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Saturday, December 29, 2012

DivaDebbi's Best of 2012: The Hall of Fame






It's that time of year again...As usual, I have tried a ton of new products this year and whether I purchased them myself or received them to sample, I have done my best to always tell you the good, the bad and the ugly of their benefits and features.

I wanted to start off my Best of 2012 lists with products that I continue to love and use, and that I feel are peerless, having tried many of their competitors. I purchase them over and over for one reason: They work!

In no particular order, I am never without with links to all:
                              DivaDebbi's 2012 Hall of Fame Beauty Picks

1) La Peau Skincare, Day Cream-Gel, Night Cream-Gel and Eye Contour Cream ($235) I am proud to be La Peau's Brand Ambassador. I am steadfastly loyal to this miracle skincare trio from Switzerland.  These potent lightweight gels penetrate the skin, repairing damage while restoring firmness and elasticity.  From the first week that I tried it, back in October of 2011, I was hooked. Despite receiving dozens of offers from premium, organic and mass skincare brands to sample their complete skincare lines, I always turn them down. Nothing I tried before was more effective and I truly believe nothing after could be.

I am sticking...

2) Lumene Premium Beauty Anti-Wrinkle Serum ($32.99) I am crazy about this lightweight, delicious smelling, velvety serum from Finland. I use it twice a day before moisturizer and my face instantly lights up with a dewy glow. I use it with abandon (always repurchasing with my CVS Beauty Bucks.) This is how I imagine J.Lo probably runs through La Mer. I have tried many other serums, some as much as 5 times the cost of Lumene Premium Beauty Serum.

None better...

3) Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Gel Eyeliner ($22, though don't even consider using it without purchasing her eye liner brush made specifically for this product $25)

Simply the best. Yes, it takes a steady hand and a little finesse, but this deeply pigmented, smooth gel liner defines and lasts like no other.  You can dot it on, and blend it, learn to create a ultra thin line, or glam it up with a thick line, winged up at the corners for a more dramatic look.

I have strayed often and always return...

4) Laura Mercier's Lip Glace in Pink Tulle ($24) When it comes to lip gloss and everything else, I'm fairly picky.  I abhor sticky, overly perfumed glosses and I prefer them to be richly pigmented.  Over the years, I may have tried nearly every lip gloss manufactured. Pink Tulle, a natural rosy nude is always available on Laura Mercier's website.  I made the mistake of tracking it down as far as Japan on EBay, before realizing that just because a color is not offered at retail, doesn't mean  it won't be part of a brands larger offerings on their own website.

Lesson learned...

5) MAC's Lip Pencil in Soar ($15) Whether for lining or filling in the lips with a stain of color, MAC's Lip Pencils are in a class by themselves. Well priced, long lasting and available in a wide range of shades, Soar is the color of my natural lips, so used as a liner, it enhances them subtlety, without an obvious line, which can look harsh and dated.

Perfection...

6) Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butter This is the best $10 lipstick on the planet, in fact it's one of my faves at any cost.  Lip Butter is a perfect blend of a glossy balm and lipstick.  It's hydrating, smooth and comfortable.  I have them in several shades and it's the only lipstick I will used down to the nub.

A beauty and a bargain to boot...

7) John Frieda's Frizz Ease 3-Day Straight (9.99) This non-sticky spray, with a water like consistency protects hair from heat, while keeping hair silky and frizz free, even in high humidity for up to three days or until your next washing. Been there, tried that-

A miracle...

8) St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion with Natural Fruit AHA Complex (5.99) A few years ago, several manufacturers included Alpha Hydroxy Acid in their lotions. That single ingredient is the difference between smoother, younger looking skin and skin that is merely moisturized.  When St. Ives introduced Naturally Smooth, a citrus based product with AHA complex, I rejoiced and hoarded.  This non-greasy lightweight formula is a pleasure to use and keeps my skin silky smooth.

A winner...

So there you have it...Stay tuned for my 2012 Best of Beauty and 2012 Best of Skincare lists.

Thank you for you loyalty and kindness, wishing you a safe and Happy New Year.

xox,
DD

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DivaDebbi's Holiday Giveaway's: A gift of youthful beauty




For many of us, December is a very busy month socially, in a blink we've gone from 4th of July barbeques to Holiday Cocktail parties.  In the last month I have seen friends who looked refreshed and radiantly beautiful and some who looked overly botoxed and frighteningly filled.

How to you avoid the latter?  Below is an excerpt from a previous post I wrote about Botox with my point of view.  At that time, Courtney Dunavent, P.A. with the New York Group for Plastic Surgery generously offered my readers a 10% discount on their first appointment for any of her services. This time, to help you look natural and refreshed in the New Year, Courtney has agreed to offer DivaDebbi readers 15% off their first appointment! 

Read on:
 Last year over 1,000,000 people tried Botox for the first time.  Chances are, if done properly, most will be pleased with their results and thus repeat the procedure 3 or 4 times a year.  Botox, has more or less owned this burgeoning market for the last 20 years, with virtually no competition. As a result, prices have not come down, but do vary by practice and practitioner.  

