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Nancy's Column


Every week Morgan Fitzgerald's owner Nancy Pride writes an article for the local newspaper, The Eagle, called Simply Stylish.

Topics include fashion, cosmetics, gift giving, etiquette, social awareness, and sometimes, even a little humor.


Simply Stylish by Nancy Pride  Nancy Pride














Win A Fridaze Top



As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, we are giving away two Fridaze’s (pronounced Fridays) tops.  Simply try-on a Fridaze’s outfit and you will be entered to win. For our climate, Fridaze 100% linen apparel is one of the most comfortable and easy care lines available.



Fridaze solved an age-old problem of linen wrinkling.   Its wrinkle resistant treatment produces a virtual wrinkle-free look.  Pack it and it has a few wrinkles, but hang it and the wrinkles fall out.   Wash and hang to dry.  It comes in fashion trend colors, some prints, but mostly solid colors.  Available in extra small through plus sizes, it mixes well with other textures and styles. 



All the seams are bound to prevent the fibers from stretching which causes a fabric to sag or stretch out of shape.  Jackets, blouses, tanks, pants can be mixed and matched to create a multitude of outfits.  I always suggest getting a pant a tank that matches the pant so that other jackets from your closet can be worn to create additional looks. 



The texture and colors allow you to wear Fridaze linen during most months except really cold weather.  Its simple, clean design provides the perfect backdrop for jewelry, or scarves.  Add a contrasting handbag and shoes and you can create a stunning casual outfit while being comfortable in the hottest Texas heat.   Our newest shipment has just arrived, so now is the perfect time to try-on the new spring colors and styles and possibly win a top. 



It’s Time for Our Annual Handbag Auction



The Brighton handbag auction, one of our favorite events, will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2018.  Bring in your gently used Brighton handbags and wallets.   The proceeds from the sale of your items can be used to purchase new Brighton Handbags or luggage at Morgan Fitzgerald’s.  You may place a minimum bid requirement on each item or you may choose to have no minimum.  You may bring in handbags and wallets from now until February 14. 



When a handbag or wallet is purchased at auction, no warranties of any kind transfer to the new owner.  The items purchased at auction may not be returned or exchanged.  However, if you have never owned a Brighton handbag, it is a great opportunity to experience the Brighton classic design and style, the durability, and terrific functionality at greatly reduced prices.  In the past, most of the handbags at auction show very little wear. 



Brighton handbags are made from premium leather used in much more expensive handbag brands.  They are individually designed, coordinating with Brighton jewelry and shoes.  The metal embellishments are made with the same care, materials, and techniques used in the manufacture of Brighton’s jewelry. Open the handbag to find zippered pockets, open pockets, a key attachment (so you don’t have to hunt for your keys,) and a light interior.  Notice the fine details such as beveled edges of the woven handles, dyed so no raw edges show. 



In addition to great savings, the event is fun.  Call to reserve a seat.




Help Us Celebrate 25 Years!


This February marks our 25th year in business.  We want to celebrate you all month long.  We’ll have events, drawings, and special treats.   You made 25 years possible.

February 8th at 1 pm is our  Brighton fashion show.  See new Brighton designs in jewelry, and handbags, ways they can be worn, and new trends. Call to reserve a seat since seating is limited. 

February 14 is an all day celebration for you, our customers, who made 25 years possible.  Visit to see our new arrivals, enter special drawings  to win a wide range of products, and receive our valentine gift to you.

During all of February try- on an outfit of Sympli and a dollar will be donated to Twin City Mission

February 19-24 try- on a Fridaze  wrinkle-free top and enter to win one. 

Throughout February try daily samples of our gourmet foods.

We will give free Merle Norman steam facials, and hand treatments throughout the month.  Schedule a free makeover and you’ll be entered to win a Morgan Fitzgerald’s $75 gift certificate.

Try-on 3 pairs of Brighton shoes any time in February and enter to win a pair. 

These events are just a sampling of our celebration activities.  Check our facebook page, our web page, and emails for additional events and drawings.

Thank you for being a customer and supporting us throughout 25 years.  You are viewed as our friends.  We look forward to serving you for many years to come.



Look Ten Pounds Thinner Without Losing a Pound


How you apply your makeup and wear your clothes can add or take away the appearance of ten pounds.  


The eye as well as a camera sees distance by the perception of light and dark. That which is the lightest appears closer: that which is darker appears farther away.  If you shade the sides of your face with a brown-based blush, the side of the face will look like it has a shadow, making it appear thinner.  Likewise, if that same blush (Merle Norman’s “soft mocha” or “teakwood”) is applied under the cheek, the cheekbone appears higher.  Put it on the tip of the nose or chin, and they look shorter.   It can also be brushed under the chin and onto the neck to make the neck appear tighter. 


Wear three quarter length sleeves to bring the eye to the waistline which is the smallest part of the torso.  Accent the waist by wearing a belt beneath a jacket.   This works even if you have a full waist or no visible waist.  Only wear it beneath a jacket.  It adds bulk if you wear on top of the jacket. 


If you are full busted, choose a v-neck top that tapers to the waist. Choose slim legged pants to minimize bulk.   Matching solid color tops and bottoms as well as vertical patterns create an illusion of height.  Solid, dark colored insets on the sides of garments can visually diminish width while giving shape.    


If you would like individualized help in looking thinner, just drop by Morgan Fitzgerald’s.



Which Makeup is a Keeper?


For many cultures the New Year signals a time of renewal that means cleaning out the old to make room for the new.  I like to start by cleaning out my makeup drawer.  Some products with proper care can be kept until they are used up, others that are moist or emollient (oily) have to be tossed.


The biggest problem with moist products is that they can breed bacteria.  Mascara, cream eyeliners, and cream eye shadows have the shortest life after opening and should be discarded after three months.  Each time the mascara wand is inserted, new bacteria is introduced into the moist mascara.  It takes three months for bacteria to grow enough to affect your skin and eyes.  Certainly, some mascara can last longer, but why take the chance?   


Emollient products that have an oil base such as lipsticks, cleansing creams, some moisturizers, and cream foundations have a 1-2 year life after opening.  The first sign they need to be tossed is the whiff test.  If they smell rancid, discard.  Other foundations that are not oil based and are in a pump dispensed bottle, usually last longer since bacteria is not as readily introduced into the product.  The life of any oil-based cosmetic can be extended by keeping it in the refrigerator.  Eyeliner pencils last longer because sharpening reduces the bacteria.  Sharpen before and after use. 


Loose powders and powdered eye shadows have a longer life since bacteria doesn’t grow as readily. Keep brushes clean to prevent introduction of bacteria. 



Winterize Your Skin


The largest organ in the body is your skin.  It blocks bacteria and germs. When it becomes dry, flaky, and cracked, it allows bacteria and viruses to invade.  Keeping your skin hydrated not only makes the skin attractive, it is also a health issue. 


Exfoliate the dead skin before applying serums and moisturizers.  If you apply moisturizers without exfoliating, the products simply hydrate the dead skin that falls off.  You won’t see results.  For the face, use chemical and manual products to exfoliate unless you have acne, or rosacea.  The chemical loosens the “cellular glue “which holds the dead skin cells together; the manual physically scrubs the loosen cells away.  If you have acne, the scrubbing can spread bacteria from one blemish to another.  Skin with rosacea is too sensitive for manual exfoliation. 


Sugar scrubs work well on the body (unless you have a skin condition such as psoriasis.) Use the scrub while showering, pat dry, and follow with a body moisturizer that penetrates the skin.


Serums have concentrated formulas to address one skin issue such as dryness.  Apply the serum and follow with moisturizers.  The skin around the eye is thinner than other areas; the neck is different from the face.  Use moisturizers that address specific concerns such as crow’s feet, or skin firmness. 


The lip skin is actually a membrane and should be treated differently from other skin.  Merle Norman’s Lip Revive contains a chemical exfoliant that loosens chapped skin and then conditions with retinol palmitate.  Follow with a conditioning lipstick.



Not Sure of Her Size? Give a Gift that Doesn’t Have to Fit


Our weather is as unpredictable as last week’s snow.  Other than our snow day, the weather really hasn’t given us a reason to wear a coat.  Ponchos, and assorted wraps allow us to adjust to our weather in style while creating multi-layers that can be removed or added as the weather changes.  


Erin London’s red plaid sleeved poncho ($88) gives enough size variance to allow for error.  No returns necessary.  Wear with skinny jeans, leggings, pants, or skirt.  Add a neck scarf and there will be no need for a coat.  It is perfect for a more casual look. 


Although Joseph Ribkoff’s black, zip front poncho ($233) is sized, there is enough room to skip a size and it still fits.  Known for its contemporary style, Ribkoff gives a youthful, but classic look.  The faux leather trim dresses it up, but it could easily be worn with leggings or black jeans. 


The Magic Scarf vest is light weight.  It changes a ho hum outfit to one with personality.  Choose from windowpane patterns to prints.  Wear it long, or turn upside down and wear it as a short vest.  Its $49 cost makes it affordable. 


Cashmere scarves ($42) can be worn at the neck, or worn across the shoulders.   To stay warm, covering the carotid artery can make you feel almost as warm as wearing a light weight jacket.  Choose men’s or women’s patterns and colors.   One thing all of these have in common is versatility.  Mix and match to create your special look.   


All I Want for Christmas…….



(Circle all that apply and give to Santa)



Brighton Handbag, Wallet, sunglasses, charms, earrings, watch, necklace, and bracelets,  shoes, cologne; cashmere scarf; Ming Wang jacket, tank, pants; Fridaze wrinkle resistant linen tops and pants; Tilley hat; Merle Norman Moisture Works body cream, Knockout Nudes eye shadow palette, Lush lips or Body Butter gift sets, 24K Gold Firming Foundation Primer, makeup Brush Cleansing Bar; Raquel Welch wigs and hair pieces; Baggallini handbag, pouch, tote; Foxcroft blouses; personalized wooden cutting board; BrÓ§d and Taylor knife sharpener; salad keeper with freezer pack; Salt Rox cooking stone; Perpetual Vanilla; gourmet food basket;  purse-size mini umbrella; Cinda B luggage, curling iron cover, TSA approved liquids travel pouch, hanging cosmetic case, jewelry organizer, handbags; Sleevey wonder; clear stadium purse; Mycra Pac raincoat, Crabtree and Evelyn body and bath products; John Mederios jewelry; fur vest (50% off);  Lauren G Adams jewelry (70% off) Christmas apron, Aggie apron with class year, Aggie steak knives; stock stuffers:  necklace chain extender, Savory cracker seasoning, season and coated popcorn, Moonshine Jelly, Frog Jelly, mini post earrings, hair braids, purse-size gloves in a bottle hand cream, avocado  or pecan cooking oils, purse phone case (50% off).



Just in case you can’t make up your mind, Merle Norman and Morgan Fitzgerald’s gift certificates are available.  We know that Santa is really busy, so gift wrapping is free for items over $25.    We at Morgan Fitzgerald’s wish you a Merry Christmas and hope Santa gives you exactly what you want.



Take Care Of Yourself during the Holidays


The holidays can be stressful for almost anyone, but especially for women.  Women are expected to be the nurturers.  Shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, decorating…and the list goes on.  Whether you’re a woman or a man, if you are assuming those duties, you need to de-stress to make the holidays more enjoyable and to stay healthy. 


Organize your holiday duties.  Create gift lists.  Ask recipients to create wish lists.  Choose your preferred method of shopping and then allocate a specific amount of time.  When you go to brick and mortar stores, plan your route to be as efficient as possible.  Although on-line shopping can be easy, if you have to wrap the gifts, you may find you use less time and save money by going to a store that offers free gift wrap. 


Cooking can be made easier by planning your menus to include easy-to-prepare, but tasty dishes.  Gourmet food sections have various mixes for desserts, appetizers, and make ahead dishes.  We love the Pecan Pie in a jar, and ready prepared cheese straws.    Of course, as my husband calls it, dinner in a box can be purchased from local restaurants, and meat markets. 


Amidst all the hustle and bustle, you simply must take time to relax.   Exercise, see a movie, go to lunch with a friend, or come in to Morgan Fitzgerald’s and Merle Norman for a free hand treatment and steam facial through Dec.15.  It is our gift to you.  Make time for yourself. You’ll be glad you did. 



Santa Loves It When You Create a Wish list


Do you remember writing your first letter to Santa?  That was your first wish list.  You usually got things from your letter.  It didn’t diminish the surprise, nor did it diminish your delight and getting what you asked for. Now it is time to give all your Santas a little help.


Be specific.  If you want clothing, be sure to include sizes and colors, plus the style numbers of the pieces you want.   It takes a little effort, but try-on the pieces to be sure they fit and you like them.  Select multiple pieces in case some are sold before Santa makes it to the store.  Indicate colors you prefer and any additional accessories that you like.  If you really want to make Santa happy, take pictures and send to his iPhone. 


If you have more than one Santa (think children, family, etc.) be sure to give separate lists, or create lists at stores that remove items from the list as they are sold.  Try to select gift ideas with a wide range of prices.  That can allow a child to “buy with her own money,”   or a family on a budget to select what price range is best for them.


We at Morgan Fitzgerald’s are going to add to the fun this year.  Create a wish list by December 12th, and you’ll be entered to win a $75, $50, or $25 Morgan Fitzgerald’s gift card. “Making a wish list,” as one of my friends said, “prevents his wife from getting another leaf blower.”


These Are Our Favorite Things…..


What would make the perfect gift for your daughter-in-law, grand children, son, or spouse?  We have ideas from our staff’s favorite gifts. 


Sharon loves the wooden cutting boards that can be customized with a family name or monogram.  The large board is $116, but the bread board is only $58, and the cheese board only $44.  Be sure to order ASAP so that it arrives before Christmas.  For a stocking stuffer, give the Merle Norman cosmetic brush cleanser bar ($15.)  Her favorite guy gift is a cashmere scarf ($42.)


Katlyn loves Robicheaux assorted boxed chocolates ($17).  Each candy is individually hand wrapped and freshly made.  She suggests tying a Brighton ornament (426-$38) to your package to give it a WOW factor.  Her favorite Merle product is Knockout Nudes ($52), an assortment of classic earth tones eye shadows. 


Helen suggests the newly arrived Brighton Convertible Backpack ($290.00.) Use it as a backpack, or remove the straps and use as a handled handbag, or a shoulder bag.  Make cooking easy with Pecan Pie in a Jar ($14.95) which produces two delicious pies.  She loves the Wusthof steak knife set ($150.00) for Aggies with ATM on the wooden stand, and on the knife blades.


These are just a few of their favorite things.  If you would like to find out the rest of their favorites as well as Tammy’s, Lisa’s, Kelly’s and of course mine, call to reserve a seat at our 12 to 1 and Your Done : Holiday Favorites Event.  We will provide a bag lunch.  While you eat, we show you our favorite things.  You make your selections.  We’ll have them wrapped by the next day. 



Holiday Open House, Saturday, November 18, 11-4pm


There are only six Saturdays before Christmas.  There are only six Saturdays before Christmas.  THERE ARE ONLY SIX SATURDAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!!  Do you feel the panic?   Morgan Fitzgerald’s holiday open house helps to make gift giving easier and enjoyable. 


Follow Santa’s special treasure map to savings that you’re given at the door to find products significantly reduced for this day only.  Bring your holiday list and we will find gifts for grandchildren, the men in your life, for grandmother, mom, sister, and niece.  We provide free gift wrap for gifts over $25.   


Just arrived is a Texas A&M children’s clothing line for children up to 4T.  Choose an ATM ball cap for infants and toddlers, dresses, or sweats.  Of course, they are in maroon and white.  Does your Aggie guy like cooking on the grill?  Choose a maroon and white apron with his class year embroidered on the pocket, or a Texas made cutting board with his custom monogram.  When he cooks steaks to perfection, your gift of Wusthof steak knives with ATM etched on the blades, makes dining an Aggie experience.


