The 5 songs that get me “going” and charged for the day!

March 21st, 2014


I remember when I was a young teenager, I would always get ready for school, blaring the top “10″ on the radio. Music has always pumped me up and charged me with energy. Somewhere along the line, as I grew older, music in the mornings started to take a back seat to the morning news. With it’s traffic alerts, weather reports and minute by minute updates on world events, I got sucked into a downward vortex that T.V. often pulls you into. This daily ritual was seldom, if ever uplifting, and seemed to really leave me in a panic. Rain turned into “Storm Watches” colds became “Killer Viruses”  and helicopters followed stolen cars along streets until someone crashed or ran out of gas!

When my son reached his teens, the pounding vibrations of rap music began permeating the bedroom walls each morning. As it physically shook the house, with it’s mighty base tones, I asked him “why it had to be so loud for him to enjoy it, and how we might come to some compromise, so we both could cohabitate under the same roof.”

“It gets me going Mom” he said, “I like the feeling of waking up and hearing my music, it gets me powered up for my day.”

In a world of instant news that plays 24 hours a day, I had fallen into a habit of thinking this was the ”grown-up” way to greet my mornings. After all, CNN’s breaking coverage on that missing plane must be important, right? I mean, Russia is taking over a large section of the Ukraine. Isn’t it my job as an adult to know what’s going on in the world. With the stream of Dow Jones arrows pointing down or up, at the bottom of my T.V. screen, I thought I was being more informed and responsible. As the stocks rose and fell, I could watch the future of my retirement funds grow or shrink, within the time it took me to drink one large coffee and a bowl of oatmeal.

A few mornings ago we were awoken to a lovely Los Angeles earthquake, centered apparently right under my home. It was over in a few seconds, but instead of going back to bed, I turned on the television and spent the next 2 hours listening to people report what I already knew. WE HAD A EARTHQUAKE…IT SHOOK THE EARTH. SOME PEOPLE FELT 2 JOLTS, OTHERS ONLY 1. WHAT DID IT MATTER? END OF STORY, GO BACK TO BED!

In a way, I have given CNN, Good Morning America and other mornings shows, the power to dictate my moods. So, I decided this week to run a little experiment on myself. Those of you who follow my blog regularly, already know how much I enjoy a good experiment. Instead of inviting the world in for coffee, this week, I made a 5 song play list to listen to as I drank my coffee, make my family breakfast, packed my son lunch and got dressed.

Guess what? It was fun. Really fun. I might even go so far as to say, it was a breakthrough success. In fact, if the word gets out, I might win a Nobel Peace Prize! Could you just imagine Vladimir Putin with a set of ear buds on, listening to my playlist? He might just leave that poor island of Crimea alone.

I felt instantly lighter, even younger, and by far happier, as I ran out the door. I waved enthusiastically to my neighbors, walked the dog with a little skip in my step, and even blew a kiss to that cute UPS Guy (o.k., that part is made-up, but I did think about it.) As the week went on, I realized that it was easier then I thought to jump out of a rut and let old habits die.

So here are the 5 songs from my private play list. Feel free to make your own, I won’t be offended. After all, it was the power of music that lead the slaves from Egypt to Freedom. Let the music begin!


Best Mornings, Jyl

1. BRUNO MARS “Runaway Baby.”

2. ADELE ”Rolling in the deep.”

3. U2  “One.”


5. MATISYAHU “One day.”

owner of




What I Love About Me

February 26th, 2014


I have never thought about making a list entitled “What I love about me” until today. The idea simply popped into my head after reading an article about how critical most women are about themselves. I wanted to see how it felt to mentally turn that idea inside out.  Admitting that I’m happy with certain parts of myself, even love things about myself, somehow seems weird or conceited. I feel almost apologetic about recognizing the things that make me the person I am, like I am going against the grain, but even with that said, I decided it was an experiment worth conducting. I figured at my age, I should know by now what I’m doing right, and what I have going for me. So after much thought, deep soul searching and a 2nd cup of coffee, I was able to come up with my top three picks. Love is a strong word, so I wanted to make sure I meant it. It’s disappointing how quickly I could rattle a long list of the things I dislike about myself, like a whole gang of “mean girls” who hang out in my head. So this was a good exercise in reminding myself that I have great worth. Simple math reminds me that, as a women in her 50′s, and if I am super lucky, I have now entered into what will become, my ”2nd act” of life. If I can clarify my short comings each time I look in the mirror, shouldn’t I also be able to list what my triumphs are and celebrate my talents! Believe me when I say, it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

At a close girlfriends recent 50th birthday party, we were asked to reveal one thing about ourselves that the other girls might not know or even believe to be true. It was like “Truth or Dare” for grown up girls. I was surprised by how open and fluid the naughty tales flowed, and how each women couldn’t wait to share their own mischievous story. This group of middle aged women lost their corks and there was no putting them back. One of my girlfriends, who I had always thought walked a pretty conservative line, shocked me with her tales of drunken nights and one night stands while backpacking through Europe in the 70′s.  She then confided in me that she had never shared those tales with anyone, including her husband of 24 years, and she looked relived to have finally let it all out!

