The hottest beauty buzz is from Asia



Exclusive skin care lines such as SKII, Kanebo Sensai, and Shiseido have become as familiar as Estee Lauder and Lancôme thanks to advertising and a celebrity following. Now smaller, more obscure brands of Japanese skin and Korean skin care are on the radar of beauty editors and skin care connoisseurs. The reason is simple: while Europeans and North Americans abused their skin with exposure to the sun, Asians have always prized a smooth, youthful, and unblemished complexion.

The Asian approach to skin care is appealing. It focuses on thorough cleansing, often using a two-step process of cleansing first with oil and then following up with rinsable cleanser. Exfoliation is frequent but gentle, so skin is fresh – never red or irritated. The goal is flawless and glowing complexions.  Products combine natural botanicals from traditional medicine with science for products that feel good and pamper skin.  Skin is kept youthful and dewy looking with maximum hydration and efficient sun protection in the form of BB and CC creams.

Paper masks containing super-hydrating collagen, potent anti-oxidants and other youth-renewing ingredients originated in Asia.  SKII’s masks are celebrity favourites and Proctor & Gamble, which owns SKII, was quick to introduce a more accessibly-priced Olay version. L’Oreal’s Garnier has its own popular line of Asian-style paper masks. In addition to these Western versions you can now buy a wide variety of popular Asian masks online.

Recently, I tried Amarte, a luxury skin care line developed in Korea and brought to America by Dr.Craig Kraffert, MD, the founder of Derm Store.

Real Housewife Adriana De Moura in an Asian-style paper mask

Amarte means “to love yourself,” and the beautifully-presented skin care line feels like first-class TLC for your face. It is designed to address oily, dry, and aging skin.

I was impressed by Amarte’s five step regime. The pale pink packing is a delight to look at and use. The air-tight pump bottles keep products fresh and hygienic.  I also loved the lovely natural fragrances of each product. Most importantly, the science behind the line is impressive. The advanced formulations are based on traditional Korean medicine as described in the “Donguibogam,” a historic doctrine of Eastern Asian medicine and philosophy and the latest Western skin care science.

The cleanser and unusual exfoliating powder feel luxurious. The lightly cucumber-scented Aqua Veil Hydrator keeps skin hydrated all day. The Amarte HydroLift Cream, with its unique combination of botanical and marine extracts, is my favourite. My fair skin is irritated by most Retinol creams, and Amarte’s Omega-rich Argan oil formula feels silky. I also like having firming ingredients such as caviar and acacia collagen in the same cream.  The Natural Finish BB Cream and Eyeconic eye cream are also standouts. It has been a while since I have liked an entire line this much.

Purchased directly from the company online, the products range in price from $35 to $80. There is also a special Heart & Seoul Collection of five products and two samples of the BB cream for $150 that is a bargain.



Panties that stay fresh

knixEvery woman dreads feeling less than fresh. No matter how clean you are, perspiration, hormonal fluctuations, and long days result in stronger than normal odors.  Deodorants and scents are not the answer as they can cause more problems than they solve in that delicate area of the body.  Knix Wear is a line of pretty panties with a super absorbent liner built in, to trap and neutralize odors.  The liner wicks away moisture which is then neutralized by anti-microbial aero-silver liner. 

Knix Wear panties are pretty. The special liner is undetectable to anyone but you. There a several cute styles to choose from in soft, upscale fabrics and styles. The sizing runs a bit large so order down if you are between sizes.




CC cream has you covered naturally

lumeneIf you like a natural look and are short on time in the morning, Lumene Time Freeze Anti-Age CC Color Correcting Cream may be the perfect solution for your beauty routine. It is designed to neutralize the color of red areas on your face while acting as a one-step concealer, primer and illuminator. 

Lumene Time Freeze Anti-Age CC Color Correcting Cream is SPF 20 and gives your skin a semi-matte finish.

 Find it at most drugstores and online for just under $15.


Yoga to recharge

SRAs the hectic holiday season approaches it is tempting to skip workouts in favour of late nights. Instead, use the new Shiva Rea, Yoga in Greece DVD to recharge when you are feeling drained from too much to do or too much celebrating. 

The video is shot in beautiful, dramatic locations on the volcanic island Santorini. You can use Shea Rea’s yoga matrix to create your own workout to suit your schedule, mood, and energy level. Choose from three meditations: mudra, lunar, and solar, and eight 20-minute practices. 

