It’s (not that) easy being green

Kermitthe Frog“…but green’s the color of Spring and green can be cool and friendly-like.”   Kermit the Frog

I have to say that I was really excited when PANTONE, the global authority on color and color standards for the design industry, chose 17-5641 EMERALD as Color of the Year forPantone Swatch 2013.  “This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors,” say Leatrice Eisman, executive directior of Pantone Color Institute.  It doesn’t stop with fashion and home though, SEPHORA+PANTONE have partnered to create their 2nd annual limited edition Color of the Year Beauty  Collection.  Emerald adds drama to all eye colors and compliments peach, rose, pink, red and even eggplant. It’s a color a woman of any age can wear well, and this vibrant green can be the finishing touch on your fingernails, not to mention polishing off a pedicure Kermit would be proud of!  PantoneSephora

Pantone said that jewel-toned Emerald promotes balance, insight and harmony. How right they are!  I always wondered how the color of the year was chosen, and found that in order to arrive at their selection, they comb the world looking for color influences that can include the entertainmanet industry, travelling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations, technology, even sports events that capture worldwide attention!

But…none of that is the reason that I was excited about emerald green.  I was happy because green is the color of the heart chakra. The fourth of our seven chakras, and the one that deals with social identity, trust, forgiveness, unconditional love and compassion.  I see it as a good thing that there will be more of this color out there in the worldchakraimage surrounding us with it’s energetic vibration – vibe, if you will!  The heart chakra is a transition point between our lower three chackras, and our upper three.  Betwen the instinct to survive and the desire for enlightment.  This is the meeting place for both. I think we’ve seen what unchecked “instinct to survive” looks like: greed, war, violence, selfishness, corruption. I think a heartier dose (pun intended) of the desire for enlightment would be a very welcomed change.  I am fortunate to see it around me all the time; generousity, compassion, service, inclusive-community, spirituality and creativity.  I want to believe that a new focus on green signals a trend in that direction on a larger scale!

What are some ways you can “green up” your life?  You can try some sexy new eyeshadow, eyeliner, or mascara. You can ask your nail stylist for a pedicure with a new shade of green FreshFrog by OPI(this is Fresh Frog, by OPI!).  You can buy a beautiful new blouse in emerald, it goes with so many colors –  there is even an article online from the fashion industry on how to wear the Color of the Year. (They love it because it works well in men’s fashion, too). St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, so it’s a great excuse to buy green. There are bath towels in Pantone Emerald available at JCPenney…what a delicious color to wrap yourself in after you’ve bathed!  Both lavendar and jasmine oils are Lavendar bundle supposed to stimulate your heart chakra (might explain my recent fascination with all things lavendar) and you could easily buy a large, luscious bar of soap in either scent. And last, but not least, yoga.  Yoga opens the heart center. I recently bought a yoga CD by Rodney Yee (thank you, Ron Maddox).  It’s easy, beginning yoga that only takes 20 minutes, and I do it when I come home from work. Makes my whole evening mellower. I know a glass of wine would be faster, of course, but I will appreciate it even more with an open heart!

XO Donna

What did you love?

We take what we love…and try to find a way to make money at it.  Twist it and turn it until we can’t find a trace of whatever we once loved.  What did you love?”    from the movie,Hope Floats

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I saw the movie again last week.  One thing has been a constant love throughout my whole life has been my love of fashion magazines!  Of course I look through them, admiring the models that look completely unlike me, lusting over the clothes I know I won’t have, and the shoes I know would kill my feet, and the long, wonderful hair that could only happen in a wig, for me. But I realize that they aren’t about reality. They are dream sequences created by teams of artists, and meant to sell products, of course!  But, they are visually arresting, and also meant to inspire us!  To try something new. Express ourselves a little more. Have some fun!

Maybe you think it’s all vain, shallow, materialistic. Yes, maybe on some level it is – but humans are visual creatures. I think it’s vain and shallow when you focus on looks, and things, to the exclusion of everything else: character, values, intelligence, empathy, generousity or kindness.

Everyone, everywhere in the world, is affected by how things look.  I’m always inspired by the beauty in animals. In flowers. In nature. From our imagination. In art.  Aren’t you?  So why not be inspired by a beautiful fabric, or exquisite new shade of lipstick?  Or a perfect new detail in a shoe or purse that speaks to you?  Is this not art?butterfly

If  you feel uplifted, and more able to meet your daily challenges,  maybe (just maybe) because you feel like you can do anything today, you give a little bit more of yourself to the world. And that could be the flapping of the butterfly’s wings that will start the whole ocean-swell of kindness, or generousity, or an idea or charity that will change the world!

