10 Tips for Keeping Your Feet Healthy and Happy, Even in Heels

Save yourself from uncomfortable shoes and unhappy feet with these 10 essential tips for buying and wearing shoes from I Want Those Shoes! by journalist and “shoe obsessive” Paola Jacobbi.

Even Naomi Campbell, who has the bearing of a panther, once stumbled and fell on a catwalk because of a pair of shoes that were too high. You need to know how to walk in certain shoes and if you wear these shoes too often, you can risk more than the occasional tumble.

Some experts in podiatry maintain that a “May Damage Your Health” sign, like the warning on cigarette packets, should appear on heels over three and a half inches high.

An exaggeration? Not really. Artificially compressing the extremities causes harm. Chinese women whose feet were bound to stop them from growing suffered severe skeletal problems from osteoporosis to arthritis, as is the case with elderly Western women who spent the 1950s tottering around on the stilettos that were the fashion of the day.

What fate, therefore, lies in store for the bones of this generation who are slaves to even more killer heels? Osteopaths claim it is still too early to tell, but they admit that the construction of today’s shoes (softer materials, more care devoted to the anatomical shape of the inner sole) would appear to be less harmful.

In the meantime, however, in order to be able to wear certain kinds of terribly narrow, pointed shoes, many women will do anything, including going under the surgeon’s knife.

In New York, in her luxurious Park Avenue clinic, the podiatrist Suzanne Levine operates on six pairs of feet a week at fifty thousand dollars a pop. The most popular operation is the “filing” or, in more severe cases, the elimination, of bunions. Even the Italian TV presenter Paola Barale has admitted to undergoing a similar operation, claiming, “I didn’t use to like my toes, but now I can wear any sandals I like.”

As for other mini-operations in demand so that one looks better in shoes, these range from ankle and calf liposuction to subcutaneous injections of silicone gel to soften up areas in the foot that rub against shoes that are either too high or too tight. These are the ridiculous excesses of times in which we can’t stomach the slightest physical imperfection, or do without the latest fashion. Without being too alarmist, it is still possible to pick up some useful advice from this state of affairs:

10 Rules for Happy Feet

  • Know that as you get older, feet tend to get longer and wider. It’s useless trying to squeeze into your usual size 6M; probably, after the age of forty, you’ll be a 7M.
  • Remember that, whatever your age, Audrey Hepburn advised buying shoes half a size bigger than necessary, as comfort is integral to elegance.
  • For the same reason, it is a good idea to buy shoes in the evening, when feet are at their biggest, and never in the morning.
  • Whether you’re buying heels or flats, never get shoes that aren’t instantly comfortable: the “breaking in” myth needs debunking.
  • Try not to wear the same pair of shoes for too many days in a row. In fact, ideally you should change them every day so as to avoid the shoes losing their shape, and the feet getting used to a single contour.
  • Whenever you get the chance — at home or on the beach — try to walk around barefoot.
  • After an evening of walking around on heels, massage the soles of your feet with a tennis ball.
  • Look at the feet of your mother and grandmother. Many small deformations are hereditary, and therefore preventable.
  • If your feet ache or are often reddened on the sides, find a good podiatrist and visit as often as you would the dentist.
  • Whatever kind of shoes you wear and whatever the shape of your feet, accept and love them, pampering them with love and pedicures. Your feet are a pedestal from which arises your beautiful soul.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paola Jacobbi, author of I Want Those Shoes! (Copyright © 2007 by Sperling & Kupfer Editori S.p.A.; Translation copyright © Simoneta Winkert) is a journalist and special correspondent for Italian Vanity Fair.  She lives in Milan.

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4 Steps to Great Hair

Whether you’re thinking of making a style change or just switching salons, these tips from hair care expert Susan Craig Scott, author of The Hair Bible, will help you get the right look.

Choosing a Stylist
You may think finding a good hairstylist is like putting a $100 chip on black 17 on the roulette wheel. But you’re wrong: Winning the bet is pure chance; finding the right stylist for you is pure science. So before you let just any old hairdresser start snipping, you might want to do some homework. Here is some stylist-searching advice from Joelle, senior stylist at Avon Salon and Spa, who says the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your stylist.

