A mindful moment …

The Buddha


“Relax your face. Soften your jaw. Picture yourself smiling.” These were Trish’s first words as we began today’s yoga class, my first in a very long time. And later, her message was more powerful as we practiced making circle motions, giving our waists a massage: “We are always focusing on the outside, with our skin creams and our mirrors and the clothes we wear; sometimes it’s good to start from the inside and think about our inner cells and how hard they are working. When we focus on creating beauty on the inside first, the outside beauty naturally follows.” ~ Trish, my yoga instructor

We ended with a three-minute meditation on joy. Uplifting!

Peace to all, light to all, love to all. Namaste.

If not now, WEN?!

I am a WEN girl!
Photo Credit: Patricia Saxton

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. This is the rhythm of hair washing and we do it every day or every other day, or at the very least, every few days. We have been doing it all our lives, but these days hair washing has become much more complex – and expensive. It is shampooing and conditioning and detangling and sometimes, deep conditioning. If you are like me, you are a little nuts about your hair and are willing to pay for quality hair products. I have tried several different brands in search of the perfect combination. What I never knew was that by using these traditional products, many of which contain harsh chemicals, I was actually stripping and damaging my hair.

Two years ago a bout of insomnia led me to a new way of cleansing my hair. I had never heard of WEN before and as I watched the infomercial I knew that it was something different. A few days later, I saw WEN creator, Chaz Dean, on QVC and this time I decided to try it. Now I know that I will never go back to traditional shampoo. I am a WEN girl.

What exactly is WEN? Not a shampoo, WEN is actually a cleansing conditioner, free of the chemical sodium lauryl sulfate. And because WEN cleanses and conditions, it is a one-product process. It does the cleansing and conditioning and detangling and deep conditioning all in one. You won’t see lather because it is the chemicals that create the suds. But what you will see is clean, soft, shiny hair. And if you color your hair, as I do, WEN actually protects and maintains the color longer than traditional shampoo. Chaz Dean, Los Angeles-based hair stylist and colorist, created WEN in 1993 after seeing his clients’ damaged hair. He developed a natural alternative to the traditional shampoo and now, he is my new best friend.

You may find yourself pulling an all-nighter and catching the infomercial. Or you may see Chaz Dean on QVC (the most cost-effective way to purchase WEN by the way). If you do, consider trying it as a gift to you and your hair. You won’t be lathering, but the rinsing and repeating is the same.

Ask yourself: if not now … WEN?

What do you think?

(by the way, I use Pomegranate and my teenage sons use it, too!)

Aging: A slight shift in perception

Me, age 52

It is inevitable. One day you find yourself over 40. You look in the mirror and find that you are not the young person you were. I know about this: I am 52 and I have made this realization several times in the last few years. I am shocked when I notice any number of changes to my body: My arms look a little funny in a specific light, the lines on my face are increasing, I am more aware of the need to pull my stomach in, and my size and weight is up and doesn’t seem to be going down any time soon. A friend told me that she heard actress Goldie Hawn talking about aging, and she said that you must come to terms with the fact that after 50, you may indeed go up a dress size. Hmmm …

I say don’t give up on yourself! In your heart you are the same. Actually, because you have the wisdom of age on your side, you are more the same than ever before. You are still vibrant and want to feel good. You may have to make a slight shift in perception, but you don’t have to give up who you are. In fact, enjoy this new phase and let your fashion choices enhance your life.You may want to wear it knee-length, but wear that skirt. You may want to check the rise on your jeans, but wear those jeans (and wear them fitted; stay away from baggy and non-fitted because they actually make you look older). You may want to check the fit of a tee, but wear it if you like tees and sleeveless shirts as I do. Never forget to wear color. Black will always be slimming and chic. Smile back at yourself the next time you look in the mirror! And don’t stop wearing that dress, no matter what the size.

What do you think?

Smile back at yourself the next time you look in the mirror!

Fast Girl

Ingrid,’s book, Fast Girl. Photo by Klaus Schnitzer, well-known car photographer.
“I was looking for something that said ‘fast’ and ‘girl;’ I think
this Karen Millen cocktail dress says both.”

All of us are a lot more capable than we think we are.” ~ Ingrid, a.k.a. Fast Girl

Ingrid Steffensen is a Fast Girl. How do you explain why, at 45, this college professor of architectural history, this classic “good girl” –  suburban wife and mother of daughter Emma – took a hiatus from teaching to dive in to high-performance driving? And not only that, but also to tell her story in a new book, entitled Fast Girl. How? Better yet … why? Because as Ingrid says, “I’ve discovered the fierce joy of biting into life like a juicy steak …”

Ingrid’s husband, Mr. B. as Ingrid refers to him in her book, was the initial high-performance driver in the family. His passion for driving never interested Ingrid when he first started: She was too busy taking care of a baby, then toddler, then young child. But fast-forward seven years, and Ingrid, now with a ten year-old daughter, sees the possibility of joining him on the track, and it becomes a reality. “The first time I was terrified out-of-my mind. I’m proud of myself that I did it anyway.” And so our Fast Girl started her journey of high-performance driving on her own. When asked about a defining moment when she knew she was hooked Fast Girl responds: “I was driving my Mini-Cooper and an all-black Porsche Turbo with spitting flames, literally, was in front of me. But I was faster. Ultimately, he had to concede and let me pass. I felt a great surge … ‘Oh Yeah!'”

