Beauty secrets of ‘Real Housewives’

Ramona Singer blogs about the routine that tones her 50 plus bikini bodySay what you will about reality TV housewives, but they are, as a group, in great shape — with a few notable exceptions. The good news is that many of the things they do to look fabulous are effective and available.

Keeping fit with Pilates in ‘the OC’
A recent episode of the Real Housewives of Orange County showed Tamara Barney and Alexis Bellino — who both have fabulous figures — at a hard Pilates workout. I was struck by how similar their classes were to my Core Fusion workouts at Exhale Spa. Core Fusion combines Pilates Yoga, interval cardio training, and Lotte Berke, in a challenging 50-minute session. I do it daily, Monday to Friday, and have become addicted. It challenges and shapes your body from head to toe.
All the OC housewives are into  fitness. Alexis varies her régime of spinning, jogging, and Pilates with other fitness activities when it “stops being fun." She indulges in “treats,” but watches her weight, as healthful eating is a lifestyle for her.  Fellow OC housewives Tamara Barney and Gretchen have similar approaches. These women are all in perpetual motion.
How they do it in Beverly Hills
The ultra chic Beverly Hills (RHOBHO) wives work out, too. Super cool and lovely Adrienne Maloof owes her fabulous figure to her dedicated practice of martial arts and a healthful lifestyle. Stunning Kyle Richards trained for and completed a cycling road race for charity with her husband. She says she is still trying to get back into shape after the birth of her two-year-old daughter. She works with a personal trainer, and even shared a vigorous “boot camp” workout with her teenaged daughter.
The ever chic Lisa Vanderpump has her own home gym and pool.
And in Jersey
The Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHONJ) have a very different style, but they are looking good, too. Caroline Manzo began the first season looking curvy, but now she appears toned and svelte. She claims the weight loss came partly from nerves. I can believe that, the show is full of drama. But she has also added diet and exercise. Caroline now eats small portions of her beloved Italian food. She has also found time to jump on a treadmill for regular sessions in her home gym. And she has reportedly hired a trainer for herself and her children. 
Slimming Italian food
Caroline’s volcanic co-star Theresa Guidance wrote a bestselling cookbook called Skinny Italian. She argues that what packs on the weight is fat-laden American-style Italian food, not her authentic Italian recipes. In her late thirties with four children, Theresa is the best advertisement for own approach; she looks great. She claims she never really works out, and that her husband doesn’t want her too be too skinny. Housework, work, and four kids keep her in great shape. She tries to work in a few squats and light weights, while she is running around with her kids.
Skinny Girl Bethenny is all  business about beautyLooking good in the Big Apple
The cats fighting in The Real Housewives of New York (RHONY), as well as the breakaway housewife, Bethenny Frankel, all look chic and fit.
Bethenny Frankel has gone on to found her Skinnygirl empire, based on her Skinnygirl margarita, four self-help books, as well as a new show, Bethenny Ever After. The outspoken Bethenny shares her childhood struggles with weight and her adult solutions to overeating in her books. Her plan is predicated on “stopping the food noise” and learning to taste rather than eat.
Bethenny also has a very good basic yoga workout DVD, Body by Bethenny. It is a mellow, but fairly challenging, whole body workout, with a light section. Bethenny says she stays trim by walking and by using her own books and DVD.
When it comes to beauty and fitness, Bethenny is all about business, but it seems to work for her and her fans.