  • Ask people whose hair you like where they get it done and the name of the stylist who cuts it.
  • Look at magazines to find out who did specific models’ and celebrities’ hair for specific events.
  • Call the salon where that person works and schedule an appointment for a consultation with the stylist. Most salons offer complimentary consultations.
  • When you arrive, interview the stylist. Start by introducing yourself, explaining who recommended the stylist to you, and ask how the stylist envisions your hair.
  • Be direct. Specify your problems; discuss what you want your hair to look like, and how much time you have to spend to maintain that look in your daily routine. If you need to wash and go, tell the stylist your hair has to function that way. Not speaking up is the most common mistake women make.
  • Keep in mind that one style may be great for your girlfriend’s hair but might not work well for you.
  • It’s a good sign when a stylist asks a lot of specific questions to make an assessment about you as a person, what your capabilities are, how much time you have to spend on your hair, what type of look your profession requires. It’s a bad sign if a hairdresser just wants to be creative and do your hair however he/she wants, if he/she dismisses your ideas and speaks to you in a condescending manner, or if the first thing he/she does is criticize your last stylist. A professional person who doesn’t agree with your current style will simply offer advice on how to take it from there.
  • Find out what the stylist’s vision is for your hair, and if you feel uncertain about it, discuss your hesitations.
  • Has he/she listened to you? Does he/she factor in what you said? All this is important in the hopes that this will be a long lasting relationship, not just a one-shot deal.
  • If you still don’t know if the look is right for you, you are under no obligation to go ahead with the cut. Thank the stylist and let him/her know you’ll think about it. Otherwise, you will end up getting a haircut, paying for it, and continuing the search for the right person at your own expense.

Giving a stylist free creative range is great if you’re a wear-anything, do-anything kind of woman, adds Joelle, and if you’re so confident that you’ll love whatever he/she creates.

Taking Your Haircut(ter) Home
If you can’t find the time to get to the salon for your routine trim, look for a pro who comes right to your door. New York City hairstylist Steven Shames is known as “the house-call hairdresser,” traveling to women’s homes to shear their locks. “You don’t really know someone until you’re in their home,” says Shames. “It’s easy for my clients because they can take a shower and wash their hair, then get their hair cut in the privacy of their own home. It’s very comfortable.” Shames, who comes equipped with a plastic floor cover so you don’t have to clean up shorn hair after he leaves, says seeing people’s homes gives him a good idea of what they are all about, which helps him create a cut that suits their lifestyle. “Many people leave the salon and their hair looks fabulous, but when they try to do it themselves, they are completely lost,” he says. “I’m very conscious of the fact that women have to do their hair themselves after I leave, so I tell them what they can do, which products they can use, and I explain what I’m doing to their hair throughout the cut. Seeing their hair for the first time is also indicative of what they can do on their own,” explains Shames. “I always look at the front pieces because 99 percent of the time, the hair around the face is styled the way they want it and the way they feel comfortable with it.”

How do you find a stylist who makes house calls in your town? If you live in an urban area you can often find them listed in the business section of the telephone book. They may also have websites, so search the Internet. Call salons — they may have cutters who are willing to travel. And word of mouth is good too. Many freelancers don’t advertise in conventional ways, so asking friends and colleagues may turn up some good leads.

The Right Shape for Your Face
“The final result of the shape should always read sexy and modern with a bit of edge or originality,” says veteran hairdresser John Sahag. “The right stylist can make any cut work for you by adapting it to your look. It’s a visual art; the way you shape the whole thing makes a difference.” Holding fast to the belief that straight lines are a thing of the past, Sahag’s method is to continually chip into the texture to make it more intriguing. Some argue that in the struggle to match style to face structure, the old rules still apply. Oval faces look best in longer lengths, featuring face-framing layers that skim cheekbones and add width; make a long face appear shorter with layers starting at the shoulder and bangs cut to eye level. Square faces can carry off anything but one-length bobs. Short or long texturized ends and a long fringe graduating downward add height to the crown and balance out a square jaw. Long hair layers starting at the jaw line lengthen the face. If you have a round face, stick to styles that fall below the chin. Face-framing layers from the lips down remove weight from sides, wispy and tapered ends de-emphasize roundness. For heart-shaped faces, try long, wavy layers that grace cheekbones and fall around the neck and take the emphasis off the chin; avoid blunt-cut lines, chunky bangs, or chopped layers that broaden the top half of the face. “What makes a cut modern is the feeling you capture in the end result, the uniqueness of the shape and how it’s carved,” adds Sahag. “It should look outstanding without looking outrageous. The shape should look like it belongs to you no matter what the length or texture, no matter whether you have short, medium-length, or long, curly, wavy, or straight hair.”

