Friday, July 31, 2009

BlogHer luncheon by Ragu

Ragu created a gigantic sauce jar *out of veggies* at the BlogHer luncheon, complete with Pastarazzi to take photos.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Interview: Daphne Brogdon - TV Host, Comedienne, Blogger

"...that’s always been one of my goals in life, to make people laugh." ~Daphne Brogdon

Daphne Brogdon: Wife, Mother, Fashion TV Host, Stand Up, Blogger & Vlogger. Read on how Daphne Brogdon uses her blog/vlog to unite Moms through humor, her husband Mark Peel's success, & the shock of losing almost all to Madoff.

This interview is part of the BlogHer'09 week look at beauty & fashion bloggers.

Welcome Daphne.

DB: Hello! It might be a little noisy for a minute. I’m at my husband's restaurant picking up lunch.

Yes, we should mention your husband is none other than Mark Peel. He was recently on Top Chef Masters.

DB:Yeah, he’s Executive Chef at Campanile and also co-created La Brea Bakery, which he no longer owns. He’ll be back on Top Chef Masters in the fall as a judge. His episode is early September.

Speaking of blogging & food converging, we just were at the Julie & Julia premiere last night. It was really great because it was really both our worlds. It’s a great movie, and he had done a little promotional trailer because he had met Julia Child. It’s actually on my blog because he does a little something called Scrambled Eggs for Daphne. (Ed note: Would you just melt to have your chef husband name a dish after you? Rawr!)

So do I sense a husband & wife blogging team forming?

DB:(laughs) Unfortunately, he types henpeck, so I think he’ll be my sidekick.

Well you have so many things going on, and I want to ask: How did you get here?

DB: Mostly it’s because I was doing stand up, and I got to the point where I didn’t want to leave my kids anymore, and I was taxing for another creative outlet. At the same time, I was going to a lot of the baby sites, like a lot of moms do, and I just felt like they were so neutered, not me. Also, moms don’t have much time. So I thought, what if we do a 1 minute video and plant them on different sites? One thing led to another, then I realized I had to put a stake in the blog world to get this done and, there you go. I’m a blogger, and I didn’t even mean to be!

You’re actually now a Vlogger too because of these videos. One minute apiece and they touch on different topics, and they’re funny.

DB: Well, thank you. There are a few poignant ones in there too, but that’s always been one of my goals in life, to make people laugh. I think comedy helps connect people, and moms feel so isolated. Unfortunately, television, it doesn’t help. It just becomes a friend substitute. And I live in Los Angeles, I’m so driving averse. If a friend lives more than two miles away I’m like eh, forget it.

Has the addition of another infant into the mix changed dynamics greatly, or is it merely adding another kid?

I’d say the hardest thing of course is the lack of sleep. The sleep deprivation. In a way, it’s less difficult than I thought it would be. Rex is a pretty easy baby, but of course you never know what you’re going to get. What’s difficult, with my daughter, I would try to sleep when she took a nap. Of course, you can’t do that with two kids, and I’m working now, I wasn’t working before. Fortunately my daughter has not been a little psycho kid, she’s been really sweet to Rex, so that helps too. She hasn’t tried to smother him with a pillow or anything.

Do you write your material in advance or is it a lot of improv?

DB: It actually is a lot of improv, which is my background. I did improv for years and I love it. But I think my blogs are better when I can craft them more, but that’s not always possible. I was so pooped for the last few months with Rex, that I felt like some of my blogs were a little flat or just me being extemporaneous. I’d really like to craft them more. My thing is I need three beats in my minute.

What’s your favorite piece so far?

DB: Wow. Sometimes I can’t even remember them all. Well, recently, one of my favorite pieces I did is called “Princesses”. I really like the way we shot it. Either I shoot the pieces myself or there’s a guy I hire and then we shoot about 12 at once and we string them out. It’s the most economical way to do it and look halfway decent. But my daughter was playing in the background in her princess outfit, not knowing what was going on. I was in the foreground, as if I were making a confessional. My confession was that I was trying to keep her off it, I was trying to keep her clean, but she found the princess thing anyway.

It’s going to happen, they’re getting corrupted no matter what

My kicker is, let’s face it, no matter what we do, when they’re teens they’re going to find drugs. I mean, if they find the princess thing. Disney was not allowed in my house until very recently – I just cried uncle.
You live in LA, how can you be anti-Disneyland?

DB: Well it’s not that I’m anti-Disneyland, although it is a nightmare unto itself. You’ve got to time it right – don’t go in the summer. No, we definitely went there all the time when growing up. But it's the big beast of Disney. Like when we were growing up there was Cinderella, there was Snow White. Then some marketing guy said “Hey, let’s put them all together and make The Princesses!” Then it’s a gateway to Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers. So I just sort of resist that. It’s my hippie upbringing.

Speaking of, I like the Spitup King of So Cal. You had a fabulous top on in that, I have to tell you.

DB: Oh! That was one where I made an effort to get clothed, because you know, the body ain’t what it used to be. Then it was, “Well that’s nice but I can’t nurse in it,” and so I did recently go out and spend for new stuff.

Can I ask – are you really breastfeeding?

DB: Oh yes!

I’m impressed.

DB: Well, when I leave the house, my husband or sitter gives a bottle but it’s all breast milk, 100%. I just taped (an episode), give you a little preview here - we started on the rice cereal. Next thing you know he’ll be dating some b*tch who won’t let him come over to the house for Christmas.