Our gourmet foods will be ready for sampling.  Choose individually, or add to custom gift baskets.  From savory cracker and pretzel mixes, to flavored coffees, jams and jellies, you’ll taste to see which you like the best.  You might prefer freshly made chocolates or cookies.  Perhaps you’re looking for corporate gift giving.  You’ll be surprised what you’ll find at our Holiday Open House. 


There will even be drawings for Brighton jewelry and a Baggallini handbag.


Demystify Fragrances



Fragrances, popular gifts for the holidays, have different classifications that determine price and value.  Knowing the the names and classifications ensure you purchase the type you want.   Fragrances all contain scent oils which are usually mixed with alcohol. Each name or classification reflects the percentage of scent oil in the fragrance. 



Perfume or Parfum contains 20-30% oil.  The fragrance should last on the body for 6-8 hours.  Eau de toilette contains 15-20% and lasts 4-5 hours.  Eau de Cologne contains 2-4% and lasts 2-3 hours.  Eau Fraiche contains 1-3% and lasts less than 2 hours.



The higher quality fragrances have multiple levels.  The first is a citrus or light floral.   After wearing, the scent transforms to a middle level of deeper floral, spice, or fruity smells.  The last scent has bold   vanilla, musk, or sandalwood undertones.   



When you select a fragrance, try on a maximum of four.    Some people suggest trying only one on each wrist is best.  Keep in mind that fragrances will smell different on each body.  Fragrances emit their scent when they are warm.  Hence, it is best to apply on the neck, underarms, or behind the knees. 



Store fragrances in a cool, dark place since light and heat affect quality.  Apply after your shower or bath.  If your skin is dry, the fragrance will be quickly absorbed, reducing how long the fragrance can be smelled.  If you apply moisture lotion before cologne, the scent lasts like expensive fragrances. 



Remember that people prefer different scents.  Less is truly more.  Only apply to skin, not to clothing.



Transitional Clothing: An Answer to Changing Weather


“If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait a day.”  We can be hot in the morning and then a blue norther blows in and it drops 20 degrees.  During this time of year, we can be ready for mercurial weather by adding a few accessories and vests and jackets.


One of my favorites this season is a microfiber fringed shawl with patterned laser   cutouts.  Available in charcoal, midnight blue, camel, and black, it can coordinate or accent most items.  Keep it stashed in your handbag until there’s a chill, then drape over your shoulders or off to the side. You’ll add a touch of the fringe trend while staying warm. 


Most body heat escapes via the carotid artery and the top of the head. When the body senses vital organs are in danger, it rushes the warmth away from the extremities and toward the heart and other vital organs.  An infinity scarf doubled around the neck covers the carotid arteries holding heat in.  Often a neck scarf can equal the perceived warmth from a light jacket.


Choose tops with cowl or turtle necklines.  The added layers insulate from the cold.  Likewise, a vest covers the heart, keeping the warmth in while the arms are free.  Ponchos give blanket-like warmth while providing ease of movement. Choose from neutrals or patterns. 


Although it may seem odd, wearing a wig not only provides a good hair day, but it also holds in body heat keeping the brain from sensing cold. 



What Big Eyes You Have….


Create the appearance of larger eyes by first shaping your brow to provide more space and lift to the eye.  Oval and square shaped faces look best with gently rounded arched brows.  The peak of the arch should align with the outer edge of the iris (the colored part of the eye.)  Round faces should have more angular brows to reduce the roundness of the face.   


Next, apply a thin layer of shadow base over the entire lid and upward to the bottom of the brow.   Choose three eye shadows---one very light, one medium dark, and a third slightly darker.  First, apply the medium dark shadow from the crease line up over the orbital bone, gently curving from the inner eye crease line up to the outer bone above the eye, following the shape of the brow.   Darker colors make things seem to recede.  Lighter make things appear to come forward.    Apply the lightest shadow in a narrow line beneath the brow and on the center of the eye lid.  Use the medium dark to color the outer corners.  The darkest color defines the crease line. Blend.


Use dark eyeliner to create a thin line at the roots of the top lashes to make them appear fuller.  Above the lash line use lighter colored eyeliner to create a line that widens toward the outer corner of the eye.  Only line the bottom lashes beneath the iris which makes the eye look rounder.  Apply mascara over lashes top and bottom.  Add extra mascara to the outer edges. 



Have a Good Hair Day Every Day


On Saturday, October 14 from 10-6 Ann Kelley, nationally acclaimed wig educator, will provide free consultations and wig customizations for newly purchased Morgan Fitzgerald’s wigs.  We are privileged to have Ann in Bryan/College Station since most of her events take place in large cities and overseas. Whether you are considering a wig for the first time, or are a daily wearer, it is the perfect time to find the hair piece that is right for you.


Determine what kind of wig or hairpiece you want.  Wefted wigs are all machine made.  Since they require less labor, they are the least expensive.  A machine produces strips of synthetic or human hair which are then sewn together to conform to the shape of the wig.  Hand knotted wigs require a person to individually knot each strand of hair or fiber.  The amount of hand knotting determines the cost.   Some wigs have both hand knotting and wefted strips.    A lace front (a strip of hand knotted netting) allows the hair to be brushed back making the hair appear to grow directly out of the forehead.


Another consideration is whether you want long or short hair.  A long hair wig requires more maintenance than a shorter one.  When the longer hair rubs against a seatbelt or chair back, friction causes the hair to tangle, making it necessary to comb the hair frequently.    Choose a style that reflects your lifestyle and personality.  Once you choose the style choose your color.  Be sure to call ahead (979) 268-0608 to reserve your appointment with Ann.




What Are Your Odds?


In 2017 the National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 252,710 new cases of breast cancer in the U.S.   In 2014, there were 3,327,552 women living with breast cancer.  Over twelve percent of women, living in the U.S., are predicted to develop female breast cancer within their lifetime.


We as women and those who love us must keep the need for breast cancer research ever prominent in people’s minds.   Each October, we celebrate survival, but also awareness.  Awareness has produced treatment that has increased survival rate to 89%. 


Since 2003, Brighton has raised more than $6.3 million for breast cancer charities nationwide.  Beginning September 29th, we offer the official Power of Pink bracelet featuring a hand-enameled butterfly charm, the center of which is a pink ribbon.  Designed to be an uplifting symbol of hope, it reminds us that no one is alone in the fight.


This year Brighton also has added a metallic leather, 2017 Power of Pink Woodstock Bracelet made in Los Angeles that includes a pink ribbon charm.  They have also added a Pink Christo Cuff with engraved ribbons that form a silver openwork cuff which includes a removable leather insert that reverses to a python-embossed finish.  Five dollars from the sale of each of the three bracelets go to breast cancer charities.   


We at Morgan Fitzgerald’s have found a sophisticated pink, V-necked, cotton top designed with subtle rhinestones that includes a pink rhinestone ribbon to celebrate survival.  If you have experienced breast cancer, receive $5 off the purchase of your shirt. 


Kindness Is Always In Style


This last week we went to Beaumont to help our youngest son and his wife as they cleaned out their home that was flooded with six feet of water.  As we turned down the street into his subdivision, I almost gasped.  Piles upon piles of debris line the streets.  There was an odd stench.  Children’s strollers, white refrigerators, freezers, stainless steel side-by-sides lay every which way amidst soggy sheetrock, broken furniture, and lawn equipment that looked deceptively usable.  Photos lay drying.  Buzzards circled the wooded area.  People worked quietly as if in a trance.  A cloth Santa Claus stood side by side with a yellow Pooh Bear atop a trailer.  Next, a large toy German Shephard dog had a water-soaked phone bound to his ear as if he were listening intently while he sat perched on a mailbox—a  little levity within chaos.


As we worked, a silver minivan drove up.  “Need anything? We have paper towels, bleach, wet wipes …” They were from Lafayette.  They had been through hurricanes.  They understood.  People from Alabama, Ohio, and Pennsylvania drove down, cooked meals and delivered to those working.  Colleagues, friends, and family came to help. The Red Cross provided food and cash for immediate needs.  Proctor and Gamble with a mission group set up a temporary free Tide laundry service.  The Salvation Army circled the streets throughout the days providing hot food, water, and beverages. 


The myriad acts of kindness show what is really important in life.  Thanks to all who care.    



Serums Boost Skincare Effectiveness



When you look in the mirror and see wrinkles deepening, age spots darkening, and dry skin beginning to flake, you may question if your skin care products are working at all.  Yes, they are working, but not as aggressively as they could be if used in combination with the correct serums.



Facial serums are thin liquids or gels that contain much higher concentrations of ingredients that address single concerns.   You can use more than one serum at a time, but the serums should be applied from thinnest to thickest, just as you would apply your other skincare products.  Apply the serums directly to dry, clean skin.  Use sparingly.  More is not necessarily better.



Merle Norman has serums that address most skincare issues.  Three serums address exfoliation.  Retinol Night Complex is the strongest.  Begin by using twice per week and increase to every night as your skin tolerates.  AHA Intensive Complex utilizes a weaker acid strength to exfoliate on a daily basis.  Renew uses a sugar base to gently exfoliate sensitive skin.  Energizing Concentrate has hyaluronic acid that binds water to the cells.  Anti-aging Complex Dry Oil Serum offers immediate hydration, yet is non-greasy, absorbs quickly while conditioning the skin.   A few drops cover the entire face.  Acne Defense Daily Treatment Serum offers a technologically advanced formula that addresses both adolescent and adult acne.  Fine Line Minimizer smooths fine lines while Wrinkle Smoother Lift & Firm Serum decreases the depth of wrinkles, helps stimulate collagen replacement which diminishes wrinkles.  Age Defying Serum helps to prevent early signs of aging.




Sympli Apparel Provides Versatility, Style, and Fit



If you are creative, Sympli Apparel is made for you.  This Canadian line, made from high quality stretch jersey, allows you to create a multitude of custom looks with varied basic pieces.  If you prefer to let us be creative, we will photograph looks for you to make your morning “what to wear” decisions easy. 



The Sympli wardrobe-building concept provides pieces that can be combined endlessly to create new looks. The fourteen different styles of pants and leggings insure that you’ll get the right pant for you.  Thirty-one top/blouse/jacket styles allow you to select tops that compliment your body shape. Layer the pieces to create a look all your own: all the pieces mix and match.  Over thirty colors can be ordered. Don’t worry about the white fabric.  Colors don’t show through.  You’ll find that the material drapes easily to flatter figure flaws.  The washable fabric is particularly suited for travelling.  Roll and pack.  Mix and match.  You suitcase will be smaller and lighter, yet you’ll look well dressed and comfortable.  Choose your basics, and a few layering pieces.  You’ll have enough for casual, professional, and dressy occasions. 



Our favorite layering tops include the crop jacket and short smock work over tanks or tunics.  The extender lowers the hemline of shorter blouses or tanks.  Match the color or add contrast.  Add jewelry to change the look from casual to dressy. Since all basic Sympli pieces are solid colored, you can even incorporate other items from your wardrobe in contrasting colors or prints. 




Fair Trade, Sustainable Jewelry, Handmade in Ecuador


When disasters happen such as the horrific rains of hurricane Harvey, we witness the strength and determination of people affected as well as the generosity of those unaffected.  On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Portoviejo, Ecuador.  This was Soraya Cedeno’s hometown.  Although she was living in the U.S., she returned home to help.  Her childhood home resembled a war zone:  streets had vanished, other areas were in rubble.   Soraya saw the amazing—“out of the ashes I saw a proud people, a resilient people, people of faith and hope, a people shouting with one voice that this was not going to beat them….there was resolve and determination.”


She shared that determination.  With each trip back to Ecuador she was inspired by the artisans to continue  forward on the journey of creating life changing opportunities for these beautiful people and their families.


Taqua Jewelry, named after the Taqua coconut, offers these skilled artisans work to support their families and opportunity to rebuild their community.  It offers you beautiful handcrafted jewelry in an array of colors. It is so light weight you barely realize you have it on.  As the ivory palm nut milk hardens and cures, its solid form is sliced, carved, polished, and dyed creating a contemporary design jewelry that can be worn with any outfit.


Know that by purchasing Taqua jewelry, not only are you helping the artisans in Ecuador, but for the next 30 days, ten percent of our Taqua jewelry sales will be used to help those affected by hurricane Harvey.    



Market Magic!



I truly believe this was the best market I have been to in years.  We ordered over fifteen new lines for Morgan Fitzgerald’s that will be arriving from now through February.  Our first line, called Enchanted Imports, just arrived yesterday.  It is truly fascinating. 



The jewelry begins in the Czech Republic where glass beads have been manufactured since the 16th century.  These high quality beads have vibrant colors and fantastic shine, are perfectly shaped, and wonderfully textured.  The beads are shipped to Guatemala where talented bead work artisans memorize complex patterns to produce a dazzling array of designs.   These artisans’ rich traditions of weaving and embroidery transfer to the jewelry creation. 



The necklaces add interest and color to an outfit.  Use to fill in an open neckline or add detail to a plain top.  Strong magnets secure the necklaces and bracelets making them easy to put on and take off.   Some of the bracelets are double beaded, allowing you to reverse the bracelet for an entirely different look.  Bracelets range from $14-$36, necklaces $16-$57.



In addition to having a beautiful, and light weight jewelry line, Enchanted Imports is also a fair trade company. The cottage industry artisans are paid fair wages, helping provide jobs for hundreds of disadvantaged families. 



We have two additional jewelry lines, multiple clothing lines, including reversible jackets and vests, new tummy control leggings in black and brown, well-priced dresses, tunics, and blouses and more due to arrive soon.   Drop by to see Enchanted Imports and take a peek at pictures of other lines on their way. 



How Do You Say Thank You?



 If you are invited to a dinner party, even a cocktail party, a hostess gift shows you appreciate the invitation and the work your hostess has done to prepare for the event.  The gift doesn’t have to be expensive, but you should take care to give something appropriate based on the likes and interests of the host or hostess.  If you are an overnight guest, depending on the length of your stay, your gift should be more substantial. 



Many guests first think of wine.  However, be sure the host and hostess drink wine.  If they do, do not expect them to open and serve the wine.  This is your appreciation gift to them.  For non-drinkers, a specialty non-alcoholic drink such as Hot Ruby, would be appropriate.  It can be served hot or cold, or mixed with Fresca or Seven-Up.  If they do drink, it can be combined with wine to make a wine cooler. 



The gift should not create more work for the hostess or host.  Bring cut flowers already arranged in a vase. Consumables make great gifts.  Consider chocolates, flavored olive oils, balsamic vinegars, unique spices, or spice mixes.  Small gift baskets with an assortment of items work well.  Perpetual Vanilla allows the recipient to make renewable, pure vanilla extract for up to five years with normal home use.



Personalized items such as monogramed soaps, and cutting or breadboards, show that you have given time and thought to the gift.   Most of the gifts mentioned here are available at Morgan Fitzgerald’s




Take the Hassel Out of Travel Prep


If you love to travel, but don’t enjoy all the preparation, you can make it easier.  First create a list of essentials for every trip.  Purchase duplicates so they are already pre-packed, ready for every trip.   I use a Cinda B, TSA approved zippered clear one-quart pouch for carry-on liquids.  Both the zipper and plastic is stronger than a Zip lock baggie.  I use travel sized skin care and cosmetic products to save space.  Have a second list of variable items by category that you can modify per trip. Do a final check of your list to be sure nothing is forgotten.


A Tilley hat remains an essential for me.  It repels water, blocks the sun, has a chin strap and a guarantee that if is lost, can be replaced for one-half the retail cost.  You can either keep the receipt or if purchased from us, we’ll have a record. It floats in water, and has an interior pocket that you can carry ID or credit cards.