I read somewhere that making lists of your goals can be a really good motivator in achieving success.  I’ve had plenty of friends over the years, who made lists of the attributes they were looking for in a spouse. Others make a “bucket list” of things to do before they die, and that makes great sense to me. I would hate to look back and wonder why I had not tried to go, do and see all the things my heart dreams of. So, I guess the idea of listing the things I love about myself is not such a whacky idea at all, in fact it may just be my best idea yet! So, with that said, here I go with number one on my list of the top things I love about me.

1. I make a list of what I need to do each week, and 99% of the time I follow through and finish with whatever was on my list.

Now, I can just envision all of you shaking your heads thinking what a pathetic way to start a list entitled “What I love about me,” but I’ve got to say on my behalf, there is a lot to be said about setting out to do something, and actually finishing it. I like the feeling that my family can rely on me to do what I say, that my friends know that they can count on me when I make a promise and finally that my word is good. I love that I don’t procrastinate, and this allows me to get a lot of things done. That is why it gets my top billing.

2. I love that I’m creative.

When I was a young girl, the only positive comments my teachers wrote on yearly report cards (almost out of pity because I sucked so badly at school) was that they enjoyed my creative talents. When it came to math, spelling or even physical education, I was pretty much at the bottom of the class. Last to be picked on a team, last to be chosen to represent our school in the county spelling bee, and certainly never called up to the bulletin board to show the rest of the class how I solved the math problem. But, when it came to anything artistic, I excelled. It was my art projects the teachers displayed. It was me, the other students copied and it has been this one  talent that propelled me through life.

3. I am funny, and I can tell a good story.

When all else fails, I will always be humorous and able to tell a great story. Most of them are true, by the way, but all of them quite entertaining. That is of course if my mind holds out! Lately I do find myself standing in front of an open refrigerator door, trying to remember why I’m standing there. But hopefully, with the heavy doses of Omega Fish Oils to support my memory, learning and moods, I will be able to sustain my quick wit and always be beloved for my story telling ability’s.

Now that my list is made, I can’t help but wonder what this same list might have looked like when I was 16,  25 or even 40. I’m sure I would have focused on more physical aspects like pretty skin, or shapely legs. I think creativity would have always made the list at any age, since it really defines who I am, but who knows? I think today’s experiment was successful, and reminding myself of the things I love, including myself, wasn’t so bad after all.

Best wishes,






Beauty is remembered when worn on the inside.

January 23rd, 2014

Lynns mother

In memory of Bathsheva bat Sura v’ Yitzhak

    I have a dear friend, who sadly lost her mother last week. Losing a parent is never easy, even when they have lived a long happy life into their 90′s, and I knew how close their mother-daughter bond had been.

Lynn and I have not been friends for decades, but our friendship clicked the moment we met a few years ago, and we quickly “got” each other. I was drawn to her warm smile and exuberant personality, our love of music, theater and dance. She is talented, funny and so open that I can only describe her personality as “refreshing.” She is the type of woman who can tap dance and sing at the drop of a hat, and although I would never mention a girlfriends age, Lynn has the energy of someone 20 years younger. We share all sorts of silly interests through emails, like who got eliminated on the ”The Bachelor,” (we are both hopeless romantics) and updated pictures of our grandchildren, including iPhone video’s of their first laughs, baths and words. But what I really love about her, is that we can also share with each other openly about life’s up’s and downs, our children and our views on spirituality.

When I read on Facebook that her mother had passed, I called around to find out the time and location of the service. Although these events can often feel awkward, especially when you have never met the person who had passed, I knew the importance of supporting my friend came first. The entire thought that life is passing quickly, is often uncomfortable, but pausing to remember can be life’s most valuable lesson.

After arriving, and hugging my friend and her daughters, I sat down and prepared myself for the what was sure to be an evening of solemn speeches, by those who would miss her dearly. I had already prepared myself by stuffing a large wad of tissues into my purse earlier, since I am the girl who cries at the drop of a hat…even at the sappiest of T.V. commercials.

