Red carpet dos and don’ts

This Jenny Peckham dress is a risky choice even for the red carpet in private life it is a disaster.

This Jenny Peckham dress is a risky choice even for the red carpet in private life it is a disaster.

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Darlings, DolceDolce is back with changes. The first thing change you will notice is  that you now click on the title of each block to open the stories. Second the newletters, will now go out on Fridays now Thursdays. Third, some reads don’t realize the newsletters are just weekly update to point you to your favourite stories and give you advance notice of any special news or contests – go the the website  for full issue. Over the next weeks we will have more changes let us know what you would like to see. Have a wonderfull season!

Hollywood award shows are a great way to see runway fashion come to life. Stars and stylists case runway shows for the best dresses. What the stars wear on the red carpets is the best predictor of what will look hot for the holidays. It is also one of the best places to  learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to special occasion looks. Even with the best resources, some stars’s looks fall flat. 

Here are some of the best red carpet trends and looks we spotted on the red carpet at  the recent Emmy Awards show. This is why some looks work and why others don’t. 


Red is a classic colour for the red carpet. Men love it and it is a power colour that says “hey look at me!”

 _sopfia vera wangTo look fabulous in red for a special occasion channel Sofia Vergara’s red lace-trimmed, mermaid

 gown. This look is very sexy but not trashy. You need a killer body and the right occasion to pull off this type of dress, but the look is hot. Our killer red dress is from

 While it is not exactly like Sofia’s, we like the sweetheart line and the flow of the mermaid skirt.  For less than $400 we think it captures the look! Heidi Klum also wore red from Atelier Versace. We love Heidi and we love Versace. We even liked the dress, but not for this occasion and not on Heidi. Heidi’s dress was too  the colour was too dark for her. Some writers have suggested that Heidi tried to “soften” the look of the dress with delicate hair and makeup. If that is the case, she failed. The dress on the runway looked dramatic. On Heidi it was to over-the-top and just plain wrong.  

The take-away: Choose the right shade of red for your complexion, but if you have doubts, see an expert. You can find a colour expert at most makeup counters or good department stores. Remember, just because a  dress fits that doesn’t mean it is flattering. If a dress is very dramatic or over-the-top sexy, be ruthless in assessing your appearance; better yet ask your most honest friend or advisor. 


Black lace, alone or combined with silk or velvet, is a popular look. When it is done well the look is feminine and sexy.

Mad Men star, Christina Hendricks wore a black velvet form-fitting dress by Christian Siriano. Lace accented the deep sweetheart neckline of the form-fitting garment. The look was very Mae West, with the actress’s bobbed curls, porcelain skin, generous curves, and red lipstick. 

Anna Gunn, also from Breaking Bad, nailed the lingerie look in a stunning, strapless gown by Romona Keveza. It had a fitted bodice in black lace with a mermaid-shaped skirt in a gorgeous shade of blush silk. This how to look sexy and lady-like. 

Julianne Hough wore a sparkly Jenny Peckham dress with a completely sheer skirt over what appeared to be crystal-trimmed matching pants.  Some commentators felt she was “pushing the fashion envelop,” but to me it looked like a pretty dance costume. This look is strictly red carpet and for ladies with Julianne’s legs. 

Amanda Peet’s trendy black lace dress didn’t work. The cover-up sleeve and bodice overwhelmed her petite figure and the weird double-layered sheer hemline was distracting. Actresses Lena Headey and Aubrey Plaza wore long black lace dresses similar to Amanda Peet’s that also looked frumpy on the very pretty actresses. 

The take-away: The lingerie look is a style; it doesn’t mean you should wear a dress that looks like lingerie or like you are naked.


SEquin Iluus DMFor a more covered-up look we like David Meister’s feminine Sequin Illusion Gown, $570. David Meister is a popular red carpet designer who dresses many stars and socialites. 

Lace should be feminine and sexy, so if a dress looks like anything you might see on Little House on the Prairie or on an Amish woman, it will not be flattering. 