How we feel does color our reality. You can take that to the bank!  If a new lipstick, a beautiful pair of shoes, a new bra, or mastering the proportions of a Ramos Gin Fizz expands your horizons, increases your confidence, and improves your outlook on life, then critics be damned!

Do something wonderful for yourself. Sit down and read a fashion magazine for inspiration (buy a foreign Vogue, they have the most amazing photography and I’m never distracted by the words, since I can’t understand them!). Set a goal to tackle a new recipe this week. Find 6 reasons to feel great about yourself, and write them down. Think about what you once loved…and find a way to bring some of that back into your life.

Here’s a favorite recipe of mine to try:  The Ramos Gin Fizz  from ‘Garden and Gun Magazine’

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 egg white (pasteurized)
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 3-4 drops orange flower water
  • 1 ounce chilled club soda

In a shaker, combine ingredients, except the club soda. Shake briskly to combine. Add ice cubes and shake again for at least 2 minutes. Really! This creates the drink’s silky texture. Pour into a tapered flute or a wine glass, top with the club soda, stir and serve.  This cocktail is the definition of sexy!      


Not everyone can have DDs…

Only because they are not available yet. But, they are coming, right after the CCs get here! 

“Donna, what are you talking about?” you’re asking right about now. “Surely, not boobs…”

No, not boobs!  I’m talking about DD Creams – brand-new daily defense creams designed for the feet and body. They have a heavy-duty texture and reparative properties….perfect for our dry climate (except that today it’s finally raining in Texas again. Hallelujah!)  I’ve been reading about them, but can’t find any available online cc cream

I learned about them as I was researching CC Creams.  These are Color Control Creams: a skin-care/makeup hybrid that are even lighter in texture and feel than BB creams, and also offer more skin benefits such as;  improving discoloration, being more suitable for oilier skins (not that many of us have that problem as we get a bit older!) having brighteners, spot-diminishers, Asian healing botanicals (green tea, white tea, etc.) and ‘epidermal growth factor’ to stimulate collagen production. The Chanel Color Correction Complete is supposed to be “The Holy Grail of CC creams,” according to  But unless you have a friend who travels to Asia, it’s unavailable in the states for now.  The original CC cream is Rachel K Mineral Color Control, a best-seller in Asia, with an SPF 35, available in two shades, but only on her website. The cost: $39.00 USD.

The first-on-the-shelves here in the States is Olay Total Effects CC Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer available in drugstores for $21.00. It brightens the skin, while providing minimalcc%20cream%20for%20dark%20skin_265x265 coverage and comes in three  shades to work for everyone. It also provides all-day moisturizing, improves discolorations, has essential glucosamine complex and is anti-aging. For those of you who want to look polished and to protect your skin, yet don’t want to fuss, this could be a sexy solution!  And imagine the ease of this while you are on a trip.

And that brings me back to the beginning: BB Creams!  BB Creams were originally created in 1960 by a German dermatologist to protect her patient’s skin after surgery. They became very popular in Asia in the 1980’s and finally came to the Western markets the beginning of last year. BB stands for Beauty Balm; an all-in-one serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation. Some have sunblock, skin-brighteners and anti-wrinkle and anti-inflammatory properties. Some are soothing, some have hyalauronic acid and Vitamin C. And both Smashbox and The Body Shop are cruelty-free!

I never realized how many there were to choose from until I saw this wonderful chart! (and I wish I knew who to give credit to.)BB_Cream_Montage I think an ideal one for “women of a certain age” would have a slight pink tint to add a glow to our complexions!  Out of all of these,  I am sure you will find a wonderful new addition, or a new staple, to your beauty routine. I’m going to the drugstore and try the Olay CC cream today! They are perfect for everyday wear, offering less coverage than foundation and optical-brightening so that skin looks even-toned and fresh.  And, isn’t that exactly what sexy is all about?


The “eyes” have it!

