Saturday, June 25, 2016

Super Saturday ~ Stay Healthy

Happy Saturday! Living for the weekend. Here are some of my favorite ways to
Kick off the day: The Super Elixir Nourishing Protein (chocolate is amazing all organic plant protein) with prebiotic & probiotic for good gut health (which also benefits the brain!), keeps you fuller longer, digestive enzymes + 15 grams of protein. Add a banana or super greens and coconut milk. Seriously gets you thru the morning, no hunger! My friend Ela has added this to her morning routine as breakfast and lost 5 lbs in 2 weeks 
:-) nice benefit. 

Dr Frank Lipman l-glutamine helps reduce sugar cravings, plays a vital role in gastro health, promotes muscle tone and ALA reduces inflammation, balances blood sugar and protects skin collagen!  use 15HYATT to save 15% this weekend!

Have an awesome weekend! #weekendwarriors #thesuperelixir #bewell #drfranklipman

Friday, June 17, 2016

The American Dream: Mirakle Cream

The American Dream Better: Skin Mirakle Cream.

I love a great American Dream. When an industry colleague sent me this product to try, I was immediately smitten. I loved the package right away, this little jar comes in this adorable drawstring bag with a beautiful color print to match the label on the jar, so vibrant!

Then I started using it, I first tried it on my hands, (which were bitten by my new puppy, Remy  she's teething) it was lovely, melted into the skin, hydrated my little bite marks, reduced the inflammation and redness. 

Then I tried it on my sons, they always complain of dry skin despite having a bit of combination T zone issues. 

In the winter their skin just doesn't feel comfortable. When the kids were little I could have used this cream, it would have been great on Dane's red irritated cheeks. It's healing and very comforting. I decided that night that I would forgo my expensive creams and serums, and try this little Mirakle Cream. What I found was it was divine. It kept my skin moisturized and soothed, all night. 

I wound up with my skin protected from TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) -especially in winter when the heat is on in Chicago and the air outside is cold, we lose so much water evaporating from our skin. The drier the skin the more sensitive it is, so you see the vicious cycle that so many people complain about their skin being uncomfortable in winter.

This is great product, at a great price with huge

I love the story, esthetician moves from her native country to the US to pursue the American Dream, she brings with her amongst her prize possessions her recipe for a skin cream she made for her clients in her native homeland - The Republic of Uzbekistan, meets an industry beauty veteran and as they say the rest is history!

It reminds me of how many a great beauty companies started with a vision & a prized cream: Estee Lauder-Super Rich All Purpose Cream, Elizabeth Arden - Eight Hour Creme, Mary Kay started by opening a store front with just 5 products.

Here is a link to the product and learning more about the ingredients and story of the founders!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nesting with Maureen Landry

Nesting with Maureen Landry, Part II of my interview with my favorite Fashionista! Not only does Maureen have amazing personal style in dressing, she has a knack for creating amazing homes. I have watched her over the 24 years of our friendship create 3-4 homes. You can bet when she comes to Chicago we are fluffing my nest! She never steers me wrong and we always have a great time. I took time to ask her a few questions about how she created her last home in an old brick grade school building that was transformed into condos, what a great use of space for these older school buildings. Still in a traditional neighborhood, it was transformed into homes. She took 2 condos and made them into one large condo with separate living quarters, 2 bedrooms at opposite sides of the condo. It gives communal space in the center of the home but the bedrooms offer privacy & lovely quite space to retreat to at the end of the day. I love being a guest at her home and always just soak up the serenity she creates. Here are her tips and some of the pictures of her last home in Wisconsin. She is available for projects too...

BC; What is your secret to having no clutter? 
ML: First of all, I hate clutter.  Just looking at it causes anxiety!  
I believe that organization is an extension of the design/decor of your home.  I love to open a drawer or closet and see clothes/linens neatly stacked; water bottles and cans facing forward in my pantry. 
Being organized is a combination of efficiency and committing to putting things away in their designated spot (being a bit OCD helps).
BC:  What are your tips to organizing a home?