Dysport, joined the frey about two years ago.  Some women like it because it tends to kick in faster and is a little less expensive.  Its chemical makeup differs from Botox, so it requires 3x more product and someone comfortable with their abacus to successfully convert the proper amount of units needed.  The inside poop?  Clients like it, some practioners...not as much.

What's the best way to find the right person to administer a muscle paralyzing toxin into your face?  Be your own detective...  If you have a friend who has the permanently surprised look of someone who just sat on a pinecone or is so frozen you cannot discern she is emoting, try to find out who they are using and stay clear.  

Conversely, if a good friend looks refreshed, a few years younger and has natural movement, ask them if they "know" of anyone to recommend for your maiden voyage...(mind you, you are about to find out just how good this friend really is).  She will either come clean with her own experience or at least tell you who she has "heard" does good needle.

In my opinion, Girls Night Out parties, dentist offices and day spas are environments that are better suited to wine, amalgam and steam facials. Plastic Surgeon and Dermatologist's offices are a much safer bet of a good result.

What should you look for?
  • A qualified, recommended Dr., Physician's Assistant or Nurse Practioner
  • An immaculate environment
  • Someone who takes the time to ask you about your goals and objectives while you look in a hand mirror
  • No surprises.  Ask approximately what the per unit cost of your Botox, Dysport  is and approximately what your visit will cost. 
  • A candid discussion about how much movement you wish to retain (there really are women who want to be "completely frozen").
  • Someone who discusses potential side effects and bruising candidly and asks if you are doing this in advance of an important event
  • Someone who prefers to do less until you see how you like your results and will gladly see you in a week or two, to evaluate if  more is needed.
Who would I recommend if  I knew someone???

Hands down Courtney Dunavent, Physician's Assistant to the Plastic Surgeon's at The N.Y. Group for Plastic Surgery in Tarrytown, N.Y.(Easily accessible, particularly for those in the tri-state area). Consultations with Courtney are always welcome, so even if you are just thinking about taking this step, you can come and be educated about what non-surgical options (including Restalyne, Sculptra or Ultherapy) may help you look as young as you feel.

Patients who mention they are DivaDebbi readers will also enjoy a 15% discount off their first appointment in 2013. (914-366-6139)

Do I really think everyone I know has taken the plunge???...

Ya.  I do. For better and for worse.  Choose better.

xox,
DD

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Get the Look: Kate Middleton


I frequently receive emails from my P.R. friends, with laborious details describing how A to Z list stars have achieve their Red Carpet coiffs.


When I received this one about Kate Middleton's stunning Holiday hair styles, with easy to achieve tips and results by Edward Tricomi, Co-owner of Warren Tricomi Salons,  I had to share this.

 Warren Tricomi Greenwich is where my own genius colorist Christopher Hornauer resides.  I am also crazy about their products.  I recently blogged about their new Super Hold Hair Spray (http://divadebbi.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-warren-tricomis-super-hold-hair.html)

J'Adore!!! I recently saw Christopher for color.  I told him they have achieved "Bump-It in a Can". Genius!

Check out Kate Middleton’s gorgeous holiday styles with tips on how to get the look from Edward Tricomi, Co-owner of Warren-Tricomi Salons.

Kate’s Updo:





“This look is Elegant, charming and surprisingly easy to achieve.”

· Begin by parting your hair where it would naturally fall.

· This look is started with a very basic French braid at the back of the neck. Be sure to braid very loosely, this will keep the look modern and effortless.

· Once your braid reaches the top of your back begin to twist it into a bun. The bun should be more oval in shape as opposed to round and should sit right at the base of your neck. Secure with hair pins.

Products used:

“Kate has mirror-like shine which makes her color look extremely rich. I would recommend using a hair glaze to really bring out the shine and richness in color.”


Kate’s Half Up, Half Down Style:




“Lady Kate kills it with this, taking a look that is sophisticated yet surprisingly simple to create. The off-center pin curls are unexpected, innovative and original.”

· Start by setting your hair with a curling iron in large sections until your entire head is curled. This will give it a soft bounce.

· Divide your hair into two sections from ear to ear across the back of your head.

· Brush the top section straight back (this look is achieved with no parting)

· Take hair from your temple and pull it away from your face, twirling it into a pin curl and securing it with pins at the crown of your head, repeat with the remaining side.

Including products used
“Use a blow dry lotion to provide humidity resistance, frizz-control and protect the hair from heat styling.”

Wishing Kate and Will's a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful royal heir...
xox,
DD

Monday, December 3, 2012

Update: Day 14 Review: Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightnening Serum



Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum
I promised to keep you updated on my progress with Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum on the freckle I sprouted while on "vacation" in Florida, (actually happily stranded during Hurricane Sandy.)  

Normally, I eschew sun bathing, but the weather was glorious, and by body was seriously craving some Vitamin D.  It felt delicious and I looked relaxed and healthy.  I did however bring home an unwanted souvenir; a freckle right in the middle of my forehead.

I am a huge fan of Murad products, and fortuitously;  my P.R. friends atMurad reached out and asked if I was interested in sampling Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum ($60).  Murad products lastforever  and I promise you, a little goes a long way.  

