Beauty: DIY Rose Water Toner/Spritz 

There are some beauty products that are worth splurging on, and then there are those you can make yourself – which are as good or better than anything you can buy. 

Take rose water for example.  It’s super easy to make and has a host of healing benefits.  But the smell alone like a walk through a rose garden, is heavenly enough to perk you up.  Applied to your face after cleansing with a cotton ball and/or spritzed lightly before applying cream will freshen you up and prepare your skin to absorb the moisture.

As a skin soother, rosewater is an all-in-one solution. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce excessive skin redness, whether from broken capillaries or general skin blotchiness. It also has hydrating properties that help to soothe dry, irritated skin, and is used as a cooling treatment for sunburns.

Rosewater has mild astringent qualities, making it a good choice to remove excess skin oil and tone pores. You can even use it as a cleanser itself to remove excess dirt and oil, thus keeping pores unclogged.

Many beauty companies have Rose Water as part of their beauty product line such as “fresh”

To make rose water you need just two cups of distilled water (you can also use Spring), and clean rose petals.  I used beautiful red rainforest petals.  I added a teaspoon of vodka, which acts as a preservative but you don’t have to.  It can be alcohol-free but it may not last as long.  And of course vodka on it’s very own or with a few olives is a necessary beauty pick-me-up (for another post).  Kidding! sort-of

Simmer all the ingredients on low  for about 30 minutes. Let it cool before straining into bottles.  I keep a larger glass bottle in the fridge and refill a smaller one.  That’s it.  I compared mine to one from another leading brand and am happy to say that mine compared just as well…maybe more so (but of course I’m biased).

Have you tried making your own?




Style: a Peek Inside the Rachel Zoe Winter Box

Okay, I must say I’m getting quite used to receiving my seasonal box of goodies. After all, it is curated by one stylish team.  So for the past two years I feel it would not be a start to a new season without it.  So there!This time the box was waiting for me on my arrival to Palm Springs.  And as usual I already had a look ahead at what was in store.  Because as much as I love an element of surprise….I just can’t help myself. And it’s always fun to get a little spoiled.  So here’s what’s INSIDE THE WINTER BOX:


Designed exclusively for Box of Style, Rachel drew inspiration from her favorite periods in fashion – the deco elegance of the 20s and the effortless glamour of the 60s and 70s.  Retail value: $125

HOUSE OF HARLOW 1960 MESA EARRINGSRachel collaborated with her dear friend Nicole Richie on these stunning earrings exclusively for Box of Style. These statement-makers can work into any look for that extra dose of sparkle.  Retail value: $115


Hydration is everything. Apply as your first step in the morning and your last step before bed. It’s also perfect to keep in your handbag as your on-the-go refresher. Retail value: $68


A sleek cat eye transcends both time and style. From black-tie glam to rock ’n’ roll flair, it’s the ultimate finishing touch.  Retail value: $20

FAUX FUR STOLE (as in Unreal)

Pair this luxe alternative to your winter scarf with anything from a cocktail dress to a cozy sweater to completely elevate your look.  Retail value: $85


I always have an agenda. In today’s digital world, many people still prefer to write things down, Rachel included. She chose motivating words from extraordinary women who inspire her every day, in hopes they will motivate you in the new year. I’m motivated!  Retail value: $48

I think this is a really fun and worthwhile subscription.  For as little as $100 you receive over $400 of luxury fashion and beauty selected for you each season.

Here’s how to order:

Don’t forget to tell them I sent you.






Beauty: Erno Laszlo – the original skin maestro

The Hungarian-born dermatologist and skin care guru who founded the Ernő László Institute may be living no longer, but his skincare line is alive and thriving at high end department stores such as Holt Renfrew (Canada) and Saks Fifth Avenue (USA). Now celebrating 90 years of glamour.

Ava, Audrey, Greta, Marilyn, Jackie O – they were all devotees.

With numerous choices at the beauty counter and abundance of new lines cropping up it’s nice to look back to an influential original.  Some of the product line was gifted at a recent women’s fundraising luncheon so I’m testing them out.  So far, no complaints.


The philosophy is that there’s more to skincare than meets the eye. Skincare isn’t just about taking care of your skin at the surface: it’s about total body wellness. Taking care of your skin begins from the inside out. Good diet, nutrition, and dedication to a skincare ritual will keep your skin healthy, clear, and glowing.

The Laszlo bespoke double cleansing duos let you customize your routine to meet your skin’s unique needs.

why cleansing oils?

Nourishing Cleansing Oils soothe and soften skin by gently breaking up dirt, makeup and other impurities without stripping your complexion of precious moisture.  Yes, I knew that! I thought I was the one who invented that idea.

why cleansing bars?

