Screen glamour girl Jane Russell had a kind of direct and knowing sexiness that never came off brassy or hard; never crimped her beauty and abundant sensuality. I first saw her in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, where her warm camaraderie with fellow glitterball Marilyn Monroe made the film the ultimate glamour girl buddy movie. Do see it, if only to watch the two sing and dance “Two Little Girls from Little Rock.” She and Marilyn became close friends as a result of that movie.
Like many other true beauties, Jane Russell was attracted to the simple pleasures that love, marriage and family brought. “I was born to be married. A family life helps everything, and also my belief in Jesus,” she said. She passed away on Monday at age 89. RIP
Ten-Foot Tall Gold Servers Will Always Make For A Memorable Event
Here Ye, Here Ye, Southern California: This Saturday at 2 pm in beautiful Palos Verdes I will be giving a talk on dinner party protocol, along with some history and rationale related to its various rituals. This, along with ways to socially architect your most successful gathering ever.
I appear after Greg Simon from Pottery Barn, who will be discussing Easter Dining & Entertaining at 12:30 pm, and before Michael George who, at 2:30 pm will be informing on Fanciful Napkin Designs.
We are part of this year’s Designs for Dining, an annual benefit for the St. Francis Scholarship Program that features speakers, exhibits and displays related to entertaining & table designs. Tickets to the event are $30 at the door/ $25 in advance.
Discover more details here. Link: http://www.stfrancispv.org/designsfordining.html
“The final aim of all love intrigues, be they comic or tragic, is really of more importance than all other ends in human life. What it all turns upon is nothing less than the composition of the next generation.”
–Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, 1819
On this day of celebrating love and fertility, a toast to your ancestors who, if it had not been for their long line of success in one or both of these areas, would have not been your ancestors. And to continue your success in these areas, bow to the day’s pull of love–the romantic, ethos, eros or any other of its fine varieties–with a look back through your personal Valentine’s Day catalogue to tease out your best, most authentic mates and moments: those things that moved you, made you feel the most romance, the greatest connection, the most alive.
Chances are, those February 14th gifts, words or gestures that made you feel skippy and warm in your fourth-grade homeroom have much in common with those that still do it today.
I spoke with smart generational trend-watchers DemoDirt on how economic and social factors are forcing a fashion-industry focus on mature consumers–and the models they love.
Current Fashion Celebrates Boomers and Beyond.From Oprah’s recent supermodel summit featuring Boomer beauties Cheryl Tiegs, Beverly Johnson, Christie Brinkley, and others to mod icon Veruschka’s turn on the runway at London Fashion Week, it seems as if the fashion industry is broadening its age range…Read the full article here
Today is the Chinese New Year, the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit. South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam are also celebrating the New Year, though in Vietnam ’tis the Year of the Cat. A major holiday for many of our fellow Earthlings, what does this day mean for you? A second chance.
If you have punted some or all of that fresh resolution roster you were so earnest about on January 1, then take advantage of this chance for a redo. This time, though, scale back some of those bigger aspirations you laid out for yourself. Instead, add some fun, not-so-Herculean spots.
● Instead of working out 5 times a week…set out to walk/jog for 3 and throw some crunches in on the side
● Instead of implementing a totally new personal style…start collecting images (mentally or from magazines) of those styles that catch your eye and tuck them in a folder to review every once in a while, thinking about the little ways you can bring the big themes (more elegant, more grown up, more masculine, more fun, you name it) to your everyday look
● Instead of hitting the nail salon each week without fail…go when you can and in between visits, make sure you self groom your nails nicely. Read this post on shortcuts to presentable hands, or read the chapter on at-home nail care in Practical Glamour
● Instead of upgrading your entire wardrobe…make sure you just throw out at least 10 items that you don’t really like or use–and refuse to bring home anything else that is not of boss quality
● Instead of getting a pro facial at a salon once a month…go when you can and twice a month deep-clean and condition your complexion at home. Chapter 1 of Practical Glamour has a step by step at-home facial.