I always carry sunscreen, but I don’t like the thick, greasy kind.  Merle Norman has a light weight sunscreen with a 50 SPF.  If my vacation involves lots of sun, I also switch to a foundation such as Powder Base, or Total Finish which are made with zinc oxide that blocks the sun rather than being a sunscreen.


Sunveil has a swimming suit wrap that I use multiple ways.  The Sunveil material is a porous loose weave fabric that allows a breeze through while blocking all the sun. 



That Old Bag Is Worth Some Money



Brighton partners with local retailers to provide gently used women’s handbags to those in need.  Usually once a year in the summer, Brighton announces trade-ins of gently used handbags of any brand. Bags brought to Morgan Fitzgerald’s between July 14 and July 23 will be donated to Twin City Mission.  Purchase a Brighton handbag or wallet worth $150-$249 and receive a $25 bonus savings.  Handbags purchased with values $250 or more receive a $50 bonus savings. 



Brighton handbags are each individually designed and constructed from fine leather from around the world.   The leather is split and the backside removed to reduce weight.  Leather embellishment is usually done by hand.  If the bag has a braided handle, each braided strip is beveled and edge dyed to allow the braiding to form into a malleable strap with consistent color.  Braided straps grip the shoulder better than flat straps so the strap doesn’t slip off the shoulder. 



Brighton’s attention to detail provides functional as well as beautiful bags.  The interiors are light colored, allowing you to easily find things.  Keys can be attached to the interior key fob.  Assorted zippered and un-zippered pockets located both inside and outside the handbags aid organization.



Each registered handbag has a two year warranty against manufacturer defect. In addition, when the handbag is registered, there is a once a year lifetime cleaning service.  Simply pay to ship to Brighton: your bag will be cleaned, restored, and returned free of charge.   No other company provides a lifetime cleaning service.




Summer Fabrics Can be Comfortable to Wear and Easy Care


Most people know that natural fabrics “breathe,” allowing body heat to escape and cooler breezes to enter, but natural fabrics in the past have required time consuming maintenance.  New fabric treatments and higher tech fabrics now allow comfort and easy care.  


One of my favorite summer fabrics is wrinkle-free, 100% linen.  I have discovered only one apparel line,  Fridaze (pronounced Fridays) that is 100% linen and wrinkle-free.   Other brands claim to be wrinkle-free linen, but they usually are a mixture of linen and other fibers such as silk, or rayon.  Although the mixed fabrics are attractive and are usually easy to maintain, they are not quite as comfortable to me as the 100% linen wrinkle-free.


The Fridaze brand linens may wrinkle when packed, but when hung, the wrinkles fall out.  They are machine washable and can be hung to dry or briefly placed in the dryer.  The seams are bound, preventing stretching and sagging. 


The Foxcroft brand  has  100% cotton wrinkle-free blouses that look as if they have been pressed after being washed and dried. Use a gentle wash cycle and avoid extreme dryer heat or prolonged dryer cycles. 


Katharine Way dresses and tops are made from nylon and spandex, fibers I would normally consider hot in the summer.  However, the high tech fabric wicks away moisture, is wrinkle-free, and has a sun screen factor equivalent to 50 SPF.  This line has been especially popular among golfers.  The designs have back darts creating a flattering fit and front drape for easy movement.



Admissions to Athletic Games Now Require Clear Bags



All Texas A&M athletic events, Midnight Yell, and many entertainment venues now require specifically sized clear bags or handbags to gain admission.  Hopefully, the new policy creates a safer environment while decreasing waiting time. 



Clear bags no larger than 12”X 6”X 12” replace handbags, diaper bags, totes, or any other opaque bags. Small, non-clear, clutch-style bags with or without straps are still allowed and can be carried in addition to the larger clear bag.  Avoid carrying camera bags, or fanny packs.  However, cameras, phones, and binoculars without bags may be carried separately from the clear bags.  If a logo appears on the clear bag, it should be no larger than 4.5” tall X 3.4” wide.  



A&M joins other SEC universities and the NFL which have similar requirements.  Most large commercial concert venues also require clear bags.  The ban on larger items such as ice chests, baby strollers, or umbrellas remains in effect.  According to a MSC events representative, at this time, there is no policy concerning the size or material of handbags carried into performances at the MSC.



While at market we discovered a smaller, clear, durable stadium handbag with detachable strap by American  Jewel which meets the requirements, but also has a fold- over flap with latch as  a security closure.  In addition, the handbag comes with a white bracelet with A& M jeweled charms.  The seams are secured with a binding of either silver or black.  Choose one for yourself and one to give as the perfect gift for the sports enthusiast.




Let’s Face It:  The Total Makeover



This final column in our series about rejuvenating the face is about the total makeover.  A makeover serves multiple purposes.  It allows a re-evaluation of your skin needs, your foundation match, and an introduction to new skin care products and new make-up application techniques. 



Our skin reflects seasonal weather changes, aging, and hormonal changes.  Communicate what changes you have experienced.  Experiment with various skin care treatments within the studio and talk with your professional beauty consultant to find the best products for you.   Ultimately, the condition of your skin, determines how your completed make-up will look.



Foundation shades should be checked seasonally.  Although many women use the same shade year in and year out, exposure to summer sun can affect neck color, necessitating a re-match of foundation.  In addition, you may wish to choose a different kind of foundation for summer that provides more sun block.  If you want to avoid summer sun damage, but want a sun kissed look, a makeover is a great time to experiment with bronzing powder. 



We change our clothing colors to reflect season changes, but often forget that eye shadow, blush, and lipstick colors should change to coordinate with summer clothing.  Try out trend colors and new make-up techniques. When you complete your makeover, your skin should feel comfortable, your foundation well matched to your neck, your features enhanced, and your confidence in your look maximized.


If you wish to participate in the free” Let’s Face It” five session program, or want just a makeover, call (979) 268-0608. 




Let’s Face It: Lips and Contour



In my last column I talked about ways to enhance brows and eyes.  Today I am featuring lips and contour. 



Unfortunately, lips become narrower, and lose thickness. Rejuvenate lips with Lip Revive or Lip Exfoliator to exfoliate dead skin and hydrate.  Lip Conditioner SPF 15 helps prevent sun damage while soothing the lips and sealing in moisture.  Any of the three can be worn under lipstick. Use Wrinkle Smoother Lips to diminish the appearance of lines above and below lips. Apply only on the lines, never the lips. 



Increase the perceived size of the lips by using the principle of light and dark.  Light colors make things appear larger and dark makes things recede or have greater depth.  First, outline the lip with a lip liner the same color of the lip.  Make a thin line on the very edge of the lip.  Follow with another slightly darker lip liner on the outer edge of the first liner.  Use the darker liner to fill in the corners and a slightly thicker line at the center bottom of the lip.  Cover the entire lip, including the liners, with lipstick.  Blot.



Use a contouring powder or brown- based cheek color to lightly draw an oval arch from your forehead down to your chin.  Blend from the arch to the outer edge of your face.  Using the same color, apply under the cheekbone and feather the color toward the outer edge of jaw. Your face will appear thinner and more lifted. For a free demonstration call (979) 268-0608.




Let’s Face It: Brows, Eyes, Lips, and Contour



The fourth session in our “Let’s Face It” program gives the latest techniques to enhance brows, eyes, lips, and contour.  In today’s column I will discuss brows and eyes.    In next week’s column, I will give tips for lips and contouring.



Determine the best length for your brow by placing a straight edge from the outer corner of the eye.  Follow it to the brow.  Where the edge lines up with the brow is how long the brow should be.  Use either a brow pencil or brow powder a shade darker than your hair color to fill in and shape the brow. If there is a scar or so little hair that the color doesn’t adhere, use Merle Norman brow wax tapped on with a cotton swab.  The color will adhere to wherever you place the wax. If some brow hairs are very light or white, use a tinted brow sealer applied with a brush similar to a mascara wand. 



The eyelids have no oil glands.  Use an oil-based eye shadow base that provides a lipid barrier between the powdered shadow and the lid. The lids will be less likely to wrinkle because of dryness.   Use darker shadow on puffy lids and lighter on other areas to add dimension.  Choose mascara based on the length and curl of your natural lashes.  Short lashes need mascara that extends the lashes, straight lashes need mascara that curls as it dries, and thin lashes need mascara that thickens.  If your eyes tear, or you perspire excessively, use waterproof mascara.




Let’s Face It: Foundations and Correctors



Our  “Let’s Face It” program enters its third week with emphasis on foundations and correctors.  How you use them together can create the flawless look of perfect skin.  Ask yourself several questions.  What do you like or dislike about your current foundation?



Determine if you want full coverage, sheer coverage, or somewhere in between.  We often think only the very young need sheer coverage, but forget that heavy coverage may emphasize wrinkles.  Sheer coverage smooths out color tone, can give a protective layer of moisture and sunscreen, and still look natural.  If there are mild discolorations, dark circles, or mild scarring, correctors can be applied first and then sheer foundation applied on top.  Apply correctors on top of heavier foundations to allow better blending.


The right foundation should fit your skin type.  Oily skin requires a long lasting, oil control formula, while dry skin needs a moisturizing, light reflecting, formula.  Color testing for either skin type should be at the jawline.  Usually three stripes of color are applied---one slightly darker than skin tone, one lighter, and one that appears to match.  The stripes should stay on the jawline long enough to interact with the natural skin tones.  Failure to wait and observe can result in a foundation that initially matches, but turns darker as it is worn.  Testing on the top of the hand is problematic.  The skin tone is darker and the skin oil is not the same, giving a false reading of the color match



Let’s Face It: Serums and Moisturizers


Based on your skin type, choose the right serums and moisturizers to help your skin look more youthful and healthy.   Serums focus on one issue such as exfoliation, anti-aging, or skin tightening: moisturizers may address issues simultaneously such as anti-aging, skin tightening, and hydration.  The difference is the strength of the formula.  Serums contain much higher strengths because they are only working on one problem. 


Determine what skin problems you have.  Which are the most critical?  Serums can be used to diminish those problems.  Suffering from dry skin?  Use a daily exfoliating serum such as AHA Intensive to chemically exfoliate dead skin, or if your skin is sensitive, try the sugar based Renew serum.  By removing the dead skin, hydrating serums such as Anti-Aging Complex Dry Oil Serum and Energizing Concentrate work better.   If you are just beginning to show fine lines, or you have pesky fine lines around the eyes, Fine Line Minimizer will help.  Anti-Aging Emulsion helps diminish environmental damage while helping to prevent the signs of aging from appearing.


Moisturizers work together with serums.   Apply the serums first, follow with moisturizers.  Moisturizers with sunscreen should be worn in the day, but not at night.   Night moisturizing creams work while the body naturally repairs itself.    Of course, just like other skin care products, the type of skin you have should dictate the moisturizer appropriate for your skin.  If you wish to participate in our free five session Let’s Face It program, call (979) 268-0808 to schedule your individual session. 



Let’s Face It : Skin Assessment, Cleansing, and Exfoliation



Our Let’s Face It free skin care and make-up program begins on May 23.  The five sessions can be scheduled at your convenience anytime between now and  August 31, 2017.  Each session addresses skin care or makeup concerns.



The first session provides a skin evaluation.  Is the skin oily, normal, or dry? After applying foundation, when and where does an oily shine appear?  As a general indicator, if an oily shine appears within an hour or two, your skin is oily.  If there is a shine within the T-zone around lunch time, your skin is normal to oily.  If the shine appears around 2pm, your skin is normal to dry.  If you never see a shine, your skin is dry.  Are there other skin conditions that need attention such as breakouts or excessive redness?



When you know your skin type, you can choose the best cleanser.  Oily skin needs a cleanser that inhibits oil production.  Scrubs should not be used on oily skin because the abrasion from the scrub actually stimulates the oil glands to produce more oil.  Dry skin needs a gentle, hydrating cleanser.   Often, very dry skin becomes sensitive.  Sensitive skin types should avoid strong fragrances and abrasive scrubs.  Acne prone skin needs products with salicylic acid to open and clean pores. 



Following cleansing, exfoliate to get rid of dead skin.  Examine the different chemical and manual exfoliants  to determine the best for you.  Conclude the session with a free exfoliating steam facial. 




Let’s Face It


Let’s face it:  spots appear, your neck crinkles while wrinkles map across your forehead.



In the next several columns, we’ll discuss how to care for aging skin and de-mystify the parts of a makeover.  In addition to the columns, you will see mini sessions on KBTX and Facebook.   For greater depth and hands-on training, you can call (979) 268-0608 to sign up for our free Let’s Face It program which begins on May 23. The program includes five sessions.  Choose either one or two sessions per week. 



Session One:  Skin assessment, Cleansing, and Exfoliation--   Before choosing the type of skincare needed, determine whether your skin is oily, normal, or dry, or if your skin has special conditions such as rosacea, or acne. Based on your skin type, select the right cleansing and exfoliation products. Included is an exfoliation steam facial.



Session Two: Serums and Moisturizers-- Understand the reasons for serums. Follow with the correct moisturizer.  Included is a moisturizing steam facial and Moisture Rich Facial Treatment.



Session Three: Test various foundations suitable for your skin type-- Find the best foundation primer for your skin needs.  Experiment with different foundation types and coverage after matching your skin color.   Learn the techniques to use for covering imperfections and then seal with the best powder for you.  Included is a brightening steam facial.



Session Four: Explore Eye Makeup, Lip color, and Contouring-- Experiment with different colors and techniques.



Session Five:  A Total Makeover--We will put it all together for a finished makeover and a picture!



Do You Have to Chase Your Patio Furniture on Windy Days? 


You won’t have to tie it down, bring it in, or fish it out of the pool if you have Seaside Casual furniture. All made in the U.S.A, it is one of the best made patio/yard furniture lines on the market. 


Choose from sixteen colors.  EnviroWood® gives the quality, comfort, and beauty of traditional painted wood without the associated maintenance.  Crafted from recycled plastic bottles, it is permeated with UV stabilized pigments to resist fading. 


Simply wash periodically with soap and water. Avoid pressure washing. EnviroWood® is not affected by most corrosive substances, and will not absorb moisture or promote bacterial growth.    The highest grade stainless steel fasteners used to assemble the furniture are virtually maintenance free in our area.  (Coastal areas with high salinity levels require frequent washing with fresh water to help extend the life of the stainless steel fasteners.)


Seaside Casual furniture uses a very slow extrusion rate when creating its “lumber.”  That means the polymer is slowly pressed to create the planks, eliminating bubbles that weaken the board or reduces its visual appeal. It also creates enough weight to prevent windy days from moving the furniture or turning it over. 


There are a variety of traditional styles as well as contemporary designs.  Known for design comfort, you can choose styles with cushions or without. Recently the Texas A&M rec center chose Seaside Casual furniture in maroon. You can try the Adirondack styled chairs at Morgan Fitzgerald’s.  They are priced similar to other fine furniture.



Neck Rehab

Vertical and horizontal neck wrinkles aren’t a requirement of aging.  You can reduce and prevent neck wrinkles by avoiding sun exposure, exfoliating, keeping the skin hydrated, and using products that stimulate collagen production.

I often see women with smooth and supple faces, but their necks give their ages away.  If they had always treated their necks as they did their faces, they would have far fewer neck wrinkles (and so would I.) It is much easier to prevent wrinkles than to eliminate them.  However, the appearance of the wrinkles can be reduced.

UV rays once they enter the body never leave.  The radiation accumulates over time, causing more and more damage.  Use sunscreen daily even if you will be indoors since T.V. and computer screens, as well as fluorescent lights emit UV rays.  Exfoliate your neck as often as you do your face. By eliminating the dead skin cells, all your products work better.  