As I looked up, I was caught off guard by a table of framed photos of my friends mother. I had often heard about this lovely, bigger than life woman, but the fact that she was “Movie Star Beautiful,” her daughter had never mentioned. In framed picture after picture, set up on a table for all to see, the woman we were about to eulogize was simply stunning. She looked as if she walked straight out of a 1940′s Hollywood Movie, an elegant long neck, beautiful moon-shaped eyes, perfect-full red lips. I pictured her walking down the streets of Manhattan as a young women, turning heads where ever she went. In one of the pictures, she stood with her ”equally” handsome husband in a dancing pose, ready to waltz the evening away. With arms and shoulders held at the perfect angle, and toes pointed, the two looked as if they could dance on forever.

Once the family got up to speak, I learned that there was a much deeper level that laid beneath this beautiful women, in fact the mention of her physical appearance was really secondary to who she was. They spoke of a woman who cared little about vanity, jewelry or fancy items. Despite her stylish beauty, she had not been born into great wealth nor lived a life filled with glamorous parties. Instead she was a woman who had lost her mother at the age of 15, worked herself through the great depression, fell in love with one man, and then devoted her life to making her family happy. Her daughters spoke of her incredible warmth, and shared their joyful memories of a mother who never spoke a bad word about anyone. Instead, she encouraged everyone she came in contact with, with positive uplifting messages, and heart felt hugs. In fact, even the cashier at the local grocery store, and the produce man, fell victim to her boundless affection.

Her beautiful granddaughters spoke of her home as being the happiest place on earth, a place to escape what ever life had thrown their way. She possessed a talent that could whip even the simplest ingredient’s into a gourmet meal, because “grandma” understood how to inject everything with tenderness. Stocked with popsicles and a patient, wise ear, at grandma’s house they were always beautiful, smart, talented and loved.

At the end of the evening it was clear to me how radiant and alive the footprints we leave behind in life, can be. This woman called her family her “millions” her “dividends,”  they were her treasures for a life well lived, and God surely blessed her with a long, meaningful one. So why should I, a person that never even met her, devote this blog this week to her?

As most of my readers already know, I sell beauty products for a living. I have spent most of my life, making things pretty. But as I have gotten older, I have stopped my chase for what lives on the outside, and have focused more on the true beauty that surrounds my life, gives it meaning and purpose. The memorial service for my friends mother just reminded me further, that when all is said and done, beauty is only really remembered when it is worn brightly on the inside.


May we all open our eyes wider, our mouths tighter and out hearts bigger.

Love, Jyl



Ice Water “Eyes” by ToGoSpa Collagen Gel Pads…5 Stars!

January 16th, 2014

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My Journey Back to Becoming Fabulous

January 3rd, 2014

marilyn in a potatoe sack

I have always adored old movies. As a child I could not get enough of those black and white classics that played on Sunday afternoons. I wasn’t partial to one star over the other, nor did I care if it was a musical or drama. From Judy Garland to Clark Gable, Tony Curtis to Marilyn Monroe and Gene Kelly dancing across our 28″ screen with Cyd Charisse in his arms, a movie musical was the answer to all of the worlds woes. I didn’t care who whisked me away on those long afternoons, in my imagination I was as close to heaven as a child could get. My mother would take out her ironing board on those lazy days and watch along with me. Before the invention of DVR’s, bathroom breaks had to be timed out perfectly to a 3 minute commercial before I had to be planted back onto the family room sofa. In between movies, my mother prepared grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Together, it was the recipe for a perfect day.

By the time I reached junior high school I was deeply involved in community theater and performing took presidency over any other activities. My theater pals and I were all rebels “without a cause” or perhaps really we were just a group of misfits who felt at home amongst each other. We were different in ways that made us popular only within our own little group. Somehow it was comforting to have found each other within our small town. It didn’t “sting” as much not to be considered “popular” in school because after school was when my life really began. The local thrift shops uncovered a love of vintage clothes (something I still enjoy today) and I adopted a dusty, cast-away ermine fur coat that my great aunt was happy to get rid of.

My girlfriend Vicky (sorry, Victoria) and I dressed each morning as if we were part of the cast of Godspell. I remember her showing up once to my home with rhinestones attached to her face with good old Elmer’s glue. When self adhesive rhinestone appliques became a popular trend a few years ago, I felt she should have gotten the credit as the true inventor! In fact, I am pretty sure she was the first girl to ever take wood shop in junior high and come away with a pair of homemade platform shoes. She was fabulous!

