amount of glue and mascara you use.
Atlanta housewife Kim Zolciak loves my Atlanta lash and wears them every day, reusing each pair several times.
DD:  How do you do a smoky eye?
As king of the smoky eye — a lot of practice and blending!  It also is about understanding the shape of your own eye because each eye is different.  Keep it simple with color choice, and don’t use more then two or three colors when developing your look. Always start with an eye shadow primer for a base. Primers are so underrated, but are the key to flawless beauty. You need a good base to achieve the perfect smoky eye, just as you would put a primer on your nails before the color, or a moisturizer on your face before the concealer. Use the dark eye shadow color and apply generously to your eyelid, close to your lash line and blend upwards. I often feather out and go more dramatic towards the ends of the eyes for a more dramatic look, which is great for night time. Use your second color from the inner corners of your eyes to about the middle, and blend them together so that the hues are fluid. Adding a brow highlight color also draws attention to the eye… a must!
DD: How do you get that luminous lovely look?
With great skin care for starters. All of my clients use After skin care, it is using bronzers and highlighters to enhance the skin. They enhance your natural skin’s glow. A mistake people make is when they go to get their face foundation color matched at a retail make-up store, they ask for the color that matched the skin on their face, which is almost always at least two shades lighter than their neck, shoulders, and rest of their bodies. You should match the color to your neck color so there is an even overall finish. Bronzers are great for the cheeks, but be careful not to overdo it!
DD: Which Lash is for which occasion?
On my website we have an easy-to-use breakdown of the different personalities of each lash. Many of my clients are also CEOs and execs of major companies, in addition to being TV and film stars, so they need a lash that can be worn during the day for meetings. The
New York lash is great for that, as they are a little shorter, but still make a world of difference when they’re on. When you want to go out on the town and you’ve got your best dress on, the Hollywood lash is dramatic without being over-the-top. The Chicago lash is great for those who are used to more of a traditional-looking lash. And of course, the limited edition Heart lash is great for those big special events, such as red carpets and weddings.

DD: What is the best way to wear lashes without looking like I’m wearing fake lashes, especially in the day time?
Slap on a pair of any from the line with no makeup and clear glue and see that they are even perfect for daytime. Many of my clients are Hollywood business executives who wear my lashes to their board meetings and events during the day and at night. These lashes were designed with the everyday woman in mind. When you apply the lashes, just be careful and apply them as close to the lash line as possible, not above, so the invisible line disappears even more. If you glue them too high, that’s when they’re detectable.

For more about Stephen or more tips:

A portion of every lash sale goes to help Heather’s Hope, a charity that helps children affected by many illnesses including HIV and various forms of cancer. Stephen is also working with Mel B on her new reality show Mel B: It’s a Scary World.


 Sprayology is a new way to use the old science of homeopathy. Sisters Patti Connell and Ellie Whalen founded it when they became disillusioned by aging and illness. Spayology offers a wide range of homeopathic and vitamin sprays to deal with a host of issues.

I have recently tried Diet Power. It is supposed to helps balance metabolism and relieve common issues when dieting, including: excessive appetite, cravings, low energy, and water retention. I have not noticed any earthshaking results, but it is pleasant to use and could help a food-obsessed person by giving them an activity.

The LBD chameleon

Every woman needs a little black dress she can rely on. A dress that makes her feel fabulous and slim. And if that dress can be worn more than one way — even better. Dresses that wrap and tie different ways have been around for decades. Many wrap and tie dresses are too darned long and flowing. They make you look like a cast member from Animal House, dressed in a bed sheet. And they cost too much for what they are. That’s why Nuova Vita got my attention.

Each Nuova Vita little black dress can be worn as a sweetheart style, halter, deep V, or tied one-shoulder, Grecian style. They are also sized XS-XL, which is fabulous as we are not all one-size-fits-all. You can order custom sizes, too. Nuova Vita’s dresses range from $135 to $165. They are also a fabulous and practical bridesmaid option.

Get the look

John Patrick of Organic by John PatrickWe loved this hair and makeup look seen at New York Fashion Week for the spring 2010 shows. It was created by Aveda lead stylist Jenn Chiminiello and for John Patrick of Organic by John Patrick. The look is both ethereal and wearable.

