Wednesday, January 28, 2009

hello from Quebec!

So I'm in Quebec and Montreal for a few days in celebration of my brother's wedding.  En route from the warm, sunny climate I call home, to the frigid, sub-zero temperatures they call "normal" in Canada, I noticed something that I've already talked on a bit before.  And apparently I must revisit the topic.  

People just don't bring the essence of glamour to travel anymore.  If your parents aren't old enough to remember, your grandparents will definitely recall the days of formal travel attire.  Not quite "black tie", but more than the traditional "Sunday best", families used to dress to the nth degree for a voyage in the sky.   Quite the contrary to the ill-fitting shirts, rag-like trousers, and otherwise terrible fashion sense.  More like, a lack of fashion sense.

I move that we bring some elegance back to the sport of travel.  A driver, arriving in a tuxedo, cap, and gloves to drive your limo instantly says "whoever I am driving, is not only literally going somewhere, but is already miles ahead of the competition..."

So, next time you fly, take a moment (or two or ten) to spruce yourself up.  Put some pep in your step.  And not only will you be in a new location, you'll also be en vogue.  Bon voyage!

Monday, January 26, 2009

put your best foot forward

It really is "all in the details" - and it's important to not neglect your feet either! Ladies, regular pedicures can make a huge difference, especially if you live in warm climates where open toed shoes are regular accessories. And men, if you are excessively rough on your feet, or have prolonged exposure to harsh elements like salt water or sun, a pedicure is also something to consider.

If you don't want to pamper your feet at the spa or nail salon, invest in a good scrub brush and foot scrub to exfoliate your feet regularly - removing the dead, rough skin will instantly improve the appearance and feel. Make sure to regularly trim your toe nails. If you have discoloured nails, consult your doctor.

As for your shoes - make sure leathers are polished, clean, and free of damage. Visit your local, reputable shoe repair, or even consult with your shoe manufacturer to see if they have a repair program or option.

When you put your best foot forward, you're not only on solid ground, but you're also on fashionable ground as well!

Friday, January 23, 2009

hat fit for the queen...

...of soul, that is! Apparently Mr. Song Millinery in Detroit, Michigan has caused the latest wave in fashion trends. After creating Aretha Franklin's gray felt bow hat, complete with Swarovski crystals throughout, the phone has been ringing off the hook at the South Korean's store with requests for the same hat. After Ms. Franklin visited the store and couldn't find what she wanted, she combined two versions, basically a "I want this bow on that hat" type of request. And now, you too can have your own version of Ms. Franklin's hat. Only your version is US$179 instead of over US$500 like the Queen of Soul's hat, and yours shall arrive in satin, rather than felt. However, they'll look just the same.

Mr Song Millinery
6513 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 873-2540

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Product (red)

As you may (or may not know), I am borderline obsessed with the Product (red) campaign! I always seem to be talking about it, wearing something from the campaign, praying for their success, and wondering what creative schemes will come next.

More than 1,750,000 people have received treatment. Over $100,000,000 has been collected in Year 2 of Product (red) sales - that's enough money to put 660,000 people on live saving medications for 1 year. More than 2,500,000 people have been effected by your purchases with Product (red).

Most of us don't know someone with HIV/aids. This is Angelique Nyiramatabaro, an 18 year old student from Rwanda. Angelique was born HIV positive and was told of her status when she was 10 years old. She and her sisters lost both their parents to AIDS many years ago.
Before Angelique started taking antiretroviral medicine, she had been too ill to go to school. The worst thing, she says, was the sickness which affected her eyesight so she couldn’t study or read at all. But now, thanks to antiretroviral therapy, she’s healthy, she’s in school and doing very well. Despite the true hardships she and her sisters face to keep themselves clothed and fed, Angelique says she feels the future is bright. Learning from her own doctors, she says she hopes to one day be able to study medicine and become a doctor herself. And she's received this assistance and hope from Product (red).