I'm so pleased that it is a clear lightweight gel.  It makes the application a snap. Here is my forehead on day one; pre-treatment:


Pre-Treament

Post-treatment 14 Days

I am happy with my progress.  Not only is the freckle fading, but everything else is looking lighter too. I have also been using it on the back of my hands and they look, well, spotless.

Stay tuned for the finale, two weeks from today...

xox,
DD

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick



Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lipstick$8.99
I always have a lipstick or three  stashed in every handbag, but the other day I was breaking in my new exquisite Holly Caldwell bag (available at Richards) and in keeping with it's minimalist spirit, I've been keeping things tightly edited and spare.

 

My husband and I went to an early showing of Skyfall, (entertaining, but could have been 20 minutes shorter,) which of course included popcorn.  As we were leaving the theatre, I went to reapply my lipstick...Quelle horreur, I came up empty.

Since we were then going out for lunch, I knew I had to pick something up pronto. There is a Targetin the same mall as the movies, I darted in for a quickie...Since it was Target, I thought I might end up with something from Pixie or Sonia Kushak, but the newly reformulated Revlon ColorStay Lipsticks, called "Ultimate Suede" caught my eye...there were 20 shades, many of which looked natural and quite appealing.

Created with shea butter and aloe, they promise, "instant moisture, all-day color and a soft suede finish".
Good enough.   Color 070, ( I would need a jeweler's loupe to read the color name,) is exactly the rosy nude shade I covet.  It is "lip size" and is designed on a flat angle, so I took the liberty of applying it blind, immediately.  

When I go to the car and looked in the mirror, (yes, I paid for it) I was pleased with the color. Good enough...

I did find it to be quite drying,  Ultimately, it acts more like a stain then a lipstick,  Later, I applied it again before a cocktail party and added some gloss over it.  My lips looked pretty and the color stayed put as promised, for a few hours.  

Would I buy it again?  Probably not. Will I stash it in a handbag with a lip gloss?  Definitely yes.

Your call...

xox,
DD

Friday, November 23, 2012

 

What a Dame...




I adore Dame Helen Mirren, don't you??? Not only is she and extraordinarily gifted actress,
but she always seems so comfortable in her own skin....

By no means a "classic beauty", her radiance and confidence always carry the day. Has she been tweaked at 68? No doubt, yes, but isn't this the way to do it? Nothing obvious, no lips the size of link sausages, or frighteningly frozen features.

A gorgeous lesson in aging gracefully.

xox,
DD

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Getting to know Lisa Hochstein: Real Housewife of Miami

Lisa Hochstein
Photo by Paul Cobo Photography

Before Sandy hit town, I had the opportunity to chat with the lovely, vivacious and intelligent Lisa Hochstein, the break-out star of the new season of Bravo's Real Housewives of Miami.


Watching the show, Lisa struck me as warm and outgoing and on a show that can get more than a little raucous, level headed and wise beyond her 30 years...

What you see, is what you get, and we hit it off immediately.

During our conversation, I mentioned to Lisa that I was heading down to South Beach in a few days. She more than graciously invited me to her Halloween party which was being hosted in their new Star Island home. This annual A-List invite is also a fundraiser for some of she and her husband, prominent Dr. Leonard Hochstein's favorite charities; The Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Susan B. Komen Foundation and The Humane Society.

Lisa believes if you are going to throw an amazing party, why not also have it benefit others? Over the last 5 years, she and "Lenny" aka "The Boob God" have raised and donated more than $250,000! (And believe me, if I could have juggled my plans and my flight quickly enough, I wouldn't have missed it for the world).

Here are the highlights of my interview with the lovely Lisa:

DD: You have an exotic beauty that I can't put my finger on. Where were you born and what is your heritage?

LH: (laughs) you are not the first one to say that. I was born in Toronto. My Mother is Jamaican and German and my Father is Canadian and Scottish.

DD: You strike me as a "Girl's Girl" and let's face it, there is a ton of drama, some of it very nasty on the Real Housewives of any franchise. What made you decide to join the cast?

LH: I thought it would be great fun and it is. It's no secret that HW's can be a natural platform for additional ventures. I am a fitness enthusiast and would love to be able to use my knowledge of exercise and diet to help other women. I also have a deep interest in skincare and beauty. I would also love to be able to launch my own line of products.

DD: What will be your first step towards achieving that?

LH: I have such a wonderful following on Twitter. Fans are always asking me for specifics about my lifestyle; what is my work out routine? What is my favorite night cream? What foundation do I use? etc... So I just launched my website Lisa Hochstein, so I can share my lifestyle and tips.

DD: I like how you manage to have fun on the show, but that you steer clear of the drama. If 'push came to shove', so to speak, with any of the ladies, could you hold your own?

LH: I am a Leo through and through. We are known for our charming, outgoing personalities, but if you crossed me or my husband, you would see the lion in me come out.

DD: You and Lenny obviously adore one another. I laughed at the episode when you went to his office and planted pictures of yourself all over the place! I would do exactly the same in your shoes including wallpaper the bathroom...Tell me how you met?