Well, I do know mothers that have breastfed up to five, so you’ve got a few more years to choose. I think that’s stretching it a little but..

DB: I breastfed my daughter until two, but I think if you want to do it until five you can’t do it in public because it freaks everyone out.

What has having this blog done for you personally?

DB: Good question. I didn’t think of it and didn’t want it to be a dear diary. It was, hey I can make the funny and connect with people in real life, connect with moms. I would say - god that’s such a good question. I would say, I have to be more honest, because friends and acquaintances are reading the blog. In some ways, obviously, there are things you just don’t say. I don’t say “Mrs. Smith at the nursery school makes my teeth rattle” or whatever because I have to see her everyday. And I think I have to think my opinions one beat through before I put it down, because the blogosphere will slap you back if they don’t like what you wrote. And it certainly in turn has made me more vulnerable.

Have you had any bad experiences?

DB: Oh sure, sure. I’ve had some people say some mean things, and it’s made me want to pick up my marbles and go home. So then I look at it as, well, just don’t come to my blog. If you don’t like me, get lost, go start your own blog.

I don’t know if you want to touch on this right now, but you have been very open on some painful, and personal topics that have occurred. You can mention it if you want, but was it really tough being open that way with a spouse?

DB: Yeah. Are you talking about how we lost so much with the Bernie Madoff debacle? It was, and that’s why I couldn’t even talk about it for a good seven months after we got the bad news. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t. I had to think about my kids, and my step kids. I was getting calls from lawyers and my husband was getting calls from the Times. Complete strangers were coming up to me and saying “I’m so sorry you had to sell your house." I was like, well, there’s no hiding it. I would rather be the one that screams about it than walking into a room and going, “Do people know what happened?” You know? Because it was pretty devastating, the most devastating thing I’ve ever gone through. To in one day drive home from work and be told our retirement was gone, and we have to sell our house.

I have to say it was really brave of you, and it had to be very tough. For people that are reading or watching the blog, we empathize. Obviously you didn’t do anything wrong. Do you feel freer now?

DB: I got a couple of cruddy comments. Like “Well you had a nice house, I don’t have a nice house, so go stick it." Well, last time I checked, robbery is robbery, whatever level, and our retirement is gone. Our children’s and stepchildren’s college fund is gone. Those are the people that can take a hike. I don’t need them around.

But most people were so sweet. And one of the big reasons I decided to be open about it was I started to get clues on my site from other people struggling from the recession. I thought we could help each other. Like how a mom with a special needs child can feel so isolated can meet another mom and they can help each other.

When we first got our bad news, it was like we were hit in the head. In the ensuing weeks, (we were in a feeder fund, we thought it was a little boutique thing) we found out it was a world wide scam. People that were much smarter about money than we were, or are, frankly made me feel better. Then my husband and I came down to this: Bernie may have ruined his life, but he didn’t ruin our life. We still have our family.

I love that, and I think that is important to remember. How does your husband feel? Is Mark comfortable that you’ve shared it with everyone? Has it helped him handle it?

DB: He was always better with it than I was. I think he was down in the dumps five days. He really was “I’m moving forward. I’m not letting this get me down.” I have to say I felt more traumatized, maybe because I was pregnant. Not exactly the news you want to get when you’re pregnant. He did initially say “I don’t want you to blog about this,” and I said fine. We were still coming to terms with it, and also, he’s a businessman. I didn’t want this in any way to reflect on him. It has nothing to do with his business, it’s totally separate, but I didn’t want any stink on him because of it. But you know, you can’t control information, particularly on the web.

Going back to this whole idea of helping people to not feel alone, I want to touch on something you are involved with called Momversation. How did that evolve?
100th episode of Momversation
DB: Well, it’s kind of an offshoot of CoolMom. In order to develop CoolMom, I paired with a company called Decca, because I wouldn’t know how to build a website, even if I was given my Madoff money back. I just wouldn’t know how to do it. So in a sense, they are a business partner for me, and if there are ever an ads on there they will have gotten them for me. So in conversations, I told them there was a big mom market out here and they should tap into this more. They were able to get a sponsorship and asked me to be a part of it, asked Heather Armstrong ( and other people to do it, and that’s been great! So there is another web venture I accidentally started.

It’s really enjoyable to have all of these different takes on topics. I just recently saw the topic on circumcision, which is probably the heaviest topic I’ve seen. There are some very strong feelings going on there, but those are things people don’t often talk about.

DB: Yeah, it’s all different ones. We try to mix it up between heavy and light. We also do some topical ones like “Are you sick of John & Kate + 8?”. My heavy one, because we all start conversations, is “What are you planning for your children if you and your spouse pass?” That was inspired by the whole Michael Jackson debacle. We were in the midst of the Madoff issue and we had to scrap that will, because there isn’t that money to leave anyone. You still have to figure out everything else.

I’m just so sorry that has happened to you. Do you feel like you are getting back on course now?

DB: Oh yeah. You know, there are moments where I just miss my house.

There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s something you had worked for, the place you lived. We do get attached to our homes and that was the place you were creating (your life & coolmom series). It's okay to grieve. It's important to grieve.

DB: I just think, like my daughter, her birthday is coming up and she wants a big, bouncy house. I don’t think we have room for that. But I do consider us extremely lucky. There is a girl who went to my children’s school and she was just abducted and killed and, nothing, there is just no problem that compares to that. You’ve just got to keep perspective. Everything is fine, we live in a fine place, knock on wood we are both working, and Top Chef has been a lot of fun.