ML: Use baskets to hide clutter and drawer organizers -

Here are some tools Maureen recommends:

1. Use drawer organizers for your kitchen and bathroom drawers and baskets to hold neatly folded linens, toilet paper towels, magazines and mail.
2.  Hang scarves and necklaces on hangers in your closet.  
3.   Always fold linens and clothes the same way so your shelves and closet always stay neat and clutter free.

4.  Get rid of mix-matched hangers and buy wood hangers. Then place all blouses together and then pants together and so on.  Group clothing by season, color and purpose so it's easy to decide what to wear.  

BC: When putting together a room what do you start with? Something you love? like a great couch or a bed?  

ML: I start with the largest piece of furniture that's going to anchor the room.  I always gravitate toward furniture that allows you to curl up and read. 
BC: I always see layering in your rooms, with a variety of texture from luxe fabrics, to furry soft pillows, to shine and metals, how do you keep it all together?
ML: I like things to have a certain harmony and rhythm so I work with one color in the space, but in different textures, shapes and sizes.  I keep furniture, rugs and paint neutral and add pops of color with pillows, accessories and fresh flowers.  

BC: How would you describe your style?  

ML: Contemporary

BC: Your condo you put together had so many great features. I loved the windows and being sub ground level. I also loved the basin you created for your guest bathroom. Where do you get your ideas and then describe the most challenging part of your last home when selecting fabrics (can be the counters, cabinets, open shelving, appliances etc not necessarily "fabrics".)
ML: I'm always reading design books, magazines and blogs, but my absolute favorite place to get ideas is Houzz...the best app ever made!  There are literally thousands of ideas and materials to choose from so the most challenging part of putting together a design project is narrowing in on your favorites.  I had amazing architecture so it made my build-out easier. I also found a great carpenter and cabinet maker.  I could show them a picture and they would duplicate it.  

Above: This is the guest bathroom featuring a custom made sink, of thick wood thats been coated to a shiny finish with polyurethane to withstand the moisture in bathrooms.

Below is the master bathroom, the 2 Kohler mirrors open to store toiletries leaving the sink clutter free!

Another view of the Master Bath room
Master Closet, notice how the shoes are organized on the wall shelf to the left of the mirrors? Fancy 
This is the kitchen looking into the family room

Add caption

 Another view of the kitchen, with open shelves to the left and you cant see the gorgeous Wolf 36 inch stove but that would be amazing to have!! Love it.
This is the living room, the windows are at ground level, which is really cool.

BC: Maureen, Love your style and your vision! Thanks for sharing your unique concepts in design! XOXO Love you!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring Break

Friends, so sorry I have been late in posting!

Life has been so busy ....a great loss... of the patriarch of my husbands family, Grandpa Kjeldsen passed on 2.21.15 at 96 years old. Such a loss but a vibrant life and well lived one at that. Here he is at Christmas 2014 with his some of his youngest great-grandchildren. He had a sharp memory right up until the end, a successful career, and he was totally self made. Took up flying at 42, loved the outdoors, traveled well, played golf, enjoyed hunting, fishing and boating. Held his family deep in his heart, and a handful of friends that he kept. Their crowd was super cool, sadly out of a group of 12 couples, only 2 of those remain today.

This year is also my son's senior year in college, so lots of exciting things happening. The bookends of college! for those of you that may be starting college or your children going to be freshman this fall, you have lots of emotions going on.... from graduating HS to moving into the first steps as a young adult going away to college.

Then, what seems like a flash're (or in my case my child!) planning college graduation and life as a young adult. Exciting times indeed.

Needless to say life has prioritized my days of late.

So for now we are trying to be in the moment, for 4 years we planned this spring trip our son affectionately calls the "Sauer Farewell Tour" - he has played D1 baseball for 4 years and like anything great, all things must come to an end. We are following the team around on their spring break. They are playing in Memphis ...and yes we fit in a visit to Graceland to see Elvis ;-)

Today, we are in Starkville, Mississippi and playing Mississippi State University. What a wonderful few days visiting this glorious campus. The school is massive and quite impressive. There is a very strong focus on sports here among academics.

