Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How To Walk In High Heels, Like the Fabulous Tina Turner!!

I learned a lot from Tina Turner. She has always been my idol, from her incredible singing style to her story of triumph to her amazing fashion sense. This is a woman who is never seen in public in less than 4"heels and she’s usually dancing in them!

Question: How is it that Tina Turner and indeed millions of women of my mother’s generation wore high heels every day?
Answer: They knew a few simple tricks, which I am here to share with you!!

First, you have to pick the right shoe. Look for a pump that’s not too pointy in the toe and has a flat heel bed. This assures you’re distributing your weight on your whole foot, not tiptoeing around all night.

TIP!! Even if you absolutely love the shoe, if the vamp rises at more than a 45 degree angle, or if the toe is pointed to less than 45 degrees, by wearing them you are begging for a bunion! Not chic or cheap! Put the shoe down and walk away, these are what Steve Martin has dubbed “the cruel shoes!” Fredrick’s of Hollywood’s catalogue is full of this type of shoe, which were never meant for public consumption or even for walking from the restaurant to the car. Buy these shoes only if you plan to be lying down while wearing them.

While the right heel can lengthen your leg, adjust your torso to a more flattering group of curves and give you a psychological edge, wearing heels can also make your feet swell. This isn’t sexy and can cause you to mince around announcing to the world that your feet hurt. A good rule of thumb is to buy a half size larger than you ordinarily wear. They make those little pads you can insert to cushion the ball of your foot, nice if you intend to do more than just “be seen” in your shoes.

If you’re worried about pulling off a stiletto heel you’re in luck since platform shoes continue to be fashionable. Wedgies will give you the height along with added support in the arch and are great for summer. Some non-wedge models come with a bit of platform in the front so you’re not actually teetering on 4 inches of high heel, it just looks that way.

Now that you have your hot shoe of choice, slip it on and do some at home practicing.
Here's how it's done:
1) Bend your knees.
2) Lean back.
3) Put all your weight on your thighs and tushie.
These are your biological shock absorbers which will look even better after “the high heel workout” starts toning them up!
4) Watch where you’re stepping and glide forward shifting your weight from thigh to thigh.
This will give you an attractive and ultra feminine wiggle to your walk and keep you from twisting your ankle or falling over.

What not to do:
1) Never lean forward from the waist while walking in heels, it’ll put you off balance and you’ll be running to catch up with yourself.
2) Never walk without looking where you're going!
3) Remember, this is not a time for texting, fretting or phoning. It’s hard to look chic in a cast or an ace bandage.
Once you’ve mastered these simple guidelines you’re ready to take it masses. Relax and take your time, enjoy your strut honey, revel in your womanliness and know that others are enjoying you too!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Open Letter to Our Leaders: How America Can Get It's Groove Back!

Dear Mr President, Madam Secretary, Congress persons & Senators,

Thank you for all your good work on our behalf. I've been consistently voting in every election since my 18th birthday and I follow your careers with interest. This is indeed a challenging time to be a leader, and I admire your courage in tackling one of the greatest crisis in American history.

That said, I think it's time to stand up to those influence peddlers and lobbyists in DC that insist on chipping away at our public programs (Not funding NPR is low and hateful, but not as hateful as cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. That was the only choice I had as a young woman. No PP meant no pap smear, no breast exam, no information. Don't even get me started on privatising Medicare!) while we overlook the big money items that should be discussed.

Here's a short list of some budget worthy items for cutting:

1) Cut all subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies. I own stock in 2 major oil companies who've both reported trillions of dollars in profits, but still they gouge me at the pump and cry for govt handouts! Stop oil company welfare checks! I'll still make a dividend, they'll still make a profit. Why aren't we buying gas from Canada? Why aren't we using the oil pumped out of the Gulf of Mexico from the 1000's of (unregulated) oil derricks I saw there when I flew over the Louisiana coast in a small plane last October? I say again: Stop oil company welfare checks!

2) End tax cuts for the uber-rich. If they're too stupid to figure out how to filter their money through corporations, or let a good accountant deal with their money let them pay like I do.

3) There are trillions of dollars worth of surplus military planes and hardware sitting out in the desert corroding in the sunshine. My tax dollars paid for that wasted metal. Why doesn't the govt sell or refurbish or recycle those planes? Furthermore, if we insist on being the worlds policemen, we should get paid for that service or bring our troops home to deal with things in the US. The National Guard did amazing things post Katerina, they belong here. If the world needs us they know where we are. Besides, Osama is dead, focus! End the patriot act now.

4) End the subsidising of multi-national agribusiness to grow corn which they then make into corn syrup and put into EVERYTHING, making us an overweight, unhealthy nation. Instead, why not subsidise American farmers to grow legalized marijuana? Scientists and engineers would be put to work developing different plants for different uses. Sustainable Hemp fibre makes cloth, paper, rope, roofing material, and when used by cancer and other medical patients it relaxes them, stimulates their appetite and is less damaging to the liver than pharmaceuticals. Regulate it, package and tax it and treat it like medicine, wine or beer. It will create jobs in all sectors, ease the national use of pharmaceuticals and take another bullet out of the drug cartels assault on America. It's common sense to observe that prohibition only works to make gangsters rich. It wastes law enforcement time that could be better spent serving the community to eradicate real crime.