The Fashion Team is still going, and I just did a little bit of that at the Julie and Julia event, checking out the fashions. It’s been really fun.

Tell me about it.

DB: Well, it’s like a little hidden gem on the basic cable landscape, because it’s just, get your knife and fork and let’s dig in to celebrity fashion. You know, when you just want to gaze at dresses and fashion and celebrity? And that’s what we do. We do a lot of trying to find the funny, but we also strike a blow for the regular gal. Sure, that outfit could be fine if you’re a size 0, but it’s not going to work if you have hips. It’s just fun. Finding looks for less. Also, if you can only afford one trend for summer, what should it be? BTW, it’s the maxi dress. Things like that. Our average viewer makes about $35k a year, so while we talk about highbrow things we always try to make it accessible.

Thank you Daphne.

What's Ahead?

TV Guide Networks' The Fashion Team airs on Sundays at 7pm/P

Mark Peel has cookbook coming out on Classic American Cooking. He’ll take things like Chicken ala King and make something new.

Thank you Daphne!

Follow Daphne here: and here: Momversation

~ Hillary Fry / solessence

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zoya 5000 - follow on Twitter - get 3 free nail polishes

Sounds pretty good, right? Follow Zoya_NailPolish on Twitter. If they reach 5000 by August 3rd, the nail polish is on them!

Follow us while you are at it too!

Tutorial: False Eyelashes

I was asking around the other day whether women are wearing false eyelashes, either daily or special occasion only, when someone asked if I could give her a quick guide - four step max - on how to apply them. Sure! This is for you Meg.
Product: For this tutorial I am using Revlon Fantasy Lengths Complete Kit, #91002 Intensifying. This kit comes complete with glue, which makes life easier.

If you want to get fancy, check out MAC or Shu Uemura's legendary lash bar.

Step 1: Remove lashes carefully. Press on the lash and pull down, not across. Pulling across distorts the form and makes it much harder to apply.

Step 2: Apply a solid bead of adhesive and let it set for 60 seconds or so to get a bit tacky and adhere better.

Step 3: Set the outer corner down as close to lash line as possible. It should butt right up against it.

Step 4: Press. I use a cuticle stick to help get the lashes to the line, as well as pressing firmly against lid. Use caution.

Finished Product. At this point you can add mascara if you like to blend in your natural and the fake lashes.

So what do you think? Will you try it?

Monday, July 27, 2009

BlogHer: Best mani/pedi accessorization

Meet: Melissa Massello , Founder & Editor in Chief of shoestring magazine

Revealing a great contrast in yellows and greens while unwittingly striking a pose.

I asked her a few questions about her mani/pedi philosophy:

Those colors look striking with your outfit. Do you usually go with a matching set?

I don't have a specific policy on matching colors, but I do generally "Go bold or go home," since I can get away with it with my Italian coloring and personality. If I'm not wearing yellow or silver, it's classic, lipstick red, although I've done everything from gold to metallic blue to neon green and back again.

As with anything in fashion, if you own it and make it your own and it makes you confident and happy when wearing it, people will notice it in a positive way.

Where can readers get the look?

The polish was OPI. It's a matte*, but they also make a pearlized yellow. I got the mani/pedi for $44 ($49 with tip) at Nail Perfection on East Ohio (Chicago, Illinois). I have a similar color I use at home that is between $7 and $9 at Walgreens and CVS.

*Can't find any lead on a yellow matte from OPI. However, there are a number of matte topcoats available that can be used.

Thanks Melissa. Kudos on the great site you have with shoestring.

How many of you will jump the bold and perhaps matte trend?

Lush Cosmetics, Macy*s and Blogalicious Pamper Party

What have we here? Gatekeeper to the Lush Blogalicious Party.

Lone sentry to Macy*s Watertower, Chicago.

It was lights out for a while, so we partied in the dark.

The drink of the night was the Kir Royale, aka BombaLushious

Free facials were provided (see woman at counter on right)

The massage guy was super cute, but I'd heard in advance he only 'specialized' in arm massages. That's like getting felt up by someone you don't like.
I did like him though, so that theory didn't hold up.

Foot treatments too!

Veronica Arreola, blogger at VivalaFeminista and upcoming speaker at Blogalicious '09 in Atlanta, GA enjoys a bath bomb.

There was a lot of party hopping on Friday, and the Lush event was one of the best. The downtime gave people a chance to really meet other people. The scents and services were relaxing. Everyone was very friendly.

The Macy*s Watertower location in Chicago was the first US location to allow a Lush buildout. And after three years, this was the first after hours event Lush had ever held. I impressed that they were creating the party atmosphere and providing reminders for travelers ("buy and we ship!"). Many thanks to all involved for a great time.

My favorite experience was the facial. Items selected were for sensitive skin as I am finishing up a face peel. This is what was used:

Cleanser - Ultrabland
Mask - Catastrophe Cosmetic (fresh blueberry) Not available online

Toner - Eau Roma Water

Moisturizer - Gorgeous

Lush products are vegetarian! If you haven't checked them out before, there are stand alone stores and store in Macy*s all across the nation. Or, you can use their website at

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ann Taylor - Fall Preview

From BlogHer '09
I had planned on attending the fall preview at Ann Taylor today, but had a last minute travel change.

There were some lovely pieces at the show. Visit online or one of the many locations for the latest.

Ann Taylor store 8
520 N Michigan Ave, Chicago
(312) 329-1642

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back from BlogHer

Today was the wrap-up for BlogHer '09 held at the Sheraton in Chicago, Illinois.