With any road trip or vacation, I don't know about you but I forget something and have to run to the local Target or similar store. I found a Walmart near our hotel to grab some things I needed.

Here is what I found...a lovely black hat (this will help me keep the sun off my face with this wide brim & since my wardrobe has 90% black in it ...naturally this will fit). My polish was chipping and I hate a chipped nail! so I was able to pick up this super portable nail polish remover THESE ARE AWESOME! Equate Beauty line of Nail Polish Remover Pads, every travel bag needs them.

And a quick dry polish in a bright color From Sally Hansen for my toes and fingers to bring some cheerful thoughts of summer...along with Seche Vite, this is a product that is a super quick drying top coat that was originally for professional use only but now available for purchase. It's one of the best on the market. I had the CND Solar Oil in my beauty bag, this is something I try to use daily on my cuticles, it moisturizes, penetrates nail lacquer and helps keep nail beds moisturized + keeps the lacquer looking shiny.

Lastly being in sunshine and 77 degree weather is a far change from the cold & snow I left in Chicago requires some color on my pasty white skin. I found this mousse moisturizing product that builds color over a couple of days. It works! Its easy to apply and while it is not a colored mousse so you can see where you are applying, just make sure you cover all your areas in circular motion and blend in well. A pro tip is to then use a blow dryer to dry it down so you can get dressed quickly.
(+ benefit...You will look better naked with a little color! ha ha)

Cheers to Spring and hoping you have something fun planned for your spring break!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday's Woman: Fashion Influencer Maureen Landry

Maureen Landry: Fashion & Design Influencer

Maureen Landry, left & I

Maureen Landry is a dear, dear friend (adore!) and one of the most amazing stylist in fashion and home design. She has worked on my home & the room is still one of my favorite in my house.  And everything about her recently designed condo was the perfect pied de terre! I will be featuring that home which recently sold on another segment so watch for it!

Mo, in the 23 years that I have known you, you've always had the most amazing style both in your homes and fashion sense. With such an amazing eye! I have always felt so relaxed in your home & charmed by the order, there is no chaos! And when I think of your style of putting together an outfit, I never think "trendy" although you are always on pointe! You have a great mix of classic with a nod to trendy but never outrageous and always so appropriate.
BC: How would you describe your style?  
ML: I'd describe it as euro chic with a bit of an edge
BC: Who influenced you growing up?
ML: Both of my grandmothers influenced my personal style. One wore skirts, heels, twin- sets and pearls every day.  My sister and I would play in her closet when we were little. Some of my fondest memories are of us trying on her shoes, clothes and jewelry. She was part of that era when women dressed up before they left the house.  I still remember the matching handbags and shoes!                     
My other grandmother was European. Her clothes were tailored and feminine.  I admired her effortless style. She always smelled so nice (I wish I knew the name of her perfume). Their influences are evident when you look in my closet.  It’s filled with classic pieces; pencil skirts, cashmere sweaters, tailored jackets, silk blouses and ladylike accessories. I keep things neutral and simple so everything is interchangeable.  
BC: How do you select an outfit? It is based on where you are going? 
ML: I base it on how I feel. You know I love being organized so I set up my closet to look like a boutique.  It makes it easy to pick out an outfit.  I always have a silhouette in mind and dress for my body type.  You remove anxiety and chaos if you always have 2-3 core outfits that you can count on in a pinch. I have a go-to sheath for special occasions, skinny jeans and a silk blouse for going out and comfortable leggings and cashmere for travel.  It's like creating a tool kit. It helps me achieve a sense of confidence and comfort when I don't have to stress about what to wear.  
BC: How you want to feel (i.e., classic, sexy, confident, laid back etc) or an image you want to portray?  
ML: I like to look polished.  I think you naturally feel sexy and confident once you've defined your style. It's something you have in your head when you’re deciding how to put everything together.  
You don't second guess yourself because you know what works. 
BC: Do you cover-up one feature for highlighting another? (ex: you wouldn't have a low cut blouse and a short skirt?). 
ML: I dress for my body type so I gravitate toward clothes that create a definition for my boyish figure. I look for simple,  tailored clothing and for pieces that won't exaggerate my broad shoulders. 
BC: What types of accessories are important to you? I love Designer accessories.  As you know, I'm crazy for shoes!! 
ML: I'm drawn to ladylike pumps (Manolo's, Gucci). I go for bold/chunky jewelry (Eddie Borgo) and large handbags.  I’ll spend money on quality accessories, but I'll pair them with inexpensive pieces.
 BC: Do you prefer to invest in quality pieces or quantity?  
ML: I go for quality.  I've found that I'm always looking for ways to edit/curate the perfect wardrobe. I go through my closet 2 times a year so I can keep it simple.  I get anxiety when I have too many choices.  
BC: What items do you save on?  
ML: I save on jeans, t-shirts and a couple of trendy pieces for a new season. I love shopping at Zara for tops and dresses.
BC: What is your must have list for fall?
BC: What is your favorite tee: ML: J Crew t-shirts are my favorite.  They are so soft!
BC: Favorite Jean: ML: j brand
BC: Favorite watch:  ML: Cartier
BC: Favorite sunglasses: ML: Classic Ray Bans or my big Chanel tortoiseshell frames
BC: Favorite boots: ML: Gucci
BC: Favorite coat: ML: Dolce & Gabanna (amazing tailors)
BC: Favorite bag: ML: Hermes- Birkin...I don't own it yet 
BC: Maureen, Thank you so much for sharing secrets to you style and I am looking forward to featuring your home on the Beauty Curators blog very soon! IL&G