The Countess loves yoga and the Chopra Centre to recharge Most of the RHONYC are dedicated to Pilates and yoga. Reality show star, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, was recently quoted in People Magazine, that saying that she stays in shape with Ashtanga Yoga. She credits it for her glowing complexion, and claims she does not use Botox. Countess Luann eats a healthful Mediterranean diet.
The ultra-fit Ramona Singer of the RHONYC gets Botox and many other beauty treatments from a favourite plastic surgeon, but she stops short of surgery itself. She has created her own skin care line, Tru Renewal. Ramona showed off her amazingly fit 50-plus figure in a tiny bikini last season. She even shared her fitness routine on her blog, with a detailed how-to. Ramona’s diet consists of small portions of lean proteins, lots of salad or steamed veggies, eggs, blueberries, yogurt, and two glasses her favourite Pinot Grigio.
RHONYC former model Kelly Bensimon keeps fit by staying making active at least 30 minutes a day. She tries to eat healthfully six days a week, and then has a cheat day.
Love them or hate them, they look fabulous
Whether you love them or hate them, the housewives look fit and fabulous.
Most of the wives indulge in pampering, with facials, massages, mani-pedis, as well as Botox and fillers. The Beverly Hills wives are very open about their use of cosmetic enhancements, as are the OC wives. The east coast wives are cagier. I think that is because it is less acceptable in the east, where people are still are more judgmental.
Botox is a choice, but fitness and good nutrition are essential
To use Botox or dermal fillers or anything else is a choice, but after 30, 40, and definitely by 50, many women are looking for way to slow down the aging process. A lot can be learned from watching the evolution of the housewives and the choices they make.
It is clear that diet ,exercise, and good nutrition are vital to looking good and feeling good. Much of what the housewives do to look fabulous and glamorous is available to any woman who wants to try it. Take the similar workout I do five days a work at Exhale Spa to the one Tamara and Alexis do: if you can get to an Exhale Spa, try a class and you too will be hooked. Or, you can try one of their many DVDs. Look for them at and find out why fashion editors and celebrities love it. You can also buy Body by Bethenny from, as well as a selection of Ashtanga DVDs, if you can’t find a class near you.
Most cities have martial arts schools. If you are inspired by Adrianne Maloof, sign up. 
All these women eat healthful portion-controlled diets. Many favour the Mediterranean diet 
Beauty treatments are affordable!
When it comes to beauty, all the housewives are happy to share their favourite products and secrets. If you admire a housewife’s makeup or skin care, check her blog on Bravo or personal website. They often post the information. A few will even try to sell it to you.
Lisa Vanderpump has a chic skin care line. Ramona Singer developed her line with her New York plastic surgeon. Both lines look interesting and may be worth a try, if you are in the market. A few of the others sell their own makeup. But just emulating the “Housewife” dedication to beauty, fitness, and healthy habits will take you take a long way.
Bravo’s (Slice) Real Housewives are one of my guilty pleasures. I am not recommending they become yours, but they look fabulous. Realize that the best of fitness and beauty is not locked away for celebrities our even pampered “Housewives”. It is available to us all. So darlings, go for the glam! Take time to work out like a Housewife. Eat healthfully and pamper yourself with good skin care too. You can do almost any beauty treatment at home these days, if your budget is tight. The trick, my darlings, is to bring the glamour of real housewives into your life.