LH: (laughs), I guess you can say I was marking my turf, but why not? Lenny does see half naked beautiful women for a living! Women come from all over world to do breast augmentation and revisions with him, as well as many other procedures.

Lenny and I first met briefly in Las Vegas 5 years ago. When I was visiting friends in Miami, Lenny heard through mutual friends that I was going to be in town and asked them to reintroduce us. I didn't consider it a blind date, but ultimately, it was love at first sight for both of us. We married two years later.

DD: Was this his first marriage?

LH: Oh yes. Lenny was not the type to settle down...ever! His friends called me Lisa the Lion Tamer.

DD: Have you moved into your new house on Star Island yet? It is absolutely spectacular. Congratulations!

LH: Thank you! We are quite excited. Star Island is a special place and it was an excellent investment. We haven't moved in yet. We are doing some work in it. I'm excited because it will feel like "our" house. Our home now is the one Lenny lived in as a bachelor and it has a lot of masculine touches. I'm looking forward to working with our designer on the decor.

DD: You opened up on the show that you are having trouble conceiving. That was brave of you to be so forthcoming. I think you will make an amazing Mom. Have viewers been supportive?

LH: Oh, they have been incredible! Truly kind. It is such a good feeling to know that my fans are rooting for us.

DD: What's been the most surprising thing that has happened since doing the show?

LH: I never imagined that I would develop such close relationships with my cast mates, but I have. Also, I did not expect that fans would look up to me and ask for advice on so many topics. I like being able to help empower other women.

DD: Any regrets?

LH: Yes! Just one. In the opening credits I say that I was Lenny's "best creation".
People have interpreted that as meaning I have had head to toe plastic surgery.

I have had my breasts done and later revised by Lenny. When I was 18, I tweaked my nose. Neither of these things define me, but they did make me feel better about my appearance. I don't think women should feel ashamed about undergoing plastic surgery, but I'm sorry that I chose that as my tag line.

DD: Well then we will just have to look forward to hearing your new one next season! Thanks so much Lisa. It's been a total pleasure. Much good luck with all of your ventures.

Can't you just tell what a Doll she is? I hope you enjoyed reading my interview with Lisa Hochstein as much as I enjoyed writing it...

xox,
DD

Review: Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightnening Serum



Murad  Rapid Age Spot and Lightening Serum
$60
Regular DivaDebbi readers know that I am now in my second year of banning the sun.  I could no longer justify going through all the machinations of maintaining youthful skin, only to undo it each summer.

Recently, I was in South Beach just as Sandy was wreaking havoc on the Northeast.  Four days suddenly became 12 and the weather everyday was a cloudless 78 degrees without a trace of humidity. (I had to laugh... on the one day the mercury dipped  to 70, the local fashionistas were swaddled in cashmere and boots. In my white jeans, sleeveless silk top and nude patent ballet flats, I didn't need to hang a shingle on my back that said, "Visiting New Yorker".  I stuck out like a sore thumb.)

Net-net, I could not resist warming my bones and though I never wore sunscreen with lower than 20 SPF, there was still a price to pay...My forehead did sprout a freckle.  Uggghhh!!!
Untreated freckle Pre-Treatment
front and center


I make no bones about my love for Dr. Howard Murad products.  If you've got an ailment, he's developed a cure for it and best of all???  They work.

When I received and email from my  P.R. friends at Murad about Black Friday Deals and Cyber Monday Deals, ($25 off $100 worth of products and gift sets galore of popular potent treatments,) I asked if Murad had anything to lighten dark spots.  The answer immediately came back, "Yes'!  Would I like to sample Murad  Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightner?

Um...ya!!!

It arrived 3 days ago and I already see a difference!  I am going to post my progress in 10 day intervals.  I love that it is a clear, thin gel, and not a cream that will turn eerily brown, like all other products with hydroquinone have used.

I checked out the Sephora reviews and they are stellar. Here is some more product information:

Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightner

What it is:A concentrated serum that's clinically proven to rapidly lighten spots and even skintone.

What it is formulated to do:
This next-generation formula, developed by Dr. Howard Murad, combines the maximum levels of proprietary skin-lightening ingredients available without a prescription. This powerful complex includes hydroquinone, the gold standard in sun and age spot lightening, and an advanced skin lightening peptide, Hexapeptide-

These ingredients target, treat, and prevent existing dark spots, age spots, and freckles caused by daily environmental exposure.

What else you need to know:
This serum features glycolic acid, which exfoliates to remove dead skin cells and allows other active ingredients to penetrate more quickly to deliver faster results. This dermatologist-developed treatment provides rapid results for clearer, brighter, and more even-toned skin.

Research results:
Clinically proven to restore clarity and even skin tone by:
-Reducing the appearance of sun spots and age spots by 33% in 1 week*
- Helping prevent the development of future damage
88% of study participants saw improved skin tone in 2 weeks*
*Individual results will vary.

Don't forget to check back and watch my progress....

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

xox,
DD

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I feel pretty...Yay! Top Sets Winner Noveber 18th 2012



I feel pretty...




It's always nice to be recognized by the Polyvore Editorial team and included on their "Top Sets" page (November 18th 2012).  What a lovely honor!