Though heavily geared toward Mom Blogs, there was plenty of beauty news to be had! The laptop/internet connection was on overload so I wasn't able to post. In fact, I had to move Daphne Brogdon's interview until next week. So, I will be getting the stories up as quickly as I can process.

On a first up, personal note, people kept asking about my lipcolor! Thanks to MAC Cosmetics. I used a base lipstick Cremesheen (Creme in Your Coffee) with the limited Tricolor Lipglass in Tasty. Oh the limited collections make me weep.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Poko Pano - Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Miami Swim

Poko Pano put on a beautiful show at Fashion Week. Catch the rest of the designers here.

Can't wait to get our Freak on at BlogHer!


Tonight! Estee Lauder's America's Night to Repair

Don't forget to pick up your free 10-day supply at Estee Lauder counters. Tonight only. If you have never used it before, it is great stuff.

¡Yo quiero Taco Bell! pup passes away at age 15

As a supporter of LA branch New Lease On Life (NLOL), Sue Chipperton has graced our pages here before for dog lovin' reasons. Last year she was a photo finalist for this shot of her dog Jackson in a national competition and came oh-so-close to winning.

Chipperton has had an exciting history in Hollywood as an animal trainer/wrangler, and one of her most recognizable studies has passed away. Gidget, the Taco Bell dog suffered a stroke and died at age 15.

Gidget lived a comfortable life, and had not only won over the world with her cries of "¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!" (where she played a he), but also had appearances in a 2002 GEICO gecko commercials, and in 2003's Legally Blonde 2: Red White & Blonde, as Bruiser's mom.

According to Chipperton, Gidget enjoyed going on hikes and relaxing under the sun. She'd happily sleep "for 23 hours and 45 minutes a day" or "lay outside when it's 105 degrees," she said.

But when it was go-time on set, Gidget came alive. "One time, I kid you not, she actually pushed her stand-in out of the way because he was still there when she arrived on set," Chipperton recalled. "Gidget always knew where the camera was."

RIP Gidget! Just last week my son opened up the Taco Bell Dog w/rose that I've kept in the plastic bag for all of these years! Enjoy one of the many commercials.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Designer Gilles Montezin - Sex and the City sample sale, anyone?

Gilles Montezin is a fabulous designer who truly knows women and couture. Patricia Field spotted his talent and sourced his clothing for Sex and the City and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Fine fabrics. Detailing. What's not to love? Seriously. His clothing has been designed for and worn by Sarah Jessica Parker and many other notables.

I was thrilled to find an invitation to this blowout samples sale (making way for his new designs in his newish studio). If you are in NYC next week I ask that you let me live vicariously through you and pick up a few pieces. This chance won't come again.

You are invited...

Gilles Montezin Sample Sale

WHAT: Prices from $50 - $400 (90% off retail)

WHEN: Tues. July 28 - Thurs. July 30 from 12-7PM

WHERE: 325 West 38th Street, 5th Floor. NYC

From A to Z: Amazon becomes sole Zappos stockholder

Breaking News: $807 million in Amazon stock. $40 million in cash & restricted stock. Break out the bubbly! (this is another breakdown going around)

Letter from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos:

The following email was sent to our employees today:

Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009
From: Tony Hsieh (CEO -
To: All Zappos Employees
Subject: Zappos and Amazon

Please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email. (My apologies for the occasional use of formal-sounding language, as parts of it are written in a particular way for legal reasons.)

Today is a big day in Zappos history.

This morning, our board approved and we signed what’s known as a “definitive agreement”, in which all of the existing shareholders and investors of Zappos (there are over 100) will be exchanging their Zappos stock for Amazon stock. Once the exchange is done, Amazon will become the only shareholder of Zappos stock.

Over the next few days, you will probably read headlines that say "Amazon acquires Zappos" or "Zappos sells to Amazon". While those headlines are technically correct, they don't really properly convey the spirit of the transaction. (I personally would prefer the headline “Zappos and Amazon sitting in a tree…”)

We plan to continue to run Zappos the way we have always run Zappos -- continuing to do what we believe is best for our brand, our culture, and our business. From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are switching out our current shareholders and board of directors for a new one, even though the technical legal structure may be different.

We think that now is the right time to join forces with Amazon because there is a huge opportunity to leverage each other's strengths and move even faster towards our long term vision. For Zappos, our vision remains the same: delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors. We just want to get there faster.

We are excited about doing this for 3 main reasons:

1) We think that there is a huge opportunity for us to really accelerate the growth of the Zappos brand and culture, and we believe that Amazon is the best partner to help us get there faster.

2) Amazon supports us in continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Zappos brand and with our unique culture.

3) We want to align ourselves with a shareholder and partner that thinks really long term (like we do at Zappos), as well as do what’s in the best interest of our existing shareholders and investors.

I will go through each of the above points in more detail below, but first, let me get to the top 3 burning questions that I'm guessing many of you will have.

Click here to read Tony's letter for more info and legalese.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm so excited! Daphne Brogdon - 7/24 12:30pm central

To read the interview transcript please click here
I think of good blogs to write but I don't have the time and I'm too tired. Ah, the irony of mom blogging. ~ Daphne Brogdon

Kudos to the Blogosphere during BlogHer week continues on Friday, July 24 at 12:30pm Central, when Daphne Brogdon joins Solessence Radio. Daphne is co-host of TV Guide Network's The Fashion Team, with Lawrence Zarian.