Drink plenty of water.  Cover the neck when using hairdryers.  Merle Norman’s Dry Oil Serum gives immediate hydration.   Twice a day, apply the serum. Next,  apply Firming Neck and Chest Cream which contain peptides to stimulate collagen development.   Changes in estrogen levels can affect collagen.  Be sure to eat fruits and vegetables containing anti-oxidants.  A number of cosmetic skin care products contain natural ingredients with anti-oxidants.  The effectiveness of the products depends on regular use.    Although you can’t make the wrinkles go away totally after they form, you can diminish their appearance.


Gifts for Men


Here are a few gift ideas for the guys in your life.  My favorite gift for hunters is the Game Chef seasoning collection for wild game.  It comes with venison, fowl, barbecue, and seafood seasoning, plus a cookbook with great wild game recipes ($38.)  I have also found the seasoning to be tasty on popcorn.


Good companions are the Salt Roc cooking plate ($108) for oven and grill and Salt Roc seasoning egg ($45.)  Both the plate and the egg have been tempered to 700 degrees, eliminating the need to gradually warm the salt to the 400 degree cooking temperature. Once the Salt Roc plate has been heated in the oven or on the grill to 400 degrees, it cooks, tenderizes, and seasons everything from meat to veggies.  Be sure to fully heat to the 400 degrees, because if you don’t, it will impart too much salt.  The egg is heated to 400 degrees, inserted into the cavity of the turkey and cooked normally.  It eliminates the need to brine.


Tilley hats known for their durability and sun protective qualities, come in a variety of colors including camouflage.  They even float in water.  If you wear a Tilley hat out, they will replace it for free.  If it is lost, you can buy one at half price.  The hat should fit low on the head, with a finger space between the head and hat.


Brighton makes men’s belts in a variety of styles.  A man’s belt should be one size larger than his pant size.  



Start Thanksgiving with Easy, Tasty Snacks

(Good for the game, too)


While you prepare the final touches of Thanksgiving dinner, serve a few pre-dinner snacks that you make days ahead.  Start with Hot Ruby, a citrus-based drink that can be served cold or hot to match the Texas weather.  If you wish, add chilled Fresca or wine to make a cooler, or a bit of pecan whiskey to warm up a chilly afternoon. 


Create pretzels that keep them coming back for more.  Mix Hot and Sassy seasoning mix with ½ cup of canola oil.  Drizzle over miniature pretzels.  Stir occasionally until dry and then place in a Ziploc bag for later use. 


Sassy Green Sauce seasoning can be added directly to sour cream for a yummy dip, or once combined, put into a Ziploc bag, cut the corner off and tube into Scoop chips.  Top with half of a cherry tomato.  You’ll have an instant hors doeuvre.


Need a breakfast treat or another dessert?  Aunt B’s cake mixes make it easy.  For coffee cake add vegetable oil and bananas.  I also add chopped walnuts, but it’s delicious without the nuts as well.  The cakes take 35-40 minutes to bake.  For dessert, make cupcakes with the mix; add applesauce and oil.  To enhance a notch, add frosting with coconut and nuts. 


Flauthaus shortbread cookies and cheese straws are as easy as open and pour, but have the taste of freshly made.  Try a few easy mix / easy serve treats and enjoy the holidays.



Be Picture Perfect for the Holidays


Holiday gatherings always bring out the cameras.  Be ready for even candid shots.  The way you stand, the clothes you wear, how you apply your makeup, and how you smile all affect how you look in photos. 


Never face full- body to the camera.  Angle your stance and turn your upper body toward the camera.  You will look thinner.  Let your arm hang down over the side toward the camera.  The other arm and hand can be pulled toward the back, again creating a thinner look.  


The first thought is to wear black which slenderizes; however, black also outlines the body if it is form fitting, revealing figure imperfections.   Try wearing a darker color with a small print. (Large prints can make you look heavier.)  Wear brighter colors around the face that draw the eye upward.


Use the principle of light and dark when applying blush or bronzer.  If you shadow the side of the face, jawline, and under the cheekbone with brown based blush creating a shadowing effect, the camera will see a thinner, more lifted face.


Take a lesson from Oprah’s magazine cover.  You’ll notice that she always smiles with space between her upper and lower teeth.  By dropping the jaw slightly to increase space, the face appears thinner, plus the smile always looks natural.  If you close your eyes when pictures are snapped, keep your head steady, but look downward.  Just before the picture is snapped, look up.  A little attention to detail and you will be pleased with all your pictures. 



Does Your Handbag Have Purse-onality?


Have you seen cars with monogram stickers on the windows? That is just one example of the current fashion trend to personalize possessions.  Whether it is your car or your handbag, customizing is the thing to do. 


Handbag decorations can be subtle or bold depending on your personality.  Although some choose brightly-colored themed stickers to attach to their handbags, I prefer fashion accents.  Brighton has carefully-constructed, detailed leather tassels ($50) with large lobster claw clips that fit almost any handbag.  Choose a color that matches the bag, one that contrasts, or celebrates a theme such as red, white, and blue.   The tassels come with rings so they can also be used as key rings.  If you care to, attach multiple tassels. 


Have you wondered what to do with the beautiful small neck scarves you have in a drawer? Pull out a color that matches your outfit and tie around the handbag handle.  Some handbags are actually sold with a scarf attached.  If you want it to be especially chic, choose a specially designed scarf with lobster claw clip.  The scarf is designed with just enough fabric to enhance your handbag.


Key rings that have the look of jewelry are now attached to the outside of the bag, making it easy to find keys, yet attractively decorating the bag.  Initial beads can be added so they hang from the bag, or use beads with holiday themes.


Choose whatever reflects your interests.  Your handbag will have purse-onality and you will be right on trend.



Gourmet Foods Make Perfect Gifts


People on your gift list may be at the point they don’t need “stuff” any more.   Gourmet foods can solve the dilemma.


Gourmet by its definition means it is suitable for someone with a discerning palate.  It is a level way above what is found on the grocery shelf.  Some of the best products come from small companies using family recipes such as corn salsa or companies with unique flavors such as habanero chocolate sauce. Others may include food such as Pernigotti chocolate with hazelnuts that is so special in the originating country it is imported to the U.S.


Gourmet foods can relate to special interests such as Game Chef spices for wild game for the hunters in your life, or candy coated chocolates that look like rocks (fun for children’s Christmas stockings). One of my favorites is mixes that are quick.  When completed, they appear to have taken a long time to prepare, but haven’t.  Hot and Sassy spices when mixed with canola oil and drizzled over mini pretzels create a tasty and incredibly easy snack.  Products produced in the area give the gifts added significance when shipped to those outside the area.


Savory Saltine Seasonings from Navasota, offer multiple flavors (original, barbeque, low salt, Texas Chipotle, and garden dill).  Perpetual Vanilla, my own company, allows the client to make pure vanilla from Madagascar vanilla beans.  In July, Perpetual Vanilla Sugar, and Ground Vanilla were added.


On this Saturday, from 11-4 Morgan Fitzgerald’s Holiday Open House will sample many of the gourmet foods for sale. 



It’s Time for the Holidays


It’s only two months until Christmas.  Now is the time to avoid the holiday stress. Stores have the greatest selection, yet aren’t crowded. Saturday, Nov. 5th from ll-4 Morgan Fitzgerald’s Holiday Open House gives you a head start on gift selection.


Write down the names of those on your list. Next to each name list the gender and interests of each person. That gives you and the sales associate direction.


When you arrive (if you are one of the first 25) you’ll receive a $15 Morgan Fitzgerald’s gift certificate to use during the Holiday Open House on any gift purchase. The first 25 arriving at noon receive a special goody bag; from 1-2, pop a balloon to receive an additional percentage off your purchase; and from 3-4, the first 25 will receive a gourmet goody bag.  Select the time that is best for you.  No matter when you arrive, there is something special to thank you for coming.  (Only one prize per customer, please.) 


What can you expect? Gifts for all age groups that are grouped for easy viewing, apparel displayed with complementing accessories, free gift wrapping, gourmet food sampling, and of course, friendly elves to help.


For guys we have Game Chef spices for wild game, salt cooking stones, Aggie steak knives, Brighton full leather men’s belts, and bar sets.


For children, check out children’s books by a Texas author, smudge-proof chalk, chalk doodle books, and jewelry for little girls.   For ladies, we  have everything a woman can need. 



Baggallini, Handbags Meant for Travel


Not many people travel more than flight attendants, so it seems appropriate that two flight attendants designed travel bags and handbags that would be lightweight, durable, and easy to organize.  Over twenty years ago they began the Baggallini line that offers reasonably priced, functional, yet stylish handbags and small roller bags.  


The handbags, made of nylon, repel water as well.  Most have adjustable straps that can be worn cross-body for added safety when travelling. The wide straps diffuse weight over the shoulder to add comfort.  Select neutral colors or primary reds or blues plus seasonal colors that complement whatever you wear. 


The abundance of zippered pockets helps provide hands-free organization.  Choose from small wristlets to hobo bags.  Most large bags have an included grab and go matching wristlet.  Prices range from $40 pouches to $85 hobo handbags.


If you don’t know which style is right for you, bring in the things you carry in your handbag.  Place them in various styles to see which style best accommodates your items.  Next, try the handbag on to see how it feels and to determine which style fits your body and lifestyle. For short trips to the grocery store, the pouch may be the answer.  For day to day use consider the horizon cross body.  Internal credit card slots eliminate the need for a wallet, zippered outer pockets hold cell phones, and larger zippered pockets hold checkbooks and miscellaneous items.  I think you’ll be surprised at the versatility and function of Baggallini bags.    



Use Cosmetic Brushes to Create Professional Results


Professional makeup artists use a broad range of tools to achieve the looks they want for their clients.  One of the secrets of the trade is using the right quality and type of brush for the type of makeup that is being applied.  Must- have brushes include a foundation brush, powder and blush brushes, large and small eye shadow brushes, concealer brush, and tiny eye liner brush.


Foundation brushes apply foundations more evenly and smoothly, creating flawless looks.  Foundation brushes need bristles that hold the product but don’t clump it.  Acrylic brushes work best and clean easily.  Likewise, concealers have similar requirements.  Small, acrylic brushes allow for the concealers to be accurately placed.


Natural hair brushes are best for powders, blushes, and eyeshadows because they pick up less product than acrylic brushes and distribute lightly over the face.  Powder brush bristles in a rounded shape allow the brush to release the powder evenly.  The blush brush looks like a smaller version of the powder blush, allowing the blush to be accurately placed. 


Eye shadow application brushes need to be different sizes because they apply the pigment differently.  A large eye shadow brush gives a sweep of color, while a smaller brush intensifies the amount of pigment. The small eyeliner brush can be used to line the eye or to create a crease line on the lid.


Natural hair bristles can be cleaned with quality hair shampoo which cleans and conditions.  Acrylic brushes can be cleaned with quality makeup cleansers. 



Katherine Way Dresses


How would you define the perfect dress? Comfortable? Flattering? Washable? Not too short? Neckline not too low?  All of those characteristics describe the Katherine Way Dress Collection.


While she was vacationing in St. Croix, Katherine Way, then in the corporate world, went shopping for a simple sundress. She couldn’t find what she wanted.  The dresses were too flimsy, necklines too low, hemlines too high, so she began to collect dresses that had features she liked.  She combined the best to create a simple, functional, easy-to-care-for dress that was cute.


The dresses, made from nylon and spandex, wick moisture away as well as provide a 50+ SPF. The fabric wears and travels well.  The technology of fabrics makes the Katherine Way Collection a leading line for the golf industry as well.  “We learned that women were wearing our dresses on the golf course—for both playing and spectating—because our moisture-wicking fabrics allowed them to head straight into the clubhouse after a round feeling fresh and comfortable,“ according to Way.


Darts in the back give shape while the loose-fitting front covers tummies. The spandex in the fiber allows comfortable movement.   Sizes run from extra small to plus.  Geometric prints add interest while flattering the figure. Way designed the dresses to “accent the good parts of a woman’s body and cover up nature’s imperfections.”  Choose either sleeveless or dresses with sleeves.  Because of the wicking properties, either is comfortable.   Check Morgan Fitzgerald’s facebook page to see my visit with her at market.



Get Your Lips Ready for Fall and Winter


When it’s hot out, it’s difficult to think about fall and winter’s effect on our skin and particularly on lips.  Lips are membranes which are extremely susceptible to humidity, weather and medicine changes. 


There are two kinds of Merle Norman exfoliators made to eliminate dry, flaky skin on lips.  Lip Exfoliator is a manual exfoliator that is a micro-dermabrasion lip treatment that immediately removes dead, rough skin to reveal soft and smooth lips.  Lip Revive utilizes Beta Hydroxy Acid to chemically loosen dry, dead skin while minimizing fine lines.  Vitamins A, C, E and green tea soothe and condition. 


Choose lip colors to complement your fall and winter wardrobe.  People with pastel complexions should beware of wearing overly-pigmented lip color.  The high contrast between a pastel complexion and strong, vibrant lips create a too-made-up look.  Likewise, pastel or neutral lip colors on olive skin can make lips seem to disappear.


Once you have chosen your lip color, choose two lip liners-- one close in color to the lip color and the second slightly darker.  Use the first to draw a thin line on the edge of the lip.  This creates an illusion of larger lips.  Use the second, slightly darker, lip liner just outside the first one to create the perception of plumper, more youthful lips.


Tap on Wrinkle Smoother Lips above the lips to reduce the appearance of vertical lines.  A clear lip liner can be used around the lips to reduce lip color “bleeding."



Fall 2016 Fashion Trends


Don’t underestimate the power of gray in your wardrobe.  It is as versatile as black.  Pop it with your favorite bright color or wear it as a gray plaid.  Brown remains a steady neutral; mix with pink or yellow.  If you are adventuresome, wear just pink and yellow together.  Pumpkin and spice are popular everywhere except in Aggieland.  It’s just a little too much like burnt orange.



Mini skirt suits give an all-one look that adds height.  However, below-the-knee dress lengths have surprising popularity. Off-the-shoulder and one-shoulder-bare remain trends.  Pant legs are fuller and the waist higher.  The low rider is out. Metallic trim or fabric is appropriate for casual or holiday looks.  Dresses and pantsuits gain more prominence.



Look for bell sleeves and ruffles on dresses and blouses.  Blouses continue to have asymmetrical hems as well as the flattering high/low front to back lengths. Turtleneck tops appear under jumper dresses or tops.  Statement choker necklaces work well with scoop necklines.  Look for convertible necklaces that can be short or long or transform into a totally different look. 



Statement fur leads the trends.  Fur vests, coats, handbags, or unusual fur treatments work.   Customize handbag handles with guitar-like straps.  Add tassels or scarves.  Brighton actually has a full line of handbags with interchangeable straps. Ankle boots are a must for fall.  Evening wear accents puffy sleeves or puffy skirts.



Just by adding a few fashion trends you can update your wardrobe. But whatever trend you choose, be sure it flatters your body shape and personality. 



Plan Your Fall Wardrobe



If you plan your wardrobe, you can create more varied outfits and look better-dressed while saving money.  Start with basic pieces from your closet: tanks, pants, skirts, and jackets should be examined for wear and fit.  Try on each piece.  Are there obvious worn spots, slight tears, or loose buttons?  Does the garment fit correctly or does it pull or cup because it is too tight? Is it too big?  If the item can’t be repaired or altered to fit correctly, donate it.  Evaluate which basic pieces you have that can go forward. Begin your shopping list with the needed basics.


Take time to review 2016 fall style trends discussed in magazines or on-line. Not all trends will be appropriate for everyone, so choose the trends you like, that fit your lifestyle, and that work well with your wardrobe.  Trend colors are the easiest to add.  Choose accessories that connect back with your basics.  If a new trend is merlot, and you have a basic black pant and tank, add a merlot shirt to wear as a jacket and top with a patterned scarf that contains a merlot and black pattern. 