Indulgent Cleansing Bars boast game-changing antioxidants and botanicals, plus soap inherently combats oil on contact. Translation? Bye-bye bacteria, hello fresh glow. Okay, I didn’t know that.  My mom always told me to stay away from using soap on my face but maybe this is a whole different bar of soap.

why together?

Depending on your skin care need they help to exfoliate, brighten, firm, hydrate or soothe. When combined, the cleansing oil and cleansing bar create a rich cleansing mask that gently washes away oil and debris from pores.  They impart active ingredients to your skin that work to target your skin concern long after cleansing is done.

And of course there’s everything else in the line such as serums, creams and such.

Have you tried anything in this line?


Beauty: Blueberry Exfoliant

Blueberries and Acai berries

are normally reserved for my smoothies, not my face.  But this was a nice alteration.

I’m usually a bit skeptical of “too good to be true” deals but recently on a shopping trip to Washington State I stopped in at Trader Joe’s and found this little beauty. T.J’s Blueberry & Acai facial scrub is surprisingly effective, smells great and the price is right.

Essentially, it’s an antioxidant rich gentle exfoliant that helps to slough off dead skin cells and leave you feeling smooth and pampered. It also contains alpha-hydroxy acids, which is supposed to treat acne and improve the appearance of scars. I quite like it.

What It Claims To Do
Here’s what it says on the Trader Joe’s website: “While this Scrub is exfoliating, save for a few stray blueberry seeds and its very slight general graininess, it’s not really its texture that does the exfoliating—it’s the alpha-hydroxy acids, or AHAs. We also include colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, meadowfoam seed oil, and various plant extracts to soothe and pamper that beautiful mug of yours.”

Beauty Bonus: the break-up

My powder blush broke into a million pieces.  What do I do?

Gather all of the broken pieces of makeup into its original container, and crush the whole thing up (even the parts that may not have broken). 2. Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the compact, and let it soak in. Use your finger (pre-wash hands of course), the back of a spoon, or anything, really, to rub and smooth down the makeup. Leave it overnight for best results. Apply.

Your welcome!



Beauty in a Box

Useful, beautifully thought out items for women on the go. Courtesy of the Zoe Report.

Aside from the leather clutch/shoulder/computer bag here are the other items in the Fall Box of Style:


If you spent too much time in the sun and pool, Oribe’s Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream is here to rescue your summer-loved strands. Imbued with a heavenly scent, massage a small amount of this leave-in conditioner post-shower, or midday, for a silky treatment.


Vegan and cruelty free, NUDESTIX gives you a natural way to get gorgeous. Their two-in-one crayon is moisturizing and vitamin-enriched — the perfect pick-me-up to give your lips and cheeks a pinch of color at a moment’s notice.


The perfect travel skincare set. My skin looked fantastic after using it. Call in a weekend staycation, or fake a spa visit, with Skinesque’s multi-tasking mask. Paraben-free and dermatologist approved, it will brighten up your visage with skin-loving ingredients from green tea to bamboo and charcoal.


A little luxury goes a long way, and these stackable baubles prove it. The choice item in the fall box, they deliver delicate diamonds on 14K Gold Plated Brass rings.


Overhaul clutter and make a modern statement via this metallic tray. Whether placed atop your work desk, coffee table, or vanity, it will effortlessly elevate your space.

Order your box here (while supplies last) –            Save $20 on your Fall order. Use CODE  FALL20


Beauty: the quick fix

Let’s face it – masks are messy.

These are great for a girly sleepover

Masks of all kinds are a relaxing ‘must’ in every woman’s weekly beauty regime.  It can get confusing trying to choose only one.  Which leads me to this:

When Sephora dedicates a whole counter to sheet masks you know they’re “a thing” even though Asian women have been using them for decades. I first saw them in Japan and thought “what a great idea.”  I even bought a kleenex box full of sheet masks.

Apparently there is a trend for taking selfies wearing sheet masks.

Not sure why.  I’ve tried it myself (just for fun of course…not to post obviously).

I cannot believe how popular they’ve now become here in North America.  With the abundance of different choices available you can refresh, hydrate, brighten, tighten, lighten and treat your skincare concerns.

my recent under the sheet experiments because “I’m Real

Simply, they get the job done in a matter of minutes. Try different ones to suit your mood or skin condition of the moment (because as you know it changes with the season).  No chance of getting bored. They’re so reasonably priced, great for travelling or when you have limited time. And you can pick them up almost everywhere.  What’s not to like?

Have fun!  Have a favourite?





beauty: beauty counter

These two products are summer beauty essentials.

They were sent to me in my summer Box of Style which by the way, I always look forward to receiving every season.  Because it’s what’s on the inside that counts.


Formulated without harmful ingredients, this hibiscus-hued blush is indispensable for the sultry season. Sweep it on your cheeks and lips for a pretty pick-me-up day or night. The color is flattering for all skin tones.