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others.”  Audrey Hepburn

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Anonymous

In your eyes…the light, the heat.”  Peter Gabriel

The eyes are the window to the soul.”  Anonymous

What I actually want to talk about is your eyebrows. They can ‘make or break’ your whole look!  Foundation, check. Blush, check. Eyeshadow, check.  Mascara, check. And a swipe of lipgloss, or lipstick, to finish it all off.

BUT you forgot your eyebrows! That’s like a fine painting without a frame on it. Yes, seriously! I guess I will have to scare you into seeing how important this is:


The most common reason eyebrows are thin at our age is over-zealous “plucking” in our youth. Tweezing too much can result in damage to the follicle, and a lack of regrowth. (Teach your daughters, and grand-daughters, to have their brows done professionally, or have a pro teach them how, so they can do it well for the rest of their lives). As for us, now…since eyebrows do thin with age, we need solutions, and here are a few.

If your brows are thin you can buy a good brow-brush, and a brow powder in a shade very close to your hair color, and apply it in a flattering shape. (See illustration).Eyebrow Proportion If you have trouble, you can learn how online, or ask your hair-stylist, or the esthetician, at your salon to teach you. They should be glad to! 

For those of us with almost no brows at the outer corners, (see below, right) there is also the option of using a topically applied product in order to try to grow back some of our brows. I had a dermatologist tell me that “Latisse,” which is used for eyelashes, has had sucess at growing brows. It isThin brows available by prescription. You can order  “Brow Relonge” online for $80.00. It’s clinically tested, has a money-back guarantee, and a 96% customer satisfaction rating on the site I saw. “Revitabrow” is also available online, costs $110.00, but isn’t clinically-tested and had an 88% customer-satisfaction rating.  According to the site, topical minoxidil (Rogaine) may improve thinning eyebrows. It effectively stimulates hair regrowth in about 84% of users (according to the ISHRS). Applying a 5% solution to the eyebrow area twice daily may promote eyebrow growth within 12 weeks.

For years now, I have been using brow powder and a brush to shape and fill in my brows…but in 4-5 months I hope to be seeing our esthetician, Jessica, for brow tinting and shaping, along with my lash tinting!  I love that she uses natural, vegetable tints that come in a variety of colors for lashes and brows. (Having the lower lashes tinted makes them stand out beautifully, without risk of smearing or smudging under your eyes…which just isn’t sexy at all!)

 “Here’s looking at you, kid!”

XO Donna

**Jessica Timko works at Bella Salon & Spa, (512) 474-5999

A blank slate…

I hope this finds you well today.  Savoring the holidays, or recovering from them…if you savored them too well!                 (Drink lots of water, sparkling or otherwise. Add lemon or orange slices, mint leaves  or cucumber if you have any).

I waited all morning for inspiration to come. It hadn’t yet….but, rather than just sit and wait, I decided to do something useful. I ended up losing track of time as I gave myself a  pedicure, complete with a footbath with soothing epsom salts. Then a good pumicing, followed by a shaping, a primer and finally, Essie gold nail polish!

My muse hadn’t arrived yet, so I continued on with a manicure. Soaked my fingers in warm water, followed by massaging them with warm coconut oil. No polish, just follow that up with lots of sandalwood hand cream!

Back to the computer.  Ready and waiting, but I found myself alternately staring at the computer screen, and out the window at the sunshine. And at the garden.  And at a thermometer that reads only 39 degrees! How could it be so pretty AND so cold?  And how could I still NOT have anything to say?  Guest bath 9-15-08

So I pulled out all of the proverbial stops: I headed back to my bathroom where I  pulled my hair away from my face in a bandanna, washed my face with a Vitamin C cleanser, and get out one of my nutrient-infused face masques and carefully applied it. I headed to the sofa to settle down for a “long winter’s nap.” (I never manage to take a nap, no matter how tired I am!)

Much to my surprise, I did, indeed, doze off – and when I awoke 30 minutes later I felt refreshed, and my skin felt rehydrated!

Maybe I needn’t SAY anything at all today, but instead, “lead by example.”   I took care of myself… so that I could continue to take care of others.  And that’s a great way to stay sexy at any age!

XOXO Donna

Necessities vs. Luxuries

Nineteen days till Christmas Eve, but who’s counting?  I used to have a client who always, always, always had all of her shopping finished and wrapped by the first of December each year!  Her holiday cards were finished, too!