Fixing Cut and Styling Mistakes
“We think it’s the end of the world when we get a haircut we hate, when it’s not working for us,” says Mark Garrison of New York’s Mark Garrison Salon. “But hair does grow, we’re guaranteed of that. The best solution is to really do your homework, find the right stylist for what you want to do, discuss the details of the cut over and over, and don’t be afraid that you’re being neurotic about what it will look like or how to manage it. Remember, what you may think is a bad haircut may be a cut you just never learned how to style, so make sure your stylist shows you how to do it yourself.” Garrison says he always shows his clients how to manage their hair naturally, so they know that’s an option. If you still can’t seem to get the style right, feel free to call the salon back and ask for help.

Hair is a medium that’s forever changing and growing, and we are constantly readjusting, rebalancing, and re-proportioning our hair to compensate. “A great cut that’s grown out isn’t flattering anymore,” says Garrison. “There are three factors involved: whether or not the cut is shaped to flatter your bone structure, whether you’re trying to protect your hair’s natural texture, and whether the cut fits into your lifestyle. You can have a bad haircut if any one of these factors is not jibing.” It’s not a good sign if you have to work at it too much. Garrison suggests some solutions to some of the most common “bad haircut” problems: If there’s too much volume on the sides, have your stylist layer or angle the sides to reduce volume or pick up the length in back to balance out the sides. If your bangs have been cut too short or straight across the forehead, grow them out, then soften them with layers with a razor or texturizing scissors or cut into the tips with regular scissors. If curly hair is cut too short, it will end up looking like a ball around your face. To get a straighter, sleeker style, you may want to leave longer bangs in a bit of an angle, so a piece can dangle around the cheekbone, and keep the length long enough so that it stays flat on the sides or angles to correspond with your cheekbones and with the width of your face. Angling and layering the sides can lift hair up and away from cheekbones and reduce the pyramid effect. Keep in mind that what’s hot on the runway isn’t always right for you. The one-length, off-the-shoulder bob, which caused a stir throughout the fashion world, actually makes hair fall in a pyramid shape with lots of weight around the bottom and most women can’t handle it. The best remedy for bad haircuts? According to Garrison, it’s hair accessories. “Barrettes or clips hold back bangs that aren’t cut correctly. Headbands, combs, and scarves disguise bad cuts and dress them up at the same time.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Scott, M.D., author of The Hair Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Healthy, Beautiful Hair Forever (Copyright © 2003 by TimeLife Media, Inc.), is a cosmetic and hair replacement surgeon who received her medical degree from Columbia University. Board certified in surgery and plastic surgery, she is an attending physician at Beth Israel Hospital; Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital; Lenox Hill Hospital; and the Hospital for Joint Diseases. She has appeared on such television programs as The Today Show and Eye to Eye and since 1996 she has been team physician to the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

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Are You a Clutter Junkie?

Do you have a clutter problem? How bad is it? To find out, take this quiz from It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff by Peter Walsh, professional organizer from TLC’s hit series Clean Sweep.

Clutter Quiz
1. Could you have a party without cleaning up first?

a. Guests could eat off the floor. Bring ’em on!
b. Maybe tomorrow. The living room’s a mess, but I can hide it away in a few hours.
c. Um, I don’t have parties here. Can we go bowling instead?

2. Do your clothes fit in your closet?
a. Of course. They’re hung in order by color and season.
b. They fit, I guess, but I have no idea what’s on the top shelf.
c. They fall on my head when I open the door. Is that so wrong?

3. Without looking, do you know where to find your car keys, your unpaid bills, and your home or renter’s insurance policy?
a. Absolutely — want me to get them right now?
b. All except the insurance — it must be somewhere in my husband’s/wife’s/partner’s office.
c. Sure — just give me ten minutes to find them. Or an hour.

4. What is on your dining room table right now?
a. Wood polish and a rag — I was just wiping it.
b. A few piles of bills — and my child’s art collection.
c. So much stuff that I can’t see the table.

5. How many magazines are in your house right now?
a. Three — the current issue of each magazine I get.
b. Oh, a lot. But I need them for my job.
c. I have every issue of National Geographic ever published. It’s an outstanding collection.

6. How many paper and shopping bags are you saving?
a. A handful — we use them to recycle newspapers.
b. An overstuffed milk crate plus a few extra. You never know what size bag you’ll need.
c. Every single bag that enters the house.

7. Answer the following questions with a yes or no:
a. If you had to change a light bulb, could you find one?
b. Are all of your DVDs and CDs in their sleeves?
c. Are kids’ toys anywhere except in their rooms or designated play areas?
d. Are there dirty dishes in the sink?
e. Are dirty clothes anywhere but in the hamper?
f. Are there out-of-date medications in your medicine chest?
g. Are all bills paid and papers filed?
h. Does every item of clothing in your closet fit you now?