Bad girls!

Do you think that only women fall for the bad apple? Think again. Renowned love expert and psychiatrist, Dr. Carole Lieberman, knows better.  

Her book Bad Girls includes more than 100 shocking and intimate interviews with men who were hooked on bad girls and how it ruined their lives. Dr. Carole shares how Kate Middleton may have used a few "bad-girl" tricks to catch her prince — and how you can, too!
Three-time Emmy award-winner and author of the bestselling book Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them and When to Leave Them, Dr. Carole can be heard live every Tuesday as the host of the popular talk show Dr. Carole’s Couch on VoiceAmerica. She also maintains a star-studded private practice in Beverly Hills, and works as a psychiatric expert witness, testifying in high-profile trials.
If you have ever lost a man to a bad girl, need to learn to fight like a bad girl, or a just want to read a fascinating interview about modern love, do not miss a word of our interview with Dr. Carole about Bad Girls!
D: Why did you write Bad Girls?
Dr. C:   I wrote Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets because the love jungle has become wilder and more dangerous than ever, and I wanted to help men and women find the love they deserve. Men need to be warned about the ‘Dozen Dangerous Damsels’, the 12 types of bad girls. And good girls need to learn bad girl secrets in order to attract a man and keep him away from the bad girls who try to steal him. 
DD: What is a “Bad Girl”?
 Dr.C:   By ‘bad girl’, I don’t mean a trashy girl or an evil girl. A ‘bad girl’ is a woman who has had her heart broken too many times, beginning when she was little and had a father who made her feel unlovable. When she grew up, she began dating guys who treated her badly and rejected her, so that she became more convinced that she was not lovable. 
At some point, she takes her heart off her sleeve and hardens it, deciding to pursue guys for other things she can get from them, as a substitute for love. For example, a Gold-Digger goes after a man who will pamper her and give her material things. A Married Woman on the Prowl goes after a man who is willing to have a relationship with her, even though he knows she’s married. A Cougar goes after a younger man who will prove to the world that she is still very desirable. 
DD: Can a good girl ever beat a bad girl when it comes to getting a man?
Dr. C:  Good girls have been fed lies about what it takes to get and keep a man. They want to believe that being ‘good’ is enough, and that it’s what’s inside that counts. Unfortunately, it takes more effort than this. It takes what I call the "Six Secret Spells of Seduction." These have been culled from my interviews of over 100 guys who have suffered through  bad girl experiences, and who shared what these women did to keep them hooked. 
DD: Do bad girls ever change and make good wives?
Dr. C: Bad girls can change. In my book, I explain what makes each of the “Dozen Damsels” tick, particularly what happened in their childhoods to make them turn out that way. 
These insights may be enough for some bad girls to change. Others can use this as a starting point, a gentle push to get them into psychotherapy and know what to 
begin talking about. 
DD: Can you think of a few well-known good girls who used “Bad Girls” tactics to win their men?
Dr. C:  Kate Middleton is the best current example of a good girl who used bad girl secrets to hook her prince. Some bad girls whom you may not have realized were ‘bad’ are:  Carrie Bradshaw who is a Commitment-Phobe, Charlotte York who is a Husband Hunter and Trapper, Samantha Jones who is a Sex Siren, and Miranda Hobbs who is a Ball-Buster. 
DD: One of the most famous and interesting Good Girl-Bad Girl battles was between Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston, when Brad Pitt left Jennifer for Angelina. Jennifer fans consider Angelina a “bad girl,” yet others consider her a “Madonna,” with all of her children and humanitarian activism. Is she a “Bad Girl” or a “Good Girl”?
Dr. C:  When it comes to men, Angelina Jolie is undoubtedly a bad girl – the Husband Stealer type. She set her trap to hook Brad Pitt before they even got on the movie set. When the director called, "Action!" Angelina put her spell into action and Brad was a sitting duck. This proves that even the ‘sexiest man alive’ can be ensnared by a bad girl, and that even a really cool good girl, like Jennifer Aniston, can have her man snatched away by a bad girl. 
DD: Kate Middleton seems to be a “Good Girl”, but the royals definitely have a frisky side to them, how do you think she got her man?
Dr C: Kate Middleton is the quintessential good girl who used bad girl secrets to literally catch her prince. First, in high school, when the boys rated her a 2 out of 10, she didn’t give up on herself, but took it as a wakeup call. That summer, she took an honest look at herself and realized that it would take more than natural sweet looks to get a guy’s attention. She lost some weight, got into make-up, and dressed more stylishly in hopes that the guys would rank her higher. 
Then, in college, she took the bold step of wearing a see-through outfit (that was supposed to be a skirt with something underneath it) as a dress. She essentially walked the runway of the fashion show wearing her black underwear. Prince William is said to have remarked, "she’s hot!" And Kate went from sweet platonic friend to love interest in a heartbeat.  
After they had been dating awhile, the prince wanted to sow his wild oats. A good girl would have pouted and nagged, but Kate let him go. She went out on the town and partied, as well. When William saw that she wasn’t just sulking at home, he suddenly realized he could lose her and he came running back like a puppy dog. 
I recently went to London to bid on Kate’s famous dress. I lost out to a higher bidder. However, I did manage to scoop up four lingerie pieces of the Duchess of Windsor, the quintessential bad girl who seduced her man into giving up a kingdom! 

Bed bugs –ick!

Bed bugs have to be among one of the ickiest things to plague modern travellers and city dwellers. And darlings, they are everywhere. My skin is crawling even as I type! If you think a pricy hotel protects you, think again; our research says they are in all types of hotels, and even movie theaters and dressing rooms.