Beautycounter Cream Blusher, Retail Value: $37


This one was timely because I just finished my sunscreen stick that I carry around in my purse.  Never leave home without a sleek sunscreen stick. This one is made with organic coconut oil and acai fruit oil, it offers water-resistant sun protection that goes on sheer—so your skin will love it.

Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen, Retail Value: $18

Source: the Zoe Report for Box of Style

Beauty – Goop pop-up at Nordstrom

 For a short while only

Goop: Launched in the fall of 2008 out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s kitchen as a homespun weekly newsletter, GP wanted a place to organize her unbiased travel recommendations, health-centric recipes, and shopping discoveries for friends, and she also wanted to get her own questions—about health, fitness, and the psyche—answered. Now, goop has become a fully formed lifestyle site, offering a tight curation of products and content. It is a place for GP to introduce some of the incredible experts who have mentored her throughout her life to a wider audience, and a place where readers can find suggestions about where to shop, eat, and stay from a trusted friend—not from an anonymous, crowd-sourced recommendation engine.


We have always been outspoken here at goop about concerns over the toxic ingredients used in personal care products—an industry that operates without regulation. 13 months ago, we were given an opportunity to partner with Juice Beauty, a California company that has been making non-toxic products for more than a decade. We built on their foundation in safety to create something that didn’t exist that I had always been looking for: A line of truly luxurious and effective skincare—products that take organic to the next level. Our line delivers clinically proven, age-defying results that mirror exactly what you would find from the big guys with huge R&D budgets and no ingredient restrictions—but instead of plastics, and toxins, which you would be surprised to know are found in so many expensive face creams, they are loaded with organic, naturally-occurring ingredients that are actually good for you. Aloe, apple, lemon, and grape juices deliver glow, peptides and linseed extract help to firm skin, hyaluronic acid plumps and smoothes fine lines, vitamin C works to clean up the age spots, and meristem plant cells minimize wrinkles and brighten skin tone. We literally did not rest until we had a set of six products that are, quite simply, perfect. Safe enough for our daughters, and powerful enough for those of us who have maybe spent too much time in the sun. I hope you love them as much as I do.

love, gpI am sampling a few of the products like the eye cream & exfoliating instant facial which they swear gp uses daily.  I left with a nice shopping bag & an authentic Japanese bamboo tea ceremony whisk for my matcha green tea lattes.  I have the bkr water bottle which I love.

Beauty/Culture: the Hoop Earring

Every fashionable woman owns at least one pair of hoop earrings.

Photo; Mitchell Sams

At Marc Jacob’s Fall/Winter 2017 show models stomped down the runway with shiny gold hoop earrings.  They ranged from giant three-tiered hoops to a single thin hoop with a diamond encrusted key dangling from it.

From Marc Jacobs show

In the Spring Box  of Style from Zoe Report were these earrings.

The collection, which was also full of oversized fur collared jackets and monochromatic tracksuits, was inspired by the early days of hip-hop.

“It is an acknowledgement and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style,” Jacobs explained in the show notes.

Hoops are one of the most attractive styles of earrings and they come with a story. Anything interesting comes with a story.

Unfortunately, not everyone who borrows from street culture is as eager to acknowledge the contributions of people who created it. The round jewelry has been a favorite accessory for decades from Cher in the 1960s to Madonna in the 1980s, but hoop earrings have a deep-rooted history in communities of color.

This cultural significance of the hoop earring was brought to light recently when three Latina students painted a message to their fellow classmates at Pitzer College in California about their earrings. They scribbled “White girls, take off your hoops” in bright yellow spray paint on a wall outside of a dormitory, after they noticed an influx of their peers wearing oversized hoop earrings.

Photo: Elliot Dordick, The Claremont Independent

Alegria Martinez, one of the students responsible for the graffiti, wrote an email to the student body that stated that they were sick of white women appropriating styles that “belonged to black and brown folks who created the culture.” The controversy came shortly after Elle dubbed the hoop earring a must-have accessory for fall, thanks not only to Marc Jacobs, but others like Fendi and Michael Kors.

Designers, celebrities, and even retailers have been long accused of taking styles from marginalized groups they think are “cool” without any consideration for the context. Last November, people took to social media to call out Urban Outfitters when it attempted to re-brand oversized gold doorknocker earrings. “The same earrings that people find ratchet or ghetto on black women are now $16.00 and sold at hipsters R us. These are literally a dollar at the nearest black hair store. My culture says you’re welcome,” one woman wrote in a Facebook post that has now been shared over 21,000 times.

Hoop earrings have a very long history dating all the way back to the ancient Sumerians from modern-day Iraq in 2600 B.C.  Different variations of the hoop have been adopted by a range of cultures around the world, from the Hmong women of Vietnam to the Gadaba tribe of India, as Vogue points out. But, in America, the style has often been adopted by women of color in an effort to reclaim their culture and celebrate their history.

