Fast and easy spring beauty and fashion fixes

Try a Bardot inspired hair do !Has spring gotten the jump on you? Do you feel dull, pale, and heavy while the season pops all around you with colour? Have no fear darlings; here are a few fast, easy, and inexpensive ways to bloom.
Try a ponytail
This simple schoolgirl do is one of the hottest spring runway trends. Worn high or low, wrapped with your own hair or a bow, the ponytail is hot! Slick back your hair or pouf it, and wear your tail with sexy bangs a la Brigitte Bardot. Buy a Goody Fountain Flip if your ponytail needs bounce and volume. This little gadget will give it a lift. Even a short ponytail can look cool with a big bow.
Add a pop of colour to your face
This spring. think bright for your lips. A lipstick or gloss in bright pink, coral, or red will instantly update your look. Exfoliate lips to remove dead skin as bright colours show flaws. Use a clean white washcloth or make a paste of brown sugar and olive oil to gently exfoliate lips. Then use a lip liner to prevent feathering and to help define your lips. Do not redraw the shape. We prefer nude. If you are wearing lipstick, blot. Keep the bright lips matte. Still not ready for bright lips? Try a retro baby pink or shiny classic nude.
Line your eyes
Fashion has a definite retro vibe this spring. Think inspiration instead of a literal translation. Line your eyes in basic black like Adele or 1950s icon Sophia Loren, or use a single line of jewel tone.
Go out on a ledge with a playful wedge
A whimsical wedge is the perfect way to update your look for spring. Look for ones with colour, texture and elegant lines. A heavy clunky shoe can weigh down your look and be too casual for work.
Splurge on edgy pastels
The trick to wearing pastels with panache is to get pieces that have style and sense of the unexpected. So look for a tailored dress, sharp slim jeans, or a great jacket in your favourite shade of Jordan almonds.
Don’t commit!
Try on a trend and move on. If you want to try runway inspired wild coloured streaks on your hair, go for it for a weekend. Color.bug by Kevin Murphy will rub in and out of your hair and look fabulous.
Splurge on a jeweled manicure for special weekend or lash extensions, or "Cry Baby long-wear mascara for your spring getaway.
You can also add false multiple piercings (if you must) and temporary tats, too. Try them on and move on!
Darlings, embrace the season; it will be gone before you know it.

Not all aging is created equal!

Pomegrantes pack an anti-aging punch!Howard Murad, MD, FAAD is an acknowledged beauty expert. His research in The Science of Cellular Water has revealed the ability of cell membranes to hold water as the fundamental marker of youthful good health.


According to Dr. Murad, "not all aging is created equal. There are three very distinct kinds of aging – Hormonal, Genetic and Environmental – all of which utilize specific remedies and treatments to slow down the aging process and even reverse its signs."

Dr. Murad has offered a useful quiz to help you determine the type of aging you may be experiencing.


The three faces of ageing quiz:

What is your primary skin concern?

A. Skin appears to be thinner and frailer

B. Visible signs of fine lines and wrinkles

C. Hyperpigmentation/ hypopigmentation


What is your secondary skin concern?

A. Facial hair growth

B. Pale, ashy or sallow color

C. To which of the below concerns is your skin most prone?

Breakouts in the t-zone

A. Deep wrinkles

B. Sun damage/Sun spots

C. Rough, dry leathery texture

What concerns you most about the skin around your eye area?

A. Sensitive and dry

B. Medium to deep crow’s feet and wrinkles

C. Dark circles and/or age spots

Which most closely matches your current lifestyle?

A. Currently going through menopause

B. Aging similarly to your parents

C. Spending a lot of time in the sun




If you answered mostly A:

You are likely undergoing hormonal aging. This type of aging occurs as levels of estrogen decline, resulting in a weakening of the collagen and elastin fibers. Skin then becomes thinner and more fragile, and can have a loss of firmness and elasticity, coupled with a lackluster tone.


Dr. Murad’s tip: "Although the eventual dryness and inelasticity of skin is inevitable, the aging process is a cumulative one that occurs at various rates from one individual to another. Women can increase the skin’s firmness and reduce the appearance of medium to deep wrinkles by treating the signs of the hormonal aging process through topical, internal and emotional practices."


Topically: Use products that deeply hydrate and encourage cell renewal. Look for ingredients like phytoestrogens, AHAs and Shea Butter.


Internally: Incorporate more soy, wild yam and broccoli into your diet, which are natural, plant-based estrogens.


Emotionally: Sleeplessness commonly accompanies menopause and hormonal aging. Take a hot bath before bed, turn off your phone an hour before you go to sleep and take a melatonin supplement.