For years, I have selected hotels with all-white bedding that consists of only sheets and duvet covers. If there is ever a bedspread in the room, I have it and any other non-washable fabric items removed for the duration of my stay. Now it seems my all-white bedding fetish may also make it easier to check for bed bugs.
I am also not leaving home without EcoSMART, non-toxic bed bug killer for mattresses and carpets. EcoSmart make an organic spray that quickly kills bed bugs and their eggs, but is completely safe for humans and pets. The spray is available in three sizes, including a travel format that will pass airport regulations. Don’t take chances; use the EcoSMART tips below to protect yourself by carrying EcoSMART spray when you travel.
12 ways to prevent bed bug hitchhikers:
·        Upon entering your hotel room, do NOT put your suitcase on the bed or the floor. Bed bugs can and will jump to your suitcase without you knowing it. Instead, set your luggage on the luggage rack and barricade them from entering by spraying EcoSMART repellent around the legs of the luggage carrier and the perimeter of your suitcase.
·        If you’re traveling with Fido, remove him from the carrier and treat the carrier with the repellent, just as you did your suitcase.  Remember, the repellent is 100 percent safe, but Fido just may not appreciate being sprayed, or may not like the odor.
·        Look for bed bugs or signs of them in the seams of the mattress. Pull back the bedding and look at the mattress. Check the seams and what looks like a ribbon or cord around the perimeter of the mattress. Check in and around any buttons or ribbing. You may not be able to see the bed bugs. They’re the size of apple seeds, but you may see reddish spots from blood smears or brownish spots from bed bug poop – ugh!
·        Check the cracks and crevices of the headboard. Bed bugs love to hide in small places, so especially check screw and nail holes and inseams, where the wood meets in grooves.
·        Check the night stand, dressers, and even look in the electrical equipment, like an alarm clock.  Check these pieces of furniture as you did the headboard, but remember you need to do more than just open a drawer and look inside. You must make a thorough examination of all nooks and crannies.
·        Do not put your clothes on hangars, until you have checked them thoroughly. Bed bugs can live in the cracks and crevices of hangars, so this area should be checked before placing clothing especially if the hangars are wooden.
·        Do not put clothing in hotel room drawers. It’s difficult to check the entire room, including all the drawers of a dresser, so to be safe, keep your clothing in your suitcases or hang it up only after checking the hangars.
·        Travel with zip loc baggies, large enough to hold an outfit. When packing, separate clothing into outfits, then when you’re done wearing the clothes, return them to the baggies.
·        If you see signs of bed bugs, request another room as far away as possible, preferably in another section of the building! Bed bugs can move from room to room. 
·        Remember, bed bugs can live anywhere and not only in dirty places. Just because you’re in a five-star hotel, don’t assume it’s a bed bug-free zone. Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide, and can live up to a year without food.
·        To effectively prevent the possibility of bed bugs entering your luggage, spray EcoSMART travel repellent daily to erect the barrier and keep your suitcase a bed bug free zone. The three-ounce travel repellent lasts three to four days, so if you have an extended trip, be sure to pack enough product to keep your bags safe.
·        To protect against the possibility of becoming a blood meal, spray EcoSMART travel size Killer and Repellent every night to create a barrier of protection before hitting the bed. 

Don’t be a square

From D&GThis spring, rev-up your look with a pair of big round shades with a 70s vibe. Go for a pair in black or “Jackie O” white – or in a bright fun colour. 

Polo Ralph LaurenVery cool round shades from Ray Ban under$100 


Gucci moacrame beach ensembleMacramé is not just something your mom or eccentric aunt used to do; it’s actually  one of the spring’s hottest trends. Gucci and Dior used the knotted string art to make everything from dresses to bags, and even shoes.


Tommy Bahama Macrame trimmed beach dress about $110


A regency romance whodunit

Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris combines the irresistible charm of a Georgette Heyer Regency romance with a fast-paced detective story. In the tradition of Regency romance, Sebastian St. Cyr is dark, daring, and a bit brooding. He is also an amateur detective. St. Cyr has managed to become engaged to the strong-minded and intelligent daughter of enemy, Hero Jarvis. Miss Jarvis is a rarity for her times, a crusader for women’s and children’s rights. She is also the daughter of one of the most powerful peers of the realm, at a time when all of Europe is at war. 