If you want a long-sleeved gown to cover your arms, look for one that is sleek and not matronly.  Avoid stiff and bulky fabrics. Unless you are very tall and wearing a flowing dress or billowy sleeves for dramatic effect, a covered-up dress should be sleek to be chic. This Ralph Lauren long sleeved surplice jersey gown is elegant and slimming. It is only $190 at Nordstrom. 

Jewel tones!

Bright, rich jewel tones are always popular and flattering. 

Tina Fey’s structured, bias-cut bright blue gown by Narcisco Rodriguez is a sophisticated way to wear this trend. Even a structured bias-cut dress can be unforgiving, if your body isn’t toned. The strapless teal dress by Zac Posen that Jane Krakowski wore is an easier style wear for most women.  The slim line and waist flattering inset of the gown made the most of the petite actress’s figure. 

Actresses Alyson Hannigan and Allison Janney both wore shades of purple. Hannigan wore a fitted gown of amethyst satin with a mermaid skirt. Janney’s gown was a pretty violet in a Grecian style that accented her waist; the skirt was softly gathered with a deep slit. Both fair-skinned ladies looked stunning in their colour choices. 

The take-away: Jewel tones are flattering and easy to wear but sure to select a dress that flatters your complexion and figure. A too-simple dress in bright colour or chintzy fabric can look cheap or like a prom gown. Remember to choose a gown to suit your figure. Try it on with the right undergarments and shoes. A bias-cut gown will show all figure flaws. A structured gown will help to hide them, as will shirring.



Plumper lips instantly!

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We have come a long way from the days the over-injected blow-fish lips that Goldie Hawn parodied in The First Wives’ Club. But that doesn’t mean women don’t want soft, full lips.  They question is how to get them. If you have tried popular lip plumpers, you know most of them sting. They work by irritating your lips and making them swell temporarily. 

City Lips Advanced Formula Lip Plumper CITY Lips Advanced Formula Lip Plumper is a unique formula that not only plumps lips instantly, but according to the company, also helps to create new collagen. The new advanced formula contains twice the amount of Oligopeptides to stimulate natural collagen and elastin production. There is also an ingredient called “Celadrin” to help prevent collagen breakdown. 

To plump your lips instantly for four to six hours, City Lips Advanced Formula Lip Plumper contains Hyaluronic Acid spheres. These spheres attract and store several times their own weight in water so lips look smooth and plump. 

You can buy it in clear to use alone, or with your existing lip colours at $35. It also comes in a selection of pretty cool, warm, and neutral tones which cost $40.  

I reviewed the City Lips Original Formula Lip Plumper Collagen Peptide Lip Plumping Treatment when in first launched in 2002.  It is very similar, but less concentrated. My friend and PR Maven Angela D’Amario recently surprised me with a fabulous gift of two tubes of City Lips Advanced Formula Lip Plumper.  I loved City Lips in 2002 and still do. If you want soft, naturally “plumped lips” – and the effect is very subtle but pretty – try this.



How to create Claire Danes’s “faux-bob” Emmy look

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Claire Danes faux-bob

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Here are the easy steps and John Frieda products celebrity hairstylist Peter Butler used to create Claire Danes’s classic look for the 65th Annual Emmy Awards.  Claire wore a faux-bob with her Armani Prive Gown. Butler chose the classic and sophisticated look to flatter her long neck. 


Peter applied a few pumps of the Frizz-Ease Thermal Protection Formula Hair Serum through Claire’s wet hair and then added Frizz-Ease Curl Reviver Styling Mousse before blow-drying to give the hair more texture for better workability and hold.