Designer John Patrick describes it best: “The undone, wavy look is sexy and unrestrained, inspired by a girl’s hair after she’s been in the water. It’s very soft and flowing, with lots of texture to give it a natural messiness. It’s loose, second-day hair — like it was curled the day before and then left alone. Our collection this season is based around water. I love that the hair’s look evokes the salty, windblown feel of hair that’s dried after being in the ocean. The style definitely has some 1970s, Charlie’s Angels inspiration, but the finished look is completely fresh.”  
Here is how to get the look step by step:
1. Prep damp hair with Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother for sleek smoothness and to prevent frizz. Use a fine-toothed comb to create a strong part on the left side of the head.
2. Scrunch Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam into damp hair and massage it into roots for volume and shine. Blow hair dry with a large round ceramic brush, curling ends under.
3. Pin the top section of hair up with a large clip so that the sides are free for curling.  Use a large-barrel curling iron on one-inch sections of hair at a time, working from the bottom up. 
4. Remove the pin from the top section, and curl it as it’s done on the sides.
5. Sprinkle Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion from the roots to the ends, and rake your hands through the hair to create texture ands waves.
6. Finish with a mist of Aveda Air Control Hair Spray for a light hold, and pull ends forward to rest on shoulders.
 How could a woman achieve this look on her own?
“This loose, natural look is easy to recreate and works for both day and evening. Prep damp hair with Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother to prevent flyaway, and Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam for volume and texture. Create a strong side part and blow hair dry with a round brush for extra volume and shine. Use a one-inch curling iron to create waves, working in sections from the bottom to top. To make the style look natural, sprinkle with Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion and rake hands through hair to loosen waves. Finish with a light mist of Aveda Air Control™ Hair Spray.”
We loved the makeup too. Janelle Geason, Global Educator for Aveda Makeup, created a naturally-luminous look using Aveda Petal Essence Eye Color Trio in Gobi Sands, Aveda Nourish-Mint Sheer Mineral Lip Color in Sheer Roseleaf, and Aveda Inner Light.
Janelle says “John Patrick spoke about water as a theme. We decided that the hair was going to look loose and wavy, and be done, but not too done. I wanted the makeup to look effortlessly chic, like a girl spent the day at the beach and was going out. It’s a soft, daytime look with lots of glow and sheen. The skin is luminous and eyes feature natural, taupe-y browns. I chose sophisticated, organic shades to enhance the healthy, natural colors found in the skin, especially during the summer. The shades of taupe are 1970s influenced, and give off a brown smokiness. The makeup look needed to have lightness in both attitude and application for a soft, sultry, smooth feel. It’s polished, but doesn’t look like the girl tried too hard.”
Get the look:
1. Prep skin with Aveda Enbrightenment Brightening Correcting Creme for luminosity.
2. Using the Aveda Inner Light Foundation Brush, apply Aveda Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisture SPF 15 and Aveda Inner Light Concealer to even skin tone. Create a semi-matte finish with Inner Light Mineral Loose Powder in Translucent.
3. Use the Aveda Inner Light Foundation Brush to apply a small amount of Aveda Inner Light Mineral Dual Foundation to the contours of cheeks, choosing a foundation two shades deeper than natural skin tone. 
1. Prep eyelids with Aveda Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisture SPF 15. Highlight the center of the lid with the Aveda Petal Essence Eye Color Trio in Copper Haze, using the middle (contour) color of the palette to create a taupe-y, smoky look.
2. Define the contour of the eye with Aveda Petal Essence Eye Color Trio in Gobi Sands, using the middle color of the palette.
3. Swipe the center shade of the Gobi Sands Eye Color Trio from the inside corners of each eyelid to the outside corners, on both top and bottom lash lines.
4. Define the eyes with the Aveda Petal Essence™ Eye Definer in Cacao on the top and bottom lash lines. Smudge the color and encircle the eyes with Aveda Flax Sticks™ Eye Smudger Brush (#5).
5. Brush eyebrows into place and softly define them with the Aveda Flax Sticks Brow & Lash Brush (#7). Define brows with the Gobi Sands Eye Color Trio.
6. Curl lashes and apply two coats of Aveda Mascara in Black Forest to top and bottom. 
7. For a wet finished look, use finger to dab a drop of Aveda All-Sensitive Body Formula on both tops and bottoms of the eyelid.
1. Prime lips with Aveda Nourish-Mint Renewing Lip Treatment. Apply Aveda Nourish-Mint Sheer Mineral Lip Color in Sheer Roseleaf and press into lips with a sponge to intensify natural color.
2. Apply a small amount of Aveda Nourish-Mint Rehydrating Lip Glaze in Raspberry Tea to the pout of the lips to create a more worn-in, hours-later look.
Janelle says, “John Patrick and I spoke about the elements of his collection, the woman who wears his clothes, and how his clothes tell us something about her. He has a keen sense of this woman, she is very chic and modern, but has classic, nostalgic warmth to her. I chose colors and textures that this woman would wear as an accessory.
This look is very attainable and wearable. Use the Aveda Petal Essence Eye Color Trio in ‘Twilight’ to bring out the natural shape of the eye and enhance skin tone. Cheeks should be lightly flushed with the Aveda Inner Light Mineral Dual Foundation in a shade that’s two levels darker than the natural skin tone. To keep the look sophisticated, make sure that skin is polished with a semi-matte finish using the Aveda Inner Light Tinted Moisture SPF 15 and the Aveda Inner Light Mineral Loose Powder. Stain lips with the Aveda Nourish-Mint Smoothing Lip Color in ‘Sheer Roseleaf and a small amount of Aveda Nourish-Mint Rehydrating Lip Glaze in Raspberry Tea on the pout.
I tried Aveda Enbrightenment Brightening Correcting Crème. It is a lovely light botanical cream crated to treat any skin discoloration and moisturize I loved the creamy consistency and light botanical fragrance. This is great under make-up base for normal to dry skin. 