The young men we hung out with were handsome, funny and knew all the lyrics to “A Chorus Line.” It didn’t matter to me that most of my boyfriends had boyfriends. I was thrilled to know such daring and adventures young men, who marched to their own beat, while including me as their dance partners. We all shared a common thread of creativity and a overblown sense that we were destined to become famous. It was just a matter of time until the whole world would see, what we are already knew! The sheer blindness our group shared, only reinforced our drive to sing louder and push further. It was a time in my life where anything and everything seemed possible and my life would always be fabulous. In my joyful optimistic young female mind, I would became whatever I desired, move to some exotic location and convince my then boyfriend Mark to want me and not my best friend Darryl.

Boy, I miss those uncomplicated days when all you needed was a hopeful attitude and a tank full of gas. I miss that young, naïve girl who was fearlessly fantastic. In my own imagination all I had to do was picture myself as glamorous, and it happened. At least in my own head, I was almost there. A tube of red lipstick, an old pair of seamed stockings salvaged from the back of my grandmothers closet, a few layered necklaces and voilà. “Here she is boy’s…Here she is girl’s… Heres Rose” orchestra builds, curtain goes up, well, you see the vision, fabulous right? It was the thrill of silly ideas mixed together with tons of imagination that shot me into life.

So when did it all stop? Has life just made me wiser, more complacent to be ordinary or have I just allowed all the fun to be set aside while I attended to all life’s daily duties?  When I first came across this picture of Marilyn wearing a potato sack, I no longer coveted her bright orange platform shoes, but instead thought to myself  ”Boy, a baked potato, sure sounds good right now.”

In the 1980′s, AIDS claimed too many of my dearest and intimate friends. The ones who danced, and sang with me and told me I was fabulous, were now gone. They helped me to believe it all, and I have kept those memoirs close to my heart ever since. So, in dedication to them, I am taking a journey back to “that girl.” In 2014, I plan to devote more time to laughter, more time to singing loud in the car, more time enjoying life. Care to come with me?




Slumber Party Stories

January 30th, 2013

One of the happiest childhood traditions which I enjoyed while growing up is still alive and kicking. The good old fashioned slumber party, now renamed the “Sleep Over.” It’s humorous to note, that in the very title of this American custom, one would assume that there would be plenty of sleep going on. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This rite of passage includes everything but the closing of one’s eye lids. If you are the hosting parent of one of these fine soirees, there is a big chance you might not be getting much sleep as well. The sounds of children running up and down the hallways, the banging around in the kitchen like a pack of rats and the argument’s that sometimes break out between your guests (“I told you I liked Josh, and now you’re texting him? You’re not my friend any longer; I’m blocking you on face time!”) can keep you up, well past your own bedtime. About one hour into most slumber parties, you’re going to wonder how you ever got talked into hosting this event in your home to begin with. It’s Saturday night and your pillow is beckoning you to lie down, but trust me on this. Keep your ears to the door and your eyes wide open. Remember when you were young?

Having the fine memory that I do, I can remember the havoc my friends and I would wreak upon my neighborhood. In the good old days, before homes were wired with cameras and anyone had ever heard of caller ID, a few little 11 year old girls could really stir up the pot. After our parents had gone to bed, we would quietly remove the screen on our bedroom window (before home alarm systems spoiled all the fun) and sneak out wearing nothing but our pajamas. Armed with a bag filled with rolls of toilet paper, we would set off like thieves in the night looking for the perfect home to decorate. I remember the thrill of knowing I was getting away with something and the adrenaline that pumped through my body made me giggle uncontrollably. Although I don’t think I ever qualified as the official ring leader of this mischief, I was most certainly a willing participant. Rolls of pink and yellow colored toilet paper (a very popular choice in the late 60′s) made our act of vandalism a beautiful display of creative adolescence.

Upon successfully sneaking back into our home, the night festivities continued with making popcorn and prank phone calls. I remember to this day, a gentleman listed in the phonebook named Clarence Bullwinkle. We would call him at all hours of the night asking him “Do you know where Rocky Squirrel is?”  I don’t know why this still makes me laugh! If one of my own children was terrorizing the city like we did, I would be mortified!

By the time I was 12, slumber parties became part beauty mentoring sessions, and part sex education. I remember my best friend Kathy telling me that she was now shaving her legs. I thought she was so lucky. Her mother had even shown her the proper way to do it. Since razors were still, pretty much a lethal weapon in 1971, I suppose Mrs. Sanchez was wise in instructing her daughter how not to slice off her legs. I was still begging my mother to buy me my first bra, and shaving my legs was not a discussion she was willing to have. Even if I didn’t really need one, I was humiliated in my first year of junior high school gym class with my white undershirt, advertising to all the other girls, my tardiness in becoming a women.