5) End federal subsidies and tax breaks for companies that move their manufacturing to foreign nations, or outsource jobs. How about subsidies, low interest loans and tax advantages to businesses that move to Illinois? Our governors tactics make IL an inhospitable location to do business. Frankly, it's got me looking at other states. When I go to the gas pump in MS it reads $3.85/gal, Back home in Chicago it's $4.25 at most stations. There's no excuse for that
How can we be our best when we're constantly stressed, see our hard earned money slipping away? We are encouraged by our media to point fingers at each other, as though somehow this is all our fault! That we Americans are somehow to blame for the folly of our leaders and the greed of our bankers. I think my ideas would be a balm on our collective soul. These are positive moves we can make painlessly that won't hurt but will actually stimulate the economy, create jobs and give us our groove back.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Surprisingly Affordable Secret to Fabulous Skin

You don’t have to be rich to have a little luxury and treat yourself well. I have a secret for soft, smooth skin that anybody can afford!”

Those were the words of Carol Franklin, the wonderful woman who was doing my pedicure at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis TN where I attended the IBC’s this past February. Ms Franklin not only gave me a terrific pedi, she shared with me that her grandmother, who had raised her, had butter soft skin despite hard work and a meager income. Her secret? Milk baths!

“She just got that generic powdered milk and put a cup of it in under the taps. Then she’d soak in it till the water cooled off.” Carol told me. “Her skin was fine till the day she died!”

I’d long heard of the virtues of milk baths, but thought “How do you justify putting all that milk in the tub and then just draining it away?” It seemed an out of reach luxury only rich women could afford, but Carols’ grandma had something I was eager to try.

On my last trip to the grocery store I picked up a box of generic powdered milk, costing about $4 + tax. I got it home &amd put a cupful under the tap as I ran a hot bath. As promised, it made a lovely, warm, milky bath which I enjoyed even more when I turned on the jets of my Jacuzzi. A diva must have jets, it’s strenuous keeping in shape and one must have a few consistent luxuries! The jets whipped the milk into a frothy foam, different from bubble bath in it’s creaminess.

Soaking in the tub, I meditated on my next music project, putting the foam in my hair and on my face, until the water cooled. I washed the milk foam from my hair with that great Redkin shampoo from Ulta 2 and finished with a rinse under the shower.

I can happily report that the milk bath left my skin so soft I didn’t need to use additional moisturizer and my hair is softer than I’ve ever experienced at this point in a hard winter. Best of all it only cost a few pennies. In fact that one box holds 8 cups of powdered milk, giving me 7 more spa quality treatments to look forward to at about 50c a piece! Thank you Grandma Franklin.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Feel More Fabulous: Use a Humidifier!

Everything’s better when wet!
proclaims Steve Miller in his '70's rock classic JUNGLE LOVE. Steve is right on so many levels. That goes double for the air in your environment too. Has winter got you wheezing, coughing and flaking? Don’t know what to do about it? Here are some suggestions on how to survive winter and come out the other end completely fabulous!

Get yourself the best humidifier you can afford & run it all winter long!”
These sage words of advice come courtesy of my longtime friend and vocal guru Doug S. Winter’s indoor heating dries out your mucus membranes and makes you more susceptible to sinus infections, colds, and General Malaise and nobody likes him. In towns like Chicago, the tap water has lots of minerals in it. That’ll shorten the lifespan of your humidifier. To prevent that we use distilled water. 

Notice to you musicians who don’t run a humidifier in winter: you're not just hurting yourself, you’re practicing unnecessary cruelty to your axes! If you’re a singer, like me, you need to keep a moist throat to prevent laryngitis. Singing with a dry throat can lead to glottal nodes or calluses that build up on your vocal chords. The only way to get rid of them is surgery &/or silence! Be it your voice, guitar, drums or piano, do them a favor and keep it moist. Non musicians, your body & wood furniture will thank you for the humidity.

If your town has an indoor garden, or even a greenhouse, visit it regularly!
When I was a kid growing up in Milwaukee they built these three wonderful geodesic domes based on designs by Buckminster Fuller. They populated them with gardens, one tropical, one arid & the third had seasonal flowers. My mom would take us for weekly pilgrimages to “the Domes” in the winter and she always had an incredible complexion. Visiting a garden really lifts your spirits and you’ll find your head is clearer too.

If you’re on the road hotel rooms are notoriously dry.
Working the plains states of the US & Canada I developed strategies for protecting my most valuable asset. If you’re in town more than one night look around for a health club/gym that has a steam room. I try to find one in every town, get a day or week pass, depending on the length of my engagement and use it. Working out while touring actually gives you more energy for your show and the 10 minutes in the steam room is priceless.

Make your own steam room!If that’s not an option you can turn on the hot water in your hotel bathroom and fill it with steam. Then go sit in there for 15 minutes. When you get back after your gig wet the hotel hand towels and drape them over the heater before you retire. Put a shoe on em to hold them in place or the heater will blow them on the floor and they do you no good there.

Another thing to try is a vaporizer.
Frankly, I don't know the difference between a humidifier and a vaporizer. They both put water into the air, but some vaporizers have a spot where you can add eucalyptus or essential oil to take that “cheap motel” smell out of your air. I have one I keep in the van for dry hotel rooms. Try running it in the room you sleep in and see how much better you feel after a night of tropical moisture!