This DVD focuses heavily on backbends and flowing movements. There is also a Solar core and extended Lunar shavasna section. 

Shiva Rea, Yoga in Greece is full of sensual movements and sunshine, making it the perfect way to recharge on chilly winter day.

This makes a great gift too!



Hot romance for cold nights

51bsmjhRX4L._SL160Fans of historical romances will revel in Gaelen Foley’s My Notorious Gentleman, Book #6 of the Inferno Club Series, which also includes My Dangerous Duke, My Irresistible Earl, and My Wicked Marquess. 

Foley’s regency romances are hot and sexy. The Inferno Club Series follows the adventures and loves of group of dashing Regency gentlemen.  

Former spy and Inferno Club member, Lord Trevor Montgomery returns from the dead to find his fiancée is engaged to another man. Lord Trevor’s life is further complicated by the fact that London is fascinated by his past as a spy and assassin for the crown. He is a source of gossip and speculation for jaded society women as well as silly young debutantes. 

The reluctant war hero is bitter about love and life. In typical Regency Romance fashion, Lord Trevor accidently comes upon Grace Kenwood in a deserted parlor, where she has gone to fix her hair.  He mistakenly decides that she another “forward society woman,” lying in wait to seduce him. Out of annoyance and bitterness he grabs her and begins to make love to her. Only a jab from Grace’s hair pin brings him to his sense. 

Later in the evening, Lord Trevor is reintroduced to Grace with her father Pastor Kenwood. They are attending the ball with the young Lord that Grace’s father mentors. Grace is mortified when her father suggests Lord Trevor buy a farm and take up residence in their village. Lord Trevor apologizes to Grace for his previous advances. 

Surprisingly, Lord Trevor does visit in Grace’s village. He buys a tumbled-down estate that he plans to restore, but soon he is enmeshed in village affairs. As he spends time with Grace, he finds himself falling in love with her, but he fears his past as a spy and assassin will repel her. When danger threatens Grace and the village, Lord Trevor must use all of his skills as a warrior to save the day and his love. 

My Notorious Gentleman is a sexy and charming Regency romance with all the usual mayhem of mistaken intentions, rivalries, and hot, sensual seductions. 

While My Notorious Gentleman is part of a series it may be read alone and out of sequence.

Remember paperbacks make fabulous stocking stuffers and even great Secret Santa gifts if you know  the person’s taste on books or a  give a books with a gift receipt.


Easy Thai chicken coconut soup

ThaisThis spicy, sweet Thai favourite is snap to make at home. It is made with Tom Yam or Tom Yum( like the soup, it  is pronounced both ways) , organic chicken stock, coconut milk, lime juice, and shredded chicken from a store-bought bird or your own leftover dinner. The finished soup is topped with fresh basil. 

This quick version adapted for the western kitchen will give you authentic flavour. The substitutions are simple, but don’t change the character of the soup, as sweetener pitch-hits for palm sugar and more common vegetables are used in place of Thai eggplant for a quick dinner. Tom Yum soup paste and other cooking pastes are common in authentic Thai cooking. The brands I use are the same ones I saw on the shelves of shops in Bangkok. Try this once and you may get hooked. 


1½ heaping tbsp. of Tom Yam/Tom Yum paste and 1 peeled crushed clove of garlic in a little oil

Add 1 (14 ounces) can of coconut milk

1 cup of organic chicken stock

3-4 finely sliced kaffir lime leaves (I keep these in the freezer)

Bring to simmer

Add 2 tsp. of sweetener of your choice (sugar, stevia, etc.)

1 tsp. fish sauce of to taste

Juice from 1-2 fresh limes (Add the juice from one and taste, add more if needed or to taste)


1½ cup shredded chicken

½ cup frozen petits pois

½ cups sliced red pepper 

*Add ½ cup of lightly sauté straw or any other type of sliced mushrooms. Wash and dry the mushrooms before starting anything else then you can sauté them in a separate pan while you sauté the  soup paste. 

Correct the final seasoning; you many want to add more sweeteners, fish sauce, or lime. Top the soup with mounds of finely shredded basil to serve.


No one asks you to skip a class

tea 4cHave you ever noticed that many people consider your time to work out flexible or even disposable?  If a friend or colleague wants to book a meeting during your yoga or mind-body class many of them have no problem suggesting you “skip” your class.  And if you planned a solitary session at the gym, heaven help you if you expect most people to respect your schedule. After all it, you were “just” going to the gym. 