At one slumber party later that year, I invited a few of the really popular girls from school to spend the night (a bold move on my part) and to my surprise they actually showed up. I knew it was only because my older brother Richard was the most popular boy in 8th grade, but I was excited never the less. They showed up in full make-up (powder blue eye shadow and frosted white lips) sleeping bags with matching overnight cases and long dangle pierced earrings. Great, this gave me a few more things I could complain about to my mother. She had strict rules on piercing ears and wearing make-up before the age of 15.

After surveying my home, flirting with my older brother and watching the “Brady Bunch and Partridge Family” this restless group moved on to other activities that might amuse them. Instead of amusing prank phone calls (” Hi, is this Mr. Wall?  When they say there is no Mr. Wall living here, ask for Mrs. Wall. When they tell you there is no Mrs. Wall, you say “Are there any Wall’s in your house?”  When they reply no, then you say “Well, how does your house stand up?”) These girls had phone numbers of real people…mostly boys! Boys with who drove cars! I prayed that those boys wouldn’t show up at my house and get me grounded for life.

After 12:00 midnight, these girls became restless and decided to perform a make-over on me. Before I knew what hit me I was pinned down while they painfully pluck most of my eyebrows off. When they were finished, I was left with two thin arches, in which to express myself, and swollen red eyelids. There was a discussion about getting a needle and ice to pierce my lobs, but I pleaded with them to leave me alone. Then one of them (let’s call her Gina) causally told me about the birds and the bees (leaving out no details) then they all snuck out my window to smoke cigarettes.

During my spring break from school, I awoke one morning to discover that I had blossomed into a young woman overnight. My big brother transferred to a private boy’s school that spring and the popular girls (now cheerleaders) had no reason to be nice to me any longer so they started a rumor that I wore a padded bra.

I never invited those girls back, and in all fairness, they never asked to come back.

40 years later, I was attending a beauty convention in Los Angeles and as I was passing a booth advertising new waxing products, I heard a loud shrill voice saying “Jyl, is that you?” I turned around to see a middle-aged woman with platinum blond hair and enough make-up to cover a troop of Cirque du Soleil performers.”It’s me, Gina!” After a quick second (and a fast glance at her name tag) I realized that standing before me was The Home Coming Queen, Cheerleader and one time participant in my slumber party experiment. “Wow, you look exactly the same” she said. What are you doing here?

“I’m in the beauty business”, I replied.”I own a Internet site called so I am here seeing new vendors. With the look of complete surprise and shock, she said “The online beauty site? Wow, who would ever have guessed!”

Sensing a slightly awkward moment, my trusty assistant jumped in to remind me I had a meeting in 5 minutes. Gina gave me two fake air kisses, and slipped me her business card.

I still have that card in my desk drawer, and every time I come across it, I rub my eyebrows to make sure they are still there!

Best wishes, Jyl


This holiday stuff makes me dizzy!

December 19th, 2012

This year, the holiday rush, has made me dizzy! I don’t seem to get anything done that I need to finish, and my “to do” list keeps growing longer each day. A sense of panic boils up inside me as I look at the amount of “stuff” I still need to take care of with just a few more days left to meet that deadline.

I thought I had beat the system this year with home-made gifts. For my mother and each sibling, I made a movie out of recently discovered family reels that were uncovered by my son in the garage. These 8mm films, dating back to the early 1960′s are pure gold. My mother, looking so young and beautiful, has been a reminder to me, of how much I loved and admired her when I was a little girl. Her style, and elegance made her more of a movie star than anyone else’s mom in my neighborhood, and seeing her flirt with my father (the cameraman) was really touching. Editing these films together, and adding on the music of the era became a huge job. Without any sound (after all it was 1962 technology) I decided to spice it up with my own witty subtitles. It seemed like a good idea until I got through only 8 minutes of film, and ran out of funny things to write for the remaining 30 minutes. The rest of the film I banged my head against the keyboard, hoping for something hilarious to fall out.

When I was done (3 weeks and two days into the project) I had a lovely piece of family history, which was really the point anyway, but I promise you next year, I will not be looking to be “creative” with my gift giving abilities. I must say, the part I am most proud of is my tenacity to finish this gosh darn project, and get it sent to everyone. I almost gave up several times, swearing at my computer screen and vowing to go to the mall, first thing in the morning to buy everyone on my list a donut maker (My last meal of choice if I’m ever facing a firing squad) or a new pair of winter gloves.

The funny thing is, everyone is expecting a gift from my business. They start hinting early on how their old blow-dryer  is starting to peter-out, or inquiring if we still carry that conditioning treatment that transformed their hair last year. One nephew wants skin care for his girlfriend, another wants to surprise his parents with a blue Mohawk. I’m the magic Auntie that knows how to make it all happen and I don’t want to disappoint anyone. This year I will show up with all my goodies in tow, my creams and potions, appliances and make-up kits.