Product (red) isn't a charity. It's a choice. It doesn't cost you any extra money. Upgrade your choices to upgrade someone's life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cosmetics lawsuit

Wow. Wow. Wow. So in regards to the court case (Azizian, et al. v. Federated Department Stores, Inc., et al.,Docket No. 4:03-CV-03359-SBA), apparently a group of cosmetics, skincare, and fragrance companies settled their case. Of course, no company admits any wrongdoing, but, a group of the defendants has decided to issue US$175 million worth of products.

Apparently, under the lawsuit, the department stores and cosmetics companies "conspired to sell products at the manufacturers' suggested price only - never at a discount." The lawsuit also alleged that special promotions were coordinated so that other stores could not compete.

So, what does this mean for you? Basically, you get to choose one free product from a list of offerings, absolutely free.

For a maximum period of 7 days, beginning 20 January, if you purchased skincare, fragrances, or cosmetics from 29 May 1994 - 16 July 2003 from any one of the following US retailers (see the list below), you are eligible to get one free product (from a designated list of products). You do not need any proof of purchase or receipt. However, you must sign a form with basic contact information (name, address, phone number, etc).

From what I can tell after reading the lawsuit, if you purchased items from multiple retailers (such as some from Dillard's, some from Sak's Fifth Avenue, and some from Neiman Marcus), you are eligible to receive one complimentary product from each of the three retailers.

So, here's a list of which stores you could have made a qualifying purchase:

Dillard’s, Inc.: Dillard’s, Maison Blanche, Gayfers, J.B. White, Castner Knott, Bacons, McAlpin’s, Lion, Root’s, The Jones Store Company, Joslins, Hennessy’s, de Lendrecie’s, Glass Block

Federated Department Stores, Inc.: Macy’s East, Jordan Marsh, Macy’s West, Bullock’s, Rich’s, Lazarus, Goldsmith’s, Burdines, Bloomingdale’s, The Bon Marche, Stern’s, Broadway, Emporium, Weinstock’s, Abraham & Strauss

Gottschalks Inc.: Gottschalks, Gottschalks Inc., Harris-Gottschalks

The May Department Stores Company: Filene’s, Kaufmann’s, Lord & Taylor, Hecht’s, Strawbridge’s, Famous-Barr, The Jones Store, Foley’s, Robinsons-May, Meier & Frank

The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc.: Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus Direct, Neiman Marcus Online

Nordstrom, Inc.: Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Façonnable

Saks Incorporated: Saks Fifth Avenue, Parisian, Proffitt’s, McRae’s, Younkers, Herberger’s, Carson Pirie Scott, Bergner’s, Boston Store

Target Corporation: Hudson’s, Dayton’s, Marshall Field’s and Target

And the manufacturer's defendants and their respective brands named in the suit:

Boucheron (USA) Ltd.: Boucheron, Sonia Rykiel, Christian Lacroix, Paul Smith, Issey Miyake, Jean Paul Gaultier

Chanel, Inc.: Chanel Colour, Precision Skincare, Chanel No. 1 Collection, Chanel Le Corps Actif, Allure, Chanel No. 5, Chanel No. 19, Chanel No. 22, Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Chance, Allure for Men, Platinum Egoiste, Cristalle, Egoiste, Pour Monsieur, Technique Pour Homme, Anateus Pour Homme

Christian Dior Perfumes, Inc.: Christian Dior Perfumes

Clarins U.S.A., Inc.: Clarins, Thierry Mugler, Azzaro Paris

Conopco, Inc.: Calvin Klein, Obsession, Eternity, Escape, CK One, CK Be, Calvin Klein Color, Contradiction, Truth Calvin Klein, Calvin, Crave, Latitude Longitude, BCBGirls, Vera Wang, Chloe, Narcisse, Karl Lagerfeld, Lagerfeld Classic, Lagerfeld Man, Lagerfeld Woman, Lagerfeld Jako, KL, Photo, Sun Moon Stars, Cerruti (or Nino Cerruti), Cerruti 1881, Cerruti Image, Cerruti 1881 Amber, Valentino, Very Valentino, Valentino Gold, Vendetta, Elizabeth Arden, 5th Avenue, Blue Grass, Red Door, Sunflowers, True Love, Elizabeth Taylor Black Pearls, Elizabeth Taylor Passion, White Diamonds, Jean Louis Scherrer, Indian Nights/Nuits Indiennes, Visible Difference, Ceramides, Millennium

