You Look Great!

Sandra Minnes
Sandra Minnes

You look great!  As I was leaving the doctor’s office following my annual exam, I was startled to hear him make that enthusiastic comment!   When I got home, I told my husband and he responded with, “You DO look great!” Now this is the man who notices if I have changed a shade of lipstick, have done something different with my eye makeup, or doesn’t hesitate to tell me my skin is looking a little dry. A couple of days later, he remarked that my skin was really looking good. (I might mention that this is the skin of a grandmother with college-age grandchildren.) With this great feedback, I had to share with you the new skin care I have been using for several months.

Marine Collagen
Marine Collagen

I have super sensitive skin that runs a little dry so it is always a challenge to keep it moist without being so rich that it causes breaking out. Over the years, chemicals contained in many of the well-known commercial products have prompted trips to the dermatologist to alleviate itching, rash, and great discomfort. When my friend Sandy Minnes shared in a business meeting that she is now representing a completely organic skin care line out of Canada, I wanted to know more. I have been using the products for about 6 months resulting in the compliments that I shared.

Bloom Day Cream
Bloom Day Cream

These products are made by hand from natural ingredients and contain no water or preservatives. You simply spray a little water on your face (I use rose water which is inexpensive and available at Sprouts or Whole Foods) add a small dab of Marine Collagen at night or Bloom for day and massage it into my skin. I have just added the Exquisite Eye Cream at night resulting in reduced puffiness under my eyes.

To learn more about this unique line of products, go to The good news is that their pricing compares to many of the moderately priced name brands.

Exquisite Eye Cream
Exquisite Eye Cream

Sandy can be reached at or 404-379-3741. I find it easiest to send her a text and she will return the call shortly.

The Paradox of Tattoos


imgresRemember when bikers, tough guys, and sailors were the only ones who wore tattoos? When they began being a part of the mainstream a few years ago, disapproval of the trend brought about changes in dress codes requiring employees to cover up all tattoos. I remember one friend changing hair salons because she did not like to see the array of tattoos on salon employees. Today, with 21% of the population wearing some sort of tattoo, acceptance is growing and restrictions in dress codes are being relaxed.images-1

Along with wider acceptance, some people decide they no longer like a particular tattoo or have occasions where they prefer not to be confronted with questions about the tattoo.   Voila! Creative artists to the rescue!   Tattoo removal has been used for a while but now make-up artists are honing their skills to cover up those pesky body embellishments for special occasions. A recent article interviewed two brides who took two different approaches. One bride chose her wedding dress to complement her tattoos, giving them full visibility. Another called in a makeup artist to cover them up so that, as she stated, all of the attention of her 300 guests could be focused on the wedding and she did not have to field dozens of questions about her tattoos. She also considered how it might be looking back on her wedding pictures in thirty years.

Cosmetically camouflaging tattoos does not come without a cost. It is actually more expensive than having done the original tattoo. The makeup does last for a few days but then it is gone and the tattoos are again visible. images-2Tattoo removal is another growing business and is more costly and takes longer.   Number of treatments depend on the size of the tattoo, color of ink and one’s skin tone. One New York doctor stated that patients can expect to pay $350 or more per session for tattoo removal with possibly ten sessions over a period of years.

images-3The urge to follow some current trends can have long lasting consequences—not to mention costs. Maybe adding a temporary tattoo to give that artistic punch for a specific event would be a solution. Don’t forget a hip new runway look can make a real statement. When you are tired of it, off to consignment or the Good Will and you are ready for the next statement outfit. So much more fun without the cost and pain!  

Do you “Cocktail”?



Makeup “cocktailing” has become a trend that cosmetic manufacturers are learning to accept. No longer is the average customer loyal to just one brand.

There is a reason why department stores place the cosmetic section near the busiest entrance door. Ladies love to see the new colors, test the latest fragrance or succumb to an invitation to have a quick make over. Each company has a well-trained representative who skillfully shows you how beautiful the whole line is on you and convinces you that the best result can only be achieved by using their brand.   This process helps the cosmetic section maintain its distinction as being the most lucrative department of the store.images-6

But, change is happening. Thanks to Sephora, who offers over 200 brands of cosmetics, customers have a wide variety from which to choice. The sales people are knowledgeable in all of the brands and the customer is allowed to browse each section of the store, testing and experiencing various products.     A customer may use three different brands of mascara, to create the look she wants and another brand of foundation. She may use a variety of eye shadows or lipstick, mixing them to create her personal color. The cocktail customer may actually purchase more cosmetic without brand loyalty.

