Business As Usual

Well, I say that… I certainly have my routines: I walk every other day, I do Nia classes twice a week, I cook every day and bake often- more and more it is sweets, and I do have to lay off them a bit. Or walk a little farther a little faster! Then I watchJeopardy every afternoon and British crime/detective shows after dinner. But I feel bored quite often. Or is it ennui?

RETIREMENT is waking up in the morning with nothing to do and by bedtime only having done half of it.

– Unknown

About that – there are things I can do, and that I tell myself I want to do, but I guess I’m just not bored enough yet to clean out closets for Goodwill, or do my taxes, or get out the sewing machine to sew or tailor a few blouses so they will fit better. And those things weigh on me.

But I also haven’t given myself credit for the things I have done, and I’ve accomplished some things I feel good about;

  • I have been studying Spanish on DuoLingo for more than a year. I had a 346-day streak going, but missed Monday because of an opthamologist appointment that left my eyes too dilated to do anything for hours. My reading and comprehension are much improved, and I understand many of the idioms and nuances of the language. I am now at the point where I need to practice speaking to someone. My friend Holly (who teaches Nia movement classes) does weekly classes on ZOOM with a native speaker. I am ready to sign up. I am also terribly nervous… but, I am sure it will be fun.
    I started DuoLingo with their free APP, but quickly upgraded, as it has so much to offer. For the price, I highly recommend it – I’ve been trying for years to become fluent again.
  • I learned about the HOT GIRL WALK exercise trend. Young girls are doing it, aiming for an hour daily, five days a week. Dressing in cute outfits and accessorizing! What struck me about it though is something we all will benefit from – while walking, “ONLY think about your goals, what you are grateful for, and how “hot” you are.”
    Walking and mindfulness are both great for improved memory and cognition, cardiovascular health, lowering stress and improving mood. Why not do them together AND make it an act of self-love, too!
  • For all of my Jewish friends, I want to wish you a very sweet and Happy New Year! I made my very first matzoh ball soup and it was delicious. I read Ina Garten’s recipe, and Martha Stewart’s recipe, and between my stock in the freezer and the herbs I had on hand, plus ideas from their matzoh recipes, the result was good. Even my sweetie tried it and went back for seconds. That’s saying somethin!
Fluffy and Flavorful.

This involves a friend – and it’s a WARNING about something I’ve never even thought about! A dear friend travels frequently for her job, and carries her vitamins/supplements in a daily pill carrier which she leaves in her room. She’d come home from her trip and was “refilling for next week” when she noticed two black capsules in the two remaining compartments WITH the rest of her supplements. They were not hers, and she didn’t put them there!

She notified the hotel, and the police, and is having them tested. I am so glad she noticed them, rather than just gulping them down!
When I travel again, I will keep my medicine carrier in the safe from now on. I used to just leave it in my carry-on after checking in… no more.

Thanks for reading, let’s all go out there and be HOT! Try new things, cook new things, share new things. Write letters to people to tell them you love them. (My cards are on sale at ) Go travel, have fun, stay safe. And get ready to vote soon. Vote for everyone that supports women, girls, daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. Nobody’s going to give us equal rights, we have to support each other and think about our kids and their kids.

All my love and gratitude –
XO Donna

What is sexy?

Captain-Jack-Sparrow-captain-jack-sparrow-4274507-751-1000The problem is not the problem.
The problem
is your attitude about
the problem.
Do you understand?

Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean

I can just hear him drunkenly slurring and spraying those lines. I admit it, I am a Johnny Depp fan. I think he’s sexy. And that brings me to the problem at hand, which is that I am trying to quantify “what is sexy.”  It is, after all, the relevant part of the title of my blog, and it’s the major component of the book I am writing, “Sick & Tired…and Sexy.”

Another admission, it’s the part of the book that I have hesitated to write until last, despite being the part of the book I must lead with. I’m sure it’s the part any publisher is going to care about; because who wants to read a book about being sick and tired? Exactly. But a how-to book on being sexy in spite of chronic illness just might grab their attention!

My problematic attitude: I think that sexiness, as a quality, is very difficult to write about. I don’t know if I can get my head around it. I worry that I won’t do such an important topic justice. One thing I see is that because of advertising, our society equates being sexy with desirability and worthiness, but we shouldn’t buy into that. I read a great article by Sam Stempky entitled “Dear sweatpants & hoodies, Thanks for being there for me. Sincerely, Sexy and I know it, but too lazy to show it.” She’s only college-aged and she’s figured out that her value doesn’t change based on how she looks or how “sexy” she currently appears. She has decided that she is worthy all of the time. Now, that’s sexy!

I will get an attitude adjustment, and start with what I know for certain:  Sexiness is a quality that can’t be faked. It’s a blend of attitude, confidence, caring about yourself, and comfort in your own skin, no matter what.
I know sexy when I see it. I also know it when I feel it. And I know when I’m not feelin’ it. I will keep working on this topic over the next few weeks, and invite you all to write me with any insights you have.

Let’s close with this:  “In my opinion, sexiness comes down to three things: chemistry, sense of humor, and treatment of waitstaff at restaurants.”
Rhoda Janzen

I agree,
XO Donna

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

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

Compare not…

A few posts back, I spoke of the way many of us (at our age) compare ourselves to younger women…and make ourselves unhappy with the results.  Today, as I read the latest post by Danielle LaPorte, a woman who inspires me ( no wait…a woman who continually blows my mind!) her post was about comparing.    ROSEBUD_clipart_3

Here’s what she had to say, “Comparison is a slippery slope to envy and for the most part, envy wastes energy that could be put towards getting what you want or optimizing what you have.”  