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.: Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique Laboratories, Inc., Prescriptives, Origins Natural Resources, M.A.C., La Mer, Bobby Brown Cosmetics, Tommy Hilfiger Toiletries, Donna Karan Cosmetics, Aveda, Stila Cosmetics, Jo Malone, Kate Spade Beauty, Laboratoires Darphin, Michael Kors Fragrances

Guerlain, Inc.: Guerlain

L’Oréal USA, Inc. (formerly known as Cosmair, Inc.): Biotherm, Helena Rubenstein, Kiehl’s Since 1851, Lancôme, Shu Uemura, the Designer Fragrances, including Cacharelle, Giorgio Armani, Guy Laroche, Paloma Picasso, and Ralph Lauren

Parfums Givenchy, Inc.: Parfums Givenchy

Stores participating in the product giveaway are:
Bergdorf Goodman
Boston Store
Carson Pirie Scott
Neiman Marcus
Saks Fifth Avenue

And customers may choose from the following:

The following is a list of the Manufacturer Defendants and their products that will be distributed, while supplies last, through the stores listed above:

Boucheron (USA) Ltd.: Femme Eau de Toilette (1 ounce/30 ml)

Chanel, Inc.: Coco Mademoiselle body lotion (3.4 fluid oz)

Christian Dior Perfumes, Inc.: J’Adore Eau de Parfum (15 ml)

Clarins U.S.A., Inc. (customers will have a choice of ONE of two products, while supplies last): Clarins Energizing Morning Cream (30 ml) OR Clarins Beauty Flash Bomb (30 ml)

Conopco, Inc. (distributed by Coty, Inc. on behalf of Conopco, Inc.) (customers will have a choice of ONE of three products, while supplies last): Calvin Klein Euphoria Bath and Shower Crème (6.7 oz) OR Vera Wang Princess Body Polish (5 oz) OR Lovely Sarah Jessica Parker Shower Gel (6.7 oz)

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (customers will have a choice of ONE of two products, while supplies last): Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair (15 ml/0.5 oz) OR Clinique Moisture Surge (30 ml/1 oz)

Guerlain, Inc.: My Insolence Eau de Toilette (15 ml)

L’Oréal USA, Inc. (formerly known as Cosmair, Inc.) (customers will have a choice of ONE of eight products, while supplies last): Lancôme UV Expert 20 OR Lancôme Cils Design Pro Mascara OR Lancôme Fatale Mascara OR Lancôme Courbe Virtuose Mascara OR Lancôme Primordial Skin Defense OR Ralph Lauren Romance Shower Gel (6.7 oz.) OR Giorgio Armani ACM Shower Gel (6.7 oz) OR Lancôme Hypnôse Shower Gel

Parfums Givenchy, Inc.: Very Irresistible Givenchy Eau de Toilette (15 ml)

These are the only products that will be distributed, while supplies last, as part of the settlement product distribution. Not all products are available in all stores; rather, stores will be distributing products from the participating brands that the particular store ordinarily sells.

I know it's a lot of legal jargon, and "if ____ then ___" statements, so if you have questions, call your favourite local department store that is participating. I'm just trying to give you the information is as plain, simple language as possible!