How Clutter Free Are You?
Score yourself:

Questions 1–6: Give yourself zero points for every A; one point for every B; two points for every C.

Question 7: Give yourself a point if you answered: a) no; b) no; c) yes: d) yes; e) yes; f) yes: g) no; h) no.

Add all your points together.

If you scored:
10–20 points: Uh-oh. Looks like you’re a HARD-CORE HOARDER. It’s amazing that you found a pen to take this quiz. But don’t take it too hard or feel overwhelmed: The first step is admitting the problem. We’ll take this step-by-step and custom tailor the program to work for you. Do remember that sometimes a first round of decluttering isn’t enough. A few months after your first purge, you’ll look at the same stuff you thought you couldn’t throw out and realize you haven’t touched it since your cleanup. It takes a while to get used to the idea that if you don’t use it, if it’s not part of your life, if it doesn’t serve your goals, then it’s just a waste of space. You’ll get there, I promise.

3–9 points: Good news. You’re a CLUTTER VICTIM. This may not sound like good news, but it means that you, like so many others, have fallen victim to the clutter buildup that’s hard to avoid when you have a busy life, diverse interests, disposable income, family memorabilia, and a steady influx of purchases and junk mail. Not to worry. With a reasonable amount of effort you’ll be able to get your clutter issues under control and keep them that way.

0–2 points: Congratulations! You’re CLUTTER-FREE. Give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t get lazy. Staying clutter-free takes work. Is there a storage room or an office where your clutter congregates? You can turn directly to that section to attack your problem head-on. A calendar of monthly routines will help you keep your home spick-and-span.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Walsh is a clutter expert and organizational consultant who characterizes himself as part-contractor and part-therapist. He is the bestselling author of It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff (Copyright © 2007 by Peter Walsh), Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? and Enough Already! He can also be heard weekly on The Peter Walsh Show on the Oprah and Friends XM radio network, is a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and was also the host of the hit TLC show Clean Sweep. Peter holds a master’s degree with a specialty in educational psychology. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia.

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4 Essential Steps to Beautiful Skin

Following this four-step approach will make a world of difference to your skin’s condition now and in the future. From Trish McEvoy: The Power of Makeup by Trish McEvoy

1. CLEANSING
No matter how tired or short on time you are, regular cleansing is an important part of healthy skin maintenance. Do not neglect this step! Its purpose is to remove makeup, debris, and dead skin cells.

CHOICES: Cleansing balms, cleansing creams, cleansing washes, and cleansing bars. As a general rule, drier
skins do better with creamier textures, and oilier skins do better with washes or bars.

2. EXFOLIATING
The difference between dull skin and glowing skin is right on the surface. The most common cause of dull complexions is a decreased rate of cell turnover. Exfoliation helps the skin look its freshest by refining the surface and restoring its natural radiance. Everyone can benefit from this vital step of removing dead skin cells, which results in a smoother complexion. Exfoliation also allows better penetration of treatment products and moisturizers. Always remember to use your sunscreen in conjunction with any kind of exfoliation, because the new skin you expose is especially vulnerable. How often you exfoliate depends on how your skin looks. If your skin looks dull or if makeup catches on your skin as you apply it, you need to exfoliate. Some people make it a part of their daily skin care regimen, and others do it no more than twice a week — the minimum I would recommend.

CHOICES: You have options here. There are different types, some that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AEAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and some that don’t. Check the label to determine what, if any, acid is included.

MASKS AND SCRUBS:
Considered the first generation of exfoliation and still popular choices, especially when AHA or BHA is not an option because of skin sensitivity. When purchasing a scrub, look for one that contains smooth, synthetic spherical beads, which are more gentle on the skin.

AHAS AND BHAS:
Many exfoliants contain acids, which have the ability to exfoliate and smooth the skin’s surface, as well as speed up the generation of new cells.

ALPHAHYDROXY ACIDS. The most common is glycolic acid, considered the most effective at improving the overall appearance of the skin since it has the smallest molecule, which allows for the deepest penetration. Glycolic acids can be irritating to extremely sensitive skin types.

BETAHYDROXY ACIDS. More commonly known as salicylic acids, BHAs are slightly milder than AH As. They are used to target acne and clear pores as well as improve skin tone and reduce inflammation.

3. MOISTURIZING
Moisturizers deliver water to the skin, temporarily plump up fine lines, and smooth and soften the appearance of the skin. They also lock in the water that is already there. It’s just a matter of choosing which formula is right for your skin type. Use an oil-free moisturizer if you have normal or oily skin; if you have dry skin; you can use a more enriched formula.