Next, Peter gave Claire a low side part and used a large-barreled curling iron to curl the Homeland star’s hair inward, which Peter noted also helped to smooth out her hair’s texture. Peter then created two small pin curls at the nape of Claire’s neck and combed the top of her hair down and under, pinning as needed into the base.   Finish

Peter finished off the look by tucking the hair on the left side of Claire’s head behind her ear and spritzing Frizz-Ease Moisture Barrier Firm Hold Hairspray for hold. To ensure that Claire’s bob glistened under all the lights on the red carpet, Peter also applied a sheer coat of John Frieda Frizz-Ease 100% Shine. 
John Frieda products can be found at drugstores, big box stores, and online. The products mentioned cost between $ $5.99 -$9.99.



Get Julianne Hough’s edgy Emmy look

Julianne and Riwana

Julianne and Riawana create an edgy look

Stylist Riawna Capri of Nine Zero One Salon says that she tried to “add a bit of edge” to Julianne’s sparkly and very feminine dress.  Julianne and Riawna like to contrast the look of Julianne’s hair while her clothes mix classic looks with more edgy and avant-garde looks. 

Riawna Capri how- to steps to recreate Julianne’s Emmy look

Julianne’s hair was prepped with UNITE BLONDA Shampoo and Conditioner to tone and make her blonde strands pop on the red-carpet. 

Then, the UNITE 7Seconds Conditioner was sprayed from roots to ends and combed through. I spritzed a ton of UNITE Beach Day spray from roots to ends for overall texture. 

While blowdrying, hair was simultaneously scrunched throughout until it was completely dry – no brush required! 

Once dry, the top layer was curled in alternating “S-shape” patterns using the UNITE Flat Iron. I then lightly sprinkled the UNITE Expanda Dust to the bottom portion of the hair, including at the nape. Hair was then teased, creating the perfect amount of volume and texture to lift the base structure. Using a teasing brush, I smoothed out the top layer of hair approximately 4-inches from the roots, spraying with UNITE Max Control Hairspray.


 Next, I teased out the bottom section until her hair was in the desired triangle structure shape. I finished off by spraying throughout the UNITE Session-Max Hairspray, which I like to call, the glue to the hairstyle, and then topped it off with the UNITE Shina Mist Spray for that overall red-carpet shine.”


The Unite products mentioned cost $25-$29.95


Beauty bargain, aromatherapy from the drugstore!

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Life is full of aches and pains. Before you reach for a bottle of pills to soothe muscle strain or a headache, consider aromatherapy.  It uses the healing power of essential oils to soothe the mind and body. Many aromatherapy products can be a little pricey, especially if you use them frequently. Dr. Teal’s is a line of bath products that combines the therapeutic effects of Epsom salts and essential oils in affordable bath and shower products. 

Soaking in Epsom salts and essential oils is delightful and holistic way to relax and soak away soreness. 

There is a variety of bath, shower, and foot soaks, baths, and washes available. I tried the Milk & Honey Epsom Salt bath for sore muscles. It is very relaxing and leaves skin soft. I also tried the Foaming Bath in Eucalyptus Spearmint. The fragrance is invigorating – the perfect way to start the day if you wake up achy. 

At $5.99 for a large bottle or pouch, Dr. Teal’s is a true beauty bargain.


A sensuous sequel to Chocolat – now in paperback!

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This book was previously published as Peaches for Father Francis.

Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure is Joanne Harris’s third book in a series that began with her international bestseller, Chocolat. It was made into a hit film of the same name starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp

 As the  story opens, free-spirited Vianne Rocher and her two daughters have moved with her lover Roux to Paris. They live happily on Roux’s houseboat, and Vianne sells her delicious chocolates. One day a letter arrives that reaches out with a request from the dead.

An old friend, Armande, has asked that a message be sent on her death, asking Vianne to return to the village and harvest the peaches from her tree. Vianne is torn and reluctant to return to the town she left after her chocolate shop was destroyed and Roux’s boat was set on fire. But she also missed old friends and finds it hard to refuse a last request from dear old friend. Her oldest daughter Anouk is also anxious to see her old friends and the village she loved. 

