Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoTHE VAGABOND SONG

There is something in the autumn that is native to  my blood

Touch of manner, hint of  mood,

And my heart is like a rhyme

With the  yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time

I am so excited to be  hosting Fashion Flash  in the fall.  I  love the sense of  renewal  that comes  in the autumn  and our  bloggers feel the same:

* There  is a chill in the air.  Josephine of Chic  At Any Age wants us to look chic and we stay warm  as she offers  great advice on choosing  the best new winter coat.

* Now that fall has officially arrived, Cindy of Prime Beauty  shares her list of her top ten fall lips and tips.

* Jodell of Black Cat Plus is excited to  see animal prints, ethnic patterns and geometric prints among  the trends plus size women will see in the Fall

* Fun vests are one of the biggest trends of the fall. Pam of Over Fifty, Feeling 40  explains  how and why they help us transition to cooler weather.

* Falling leaves are beautiful but falling  hair is not.  Positive Living Advocate Barbara Hannah Grufferman of Best of Everything After Fifty wants  women to know that its quite common to lose some hair  as we get older.  Not to worry!  She has some great tips on why it can happen and what we can do about it.

* Fall is the perfect time  to exercise outdoors.  Try adding  this easy strength training  autumn  workout designed by Mirabai of Moving Free with Mirabai.

* Fall is the start of soup weather  and Melanie of Society Wellness  has some of the best soup recipes  you will find online.   She even provides instructions so that  you  can modify  her recipes to  make them vegan,  gluten-free or increase protein.  My newest favorite is  vegan potato kale.  Just thinking about  it  makes my mouth water.

* Its fall  and to Kari of  Fab Over Forty that means sweater weather.  Today she shares  her five favorite  sweaters to wear when  leaves  start to  change colors.

* A beautiful fall setting can be inspiring in so  many ways.  Marylou of Second Lives Club shares  how one writer has created  an autumnal  environment that illuminates her work.

* Fall is definately time to try something  new and Diva Debbi shares a new  lash system that will produce  the fullest, fattest, lashes everyday… guaranteed.

* Jackie of Aging Backwards sniffs around to discover the benefits of fall inspired  aromatherapy.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Month

Skin Care  during Cancer TreatmentSeptember is National Ovarian Cancer Month– a disease that affects 22,000  women annually  in the US. At No-Nonsense Beauty Blog we get frequent skin care questions from women with  different types of cancers on  dealing with skin problems with chemotherapy and radiation treatments. .

Life  saving chemotherapy  can  dehydrate the skin because  this category of medication shuts down  both oil and sweat gland activity.  This sudden and severe loss of moisture  produces intense dry areas, itching,redness, sensitivity and inflammation.  Nails   are also  hit hard with destruction of the cuticle and even the loss of the nail itself.  Radiation can be equally damaging. The intense heat can produce a painful sunburn, peeling and blistering.  Both chemo and rdiation can leave the skin especially vulnerable to infection.

When Cancer Becomes Personal

In the past  few years, four close friends have been dealing with advanced cancer.  I saw first hand the impact of treatment on their skin, but  did not  know  how to help.   Flowers, spy novels and tubs of Haagan Daz   just went only so far to show that I cared.   When I discovered Skin in Treatment  line of  products, I finally  had something valuable to offer my friends.

Introducing Skin in Treatment

Merilyn Konnerth had no risk of breast cancer, nor did she have a family history, but at  age  52 she was shocked to hear a diagnosis of breast cancer.  Within a week, she was dealing with the side effects of  multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. When  she could not find  products to relieve the discomfort, she joined forces with her Dad who is a pharmacist.  Together they developed  cleansers and  moisturizers that  dealt with the dryness that did not contain  ingredients  which  might add to the  problems.

Her products have a rare integrity. Rather than just an empty marketing concept, Skin in Treatment was developed  at the fronlines of a cancer journey.  Because  the skin  becomes hyper sensitive, Skin in Treatment products do not include irritating  ingredients like  glycolic acid, alcohol, fragrances,  grapefruit extract, parabans, mint, salicylic acid, petroleum  by-products and phthalates.  It even excludes soy  which  may be a problem with estrogen based  cancers. In their place,  Skin in Treatment products are packed with natural oils like Argan oil, oat proteins, and shea butter.  Many contain murumuru oil   which has both hydrating and anti-microbial properties.