Style trends add freshness to any wardrobe, but can also consume lots of wardrobe dollars.  An off-the-shoulder top is a trending style, but probably will not become a basic.  It’s great to add, but don’t spend top dollar for the look.


Bring in a few outfits and ask your favorite sales consultant to help you evaluate ways to plan and update your fall wardrobe. 



When Is the Best Time to Shop for Apparel?



 Apparel markets have five markets a year which each reflect clothing selling seasons—fall, winter, holiday, spring, and summer.  For wardrobe building, the best time to shop is as shipments arrive at stores.


When warm temperatures wane, a hint of cool suggests the weather to come.  Stores in northern, cooler climates receive fall merchandise in July, while most shipments for us come in August and September. Stores order three to four months before shipment, providing time for manufacturers to construct garments.  Manufacturers produce a limited number of extra garments to ensure that they have enough to fill retailers’ orders.  Once orders are filled, special size or color orders can be placed.  Later in the season, garments are less likely to be available for special order.


Since our winters are so mild, winter merchandise may arrive with fall merchandise; however, some manufacturers may not ship winter styles until September or October because that is when stores in colder climates are shipped. 


Holiday styles which normally are ordered by stores in June arrive October through November.  Holiday garments have more glitz as well as holiday colors.  If a store carries holiday themed clothing, it would usually arrive during October and November. 


Spring shipments arrive early January through March.  Summer arrives April and May.  By shopping when shipments arrive at your favorite store, you get first choice of the most current fashions, the opportunity to special order, and a head start on your wardrobe planning.  My next column gives tips on wardrobe planning.



Have You Checked Your Foundation Lately?



Makeup foundation protects the skin while smoothing and evening skin tone.   Foundation can age you or make you appear more youthful. Check the type as well as color of foundation you currently wear to see if it is the best for your skin type and tone.


Throughout life, our skin type changes.  We may have oily skin during teenage and early adult years and dry skin during middle age and later.  The type of foundation can improve or worsen oiliness and dryness.  If your face becomes oily after a few hours of foundation application or if your skin is consistently tight or flaky, you may be using the wrong foundation.  If blemishes or dark spots remain visible, your foundation may not provide enough coverage.


While looking in a mirror, turn your head slightly.   Is your jaw line the same color as your neck? Foundation usually is not extended on to the neck because it will rub off onto collars and garment necklines.  To make the foundation look natural, it should be the same color as your neck unless your neck is heavily sun damaged.  (For heavy sun damage on the neck use anti-redness cream and anti-redness powder to bring the neck color closer to face skin tone.)


Your makeup consultant should try three different colors on your jawline.    Allow the three shades to sit on the face for a few minutes since your natural skin oils blend with the foundation, affecting the ultimate shade on your skin. Select the best type and color of foundation for you. 



Extend Wig Life with Proper Care



Wigs made from synthetic fibers and 100% human hair wigs take proper care to maintain optimum appearance and life of the wig.  Synthetic fibers maintain the “set” regardless of humidity, washing, or wearing.  However, by following a few procedures, you can extend the life and appearance of your wig. 


 Avoid heat.  Whether you open the oven door or leave the synthetic fiber wig inside a car during the summer, you may experience frizzing of fiber ends.  Although a trained wig specialist can sometimes repair heat damage, it is best to avoid it in the first place.  Some wigs that are specially marked can be heat curled, but it is best for a hair stylist or wig professional to curl or straighten a wig.   The restyled wig will continue to maintain its new curl or straightening until it is again heat treated.


Washing a synthetic wig requires wig shampoo and wig conditioner.  Shampoo for human hair may contain ingredients that damage synthetic fibers.   Dissolve about a quarter-size amount of wig shampoo in a basin of cool water.  Allow the wig to soak for 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.  Apply wig conditioner sparingly to the wig.  Avoid conditioning the knots of a hand-knotted wig.  The conditioner actually loosens the knots causing wig hair loss.  Do not use a hair dryer.


Human hair wigs can be washed with shampoo made for color-treated hair.  Do not soak the wig.  Again, avoid conditioners applied to the knots of hand-knotted wigs.  Proper care allows you and your wig to look the best.



Synthetic Fabric – What Is It?


Most people view synthetic fabric as being created from man-made fibers instead of natural fibers. Early research attempted to improve on natural fibers, making production easier and cheaper.   In my last column, I discussed fabrics made from pulp wood.  Rayon, although created from wood, a natural material, can be considered a synthetic fabric.

Additionally, fabric made from fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum is also synthetic because the fibers, made from polymers, are man-made.    You recognize these synthetic fabrics as polyester, acrylic, nylon, acetate, spandex, and Kevlar.  

Polymer synthetic fabrics have characteristics that natural fabrics don’t.  They can be waterproof, elastic, wrinkle-free, flame, fade, and stain resistant.   But they are also less absorbent making some uncomfortable to wear. The fiber can be prone to heat damage, so care directions should be followed.  Additionally, the processes used to produce synthetics can be harmful to the environment, and often they are non-biodegradable.  

Synthetic fibers make up almost half of all fiber usage.  Of that, polyester accounts for 60%.  Acrylic fiber developed by DuPont in 1950 was developed to be a substitute for wool.  It provides warmth without weight.  Plus it is much less expensive.  Throughout the years, acrylic has been improved: It returns to its original shape and form after washing, wicks moisture, has good elasticity, and is usually washable.   Its down side is when exposed to extreme heat it can decompose and discolor.  Often acrylic care labels say do not dry clean because the heat of pressers will cause the fabric to stretch out of shape.



Your Blouse Could Be Made From Wood


When you think of natural fabrics, you might think of cotton, linen, wool, hemp, ramie, or silk, but an increasing number of garments are actually made from  fabrics such as rayon, Tencel, or Modal, all derived from pulp wood.

In the 1800’s people explored ways to create a fiber that would mimic silk.  Eventually, they produce fabrics, but the fabrics were unusually flammable.  In the early 1900’s wood pulp was chemically altered to create a solution that could make fibers used to weave into fabric.  It was known first as” imitation silk” and later called the generic name, rayon.  “ Ray” represented the sun or brightness of the fabric, and “on” for its cotton-like properties.

The liquefied wood pulp was known as viscose. Some view viscose rayon as a type of rayon, others as simply another name for rayon. Rayon is breathable, easily dyed, and drapes well.  It also absorbs water so it wicks moisture away from the body, but it also absorbs body oils which can lead to staining.  Rayon actually absorbs more than cotton.  If too much liquid is absorbed, the fibers are weakened, causing the material to stretch and bag.  Because of this, it is usually listed as dry clean only.  

 Tencel and Modal came about years later when researchers learned to relax part of the molecular structure of the cellulose by soaking or steaming the wood slurry.  Tencel, a brand name for the generic term Lyocell, can be washed, but requires ironing.  Modal is another variation of rayon. 



Rx for Wrinkles


Think of your skin as a paper towel.  A new paper towel has texture, but no wrinkles.  Young skin is smooth and elastic.  Just as the paper towel wrinkles with use, so does skin when exposed to sun, dryness, and repeated facial expressions.  If you take the wrinkled paper towel and smooth out the wrinkles, the paper towel will look smoother and less wrinkled.  Current cosmetic technology does the same for skin; it reduces the appearance of wrinkles.  Even though traces of the wrinkles remain, the appearance is much better.  

First, exfoliate dead, dry skin, exposing newer skin that can then benefit more from skin care products. Use chemical exfoliation to loosen the dead cells and manual exfoliation to rub them off.  Follow immediately with a moisturizing treatment such as Moisture Rich Facial Treatment.  Use day and night time moisturizers.  Use eye moisturizers made especially for the eye since the skin around the eye is more delicate than face or neck.   Neck moisturizer is now available in firming formulas that tighten neck skin.
Sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection help slow down the formation of wrinkles.  Foundations, moisturizers, and primers all are available with sunscreen.   Use moisturizers with peptides that signal the skin to replenish collagen, reducing depth of wrinkles. Foundation primers and foundations smooth the skin, evening out texture while reflecting light and diminishing the appearance of wrinkles.

Most skin care products include natural ingredients which work with the skin’s own system to improve skin quality and appearance.   


You Can Make Your Eyes Look Younger

Whether you have puffy eyes, dark circles, hooded eyes, or crow’s feet, a few high-tech skin care products can minimize the undesirable appearance.

Puffy eyes can be caused by genetics, low thyroid, or irritants.  Whatever the cause is, Merle Norman’s Rejuvenating Eye Gel with cucumber extract, helps to reduce puffiness.  I prefer to keep the eye gel in the refrigerator so the cold, combined with cucumber extract, becomes even more effective.  Use both morning and night.  Wonder why one eye seems much puffier than the other?  The puffiest eye is usually on the side you sleep on.  

Dark circles show the bluish blood beneath the tender, thinner skin surrounding the eye.  It becomes more evident when puffy bags under the eyes stretch the skin even thinner.  Eye moisturizers with light diffusers brighten the darker circles by reflecting light.  Brilliant-C Moisturizer also contains vitamin C that stimulates collagen development, thickening the skin.  
Hooded eyelids that drape over the eyes often appear puffy.  If the occlusion is severe, surgery may be required.  Puffiness on mildly-hooded eyelids can be improved with eye gel.  Use dark eye shadow on the brow bone and down onto the puffy lid.  Darken the crease line.  Darker colors make surfaces appear to recede.  

Crow’s feet at the corners of the eyes appear from years of dryness, sun damage, or repeated movement from squinting and expressions.  Wrinkle Smoother Eye Cream, tapped onto the wrinkles, helps to relax the muscles that hold the wrinkles in place.  


Thirsty Thursdays and Other Fun Events



From a store with a name like Morgan Fitzgerald’s, you have to expect a little celebration on St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17.  We will serve Irish Margaritas with or without the kick, and Irish coffee with the kick.  Our sampling is only part of the fun.



We will have a “Thank My Lucky Charms Event.”  With a Brighton charm purchase of twenty-five dollars or more, dip into the pot-of-gold and pull out a gift certificate from $1 to $10.  But the fun doesn’t stop there.  Design charm jewelry for our mannequins dressed in green, and you can dip again into the pot-of-gold.



Get stamps for attending four Thirsty Thursdays and you qualify for 20% off on a single item.  (Brighton and Dansko excluded.)  Each Thirsty Thursday card has a number.  Visit on Magnificent Mondays to see if your card number wins a prize.



On Tuesday, March 22 from 3:30-4:30, our free scarf tying workshop reveals the techniques and tricks to help you create the finishing touch to any outfit.  Bring in outfits to match with scarves and a couple of scarves to practice with.  You’ll learn basic ties for square and rectangle scarves plus see innovative scarves that create stylish looks as well as being easier than you imagine.



Call ahead to reserve a seat.  (979-268-0608)  Attendees receive 10% discount on all scarves purchased following the workshop.



Send us your email address or check our facebook page regularly for our upcoming events, Thirsty Thursdays offerings, or Magnificent Mondays treats.


Brighton Handbag Auction


Several years ago I had a customer who lamented that she didn’t have any more room in her closet for new handbags---and she loved handbags.  What could she do?  She didn’t want to give them away since they were in like-new condition, but she wanted new handbags that matched her new clothes. 


I always like a challenge so the gauntlet was down.  I contacted Brighton and told them of my idea… a handbag auction where people could bring in gently-used Brighton handbags to be auctioned to other Brighton handbag lovers.  Whatever the handbags sold for could be used by the original owners to purchase new Brighton handbags or luggage.  Brighton agreed to the auction, and pointed out that the warranty is non-transferable. 


This year, our Brighton Handbag Auction will be held at Morgan Fitzgerald’s from 2-4pm on Saturday, March 12.  Those wishing to place handbags for auction should bring in bags no later than Wednesday, March 9.  A minimum bid can be indicated; however, bags seem to sell best without a minimum.  Brighton wallets can also be placed for auction.


In the past, a wide variety have been available from vintage to bags with original sales tags attached. Usually, we have 30 or more.  The handbags are sold as is with no guarantee or warranty.  The bags will be on display from Monday, March 7 until the start of the auction.  Be sure to reserve a seat.  If you will be out of town, you can leave a maximum bid.



What Is A Trunk Show?



On Monday, February 22 from 11-2 Morgan Fitzgerald’s will have a Brighton jewelry, handbag, and shoe trunk show.  The history of trunk shows goes back to the stage coach years when manufacturers would send representatives to stores across the county with samples of their goods. Traveling to remote regions required various transportation including trains, boats, or stage coaches. Sturdy trunks protected the merchandise.   When the salesmen arrived, the store owners would choose the items they wanted, but they would also contact their best customers to view all the items in the salesman’s trunk.   The special customers were able to choose items that the store owner was not going to stock, allowing those women to have items that other women didn’t have. 



Fast forward to 2016… the salesperson still brings the newest items, only not in a trunk.  No store can carry every product a manufacturer produces; the trunk show allows clients to see items that aren’t going to be in the store.  They can place orders that specifically fit their wardrobe needs. 



Usually a total payment or partial payment is required when the items are ordered.  Of course, if items don’t fit, the company sends different sizes or refunds the customer’s money.  



Not all manufacturers provide trunk shows because they are labor intensive and costly.  However, stores that support the brand, partner with the manufacturing company to provide the trunk show as a service for their customers. 

Trunk shows are available to all who wish to attend. They can make an appointment or simply drop in.



Valentine’s Day Advice for Men



She may tell you that you don’t need to get her a Valentine’s Day gift, but the reality is deep down it would please her if you did. (She doesn’t want to tell you that though.)  I can remember early on in my marriage, I said to my husband, “If you loved me, you would know….” It turned out he did love me and he didn’t know whatever it was.  He convinced me he didn’t know, and that he was quite willing  to do whatever it was, if he had only knew what !!!  That revelation was a turning point in our relationship. Just tell him……hmmmm.



A woman likes to think that her guy is still gaga about her.  The gift doesn’t have to be huge.  It can simply be thoughtful. You notice she doesn’t have a necklace that matches her favorite earrings.  Perhaps she complains that the dry weather has dried out her skin: rich and emollient skin care cream shows you have listened to her and chosen an item she needs. 



We women also like surprises.  Not just any surprise, however.  Relate whatever it is to what she likes.   If she likes to cook, find something related to cooking that is new on the market.  Consider a basket of gourmet foods or kitchen gadgets.



Wrap her gift.  Opening it is part of the fun.



A word to the wise: give the gift early in the day.  That way she gets to enjoy thinking about it all day, and doesn’t think you have forgotten. 



Sweets to Remember


Chocolate stimulates those wonderful hormones that make us happy and, to some, simulates falling in love.  No wonder it is given at Valentine’s Day.  If you choose chocolate for your valentine, there are a few things you may want to know.


The critical factor is freshness. The taste of chocolate that has been warehoused for months and then sent to large stores will not come close to the taste of freshly-made chocolate.  It is also critical that the nuts used in the chocolate are the current season’s crop.  If not, there may be a rancid taste.  We offer handmade Robicheaux’s chocolates and Dallas Caramel Company’s caramels, both made fresh for us.   Handmade candies are usually made by smaller candy companies so they offer greater variety and more specialty candies. 


According to Laura Robicheaux, you should keep chocolate candy and caramel at room temperature, not in the refrigerator.  Refrigeration causes condensation to form, and water and chocolate don’t mix.  In addition, a temperature change from room temperature to refrigeration causes chocolate to “bloom,” creating a whitish film.  Fresh candy lasts from 3-6 months at room temperature.   


Dark chocolate has the most cocoa powder solids and is less sweet. Milk chocolate has less cocoa powder solids and is sweeter, while white chocolate has no cocoa powder solids at all, so it isn’t really chocolate.  It is made from cocoa butter mixed with milk and sugar. 