If you answered mostly B:

You are likely experiencing genetic aging. This type of aging process occurs regardless of exposure to the environment. Genetics plays a key role. In the skin, genetic aging results in loss of collagen and elastin and reduced water content in the cells.


Dr. Murad’s tip: "Genetic aging would occur even if you slept in a pure oxygen tank, avoided smiling to defy laugh lines, or Botoxed regularly. If your parents aged well, chances are you will too. Some of the best ways to combat aging skin include a daily skincare regimen with exfoliants, moisturizers and Vitamin C; wearing SPF; taking dietary supplements; and targeting specific problem areas."


Topically: Use products that contain Hyaluronic Acid to reduce the appearance of fine lines, osmolytes to maintain critical water balance, and Dried Plum Extract for a youthful glow.


Internally: Increase your intake of raw fruits and vegetables, which will help your skin and body stay hydrated longer than just drinking water. Take a supplement that contains Glycosamine and Amino Acids to encourage healthy collagen production.


Emotionally: Get a massage to help improve skin circulation, increase your energy levels and help quiet your mind.


If you answered mostly C:


You are likely experiencing environmental aging. This type of aging is usually the result of external skin injury and compromised internal cellular functions. It is most commonly characterized by redness, dryness, thinner skin, sagging, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Luckily, this type of aging can be controlled to some degree and is often caused by excessive sun exposure, pollution, smoking, stress, poor diet and alcohol and drug intake.


Dr. Murad’s tip:


"The classic signs of environmental aging are usually written all over a person’s face in the form of sunspots, dryness and tightness. The good news is that the effects of environmental aging can be minimized through both preventative actions and treatments that boost collagen production and result in younger-looking skin that's protected against future damage."



Topically: Use products that contain Vitamin C and always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, remembering to reapply it every hour when you are outdoors.

Internally: Eating pomegranates, drinking pure pomegranate juice and taking pomegranate extract supplements have been proven to boost the effectiveness of sunscreens as well as providing a rich supply of antioxidants for your skin and your body.


Emotionally: Get a Vitamin C facial or peel. This will help reduce sun and environmental damage on the skin, as well as help your body fight off cell damaging stress.


Chic Hunger Games hair

Chic and trendy Hunger Games hair from Van Michael salonsGet ready for Hunger Games mania. When the movie opened, an online ticket seller reported selling 10 tickets a second. This blockbuster is based on a teen cult bestseller. This violent teen romance survival movie, inspired by Greek mythology, will influence everything from fashion and beauty to fitness this summer. We could not resist this adorable Hunger Games-inspired haircut from the gurus at Van Michael in Atlanta.
Haircut: O'Neil Gurley
Hair Color: Jude Stevens
Photo: David Robin Munn

Louboutin mani

Adele's Louboutin Mani!Celebrities like Adele and Rihanna have made sparkling long nails all the rage. They are sexy and fun for night pout.
Follow these easy steps from the experts at Nailtini to recreate Adele’s "Louboutin Mani":
Trying to paint the underside of your natural nail might be difficult and too messy to work with, even for skilled professionals. Use artificial nails or tips instead. Trim or file your natural nail down so it can’t be seen over the tip of your finger. Size artificial nails to all 10 fingers and set aside.
Paint the underside of each nail/tip with two coats of classic red Nailtini Bloody Mary and allow the polish to dry completely.
** 1-2 drops of nail glue to artificial nail and press onto nail bed holding in place until it sets. Repeat for all nails. Quick tip: Be careful not to use too much glue, if you don’t want it seeping out the sides.
Paint tops of nails with your choice of lacquer.  
To mimic Adele’s Louboutin nail, embellish with rhinestones or a glitter topcoat like Nailtini Sparkler. Be sure to finish with a Dry Martini so you’re limo-ready in a flash.
Nailtini is a line of trendy and unique mix and match nail lacquers and lip colours you "cocktail" for your own original look. and beauty boutiques

**DolceDolce Tip

If you don’t want to fiddle with nail glue, use the new press-on nails they are easy to apply and stay on well for a night or two.



Sandal feet

Winter is over and sandal season is here, so are your feet smooth, soft sexy, and ready to show off? If they are dry, cracked, and sore looking, try The Night Care Heel Treatment Kit includes Moisturizing Gel Heel Socks and Intensive Healing Foot Cream. Remove dead skin with a PedEgg, then rub in the vitamin-rich cream nightly, and cover with the gel socks to help heal and prevent dry, cracked areas. If you don’t sleep alone, try wearing the gel sox under regular socks as you exercise or do chores to soften feet.