We must have the daring to be nothing but ourselves if we are to know what our true power is.”  ROSEBUD_clipart_3

Here’s another quote that I like: “Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you…than you.”   Unknown

It seems that our mind is wired to compare, and if the comparison can be neutral, and logical, that would be fine…but negative comparing starts early and hardly lets up as we get older. Unless we choose to break the cycle!   There is another site I read, that you may enjoy:  which offers, “simple wisdom for comples lives.”   They offered a great solution to all of the comparing, competing and quantifying that our minds want to do…they advise us to ‘redirect the comparison to a past and present self.’  What a great thought!  Only compare yourself now, to yourself then…see how much you’ve learned?  How much experience you have?  The wisdom you can share based on your experiences?  The acceptance you can offer to others…and the knowledge of how valuable that can be.

The only good thing I can see about comparing ourselves to others is when the comparison inspires us to emulate someone else’s good traits, or follow their good example.  With our ability to see, search and sort through so much information, there are many, many things to choose to emulate! There are many, many good examples out there to follow. There are many, many wise women to learn from. It’s never too late to change and grow, to discover and enjoy ourselves!  ROSEBUD_clipart_3

Every block of stone has a statue inside and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”  Michaelangelo

Start chipping away at old ideas, old habits, old ways of thinking about yourself.  Stop agreeing with your parent’s ideas, or society’s ideas, or even your kid’s ideas about what constitutes a woman, or what makes a woman a lady. Become the goddess you were meant to be!  And fall in love with your unfolding, evolving  self.  This year, give yourself and others the gift of a sexy, wonderful, confident YOU!ROSEBUD_clipart_3

I’ve saved my favorite quote for last: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  Dr. Suess

Happy Holidays, and Blessings in the New Year!

                               XO 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

Ah, Paris…

I subscribe to a site called “My Little Paris,”  in English.  Every week they focus on where to go for lunch, or the best place for a mani/pedi in Paris.  The best patisserie. Cocktails after work. Today, I was excited because they have published a guide-book, in English, of things to do in Paris with illustrations by their delightful artist, Kanako!  Of course, as I read, I daydreamed of returning!

Why is Paris sexy? It’s a city….one of many in the world. What makes IT sexy, and all of the others ‘not sexy?’ 

Maybe it’s simply the fact that when we hear something enough, we come to believe it. Now, it is so.  Then we say it and perpetuate it.  “Paris is the most romantic city in the world!”  “Paris is so sexy!”  “Oh, don’t you just love Paris!”  “The women are gorgeous!” 

We can do this same thing for ourselves! There is a saying, “You’ll see it when you believe it!”  Yes, you read that correctly. The saying is about manifesting. In this case, it’s also about watching our language, speaking lovingly to, and about, ourselves.

I spent the weekend before Thanksgiving in Dallas with a dear friend, salon owner Ron Maddox.  We shopped till we dropped, then we sat and talked over tea at Teavana – a shop as serious about their tea as Starbucks is about their coffee! We spoke about the words that are used in our everyday conversations. Languaging. Most of that conversation I will save for another blog, but I will mention this part:  Loving kindness in our dialogue toward ourselves…

Ron pointed out that as I was trying on clothes and shoes, that I wasn’t being very kind to a few body parts that I thought weren’t perfect. You know the drill, “these pants are too ___because my ass is too ___.”   Or my shoulders are too…my boobs are too…I’m too… I guess we all do this.  And I realized that we are, in fact, sending negative messages to ourselves which we internalize, come to believe, and then perpetuate.

What to do about this?  Catch yourself, and stop.  1) be grateful you have that body part at all!   2) take the charge out of it.  Think,  “These pants are too tight across the derrierre.”  No judgement! It’s about the pants, not about you. They just don’t fit.  And you deserve clothes that fit beautifully. (I’m sure you all know the value of a great tailor by now – all of your clothes CAN fit beautifully!)

When we went to Paris in 2005, I read many guidebooks before we went, and a few addressed how to dress in Paris. I left the blue jeans and sneakers behind, and packed my most sophisticated, yet comfortable clothes. I bought a sexy red raincoat.  I learned enough French to ask directions, and order food politely.  As I strolled the streets, or sat in cafes with a glass of red wine, I felt romantic, beautiful and sophisticated!  I chose to believe the good PR for Paris. Like putting on rose-colored glasses, everything was run through that filter, including myself!

 I love this image because it seems the tables are waiting. All we need do is climb up there!  We can also climb up into a place of  acceptance and love of ourselves.  Let’s be more conscientious about the things we say to ourselves  (being harsh with ourselves is NOT the way toward change, loving kindness is).  Let’s take the words I HATE out of our vocabularly. Rather than focusing on what we dislike, decide what we’d prefer, then focus on that as our goal.  If we want to change something on our body, do it out of preference, rather than disdain. We have the power to create a new reality – sometimes with the help of a skilled dermatologist, surgeon, hair stylist, personal trainer, or tailor – it’s all good!

Paris is the place that touches and inspires me most, and until today I didn’t realize why.

Come join me on that rooftop!

XO Donna