Martha Stewart and Skin in Treatment

Skin in Treatment is available  on Etsy and is now a finalist in the Martha Stewart Made in America Contest.  This  event  supports local artisans  and homemade products.   There are 25  categories that include textiles, paper crafts, toys,baked  goods and condiments.  Merilyn is a finalist  in the beauty category  and  you can  vote for her  to support  this unique and  very needed line of skin care.


Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Cindy of Prime Beauty is hosting Fashion Flash.  This  all beauty site is an extraordinary resource for the best of the best in every beauty category.  I always check out this site for new  products you won’t see anywhere else. She even has has a  button for free samples!

Fashion FLash Book Review: Brunette AmbitionFashion Flash Book Review:  Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

I’m usually not a big fan of celebrity lifestyle books.  Its hard to read a  book by a tall, blonde glamazon offering style tips that only work if you have 4% body fat.  Usually  they credit their flawless complexion to good genes and  gallons of water.  The secret  to  perfect body?  A combination of  a brutal exercise routinue  and a claim  that  they  can  eat anything and never gain weight. Seriously.

I  aproached Brunette Ambition cautiously.  I’m a  major Glee fan and  I love the mix of real life dynamics,  great  music and insanely talented  performers.   I really didn’t want to read  another self-serving book  that capitalized on  fame. Not to worry.  Brunette Ambition is an honest, genuinely helpful and beautifully produced book.

Lea Michele is not your standard star.  She is a petite, dark haired beauty with natural  features.   Despite astonishing talent, she is open about her vulnerabilities, her career and the hard  work that  is behind her appearance. For example she describes  her disciplined  low carb, nutrition packed  meal plan  and her daily  yet realistic  exercise program.  Her real time fashion advice is rare and valuable information for petite frames.

At 25, she  has a maturity way beyond her years.  She clearly wanted a book to be a genuine reflection of her core beliefs and values.  She has set very high standards for herself and she follows through in all areas of her life. For example  her menus and  recipes are easy, affordable and delicious.  I am  trying to eat  more protein-packed beans and her recipe for lentil burgers  topped with  avocodo and  lentil soup topped with  melted cheese  are so good I’ve added them to my regular menu rotation.

My favorite part is probably the extensive and unique hair and  make-up section.  Rather than random, generalized advice or  blatant pitch for  products, Brunette Ambition provides detailed instruction for five different looks.   From a date night  to a business meeting to red carpet glamour, she provides easy to follow instructions.  On behalf of all dark eyed, dark haired women, I have to say  thanks!  This book is a keeper.


Fashion Week– A Backstage Tour

Fashion WeekI love the  intensity and glamour of runway  fashion shows, but my favorite part is the drama and style behind the scenes.  This year I  was invited to cover the hair and make-up prep of the Venaxiana Show during Fashion Week.

For the  9 pm show at Lincoln Center, the call time was 6pm– and every minute of the three hour prep was needed. The area behind the actual runway was divided into two  main spaces– one for the  designs to be shown on the  runway and the other for hair and  make-up.

Fashion Week -- HairWhen I walked in, the models were already perched on  stools absorbed in their cell phones.  The stylists  had spent hours practicing the asymmetrical updo by Philip Pelusi of Tela.  Their fingers  flew as they texturized the hair with a crimping iron  for the soft chignon  that was designed to be both sophisticated  yet approachable.

Fashion week-- make-upOn the other side of the room, the make-up artists  followed the look created by Dani Fonseca, key artist for the Alcone company who sponsored the  make-up.  To compliment the hair and gowns, she created a look she described  as ” part Midsummer’s Night Dream, part rock and  roll.  Looking at the pale glittery foundation, eyes enhanced  by a deep blue  liner on lower lids and a few individual false lashes, I knew she  had totally nailed it.

At each makeup station there  was  a sketch of the finished look and a truely impressive  arsenal of  brushes.   I picked up  a few  make-up  tips on applying foundation (  use a brush)  and eye lash  appliction ( less is more).

Fashion week-- gownsWith hair and make-up almost  finished , I decided to check out  the dressing area.  The gowns were hung on rolling racks and each had  a bag of shoes and tips for  the best  fit.  Each model  had  a designated dresser to make  the quick changes needed for the   fashion packed show.  Nothing was left remotely to chance. The prop table  was  equipped with everything to  fix  anything that could  go  wrong in a dress.  Small boxes were  individually filled with items like safety pins, double sided tape, vaseline,  lint roller, needle and thread and extra  pantie hose.

