Life lessons from a Grande Dame

A young and very glam Kitty Carlisle If you are 30 or younger, you may never have heard of the late Kitty Carlisle. She was a singer and a minor movie star, and later she became a fixture on TV game shows. A well-known hostess, philanthropist, and spokesperson for the arts, she was one of the last true Grande Dames. 

I think of Kitty Carlisle often.  Her style and the daily ritual that kept her young and vibrant for so long fascinate me. She began every morning with floor exercises to keep her body supple, and then would study her reflection in a mirror and say, “Kitty, I forgive you.”
The exercises took eight minutes and, according to Marie Brenner in her book, Great Dames, left Kitty Carlisle’s legs looking flawless, even in her later years. Kitty told Brenner she learned the workouts from the great dancer Martha Graham  in the 1950s.
However, what intrigued me the most was that morning forgiveness ritual. What a great idea to start the day with a clean slate of forgiveness! It made me wonder how many of us are weighed down by the small failings and disappointments we carry day to day. They make us feel tired, defeated, and judgmental — before we even get out of bed.
Isn’t better to begin fresh each day, to really forgive yourself and get on with your day with vigor and commitment. I think so.
Kitty Carlisle was a charmer with delightful manners. She really knew how to focus on others and make them feel special as she garnered support for her projects.
Elegant "grande dame" Kitty Carlisle remained vigorous, slim and attractive well past 80. She had a great career, raised two children, and contributed to many philanthropic endeavors.
So this year why not take leaf out of Kitty Carlisle’s book and see if her routine works for you:
Make exercise a part of your life
If you are not fortunate enough to know a great dancer like Martha Graham, hire a good trainer or take a class. Try yoga or Pilates. Get a whole body routine that will carry through life.
Cultivate good manners and charm
Be sincerely interested in others. Be considerate and be on time. Respond. Reach out. Smile. Learn to pay sincere compliments. Say please and thank you; a little politesse goes a long way to smooth out life’s rough edges.
Forgive yourself
This doesn’t mean are blowing off your bad behaviour or failures. But, you are accepting yourself and treating yourself with compassion and love. Practice compassion daily and extend it to others. The world is a harsh place.

Destiny knows her name–Chatting with Zoe Myers

Recently I attended the launch of Zoe Myers’ new music video and single “Destiny Knows My Name.” The song, written by Zoe and Raumin Tadayon, premiered at a star-studded event in Atlanta. The young, effervescent singer and actress looked stunning in a short shimmery party dress. The event celebrated her new video and her birthday.

Zoe lives in Los Angeles, but she is currently working in Atlanta shooting an independent feature film called Truth Seekers: The Music of Souls. Zoe’s latest Hollywood project, a new television series titled “Game Night,”  was released in December.
Here’s a DolceDolce look at the party, and Zoe:
Zoe also shared a few of her fashion and beauty secrets with me, as well as the source of her inspiration.
DD: What inspires your music?
ZM: Everyday life inspires a lot of my lyrics. It’s almost like writing in a diary. It feels great to get things out on paper. Sometimes I am inspired by my friends’ stories, or a movie I saw, or anything! 
DD: How do you like acting? Is it a different energy than recording?
ZM: I just love performing in general! But acting is my favorite. I love being able to take my life experiences and use them to connect to a character. The raw energy that comes alive while taping a scene for a film is amazing. I love recording songs as well. It’s always fun to see all the pieces (music, lyrics, vocals, etc.) come together to create a final project.
DD: How would you describe your own style?
ZM: It’s hard to describe my style in just a few words. It changes every day! I dress according to how I feel. I like to think that it’s a little bit Southern, a little edgy, and sometimes girly. Or I have days when I feel sportier or more "rock-n-roll." I have some signature things that I like to add to outfits, like my many pairs of knee-high boots, studded heels, high-waisted belts, or fun earrings. I love accessories! I love fringe, studs, sequins, feathers, things that lace up!
DD: What are your three fashion must-haves?
ZM:  A killer pair of shoes (either a pair of boots as I mentioned above, or some heels), belt/earrings/necklace. And I usually try to carry a jacket with me wherever I go. I love my black or tan leather jackets!
DD: What is the secret to your fitness routine?
ZM: I like to keep things interesting! I’m not a big runner. I’d rather take a dance class, or Zumba, cardio barre, etc., or self-defense, like Krav Maga or kickboxing. 
DD: What are your best fashion or beauty tips?
ZM:I usually keep mascara and a lip/cheek stain in my purse. If I’m really in a crunch I can go from a day-look to a night-look with just those two products! You can give your lips AND cheeks a little color then you can swipe on some mascara (no look is complete without it!). Also, make sure you always have the appropriate under garments for your outfit. No panty lines please!
DD: What is always in your handbag?
ZM: If I am going out and decide to only carry a tiny clutch, I usually just have my lip gloss, mascara, credit card, and cash in it. In my big, everyday handbag, I keep a little emergency kit with a shout-wipe, tiny perfume sample, nail polish remover pad, etc. in it.   I never know when I might have a last minute audition or event to attend, so I try to be prepared! My absolute "cannot live-without" though, is lip balm! 
To hear a sample of “Destiny Knows My Name”:



Short and chic

Evan Rachel WoodEvan Rachel Wood personifed chic glamour at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards, in a gown of feathers and sparkles by Gucci

Woods was nominated for for her role as Vida in Mildred Pierce, the the star-studded HBO mini-series.
Here is the inside story behind her glam look, as well as a step-by-step guide to her look:
The creative force behind her alluring hair look, celebrity stylist Marcus Francis of The Wall Group, began prepping Evan’s tresses a week before the big event with a regimen of René Furterer Karite intense nourishing oil  before each shampoo for moisture retention, followed with René Furterer Karite intense nourishing mask for deep-down TLC. “This was to help illuminate her creamy blond hair for the red carpet,” says Marcus. In creating her head-turning style, Marcus says, “We wanted the hair not to compete, but rather complement, her overall look. We wanted to keep her hair classic Hollywood, of course, with Evan’s signature modern edge.”
Starting on wet hair, I sprayed Phyto Phytovolume Actif from roots to ends. Next, I gave her hair a blow-out in the direction I wanted, using my hands to work in the product to build thick, movable texture.
·        For a little more hold, I cocktailed the Phyto spray with Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse, and applied it to the entire head, this time blow-drying with a half-inch round bristle brush.
·        Using a three-quarter inch curling iron, I wrapped medium-size sections on the top of the head to set in the volume, with a little bend at the ends. This helps to lock in the texture and fullness added by the products.
·        I gently brushed back the top and molded the shape, connecting hair at the sides and back and keeping the volume, especially in the front. To modernize the look with Evan’s personal style, I used Davines Glossy Modeling Putty to rake back the sides with my fingers and polish up the back. I pinched horizontal sections with the putty to show texture in Evan’s blond hair and to tighten the sides for a goddess-like structure.
·        Last, I lightly sprayed hair with Oribe Superfine Hair Spray.
Marcus Francis on

Softer, younger skin at home

The Tanda Luxe is one of my favouite ways to pamper my skin. It uses red led light, heat, and gentle massage to help combat a loss of volume caused by a reduction in collagen, as well as rough texture, overall dullness, redness, fine lines, and wrinkles.
According to Tanda, “specific wavelengths of red light (660nm) are proven to boost overall cellular energy, increasing our body’s natural production of collagen and elastin, and increasing microcirculation.”
Tanda Luxe with heat and massage makes my skin look and feel firmer, younger, and fresher. Red light technology has been used by dermatologists and medi-spas for years, but I prefer to use Tanda at home on regular basis. It is also more economical than salon treatmets that average $100 or more each visit. 
The new Tanda Luxe uses a super-luminous LED red light to deliver concentrated beams of red light for a fractional phototherapy effect, combined with a gentle warm massage. The results are subtle but discernable, and it is a great way to relax too.