She's also a very funny comedian, and one of the original mommy bloggers. Author of CoolMom , Daphne vlogs and posts on marriage (to renown chef Mark Peel), pregnancy, dynamics of a second child, feeling out of shape, family vacays and the very revealing and heart wrenching personal loss of their savings and retirement from the Madoff scandal. While she is a blast on her TV show, she especially shines in her writing. Women seem to bond with her. Men declare her MILFy.

This interview will be taking place during BlogHer conference. If you aren't able to catch it live, we'll have transcripts and downloads available later.

Have a question to ask her? Please feel free to post or email to solessencenews AT gmail DOT com.
Daphne's Bio:

Daphne Brogdon is a comic and a TV host. Daphne used to go anywhere for a job, but now that she is a mom she is glad to have a gig close to home. She is a host of TV Guide Channel's weekly series, The Fashion Team, a fun romp through celebrity fashion. In her segment, "Fashion Mommy Must Haves," she focuses on fashion stories that relate to the mom perspective. She also makes fun of how famous people dress every week in Star Magazine's "Worst of the Week." Daphne is a somewhat regular contributor to CNN Headline's Showbiz Tonight, a contributor to Pregnancy Magazine, and the host of FOX's web show 24 Inside. She's also been seen on Dr. Phil and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

An improviser, Daphne's shtick used to involve dating advice from a woman's perspective, because prior to marriage, she dated a lot. She has appeared on "The X-Show" where for a time she was the only female late-night host on television. She has also hosted the controversial dating reality show "Playing it Straight," on FOX.

As a stand-up comic, she has performed at the Riviera Comedy Club in Las Vegas, the Improv in Hollywood, the Comedy Store in Hollywood as well as synagogues and weddings, countless laundromats, dive bars, and rooms she wasn't sure what they were, but there was a mic.

Daphne is from Culver City, CA where her father John Carl's foray into local politics (Mayor pro tem of Culver City) gave her an interest in politics early on. Another part of her act now is her family. Daphne is married to Mark Peel, Executive Chef and owner of Campanile Restaurant and co-founder of La Brea Bakery. They have a toddler, Vivien, an infant son Rex, and Mark has three children of his own. They reside in Los Angeles.

Tonight:, Christine Mielke

Check back next week for the transcript of tonight's show.

Set Reminder for Tonight's Show

It's a busy week with the BlogHer conference starting. In honor of all things internet, we'll be featuring Christine Mielke, founder of By day she's a law student, and one of the top makeup bloggers around. At a height of 200k unique visitors a month, Christine Mielke has crafted her blog Temptalia into one of the hottest makeup resources. Her signature closeups of eye and lip applications, along with reviews of different brands, are top notch instructionals for readers. Combine that with her willingness to engage her audience, and you often find a lively comment trail for her posts. Come for a half hour discussion to find out how this all started, some of her favorite makeup brands, how she recommends creating a buzz for blog brands.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Good Read: Schiaparelli Shocking - the original Gaultier bottle

When John Paul Gaultier first came out with his line of "corset" perfumes, they looked all too familiar. That's because two Elsa Schiaparelli bottles have sat on my dressing table since high school, passed on to me by my incredibly fashionable aunt.

As someone interested in design, I instantly fell in love with the dress forms the bottles were mimicking. If you look closely at the smaller bottle, there is actually a measuring tape, and seal underneath. The large bottle had been full of the signature scent Shocking. During a move, it opened, corroding the flowers and ruining the tape. Ah well, it is still lovely.

I love everything about these bottles. The beauty of the forms. The glass and enamel leaves and flowers. The embossed lace design. The velvet lining. The smaller bottle still has the stand, it is just not attached in the photo. The underside is shocking pink. They've got some wear because they were used, but they represent a time when beautiful detailing was crucial to packaging, not a project cost killer. Oh the thrill to touch the throat with the golden, glass stopper. This is part of the experience a simple spritz cannot match.

Schiaparelli was Coco Chanel's biggest competitor, and was known for bringing fashion to the masses. After the war, her perfumes sold particularly well, but the downfall to her line was that it was easily copied. I don't know if this is the case, but I'll give Gaultier the benefit of the doubt and cast his line as a tribute.

If you'd like a good read, check out this designer who pushed the creative envelope for fashion. If you're a fan, give Schiaparelli a shout out!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crocs about to go extinct

Free falling from a 2007 fiscal year profit of $168.2 million to 2008 loss of $185.1 million, Crocs are nearing extinction.

In a classic example of too much, too fast, the company expanded in multiple locations worldwide to meet sales demands - 100 million pairs in 6 short years. In a waning economy, and perhaps total market saturation, sales have plummeted. Factories and shipping locations that were shoring up now stand empty.

John Duerden replaced Ron Snyder as CEO this year, and believes Crocs have a revival in niche markets for medical, catering and people with troubled soles. It is rumored George Clooney will be on board to rep the shoes.

Does the company really stand a chance? Growing too fast is almost more deadly than no growth.

The image overhaul may not help. One reason Crocs went where others did not is that they were able to entice men and children to buy. I've seen this new style on and have to admit, they were pretty attractive. But decidedly feminine.

By fall, Crocs, with the popularity of Beanie Babies, could just be another chapter of plastic shoe history to add to Jellies. Do you wear them? Would you miss them?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Interview: Syd Curry - celebrity hair stylist

I am not about a blow dry ~ Syd Curry
He's coiffed an incredible client list, from supermodels to award winning actors to the President of the United States. Now he's opened a new salon in...Aberdeen, Mississippi? Find out who inspires Syd Curry and his take on stylists trying to make it into the business today.