Under the lights and music, the show seemed to flow effortlessly.  The tired  but  very happy backstage team watched the product of their labors  with well deserved pride. Everyone I had  talked to   was passionate about their work and it showed in the final product– a blend of skill, creativity and precision.

One  final  tip:   Phillip Pelusi who created the  runway hair style  sent me detailed instructions to replicate the  totally flattering  updo.  I will post it in time for  holiday parties.


Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Mirabai of Moving Free with Mirabai is  hosting Fashion Flash!  She is an amazing  health educator with  an unmatchable set of credentials.  When  she makes a recommendation on diet or exercise   you can be certain that it is  the best available information and not  made to support a  marketing  plan of a brand. Sort of  no-nonsense fitness!


Fashion FLash Book Review:  Seven Sisters StyleFashion Flash Book Review: Seven Sisters Style

The new Ralph Lauren store on Fifth  Avenue has a bookstore!  This was all it took for my  bibliophile husband to go willingly into a clothing store.  The small bookstore  was a treasure trove of style books, many of which were out of print classics.  This  did not work for my husband, but I was in heaven.  Seven Sisters Style by Rebecca Tuite was  the perfect book for this temple of preppy chic– and at $35  was probably the least expensive item in the entire three story store.

I   went to Bronx High School of Science and   New York University,  very far both geographically and socially from  the Seven Sisters colleges.   I loved  going to school in Greenwich Village, but I still would stare like a deer in the headlight  at the  girls in camel coats and  loafers that came into the city on the weekends.  Each Sunday in the New York Times magazine section, John Mayer  advertised  yet another  print shirtwaist and  I could not wait to discuss the pros and cons  of each dress with my  equally unpreppy  friends. .    And as it turned out, this iconic look captured and held  the imagination for many years.   Seven Sisters Style  deconstructs the look of saddle shoes, cashmere   cardigans, Bermuda shorts, blazers  and of course pearls. The vintage photos are priceless from  real life Vasser girl Meryl Streep to scenes from  dorms and classes in the 50’s.  I never realized the rigid uniformity behind the  plaid skirts and  rolled up jeans, but I can see why the sea change of the 60’s  changed forever how women dressed.

While  true prep style  is long gone from the now mostly co-ed seven sisters, author  Truite closes with a look at the designers like the late  Perry Ellis   and of course  the very current Ralph Lauren  who  were  inspired by this  timeless, quintessential American  style.

No-Nonsense Fashion– The Feet of Fashion Week

Shoes of Fashion WeekLast  year I was so  astonished at the fantastical towering stilettos at Fashion Week, I barely  paid attention to the clothes.  No only did the heels routinely soar to 5-6 inches, they were studded, sequined, feathered or a combination  of all three.  I knew that I could  not even stand up in these shoes  much less walk around Lincoln Center.

Feet, just  like the rest of the body,  changes as the years goes by.  After  age 50 we lose fat pads on the sole, joints swell and lose flexability. To bottom line it,  younger  feet can  frolic in stilettos, but  women of a certain age need  to  go with a sturdier design and lower heels.   For me and  my BFF’s, there was  an age gap in footwear  and  it made  us  feel less  fabulous.

Fashion Week shoes-- BootiesA Footwear Revolution at Fashion Week

What a difference a year  makes. Instead of studded, cut-out  skinny heels, women at Fashion Week now walked easily in a wide range of shoes for real life feet.  Booties were everywhere, closely followed by  colorful sneakers,  combat boots, slip on sneakers,  wedges, platforms and even flats. There were a few holdovers in skinny six inch heels, but they looked out of place– so last year.  This time at Fashion Week there was no age gap  in shoes. Very nice.FASHION WEEK SHOES- COMBAT  BOOTS

What Causes a Fashion Sea Change?

Why the shift in shoes?  I wondered if  it was the early sprouting of painful  old age bunions on twenty something feet after  a year of cruel shoes.  But what if it was something  deeper.  As a history buff  I love to explore the back story of significant events.  I have always felt that  true history is not found in dry  textbooks, but is revealed in the way  people lived. Genuine  history  is not  a matter of dates and battles but  is seen in   what people  read,  their style of  furniture, what they ate and even what they wore.fASHION wEEK  COLORFUL SNEAKERS

Fashion Week  Shoes- FlatsToday  is Sept 11 and  it is  hard to ignore that we live in a dangerous world.   From militarized police in  Missouri to the kidnapping of  hundreds of women to the  video of the beheading of two American journalists, perhaps this is not the right time  to wear fanciful, fragile  shoes.    I wonder if fashion is reflecting our need  for strength and stability and it  is  starting with footwear.