And now Fast Girl is a bona fide high performance driver; in the spring of 2012 she became an instructor herself, to both men and women. She is also an author, sharing her story of growth and confidence with all of us.  “I’m 45 and all of a sudden people are calling me a bad-ass!” ~ Fast Girl, Ingrid!

What do you think?

Fast Girl Ingrid at her book signing (Words Bookstore, Maplewood NJ, with owner Jonah Zimiles) wearing another Karen Millen dress, her favorite designer. “I’m a fan of her designs; they are beautifully tailored and have impeccable seaming.”

News on the little black dress

Ralph Lauren Collection, Fall 2011
Black silk embroidered art deco evening dress
(Chrysler Building) – “Little Black Dress” Exhibition, SCAD

I turned on the television last night just in time to see Entertainment Tonight feature a story on Andre Leon Talley, Contributing Editor at Vogue, and his exhibition of the timeless Little Black Dress” opening to the public on September 28 at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art. This exhibition spotlights the evolution of the classic and beloved little black dress and remains on display through January 27, 2013.

The exhibition includes about 80 dresses and features many of today’s well-known designers, including Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford and Norma Kamali. The dresses vary, reminding us that it doesn’t have to be a little black dress to be a little black dress! Dr. Talley was curator for the project and lovingly put together the collection for more than a year. In his own words: “The black dress can liberate one. It can set a new style standard or adhere to old standards. It can be rebellious, reckless, elegant or establishment.”

In addition, Dr. Talley, himself a SCAD trustee, is interested in helping young SCAD designers and has featured dresses from two recent SCAD graduates, because as he says, “The point of view is to show that there are young designers who are doing black dresses in a new way.”

It’s all very exciting for a little black dress lover like myself!

What do you think?

“Little Black Dress” Exhibition, SCAD Museum of Art – Photo courtesy of SCAD

Laurie: The evolution of fashion


Fashion after 40 becomes more about you as a person, from the inside out rather than from the outside in. When you’re younger you think fashion is the clothes, the outside – but as you get older you realize that it is more about how you feel within. You make the fashion. My daughter is seven. She has a favorite skirt and you can see how special she feels in it; when she puts it on she just wants to twirl! All girls that age are like that. They pick clothes that make them feel good. Self-confident. As girls get older and reach the teenage years and beyond they are so affected by what others are wearing that they think only about the clothes. And finally, as women get older, hopefully we begin to trust ourselves and stop trying so hard. It’s no longer about what might be in, but more about what feels right to us. That is the evolution of fashion.”

~ Laurie

Powerful Stuff!

Make-up artist Bobbi Brown’s new book, “Pretty Powerful.”

I caught an interview of interest on The Today Show: make-up artist Bobbi Brown with Alexa Ray Joel talking about Bobbi’s new book entitled, “Pretty Powerful.” And it is. I am a big Bobbi Brown fan. I use her make up (I especially love the creamy foundations and lipsticks). But what I find most appealing is her fervent desire for women to be their best selves.

This new book is about women sharing their individual stories of empowerment and self-esteem. In Bobbi Brown’s own words: “Creating ‘Pretty Powerful’ was an unforgettable experience; I had the honor of working with an amazing collection of women, each celebrating life and full of energy and confidence. My hope is to help women everywhere understand that being who you are is the secret to lasting beauty – and that all of us can be both pretty and pretty powerful.”
Bobbi Brown, from her book “Pretty Powerful”

I believe in her message!

What do you think?


Myriam’s London adventure!

Myriam in London

Remember Myriam – The Alvarez women? She just returned from a week in London. Not only did she enjoy the beauty of London on a warm and sunny streak, but she also caught the tail end of London’s Fashion Week. Here are reflections from her trip and by the way, next time I’m going with her! …

This white jacket was only 15 pounds (translates to $22)! Isn’t it cute? This little shop was filled with original, funky and fun clothing – with a sense of humor. I would say urban with an edge. We were simply exploring a little side street and stumbled upon it ...

The windows were designed for London Fashion Week

All the windows were designed for London’s Fashion Week. This one says, ‘Real beauty is from inside to outside.’ How true and wonderful; in the midst of focusing on the external to be reminded of what really matters.

Look at this gorgeous dress! We found it in a quaint, old historic neighborhood of London – Marylebone Lane – filled with cute, little shops, and no-name brands but absolutely exquisite clothing.

Harrods – dressed up for Fashion Week

We also explored South Kensington and of course, the famous Harrods Department Store. This dress and scarves were originals by British designer Matthew Williamson and made especially for London Fashion Week

The views, the city, the weather, were so beautiful. And London has so much to see. I would never get tired of it!

~ Myriam (photos also taken by Myriam)