For more information, visit the cosmetics settlement website.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

patriotic fashions

Patriotism is always in style. It's important to remember your family of past and present. Today I'm wearing some red, white, and blue. We've voted for the leaders. Now it's time to properly support them, and do our past too. Just remember to be en vogue. We want to be fashionable citizens o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Marcia Kilgore = beauty expert

TeenVogue's Maura Lynch interviewed Marcia Kilgore, the foundress of my two favourite skincare companies - Bliss and Soap & Glory. The following is the article.

There was this moment after I started Bliss that I was between facials, and I ran around the corner into the spa's lobby area and saw Calvin Klein standing there shopping from my shelves," recalls Marcia Kilgore. "I thought, 'That's when you know you've made it, when Calvin Klein buys something with your name on it!'" Since then, Kilgore's Bliss has become a beauty giant (with more than just one celebrity fan). But long before she was creating clear and radiant skin for her clients, Kilgore was searching for a way to clear up her own face. "I had terrible skin and had suffered from acne from the time I turned twelve," she adds. "After eight years of cover-up, sulfur masks, and topical antibiotics, I thought I'd go to facial school to sort myself out." At eighteen, she left her small town in Canada for the bright lights of New York City— "I took a crash course in skincare treatments at the Christine Valmy School on Fifth Avenue, and the rest is history!" Now, after ten years at Bliss, Kilgore is finding skincare success again with Soap & Glory, a line of bath and body products that launched in 2006. "You shouldn't have to spend an arm and leg to moisturize one,"says Kilgore. It's no wonder then, with such a philosophy, that the line calls Target's shelves home. Adds Kilgore, "The clientele is groovy enough to want fun design, and clever enough not to want to spend a lot to get it." So what does one do after launching two internationally successful brands? "If I had my way, I'd be a singer," she jokes. "Tell that to my vocal chords, which aren't as cooperative as, say, Alicia Keys'."

Love her. Love her. Love her.

Friday, January 16, 2009

say no to the bush

I'm all for political activism. And I love both the products and services provided at Bliss and their wonderful spas. But I must say, I am not a fan of their recent email campaign. I know the economy is a less than blissful, and that it's still "trendy" to be politically savvy, but creating a sale for the "transition of presidential power" from President Bush to President-elect Obama? Wow.
I think this economy is a blessing in disguise for stores and retailers worldwide though. It eliminates mediocre associates, half-hearted shoppers, and less than stellar competition. It has forced retailers to lower prices where possible, strengthen customer service and clienteling, and be creative in driving and increasing business.
I don't know hy this campaign from Bliss isn't sitting with me well. I'm all for "manscaping" and "womanscaping" if you will - artfully and skillfully grooming the body. Maybe it's that I'm not so thrilled that they're likening "saying goodbye to our president" to "saying goodbye to unwanted body hair"...who knows. Regardless, the campaign is working - because people, like me, are talking about Bliss and their presidential transitional sale on waxing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

wireless earpiece devices

I love technology and convenience. Don't get me wrong. And I especially love my jawbone Bluetooth handsfree device for my mobilephone. I use it while driving, cooking, and grocery shopping - 3 tasks that usually require the use of both hands. I also wear it under my helmet when biking.

However, unless you are participating actively in activity that requires the use of both hands, leave the device somewhere else. I'm currently at a local bistro cafe watching a group of ladies lunch, and two of them have earpieces in! Since when is Bluetooth the latest trendy accessory? I understand the fun colours and new materials are alluring - but really?! I can't tell if you're talking to me or secretly conversing with your mistress on the phone! be polite. Be fashionable. Reserve the device for when it's actually needed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spring Essentials for Men

in no particular order, your spring shopping list.

-- a tennis inspired vneck sweater. think tailored, modern. goes perfectly with your favourite tshirt and jeans, underneath a suit, or even with khakis and a golf shirt.

-- a sailing jacket. I love Puma's new yachting inspired collection. it's the new golf jacket. only better.

-- a motorcycle jacket. think more brando, less bon jovi. classic. for a more modern look, choose one in dark blue, light gray, or even red.