I think it's interesting that my BFF Barbara Newman, and dear friend Q. of Quintessence Blog, both of whom have storied careers in advertising and publishing, picked this out of all the sets I post as something uniquely special.  Good eye ladies!

My Polvyore sets have now surpassed 1,000,000 views in just 7 months.  Creating them and being part of this amazing community of incredibly talented fashionistas has become a daily joy for me.

I know not all of you still quite understand my Polyvore obsession, but now that I have figured out how to sign them, you can see they are my own creations each day.

Polyvore is also a shopping tool, so if you see something you love, if I have selected it from Polyvores offerings, they can be purchased with direct links to the websites.  I also "clip" images from all of the Internet.  Those items cannot necessarily be purchased, they are simply images that inspire and please my eye.

My sets are always a reflection of my taste and how I style my clients.  I can honestly say I have never included anything I wouldn't want to personally own.  I have crafted a delicious fantasy closet.

 I hope you are enjoying them too...

xox,
DD

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tarte's LipSurgence: Paradise found



TarteLipSurgence
$24
When I was at Sephora the other day an spotted this unique Tarte lip tint, I literallygasped.  I knew before I swiped my wrist, much less my lips, that this was the rosy nude of my dreams.

Called LipSurgence, this ingenious self sharpening crayon is a tribrid of gloss, stain and balm.

I was literally giddy. Could it be that my dream color was available in my dream lip product?

Pretty much...


Hope, my dream shade is one of the LipSurgence Lip Tints that are matte, (but not drying).  LipSurgence is also available with "luster"  which adds a hint of shimmer, but the shimmer and matte shades are slightly different and my hope of Hope with shimmer was dashed, upon closer inspection.

Because Hope is a matte shade, I wear it with a little shimmering gloss and the result is rich, natural and elegant. In a pinch, it can easily be used as a lip liner too.

Infused with Vitamins A&E, peppermint oil, camuba wax and coconut extract,LipSurgence is hydrating, extraordinarily long wearing and has a hint of minty freshness and I am truly mad for it.

Can you fall in love with a lip tint?  Apparently so...

xox,
DD

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You Glow Girl...



EmerginC Scientific Organics
At-Home Facial Peel and Clarifying Kit
$90- 60 pads

I am a big believer in using at home acid peels that are gently formulated on a regular basis. The best ones are 2-step systems that also include a neutralizer.

If you want clearer, brighter skin, and diminished age spots and minimize fine lines, you must consider adding this to your skincare routine.  They are simple to use and take just a few minutes.  It's all gain and no pain with  a lot of instant gratification.

I've tried many peels. Some good, some bad.  Now I've tried one that's great...
I recently started using some EmerginC products.  I am currently using theirLavender Toner every night and it's one of the best toners I have ever used.
This purely botanical formula never makes my skin feel stripped or tight and it smells fabulous.

When their P.R. team asked me if I might be interested in trying EmerginC Scientific Organics At-Home Facial Peel and Clarifying Kit, naturally I leaped.

After thoroughly cleansing my skin with my Clarisonic Mia, I patted my skin dry and applied a peel pad to my face and neck.  The directions suggest leaving it on for 2-5 minutes...naturally I'm a 5 minute Girl.

I looked at the ingredients and determined that "willow bark" and "cypress" must be the Pepe Le Pew's of natural fruit acids. Everything else; lactic acid, aloe, green tea, tea tree and apple extracts probably were not responsible for me holding my breath for 300 seconds.

As soon as I use rinsed it off with cool water, applied the gentle clarifying pad to dry skin and slipped on some serum, all was forgiven.

Wowza!!!  My skin looked spectacular after just one use!

The At-Home Peel Kit is formulated for all skin types and can be used nightly. but I did feel a good amount of tingle and I might caution those with sensitive skin to not exceed two minutes and to work up to nightly use.

I'm excited and impressed.  Ding-ding-ding...We have a winner.

xox,
DD

Friday, October 12, 2012

The LBD: One of Life's Necessities

 

    J. Mendel LBD available at Richards of Greenwich

Close your eyes and picture a beautiful woman in a Little Black Dress – the uniform of New York.Chances are you conjure Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in the film of the Truman Capote’s classic, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

The iconic opening scene – featuring a pre-dawn, whippet-thin Audrey, dressed in perfectly cut Givenchy, long gloves, dark glasses and a swirling up-do – is seared into our consciousness.

Hepburn/Holly’s LBD is her armor, her art and her artifice.

So what is it about an LBD that demands space in every woman’s closet?
  • LBDs are great cheaters It can be as difficult to spot an inexpensive LBD as it is to detect a cubic zirconia at a glance. With haute couture runway being copied and reproduced for the H&Ms and Zaras of the world within weeks, all you need is your best accessories, good posture and a little attitude.