That is why I stopped telling most people where I am going. My neighbours and friends at the hotel where I take my classes know my schedule, but few others do, and it is no one’s business unless I decide to tell. If pressed I will say I have a “class.” Both statements are true as my preferred workout is a yoga or barre class. But, it is funny how no one asks me to skip a “class” or to “do it later.” 

Getting into a regular fitness regime is hard enough without sabotage!  My husband is all for my régime and will push me out the door for class. But over the years I have learned I need to vigilantly defend my schedule as there is always someone who wants to adjust it for their own convenience. 

Darlings, what you do with your time is your own business, if you are not on someone else’s clock. image_1364151078389522

The holidays are less than two months away!  Have you started your shopping?  Let me help you. We can mail beautiful pearls for you wrapped with a card anywhere in the U.S. or Canada for much less than you might think.  My pearls are all real and fabulous. They are comparable to what you can buy for hundreds of dollars and more elsewhere. You can see them, and me demonstrating them, on our latest YouTube videos. Check them out: Feel free to email me any questions.


We can mail beautiful pearls wrapped with card to anyone on your list. . DolceDolce is free. And please forward us to all your friends. And please follow us on Facebook  We post new items and tips almost regularly. And please give us your comments by emailing us at the same address or sharing in Facebook – we will respond! We want to know what you think. Let’s start the conversation!






Gracey Hitchcock



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AlyssaNEW! To open click on top title of each block!

Naturally glamorous

At age 40, Alyssa Milano recently graced the cover of Maxim magazine. She looks fabulous. The secret of Alyssa’s appeal is her girl-next door beauty. Even on the red carpet the actress never looks overdone or plastic. 

Alyssa Milano was also a guest judge on c where she got the star treatment from Mary Kay’s “Glam Squad” makeup artist Virginia Linzee. Her look was soft, natural and sexy. 

Here is how to get Melissa’s look at home: 

Begin with Mary Kay TimeWise Luminous-Wear Liquid Foundation for glowing skin that looks flawless. Don’t forget to bring the foundation down the neck for all-over flawless coverage and blend it evenly with a cosmetic sponge. Using the Mary Kay Facial Highlighting Pen, smooth under the eyes, on the cheekbones, and down the bridge of the nose to instantly brighten the face.      

Add warmth and dimension to the skin with Mary Kay Mineral Powder in a shade that is two shades darker than your own skin tone. Using an angled cheek brush, lightly dust the powder along the hairline, in the hollows of the cheekbones, under the chin, and down the neck to define the angles of your face. Sweep a little Mineral Cheek Color in Citrus Bloom onto the apples of the cheeks, using a blush brush. 

To keep your eyes red carpet-worthy all night, start with a little Mary Kay Eye Primer. For eyes like Alyssa’s, use the Mary Kay At Play Baked Eye Trio in Tuxedo. Start with the silver on the eyelid. Then use a crease brush to blend the black shade into the crease, as well as the outside part of the eyelid and in the lower lash line. Finally, use a brush to blend some of the white in the inner corner of the eye to add brightness and makes eyes really pop. For stunning eyes, curl lashes and apply several coats of Lash Love Lengthening Mascara in Black. 

Apply True Dimensions Lipstick in Natural Beauté and NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss in Au Naturel.  Complete Alyssa’s red carpet look with Mary Kay Makeup Finishing Spray by Skindinavia, applying it in a “T” and “X” formation to keep the makeup looking fresh for up to 16 hours! 

Mary Kay makes fabulous makeup at very affordable prices. Mary Kay makeup has the look and feel of makeup that costs much more. It is a great way to stretch your beauty budget. 

Here are a few current must-haves:  

The Mary Kay Facial Highlighting Pen. We love the range of four shades.  And it has just right touch of luminesce at only $18; it compares to products that cost many times more.  

The “nude lip” is once again a hot trend. As simple as it sounds this look can be hard to wear. Many nude lip colours are too flat or too brown and drain the colour from your face. True Dimensions Lipstick in Natural Beauté and NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss in Au Naturel is a pretty, warm nude shade that will flatter most skin tones. 

Mary Kay Makeup Finishing Spray by Skindinavia will keep your makeup on for hours. If you have never tried a finishing spray you will be amazed at the difference this makes. Setting your makeup with this will keep your look fresh all night or through a long, hot afternoon. This can be your secret weapon this holiday season.