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday's Woman: April Gargiulo, Founder of The Vintner's Daughter

                                                          April Gargiulo

           Meet April Gargiulo, a modern skincare maverick with an interesting back ground coming from the design world, to winemaking and launching her own brand of skincare (that was created while she was expecting her first child Whew!)... April searched for something she could use safely during her pregnancy, and what she found were 'natural' products on the market that had chemicals in them that she would never use on the very grapes found at her family vineyard.

What a treat to have the opportunity to interview April.

BC: What a fun journey to hear about your career path from working in Design, to launching a vineyard to your own skincare product line. What did you do in design in the early part of your career?


AG: I worked for a furniture design company called Vitra in NYC. Vitra is a company that is uncompromising in its belief that good design can be part of everyone’s life. To have design integrity be as important to your company’s mission as the bottom line is deeply inspiring to me and something I have applied to Vintner’s Daughter and Gargiulo Vineyards. 


BC: How did helping your family launch a vineyard shape your philosophy for your own business? What learning's did you take with you?


AG: Gargiulo Vineyards is all about making the finest wines in the world for discerning collectors. If we don’t start with the very best raw materials and honor them through our winemaking process, then we would fall short of our goals every time. This is a yardstick by which we painstakingly measure our formulation process at Vintner’s Daughter. We produce chemical-free, high performance, luxury skincare for the discerning woman. If we didn’t source the very best ingredients and if our process was about speed not quality, then we would not be able to deliver on that promise.


BC: Did that process of working in startup vineyard help formulate your mind to start your own company? Do you see yourself more of an entrepreneur that will have a career building companies and then selling?


I have always worked in family businesses and although not without their challenges, I find their warmth and risk-taking spirit to be rewarding. I hope that I am building another great family business. Maybe my daughters will want to work with me one day.


BC: Tell me about how you came to launch the Vintner's Daughter?


AG: When I was pregnant with my first daughter I realized that most of the expensive cult creams I was using were filled with nasty stuff that was potentially harmful to my baby, our environment and myself. I went in search of truly chemical free products and couldn’t find any formulated for my skin type or as luxe as I wanted. I needed a little more cream in my coffee so to speak. I started researching active and natural ingredients and two years later introduced Vintner’s Daughter with one “hero” serum formulated for all skin types but especially beneficial to hormonal and acne-prone skin – like mine.


BC: Sometimes product companies don't share the story of what they chose to leave out...what are your dirty dozen of common ingredients that are harmful to consumers & what you chose to leave out?