This article is dedicated to Syd Curry's mother, who passed away on March 7, 2009.

This is a combination of transcript from his interview on Solessence Radio and subsequent phone calls and emails.

Hi Syd. Today we’ve got you down in Aberdeen, Mississippi. First, I was wondering if you would give everyone a little bit of background on how you started. Of course, you are a celebrity hair stylist; you had a big break with Mariah Carey.

SC: I did have a big break with Mariah Carey, but I started my career years before her. I started beauty school when I was 16, got my license at 18, and moved to Hollywood from Simi Valley, this small little town in Ventura, California. I got my break from Chantal Cloutier, who owns the Cloutier Agency, and my first editorial was with Matthew Rolston [photographer], who was just starting at the time. I started my career with Paul Starr, who sadly just passed away a few months ago, and we started doing catalog. There really was no fashion work to speak of at all in LA, but there was a lot of catalog, which taught me everything I know. I was fortunate I got to work with girls like Gia, and Jerry Hall, and the young, pre-surgery Janice Dickenson – who is probably the best model I’ve ever watched work, by the way.

Those girls taught me what to do for a camera. I did that for years and years, and I went to Las Vegas to do one of my first videos for Buster Pointdexter, who is David Johanson, lead singer of the New York Dolls, and met my business partner and best friend, [celebrity makeup artist] Billy b. Twenty something years ago. Way longer than we care to talk about. And we became best friends. I found out he was from Mississippi, my whole family is from Mississippi, and we started testing together. I used to go and I’d sleep on his kitchen floor in New York and he’d come to LA and we’d do jobs for free, and years later, he started working with Mariah. They came to LA and he introduced us, and then we spent about the next four years traveling all over the world with Mariah, which was my really huge break.

Did you intend to break into music and fashion?

SC: Yes, absolutely. I like to cut hair, and I like to do color. But styling is always what I love. It’s what I’ve always been best at, and it lets you be creative. It’s what I always wanted. Right about the same time I met Mariah I met Sally Hershberger, who is a very famous hairdresser, who couldn’t do a job and recommended me to Cindy Crawford. At the time Cindy was hosting House of Style for MTV, and that really took my career to another level. She was at the height of the 90’s supermodel.

That was one of my favorite looks – I loved her hair.

SC: It was an amazing time. The 90’s were good to me. Many years before, like I said, there wasn’t a whole lot to do in LA, and I was never interested in living in New York, I don’t know why. And then everything changed.

What do you mean by that?

SC: Well, everything changed for LA. They started shooting fashion there. Then all of the magazines started putting celebrities on the cover. So LA became the place to be. The celebrity thing is a whole other story. It’s a lot of babysitting. It's very fun, I love it, but you know, it’s a lot of babysitting to be perfectly honest.

You started beauty school at a very young age - 16. Were your parents supportive?

SC: My parents were very supportive of me going to beauty school. I didn't do well in school and they were smart enough to know that my talents lay elsewhere and let me go to continuation school. At 16 I went to high school half day and beauty school half day. My ma passed away March 7 and she was my biggest fan. She NEVER got tired of telling people that I did President Clinton's hair, even though she didn't vote for him.

Did you have any professional challenges you had to overcome?

SC:Yeah. Well, it’s well documented, my drug addiction. I’ve been clean, in April; knock on wood, three years. I had a little drug problem that lasted 30 years. You know, it took its toll. And when I talk about this in the context of work, I don’t want anyone to think I’m glamorizing it or anything. But I was able to work. I was on heroin for 30 years. I was also on methadone for 20 of those years. And the methadone allowed me to not be sick at work, so nobody really knew. It had nothing to do with the business – I didn’t do it with anybody I worked with – it was my thing. A lot of people, when they talk to me about it they say, “Well it was the time, there was drugs on set.” I never did drugs on set. With anyone. Ever.

It all came crashing down at the end of ’99. It’s going to catch up with you sooner or later, and it caught up with me. I walked away from my career and didn’t work from 2000 until 2005. It was a very dark time. I thought my career was over for sure. Fortunately, I had a great agent then who realized there was a problem and stopped sending me out before I ruined my reputation. Billy b. thought I was dead. Nobody knew where I was, and Billy finally tracked me down. When I finally went into rehab I had my mom call him and he was just really supportive and there for me.

It was a long process, and when I got out, Billy introduced me to Patricia Field. My first job out of rehab was doing Pat’s hair for her Academy Award nomination for The Devil Wears Prada. What a way to comeback, right? You know, there’s a whole lot that goes into that story. It was a very dark time, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but the business I’m in is very forgiving. People have been amazing, and welcomed me back with open arms, because it’s about me being clean and sober now, and doing a good job with what they hire me for.

And you are still very definitely in demand. Just last year you did the Oscars.

SC: Yes, I did Daniel Day Lewis for his Oscar win. Long story short, this past year Pat’s been my main client. I bought a house in Mississippi in Billy’s hometown and my whole family was from here. We opened this business, but my mother was also very sick and passed away this past March, just a couple of months ago, so I really focused on being back here with her. Sunday, in two days, I go back to LA to do some fun stuff. It’s an exciting time for me.
Let’s touch on that.