  • LBDs are versatile – You can easily segue from day to night, simply by swapping daytime pumps for nighttime Jimmy Choo platform sandals. Leave your tote behind and pull out your YSL clutch, add a pop of bling and you are good-to-go to an event or dinner.
  • LBDs are good travelers – An LBD looks as chic in L.A. or Monaco as it does in New York. If it’s knit or jersey, pack it well in tissue, and chances are you won’t even need to steam it on arrival.
  • LBDs are timeless – As an investment, a good LBD is as solid as a savings bond. I still wear a Dolce & Gabbana sleeveless wool turtleneck sheath dress I bought back in 2002. Why would I part with it? It looks as fabulous and stylish as the day I bought it. At this point, it costs pennies per wear.
  • LBDs are brainless It may be the one item in your closet you put on with complete confidence that requires no second-guessing. If you have ever lamented the ease with which men get dressed every day, well, the LBD should give you some comfort.
Is there a menswear equivalent to the Little Black Dress? Of course.

A classic navy blazer and gray trousers can gracefully take a man almost anywhere. Since it is a staple in most men’s wardrobes, it makes sense to buy the finest quality you can afford. Originally, most navy blazers were double-breasted, from their uniform origins. Most men prefer the ease of a single-breasted style, because to look their best, double-breasted jackets must remained buttoned.

Optimally, it’s best to have a light-weight wool version for warmer months and a heavier cashmere or flannel for the winter months. Silhouettes are so much slimmer and more refined in cut than they were years ago. You can appear several pounds thinner just by taking the leap. Merely altering your old blazer will not do the trick. The shoulder line will be broader and will not tailor well. It’s worth every penny to update your navy blazer if it is more than a few years old.

Personality can easily be injected with the choice of shirts and ties. Khakis or ivory linen trousers can replace gray wool or flannel in the spring and summer.

A more formal approach would be a perfectly cut dark suit in a midnight navy or charcoal gray with a crisp white shirt, pocket square and a brown slip-on shoe. No tie required. It’s elegant and irresistible and gives every man who wears it the touch of je ne sais quoi that women adore.

If a man were sipping coffee and gazing into a window at dawn, either coming to or from me, that’s exactly what I would imagine he would be wearing.

Holly, meet your match.

xox,
DD

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Heather Dubrow: A REAL Real Houswife

 

Heather Dubrow A REAL Housewife





I received an email from the a California P.R. firm asking me if I would be interested in interviewing (the beautiful, well mannered, perfectly groomed impeccably dressed) Heather Dubrow for my blog.

Um...Ya!!!

I kept thinking Heather walked onto the wrong set this season...she seemed much better suited to join the Beverly Hills cast, but I guess geography rules...She and husband renown Plastic Surgeon Dr. Terry Dubrow live in Orange County, so she joined the cast of the original Housewive's franchise.

What a breath of fresh air!!!

I had heard Heather grew up in Chappaqua, a leafy suburb in Westchester County N.Y., a stones throw from where I live and where the Clinton's currently reside. It made for a nice introduction and starting point for our 2 part interview:
DD:You are a New Yawker! We have something in common. I live very close to where you grew up in Chappaqua. Tell me something you loved about growing up in Westchester?

HD: I was born in the Bronx and then my family moved to Ossining, finally settling in Chappaqua when I was in 4th grade. I had a great childhood and a completely normal upbringing. I have very fond memories of growing up in Westchester.

DD: I know your are an actress. Did you go to California to pursue your career?

HD: I graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in musical theatre. My goal was to work on Broadway, but I had an opportunity to pursue a part in California and decided to take a chance on exploring it. Things worked out professionally and then I met Terry, so the West coast became home.

DD: You and Terry seem great together. Is this both of your first marriage?

HD: Yes! We both married a little later. We dated for several years and that got married when I was 30 and Terry was 40. It's been 16 years of happiness.

DD: And now you are married to a plastic surgeon. Every Girls dream...well certainly mine! ...Honey, can you pick up a quart of milk and bring home a few vials of Botox...

HD: Laughs..Believe me, I hear it all the time and yes, I know I'm lucky!

DD: Do you feel that women scrutinize you trying to figure out what procedures you have had done?

HD: Absolutely and it's a littke frustrating. All my features are my own. When I was younger, I had a very round face. As we age, our faces lose volume, so my cheek bones are more pronounced. I see a lot of scrutiny and speculation on blogs and Twitter about what I've had "done". Do I use Botox and fillers as needed? Yes.

DD: Is there a pressure to look perfect all the time?

HD: As an actress, I would be recognized sometimes. Now, everyone has a camera and video at their fingertips, I do feel more conscious of the fact that people are snapping photos and tweeting, so yes, I do pay a bit more attention to how I'm pulled together.

DD: You are so pretty, polished and thin! How do you manage it with 4 kids under 8?
HD: I try and eat really cleanly. Lots of lean protein and vegetables. I don't get to work out as much as I might want to between the kids busy schedules and filming the RHOC. I'm not great at pushing myself even though we have a home gym. I'm much better with the structure and push of working with a trainer.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I went a bit crazy! As an actress, there is a lot of pressure to stay thin. This was my one time to eat with abandon. I put on 60lbs! That wasn't fun to take off!

DD: Do you have any beauty finds you can share with us? Your makeup always looks flawless?