AG: The list of ingredients that shouldn’t be in our skincare products seems to be getting longer every day. We choose to work with organic and/or wildcrafted botanicals that come directly from the earth with minimal processing. We believe that using natural non-toxic ingredients is the best way to support the skin’s own defenses from aging, the environment and stress.


BC: What's the hardest part of launching/managing a business? What do you hope for this business?


AG: The hardest part of managing the business for me is staying in the now. I am a dreamer and am always thinking 10 steps ahead. Sometimes this can be frustrating to not be as far along with our business as I would like. I have to constantly remind myself one step at a time.


BC: What is the best part of being a business owner? How does it fit into your life of managing a home, your new little family?


AG: Being a business owner and hands-on mom is challenging and I’m never sure I have the balance right, but the days when I feel like I was able to do it all (family, work, husband, personal time etc) are exhilarating.


BC: What is daily work wear for the office vs. meetings outside the office?


AG: I aspire to be a more adventurous again when I’m not crawling after kids half the day, but for now its easy separates and mostly in black and denim. For meetings I change out of sneakers (love sneakers) and put on some fun heels and accessories. I keep it easy.


BC: Last question, (one of my favorite features of Elle D├ęcor is the 12 things you couldn't live without, so its a spin off that!!)


AG: What are 5 things you cant imagine your life without? My family and friends are of course number one, but after that it would be

1.      The perfect almond milk latte.

2.      Sunshine

3.      Music/Pandora – Otis Redding station is shockingly good.

4.      Travel – Planning a Paris and Cadaques trip now.  Cant wait!!

5.      Bone broth* – Im obsessed!!
    Reader's you can learn more about how to correct skin conditions & the benefits of Phyto Radiance Infusion at the heart of the  Vintner's Daughters Active Botanical Serum. These high performance botanicals & essential oils provide anti-inflammatory phyto nutrients, firming phyto-ceramides and nourishing fatty acids.


Editors Note: Bone Broth! I loved hearing that response.

*Bone Broth is one of the healing options for anyone with gut health issues, especially those with leaky gut syndrome. I have been doing a great deal of research on leaky gut issues and bone broth is amazing for a variety of heal issues from arthritis, joint issues and cellulite. Cultures use broth made from chicken, fish, beef and because of the high nutrient content & collagen benefits. gelatin provides relief from food allergies including cow and gluten. soothes the intestinal track assisting with IBS, Crohn's and acid reflux to name a few.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bonnie Cannavino, President of Red Cherry Group

I never get tired of interviewing women and finding out how they have built their business and what gives them the drive, strength and chutzpah to carry out their dreams. Its a pleasure to feature Bonnie Cannavino, President and Founder of Amrit Organic and Red Cherry Labs.  I first met Bonnie years ago when she worked for Bioelements and then again as a Spa Director, and we have stayed industry colleagues seeing each other at industry events in which we get to catch up on our business and lives. I have great admiration for Bonnie who started her business later in her career and has all the gusto needed to grow this business into an amazing specialty organic boutique lab servicing those concerned about healthy skincare and body care for the professional day spa market.
BC: Bonnie, tell me about your career path and what lead you to creating your own lab.

Bonnie: This was the most unexpected journey. Little girl, with big dreams just hoping for a great career in Make-up artistry…that turned into a full circle of opportunities! From struggling to make a splash in renting salon space,  to a highly successful Bridal Makeup Business  “One Beautiful Face” building it, working 52 weekends a year, 4 assistants and 3 hairdresser to managing my first DAY SPA and then off to work for Revlon’s Midwest European Division.  I successfully completed a 5 year program to build several of Revlon Brands selling Rights to Davidoff. Then Bioelements, newly launched, leading me to building a national brand and managing Distributorships. But it didn’t stop there. I then found this experience launched me into General Management of Maxine Salon & Spa for 5 years building into a multi-million dollar business including the branding of Private label and Formulating Natural Products. Little did I know, after leaving, I would open a spa business consulting business and get connected to formulating a brand of the first Organic Manicure & Pedicure Products in 2004, that moved me into creating the Red Cherry Certified Organic Lab, from a lack of finding a resource to formulate my products to my highest standard of organic and spa professional excellence. Whew!