For a truly special treat, give a basket with a variety of chocolates and caramels.  Both you and the chocolate will be sweetly remembered. 



What’s in a Brand?



Brands provide more than just a label.  A brand has history: when you have worn a garment before, you know its quality and how it fits.  You know if the company provides good service if there is ever a problem.  You know what to expect. Each brand has its own identity – what it is known for.



Ming Wang, made from the finest acrylic knit fiber, is known for its classic look and fit, easy care, and classic blacks that always match.  The garments resist wrinkling, making them packable and wearable.  Known as wardrobe builders, these missy-sized garments have durability, style, and wardrobe investment value. Because Ming Wang is headquartered in Dallas, special orders can be received in one to two days. 



Joseph Ribkoff apparel has a missy fit reflecting current fashion trends.  Known for colorful prints and contemporary styling, it adds spice to classic wardrobe pieces. Most are washable. Sizes range from two to twenty. 



Foxcroft blouses are some of the best-priced for the quality blouses in the market.  Classic styles have slight shaping to give more dimension to the body.  The company is especially known for the durability of its 100% cotton wrinkle-free shirts.  Available in solids and prints.



Brighton handbags are known for durability and individual styling.  Made from the same leathers used in prestige handbags, they have the added appeal of the Brighton jewelry ornamentation.  Especially touted for its two year warranty and lifetime free cleaning service, it is probably one of the best handbag values in the market. 



Color Me Any Color


Several years ago women were told that they should only wear colors that enhanced their natural skin tone.  We gathered swatches of the perfect shades and dutifully purchased only those garments that were “our colors.”    


The truth is--- it worked, but it was difficult and limiting.  Most of us know intuitively what colors look good on us, but sometimes we simply like colors that aren’t the most flattering on us, or we are asked to wear colors for special occasions (weddings come to mind) that we neither look good on us nor like. 


Any woman can wear any color and look attractive in it if she modifies with color flattering accessories and makeup.    Begin with accessories around the face.  I like purple, but when I wear it, the dark circles beneath my eyes seem to intensify, my skin looks ashen and people ask me if I’m okay.  Pink, a color close to purple on the color wheel, when worn in a scarf at the neckline adds life to my face and discourages people from asking about my health. If you don’t care for scarves, colored jewelry can provide the same function, as well as tanks. 


Makeup can change the “natural” skin tone to one complementary to the colored garment you wish to wear.  Choose foundation or blush one shade warmer or cooler than your natural skin tone depending on whether your garment is a warm or cool color.  Use eyeshadow or eyeliner color, the color of the garment. 


Sales, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly



The siren beckons us with her sale song, but how do we tell if we really are getting a good deal?  What truly makes a good sale?



First of all, it must be a piece that functionally fits into your wardrobe.  Ask yourself, “What three things can I wear with this great buy?”  If I don’t have something already in my closet to wear with it, the piece just got more expensive because I will have to find two or more pieces that “go” with it. 



What is the cost to maintain the garment?  Is it washable?  If it can only be dry-cleaned, the cost of the garment goes up every time it goes to the cleaners.  Does it have to be ironed?  Add labor cost.  What about the integrity of the fabric?  Is it going to stretch and sag, fade, or shrink?  Is it a classic design, or will it be out of style in a season or two? Think of the cost per wearing.  Is your sale item a true bargain in the long run?



Another issue is to determine if it is a true sale.  Have you been in the store prior to items going on sale?  Have the items now on sale been in the store for the season or were they brought in just for the sale?  Some stores count on customers’ excitement over the sale to cloud customer judgment. They bring in discounted merchandise of lesser quality and offer at “sale” prices.



Focus Your Closet on Basics



Start by sorting your clothing by categories such as blouses, pants, skirts, or dresses.  Lay out all the items per category.  Determine what fits, what you have worn in the last year, what seems to be showing wear. Take a deep breath and get rid of things that don’t fit, are out of style, stained, or that you simply don’t like.  Donate to your favorite charity or drop the items by Morgan Fitzgerald’s and we will donate them.    



Return usable items to your closet by category and sort by color.  You will find it easier to determine what needs to be added to your wardrobe for the greatest number of mix and match outfits. If you have eight black pants and no navy or brown, add navy and brown pants to your “to purchase” list.



When possible, always purchase a matching tank to go with bottoms.  That extends the ways you can combine outfits.  A solid pant with solid matching tank can be worn under multiple jackets, blouses worn as light weight jackets, or with Sleevey Wonders. Basics such as pants and tanks, should be the best quality you can afford since they will be worn the most. 



Once you have established what colors your basics are, match different tops that pick up the colors of the basics, or that combine well with them.  You’ll identify colors that you may need to add to your “to purchase” list.



By organizing your wardrobe and determining your wardrobe needs, you will spend less and dress better.



I Am Your Fairy Godmother



Or I could be.  If you wish for more youthful looking skin, I can wave my Merle Norman magic wand and make it happen----with a little time.  Youthful skin is smooth, hydrated, and glowing. 



No matter how many wonderful skin care products you have, you will not see a difference if they are absorbed by dead, dry skin lingering on your face. Regular exfoliation removes dead skin, allowing skin care products to work.  Begin with a chemical exfoliation which dissolves the “cellular glue” that holds dead skin cells together.  On a different day, use a manual exfoliation containing granules that physically rub off dead cells. Do not use both types of exfoliation on the same day. Using both on the same day is too harsh and may cause irritation. 



Once the skin has been exfoliated, it is time to add hydration.  A few drops of Dry Oil Serum give immediate hydration.  The serum can be added to moisturizer and then applied to quicken application.   The skin’s moisture barrier helps maintain skin health while blocking pathogens.



Fresh, new skin with adequate moisturizer already looks younger.  Next, make it glow by using brightening products that contain vitamins A and C.  Cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers all can contain brightening ingredients.  Using an entire system produces quicker results.  Foundations with light diffusers  help soften and even out skin tone.  For an extra glow add Liquid Shimmer to cheeks, chin, and forehead.



“Exfoliate, moisturize, and brighten religiously, and you will look younger,” so says your fairly godmother.

Gifts that Excite and Delight


Gifts that were the most exciting to me throughout my life were ones I had absolutely no idea what they were. (Not gifts that were disguised within odd packages, but ones that took me by surprise.)  I suppose it was the excitement of the unknown, the delight of the unexpected.   I have been thinking about which gifts could provide that excitement. 


First, the gift should be related to the likes of the person, yet be different.  For example, a woman who likes scarves would love an exquisite scarf, made from the finest materials and workmanship, but if that isn’t in the budget, consider maggies  ($25) a set of two high-powered magnets that hold scarves in place without damaging the fabric.


For a woman who would choose cosmetics over food, select a companion to her favorite product such as Body Butter to go with her Body Scrub.  Or, try something brand new that she has never tried.  Merle Norman has a new Dry Oil Serum ($64) that adds immediate hydration without feeling greasy.  It is absorbed into the skin for a youthful glow and feel.   Or Wrinkle Smoother Lift and Firm Serum ($54) whichtightens the neck and face while stimulating the skin to produce more collagen.


A keen sense of observation also leads to gifts that delight.  Does she have difficulty doing something?   Perhaps new makeup brushes will make makeup application easier.  Extenders give her too-short necklace extra length.  Or maybe a gourmet soup mix ($9) makes a fast meal.



Affordable Gifts for Women Who Have Almost Everything


If you don’t know what to give a person that has almost everything, here is a list of my favorite things   Sonoma neck wraps and mittens ($43 each)  when put in the microwave for a minute, give twenty minutes of gentle heat. The heat and weight relax tense shoulder muscles while lavender or eucalyptus fragrances   provide aroma therapy. The heated mittens relieve hand aches as well as improving hand moisturizing treatments. Add Merle Norman Body Butter, or Brighton scented body lotion ($27). 


Cashmere provides the ultimate comfort.  Choose a 100% cashmere scarf ($42) for her coat or to accessorize her outfit.  There is always room for a colored silk scarf ($29+) in a lady’s wardrobe.  An elongated silk scarf can be tied to make an infinity scarf that can be used to fill in and soften necklines. 


For the woman who has personal thermostat issues, give her a wicking pillowcase ($21).  It is available in standard pillow size.  Add a spray bottle of Balance ($18) for an immediate cool down. 


If she travels frequently, the cinda b TSA-approved one quart travel pouch ($20) gives style and security for her carry-on liquids.  Add Forever New ($6-$12) granular washing powder for quick laundering while traveling. Brighton’s Live, Love, Travel line, made of light-as-air parachute cloth, comes in totes ($108) or roll-on luggage ($280).  Pack a Mycra Pac poncho ($148) in the bag in case of rain.


Wrap her gift and add a Brighton reindeer charm ($10.50) to the bow for a little whimsy.


Stocking Stuffers

We give stocking stuffers because we like them, not because they are on a list.    They can range from the simple and functional to the beautiful, nostalgic, or interesting.

Brighton has a note pad ($4) that fits into a handbag.   Each is decorated with feminine designs, some with faux jewels, foil floral designs, or geometric patterns. Brighton charms ($5-$25) can be used on charm bracelets, necklaces, or charm pens. 

Gourmet foods can be stocking stuffers or combined in baskets to make a main gift.  C&J Farms offer an Autumn Spice ($7.50) that combines cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg to use in holiday cooking or drinks.  Their olive oil dipping spices go especially well with pasta.  Plentiful Pantry soups ($9) are easy to make and equally delicious.  Perpetual Vanilla ($12) provides years of high quality Madagascar vanilla.


Men and women who wash their hands frequently especially like Gloves in a Bottle ($6.50).  The lotion wears off instead of washing off.  Crabtree and Evelyn’s individually wrapped rosewater scented soap ($10) can be used as soap or as a drawer sachet. 


Include a hair braid ($12) or color hair strip (bright colors, of course) in a teenage girl’s stocking to get a contemporary look without affecting her hair.  Brighton mini post earrings ($18) can please teenagers to grandmothers.

Add an Oops sponge for clothing spot removal, Necessities Secure Strips to secure necklace clasps in the back, Stiffs ($12) to keeps pant hems from catching on heels, or Necessities Skin Guard for metal sensitive skin ($12) .



What Do Men Really Want for Christmas?

That’s a tough question. Of course, not all men want the same things, but I can tell you what men have purchased for themselves at Morgan Fitzgerald’s: Tilley Hats, Brighton Belts, Salt Rox, and soups.  Yes, soups. 

Tilley hats block virtually all the UVA and UVB rays.  They float and have one of the best warranties in the industry.  If you lose your hat, (it floats away, is eaten by an elephant, or otherwise comes up missing) you can get another for half price.  If you wear it out, you get a replacement for free.   


Brighton belts, made with strips of leather instead of pressed leather, give a classic or contemporary look with long lasting durability.  Determine if he likes the classic or contemporary style, go up one size from his pant size, and you’ve got the perfect gift. 

The Salt Rox is for those guys who like to cook either with the grill or oven.  The cooking stone, a thick slab of Himalayan salt tempered to withstand up to 700 degrees, when heated to 400 degrees, will tenderize and season almost anything from meats to vegetables.

Our soup mixes from Plentiful Pantry prepare and serve quickly and easily.  Choose from Parmesan Tomato Bisque, Thai Coconut, White Bean Chili, or White Cheddar Potato.  Creatively add your favorite meats or spices to customize.


Just in case you were wondering, the zookeeper whose Tilley hat was eaten by an elephant refused to take a replacement.  He said after the hat was laundered, it was just fine.

Holiday Looks for Less

Want a festive look without the expense of holiday sweaters or traditional holiday jewelry?  Try a few tricks to get the look.  Choose holiday colors in solids – all red or green or in combination.  Top an all green outfit with a red scarf and add a sparkle pin at the shoulder.  Fabric texture can also suggest a festive look.  Current trends show fabrics with metallic threads woven in the fabric.  Add sparkle jewelry to the sparkle fabric and the look is festive.   

 Charms can be used in the same way.  Combine charms in red or green or crystal on a necklace or bracelet. Later, all can be used separately with totally different outfits.  For the look of statement jewelry, choose a flat, Brighton holiday ornament ($38) to add to a chain or collar wire necklace.  The ornaments also make beautiful package toppers.


For a casual look, add red or green shoe laces to your tennis shoes; add charms for an extra touch.  Tie a scarf with holiday pattern or color to your handbag. 

For more formal occasions, sparkle tights make any little black dress dressier.  Put a sequined tank under a solid colored jacket, or use a dressy, elongated holiday scarf as a belt. Use inexpensive holiday clip earrings as shoe ornaments. A black lace-edged cami can peak above a plain black tank.  Add black lace Sleevey Wonders to a sleeveless dress for an instant upgrade.  Twist a pearl necklace with a rhinestone one to add zip to a classic.  


Wig Specialist Arrives Saturday, November 21

Ann Kelly, national wig specialist and educator for Hair U Wear returns this Saturday for our fall wig event. She introduces new wig hairstyles as well as customizes new wigs purchased from Morgan Fitzgerald’s.  Find out whether a full wig, topper, extensions or style makers are best for you.

Normal consultation fees are waved for the event.  Simply purchase a $2 wig cap to try on wigs.   Choose from 100% human hair wigs, TRU2LIFE wigs that can be straightened or curled, or synthetic fiber wigs. 

Full wigs have different construction.  They can be machine made, lace front,   partially hand knotted, or fully hand knotted.  Choose the wig that is right for you based on the characteristics you want.   Want maximum versatility?  Fully hand knotted wigs can be combed in any direction, allowing you to select the direction you want the hair to go.  They have less hair so they are lighter weight and may seem more natural.  The TRU2LIFE wigs can be curled or straightened with a low heat curling or straightening iron.  Fully machine made wefted wigs are less expensive but less versatile.  Toppers and other hair pieces can be 100% human hair or synthetic fiber, machine made or hand knotted. 

Human hair wigs and toppers are designed for basic styles, but should be trimmed and styled to provide custom fit and custom look.  If you have concerns or questions about wigs, Ann Kelly can answer them. 

Contact Morgan Fitzgerald’s (979) 268-0608  to reserve an appointment with Ann Kelly. 



Rx: No Pills



When you pull out sweaters for cooler weather you may notice that they have pills on the collar, cuffs, or elbows. Pills are frizzed ends of fibers that work themselves into little balls.  Virtually all fabrics will pill if exposed to enough friction.   However, certain fabrics tend to pill more than others.  Fabrics made from three or more types of fibers, or mixed natural and synthetic fibers like cotton and synthetic, tend to produce pilling. Long fiber fabric pills less than short fiber fabrics---as does tight weave versus loose weave or knitted fabrics.  Knitted garments made from high-twist yarns or anti-pill treated yarns produce fewer pills.

How you maintain your garments also affects pilling.  Liquid detergent produces less friction than granular detergents.  Hang to dry instead of using the dryer. (Loose knits should lay flat to dry to avoid stretching.)  If you must use a dryer, dry on low with other garments made from smooth fabrics.  Tumble drying with towels or jeans will almost guarantee pilling. When you wear your garment, avoid shoulder purse straps for pill prone garments, or use a car seat cushion if the upholstery creates pills. 

Once a garment pills, you can remove the pills.  Placing the garment in a freezer seems to help speed removal.  Use a new razor and pull the razor upward in short strokes. Sharp nail clips also work.  After the base of the pills is cut, strips of tape can be used to remove the pills.  Take special care with cashmere and wool. 



Freshen Your Wardrobe by Combining Different Colors


Traditional wardrobe combinations produce eye-pleasing looks almost every time.  A monochromatic combo (all one color) such as all black, or all red never fails.  Wear red with denim, black and white, or other combo and the mix will also be appealing.  However, take your wardrobe to another level, by trying no-so-traditional mix and match colors. 