4. PROTECTING
This is a must! Nothing will help you avoid sun damage and wrinkles more than using a daily sunblock or sunscreen. An SPF of 15 with UVA and UVB protection should be the minimum you wear. Apply sunscreen thirty minutes before going outside.

DAILY SUN CARE. On the days when you have limited sun exposure, a moisturizer with a sunscreen is a good choice. It should have an SPF of at least 15. The great part is that it’s as easy as applying a moisturizer — a true no-brainer.

OUTDOOR SUN CARE. If you know you’ll be spending considerable time outside (for instance playing golf or tennis or going to the beach), step up your sun care regimen. Increase your protection factor to an SPF of 30 and remember to reapply every two hours, especially after swimming and vigorous exercise.

SENSITIVE-SKIN SUN CARE. Nonchemical sun products work by creating a physical barrier over the skin. Look for ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Zinc oxide, which traditionally is white and opaque, is now also available in a transparent form to give even the most sensitive skin a broad spectrum of protection.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Trish McEvoy, author of Trish McEvoy: The Power of Makeup (Copyright © 2003 by Trish McEvoy), is the founder of Trish McEvoy Beauty and the cofounder of Trish McEvoy/Dr. Ronald Sherman Skincare Center in New York City. She has received numerous honors and awards for her work and has been featured in many magazines and newspapers and appears frequently on television. She also believes in helping women grow strong and is a supporter of the Girl Scouts U.S.A.

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The Secrets of a Successful Party

How to throw a no-stress dinner or cocktail party, from The Art and Craft of Entertaining by Kimberly Kennedy

The secret to hosting a successful party is all about managing your time and staggering preparation. Rather than going crazy for the three days immediately preceding the party, make a detailed timetable of what you need to do before the event, then plot out when you can do it. The timeline here is specific to hosting a dinner party; nevertheless, many elements remain the same for a buffet or cocktail party. This should give you an idea of what can be done — and when. Use it as a general outline for your own party.

One Month Out

  • Plan your menu and drinks.
  • Create your shopping lists: Grocery store lists for non-perishables, bar supplies, perishables, and last-minute items like ice.
  • Wine or liquor store list.
  • Craft and art store supplies for projects and other decorations.
  • Inspect your plates, glasses, flatware, and serving pieces – plan the look of your table, set a sample place setting to check if your idea works, and see if you need any additional items and purchase them.
  • Make (or buy) and send invitations.

Two Weeks Prior

  • Shop for nonperishable food including dried and frozen ingredients.
  • Buy wine and any other alcoholic beverages.
  • Cook anything that can be made ahead and frozen in an ovenproof container, ready to be reheated on the day.
  • Make favors.

One Week Before

  • Wash any serving pieces, glasses, utensils, pitchers or plates that you have not used in a while.
  • Assemble music or create a CD.
  • Check or set up CD player or iPod.
  • Plan where drinks will be served and where hors d’oeuvres will be set out.

Three Days Prior

  • Prepare any part of the meal you can make in advance — this includes any preliminary steps such as chopping or prep work that can save you time when cooking the meal.
  • Clean the bathrooms and set out clean towels, new soap, and extra rolls of toilet paper.
  • Set up the bar or drinks table.

The Day Before

  • Buy perishable foods.
  • Prepare food that can be refrigerated.
  • Remove any dishes from the freezer to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Buy flowers and arrange them; if not using flowers, assemble the centerpiece.
  • Decorate if using themed decorations.
  • Set the dinner table; set out wine glasses and hors d’oeuvres serving pieces.

The Morning of the Party

  • Shop for last-minute supplies such as ice and fresh bread.
  • Chop and prepare salad ingredients and cover with a damp paper towel in the fridge.

The Afternoon of the Party

  • Prepare the remaining salad ingredients and add to salad bowl.
  • Make the dessert and bake if required.
  • Make any hors d’oeuvres (if not made ahead and frozen, or store-bought).
  • Spot-clean the kitchen.
  • Do last-minute bathroom check.

Two Hours Before

  • Finish final dessert preparations.
  • Place cheese and crackers on a platter (if using bread, do not set out until later).
  • Fill coffeepot with water and set up the filter and coffee.
  • Preheat the oven.

One Hour Before

  • Bake or reheat hors d’oeuvres.
  • Open the wine, recork it, and chill white wine in an ice bucket.
  • Begin cooking or reheating main course.

