Trend alert: Pleated bell skirt


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Mackenzie Foy looked adorable and sexy in her dress from THEIA‘s Pre-Fall 2014 collection at the 28thAmerican Cinematheque Awards. The flattering pleated bell skirt showed-off her tiny waist. We love this trend and this trendy hologram floral jacquard party dress.

Foy stars alongside Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain in the new movie Interstellar.


Charcoal: the new tooth whitener


The newest tooth whitener

The newest tooth whitener

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Charcoal has been around for years in artist’s pencils, barbecue grills, and water purifiers, just to name a few common uses.  Now, activated charcoal is being used to whiten teeth.

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Joseph Banker shared with the pros and cons as well as the dos and don’ts of using activated charcoal as a tooth whitener.

Here are Dr. Banker’s tips:

Activated charcoal is highly absorptive. The tiny granules are extremely porous and are very effective in binding certain materials to their surface. Tannins, astringents found in tea, coffee, red wine, sauces, and other dark foods, cause many stains on teeth. These tannins readily bind to the surface of activated charcoal and ultimately remove these stains.

Activated charcoal can raise the pH in your mouth. This helps to prevent cavities and bad breath.

Activated charcoal is excellent homemade remedy! Activated charcoal can be purchased at your local nutrition store and the procedure is simple to use. The charcoal does not change the color of tooth enamel, but removing stains allows the actual tooth color to show. This technique is also great for individuals prone to staining as well as those with very sensitive teeth.

Activated charcoal can be purchased at your local nutrition store. The procedure is simple: Open a capsule over a cup, mix the charcoal with a small amount of water, and gently apply it to all the surfaces of the teeth. Use a toothbrush but don’t apply any significant pressure.  Leave the activated charcoal in place for two minutes, then rinse with water until all of the charcoal is gone.  

There are a few precautions I feel are important. As stated earlier, I do not recommend brushing with charcoal; the abrasiveness may damage teeth or gums. If charcoal is ingested, it can cause medications to be ineffective, so try to avoid the procedure within a few hours of a taking a dose.

Although messy, this technique is relatively quick, easy, and painless. If the enamel is discolored, sometimes from tetracycline staining, the charcoal will not be effective. To actually change the color of the enamel, a whitening product containing a bleaching agent such as peroxide, will be required.



Brighten and glow

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If you like the idea of getting a clearer, brighter, and more luminous complexion using natural botanicals and the latest scientific ingredients, then Amarte Aqua Cream and Aqua Veil Pure Hydration Serum are worth a look.

Aqua Cream is an antioxidant rich moisturizer that contains arbutin and retinol to lighten and smooth skin gently but effectively. Arbutin is made from the extract of the Bearberry tree. It lightens skin in a very similar way as hydroquinone but many experts consider it much safer.

It costs $93.

Aqua Veil Pure Hydration Serum is a light hydrating serum. The deeply hydrating formula “optimizes” the skins’ ability to absorb and retain moisture.  It cools and softens the skin.

It costs $57.

Amarte has been the most popular skin care line in Korea since 2001. It recently launched in the U.S., introducing the Korean four-step ritual of cleansing, hydrating, rejuvenating, and protecting.

I love this line. The products feel and smell delightful and they leave my skin looking and feeling fresh, smooth, and glowing.



Beauty bargain

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We love a beauty bargain.  Nuance Salma Hayek Bamboo Extract Straightening Balm leaves hair as soft and soothe as products costing much more. It contains Passion Flower Extract as well as Bamboo Extract and polymers. The lightweight balms help to control frizz for smooth and soft locks. And it also helps to lock out humidity.

Hayek says that her Nuance beauty line, “Is Inspired by my grandmother, my products are designed to help every woman enhance the nuances that define her individual beauty.” The products are all, Sulfate free, paraben free and never tested on animals.

It costs $9.99 and you can find it at CVS as well as online.


Silver Bay

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JoJo Moyes’s novel Silver Bay is a love story but it is also a novel about change.

Three generations of women live on Australia’s beautiful but isolated and outdated Silver Bay. Kathleen was once famous as girl for catching a shark but now she runs the Silver Bay Hotel and a couple of whale-watching boats. Her niece, Liza, and grandniece, Hannah, live with her.

Liza is a beautiful woman who is content to hide away in a beach community. Hannah, Liza’s daughter, shares her mother’s love of the sea. But as Liza enters her teens she also craves adventure and a taste of world outside of Silver Bay.

The three women have no idea how their small, safe world will change when an English man, Mike Dormer, arrives. Quiet and friendly, he is there to research how to turn quiet Silver Bay into a mega-resort.

If his plans succeeds he will destroy Kate, Liz, and Hannah’s world and perhaps threaten the whales. But if he fails, Mike will lose the promotion he has been counting on. But does Mike really care?  Before leaving for Silver Bay Mike’s fiancée was planning their wedding. As the plans progressed Mike found himself feeling ambiguous. And when Hannah innocently asks him with childlike seriousness, “Are you sure she is the right person?” Mike answers in the affirmative, but starts to wonder.

This is my favourite Moyes’ s book to date,  though not all her fans would agree. I was immediately drawn into the world of the strong independent women of Silver Bay. I found the struggle between wanting to keep things the same and the need to move forward compelling and real. This is a deeply moving story of love, loss, and secrets that will hook you and then reel you in.


Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade

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Rachel Saunders tempts readers with elegant recipes in her new book, Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade.  As the title says, Saunders infuses her dishes with the flavours of preserves.  She also shows cooks how to use a well-stocked pantry to give classic recipes a new twist.

This is a big cookbook filled with lavish photographs by Sara Remington that will send you into your kitchen to can fruit, or to nearest farmers’ market to stock up on colourful jams and marmalades. If you want to make your own jams and marmalades Rachel has included the recipes used in her recipes.

There are ideas for every meal of the day. I was tempted by many but of them, but especially the ruby beet soup with plums and coriander yogurt.  I also want to make her Chickpea-Carrot Soup with Turmeric and Lamb as soon as possible, and Lemon Raspberry Maryann Cake.

You will never look at jam the same way again. This cookbook is a great gift idea for the avid home cook or foodie.



Beet Soup with Plums and Coriander

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This unusual recipe from Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade by Rachel Saunders for beet soup is the perfect way to brighten up a winter table.

Serves 8

This exquisitely balanced soup boasts a striking combination of colors and flavors. It is an unusual and ingenious use for plum jam, whose hue and tartness perfectly enhance the beets. The bright garlicky coriander yogurt and parsley garnishes show off the beauty of the soup brilliantly.


¼ cup neutral-flavored olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon sweet paprika

Freshly ground black pepper

2½ pounds dark red beets, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

½ pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into

½-inch cubes

½ cup bright-flavored red or purple plum jam

Freshly squeezed lime juice, as needed

Kosher salt

To serve:

1½ cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)

2 cloves garlic, very finely grated

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

½ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Heat the olive oil in an 8-quart soup pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, garlic, and celery and sauté until wilted and verging on translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the cayenne, paprika, and several grinds of pepper over the onion mixture and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the beets, potatoes, plum jam, and 9 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, or until the beets and potatoes are very tender. Puree the soup using a handheld immersion blender. Add a few squeezes of lime juice and salt to taste.

To make the coriander yogurt, while the soup simmers, place the yogurt in a bowl and add the garlic and salt. Toast the coriander seeds briefly by placing them in a small cast-iron skillet and shaking them over medium heat until they release their aroma. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and grind them finely.

Add the ground coriander seeds to the yogurt mixture and stir very well with a fork to combine. Cover well and chill until needed. The yogurt is best within 1 hour of being made.

To serve the soup, ladle it into warm bowls. Drizzle each serving with 2 to 3 tablespoons coriander yogurt and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

From Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade by Rachel Saunders, Andrews McMeel 2014

Image by: Sara Remington



Please, don’t call me a bitch

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Every time I turn around these days, some woman is calling another woman a “bitch”. Often the context is particularly strange as in “yoga bitches” or “Namaste bitches”. Don’t get me wrong darlings; I am not upset they are “bitching” all over the sacredness of yoga or anything like that. I just don’t get it. 

Bitch is an ugly word to toss around. Certain types of men have used it for years to demean women. Perhaps women who adopt it casually are in engaged in a misguided attempt to rob it of its power. That is there right. 

But “yoga bitches” is jarring for many reasons. Namaste means (and there are slightly different definitions) “the divine in me bows to the divine in you”. Beyond these examples, I don’t care to be addressed this way by anyone. Words and thoughts shape reality, so make your words strong and positive, not ugly and demeaning. And please, don’t call me a bitch. 

Make time for the things you enjoy and the people you love because, my darlings that is truly where the sweet life lies. 

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Gracey Hitchcock

Editor, DolceDolce

Follow me @graceysays

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