One of the trend colors this season is rust.  Traditionally, you would put brown and rust together—maybe even green with the rust.  Expand the uses by combining rust with denim or shades of blue.  Connect the colors together by using accessories.  Add a scarf or necklace that mixes both rust and brown. If the accessory doesn’t have multi colors, choose one accessory of each color and combine.  For example, braid three scarves-- one rust, one denim, and one gray--or layer necklaces of each color.  Wear the denim jacket, gray pant, rust shirt, and the braided scarf or the necklaces.  Add a gray handbag. Complete the outfit with rust colored lipstick.


Using the same denim jacket and gray pant, create a second look by changing the shirt to hot pink.  Change the scarf to a hot pink with gray mixed in.   Apply hot pink lipstick and rosy blush.  The gray handbag works great with this look as well.


Still using the same jacket, change the shirt to a moss green, pop with a scarf with yellow, green and brown and then add a brown pant. Check out examples at Morgan Fitzgerald’s.


Mascara: The Secret of Lush Lashes


Whether you have long, curled eyelashes or short, straight-as-a-board lashes, mascara can perform miracles.  Mascara can tame, lengthen, curl, or thicken.  The trick is to find the right formula for your lashes.  First, get a side view of your lashes.  Determine what your lashes need. 



Most long lashes simply need control and sometimes curl.  A basic mascara helps long lashes go in the same direction.  Merle Norman’s Lash Lift curls as it dries, plus it is also waterproof for contact lens wearers or those with watery eyes.



Short, straight lashes especially need lash primer.  It helps the lashes hold the mascara and helps it to build length.  Apply the primer to the lashes on one eye.  Immediately apply lengthening mascara.  Insert the mascara wand into the container.  Twirl between the thumb and forefinger.  Don’t pump the wand repeatedly into the container.  It produces too much mascara on the wand that will transfer to the lashes and make them appear clumpy.  Start at the base of the lashes and zig-zag the wand to keep the lashes separated.  As you near the tips of the lashes, turn the wand so it will deposit lengthening fibers onto the tips of the lashes.  Next, hold the wand as you would a pencil.  Stroke the wand over individual corner lashes.  This makes greater emphasis on the outer corner, making the eyes appear larger. 



Save and sanitize your used mascara wands.  Use dry wands to brush through lashes to further separate any lashes that stick together. 



Are You Stylin’ and Dialin’?



You could be both stylin’and dialin’ with the latest iPhone case.  Often, technology and style seem to be at odds with each other.  Not this time.  Two entrepreneurial young women designed Pursecase to provide function and style.  It is a silicone case that holds iPhone 4-6s ($25-$30.)  A small envelope-style pocket holds room key cards, ID’s, credit card, and money.    For a little extra cost, add a cross-body chain ($10) and a key holder ($3).  Although this seems the perfect gift for daughters and granddaughters, consider how handy it would be on a cruise to carry your essentials without carrying a purse.  You would always have your iPhone camera handy for the perfect photo opportunity without ever taking it out of the case. 



The silicone case has a faux quilted design with the classic look of a tiny Chanel bag. It comes in classic black and a myriad of colors.  Nestled inside is a thin mirror. Choose either a gold or silver colored chain. The originators of Pursecase successfully appeared on Shark Tank and were funded by Lori Greiner.  The case replaces the need for other cases while still providing protection for your phone. 


Another high tech device, called a Selfie Snappin’ Stylus ($30), gives an innovative solution to the more cumbersome selfie stick.  This pin light-sized device syncs with your iPhone or iPad.  Place your iPhone on a shelf, click the reverse camera button, see yourself in the screen, and remotely click the Selfie Snappin’ stylus to take your selfie picture.


Demystifying Fashion Lingo


If you ordered an ombre, missy blouse with ruched sleeves, would you know what your blouse would look like?  Here’s a quick explanation of fashion terms that may help you understand fashion descriptions.



Ombre: color that fades from dark to light



Ruched: gathered or pleated



Missy: fits a mature woman’s body---fuller bust, waist, and hips



Junior: fits a young woman’s body---smaller bust, waist, and hips



Plus or Woman’s size: begins at a 14w (ox) through a 7x—bigger arm holes, wider arms, fuller bust, stomach, and hips



Short waisted: a person that has a short torso---If both hand widths fit from top to bottom directly under the bust and to the waist, you have an

average waist.  If they do not fit, you are short waisted .  If there is space left over, you are long waisted.



Raglan: a sleeve design that goes directly from neck to arm with no seam at the shoulder. Works well for someone with broad shoulders.



Boot Cut: pants with legs wide enough to slide over a boot. Often wider, straight pant legs or slightly flared legs



Fashion Jewelry: jewelry not made of solid precious metals.  Often is plated in silver or gold and resembles fine jewelry. Noted for design and workmanship. Not intended to last a lifetime. 



Costume Jewelry: jewelry with little or no silver or gold plating, mass produced, inexpensive, lacks the detail of fashion jewelry or fine jewelry.


Fall Makeup Checklist


To get your face ready for fall, first, exfoliate the dead skin caused from summer sun exposure.  Chemical exfoliation loosens the cellular “glue” that binds the dead cells to the face.  Manual exfoliation scrubs the dead skin off.  Do not use manual exfoliation if you have acne or rosacea.  Scrubbing the face spreads bacteria from blemish to blemish and may be too harsh for sensitivity caused by rosacea.     Next, hydrate the skin to restore moisture.   Once the dead skin is removed and the skin is properly hydrated, you can get the most accurate foundation check.




A foundation check is fairly simple.   Apply your current foundation in a vertical stripe at the jaw line.  Apply a lighter foundation to the right of the stripe and a darker to the left.  Allow a few minutes for the stripes to adjust to your skin because skin oils can darken the foundation.  Choose the color that most closely matches your neck.  If you find that summer sun has brought out brown spots, use brightening skin care products to diminish the darkness and top with a cover up slightly lighter than your foundation.  Tap the edges to blend into the foundation.




Just as clothing colors changes for fall, your eye shadow, blush, and lipstick colors should blend with the clothing.  What clothing colors have you chosen for your fall wardrobe? Bring in sample garments to get the perfect shades.  A gorgeous new fall outfit will be complete when your makeup reflects the hues of the garments.



Options for Head Covers Following Hair Loss Due to Chemotherapy



Suddenly, after hair loss, women discover that their heads get cold at night due to air conditioning or cool winter temperatures.  Women going through chemotherapy not only lose their hair, but also have very sensitive scalps and skin. 



Head turbans provide two functions.  They protect the head from cold or heat, plus they provide a sense of style.  A new line of turbans creates a totally new experience.  The Wallaroo turban made from bamboo provides an incredibly soft-to-the-touch feel.  Plus, it also provides sun protection to vulnerable skin.  The fabric can be gathered by scrunching the fabric toward the crown of the head.  This gives a ruching effect while also allowing a customized fit.  



For the illusion of hair coming from underneath the turban, Hair-U-Wear has a product called “fringe” that attaches to the turban with Velcro strips across the forehead.  The turban can be simple or with a fabric medallion on the side.  It is available in assorted solid colors. 



Choosing wigs for sensitive scalps usually requires hand-knotted wigs. Although wig construction has improved over the years, the fully hand-knotted wigs seem to be the gentlest on the skin.  However, wig caps can be worn underneath wefted wigs to reduce irritation.  



Long, soft cotton scarves can also be used as head coverings.  Cover the head and cross the long ends toward the back of the neck.  Twist ends, wrap around the head, and tuck in the ends. 



Blessing Bracelets


I just returned from both the Dallas and Las Vegas markets.  I still get excited about new products even after 22 years of going to market.  The Blessing Bracelet is one of my favorite items.  It is stylish, yet has meaning and purpose.  Although it has not arrived in the store yet, I’m excited to tell you about it. 


The owner of the company was travelling in Bosnia when she happened across a woman selling the Blessing Bracelet.  The woman explained that every day each one of us has the chance to make the world a better place by doing what is right and good and avoiding what is wrong.  So as she made the bracelet she would pray that the wearer would be reminded to do good things.


Small silver and gold plated discs are hand-tied into the bracelet.  The St. Benedict medals depict the image of St. Benedict and the Benedictine Cross.  The Cross, created in the mid 600’s is a symbol of the spiritual truths that enabled St. Benedict and his followers to resist temptation and do good.  “The Holy Cross be my Light,” is written in Latin on the front of the cross.


The bracelets are made in Medjugorje, Bosnia, providing women jobs of meaningful work.  As the women make the bracelets they continue prayers that the wearers of the bracelet do good things and avoid that which is wrong.  Each day the workers at the company in the U.S. have an hour of prayer where they pray for those who have submitted prayer requests. 


Fall 2015 Fashion Trends


This fall all- black makes a trend statement.  However, combining mixed textures gives the all-black look interest.  Mix lace, or bulky knits, with smooth.   Beware of form fitting black in all one texture.  Its silhouette accentuates figure flaws. 


Fur, either real or faux, remains an important element whether worn as an accent or main attraction.  Add to a stylish pantsuit and you are right on trend.  The pantsuit gains its style from the cut of the garment.  Jackets reflect a more fitted look, or oversized boxy style, while pants taper.   Finish the look with statement earrings.  If you are bold enough, a touch of a neon color adds pop. 


Love the look of a dress?  Choose a slip or sheath dress.  Solids in brown, sage, teal, taupe, blue gray, or yes, even maroon work.  When wearing neutrals be sure to add accent color through accessories.  Prints or patchwork work as well. 


Fringe, fringe, and more fringe becomes the number one trend of the season.  Wear it short or long.  Just wear it.  Combine with a little fabric shine, or eastern print.  Bulky knits and ribbed knits become the next most important trends.  Wear only with slenderizing pants or smooth fabrics to avoid too much bulk.  


Short, blocked heels dominate the shoe trends.  Wear with patterned hosiery. 


Assorted duster coats dominated the runways, as well as puffer coats—coats that through stitching add puffs of texture.


Fashion trends can be worn in many ways.  Choose the trend and its application that best fits your figure and personal style.


Cool it! Refreshing, and Easy Drinks


A few years ago, I added a gourmet corner at Morgan Fitzgerald’s.  Often I add new products that are easy to use, yet create tasty, gourmet experiences.  Some of my favorite new items are drink mixes that create cool, summertime treats.  All of the mixes are made right here in Texas.


All you need is a blender or other device that produces crushed ice.  For an instant cherry limeade, add two ounces of Cherry Limeade liquid mix, and a half can of Fresca to crushed ice.  Garnish with lime slices or cherries.  If you want a rosy margarita, add tequila and salt the glass rim.


The same company makes cappuccino syrup mixes.   You can use regular or almond milk.  Combine two ounces of syrup and milk.  Mix with crushed ice.   Choose either mocha, white chocolate, or peach flavors.  For the peach flavor, blend in fresh peaches.   If you wish, add Kahlua to the cappuccino or peach schnapps to the peach flavor.  


Hot Ruby, a cranberry, citrus mix can be combined with crushed ice as well. It becomes a delicious wine cooler by adding sparkling wine.   Serve it hot with pecan whiskey for a tasty after dinner drink. 


Jell Craft Margarita Mix, made with agave, reduces calories by a third.  Create a traditional margarita, or leave out the tequila for yummy lemonade.  Many of the drink mixes can be used to create fast, gourmet dishes. Next week, I’ll give a recipe for a margarita pie that only takes fifteen minutes of prep time.


Are Your Eyes Aging You?


Dryness and repeated facial expressions create wrinkles around the eye. Create a daily eye skincare routine, and practice makeup techniques that rejuvenate your eyes.    Choose a serum made specifically to reduce wrinkling. Apply by tapping onto the wrinkle.  Tapping reduces the pull on the skin and allows the serum to dry smoothly, tightening the skin.  Choose eye moisturizer to best fit your need.  Puffy eyelids and bags need a moisturizer with cucumber extract that reduces puffiness.  To combat dark circles, use moisturizers that contain light diffusers which reflect light, creating a smoother appearance as well as diminishing the darkness.


Since the eyelid has no oil glands, choose an eye shadow base that has oil in it.  The oil creates a protective barrier that keeps the eye shadow powder from wicking natural oils from the lid.  The base also creates a smooth surface so the shadow goes on evenly.  Add darker shadow to the brow bone area, not the lid.   The darker color on the brow bone visually diminishes puffiness and appears to open the eye.  Apply lighter color to the lid to create more eye dimension.   Use a dark, fine eyeliner at the base of the lashes. Next, above, yet adjoining the dark line, add a wider line, one to two shades lighter. Use a white liner on the inner lid ridges to brighten the eyes.


Good eye skin care and makeup techniques can make your eyes defy your age.  


The Twenty Minute Packer (July 15, 2015)



My husband claims I can pack for a three week trip in twenty minutes and never forget anything.  I have to admit that I am a pretty fast packer, but you can be too. 



Make a list of all your essentials such as make­­-up and other toiletries.  Be sure to include duo spectrum sunscreen.  (Merle Norman has a 50spf, non-greasy, extremely light sunscreen that doesn’t have the smell of traditional sunscreens.)  Purchase travel- size make-up. Cinda B has a TSA approved quart- sized clear pouch for those liquids you carry on board.  Separate liquid items for checked luggage from carry-on items.   Create complete sets that you use only for travel.  When you return from your trip, refill and have them ready for the next trip.



Choose a base color for your travel wardrobe. Mine is black.  Determine which tops can be mixed and matched to have a different look each day.  Collect 2-3 styles of pants in your basic wardrobe color.   Add an extra pant in a different color or two for versatility. Always have at least two pairs of shoes­-­­-­-one pair for dressier wear, one for casual, and a third if you go to the gym.



I leave all the clothes on hangers, place the longest items on the bottom, and then roll them all together into a single ball.  The clothes don’t wrinkle as much; you save the time of folding, and they are ready to hang when you get to your destination. 


Charm Reveal Party (July 1, 2015)


Fashion changes daily.  What is in style today will be tweaked, embellished, eliminated, or expanded. That is the nature of fashion.  Charms as jewelry accessories became important several years ago. They were tweaked, embellished, some eliminated, and also expanded.  It’s that expansion that is fascinating today.  Charms have become a fashion staple that provides incredible versatility to create the look of custom-designed jewelry.


Charm jewelry requires “carriers” and “charms.”  The carrier is the basic necklace, bracelet, or pin that charms are put on. Carriers can be thin or thick, simple or more elaborate.  Choosing a variety of lengths and designs gives you the most versatility.   Charms can slide onto the carrier or clip on.  Clip-on charms create a more traditional dangling “charm bracelet” look.  Slide-on charms, for me, give greater flexibility to create the look of fashion jewelry.


One of the newest looks uses a leather carrier and charm beads.  Vary the size and color of the bead for variety in design.  Can’t find jewelry to match an outfit? Designing your own may be the answer.


If you are uncertain how to create the looks you want for your outfit, Morgan Fitzgerald’s is having free Charm Reveal Parties to teach you how.  Bring a couple of outfits.  We’ll show you all the new items available and how you can create several looks. 


Call Morgan Fitzgerald’s to select the time that is best for you.  Parties will be held Wednesday, July 8, and Friday, July 10, 2015.



Lessons from the Wig Event (June 24, 2015)


On Saturday we had our Hairuwear wig event.  I always learn from an event, so I’ll pass on to you what I learned.   Braids and ponytails take center stage in the hairstyling world for summer.   


Synthetic hair braids can add whimsy or elegance to hairstyles depending how you wear them.  The ones we sell have a metallic thread that is braided through one side.  When flipped over to the other side, the band gives a more casual look.  The braided hair does not have to be the same color as the wearer’s own hair.  A contrasting color adds dimension.  Create a stunning renaissance look with mid to long hair by slipping the braid band on over the head and tucking the hair in the back into the braid.  It looks like a salon created hairdo, but is so easy, anyone can create it.  Any age can wear braids, not just the young.