BC: How did you come to choose to create organic products?

Bonnie: Growing up on natural home cooking and prepared nutritious school lunches, even through College, gave me the insight very young to be healthy and strong. I chose the beauty Industry because of its ever growing grassroots. It was a natural to me and I saw a great need in our industry to preserve beauty not just from the outside but changing how we use and experience a healthier lifestyle and creating a healthier salon and spa environment. Creating organic products had to be about authenticity and active principles, taking us away from the traditional footprints of formulation. Thus the environment and beauty is detoxified, strengthened, stabilizing the endurance of more youthful and lasting beauty to be handed down and treasured.  Know that the personal care industry is not new, but has a rich history of natural and organic material bases that changed in the 20th century and as an industry we recognize the need for the balance of these precious Organic Compounds to bring health with the wonderful new sciences of Cosmeceuticals to maintain balance and youth. My company I put in the forefront of these new horizons in our industry.

BC: What's been the most challenging part of ownership?

Bonnie: Of Course, It’s wearing all those hats! But the most exciting part is, as you and your business grow, you get to put a hat on someone that believes in the dream and you get to put a new one on. With every part of business there is growth in watching and market stimulation. The responsibilities expand and it’s recognizing the good and the pitfalls by bringing forward all your past experiences of success forward. I’m a future thinker tending to forecast 3 years out. So, I surround myself with grounded professionals that can see where I want this company to go and improve, thus knowing your own weaknesses is the key!

BC: What's been the most rewarding?

Bonnie: Seeing our industry change for the better and growth of health and wellness, but the reward for me is being a central impact to that change.  My own personal grow coincides with the spa brand and business movement, which is my passion and ability to present and give back to my industry is the ultimate gift to my mentors and those around me.

BC: In this endeavor, what skills have you gained and how did you grow personally and professionally?

Bonnie: My two skills:  Successful Business Development thru Professional Individual Growth, which you cannot separate in an intimate people business and the other, is Creativity. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to learn from others by diving directly in. My mentors gave freely and I have the ability of knowing how to surround myself with like-personalities, a “key” the factor in success to every position I attained. I have the utmost integrity, never to abandon.  I believe in long relationships and solid foundations.   

BC: I imagine starting a business in a historically low economic time had been challenging, what motivates you every day?

Bonnie: There is an advantage to every economic wave. The organic material resource to product formulation is the hardest today because of its sensitivity to popularity, draught, war and disease. Motivation is never a problem when you have a passion for what you do, but it’s the serious decision to know your success and how you got there to taking on a journey with commitment and determination. I love what I do and I embrace and take responsibility for every action and its wonderful outcome.

BC: What advice would you have for entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business?

Bonnie: In one sentence…Be the art of listening, recognizing the truth and red flags to making the correct decision.

First be humble and list out in columns all your strengths and weaknesses. List all the tools of your successful background knowing why it’s successful. Do not go into a field you have not experienced without success. Seriously decide if you are a self-starter, a sticker and a motivation with tireless energy. Make sure you can handle failure and the ability to know why something failed and if you have failed those around you. There are so many individuals that think it’s easy but are not equipped in the business they create. Business is math and consistency, communication, marketing experience, quality and control, trouble shooting and recreation…to a bottle of Champagne once a year!

BC: What's the best advice you have been given in business?

Bonnie: OMG…I have had many, my mentors were wonderful…but several things stick out: First…keep it as simple as possible, second never be afraid to seek out answers and thirdly keep your relationship whole and growing.

BC: What are the 5 things you can't live without?

1.       My husband who encourages me to go for it…he sees my success and passion

2.       My associates and all my relationships, they are most precious

3.       My clients and all those students who are not afraid to pick up the phone and ask for my opinion

4.       Estheticians, spas and medi-spas, I have and can inspire to great careers

5.       For this industry that has given me so many rewards for my efforts, knowledge and creativity

I thank you Elaine…for bring me home to my humble beginnings!
Bonnie, Thanks for sharing more about your career and business, inspiring story filled with many examples to continue to grow within your industry. I think our readers will enjoy learning more about your career path. See you soon~