The attraction between St. Cyr and his unlikely bride builds as his investigation brings him into the orbit of his powerful rival and future father-in-law. This is a beguiling, fast-paced read.



A spicy Thai beef salad

Spicy, citrusy and easy to make.Every spring, we get requests for this tasty and authentic salad, so here it is. It can be doubled, if you are feeding a couple or a family. It is fancy enough for company, and a snap to make. You can leave out the fried onions if you can’t find them, or are really watching calories, and ditto for the peanut topping. Replace both with a crunchy grated carrot; you will never know the difference. There are substitutes for some of the more exotic ingredients. The recipe will be delicious with all variations. The key ingredients don’t change.

For two to three people:
1 lb. thinly sliced lean beef minute steak or fondue beef. Salt lightly, cook quickly, and set aside to chill.
Mix in a bowl large enough to hold the salad:
2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce. I prefer 3 Crab Brand, but any will do. It is now available in most local food shops these days. This is a key ingredient, but if you really can’t locate it and want to try this recipe, try a large spoon of anchovy paste. Dissolve it in a bit more lime juice. If a fish allergy is the problem, try adding salt to taste, to the finished sauce. But do try to find it otherwise. It is a key flavour. If you can’t, you’ll still have a tasty salad.
2 tbsp. Kecap Manis (this is sweet Indonesian soy sauce) or regular soy sauce plus 1 tbsp. brown sugar or 1 pkg. Splenda
Grated the rind from one clean lime
Juice of 1½ to 2 limes
1½ inches of fresh ginger
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 pkg. of Splenda/1 tbsp. sugar/honey
2 tsp. Kadoya Sesame Oil with Cayenne or any brand sesame oil plus 1 tsp. cayenne, or to taste
Add the slightly-chilled meat
For a vegan version, use extra firm tofu. Slice them into thin sticks. Dry and give them a quick sauté in a non-stick pan with a little oil and a clove of garlic. Cool, cube, and add to the sauce.
Cook the noodles.
Use Oriental egg noodles that come in small “nests,” one per person. Or you can use Japanese soba or buckwheat noodles, cellophane noodles, or even spaghetti, if that is what you can find. Do not overcook your noodles. Noodles take only minutes in salted boiling water.
Rinse your noodles in cool water to stop the cooking, and drain. Toss with beef and sauce.
Add and Toss:
One thinly-sliced red pepper
One peeled and thinly-sliced or grated carrot.
4-6 green/spring onions, sliced on an angle
Roll and slice fresh-washed and dried basil and cilantro in a technique called chiffonade. About ¼ cup each or to taste. (These herbs are key.)
Optional: 1/8 cup French fried onions from Asian shops or in a can from the grocery. Durkee is a popular western brand.
Toss the salad and chill. Serve garnished with sliced cherry tomatoes. Top with a few peanuts or some grated carrot. This looks and smells divine. It is a perfect double-up recipe for lunch the next day. Try it and you will be addicted.

Be inspired!

Darlings, fitness, health, and even glamour are for everyone.  

The "Real Housewives" may not be your cup of green tea, but they are women who have figured out how to look fabulous and have fun doing it. I say take what works for you, and be inspired.
As spring has arrived, gardeners may want to pick up the latest issue of Flower Magazine, called Flower Loves New York. It’s full of exiting interviews and features. The photography is always stunning. And even though I only arrange flowers, I want to read all about spring floral fashion from Oscar de la Renta, Tracy Reese, Valentino, Prada, Kate Spade, and Milly, romantic arrangements by Nicolette Camille Floral Design in Brooklyn and The Battery Conservancy’s gardens on the New York harbor.
Darlings embrace the season and have a sweet week. Keep compassionate thoughts in your heart for the world, and especially for Japan and those fighting for freedom and peace. Life is short, so make it sweet .
Until next week, please sign-up if you haven’t already by emailing your info to . DolceDolceis free. And please forward us to all your friends. And please give us your comments by emailing us at the same address. We want to know what you think. Let’s start the conversation!
Gracey Hitchcock
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