SC: We launched in January. This is Billy’s hometown, Aberdeen, Mississippi, and he’d been trying to get me back for years. I hadn’t been back to see my family since ’86. I’m the only one in my family not born and raised back here, and me and my mom moved back to be with her family. So I came back to Billy’s hometown and found a 102-year-old Arts & Crafts home and restored it and fell in love with it. Billy has a big old Victorian house and one day we were having dinner or something and we said “Why don’t we turn this into a salon?” Just kind of joking around – but we did it. You can see the gallery pictures on It’s just great, very steel magnolias. It is a beautiful old Victorian house that we put our spin on. Well, Billy did, I don’t have the decorating gene. Billy’s the kind of person that walks in and says Tear that Wall down, put that up and I just go “ok.”

You’ve collaborated for years

SC: Yeah, close to 25 years

I was just thinking about this. I met him with Arianne Phillips, Madonna’s stylist, and I’m going to work with Ari who I haven’t worked with in, gosh, I can’t remember the last time I worked with Ari and Billy, all three of us. I’m going to do a fragrance campaign for Christian Audigier. The beautiful Guinevere Van Neesus for Numero with photographer Jeff Burton. I’m doing Numero with Ari, and I think Billy, or my friend Katy Young. And then I’m shooting Kathy Rodriquez, LA designer, and three models. She owns Resurrection Vintage stores, amazing stores. I’ve been doing her shows and campaigns and we’re shooting her for Vanity Fair.

With the traveling, how much time do you spend at your new shop? If people want to call up and book, what kind of schedule should they expect?

SC: Originally I was going to spend a week a month, but my house is done, I’ve got a new dog, and I’m getting to know family for the first time. So I’m really kind of here, and kind of loving it. I think this is going to be my base. I say that for now. I will always consider LA home. I was born in Santa Monica, my best and dearest friends are there, but I’m kinda loving Mississippi.

New experiences are good.

SC:I may be 500 pounds when I get out of here (laughs)

All of that southern comfort food

SC:Yes, all of that comfort food, fried which is my favorite. Fry it I’ll eat it.

Do you have a new favorite?

SC:Fried pickles.

Fried pickles?

SC:Yeah yeah , I love friend pickles. My dad always made them, and my mom, my mom moved to California and became my California beach girl and made everything out of a box. My dad fried everything. And down in Jackson, by Aunt Gertie’s house, is a great catfish place I’m in love with.

Do you actually fish yourself or just eat it?

SC:You know, I haven’t fished while I’ve been here,but I grew up fishing, I love fishing. We could walk to the lake. Kind of amazing, everybody should come to Mississippi and check it out. It’s not what everybody thinks. We get a bad rap here. And there’s some very stylish people. And the cool thing is, where we are, we’re about an hour and a half from Memphis. I’ve been getting people from Memphis, from Atlanta, from Nashville, from all over have been coming. Billy is very well known here and I’m kind of guilty by association.

Atlanta’s becoming the next hot beauty hub so I can understand the big traffic draw from there. What kinds of products are you using?

SC:I’m using everything that I love. I keep my backroom stocked with everything I like over the years. I keep (L'Oreal) Elnett Hairspray, I love Moroccan Oil, but we’re in this really small town and there’s not a lot of people who are going to want to spend money on Moroccan Oil, so business wise? It’s not a smart thing.

I love Paul Mitchell Super Skinny line, I love the serum, but you know, you can get it at the drugstore. So I’m not so focused on the product thing, I’m focused on what I use to achieve the look on women and then I tell them what to get. You know, you can get Elnett at Target! Aren’t you the one that told me? You did tell me that! I almost fell over, I was so excited.

Yes, you're right (that was from a conversation in 2008. He’s got an good memory)

SC: I know who we didn’t talk about that I worked with this year – Tina Turner! That might have been the biggest highlight of my career. Little back-story: I never wanted to work with Ann-Margaret, Tina Turner or David Bowie because they are my favorite (celebrities). Tina Turner, I used to hitchhike to go see, by myself. Her music meant so much to me, and I didn’t want that rock star fantasy in my head to be blown. If they were jerks, I didn’t want to know it. Fast forward from age 15 when I used to hitch hike to, well, I just turned 55 this year. That’s a lot of years later. And I get a call to do her hair, and I’m like sure, why not. She was everything I wanted her to be. She had the (Rolling) Stones playing the whole time,

Were you nervous?

SC:No! Which is the cool thing about it. I’m old, you know? I’ve worked with the President of the United States. I’ve done Madonna’s hair. I’ve done a lot of work with nasty people, I’ve worked with amazing people, and when I was a mess, and younger, I would make myself sick being nervous. Things are so different now. You know what? I can do hair. And I go in and do my job.

I was nervous driving over but as soon as I met her she said “What do you think I need?” I told her and she said “You’ve done your homework” and I’m like, “Honey, I know every hairdo you’ve ever had” (laughs). She invited me to come sit on the couch, and I told her about all those times I went to see her as a kid, and what her music meant to me. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

I was talking about Paul Starr, and I hadn’t seen Paul for seven or eight years. He did her makeup, and so I got to spend two days with Paul. He passed away a couple of months later. It was a special memory, that whole job. Paul and I both loved her, and we both used to crack up and sing her songs, you know, lip sync with the little headphone sets. It was a full circle kind of thing.

You mentioned your resume, the names you can drop, yet you are so down to earth.

SC: It’s one of those things like at work, people are, “Well you’re really nice.” Well, why wouldn’t I be? I’m just a hairdresser. You know? It’s like most people think celebrities are going to be nightmares, but in fact, most are just regular people who happen to be famous.
Syd created the raven bob for George Michael's video Father Figure

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of them that aren’t. But on the whole, there’s a handful of people who I won’t name, that I would never set foot in a room with again. But 85% of the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They‘ve been great and decent and really fun. You know, even the drugs, all that stuff, I wouldn’t change a minute of anything. Because it’s all made possible what is happening today, which is living my life, enjoying success and a million things to be thankful for.