15 Minutes Before Guests Arrive

  • Arrange hors d’oeuvres on platters; light candles; start music.

When the Guests Arrive

  • Greet guests at door, take coats, and offer them a glass of wine.
  • If needed, remove main course from oven and let rest 20 minutes.

15 Minutes Before Dinner

  • Remove the salad from refrigerator.
  • Heat and slice the bread, place bread in basket on table.
  • Fill water glasses.
  • Add dressing to salad and toss.

Dinnertime

  • Place salad on the dinner table
  • Start the coffee brewing.

During Dinner

  • Remove salad and place main course on dinner table.
  • Refill water and wine glasses and offer second helpings.

After the Main Course

  • Remove plates; serve dessert; offer coffee or tea.

After Dessert

  • Suggest that everyone retire to more comfortable surroundings such as the family room.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lifestyle contributor to CBS’s The Early Show and author of The Art and Craft of Entertaining (Copyright © 2005 by Kimberly Kennedy), Kimberly Kennedy is the former owner of two home-based businesses — catering and handmade baby treasures — as well as the winner of the television competition Wickedly Perfect. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Todd, and their little dog, Sadie.

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5 Ways to Get Salespeople to Respect You

How to attract the attention you might desperately need — even when there’s not a salesperson in sight. From J. Alexander, author of Follow the Model: Miss J’s Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise, and Power

Picture this: You’re on a shopping mission, have money burning a hole in your pocket, find exactly what you’re looking for, and there’s no salesperson in sight. (Save for one lady in the corner who’s peering over like she’d rather die than waste precious words on you.) I could fully sit here and lecture shopkeepers who run their businesses poorly — after all, the customer really is always right and good service should be the staple of any fine department store or boutique — but in the interest of helping you out, here are a few tips that will help you attract the attention you might desperately need.

  1. Dress well. No one will want to help you if you look like a mess. That means all your loose ends are tucked in, your hair is brushed, and you look all-around put-together. A nice bag and unscuffed shoes (that actually fit) help. But if you’re a famous mess, then dress however you want.
  2. Be polite. It doesn’t behoove anyone to act all entitled and rude. Follow the golden rule and most people will return the favor.
  3. Choose your target wisely. If someone looks crazy busy and preoccupied, chances are they’ll get even more flustered, if not downright angry, when you approach them. Nothing’s more frustrating than being told, “Get in line!”
  4. Ask questions. As a consumer and potentially paying customer, you have every right to inquire where that fabric was made or if this or that cut would look flattering on you. Engage someone by inquiring not only about the article you’re interested in, but also by simply asking, “And how are you doing today?”
  5. Butter them up. On that note, flattery will get you everywhere. If you want a salesperson’s undivided attention, compliment them on what they’re wearing, their hair, whatever you sincerely like about them. Then segue into what it is you need help with. You’ll automatically be their new favorite customer.
  6. On second thought, as a paying customer, should one kiss that much ass?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Alexander, the author of Follow the Model: Miss J’s Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise, and Power (Copyright © 2009 by Alexander Jenkins), has traveled around the world casting and coaching models for countless top designers. Now he is a television personality well-known for his work as a runway coach and judge on America’s Next Top Model.

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The Greenest Way to Hand Wash Your Dishes

10 tips for washing dishes quickly — and greenly — from Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

Water is an infinitely precious yet finite resource. Just ask anyone whose water comes from a private well or who has lived through a drought. There was a severe drought while I was growing up in California. We all learned to wash using a minimum of water and consequently less soap. “Drought washing” is much easier on the environment than the water-wasteful kinds, and I think it is far less disgusting than washing dishes in a sinkful of greasy, scummy water.

The Hand Washing Technique
The perfect sink for hand dishwashing has a big, deep, single bowl and built-in drain boards on both sides. Most double sinks are annoyingly small and cannot accommodate large roasting pans or long-handled skillets.

The perfect hands for manual dishwashing are clad in rubber gloves.

1. Keep greasy pots and pans away from dishes. Greasy dishes are much harder to wash than nongreasy ones, and why make more work for yourself? You can put hot water and dish soap in the greasy pots and pans and let them soak on the stove until you’re ready to tackle them.

Filling a sink with soapy water to wash dishes is wasteful as well as inefficient. Not all the dishes used at a meal will be equally dirty, but if they soak in a sink together, the dirty dishes get a little cleaner, while the nearly clean dishes get a lot dirtier.

If your water is really hard, letting the dishes soak in the sink can get truly disgusting. A sink full of mineral-laden water, dishes, and dish soap can congeal overnight into a sink full of greasy, gelatinous scum.