Tired of being hot in the summer?  If you can pull your hair into any length ponytail, you can attach a faux ponytail to add volume and length.  This is an easy way to get your hair up off the neck and stay cooler.   If you hair is finer and you have difficulty securing your own hair in a ponytail, put a bobbypin over each end of the rubber band.  Secure one bobbypin into the hair and then holding the bobbypin on the other side, wrap the band around the hair and then secure the pin into the hair.  



Why Should You Use Cosmetic Serums? (June 10, 2015)


Trips to the cosmetic counter can be puzzling.  What should you choose thatgives results?  Often serums are overlooked because they are not understood.  They normally cost more than other products, are effective for limited concerns, and should be used with other skin care products. Why, then, are they so valuable?


Serums are the most “focused” products in cosmetics.  They have the highest concentration of ingredients for particular skin concerns.  Additional ingredients such as moisturizers are omitted from serums because they add bulk to serums and make them harder to penetrate the skin.   The goal with serums is to get the most results in the quickest time. 


Identify your primary skin concerns (wrinkles, age spots, hydration, premature aging).  Next, choose the serums that best address your concerns.  For example, I looked in the mirror one morning and realized that my neck wrinkled overnight.  I have been using a firming neck cream, but now I needed more.  The wrinkle lift and firm serum made the difference because it had intensified ingredients that penetrate quickly.  I still have to use the neck cream for the additional ingredients.  For treating age spots a different serum is used that contains high concentrations of vitamin c and antioxidants.


Use serums regularly.  Apply morning and evening to clean, dry skin.  Be sure to exfoliate regularly to help the serums reach the new skin to be treated. Serums can be used at any age when a skin concern is recognized. They work best the longer they are used.



Spring 2015 Fashion Trends (March 25, 2015)                      


Sheer fabrics increase in importance as they appear in mixed fabrications.  From sleeves that drape, to flirty hemlines, mixed with lace or denim, sheer fabrics give movement, illusion, and for hot Texas weather, comfort.  Choose just the right body wear pieces to accent the sheer over-garments.  Appropriate shape wear gives a contoured silhouette to compliment the flowing sheer fabric.


Pastels can be soft or have a punch of vibrancy.  Blue shades vary to shades of lilac. Both blue and lilac pair well with gray tones or light beige slacks. Turquoise or hot pink tops suggest colors of a southwestern night sky that mix with the blue tones.


High/low tops flatter as well as add style and comfort.  The higher front of the blouse rounds to a longer back.  The rounded sides add interest while carrying the eye downward to lengthen.  Wear over leggings for a slimming effect.  Add wedge or stacked heel shoes.  Both give style and stability.  Spring shoes tend to look blocky, yet sandals when worn with the right outfit, can appear delicate and refreshing.


Gingham prints in black and white give a nostalgic feel. The print comes alive when worn with solid, brightly colored handbags.  Look for rounded cross-body saddle bags. Don’t match your handbag to your shoes.


Fringe on just about anything works. If you don’t care for the Wild Bill look, try a blouse or even a scarf.


Braid your own hair, or if you are short on time or hair, purchase hair braid extensions.



Annual Brighton Handbag Auction (February 18, 2015)


Saturday, February 28, at 2 pm, Morgan Fitzgerald’s annual Brighton Handbag Auction opens the bidding for gently-used Brighton handbags.  The idea for the auction resulted from a customer bemoaning that her closet didn’t have enough space for the new bag she really, really wanted.  The problem she said was that Brighton handbags hold up so well, they don’t seem to wear out.  


The concept for the auction is that ladies who love Brighton handbags can bring in their gently-used handbags and place them for auction, either with or without a minimum bid.  All the proceeds from the bidding can then be used by those submitting auction bags to buy new Brighton bags or luggage.  Anyone is welcome to place bags for auction or to attend the bidding.  For those who have never owned a Brighton bag, it is a way to own one and experience the Brighton quality.


Warranties for Brighton handbags do not transfer.  The bags are sold as is, so be sure to come in within the two days before the auction or the morning of the auction to examine each.  If you cannot attend the auction, a silent bid can be submitted.


In the past, auction handbags have been anywhere from vintage bags to bags still being sold in the line.  The price the bags sell for all depends on the demand for the bag. 


Bags can be entered in the auction from Feb.15-Feb.25.   The bags can be viewed on Feb. 26 and 27 and the morning before the auction.




Calling All Grandmothers (January 7, 2015)


There is a special bond between a grandmother and granddaughter created by shared experiences.  I love digging in the dirt, planting bulbs, and gathering new blooms.  I developed that love by following my grandmother around her country garden in awe of her knowledge of plants and her appreciation of the beauty created by simple seeds that grew into bursts of color.  She also allowed me to wander into her closet, emerging in her clothes arranged by my child-like flare. Both activities have shaped who I am and what path I chose.


I have decided that it really wasn’t as much of what we did together, but that we shared time doing things that we enjoyed.  I have given thought to that as I have planned our new store events.  What could a grandmother and granddaughter of any age do together that would create memories and bond them closer together? 


Each month, grandmothers whose granddaughters have a birthday that month can call and schedule a free cupcake party at Morgan Fitzgerald’s. It’s a one-on-one time where Grandmother will listen, and Granddaughter will talk, as they design a memory charm bracelet for that year.   Each new year, new memories can be documented by adding charms.  Hopefully, the cupcake party is just the punctuation that marks the spots in time that are remembered and creates the foundation for who she is and who she will become.   Take time to make memories.  Make time for her to share her thoughts and secrets with you.




New Year’s Resolutions for a More Beautiful You (December 31, 2014)



Become consistent with your skin care.  


You can have the best products in the world, but if you do not use them routinely, you will not get maximum results.  Focus on exfoliation, moisturizing, and using sun screen. Choose products that are designed for your personal skin issues.


Learn make-up techniques that help you look younger.


Make-up contouring can take years off your appearance by using light and dark to lift and slim the face.  Adding brow color to sparse brows gives a surprisingly youthful look. 


Experiment with add-on hair.


None of ushave to limit ourselves to the hair God gave us.  Add a topper if your hair is thinning, a full wig for a good hair day every day, or extensions for fuller and longer hair. 


Wear clothes that flatter you.


Know the style of clothing that fits your body shape.  Full busted? Wear v-necks.  Full thighs? Wear wide-leg pants that balance the weight. 


Use undergarments that shape and support.


A correctly fitting bra can visually take off ten pounds.  If you are seeing lots of cleavage, the cup size is too small.  Back problems?  Higher Power Spanx gives support to your stomach, which supports your back, while giving you a sleek look.


Choose shoes that fit, give support, and are comfortable


Shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are tired.  Be sure they are the right width.  Supplement with foot inserts to narrow the shoe if too wide. 


Eat well and exercise.


Enjoy the beautiful you in 2015!




When Is a Sale Apparel Item A Good Value? (December 24, 2014)

After Christmas sales can be alluring, but before you buy, be sure you’re getting value for your money. Fit, quality construction and material, and wardrobe connection affect value.


Try on all sale apparel before purchase.  Many stores do not accept returns on sale merchandise.  When it doesn’t fit properly, it will hang in your closet. It is easier to alter a garment that is too large than too small. If a pant or skirt is too long, shortening is a relatively inexpensive alteration.  However, if the shoulders are too big, the alteration charge may nullify sale savings.  View the garment in a three-way mirror.  Avoid twisting. Look to see if the top drapes freely.  If “smile” lines pull across the thighs, the pant is too tight.  Skirts should not cup under the hips.


Turn the garment inside out to check seams.  Be sure the seams aren’t pulling apart, or have extremely long stitches.  Poorly made garments will have long stitch lengths to save time and money on construction, but are more likely to come apart during wear.  Take note of raveling or picks in the garment that can’t be repaired.  Grasp a handful of fabric then squeeze and release.  If wrinkles form, the pressing or dry cleaning may offset sale savings. 


Do you have other things to wear with the sale item?  If not, finding an item to match may be difficult.  Connect the new item to at least three items already  in your wardrobe to maximize the value. 




Gift Ideas for Grandma (December 17, 2014)


Grandma may be “over” the cute dust collectors, get aches and pains where they have never been before, prefer comfort over trend, and prefer sentiment over impressiveness.


Gourmet food products don’t have to be dusted.  Select jams or jellies with a local flair such as Brazos River Blackberry Jam, or Hill Country Peach Preserves.  Jalapeno and raspberry jalapeno jellies give a surprise punch without being too tangy.  Apple sauerkraut provides a heat-and-serve side dish or a quick relish for pork chops and hot dogs.  If she still enjoys baking those special desserts, a bottle of Perpetual Vanilla with accompanying pint of vodka allows her to create vanilla extract that lasts for years.


Microwavable neck wraps, booties, or mittens allow gentle heat for achy necks, hands or feet while insuring that even if she falls asleep with them on, they will not burn.  Moisturizers from Crabtree and Evelyn or Merle Norman provide relief from dry skin and can be combined with the warmth of the wraps to increase effectiveness.


When choosing clothing, remember spandex isn’t her friend.   Clothing with elastic in the waist gives ease. Bigger buttons are easier to manipulate than small ones, and front closures are easier than back closures. Jewelry with magnetic fasteners makes accessorizing easier.  Handbags or travel bags made of lightweight fabrics put less strain on joints. 


Relationships and memories become more important.  Choose picture frames with family photos or create a charm bracelet that represents special memories.



Wrinkles’ Worst Nightmare (December 10, 2014)


In my last column I gave ways to “winterize your skin” including the use of Merle Norman’s Retinol  Night Complex.  Several clients had questions about retinol and Retin A.  Retin A was originally developed twenty-five years ago as an effective way to treat acne.  Observations showed that not only did it improve acne-prone skin, but it also increased collagen and elastin, reduced acne scarring plus reduced age spots, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.  Retin A is prescription strength. The search began to find a cosmetic, non-prescription product that would be effective.


Retinol was the answer.  Both retinol and Retin A are retinoids or vitamin A based molecules.  Retinol is much weaker that Retin A and more appropriate for cosmetic use.  However, the biggest problem with the original retinols was that when exposed to air, they could quickly degenerate and lose effectiveness.  Merle Norman developed an encapsulated delivery system that prevents degeneration of the molecule, plus added time-released “on demand” antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E.


Both Retin A and retinol can have side effects. Skin may become dry, red, and peeling as a result of the increased skin cell turnover.  Eventually, the skin adjusts to the increased cell turnover, and side effects diminish.  However, in the beginning it is best to introduce treatment gradually.  People with sensitive skin can begin with one treatment each week for the first couple of weeks, gradually increasing as the skin tolerates increased use.   Apply at night on clean skin as your first application of any product.



Winterize Your Face (December 3, 2014)


Every time a Blue Norther rolls in, cold air produces dry skin and lips causing skin to flake and lips to crack.  Just as you insulate pipes for protection, insulate your face against cold, wintery blasts and dry, hot air from heaters. Create a moisture barrier that keeps the elements away from your skin as well as protecting against bacteria and viruses penetrating the skin.


Be aware that as winter approaches, your skin may become drier requiring dry skin products even though you may have used normal to oily products in the summer.  Continue to exfoliate to get rid of flaky skin.  When skin becomes dry, it is imperative to choose moisturizers that penetrate the skin rather than simply giving a “slippage” feel that sits on top of the skin. 


Nighttime products are especially important during the winter.  Retinol Night Complex, a new product by Merle Norman has encapsulated time-released retinol (a gentle version of Retin A), helps restore collagen, skin texture, and reduce the appearance of lines while gently exfoliating dead skin.  Wait a few minutes until Retinol Night Complex is dry before applying night cream.  


Lip skin is actually a membrane requiring different treatment than regular skin. Use a lip conditioner or cream such as Lip Revive that firsts exfoliates and then soothes and softens.  Waxy lip balms can add a film barrier, but don’t do anything to repair the lips.  Use moisture-retaining lipsticks instead of lip stains or long lasting lip color that dries.



My Favorite Stocking Stuffers (November 26, 2014)


Perpetual Vanilla (Use vodka to extract the flavor) * Miss Oops stain remover sponge* Good Earth tea sweet and spicy with or without caffeine* Hair ties—elastic bands that do not crease or break the hair.*Mini umbrellas that open full size.* Hi Knee Spanx (knee high)* Mishap tape (double-sided apparel tape)*Forever New fabric care wash that keeps the stretch in elastic*Stiffs that keep pant legs from catching in the heel of your shoe*Skin Guard to cover metal for sensitive skin*Shoulder Cushions to prevent strap indentions*Maggies (strong magnets to secure scarves, close jackets, or anything else you can think of)*Foot Petals (assorted shoe inserts that customize your shoe fit)* Bette K’s New Feet natural foot deodorant and callous softener*Ahhh! In a Jar Foot Cream and Ahhh! In a Jar Foot Scrub*NightCare Moisturizing Gel Heel Socks* ConnectAll universal charging cable* Big Eyes 5X compact purse mirror* Cinda b ID cases*Brighton ring holders* Brighton purse notes*Brighton hard perfumes* New Canaan foods (Brazos River Blackberry Jam, Texas Pride Jalapeno Mustard, Country Apple Butter* Crabtree and Evelyn’s Gardeners Hand Therapy, rosewater, avocado & oil, and verbena and lavender soaps.* Spongelle Bodywash Infused Buffers*Avoplex Cuticle Oil to Go*TweezerMan tweezers*Metal fingernail file*Synthetic hair braided head bands* Clip in 2 color Blends hair accents (bold blues and pinks for a contemporary look without permanent color)*Brighton mini post earrings, charm pens, and charms* Tilley’s men’s or women’s socks*Mopas fleece-lined legging* Morgan Fitzgerald’s or Merle Norman gift certificates* Cashmere coat (just kidding)*


The best stocking has favorites as well as untried surprises.  Mix well for fun and delight!



Monograming Makes Your Gift a Custom Gift (November 5, 2014)


If you have a hard time thinking of just the right gift, consider items that can be monogrammed.  Whether it is jewelry, clothing, luggage, handbags, towels, iPad covers, or even soap, monogramming makes a gift special for all ages.  The gifts may be less expensive than you think, but it does take planning and advanced ordering.   


Baby items include bibs, sterling pacifier holders, blankets, or hooded bath towels. Todders can use step stools, beach towels, or tubs for toys. Tweens like necklaces or bracelets, totes, scarves, or caps.  Teenagers can have monogrammed towel wraps, key chains, umbrellas, duffel bags, picture frames, necklaces, or bracelets.


Mom may like a bracelet with all her children’s names, a desk clock, iPhone cover, bath slippers and robe, or cosmetic bag.  Dad‘s umbrella can be golf-sized or regular. Try a gym bag, money clip, hanging toiletries bag, pocket knife, or card holder.  Grandma might like a monogrammed pill box or compact mirror. Choose a photo album with pictures of a special event, or a throw blanket, for Grandma and Grandpa.


When monogramming, the first letter of the last name goes in the center and is the largest. The first letter of the first name goes to the left of the center larger letter; the first letter of the middle name goes to the right.  If the monogram is for a couple, the first letter of the woman’s first name is to the left, and the first letter of the man’s first name goes to the right.



Simple Rules for Layering Jewelry (October 29, 2014)


Implement one of the easiest fashion trends by following a few simple rules for jewelry layering. Begin with three necklaces or bracelets—two is simply doubling and doesn’t have the same impact. All three necklaces should be at different lengths. The longest should also be the largest. It gives visual weight that supports the other two. The second necklace should be mid-size and length; the third is the shortest and the most dainty. 


Choose all one color metal or mix two. If mixed, place the single metal in the middle with the other metal color above and below. Use mixed metals in the bracelets to reflect metals in the necklaces. