Bethenny’s beauty

Skinnygirl mogul Bethenny Frankel just keeps expanding her brand. Brash, funny, and often irreverent, Bethenny seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to knowing what women want.
I was intrigued when I recently caught her touting her new Skinnygirl Beauty products on Bethenny Ever After, a Bravo reality show.
Bethenny was touching up her face for an evening out as she discussed the merits of her new beauty products with her young female assistants.
As Bethenny applied her Skinnygirl Tinted moisturizer under her eyes, she pointed out how moisturizing it is as well how easy and clean the brush applicator is to use. She mentioned that you can wash it off and keep the product clean. It seems Bethenny is a clean freak.
Skinnygirl Tinted Moisturizer with Vitamin E and SPF 15 goes on smooth and creamy. It contains dimethicone, an ingredient that helps primers glide over small flaws.
It may feel a little thicker than most tinted moisturizers, and the shades are limited but natural looking. At $10.95, this is a good choice if you are looking for light coverage and minimal sunscreen.

The “Skinnygirl” is back!

The Skinnygirl Workout is a follow-up to Bethenny Frankel’s first yoga DVD, Body by Bethenny. This time Bethenny is working out with accomplished yoga and Pilates instructor Mike McArdle.  

Talking about the DVD, Frankel, the star of Bethenny is Getting Married, says “people always ask me how I stay in shape. This is what I do.”
The DVD contains three quick, easy-to-follow yoga segments that tone the whole body. There is also a 12-minute bonus stretching segment, as well as recipes from The Skinnygirl Dish.
I liked McArdle’s calm and detailed instructions. The DVD provides a thorough, moderate workout. Bethenny is her wise-cracking self, and provides a welcome distraction, especially for reluctant exercisers.
This DVD is a good workout for beginners, and a great gift for Bethenny fans. Remember, it is time to start holiday shopping. I have!

The skinny girl secret

Try Bethenny's Skinny Girl workoutThe original “Skinnygirl”, Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York drove many women crazy when she dropped her baby weight in record time. She claimed to do it by eating by her own skinny principles, walking 45 minutes a day, and using her own Body by Bethenny DVD. 

Bethenny and her personal trainer, celebrity instructor Kristin McGee, present a relaxed, but effective workout. Bethenny’s workout recipe is a combination. There is a 40-minute Hatha yoga workout that will tone, sculpt, stretch, and flex. She follows it with a basic stretch workout. Many women do not realize that working out with weights, not cardio, is what will help you lose weight! You need both, but the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn!
There is even a quickie bonus booty workout! I loved it. It was deceptively simple, but very effective. As a longtime yoga devotee, I did not know if I would like this DVD, but I love it. I reviewed it when it first came out in limited release a few months ago. Now I like it even more. It is a great workout. I like the style of yoga. It is not too slow – and it is not boring.
Bethenny Frankel is the New York Times bestselling author of Naturally Thin and The Skinnygirl Dish. See our archives for our reviews.




Cutting down the tall poppies

Success, a husband, baby, and being thin too --made Bethenny Frankel a "Tall poppy"Cutting down the tall poppies” is a British expression for tearing down people who stand out because of their success. I learned it years ago from a friend who had studied in Australia. I liked the term immediately; it so aptly describes behavior I had witnessed so often. I think most of us who strive to do well have felt that scythe of resentment.

Recently, talk show host Joy Behar told Bethenny Frankel that she (Frankel) was the most hated women in America along with journalist Helen Thomas. Behar was only half joking. Thomas, the former senior White House journalist, had resigned after making some infamously anti-Semitic remarks about the Middle East situation. Bethenny – famous for her Skinnygirl books, exercise DVD, and cocktails – lost her baby weight quickly. Too quickly it seems for an envious and competitive society.
Behar seemed to relish shoveling coals onto the “hate” fires burning for Frankel. She even bet Bethenny that she did not weigh the 122 to 123 pounds that 5’4” Frankel said she weighed. Bethenny demanded a scale. She weighed 122. She credits her rapid weight loss to sensible eating during her pregnancy, exercise before and after the birth of her baby, and genetics.
I have read pure vitriol about Bethenny’s weight loss. Comments have ranged from those who say she is still fat to those who say she had aa tummy-tuck with her C-section to restore her figure. Both allegations are ludicrous.
All were to be expected. Bethenny is doing well and that is something many people just can stand. They love the underdog, but the underdog had better watch her back if and when she makes a comeback. Envy can turn that same cheering section into a nasty, critical mob. Bethenny has become a tall poppy and that’s a dangerous thing to be these days – even in America.
People loved Bethenny because she wasn’t the rich spoiled wife on The Real Housewives of New York. She had to work for her success. She didn’t have a huge New York apartment or a husband bankrolling her. She was flawed, humble, and relatable.
Now Bethenny has found her prince, moved into her Tribeca castle, and is even thin. Is “happily ever after” interesting? Is it even forgivable? Will her fans relate to her as a happily married wife and mother?
If you don’t care about reality TV, I have probably lost you. But there is a lesson here for all of us. That’s why I find these shows so interesting. Helen Gurley Brown, the creator and brilliant editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, advised her readers to “keep two sets of books”. Darlings, she wasn’t talking about accounting. She was warning her readers about envy. She has seen how success, even smaller ones you may not think about, can make enemies.
She wasn’t advising her readers to hide their light under a bustle, or not try to get ahead, but to be smart about it.
On your way up – especially in this rough economy – realize that not everyone, even friends, are going to be thrilled for your success or support your plans. Pick your advisers and confidants carefully. Even non-business successes can make friends act a little crazy.
When I quit smoking on the advice of my doctor after years of social smoking, I went cold turkey. I had a fear of gaining weight – and I already had few extra pounds I could stand to lose. So I quit smoking and went on a diet and exercise regime. I didn’t tell anyone, even my husband. It may sound crazy, but it worked for me.
After four weeks I lost about eight pounds and knew I had quit. I finally told people as they noticed. One friend was so upset by my success that she actually said “I think this has stressed you out and maybe you should smoke again.” Luckily, I was not stressed out at all. I was in such a good mood; I just let her comment go. I knew that she was not in a good place with her own career or weight. It was irrational, but my little quiet success annoyed her. Her comment was hurtful, but I chose to let it go. I could afford to be generous because I was feeling really good. And this person is really a nice person; she was just going through a really bad patch.
There have been other times when things have not been so easy or simple. I can still remember battling acne before I found my magic dermatologists. I will never understand people who make rude comments to anyone about acne, weight, or anything personal. When some fool would ask or say some thing rude, I knew I was doing everything possible to stop my skin from breaking out.
I am sure it was those early experiences that helped me cultivate what some have told me is my intimidating or confident – depending on your point of view – air. It also gave me a lifelong distaste for awkwardness and bullies. I dislike personal and awkward questions aimed at anyone. This behaviour always comes from envy and meanness.
It’s smart to grow a thicker skin – or like me the appearance of one. If you aim to be successful and stand out at something, get ready for those who want to cut you down. Learn when to blow it off and how to counter it coolly and calmly.
Work fills a lifetime. You will be in and out of fashion; it is inevitable. Enjoy the good times and be assured the bad ones will pass. If you are smart you will learn to cherish longevity. Your true friends will sustain you through the tough times. But real friends help you in the good times, too.
Recently a friend, who is a brilliant and successful women in her own field, did me wonderful turn professionally. She is generous and helpful. She says it all comes back to her. I know like myself, she enjoys life among the tall poppies. Darlings, there are always going to be those who want chop you down. Don’t waste your time on them. Just learn how to duck and then stretch to sun.

Get your weave on! Tips from an expert!

Latonya SaundersonLatonya Saunderson is the face, founder, and owner of The Weave Shop, a chain that caters to the growing popularity of weaves. Women like Tyra Banks and Bethenny Frankel are talking about their weaves. A weave can refer to a sew-in weave like the ones offered at The Weave Shop, or the clip-in extensions Bethenny wore for her PETA photo shoot. Whatever we are talking about, women love their weaves! Our own Anne Gravel, who has piles of her own long blond hair, has tried a few types of add-ons for fun. Anne feels you can never be too glam to have too much hair!

Latonya explains all you need to know to get your weave on. She also shares valuable tips with future entrepreneurs. Don’t miss a word of this informative interview.
DD:  For those who don’t know, what is a weave?
LS: A weave is the process by which hair extensions are added onto one’s own hair –or the completed effect –a weave.

DD: Who gets a weave and why?
LS: Weaves are used by nationalities everywhere. There are various reasons why weave is worn which include, but are not limited to convenience, hair length, fullness, and versatility. Some individuals also prefer to wear a weave to give their own hair a break from overexposure of heat to the hair.

Lisa Wu Hartwell of The Real Housewives of Atlanta with LaTonya uses weaves to save her own long heallthy hair on photo shotsDD:  Does a weave ruin your own hair?
LS: Weaves can cause hair damage if they are put in incorrectly. In my experience the healthiest way to promote hair growth while wearing a weave is to braid the hair and sew the weave track to the braid. A weave can ruin the hair if the wrong techniques are used, such as fusions. I do not recommend fusions for African-American hair.
DD Can a weave help with  camouflage hair loss?
LS: A weave can help camouflage hair loss. Of course, each situation is different and would have to be determined by the stylist. The platinum weave we offer is ideal for thinning hair. The technique that’s used is to place a net cap on the clients scalp and the extensions are then attached to the net, as opposed to directly onto the scalp.

DD:  What type of hair is used for a weave? Where does it come from?
LS:  Clients prefer to wear various types of hair. I recommend 100 percent human hair. Virgin Indian remy and Malaysian hair is a higher grade of hair. It can last up to at least two years, if taken care of properly.  It is more expensive, but it lasts much longer. The Weave Shop sells virgin Indian hair.  Hair for weaves is primarily manufactured in China and India.

DD: How long does a weave last? How long does it take to do?
LS:  A sew-in weave could last anywhere from 6-12 weeks, depending on how it’s cared for. On average it takes two hours to complete a sew-in weave.
DD: You are so young, how did you get started in this business?
LS:  I worked in a hair salon primarily doing weaves some time ago. I fell in love with the concept. One of my mentors encouraged me to open my own shop. I took the leap of faith and opened one.  My first salon was very small, only 400 square feet in a nearby office park. I saved up enough money to invest in a billboard to further market the services we offer, and customers have been overflowing ever since. 
DD: Why did you decide to franchise, The Weave Shop?
LS: I decided to franchise The Weave Shop because people would periodically comment on how unique the concept was, and loved how our salons were designed. Once our Facebook fan page was created, we would receive comments from individuals all across the
United States inquiring about when we were going to open salons in their cities. So, my business partners and I thought it was a great business decision.
DD: How many Weave Shops do you have and what is the concept?
LS: There are three locations in
Georgia, three in Michigan and two in New Jersey. The concept is quite simple. The Weave Shop is an express weave salon that offers sew-in weaves starting at $50. The charge is normally a $200 minimum. We offer our client’s quality services at the most affordable rates.

DD:  What advice do you have for other young women entrepreneurs?
LS:  I have always put God first to help lead me. My additional advice to young entrepreneurs is to do their research and homework on whatever business they decide to start. It is extremely important to put a proper business plan together. They cannot be afraid to do the hard work and must put their emotions to the side. Last but not least, never mix business with pleasure.



The *itch is back

Her new new show Bethenny's Getting Married got a boost from the feud with former BFF Jill Zarin?

Recently I got a little annoyed when I had to say to no to someone. I was being pushed, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t care for the wheedling or the disappointed tone when I had to refuse the request. I don’t say no to people very often. If I can help, I will, and that is what is so frustrating about the lack of give and take. This is not the first time this has happened. I have started to wonder if being nice and considerate is confused with being a doormat by too many people.
Don’t get me wrong, I am far from a defenseless victim. I have an edge. A wicked sense of humour is a formidable weapon. I can defend myself when necessary. But, why should I? I prefer civility and cooperation: two things the world is sadly lacking these days.
I don’t want my default setting to be an automatic “no”. Nor do I want develop the type of confrontational persona I see so often these days. It’s unattractive. I always wonder what is wrong with someone who is confrontational for no reason. What makes them so insecure? I am always amazed to find that some people, especially women, think these tactics convey confidence and power. The opposite is true.  
Joan Collins the iconic*itchGranted some successful and powerful women are *itches. We have all heard about them. And no, I don’t mean women who are assertive and called names for it. I am talking about successful “mean girls”; the one who are nasty, manipulative and demeaning for no reason. Joan Collins perfected this type character in the 1980s in her iconic roll as Alexis Carrington. People still adore her for it. It is fun on-screen, but not in person.
Audiences couldn’t get enough for Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. I have to wonder if the new Bravo series, Bethenny Getting Married would have had its record high ratings if not for the feud between Bethenny and her former BFF Jill Zarin. All the Bravo Housewives series are popular.
When it come to entertainment — the *itch is back. Human behaviour is fascinating. There is a certain entertainment value in seeing outrageous people behaving outrageously. Princess Anne Banton Lofters, the creator the Real Housewives of Atlanta, told me “people like to live vicariously. If you are just a housewife, it’s exciting to see a catfight and watch women who drive fancy cars. They like to see a fantasy life and watch these women who are larger than life, with all their drama. They may sit at home and say ‘Isn’t that awful that she did that!’ – but they enjoy it”.
I think she is dead on. People like to root for their side just as people who watch sports. Or they enjoy seeing someone do something they would secretly love to do, but they would never have the nerve to do it, or they wouldn’t have the stomach for the repercussions. Those of us who think about repercussions are the last guardians of civility. I know that thinking about the damage that bad behaviour wreaks is often what keeps me from losing it. And heavens know there are days I would to love to pitch my own fit at rude and infuriating individuals. 
That brings me to those who scorn these shows – the participants and the viewer. I got a kick out of talk show host Joy Behar, who recently said she couldn’t believe how women on those shows talked. She constantly talks over her own guests and insults people. Perhaps she doesn’t see herself, or she feels her status as a “comic” excuses her. Some friends, who can’t watch such things, are the worst offenders when it comes to bad behavior. Even though I love them, there is no way to avoid the fact sometimes they are fractious, outspoken, and just plain *itchy.
Lots of lovely people don’t watch reality TV or Dynasty-type shows, but they are polite about it. It’s the way I am about sports. I don’t get it, but I see no reason to be rude about it.
The *itch may be back in style, but the tide turns quickly, as Jill Zarin on The New York Housewives found out when she got a little too nasty in a fight with the popular Bethenny Frankel. Viewers turned on her big time. It was ugly. But then again viewers are fickle, so she may be next year’s queen of the small screen. One thing is certain; controversy keeps you in the news and sells merchandise. And no matter no how popular you are, everyone won’t love you. Someone will always take a shot at you for something. Staying civil under fire is a good thing, but being a doormat is crazy and self defeating. I’m not much on being a wallflower who fades in the background. But I don’t think that means you have to be a *itchy bullhorn and drown out everyone else either.
As for me darlings, I am going to stick to being civil. But I like knowing that I can channel my inner Joan Collins whenever I need her. 
NB: I spell it *itch not out of any false gentility, but to avoid getting DD stuck in overzealous spam filters that don’t like certain words, especially for those of you who read us at work.



Are women catty?

Some women are so catty, they make Cat Woman look lovableThe question seems perennial, but yes, darlings, I would have to say many of us are catty.

Catty behavior often involves undercutting an accomplishment or cutting someone down to size. Recently, there have been many articles about how The Real Housewife of New York’s Bethenny Frankel lost her baby weight so quickly and how great she looks. I am amazed at the catty comments some women posted as to how her weight loss is due to “having money”, or that she isn’t all that thin. Get over it. Money can’t help you if you eat too much and don’t exercise. The truth is, she looks fabulous.
Similar comments are often made about women who look youthful. Ramona Singer, from the same show, is often accused of having had plastic surgery. Her detractors say she looks great at 50, plus because she has money. Pure envy motivates this type of cattiness. Too bad it won’t help those who engage in it get thinner, look younger or be happier.
Then there’s the firestorm that U.S. politician Carly Fiorina unleashed when she made an uncomplimentary remark about her opponent Senator Barbara Boxer’s hair. Ms. Fiorina was having her own hair and make-up done at the time, and forgot the microphone she was wearing was broadcasting. “God, what is that hair? So yesterday," she reportedly said, before she realized she was on the air.
I doubt she was actually catty, even though she clearly hit a hot button issue. Her remarks were intended to be private, and she may have just been making an obvious observation. At the risk of being called catty, I will say the senator’s hair did look at bit strange when they showed it on the Today show.
For a long time, I didn’t recognize cattiness for what it was. I grew up in New England, where I was encouraged not think too much of myself. We all were. Conceit and self-involvement were frowned on. I am pleased to say I still have the same darling friends I had in high school, and there is not a cat in group. They are all bright, beautiful, attractive women. We had a few mean girls in high school, but when you have fabulous friends and a few smart older mentors to give you good advice, it is easy to ignore them. Besides, the mean girls at my school were really “unhappy girls” with issues. They restricted themselves to things like not inviting certain people to parties. Surprise to them! Most people, didn’t care or notice; there was always a lot going on any given weekend. And being bitchy did not get you too far.
It’s funny; we are all very grown-up now, and they still have the same issues. It’s sad and still not pleasant to be around. Obviously it is the type of behaviour you want to nip in the bud as it seems to be hard to shake.
Almost everyone I know has run into mean girls or catty women. I have been lucky; usually I have been able to just walk away from them. I know some women are not as lucky. Recently, an old high school friend was tortured by a grown-up mean girl boss at work. Luckily she has moved on to a new job.
I admit for years, I just never saw them coming. I never knew when or why some women would get confrontational at a party for no reason. The attacks always seemed to come out of nowhere. I was taken aback when some woman wanted to argue for no good reason. Now I know the warning signs and will avoid a hostile person. I will simply refuse to play their game, and it drives them nuts. I just don’t get a charge out of pointless arguing. I have nothing to prove. 
I have read many explanations for catty behaviour. Some experts say it is because women are judged by harsh subjective criteria that we can’t control, such as appearance. Others say we compete for the attention of men and it makes women feel threatened. Still others fall back on the old saw that women are treated unfairly based on looks in the workplace and elsewhere. I am sure there is an element of truth to all of this. But darlings, life isn’t fair and there are no excuses for shoddy behaviour.
When I was younger, I found confrontations came fast and furious from slightly older women. They would attack my clothes, opinions, or even the right to hold an opinion. Mostly these attacks came at social occasions when they perceived I was getting too much attention. I was always surprised because I have never been one to exclude women and have always had many women friends. Sadly, I see the younger women I know dealing with the same cat-attacks. My advice is always the same: avoid and ignore. These unhappy mean girls are not worth the stress.
50 plus Ramona Singer's youthful looks drive  some women nutsNow that I am older, the hostile remarks are subtler. My main offence seems to be that I have a husband and therefore I am not as vulnerable as those why do not. I am told I will never have to work as hard or “know their reality”. I find this all amazing as these things are said by women who know little of my life. My friends who are single, some with small children, don’t feel the need to attack others. They are successful and happily living their lives. They know we all have challenges and triumphs. If they long for a partner, they know it has nothing to with my marriage or anyone else’s.
I know my successes and setbacks do not hinge on anyone but me. I am grateful for my friends’ support, but their success does not diminish me or reflect on me. I can be pleased for them because I love them.
I am always startled at how quickly some women draw the battle lines and toss down the gauntlet. It is as if they exist in perpetual game of Dungeons & Dragons, where one must be labelled friend or foe and the battle is always in progress. These women will pick on your job, opinions, clothes, weight, shoes, or zodiac sign. They can’t help themselves – envy and unhappiness drives them like drugs drive a junkie.
Darlings, so many women are catty because we let them get away with it. We don’t call women on their behaviour often enough. Sadly, catty mothers often raise catty daughters. If a good friend – and I have few who have taken a swipe at me — I let her know privately that if she does it again we will not be friends. Disagreeing fine, but cattiness is not. I don’t think having different opinion, even a harsh one, or making private observations is a problem.
Cattiness is distracting. It uses up creative energy. It holds women back and makes us small. Cattiness is undercutting and swiping at person. It’s bitchy and meant to diminish.
Cut catty women out of your life. Life is too short to deal with their nonsense. If the cat in your life is your boss, call in your chits from friends and start looking for new work. Cattiness kills your soul; don’t let it into your life. You should be able to glory in your friendships, not have them get your back up – like a cat.

Get Bethenny’s booty

The original “Skinny Girl”, Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York, now has her own workout DVD. And it is not bad at all. Bethenny and her personal trainer, celebrity instructor Kristin McGee, present a relaxed, but effective workout. Bethenny’s workout recipe is combination. There is a 40-minute hatha yoga workout that will tone, sculpt, stretch, and flex. She follows it with a basic stretch workout. Many women do not realize that working out with weights is what will help you lose weight, not cardio! You need both, but the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn!

There is even a quickie bonus booty work-out! I loved it. It was deceptively simple, but very effective. This would make great mother’s Day gift, if Mom is a fan of The Real Housewives of NYC or Bethenny. Or, get it for yourself. It is the perfect  get-in-shape for summer DVD.
Bethenny Frankel is a New York Times bestselling author of Naturally Thin and The Skinnygirl Dish. See the archives for our reviews.
Bethenny and KirstinA certified personal trainer, Pilates master, and yoga instructor, Kristin McGee has worked with numerous celebrity clients including Steve Martin, LeAnn Rimes, and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.
Available for pre-order now, Body by Bethenny will be sold exclusively at on May 4.