And, after all the gifts have been torn in to, hopefully we will sit down and enjoy my home-made family movie together, remembering the past and celebrating our futures together.

Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season,


P.S. I would love to tell you I’m the cute little girl in the front, but alas…I’m the one on Santa’s lap giving him a major migraine and distracting my poor brother. Needless to say, this photo never made it into a frame!

Beauty lives in true friendship

November 12th, 2012

The famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright (not known for his jolly spirit’s) once said, “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles. Even though I’m sure, Frank did not intend this statement to be a compliment, I find it to be wonderfully true. Part of what makes the city, in which I call home, so strangely brilliant and entertaining is the collage of cultures and backgrounds in which the pool of my dearest friends swim. We are a loose, colorfully different, yet pleasant group who delight in sharing absolutely nothing, yet everything at the same time. Some are glamorous on the outside, but more shine from within. With some of us, our charm may not be so apparent at first, but with a mere scratch of our surface there is pure gold within.

When I was younger, I dreamed of the glamorous life I would build for myself under the swaying palm trees of Southern California. At some point, real life stepped in and life changed dramatically. In my dreams I would always be young, carefree and full of adventure and spunk, and in my twenties, my life was just that and more. But as all things grow and change, so must our lives and the expectations that the party will not go on forever.

At some point my life twisted and turned and morphed as I had a family, house payments, work, divorce, another marriage, a couple more children to raise and educate and on and on it went. If you have ever been driving in a car and spaced out, only to realize several miles down the road that you had no idea how you got there, then you will understand my next point. I was 19 yesterday and now I’m 53. How did that happen? When I woke up yesterday, I was brushing my beautiful daughters hair and today that same daughter lives across the country with a handsome husband and three children of her own. When did my life fast forward, like a DVD player? I have the pictures to prove I was there year after year, but I really can’t explain how it happened so quickly.

This past weekend, I gave a birthday party for my dearest friend who has now joined my club of “50 and fabulous” and we had a wonderful party full of celebration, good wishes and tons of laughs. When we met, over 20 years ago, she was the most beautiful women I had ever met. It wasn’t just that she was the most adorable, but her personality and sense of humor drew people to her, like moths to a fire. She made everyone laugh, and blush with the types of comments only SHE could get away with and as she moved about a room, it was clear to see that everyone felt the same way I did about her. She was simply, 100% authentic, kind and non apologetic about who she was. A true breath of fresh air, and I have been blessed to become her adopted sister.

She was raised in New York by religious, doting parents in a traditional style upbringing, and I was raised by two super liberal, card carrying California Democrats who gave us wings, then shoved us out the door. On paper, it would be hard to see what has brought us together. In our hearts it is simple to know we will never be apart.

All these years later, my friend is as special as ever. She is now a grandmother of three who wears large flowers in her hair, and black studded motorcycle boots. Her children adore her and text her loving notes of admiration and thanks, just because she is who she is. When she shops at my Beauty Supply  store she is like a child in a candy store, like an artist with a palette full of colors, ready to create a masterpiece, and I am in awe of her ability to keep moving forward through hard times and struggles.

She reminds me that it is never too late to have fun, to dress the way you want (instead of what others may think you should wear) to find the biggest flower you can, and tuck it behind your ear,  to just enjoy being original. After all, no moth has ever flown towards the dark!

Best Wishes and Love to my Ryna,



The perfect blow-out, can change your life!

October 24th, 2012

For as long as I can remember, at least for the past 40 years, I have been blow drying my hair. I will admit, for a kid coming of age in the 70′s long straight hair was the envy of all teen aged girls. We went to any length possible to achieve a smoothed out look, and if that meant taking out the ironing board (We owned an iron that had no steam back then) with a super steady hand, we went for it. Even soup cans doubled as extra large rollers, pinned into place by jumbo hair pins. My sister and I got our first blow dryers around 1972 as holiday presents, and by New Years we were hooked. These bright orange, Gillette, hatchet style dryers, had two speeds. One for styling and one for drying. Both provided a huge break-through in grooming for our little household.

My first Blow Dryer

My older sister already had long, thick, wavy hair that fell perfectly without much fuss. The blow dryer for her was more of a tool to get out of the house quicker in the morning, and to school earlier so she had enough time to properly flirt with the boys, before the bell rang.