I’m not like that…not even close.  I assume that not many people are. ( I hope to hell I’m not missing something here, and I’m really just a slacker?)  I’m still thinking about small luxury gifts for my sisters. They take care of kids, jobs, husbands and homes all year long.  I want to take care of them. They put everyone else before themselves. My Mom was that way. Her mother was probably that way, too. 

I’m not like that, either. Not even close!  A while ago I realized that the things some women consider a luxury,  a good deep-tissue massage for example, are my necessity. It’s part of the “take care of yourself first, in order to take care of others”  school of thought that I bring up all of the time. I’m talking about a skillful massage (not a rub-a-dub mall massage) that increases flexibility, eases knotted muscles, stimulates lymphatic drainage, improvesmassage circulation and diminishes pain associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia. Of course, my line of work demands this kind of body-work. I stand all day, bend over a shampoo bowl many times, I have my arms raised while I’m cutting, and then when I’m wielding a blow-dryer. All in my mission to bring out everyone’s beauty!  

And none of that is a complaint. Seriously, I’d rather stand all day, than sit all day. Sitting for any length of time makes my mid-back hurt, my shoulders and neck get tense, and my butt go numb!  Oh, yours feels that way too????  See, you NEED that massage…and here you thought it was a luxury!   

For some women, a manicure isn’t a luxury…it’s a necessity. They work with clients, using their hands to point out information and selling points. Or they are in a position where having one’s appearance polished from head-to-toe includes finger-tips, too!   My father was the first man I knew that  “‘put the ‘man’ into manicure!”  He wore suits and ties to work every day (he was an Interior Designer) and had a manicure, with his nails buffed, every other week! I loved that he was stylish enough to do that!  Are you in a sales career? Are you a professional business-woman? You NEED a manicure too!   man icureWe can do lots of things to our face to diminish what time has done, but there is very little we can do for our hands. They say, “The hands always give a woman’s age away.”  To offset this, I use my facial cleansers and moisturizing creams on them in the evening. Keeping them neatly shaped, well-moisturized and professionally manicured can help them lie about your age just a little bit!

Pedicures should also go from our ‘luxury list’ onto our ‘necessity list’ because  a good nail technician can inform you about any problems she sees with your feet (how many of you can easily look at the bottoms and sides of your feet?). They can help prevent ingrown toenails, diminish callouses before they become a problem, and stimulate all of the reflexology points on your feet. A good warm soak and massage can ease pain and increase circulation.  Plus, you leave with sexy feet and toenails! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I always feel like I’m floating on Cloud 9 after a therapeutic pedicure! But wait, there’s more!  There is still one luxury left out there…a ‘fish pedicure’ where little fish nibble all of the dead skin off of your feet and toes! Seriously!

So, that simplifies my gift-giving for all of my sisters…now that massages, manicures and pedicures are off of the “luxury list” and on the “necessity list.”  Instead, I will go look at delicious, chanellaquermoisturizing lipsticks (I love both Nars & Laura Mercier) or beautiful nail laquer by Chanel (so fashionable)and Zoya (because it’s formaldehyde-free)  which are my current faves!  I’ll find them each a new color to ring in the holiday season.  Talk about luxury!

P.S. – I see Traci Collins, our massage therapist extraordinaire.  And Mie (Me-yay) our nail professional, is as delightful as she is talented!     Check with our front desk at Bella Salon for holiday specials: 512.474.5999

Message in a bottle.

Perfume. Everything about it sends a message; it’s name, the bottle it comes in, the scent itself, and what we feel, consciously or subconsciously, when we wear it!

Pepe Le PewAs I was driving into my neighborhood after work, I turned the corner onto my street and was confronted with a skunk moseying down the center of the road. I braked. Hard. Not wanting to startle her…I idled as she continued her unhurried stroll a little further, then walked up my neighbors driveway, tail held high and gracefully waving as she went.

On a related note, I had an appointment with an oral surgeon (lucky me!) and I was waiting for the elevator to arrive to take me up to his office. It did, and after the doors had opened fully, a very well-dressed, and well-coiffed older woman stepped out, followed almost immediately by her perfume bomb!  Obsession.  She made a left and walked away from me, moving down the hall like a fully-laden battleship trailing a huge wake behind her. I hesitantly boarded the elevator and tried not to gag as I rode the 3 floors up. 