● Instead of becoming fluent in another language…set out to fluently deliver 5 of the top-used phrases you’d need (“My name is…” “I am from…” “I work as a …” and so forth)
You get the idea. Happy New-New Year. Go forth and be glamorous!
‘Tis the season of the holiday tip. I spoke with the Murrysville Star about guidelines for end-of-the-year gratuity giving to your favorite facialist, delivery person, doorman, personal trainer and so forth, including the usefulness of cash, giving compliments instead of a tip (a big Don’t) and how to avoid naked money.
Who do you want to be in 2011? Architect your most attractive and authentic self for the new year and beyond. I will be at Pages bookstore discussing and signing copies of my book, “Practical Glamour,” a DIY-oriented grooming, style and manner guide called “A handy, relatable resource for women everywhere who want to look and feel their best.” 7 pm.
For most of us, the poetry has gone out of this weather. No more “Ah, it’s so nice to sleep to the sound of rain beating on the roof” or “Let’s go frolick in the snow!”
If you’re used to seeing a lot of our pal the sun–or leaving the house for that matter–you may need a lift in the form of that beautiful illusion called a tan. This week I have been traipsing around with more bounce because of my warm cocoa shade of skin, brought on by repeated applications of Tan Towels (“Look Good Naked”).
These were recommended to me after my favorite health-food store bottle tan disappeared from Earth. Tan towels in general have some benefits over the bottle version: the application is super fast and unmessy, and the results are quick (a couple of hours) and natural-looking.
Accurate results seen here after 2-3 applications. I use the half body size for fair to medium skin tones, though they have a version for medium to dark tones. Approximately $20 for 10 towels.
There. A tan, white teeth and big hair. We’ll get through this just fine.
I spoke about the “Etiquette of Regifting” on Clear Channel’s NewsTalk 1530 KFBK last week. Some notes:
Don’t give a regift to those who are close. Reason: “It’s the thought that counts.” Literally. Special occasion gifts from intimates–boyfriend, wife, longtime friends and close family members and so forth–come with the expectation that a) you are deeply familiar with their likes, dislikes, habits, desires, and b) your gift will reflect this intimacy.
A regift says simply: “Hi. I know you really well, but don’t really care.” In this case, no gift is better than a regift.
Do regift, but only if… You can regift those who are not close, such as a coworker, neighbor or other acquaintance provided the regift meets the following two conditions:
It must be something the receiver a) can use, and b) will enjoy. Otherwise you’re just pawning off your unwanted stuff, which is neither elegant nor jolly. No dusty bottle of Tequila to the guy who hasn’t touched a drop since the mid-80’s, framed Thomas Kinkade print to the thoughtful art collector, or chocolate truffles to the gal who’s wrestling with weight reduction.
You must eradicate any signs of a regift. This means no Scotch tape stuck to the box along with tiny remnants of the original giver’s plaid paper. No faded graphics on the box, frayed openings or worn-away edges. Again, here no gift is better than a regift.
If your regift meets these conditions, but the receiver still suspects that something is amiss with your gift, don’t fudge or be coy. Tell them the truth, along with the reason(s) why you thought they, in particular, would like the item.
A final word on regifting: If in doubt, don’t do it.
“’We look at a person and immediately a certain impression of his character forms itself in us. A glance, a few spoken words are sufficient to tell us a story about a highly complex matter. We know that such impressions form with remarkable rapidity and with great ease.’ (Solomon Asch, 1946)
Asch’s findings highlight the essence of first impressions: they are typically composed on the fly, created from a quickie computation of your most observable attributes.”
The kind folks at Microtank, the think tank for microbusiness, asked me to contribute to their weekly column. I chose the always intriguing and overlooking topic of “people perception.” Given the timing–the holidays and new year are soon upon us–it serves as a timely recap of the ways that we mentally suss each other up.
I think you’ll like it. Read the full text here. (Link: http://www.pressreleasesonline.net/2010/12/your-essential-impression.html)
Microtank is part of Gnosis Arts, a firm that does Internet PR.
“After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.”