I, on the other hand had very thick, super curly hair that had a mind of it’s own. Before my blow dryer changed my existence, many a morning I would awake, to find that during the night, apparently, my “hairs” had all gotten together, and conspired to wreak my day. I used up all my sick day excuses on these mornings when it looked as if my natural hair had been attacked by a bad perm. To make matters worse, my mother kept my hair shorter and had layers cut, in an attempt to offer her youngest daughter a chance to have my very own look. She would say “Anyone can wear long hair parted down the middle, You have a more unique style that makes you stand out!”

“I don’t want to stand out” I would scream. Weren’t the awkward brown tortoise shell glasses and full metal braces enough? Did I have to have hair that resembled Albert Einstein instead of my 70′s beauty icon, Ali Macgraw?

When that dryer was given to me, I ran to the bathroom, tore open the box and read the directions (in English and in Spanish)  from start to finish. I even studied the illustrations to make sure I know what to do. There was a learning curve I had to overcome, for sure, and the fact that round brushes had not yet been invented meant there was a lot of extra pulling and tugging, but eventually I got the hang of it.

At 15 years old, I went with a girl friend to Vidal Sasson to get our hair cut and my first professional blow dryer, and the “Hair Gods” shined down on me that day. With a professional dryer, sectioning clips and a round brush I got my first glimpse into my future. As it turns out, I was pretty cute after all. As any woman will tell you, a good blow dry will make you feel like a thousand bucks! So here I am, years later, still drying, but with a few tools of the trade, the mystery has been solved.

This week, the news reported that “Dry Bars” are popping up all over the country. For just $35.00-$40.00, 2-3 times a week, women are having their hair professionally dried and curled. The average cost has become over $6000.00 dollars a year!

I am here to tell you, with a few good tools, some excellent styling products and a step by step guide. You can do it yourself, at home! I promise it’s not brain surgery. I start by combing  a quarter size of anti-frizz serum through my wet hair. I love Biosilk Silk Therapy. Then I use few firm holding sectioning clips and part my hair over the crown into 4 sections. I spray each section with my favorite product KMS Freeshape Quick Blow Dry  that makes my hair dry at record speed and twist the sections of hair up and out of my way. This makes it easier to get a smoother, even style. Release sections of wet hair from the clips as you dry .

My favorite blowdryer is the Super Solano 3500 Lite Dryer. It has a super blowing power and is much lighter to hold up. I know it is an investment to purchase a professional blow dryer, but it is really the key to a fast easy dry. Then, use a large round brush (I love the lightweight Ibiza brushes from Spain but Spornette also makes excellent round brushes) to dry sections smoothing while holding hair in a tighter grip. Finish with a tiny bit of serum to tame down any strays. This routine leaves hair smooth, but still full of volume.

If your hair is fine, or tends to become limp, you can secure Velcro rollers  in your dry hair (rolling them away from your face). Use your dryer to zap them with a blast of heat, then let them cool off for five minutes before removing.

If you want to added a little more defined curl, grap one of our Hot Tools, soft grip curling irons for big lush curls to finish off your, beautiful blow dry!  Best as always, Jyl



Less Stress…Are you kidding!

September 5th, 2012

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in a Buddhist Monastery, or grew up in the Amazon Rain Forest, surviving on just nuts, berries, and large insects, then chances are your eyes have gazed over a magazine cover or two. In fact, most women read an average of 2 magazines a month. Information comes to us in all sorts of ways these days, in fact it is almost hard to avoid! Do I really need to know how many pairs of shoes little Suri Cruise owns, or which actress has the worst cellulite in a bathing suit? Have reporters run out of ideas to report on? Can’t magazines come up with something new to write about or are we all destined to read recycled beauty tips for the next 100 years? This month’s headline reported that “Stress Can Be Damaging To Your Skin.” Seriously folks, are there really any earth dwellers who didn’t know this news already? In fact, stress is not good for anything! But can humans avoid it? Stress is like air…it’s everywhere!

While visiting my doctor the other day, I picked up one of my old favorite beauty magazines and huddled down on a vinyl and hard wood chair, for what has now become the normal wait time of 45 minutes before my name was called. Warning, the cover stated (In an all capital bold red font, as if it were yelling directly at me) “Stress, Doctor’s Now Report is the #1 Reason for Wrinkles and Signs of Early Aging!”  I let out a little laugh, and thumbed through the articles to see if there might be something interesting to read, something I might learn from. When I finally heard “Jyl, were ready for you” I was handed a plastic cup with my name printed on the side (In bold red letters, no less) and escorted to the restroom. I was then deposited into a lovely examination room where the temperature had been set to a cozy 32 degrees.