I really like the idea of mixing makeup brands to achieve your best look.  However, moisturizers and lotions are one area where I choose to be very selective. I want a product that is free of chemicals. Your skin is your largest organ through which lotions and creams absorb into your body. Many products, even expensive high-end ones, are loaded with chemicals. I get enough pollutants by living in a city so I look for natural products that work with my sensitive skin and are chemical free. imgres-4Some of the brands I have researched and trust are Arbonne, which is developed in Swiss labs but manufactured in the US. Kiehl has been around for many years and is carried by department stores.   They use word of mouth rather than advertising, which is reflected in their pricing. A new product that I really like is Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR), an all natural British product that has recently become available in the US. Both NYR and Arbonne are sold by individual reps.  Natural lotions are also available at Whole Foods and some health food stores.

Maintaining beautiful skin provides a perfect canvas on which to paint your most beautiful portrait.

From Gram to Glam


“Are you available September 21?”   I was a bit puzzled by the question but a quick check of my calendar indicated that I was, indeed, available.    When I responded affirmatively, the next question blew me away.  “Would you like to model for a style show at Bloomingdales?”   So this would my Cinderella moment!

After sending off photos, etc. I get a phone call from Robert Ballew who was staging the event.  Emails flew with sizes, measurements, and, as you can well imagine, my suggestions of what I could and could not wear!  There would be three different looks so the appointment was set to come for fittings.  My hair and makeup would be earlier in the day on Friday.


Excitement!  Trepidation!  Would they find any shoes that I could keep on my  AAA width foot?  My haircut was scheduled the next week.  Could I trust anyone new in cutting my fine, super-straight hair?  Without a good cut, my hair is a disaster.  Would I break out with the make-up?  (I have reacted from chemicals in expensive lines, requiring a dermatologist.)

Thursday, between appointments, I slip over to Bloomingdales to see what Robert had chosen for me to wear.  Let’s see, a blue jersey day dress with taupe shoes.  Not bad.  The dress fit like a glove and the shoes didn’t fall off.  Next dress:  a black lace over nude.  Cute cocktail or out to dinner look.  The nude softened the black so that it was not too harsh for my coloring.  Robert had paired it with some hot pink suede shoes and later added a bright yellow clutch for the show.  Adorable.  Maybe a little more than I would have done but adorable.  Finally, there was the plum colored evening dress with embellishment and pink gold evening slippers.  (The night of the event, he added a chinchilla stole and evening clutch.)   My trepidation is evaporating.


Friday, it’s off to Skanda for hair.  The owner had called and reassured me the girl he assigned had lots of training in cut so I’m going for it.  It was a fun experience and she did a beautiful cut, changing my style slightly.  Now, it’s off to Bloomingdales again, this time for makeup.  Glamour takes a lot of time!

Shahnaz at the YSL counter was doing the makeup.  My husband has always found my makeup too strong when I have had it done, so I was expecting a very dramatic look.  Shahnaz was different.  She placed eyeliner right at the base of my lashes, giving definition but not creating a heavy line.  She chose a plum colored mascara which I had never seen.   It was softer than black and helped bring out my blue eyes.  She added liner to the lower lash but no mascara.  A “highlighter” was gently patted on under the eye instead of concealer as the final touch for the eyes.  This created lightness under the eye and covered any shadow or mascara that might have fallen.  Blush and light lips completed the transformation.  My husband loved it!

All five other models were a delightful.  We had a great time admiring each other’s outfits and showing them off on the runway.   A special bonus:  Our fabulous clothes were all beautiful without damaging one’s credit card beyond redemption.  At the end of the show, I jokingly asked Robert if I could wear the elegant evening dress for the rest of the evening.  He made an exaggerated “O” with his mouth and said “NO”!   My carriage just turned back into a pumpkin.  But we have pictures!