She rules

Elizabeth I: The Novel by bestselling author Elizabeth George is a compelling a romantic look at one of history’s most fascinating female rulers. George picks up Queen Elizabeth’s life just as the Spanish armada is poised to invade. Elizabeth is a vibrant, but mature queen, surrounded by her trusted advisors and ready to defend her realm.
George tells the story of a ruler and a woman. She alternates Elizabeth’s narration with that of her ambitious and adulterous, lookalike cousin Lettice Knollys Countess of Essex and Countess of Leicester.
George paints a fascinating picture of the intrigue of Elizabethan court life, as courtiers jockey for the queen’s favours to increase their power and fortunes. George brings to life characters such as Frances Bacon and William Shakespeare.
You’ll find passion romance, intrigue, and history in Elizabeth I by Elizabeth George. This meaty read will not disappoint.


I loved Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things No One Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon.
This easy-to-read little volume is jam packed with ideas that are sure to spark creativity, even for those with chronic "artistic block".
Kleon discusses how to jump-start the creative process, how to properly cite and credit sources, as well as how to sample and emulate, as opposed to copy.
This book is must-read for artists, writers, and musicians in the digital age.

Peach Melba upside-down cake

An easy elegant dessertIf you fear baking, it is probably because you have never learned how to do it. Chances are the recipes you have tired have been too complicated, or — worse — untested. Baking Basics and Beyond, Second Edition, by Pat Sinclair takes the fear out of baking with clear simple recipes for elegant, tempting desserts. Pat shares her expertise with easy-to-understand directions and tips. Try her delicious cake recipe below and you’ll be convinced and confident. Baking Basics and Beyond is one of the best books on baking basics we’ve seen.
Peach Melba upside-down cake
Peach Melba was created to honor Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian opera singer. Now a classic, any dessert containing peaches and raspberries is named Peach Melba. In the summer, juicy ripe peaches and tangy-tart raspberries contrast with the caramelized topping and tender cake. A little whipped cream makes it complete.
Makes 9 servings
14 cup (57 g) butter, melted
23 cup (150 g) firmly packed brown sugar
2 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
½ cup (75 g) fresh raspberries
114 cups (151 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1½ teaspoons (7.5 mL) baking powder
14 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt
½ cup (114 g) butter, room temperature
14 cup (59 mL) milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon (5 mL) almond extract
Heat oven to 350°F (180°C), with the rack in middle.
Place melted butter and brown sugar in bottom of 9 x 9-inch (22.5 x 22.5-cm) baking pan.
Toss peaches with lemon juice and add to pan. Add raspberries and gently poke them into the brown sugar.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Add softened butter, milk, eggs, and almond extract and beat on low speed until well mixed. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Pour batter over the fruit.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until deep golden brown and cake springs back when touched lightly. You can test with a toothpick, but only insert it into the cake. Remove the cake from oven and cool five minutes on a wire cooling rack.
You need to remove cake from pan while still warm so topping will come out easily. Loosen edges of cake with a small metal spatula and cover the cake with a serving plate. Carefully invert the cake onto the serving plate. If any topping remains in the pan, remove it with a spatula and gently it spread over cake.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Store the cake in refrigerator.
Baker’s notes
To peel the peaches, drop them into boiling water for 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop them into cold water. The skins will slip off easily.
If you don’t have a large serving plate, invert the cake using the back of a 15 x 10-inch (37.5 x 25-cm) jellyroll pan covered with aluminum foil.
Secret to Success
Because the cake is prepared using the quick or one-bowl method, the butter must be very soft. Allow the butter to sit at room temperature about two hours before using.
Top Tips for Successful Baking from Pat Sinclair:
           Read the entire recipe before beginning.
            Assemble all your ingredients on the counter before starting so you are aware of anything you are missing. 

Carefully follow the directions and prepare the recipe as written the first time you prepare it. You can try variations the next time.

                Measure ingredients accurately. Use dry measuring cups for solids and glass measuring cups for liquids.
               Always use the size pan specified in the recipe. If your pan isn’t the right size, the baking time won’t be accurate.
              Use an oven thermometer and check you oven temperature for accuracy. If possible adjust the thermostat on the oven properly.
              You can also  correct any error but changing your oven setting.
              Take a quick peak about 1 or 2 minutes before the timer goes off. Your oven may bake faster than others.
              Always use high quality ingredients such as pure vanilla extract and unsalted butter. The better your ingredients, the better your results.