I was asked to strip down to my birthday suit (which, BTW looks NOTHING like the original one I was given 53 years ago) and handed a paper napkin to wrap myself in. As I hopped up onto the table to wait for the doctor, the paper ripped in half, leaving me with two tiny torn pieces of paper in which to do my best with. The torture continued with a slightly anorexic nursing assistant who weighed me in on the Doctors newest, high tech digital scale (including a fun little gadget that can actually measure my body fat…yeah!) “That can’t be right,” I let out with a louder squeal then I intended. The nurse didn’t even bother to react (Unless you count rolling your eyes a proper reaction.)

When the Doctor came into my room he apologized for the long wait, explaining that he was in training for another marathon, and gesturing to the many framed photographs of himself crossing the finish line. “How inspiring” I said, not meaning a word of it and feeling a headache coming on. Then I went through my short list of complaints…restless sleep, frequent headaches, tight muscles in my neck and shoulders as he jotted it all down in my file. “Mmmmm”…was all he said for a few moments, then ended with “I see your weight is up?” Like a deer caught in the head lights, I just stared right back at him thinking, was this a question?

This lovely interlude ended by having my blood drawn by another nurse’s assistant, who’s chipped black nail polish and smudged black make-up, completely (NOT) put me at ease. I guess at one point, I turned paler then normal, because she suggested I lay down on the table and take a few deep breaths. As I looked up into her eyes, I tried to make the room stop spinning by distracting myself with a little guessing game called “How many days has this girl been wearing the same damn make-up?”  She twisted her  jet black and blue hair extensions, with one hand while feeling for my pulse with the other hand, then pronounced me ready to sit up.  As she gathered up my samples of blood, she complained about not getting enough sleep because the “KISS Cover Band” she performed with, didn’t finish until 2:00 am and it was another 2 hour drive home, and then she had to drive around looking for a store that was open because her crackhead roommate forgot to pick up the cat food.

After my appointment, I left the Doctor’s office, got in my car and had to pay the parking valet $18.00 for the 69 minutes my car sat still in their parking lot (The first hour was $6.00 but since I went over the limit by 9 minutes the following time cost $12.00 more dollars!)  I drove home, only to find that I had left my cell phone back at the Doctor’s office. I drove back to pick it up, begging the parking attendant not to charge me again for parking, and picked up my phone just in time for my twelve year old son to call from school to tell me he forgot his lunch at home, and was now slowly starving to death. I drove back at my house, picked up his lunch box then drove to his school. When I arrived,  I immediately spotted him sitting at a table sharing a lunch with his friend Samson. When he looked up at me he shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t need it anymore, Samson’s mom packs really great lunches! You should make me lunches more like his mom!”

A few days later my tests all came back normal. Diagnoses…STRESS!

Life is just stressful, and I have come to the conclusion that there is just no way to avoid it!  Between work, cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry, supervising homework assignments, (doing my kid’s summer book report projects) trying to turn up the volume on the T.V. with the  TWO remote controls our “entertainment center” now requires (you need a PHD to use most remotes these days) and searching through all 400 stations only to find a rerun of Project Runway to watch, well even what was supposed to be relaxing has now become stressful!

I must be a glutton for punishment, because I drew myself a nice relaxing tub filled with Kneipp Lavender Bath, then picked up the same old magazine that had so thoroughly angered me just a few days earlier. I opened the pages and started to read an article entitled “5 Things I Must Have to Keep Myself Looking Young and Feeling Great.” They had interviewed supermodels Naomi Campbell, Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford and some other “Victoria Secrets” model. The story featured a picture of each of the women, when they were 20 years old, and a recent “photo shopped” portrait taken, no doubt by some celebrity photographer with a wind machine and perfect lighting.

Christie explained she drinks a healing tea of monk berries daily that defended her against free-radicals, along with her personal trainer “Chad” who demanded her to do 100 squats everyday. Then Naomi professed her fountain of youth to be a lemon juice and cayenne pepper cleansing fasts. Oh pleaseeeeeeeeeeee……….make it stop, I thought. These women have been supermodels, with pampered lives, live-in 24 hour help, in home visits with their Pilate’s instructors and private chefs. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that they were born with legs that started at my collar bone. No amount of tea, cream or squats is going to make me be able to walk the runway in my bra and panties. If I hadn’t stolen that magazine from the Doctor’s office, I would have marched right back to the newsstand, and demanded a refund!

So what is a real girl to do about stress? Some count to ten in a closet, others get a massage. I go directly to for supplies for the perfect relaxing bath! I love the Kneipp bath with lavender, a soothing candle from Seda and my Aromafloria Stress Less Inhalation Beads. But next time, I’m leaving the magazine where it belongs…in my doctors waiting room!