2. To remove a hardened, burned-on crust from a pot or pan, fill it with a solution of 2 tablespoons baking soda per quart of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the pan cool. The carbonized crust will lift right off.

To clean burned crust out of a large roasting pan or glass baking dish that cannot be heated on top of the stove, pour in the baking soda solution and heat the pan in a 350 degree oven. When the water begins to steam, turn off and let the pan cool.

3. If you have somewhere to stack your dirty dishes other than in the sink, do so.

4. Scrub your sink with a clean, soapy dishrag.

5. Put all your dirty cutlery in the sink, run hot water on the dishcloth, then squirt some dish soap (preferably organic) on the dishcloth.

6. Scrub the cutlery pieces and stack them in a corner of the sink or in a rinse basket. When all the cutlery is scrubbed, rinse it with hot tap water and put it in the dish drying rack. (Researchers who have studied these things have concluded that air-dried dishes are far more sanitary than dishes that have been dried with a towel. Air-drying is also, perhaps not coincidentally, less work.)

7. Next, start washing dishes, taking them off the counter, or wherever they are stacked; wash them with a soapy dishcloth, and stack them in the sink.

8. When your sudsy stack reaches the top of the sink or you’ve washed all the dishes (whichever comes first), rinse the dishes with hot water and put them in the dish drainer.

9. After the dishes are clean, wash the glasses and stack them in the sink. Rinse them off and put them in the dish drainer.

10. After you have washed all the dishes, you can start washing the pots and pans. They have been soaking awhile by this time, and should be a little easier to tackle.

About the Author
Ellen Sandbeck, the author of Green Housekeeping (Copyright © 2006 by Ellen Sandbeck) and Green Barbarians, is an organic landscaper, worm wrangler, writer, and graphic artist who lives with (and experiments on) her husband and an assortment of younger creatures — which includes two mostly grown children, a couple of dogs, a small flock of laying hens, and many thousands of composting worms — in Duluth, Minnesota.

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5 Biggest Beauty Bargains on the Planet

When it comes to basic skin care, there are five bargains that Dr. Amy Wechsler, author of The Mind-Beauty Connection, says immediately go on the list of best beauty buys.

Q. When it comes to basic skin, care, what are the biggest beauty bargains on the planet?

A. Five things instantly go on the list.

  • Vaseline — It’s the best lip moisturizer. And talk about cheap! By the way, don’t use any lip balms that contain phenol (Blistex does, for one). They strip the top layer off your lips. That’s why you get addicted to them; they remove your natural protection.
  • For body lotions, Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream and Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Body Lotion.  I go to the local warehouse club and buy big tubs of Cetaphil Cream or the giant pump dispenser of Norwegian Formula — they’re both terrific.
  • Also at the local warehouse club, I buy Dove or Purpose soap by the case. (If your skin is as touchy as mine, buy Dove in the fragrance-free or sensitive-skin formulas.) Neither of these is expensive anyway, but they’re a little more than some supermarket brands, so why not buy in bulk and save the difference? They don’t strip your skin of good oils.
  • For sunscreens, Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 30 sunblock lotion is a world-class bargain. It contains 9.1 percent titanium dioxide, a crushed mineral that protects you instantly. (No. I’m not on Neutrogena’s payroll! I just like many of their products.)
  • Safflower oil. Yes, the kitchen oil you buy at the grocery store. It’s a super moisturizer, especially for gator-dry legs, and gentle enough for babies (some hospitals use it on newborns). This heart-friendly polyunsaturated oil owes its famous skin-enriching actions to its very high linoleic acid content, a fatty acid that skin normally makes to keep its moisture level up and barrier function intact. Since our body’s linoleic acid production gets sluggish as we get older (it’s why older people can have brutally dry skin), safflower oil helps replace it — from the outside in! Smooth it on immediately after a bath or shower while you’re still damp to seal in the moisture. (Don’t overdo: it takes a bit to soak in.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy Wechsler, M.D., is a dermatologist and a psychiatrist, one of only two doctors in the country who are board-certified in both specialties. She is also the author of The Mind-Beauty Connection (Copyright © 2008 by RealAge Corporation). Evidence of the mind-beauty connection walks into her office every day: “Premature aging and adult acne are the two most common skin problems I see, and stress and exhaustion are often at the bottom of both,” she says. Dr. Wechsler practices in New York City, where she lives with her husband and two kids. She is a member of the RealAge Scientific Advisory Board.