–Alfred Edward Perlman
What are those things in your life that will reach their tenth year, this year, and need to be thrown away and started “all over”? Hint: The first things that come to mind are typically the most on-target.
Luckily, those in the realm of your presentation are the easiest, most flexible and fun to change. Hair. Body. Skin. Style. Wardrobe. Manner. Since we often categorize our major life looks, or what I call our Personal Style Eras, by decades, start to think about how you want to visually remember You, Circa This Year.
As I say often, unless someone else is selecting your clothes, then dressing and grooming you each morning, this is an area you have absolute, 100% control over. You alone get to define what you look like.
Don’t let your look happen to you. For the coming year: Assess, Reinvent, Rejuvenate.
This is a fun process that you can kickstart easily. Begin to think about how you would love to look—don’t limit yourself. Let your mind roam to its most outlandish corners. Cling to these images. Let them take hold in your mind and form a new vision of you.
Once formed, start bringing this vision to life, piece by piece. Start with the areas that are easiest for you to evolve, it will make the more challenging, or bigger areas, less so.
Or rather, in the Japanese weekly paper LALALA, where affiliate JPy Magazine’s “Beauty Paparazzi” asked me some cute questions about favorite accessories (sunglasses, bag, book), places in Los Angeles (Pho Show & Taka Hair Salon) and important people (Ayn Rand, Bette Davis and Mozart).
Much gratitude is felt today on Veterans Day for all of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, and the endless freedoms they make possible.
Statue of Deborah Samson, Revolutionary War Soldier
An early combat veteran of note is Deborah Samson, who fought in the Revolutionary War. Disguised as a man, Ms. Samson enlisted in and fought beside the men of the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment as Robert Shurtleff.
Deborah was an avid reader who was greatly interested in politics and the War, and her very tall-for-its-day 5’8″ frame was a remarkably sturdy one due to years of hard farm work. She was skilled in combat, and was twice wounded but tended to her own wounds. Though accounts vary of how her true identity was discovered, it was and in 1783 she was discharged honorably.
After the war Deborah lectured on her military experiences. Denied a military pension due to her sex, in 1804 her friend Paul Revere intervened successfully on her behalf, requesting that Congress grant her one.
The General Court of Massachusetts verified her service and wrote that she “exhibited an extraordinary instance of female heroism by discharging the duties of a faithful gallant soldier, and at the same time preserving the virtue and chastity of her sex, unsuspected and unblemished.” (Source: National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Massachusetts Chapter)
Veteran Deborah Samson (often misspelled as “Sampson”) is the Official Heroine of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in the town of Sharon she is memorialized with several historical markers, such as the Deborah Samson Statue in front of the public library (seen here).
I will be joining “Social Chats” on Monday, November 1 from 1-2 PM EST to speak with the AWC-SF (Association for Women in Communications–South Florida) about the importance of a Personal Style Brand–and how to find or refine yours. “Social Chats” is hosted by the glamorous Tonya Scholz and Dana Lawrence.
Did you know the Association for Women in Communications (AWC), formerly known as Women in Communications, is a hundred-year-old organization? It began in 1909 when one of seven female students, who had entered the college’s new journalism program at the University of Washington, came up with the idea of a women’s journalism society. The current 3,000+ members of the organization include women from all corners of the communications world.
Laura Yoder at Style 24|7 features some swell closet organization tips excerpted from my book Practical Glamour. Since I consider a gal’s (or guy’s) closet to be their cockpit of personal glamour and style, included in it are the following strategies:
Determine (and actively use) your Personal Style Brand.
Perform a ruthless closet overhaul every few months “with the eye of a hawk and an attitude of a bitchy personal shopper.”
The order of your clothes must mirror your everyday dressing decisions.
Make sure all of your wardrobe items are visible.
Don’t overlook basic closet maintenance.
Your Closet As Your Glamour Cockpit
Along with these are the enduring principles of closeting, those values to keep tucked in your mind as you create, arrange and maintain your cockpit–that hub for expressing your most authentic and attractive self.
Getting rid of lesser items is necessary to make room for greater, more glamorous ones.