Celebrity hair colour how-to

Charlize TheronDid you know that Tracey Cunningham, Redken Creative Consultant for Color and colorist to the stars, helped Charlize Theron, Emma Stone, and Sofia Vergara prepare for the awards with Redken color? Rodney Cutler, Redken Brand Ambassador, shared the formulas as well as step-by-step directions, so you can have the same shade as your favouite star.  

Rodney’s how-to guide: 

Rodney says the key to achieving Charlize Theron’s “low 1920s-inspired look is maintaining the natural texture to allow the beautiful blonde highlights to really pop. It is flatter on top, making the retro look overall more modern and sophisticated. The style also needs to complement the headpiece, and the hairband look was definitely a trend at the show this year.”
Tracey applied Redken Blonde Dimensions, added some lowlights with Shades EQ Cream, and finished with Shades EQ Conditioning Color Gloss to create a beautiful blonde look.
To achieve a similar look, Rodney recommends these steps:
·        Set the hair in a traditional barrel roll with a 1.5-inch curling iron, using Redken spray starch 15 to prep, and then brush it out with a flat brush so that it creates an airy finish.
·        Create a fold at the back that is rolled into itself and secure with pins. The key is that it is up and away from the shoulder and off set to one side which balances off the neckline and adds softness around the shoulders.
·        For hold but to maintain the texturized matte finish, end with a light spray of Redken fashion work 12 versatile working spray.
Emma StoneFor Emma Stone, Tracey applied Redken Shades EQ Cream to achieve rich, radiant color and stunning shine, without the major commitment of a permanent color service.
“Emma’s style was a similar shape to Charlize’s”, Rodney noted. “A simple off-center texturized updo that was flatter on top, but with a low side part to add drama and give a more deliberate feel.”
Rodney recommends following the below steps:
·        Blow-dry hair with satin wear 02 ultimate blow-dry lotion using a flat brush.
·        Create a deep low side part and secure hair into a simple ponytail up at the back and off center opposite the part, ensuring it’s not too tight to allow for natural texture.
·        Roll the back into a twist, folding the back up into itself and off to one side. Use Redken wax blast 10 texturizing spray wax on bangs and finished style for texture and a soft matte finish.
Sofia VergaraFor Sofia Vergara, Tracey applied Redken Blonde Dimensions and finished with Shades EQ Gloss to create a stunning ombre effect.
Rodney sums up: “Sofia’s look was a classic example of styling hair as the ultimate complement to the color, as you can clearly see the beautiful gradation of color from dark to light for a very modern overall look.”
To get a similar look to Sofia’s, Rodney recommends following the below steps:
·        Blow dry with a flat round brush, using a mix of Redken sheer straight 06 and New Redken All Soft Argan-6 Multi-Care Oil.
·        Finish with a flat iron concentrating on the mid lengths to the ends.
·        Redken Blonde Dimensions dust-free conditioning lightener has a gentle, buffered alkali formula that features a cationic conditioning system for superior combability and shine.
·        New Shades EQ Cream is Redken’s latest salon hair color featuring a creamy, conditioning formula with pomegranate oil and rice protein. Even if you already love your natural hue, try clear Shades EQ Cream for a gorgeous shine.
·        Shades EQ is an ammonia-free, demi-permanent color, which provides healthy, shiny results, Shades EQ is used as a glaze, color refresher, and also color correction. Ingredients include acidic pH; no lift, non-ammonia formula; long-lasting colorants, wheat amino acids, and silicone.




A step-by-step guide to Golden Globe glamour

Angelina JolieGlittering gowns, flawless makeup and gorgeous hair all help the stars shine on the red carpet. Pureology PureArtists Natasha Sunshine, Wendy Belanger and Sandy Joseph share the how-to for their favouite red carpet dos from the recent Golden Globe Awards.