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15 Ways to Conquer Closet Clutter

Uncluttering your closet is not just about clothes. You are also clearing out years of internal clutter embedded in the discards. Gone are inner battles that infuse the start of each day. Gone is the guilt over buying expensive, unworn mistakes. And gone are the negative body image messages woven into clothes that no longer fit. From Unclutter Your Life by Katherine Gibson

  • Avoid storage bins and organizers. If your closets and drawers are overflowing, you have too much stuff and it’s time to unclutter. Get a clutter buddy, or, for the price of a good pair of shoes, hire a wardrobe consultant or a professional organizer. Clothing stores can recommend a specialist.
  • Take a realistic look at your life. Events such as a new job or a move to a new community will influence what we wear and what stagnates in the closet. Consider how you spend your leisure time. Does your job require you to meet the public? Do you work at home? Have you retired or become a parent? Let your closet reflect your current lifestyle.
  • Make a date with your closet.
  • Take everything out, one piece at a time.
  • Place orphaned, out-of-date, and poor-fitting clothes into boxes for charity or consignment or to give away.
  • Put keepers in a separate pile. These are clothes that are current and make you feel terrific.
  • Analyze the keepers. Are there pieces that don’t coordinate with others? If so, chances are that they are rarely, if ever, worn. These are candidates for consignment.
  • Separate, clean, and store out-of-season clothes in breathable containers away from those in current use.
  • Set aside pieces that need cleaning or repair for immediate attention.
  • Discard scuffed and outdated shoes. Experts say we often reach for the same two or three comfortable pairs.
  • Two purses are often enough.
  • We often discover non-clothes items in the closet. Put them where they belong.
  • Consider creative uses for sentimental clothing. Recycle material from wedding dresses into christening gowns. Floor-length dresses can be shortened. Clothes made from beautiful material can be recast as pillow covers or place mats for special occasions.
  • Install hooks in your closet for belts, scarves, and purses.
  • Remember to unclutter your drawers with the same criteria as for your closet. Be ruthless with underwear and socks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine Gibson, M.Ed., the author of Unclutter Your Life: Transforming Your Physical, Mental, And Emotional Space (Copyright © 2004 by Katherine Gibson), is in demand as a speaker and workshop presenter, inspiring her audiences to choose clarity and purpose in their personal and professional lives. She has shared her wisdom with thousands on national radio and television shows, and has been featured in magazines and newspapers throughout North America. She currently lives in Victoria, B.C.

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4 Easy Steps to a Whole New Look — Without Spending a Dime

Plan a clothes-swapping party for all who need a thrifty wardrobe boost. You’d be surprised how one woman’s discard can be another diva’s dazzler! From Before You Put That On by style guru Lloyd Boston

Clothes can be expensive and are not to be wasted. Recycling clothes that don’t work for you anymore makes as much sense as recycling the tons of glass, plastic, and other materials we use. Especially after the fashion magazines have lined up all the trends for the season, giving you that itch for something new, even if it is only one little dress. Okay, and maybe just a handbag. And that adorable shoe that simply needs to meet your foot. Your pulse starts racing right there in the store, and there go the savings! Not to fret.

Smart, stylish women everywhere have been decoding the system and feeding the need to purchase an entirely new wardrobe each and every season by hosting fun, inexpensive clothes-swapping parties. They are simple, low prep, outrageously funny, and bond-building in a way you can never predict. Here are the four easy steps to your great first event, and possibly a whole new look from a second-chance wardrobe:

Step One: Invite a few friends with varied fashion tastes and similar figures. They don’t all have to be your exact size.

Step Two: Decide on an equal amount of clean bottoms, tops, shoes, accessories, and unopened beauty products to bring along as well as a potluck dish and/or fun cocktail or mocktail.

Step Three: Let the party begin! Crank up the music and ask each guest to walk the group through their collection, as a designer would, sharing the history of each garment — the first-date dress, the major sale shoe, the job-winning interview blouse.

Step Four: Open the floor to bidding on each item, using your own items as currency to swap for the item of your choice. The owner makes the final decision as to the highest bid based on her personal preference.

At the end of the party, you will undoubtedly have at least one new item. What’s left can then go to a charity. Do something proactive, productive, and fun!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lloyd Boston, author of Before You Put That On: 365 Daily Style Tips for Her (Copyright © 2005 by Lloyd Boston), is the former vice president of art direction at Tommy Hilfiger and a current on-air fashion editor for Today, America’s #1 morning show. Lloyd has spread his style philosophy on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and CNN’s red carpet Oscar coverage. He is based in New York City.

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