HD: For the show, we do our own makeup, but work with a fabulous makeup artist when we are attending events. She turned me on to a great inexpensive find; Wet and Wild lip liner 666. I just line my lips, fill them in and finish with a bit of gloss. It's a great universal shade! I'm also a fan of Dior's Black Out Lashes.

DD: I'm a Personal Shopper professionally and I appreciate your elegant taste...I certainly could NOT say that about many "Housewives"! Who are some of your favorite designers?

HD: I do love Chanel, but it has gotten really pricey. I wear a lot of Valentino, and I think their secondary line Valentino Red is terrific. I like to mix and match and feel perfectly comfortable pairing a Gucci pencil skirt with a Zara top.

I recently started working with an amazing stylist, Samara Nahabedian, who has great style. My own taste can be a little too understated, so it's fun working with Samara, who will nudge me to be a bit more adventurous and explore color. She also saves me a ton of time. I recently discovered a new designer at Bloomingdales, called Sandro. it fits my lifestyle to a tee and I bought quite a few pieces.

End of Part 1!

Tune in tomorrow for all the poop on the nitty gritty of being a "Real Housewife".

Heather is completely a Girls Girl and the real deal...don't you agree???

xox,
DD

Sunday, October 7, 2012

More Murad Magic



Pore & Line Minimizing Hydrator
1.7 oz. $49
I have to admit that of all my skin concerns, "pore size" is fortunately not one of them.

I can think of only a handful of people whose "large pores" ever breached my consciousness.   I'm sure to those afflicted they loom, as craters, whether real or imagined.

I mentioned I recently attended a cocktail reception with Dr. Howard Murad, where he quite enjoyably, spoke on his philosophies on maintaining youth and wellness.

Afterwards, we left with hefty swag bags, which is always brings me back to the glories of Christmas morning as a kid...was I happy??? Youbetcha.

One of the products was Murad's Pore & Line Minimizing Hydrator.  My immediate thought was, "Oh. What will I do with this?"

Since there would be no kind way to re-gift it to someone with large pores without potentially offending, I had nothing to lose by trying it... besides, I've never met a Murad product I didn't love.

Well lo and behold, I guess I do have pores that need minimizing, because it both tightens them and plumps fine lines.

People tell me I have beautiful skin and I am truly appreciative of their kindness, but this made my skin look absolutely flawless.  Even I couldn't believe my eyes.

So, in answer to my own question, "what will I do with this?", the answer is "use it."

Every single day...

xox,
DD

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dr. Howard Murad--A Man Full of (Healthy) Secrets




Two weeks ago, I attended a cocktail reception at the St. Regis Hotel for a select group of beauty bloggers to meet famed Dermatologist, Dr. Howard Murad. His highly potent, yet always gentle skin care products, address every conceivable skincare woe and I have yet to be disappointed. They always do just what they say they will...Hallelujah!

Dr. Murad is utterly charming, and it is evident that is very lucky patients are seen by someone who is paying attention to every fiber of their being---not just their dermis.

We were treated  to an overview of his philosophies on what we can best do to combat not just wrinkles, but the daily stresses that often consume our lives. Also, a few mini biology lessons on cellular aging.

Over the years, he has devised a set of daily aphormisms that he has shared with his patients like: "Be thrilled with who you are--the reality of who you are!"  "Have big flexible dreams with no limits, so your potential will have not limits!" And the seemingly simple but intelligent: "Surround yourself with happiness."

Judging by his enthusiam and robust appearance, I have no doubt he takes a spoonful of his own medicine each day. 

I am happy to share a synopsis of what we learned, gleaned from his book The Water Secret The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger.

(Naturally, we left with hefty goodie bags and I will tell you about two terrific products tomorrow...One of them is a Holy Grail!)

         What’s Really Stressing You Out and Tips from Dr. Murad

Stress can damage your health at the cellular level, Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, has determined through clinical research and found that managing stress is a critical part of an Inclusive approach to optimizing health as it promotes and protects cellular integrity.  In his book The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger (Wiley, September 2010), Dr. Murad explains how Emotional Self-Care is key to mental and physical well-being.  Take a look at several factors that can stress you out and some tips on how to manage the stress!

What is Stress?
Stress is typically felt by most people who experience it by irritability, heart racing, and their face feels hot, headaches or upset stomach, an impending feeling of doom and even the smallest factors can irritate most.  Studies show that when subjected to constant stress, humans can develop certain life-threatening afflictions, including heart attacks and strokes.

What is Cultural Stress?
Studies have shown that people who live in “blue zones,” places where people live long, lean lives into their 90’s, all have a common dominator – a low-stress lifestyle.  Some cultural stressors include work, supervisors, children, tardiness, technostress, and constant e-mail.  Dr. Murad discovered throughout his studies of more than 50,000 patients, that using the Water Secret to create healthy, hydrated cells, helps the body fight aging and disease and more importantly, the ruinous effects of Cultural Stress.

Health Impacts from Stress
Studies show that stress releases neuropathies directly damage cellular membranes.  It causes our cells and connective tissue to break down, which in turn prevents our heart, lungs, brain, and other organs from functioning at optimal levels – all of which become apparent when you look at the skin.  The best way to keep stress at bay is to learn how to manage it so it affects you less.