Crappy clothes only create crappy ensembles. Beautiful clothes, on the other hand, create beautiful ones.
Lousy, ill-fitting and unflattering clothes have no right to be loitering about in your closet.
Read the the entire excerpt here at Style 24|7 . Link: http://www.24-7style.com/category_s/21.htm
“Yes, I know fashions change and everyone attempts to look up-to-date but the movie-star styles of the Twenties, Thirties, Forties and Fifties changed radically. What didn’t change, however, was their individual style; they were all one-offs.”
–Joan Collins, quoted in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, on the lack of individual style in Hollywood today.
Did you know Miss Collins made her London stage debut at age 9 in A Doll’s House and became a student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at age 16?
Born in 1933, this enduring glitterball–and clearly smart cookie–was a much buzzed-about beauty in her native Britain before coming to Hollywood in the 1950’s, well before her fur and diamond-studded role as Alexis Carrington in Dynasty.
Amongst the many things that Sophie Uliano does–author/speaker, environmental expert, chef, yoga instructor–is teach others how to make simple, pure and oh-so-practical beauty products. I had the pleasure of meeting her briefly at her event last night at the chic beauty boutique Evolue in Los Angeles, where she showed everyone how to make her Vitamin C serum.
So simple, so effective and resourceful was this particular recipe that I had to pass it along. If you’ve purchased Vitamin C serums in the past–you will be pleased to know that this version, packed with potency, comes to 9¢ (yes, nine cents) per bottle.
Dissolve the L-ascorbic acid in the water in a small measuring cup. When it has fully dissolved, mix in the glycerin. Pour into a glass bottle.
A few pointers:
Ms. Uliano pointed out that there is good vegetable glycerin and the less so. Get yours at a quality health food store and don’t scrimp. The bottle she had on hand cost approximately $9, and should last a year.
L-ascorbic acid, aka Vitamin C, can be readily found at health food stores. For the demonstration Sophie, used a 16 oz container of Vitamin C crystals (approximately $16).
Make small batches at a time, enough to last a month, which is the shelf life of the serum.
Use a small and clean amber bottle with a dropper to store your batch of Vitamin C serum in the refrigerator. (I like to keep refrigerated beauty products separated from food products.)
Apply with clean hands to bare, cleansed skin in the morning and evening.
Ms. Uliano notes that if the serum becomes discolored and yellowish, get rid of it as this means that it has become oxidized.
Ms. Uliano’s new book, where this and other glamorous and pure beauty recipes can be found and concocted to replace the chemical-laden and costly ones that we often reach for out of habit, is Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive and More Beautiful Products.
She has also authored the books Gorgeously Green, 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life and The Gorgeously Green Diet.
A scrunchie is a hideous thing indeed; yet, like many other hideous things, the scrunchie is both easy to acquire and highly useful (sometimes vital, such as during face-washing or jogging). Let it be known, however, that there are emerging hair fasteners that rival the ease of the scrunchie, surpass it’s ability to manage your hair, and look civilized.
This new class of hair fasteners appear to be made of highly bendable metal and can utterly lock in a massive updo or just a section of hair, barrette-style, with a few moves of the hand. These fasteners are sized based on the mass of hair to be dealt with. (Jumbo-haired women looking to secure buns should get the largest size available.)
I purchased a few of these (this particular brand was called Flexi-8) at a mobbed booth at a street fair in South Florida. Verdict: Incredibly useful for holding in hair (particularly if you have a lot of it), very durable, and can be found in several fairly elegant, low-key designs. Under $20.
Frank Ryan was an accomplished surgeon and good man. He had a distinct air of decency and authenticity about him; that is probably what many will remember about him. I didn’t know him well or see him often, but was always a bit happier when I did. Smart, serious and with an unmistakable warmth and elegance–this, you don’t come across all the time in Los Angeles. (When you do, you don’t forget the person.) His sudden death–and at a young age–is a reminder that such a thing can strike out at any moment, even when driving along PCH on a sunny August day. RIP, A True Gentleman.