Modern “Monsters”

Not many people think of the 19th century writer Mary Shelley as a feminist, but they should. She started her ground breaking, sophisticated novel Frankenstein at the age of 18. She had it published by age 19 — back in 1818 – and it became an overnight sensation. The book is still popular with horror aficionados today. It deals with themes of life, death, and the dangers of the modern ages. The book’s subtitle was “The Modern Prometheus”.

Many people do not understand that the "monster" in the book is not the seven-foot reanimated hulk, but the doctor who dared to tamper with life and death.
In Out of the Shadows author Joanne Rendell revisits these same compelling themes. She writes alternately as Mary Shelley and modern-day scientist Clare Fitzgerald.
Clara feels at odds. She is in mourning for her mother who has recently died. Her career in academia is stalled while her fiancé’s star is rising. Clara knows she should feel happy for him, but she feels left out.
She decides to research her family’s history and is excited find a link to Mary Shelley. She embarks on quest to find Mary Shelley’s lost diaries.
The plot thickens in true gothic style. Questions about modern genetic research and trust come into play. Clara must decide on the course of her own life, as well as whom she can and will trust. This is a clever and suspenseful modern view of Mary Shelly and modern “monsters”.

The Countess was a dame

If you have a weakness for historical romances and saucy women you won’t want to miss The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II by Susan Holloway Scott. Katherine Sedley never had a chance to have a conventional life. Her mother was a mad aristocratic and her father was an infamous libertine. Luckily for her she was a wise, witty beauty. Katherine passed up marriage for a love affair with Duke of York. She remained his mistress after he became King James II. Her life was tumultuous and remarkably lucky. It is a riveting tale of a woman who called her own tune and outlived her enemies to dance to it. 

The famous Mitford sisters are descended from Katherine, The Duchess of Dorchester.   

Enjoy a light and spicy tortilla soup

Smoky,spicy and hearty enough to make a meal!I love Mexican food, but not the calories! This tortilla soup has flavour and crunch but it is lightened up! It combines very little oil with a handful of spicy crunchy tortilla strips, topped with only a light grating of cheese. The soup gets its flavour from herbs and garlic.

You can add chicken or beans and corn, depending on what you have and whether you want a veggie dish! Make this Mexican delight in minutes.
1 a large pot with 2 tsp. olive oil:
1 chopped medium onion
1 chopped bell pepper
1or 2 de-seeded jalapeños chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
Sauté until soft not brown
Add 2-3 tsp. Ground cumin (I add more I like the smoky taste) cook 1 minute –stir!
Puree 1 large can of good tomatoes with3 cloves of peeled garlic. Do not use puréed tomatoes!
1 ½ cup organic chicken stock
1 ½ tsp kosher or seas salt
2 tsp your favourite sweetener
2 cup shredded and chopped chicken from leftovers or from a BBQ or rotisserie chicken
1 cup of corn fresh or frozen.
2 tsp oregano
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat.
Simmer for 20 minutes on med –low heat.
Cut 1small or half a large tortilla per person in thin strips
Spray strips with vegetable spray such as Pam or toss with a little olive oil and a small amount of kosher salt and cumin.
Toast the strips in a pan in a hot oven for about 10 minutes. Watch careful, shake occasionally.
Top soup with crisp tortilla strips, a light grating of cheese –cheddar or Monetary Jack. You can add some fresh green herb such as cilantro or chives and a squirt of lime –if you like!
For a tasty vegetarian dish add water or tomato juice instead of chicken stock. Then add 1 ½ cup well rinsed organic canned kidney or black beans instead chicken. It’s fabulous.
For a party a make a pot of both add some guacamole and sour cream for those not watching their calories!