Makeup Spring Cleaning

Posted on April 28, 2010 by admin 

With the arrival of spring, at long last, we plunge into our tradition purge of elements of winter and welcome the new, freshness of spring.  Along with the seasonal cleaning, changing from winter to spring/summer clothes and accessories  this is the time to purge those old cosmetics.

Until I started using Arbonne, I had items lurking in a drawer dating back to some unknown year.  And my rational was, “This was expensive and is only half gone so I hate to throw it away.”  I imagine many of you have the same dilemma so I wanted to share a recent interview with Jaklin Adris, North American director of education for the Darphin label, owned by Estee Lauder.    As you can imagine, she acquires a lot of different products so her guidelines were especially meaningful for me.

If a product has not been opened, three years is a good guideline.  Most all cosmetics are formulated to last that long.  If the product has been opened, it should be used within 24 months.  Products for the eyes have a more gentle preservative so that the sensitive area around the eye is not irritated but they do not last as long.  She recommends using eye products within six months or discarding them but I have heard people in the cosmetic field recommend discarding eye products , especially mascara, within three months as it is more prone to pick up bacteria on the wand.  I recommend using a spatula rather than dipping your fingers into any cream to avoid bacterial contamination.

It is a myth about storing cosmetics in the refrigerator to extend their life, however, keeping them in a cool space is a good idea.  Being kept in a cupboard in the bathroom is better than keeping them exposed to the heat and moisture of the shower.  Closing the caps tightly after use will help prevent the products from drying out and forming a crust on top.  If you have a cream that has formed such a crust, Ms. Jaklin says she scrapes it off and stirs the remaining cream. Then she uses it on her feet or other areas of the body but not on the face.  Exposure to extreme temperature changes can damage products so be aware of any change in texture or odor.   If you have ever left your purse in the car on a hot day, you have experienced what intense heat will do to lipstick and other similar products!

I found most of these suggestions match the routine that I use.  It helps to have a product that you like and that works for your skin.  Then you will have far fewer mistakes that might sit in your drawer unused.  By choosing only those items that you know you will use and avoiding  impulse purchases of an untried product,  you will save money and lots of guilt by not having an expensive, unused bottle “of” in your drawer.

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Wonder Woman – Matured


I was a bit startled at the recent cover of Town and Country featuring Diane von Furstenberg.   This is the lady who gained her prominence as a designed back in the 1970’s with the jersey wrapped dress.  If you have ever seen pictures of her at that stage, she had very strong features, dark brown hair and dark make-up.  What caught me by surprise in this cover picture was how she has softened her look.  She still has the appearance of being a strong woman but gone are the dark, dark hair, dramatic black eyeliner, and shadow, and ruby-red lips.  At age 62, she has lightened her hair to a medium brown, her eyes are more subdued but still dramatic with brown liner and shadow while her lips are barely discernable.   I find her more attractive now than back when she was at her height of popularity with the ubiquitous jersey wrap.  So, what’s the difference?

As we age, our skin thins and begins showing some lines.  Our hair starts to grey, adding a natural softness to compliment the changes in our skin.  However, since we live in a world influenced by the allure to look youthful, we color our hair and take advantage of cosmetics.  We often lose sight of reality and see ourselves as we once were.  How many times have you seen a lady of 50+ who had maintained her very dark hair color while her skin has relaxed and become lighter?  Add some bright red lipstick and very dark eye makeup and the effect is harsh and uncomplimentary.  Or, in the case of a blonde who continues to wear the strong dark eye makeup and bright lips, you see the eyes and lips before you see the face.

Diane von Furstenberg has adjusted her makeup and hair adeptly to reflect the natural changes in her skin.  Her hair, although still dark, is a lighter brown and much softer against more mature skin.  Her choice of eye makeup is also softer, and is harmonious with her softer hair color.  The most dramatic change is that her lips are barely visible.  As the years advance, many people get noticeable signs of sagging around the jaw line.   If you add a bright lipstick, it draws attention to that area. Von Furstenberg has wisely emphasized her eyes, albeit softer, where there is not as much evidence of the ageing process.  Her very pale lips give her a softer appearance, showing her lips but not drawing specific attention to the lips.  When you look at her picture, you first notice her eyes.

Is it time to reevaluate your makeup?  Having gone through this process within the last six months and, although it took a paradigm shift, I am pleased with (what I hope) is the subtle improvement.