Hoop earrings became especially popular among African American women during the Black Power movement in the 1960s when many were embracing Afrocentric dress. From activists like Angela Davis to artists like Tina Turner, more women were adopting an African-inspired look that embraced natural hairstyles and hoop earrings.

As Tanisha C. Ford writes in her book, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul, “In African-inspired clothing and large hoop earrings and sporting Afros and cornrow braids, Americans and Britons of African descent envisioned soul style as a symbolic baptism in freedom’s waters through which they could be reborn, liberated from cultural and social bondage of their slave and colonial past.”

The statement jewelry carried on into the 70s when it was embraced by disco divas like Diana Ross and Donna Summer. When the 80s rolled around, their thin gold hoops were traded for thick gold “door knocker” and bamboo hoop earrings by hip-hop artists like Salt N Pepa and MC Lyte.

By the 1990s, oversized hoop earrings were a fixture of Chola style, which was embraced by working-class Mexican American women in Southern California. The radical look was defined by slicked-down baby hairs, dark lip-liner, and door-knocker hoop earrings.

But, it was about more than just fashion. As Barbara Calderón-Douglass writes in her piece “The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend,” “The chola aesthetic is the result of impoverished women making a lot out of the little things their families could afford.”

Martinez, who grew up in Southern California, says she sees the style as a form of resistance. “We are women of color from Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Bernadino and that is where this cultural style comes from,” explained Martinez. “Whenever we wear our hoops, or when I wear bold eyeliner and red lipstick, I feel really proud to be from that background.”

Fashion has always taken influences from different cultures. The problem with appropriating styles like hoop earrings is that many women of color still can’t wear these “trends” without facing discrimination for looking too “ghetto.” Not to mention, many of those who are eager to slip on a pair of hoop earrings fail to use their platform for any meaningful discussion about race.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, artist Helena Metaferia

Just last season Marc Jacobs faced a fury of appropriation accusations when he sent a predominantly white cast of models down the runway wearing colorful pastel dreadlocks. The designer had attributed the collection to the style of club kids, but failed to mention that the hairstyle has history in African culture. So, when the designer made a point to attribute his fall 2017 aesthetic to the early days of hip-hop and the people of color who created it, many were eager to praise him for finally appreciating the culture rather than merely appropriating it.

Hopefully, more in the industry will take note.

Source for this Story:

Beauty: BioActive Externals

Youthful and Ageless

Two key words that jump out to grab our attention in the packaging of many skincare lines.  After all, we all strive to be youthful and ageless for as long as we can.

If we’re being true to ourselves we should know that we cannot rely on one miracle topical product to turn back the clock.  But we keep hoping.  I think even with *good genes the key ingredients to staying youthful is remaining curious, being active, refrain from stress (as much as humanly possible), eating and sleeping well, hydration and the bioactive externals like good clean skincare.  Basically looking after yourself as well as you can because you’re all you’ve got! Keeping this in mind, and aside from my own products, I’m always open to checking out new and improved skincare regimes.  I also love the ritual of applying them morning and night.

After having met and listened to Suzanne Somers promote her Suzanne Organics skincare line which is exclusively at Clark’s Nutrition in Rancho Mirage, Ca., I felt obliged to try a few products.  If only because Suzanne is her own best testament to the products and philosophy behind them.

Makeup + Skincare by Suzanne Organics

I’ve been using her ageless serum which is loaded with sea algae followed by her Bioactive Moisturizer which among other active natural ingredients is loaded with CoQ10, Argan (last year my sis brought Argan oil back from the Atlas mountains of Morocco for me) oil and sea buckthorn berry which acts as a superfood for your skin.  Of course you have to eat whole food for your skin to look its very best but let’s just agree that the ingredient listing is excellent.  It feels great on my face too. The whole collection is Toxic Free.  The coco-mango body butter is my absolute favourite. Find out more at: link below

*Having good genes doesn’t mean you’ll live longer, it just means you’ll look better doing it.


  Formula uses only pure, organic ingredients

  No animal testing

  No synthetic fragrances

  Beech Tree Bud Extract supports the skin cells. This organic extract moisturizes the skin and assists in the look of wrinkle reduction by supporting the skin

  Argan Oil is one of the rarest oils in the world, this desert plant restores moisture so skin can survive dry climates, such as air-conditioning or heating

  Just as this plant protects itself from the desert heat, the oil from the tree’s fruit helps our skin to be protected from the elements.

  Sea Buckthorn Berry is a rare plant that contains essential fatty acids, Omega 3,6,7 and 9! Our skin loves these essential fatty acids and to find all of these essential fatty acids in one plant is remarkable


If you’ve been fortunate enough to try her line I’d like your comments.