-- a tailored cardigan can be perfect. wear it whenever you'd wear a sport jacket or blazer. just make sure the fit is proper.

-- lightweight cotton suits. winter is over, so leave the heavy wools and dark colours at home. opt for light grays, navy, and khaki.

-- warmer weather = more outdoor activity. ramp up your style with athletic inspired apparel - you already see tennis, sailing, and riding on the list. add a splash of colour in the form of your favourite rugby shirt - pair it with some fitted khaki pants, and you'll be cooler than cool.

And for the super stylin' guy who still is stuck in cold weather - opt for heavier, winter fabrics in springtime colours for a transitional look until you can fully usher in springtime garb.

PS - Happy Birthday, Mom. I hope they serve birthday cake in heaven.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

look good, feel better

The American Cancer Society has a wonderful program called "Look good, feel better" - with a general premise that when you're going through chemotherapy and vigorous cancer treatments, if you look good (thanks to cosmetics tips and wig styling) you'll feel better.

The same can be applied to this recession and less-than-fashionable economy. Fashion and beauty can be an escape from stress. And when you're less stressed, you can be more productive, happier, and more successful.

So when times are tough, do what you can to feel beautiful. Buy your favourite lipstick. Use your signature cologne. Stock up on luxurious socks and hosiery. Even though you may have a budget - be sure to include yourself!

You can still be fabulous and frugal!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Is Alexander McQueen feeling the economic crunch?

Alexander McQueen's Spring 2009 is quite interesting. Feminine to the nth degree. Flirty, in a dark, bold manner. Delicate, in a strong, unapologetic presentation. Pale pinks, vibrant yellows, grays, blacks. Natural beauty.

Jackets, leggings, and cocoon dresses. A shift from his traditionally outlandish couture, the tailoring seems a bit toned down. Is this Alexander's contribution to the current economy by creating a commercial collection with mass appeal?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Living to work?

One of the best accessories you could ever incorporate into your wardrobe is something you can't pick up at your favourite local retailer, or even at the most exclusive boutique. When you're calm, relaxed, and (relatively) stress free, you instantly look and feel comfortable in your own skin. This self awareness and confidence brings a glorious glow to your skin and almost an aura of quintessential cool.

Ask yourself this: "am I living to work" or "am I working to live"...if you answered the former - a few modifications to your daily grind can alleviate many stresses. First - start you day with a hearty, healthy breakfast. If possible, limit the time you spend each day for emails to just 90 minutes -if you can prohibit yourself from being sucked into the seemingly endless stream of emails and inboxes, you can actually be productive. (This isn't to say you should ignore all other emails - some things genuinely can't wait). Secondly - plan a healthy lunch. If your time budget affords it, go to the gym or incorporate some exercise. Get outside! Walk around your building or complex! Fresh air, some sunshine, and a little strenuous activity can be the perfect stress reliever, and a little extra exercise is always a plus for everyone!

If you leave work at 6 PM - turn off your blackberry, mobilephone, or any other mobile communication device at 6:30. If something is truly am emergency and can't wait until the start of a new day, someone from work will either stop by your residence or find alternative communication outlets. The mobile leash our devices create can severely hamper "personal" time. So do your best to limit professional interruptions. Don't check your work email from home.

When your personal life is in order, your ability to be content and happy increases. Happy home lives lead to more successful professional lives.

So again, ask yourself - "am I living to work" or "am I working to live" 2009, I think we all could use a little less working and a lot more living! Stress is never en vogue!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Details, Details

In both professional and social settings, it's all in the details. We, the people who are judgemental and/or observant and quite vocal about what we see and think, pay attention to the smallest of details. At a certain French luxury boutique, I always looked at customers hands. If their hands were well groomed (for both men and women) - hands free of dirt, debris, and other unsightly flaws - and their nails were tended, I knew that these people would have a greater ability and chance to purchase. My thinking - if they spent a few extra moments and/or money to keep up their appearance, and cared enough to make this investment, they also cared enough to invest in a larger purchase and keep up their appearance as well with something from my exclusive store. Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't withhold assistance from potential customers if their hands and nails weren't up to my expectations - but it was a foolproof indicator, most of the time.