According to National Geographic, “to employ his scent bomb, a skunk turns around and blasts his foe with a foul mist that can travel as far as ten feet.”  I’d bet that woman’s mist had a broader range and will probably linger for the better part of the day. I wondered if she knew she had overdone it? I wondered why she’d wear such a heavy perfume in the middle of the day. I wondered why she’d wear a perfume that had been out of style for years.  Or was it?  I decided to find out. I went to to find a list of the top ten perfumes for last year that their readers say they couldn’t live without.

  1. Donna Karan, Cashmere Mist Perfume
  2. Dior, Hypnotic Poison Eau de Parfum 
  3. Michael Kors Eau de Parfum 
  4. Estee Lauder, Beautiful Eau de Parfum Spray
  5. Mary Kay, Bella Eau de Parfum
  6. Escada, Moon Sparkle Eau de Toilette
  7. Benefit, Maybe Baby Eau de Toilette
  8. Sarah Jessica Parker, Lovely Eau de Parfum Spray
  9. Calvin Klein, Euphoria Eau de Parfum
  10. Avon, Far Away Eau de Parfum Spray

The thing these have in common is they are chic, modern, sexy scents. No Obsession on this list.  (I must admit my extreme prejudice here…I have hated Obsession ever since I loved it, packed my new bottle carefully, then double-bagged it before putting it in my suitcase for a trip to NY. Back in  the early 1990’s. Those JFK baggage handlers are something else…as I took my suitcase off of the carousel, I could smell my perfume!  The woman next to me could smell my perfume, too.  She looked at me, smiled and said, “Obsession?”  The perfume was shattered, the baggies were punctured and my clothes nearest to the bottle were stained. Ruined. I have been unable to bear it ever since!)

I was surprised that Chanel No. 5 wasn’t on this list. According to Harpers Bazaar, the Best Perfume for Evening is Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere…a lighter, fresher version of the original.  I like the sound of that!

As we age, our skin can/does react differently to perfumes – thus, an old favorite may not smell the same on us as it did years before. Add to that  the fact that our sense of smell often diminishes so that we can’t tell whether we’ve overdone it, or not!   Remember: Less is always more, with perfumes. 

Our perfumes also age…most experts agree that perfumes generally last from 3-5 years. You can help yours last longer by storing them away from direct sunlight and heat, a dresser drawer was one suggestion. (But, but, but…my beautiful tray, my artfully arranged Asian bottle collection!)  Don’t keep your perfumes in your bathroom either, because the temperature variations and extra humidity can lead to the fragrance’s deterioration. (Whew, glad I moved my tray of perfume out of the bathroom and onto my dresser where the bottles gleam and sparkle in the  sunlight!)  And last, keep them tightly closed to prevent evaporation which will causes changes in the fragrance’s balance.  (Wait a minute, if the bottle is tightly closed and evaporation is being prevented, how is humidity going to be a problem? ?)

Back to “Battleship Woman.” Maybe her perfume was due to expire and she wanted to use it up before it went to waste?   Still, too much, too heavy, and too dated a perfume only serves to make us seem old. Oh and speaking of old – you’ll thank me for being honest. Really, you will. There is nothing sexy about MOTHBALLS!  Not only will they keep moths away, they will keep people away!  There are healthy, non-toxic , and natural methods to keep the little bastards at bay. Always pack your clothes away clean. Moths go after body oils, and sweat on clothing. Use cedar blocks, or lavendar sachets. Buy storage boxes that seal tightly.  If you did pack in mothballs last season, either dry-clean, or launder, or air out your clothes completely before wearing them in public. Please!

What were we talking about? Oh, yes…perfume. I thought I’d invented this trick, but I guess not. It’s a great way to apply perfume so you have a light overall scent,  including your hair: Spray your perfume up in the air and walk through it. This is especially nice with all of the upcoming holiday parties and events where you will be in close quarters. 

After all this, I think the sexiest direction to move is to wear less perfume, rather than more. Switch to a lighter version of your favorite fragrance. Or best yet…try something brand new-to-you. Youv’e changed over the years, why shouldn’t your perfume?  Think of the fun you can have on this quest. Think of the compliments. Think of the samples!

So, I  am excited to be going on a new perfume hunt. I will look for a daytime eau de parfum, or eau de toilette, that sends the message, “I’m young at heart, chic and capable.” And, I will find an evening parfum that announces, “I’m sexy, and I know it!”  I don’t think that’s asking too much of a bottle of perfume. Do you?

Bon chance,

XO Donna