So with anticipation and trepidation, Vianne makes the trip.  Her old friends are welcoming, but the village has changed. Her old nemesis, Father Francis, is being driven from the village by young modern priest and new ideas. The formerly close-knit community is divided over the Moroccan immigrants who have taken up residence on the river bank. It is same place where she and Roux first fell in love and the river on which his boat was burned. 

Unpleasant events have occurred in the small village, as a charismatic and mysterious new leader had taken over the Moroccan community. Tensions come to a head when Father Francis rescues a young Moroccan girl as she tries to drown herself in the river. He is forced to ask Vianne for help hiding the girl who refuses to talk or return home. 

Vianne quickly finds herself embroiled in the lives of her old friends as well as some new ones. 

Harris captures the romance and poetry of French countryside. Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure also shows the very contemporary issue of cultures struggling to live harmoniously together in a small village. Harris’ sensuous prose evokes hot summer winds and the scents of ripe peaches, exotic spices, and the intoxicating aroma of good chocolate. 

I loved the world she created and her endearing characters. This is a book that warms the heart and also makes you think. If you long for the scent of cardamom, a ripe peach, and a magical escape, this book is for you.


Cake decorating takes your baking to the next level

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Step-by-Step Cake Decorating by Karen Sullivan is the perfect book if you want to take your home baking to the next level. Sullivan shows you how to make your cakes beautiful and professional. 

I love to bake cakes. I finally leaned after years of cooking, but not really baking anything other than cookies. Decorating still frustrates me. I love things to look beautiful, but while my cakes look nice, they are not stunning. Cake decorating, like most things, is easier when you know a few tricks of the trade.

In this book Sullivan shares 20 projects for different occasions, but more importantly she explains her techniques clearly with good directions and photos.  This will help you turn out mini-cakes, cupcakes, cakes and tiered cakes that look stunning.  This is one of the most accessible cake-decorating books for the ambitious home cook I have seen.



Pork chops in pomegranate cream


A colourful twist on pork chops for a fall with pomegrantes

This pork chop recipe replaces the traditional accoutrement of apples with tangy pomegranate for an unusual fall dish. Seasoning the meat in advance is a restaurant technique that helps it to caramelize when you sear it. Buy the best quality pork you can afford. The sauce is finished with a very small amount of cream or yogurt. Cream is better in this recipe as it balances the tart pomegranate better. Fresh pomegranate seeds are used in the sauce and added as a garnish.  

For two, may be doubled:

2 pork chops of very good quality, rinse and pat dry, and rub with seasoning below* 

1 large clove of garlic peeled and then crushed or minced (minced is better, but crush it, if your knife skills or patience are lacking)

Seeds from ½ pomegranate or ½ cup of seeds

½ cup pomegranate molasses or syrup (Pomegranate syrup and molasses is the same thing. You can find it labeled both ways at better grocers or Middle Eastern food shops. It is thick pomegranate syrup that is sweet but tart too.)

½ cup any good white wine but nothing too dry

*1tsp sugar plus ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper mix, and rub in to chops

2tbsp honey

¼ cup heavy cream or thick Greek yogurt

1 tbsp. oil (olive, sunflower, peanut, safflower to brown chops)

2 springs of fresh thyme rinsed and dried


For tasty chops, season and refrigerate your chops several hours before cooking or overnight. 

Heat a heavy sauté pan with Tbsp. of oil; get it very hot and sear your meat. It should be golden brown but not burned, Watch it carefully.

Reduce the heat if necessary, add a little more oil and the garlic, and continue to cook until the garlic browns. Do not burn it. 

Add the white wine and pomegranate syrup and simmer until the meat is done. If you like pork rare, you will remove the meat very soon.

Use a meat thermometer if you are unsure. If you remove the meat place it on platter under loosely tented foil to keep warm.  

Add the thyme, honey, and 2 Tbsp. of seeds and simmer until the sauce is slightly thicker.  Lower the heat and add ¼ cup of cream or yogurt. Do not boil. Simmer. Correct seasoning and remove the thyme sprigs. 

Serve the hot sauce over the warm chops with the rest of seeds to garnish.