So, boys and girls, do yourself a favour. Make sure your hands and nails are properly tended. You need not spring for weekly manicures if unable - but you can quite easily invest in a small, durable nail brush. I keep one by the sink in my bathroom, as well as in the shower. Wash your hands with a mild soap, spending a few seconds to scrub the top of each nail, and underneath as well. A premium hand lotion or treatment is also a wise addition as well.

During college, I served on a leadership council for my university's president. One of my fellow student leaders, a very heterosexual "guys' guy" fraternity type - used to always (half jokingly, half seriously) comment on a professor of his, who apparently had very well groomed hands. My point is - having clean, presentable hands implies nothing about one's sexual preferences.

In a business setting - think of how often you use your hands. You may be promoting a new item which you hold in your hands. You may be shaking hands. You may be demonstrating a new product with your hands. You may present a business card.

Think about shaking someone's hand. When meeting someone for the first time, the very first contact you make is done by approaching the individual with your arm outstretched and your hand extended, ready to grasp their hand, solidly shake, and introduce yourself. Regardless of the task or situation - it's all about the details. You never know who's watching.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

offices and dressing rooms?

Whether you're networking or not-working, it's important to look your best. Before big meetings, hobnob events, gatherings, and other critical daily activities, a little prep work can go a long way. Freshen up. If you suffer from excessive sweating - change your shirt. Moist towelettes and a reapplication of deodorant and/or antiperspirant can go a long way. If you're facial skin is overly oily, wash your face and reapply your moisture controlling facial lotion. Touch up any cosmetics. Brush your hair and teeth. However, do not apply scented lotions or fragrances. You don't want to make your pre-event primping obvious. When you put your best foot forward, success is bound to be in style. If nothing, you'll look the part.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


There are few television shows that I actually get excited about. nip/tuck is definitely one of them. I love everything about the program - the hyper-drama, the storylines, the characters, and of course the fashion. Dr. Christian Troy by far exudes the greatest style - he's self aware (some would say cocky) about his appearance and image, he is comfortable in his skin, cool, classic, and just a fabulous fashion icon.

In honour of the series premier tonight, I'm including some of my favourite photographs of Dr. Troy.

And for your "networking tip of the day" - when someone offers you a business card, be sure to take it with both hands, hold it for a moment and actually read it, in front of the person giving it to you. Comment on the design or style of the card as you're placing it in your jacket pocket or purse - this way you're acknowledging physically (by looking) and socially (by speaking about it) receiving and actually caring about the card. Receiving a business card is receiving an extension into yet another person's network. Use with care.

Monday, January 5, 2009

networking = not working

Whilest a pupil in university...

OK, so I realize that is was too formal for language on my blog. Shall I commence again?

"When I was in college" I was the student assistant for our Board of Trustees. They were probably the most powerful, successful, and influential minds I'll ever hope to interact with. One of the many lessons I learned was from the former Chariman, who just happens to be the former president of a certain powerful company known spearheaded by a certain Mr. Mick. E. Mouse.

I learned that "networking" is one letter different than "not working" - the more people you know, especially people who are successful, powerful, influential, and/or well connected, the better it is for your future.

With that said, in honour of my Grande Mentor (as I love to call him), I shall provided some simple tips on how to improve your networking (and your image, too!) throughout the year. I want 2009 to not only be successful for me, but you as well.

So, your tip of the day -

Always carry everything in your left hand. Whether a brief case, a purse, your tote bag, your groceries, your umbrella - whatever it is - keep it in your left hand. This way, should you be required to introduce yourself to someone - your right hand is instantly free, not sweaty or dirty, and ready to be extended. The more you extend your hand in introduction, the more you extend your network.