For people trying to become stylists today, what are the challenges?

SC: I think everyone wants to become hair and makeup artists now. First of all, we have to go to the times we are in. It’s hard out there for everybody now. To put it into
numbers, without saying what the numbers were, in the 90’s they threw money at us. Stupid money. It was great to get, but crazy. You know, now they pay you for your job. It’s not excessive. It’s a very different time and I think what’s happening, not so much in big fashion, but, if you want to make a living doing catalog , there is always someone coming up that is willing to do it for a little bit less, and that is what I think people are doing. I think it’s a hard time in this industry. I know it’s a hard time for people in the film business, I know that for a fact.

I never was in the union, but I know people in the union and they are losing their benefits because they can’t get jobs to work enough hours to keep them. It’s not a good time anywhere, but I just think there’s a million people that want to do hair and makeup, freelance, celebrity stuff. And again, I don’t mean this the wrong way at all, but I think a lot more need to pay their dues. Let’s put it this way: people who I idolized before I had any kind of a name were Oribe and Garren and Danilo, who are still very famous, and there is a reason for it. Because they all do quality work. They are famous, they make top money, but they don’t slack on anything. They are new and they’re inventive.

You see a lot of people who are new and come on and they latch on – that’s the wrong term - but who get attached to one celebrity, but it makes their career big. But it’s just one look. Do you know what I mean? And I don’t mean that mean spirited at all. I just appreciate someone who’s worked hard and can do more than one thing. Which all of those people I named have proven over and over and over again. And there are a lot of others. Chris McMillan I think is very talented. There is a different person for every job. Sally Herschberger is incredibly talented. Sally’s great at one thing, Chris is great at another, Oribe is great at another thing, you know what I mean? I don’t know, it’s a weird time in the business. I’m just happy to still be a part of it.

What has been your favorite look?

SC: I’ve had a few. My favorite thing right now is in my salon. It's huge, it's almost wall sized. It' - is the story I did for Prestige, the Queen Mary story - the Asian girl with the big white wig I made. Kathy Young did the makeup, my friend Paris Libby, who is now living in Hong Kong and is one of the editors of Prestige, was “Ok, we’re going to put a ballcap on her, and you’re going to need you to make a wig. It was one of those things where I didn’t have time to think about it and I just did it and did it and went “Oh my God, did I do that?” (laughs). And it’s absolutely my favorite thing from the past few years. I love the Pat Field Destination campaign. Tthere are a million other things but, I love stupid little things. Like giving Mariah (Carey) pigtails for the Dream Lover video. It completely changed her look without changing it. I love all my stuff that has a retro feel to it, you know that looks done without being done. I’m not about a blowdry. Even if I’m on the beach. The stuff I did with Chante and Cindy is great, but that hair is work. My first and only Vogue cover was with Chante, with Stephanie Seymour. It was my first job with Chante, we shot for British Vogue and that will always be a huge huge, well, you know, I had no idea it was for a cover. My agency called and said “The Vogue’s out, go pick it up” and it was the cover. It’s one of those moments. So I have some favorites. But right now it’s the Chinese girl. And it’s kind of hysterical in Mississippi. People come in and they go (in a southern accent) “I don’t wanna look like that!” (peals of laughter) I love it.

Thanks so much Syd.

SC:Thanks so much, it was fun and say hi to Billy, well, I’ll see Billy before you will I’ll see him Sunday.

Syd returns back to Los Angeles this week for a shoot with German Vogue.

Directors Cut: Bonus questions answered

1. Billy is such an important person in your life. Have you ever been involved on a personal level?

a. No no no never have been, never will be. He is my best friend.

2. There are always tough customers, the types of jobs you mentioned requiring babysitting. What is the best way to handle this type of customer?

The way I handle it is:
i. Smile
ii. Do your job
iii. Get your check
iv. Don’t look back

3. You are placing an open call here for Los Angeles based assistants. An incredible opportunity. What are you looking for?

SC: I need to find new assistants based in LA. Anybody listening in based in LA? I have been away, or when I work with Pat, I often work by myself. My friend Johnny Stumps works with me all of the time, but he’s a hairdresser in his own right, not an assistant.

I’m looking for somebody who knows what hot rollers are. Somebody that knows how to do something besides blow dry and flatiron, and I’m not being nasty at all. I just feel like a lot of schools don’t teach the old school things you need to know. Like I said, I learned so much from all of those women that taught me when I was very young coming up. Like Jerry Hall, she made me set her hair wet, and had a portable dryer. It’s all of that old school stuff, like everything I learned in beauty school – pin curls and finger waves. It is all stuff I use everyday.

I always love to meet a kid who’s hungry. I love new talent and ideas, which is how I learn, and is also exciting for me. If you show me something new – hey. I love that. That’s one thing that has been good working in a salon for a change. I have some people around me where I go “Hey, I’ve never seen that before.” Because usually when you are on a set, it’s you. You don’t get to watch other people work. When I did Pat (Field) for fashion week, her show, I think I had 18 assistants and it was so much fun watching everyone work. That’s what I want. I just want somebody that’s hungry, that maybe I can learn from too.

To contact Syd Curry about an opportunity to assist, or to book him for a shoot, please use one of the following contacts:

~ Hillary Fry / solessence
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