Its Fashion FLash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week the amazing Kari of Fab Over Forty is hosting  Fashion Flash.  This beautiful site  covers, skin care, make-up,  and fashion with a hands-on  advice that I have come to depend on.  I have to admit that I am an eye liner  junkie and I am always looking for the  perfect tool for the perfect  line.  Kari   tries them all and now I know what brands and  products will deliver the results I want.  Check out  her recent posts on the perfect sports  bra and the new Laura Mercier  just launched fall colors.  You will thank me.

Fashion FLash Book Review-- Vegetarian Cooking for EveryoneFashion Flash Book Review:  Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

There is a very simple reason  that Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is a classic– its just amazing! Published in 1997 it was decades ahead of its time.  The comprehensive   650 page  book covers essential ideas  while offering more than 1000 recipes that are simple, healthy and delicious.

The  first 50 pages could be a short  book all on its own.  It offers a wide range of fundamentals of equipment, best choices of staples and essential cooking techniques.   I love the way Deborah Madison drills down into each and every subject.  For example she clearly explains the differences between the five different types of peppercorns and how each impacts on the flavor of a dish.  She does the same for different types of oils, salts, vinegars, and olives.   So  many dishes are ruined with the wrong  form of an ingredient– a total waste of time and money. With this book,  it should  never  happen again in your kitchen.

Ingredients are especailly imporant in vegetarian  cooking and these recipes illustrate how to deliver powerhouse  texture and flavor.   For examle, I could not understand why my avocodo  and tomato sandwich was  just blah while I devoured  them at my local   vegan spot.   Madison’s recipe  included a light layer of mustard and mayo as well as a sprinkle of arugala.  It made all the diffference.

Madison really understands the  challenges  of creating  satisfying vegetarian  main  dishes that don’t rely on cream and cheese.   There are recipes for  gratins, stir-fries, veggie fillings for crepes and  chunky veggie stews.  My current favorite  is a veggie souffle that is totally satisfying as it uses up  all those bits of leftover veggies from other dinners.

Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone is such a welcome difference  from the weak celebrity  or  TV food show cookbooks.  These days there seems to be an arc  to a celebrity career– initial job followed by book, then product  line and then some type of cookbook.   The scope and   passion of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone   has a rare integrity  in a reality TV dominated culture.



Glossybox– Beauty Box With a Purpose

Glossy Box at CosmoprofGlossyBox teamed up with Cosmoprof in Las Vegas to produce a very special booth.   The pink and white display not only offered visitors  an introduction to innovative brands, all monies were contributed to the City of Hope Reserch Center.   Cosmoprof visitors could select up to seven products for a $10  donation.The display of 20 different products  was intoxicating for a beauty addict — the adult  equivalent of  candy store.  My box included:

1.Get Layered by Sexy Hair– a fast drying spray that adds volume and thickness as well as hold.

Glossybox at Cosmoprof2. Eye Infusion Illuminator by Dr Myer’s– With a unique rolling applicator and formula rich in  hyaluronic acid for hydration and niacinimide to lighten dark circles, this  is the  under eye care I was looking for.

3. Cuppa Cuppa by Royal Apothic– A super sooothing mask that includes clay, green tea, and Goji berries, I loved the directions that include having a cup of tea while the mask  dries.

4. Be a Bombshell by The One Stick– An all-in-one multiple purpose stick that  can be applied to cheeks and  lip.  Its the perfect pop of color that  works everywhere for everyone.

5. Probiotic Eye Lifting Serum by Dr Lili Fan– a light  yet powerful under eye treatment with hyaluronic acid ( my fav), rice  protein and panthenol.

6. Ceramide-C by Rozge Labs– Its no secret that I  adore  ceramides and these capsules  even include vitamin C and E.  Its packaged in small, twist off plastic ampules  that retain the   anti-aging properties that can be lost in a larger container.  Love it!

7. Color-Protecting Therapy Spray by  Mastey– Packed with antioxidants, Argan oil and oive oil, its both a conditioner and a detangler.  This product is  perfect  for people like me  who won’t give up  their  combo of highlights and  blow-outs.

Glossybox is a particularly elegant subscription beautybox that curates new and  innovative products.  There are  dozens of similar services, but a beauty box that  supports diabetes research at Cosmoprof  wins my loyalty.