Angelina Jolie and Kate Beckinsale’s modern updo
·        Apply Pureology Fortifying Heat Spray and Root Lift to damp hair. Blow dry with flat brush directing hair away from the face.
·        Create a ponytail in the center back of the head.
·        Apply a small amount of Anti Breakage Twist to a ponytail for texture and definition.
·        Backcomb (tease) lightly and twist ponytail and wrap around base. Secure with bobby pins.
·        Mist Radiance Amplifier anti frizz shine spray and finish with Strengthening Control hairspray.
Reece WitherspoonReese Witherspoon’s sexy tousled waves
·        On dry hair, layer Pureology Root Lift  from roots to ends. Blow dry with a medium round brush for volume.
·        Throughout the hair, mist Radiance Amplifier and StrengtheningControl for shine and support.
·        Working around the head, wrap hair around a 1-inch iron creating soft curls.
·        Separate curls with finger, Apply Anti Breakage Twist for added texture and definition.
·        Backcomb (tease) the crown for volume and finish with a mist of Strengthening control hair spray.
Charlize Theron’s sexy low bun
·        To get this gorgeous easy style, spray hair with Pureology Fortifying Heat Spray and diffuse naturally wavy/curly hair or set on medium-sized hot rollers.
·        For straight-haired ladies, apply Fortifying Heat Spray and Root Lift at the roots, blow dry with a round brush and curl with a 1-inch iron.
·        Take the entire section from ear to ear and secure back with a low side ponytail.
·        Add Pureology Anti Breakage Twist through your fingers and rake front section with fingers creating a side part draping towards pony and secure with bobby pins in a crisscross manner for added security.
·        Add a glamorous headband and finish with a final mist of Strengthening Control zero dulling hairspray to keep your style looking great all night.




Lose weight on the supermarket diet

I loved The Diet Detectives All American Diet by Charles Platkin. Diet Detective’s All American Diet: An Alternative to Jenny Craig® or NutriSystem® It’s Simple: Choose. Shop. Eat. Lose. 

The book’s title is very long but the concept is simple; buy healthful prepared diet food from the supermarket and follow your own custom weight loss plan. It is the solution for anyone who just can’t or won’t cook for themselves, but needs to lose weight. Not everyone can afford or wants to join a program that delivers calorie- controlled meals. This book helps the average person build a healthful diet from supermarket and fast food.
Canned soup, frozen entrées, fast food, and convenience store fare are all included in the list of 1,800 choices.
Would I eat this way? No. There is no chance of it as I like to cook and eat fresh food. But, if you find yourself eating takeout and microwaved frozen food, and you want to lose weight, this book can help.
The publisher points out, “the foods you’ll find in The Diet Detective’s All-American Diet are stepping-stones. You may not be able to go to the farmers market on a daily basis and pick up organic produce. However, with this diet you will lose weight, get more interested in fitness, gradually change your eating habits, and start living a brand new life.”
Will you lose weight? The research indicates you should, if you follow the plan. According to the publisher, “an article in the journal Obesity Research states that “consumption of portion-controlled entrées resulted in greater losses of weight and fat, thereby reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Accurate portion control is an important factor in weight-loss success, and use of packaged entrées is an effective method of achieving this.”
So why not try it Dr. Platkin’s way? He makes dieting cheap and easy. The book has meal plans for diets that range in calorie count from 1,200 calories day to 1,600. You choose your own food and the doctor has advice on everything from shopping to exercise and staying motivated!
If you have failed on other diets because you hate to cook, need portion control, or you really crave fast food, try this plan.



Australia’s tough female founders

The Tin Ticket  by historian Deborah J. Swiss is the fascinating, and at times shocking story of the tough women who help to build Australia. From old prison records and letters, Swiss constructs the lives of four women deported as convicts to Australia. 

The desperately-poor women were convicted of theft and prostitution. They were forced into crime by an unforgiving and harsh Victorian society that held out little hope or advancement for those left to support themselves.
In final act of exploitation, the women were deported to help settle Austria. Upon arriving the women were sold as indentured servants and often abused. But, deportation to a new land is what ultimately allows them to flourish and escape the crushing cycle of poverty.
I could not put down The Tin Ticket. I was both fascinated and repelled by the history of cruelty and pettiness Swiss details in her book. But, I was also heartened by the redemption and opportunity a new land offered a class of abused and forgotten people.