Tips to Manage Stress and Cultural Stress:

  1. Get Connected:  Get involved in community events, exercise classes, professional groups or associations, book clubs, potluck dinner nights with your friends, charity events at your children’s schools or volunteer at a nearby nonprofit or take a class at a local community college. 

  1. Disconnect: There’s an odd duality to being attached to machines that allow us to connect with others around the world in an instant. In a nutshell put down your phones!  Take time at least twice a week to not check your phone or email. It’s a healthy mental break.   

  1. Start Your Day Off Right:  Deficiencies in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium stress out your body and trigger and increase in cortisol levels, not to mention food cravings.  Many people skip breakfast and can easily find themselves lacking these critical nutrients and in turn rely on caffeine to stay alert and productive throughout the day.  Try eating a handful of berries (vitamin C), six to eight ounces of low-fat yogurt (calcium and magnesium), and a slice of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter.  Whole grains are loaded with B vitamins, while peanut butter contains fatty acids that can decrease the production of stress hormones.  Peanut butter will also keep you satisfied longer. 

  1. Eat “Brain Food”:  About two-thirds of our brains are composed of fat, and the protective sheath around communicating neurons is 70 percent fat.  In essence, we need fat to think and to maintain healthy brain function, as well as normal growth and development. The omega-3 fats in salmon (often called “brain food”) as well as other cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and olives have numerous proven health benefits, including those that protect your heart.  It is also important to limit your intake of processed foods! 

  1. Exercise:  Exercising regularly nourishes the skin with oxygen while sweating flushes out toxins. It will also improve digestion and increase one’s metabolism and endocrine function so that the entire body is functioning at an optimal level.

According to Dr. Murad, “Healthy skin is a reflection of overall wellness.”  When the body is at optimal health, the skin will follow suit. Through a three-pillar approach, Dr. Murad’s Inclusive Health philosophy focuses on internal, external and emotional elements.  Help regulate stress by following the Inclusive Health philosophy!

xox,
DD

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tips for a Healthy Hoo Hoo...(Yup, you read that right)


Healthy Hoo Hoo Cleanser
$12.99


When I started writing DivaDebbi back in 2008, I wrote a blog I named The Hoo Ha Spa, after reading about a N.Y Times article about an N.Y.C. Dr. who was essentially opening up a spa for the vagina. It surprised and amused me then and still does.

Everyday I receive all kinds of pitches to try all kinds of products.  As you know, I much prefer to only write about products I have tried myself.  When I first received this email, from Healthy Hoo Hoo, my initial reaction was to laugh, remembering my original blog, similarly named.  Then I read about Healthy Hoo Hoo and realized that founder Stacy Lyon was actually cleverly filling a niche. To my own surprise, I asked to sample it!

Here is a bit more about her products and Stacy's sensible tips for maintaining a healthy hoo hoo:


For Stacy Lyon, vaginal hygiene is extremely important and something that should    be paid very close attention to, which is why she created her paraben-free feminine hygienic line, Healthy Hoo Hoo. Free of harsh chemicals and fragrances, healthy hoo hoo’s high standards gave rise to a blend of botanical extracts and ingredients that are pH balanced and provide just the right amount of cleansing with just the right amount of moisturizing.

Stacy’s tips, paired with the use of her Healthy Hoo Hoo foaming cleanser ($13.99), feminine wash ($12.99), and feminine wipes ($4.79 perfect to pack in a gym bag) , will help avoid any unwanted irritation:
  • The vulva and vagina should be cleaned with bland bar soap once a day. Perhaps a second swipe if a late day encounter comes about.
  • Avoid liquid body wash as these are often irritating to the vulvar area leading to burning or itching. The area does not need to be cleaned after every trip to the bathroom. Over-cleaning actually creates irritation in some women. Avoid all sprays, lotions and deodorants in this area. 
  • Avoid baby wipes, feminine hygiene wipes and Cottonelle wipes. These are very irritating to the skin in the vaginal area especially in fair-skinned women. Do not use pads and party-liners on a regular basis to “feel fresh”. Constant use causes skin irritation and prevents the skin from breathing in the area.
  • Always wipe from front to back! Mothers please teach your daughters this during potty training. Wiping wrong drags butt bacteria forward and it can get in the wrong spot creating irritation and infection.
  • Do not use Vaseline, rubbing alcohol or Neosporin on the skin in the area. These tend to break down the skin. Choose water-based lubricants or silicone-based lubricants. You can use products from your pantry like vegetable oil or olive oil (extra virgin!), which work just as well. 
Healthy Hoo Hoo was designed with the help of a formulation chemist, not to cure, but to simply allow a women’s body to naturally hit the “reset” button. By avoiding over-washing and harsh cleansers, women who have been using healthy hoohoo are reporting improved moisture, comfort and odor conditions.

I was sent the feminine wash and though I have nothing to compare it too, I much prefer it to bar soap and I will absolutely purchase this clean, gentle product on my own.

Healthy Hoo Hoo is available on their website online atDrugstore.com and at fine body care boutiques and spas.

Whoo Hoo for our Hoo Hoo's...

xox,
DD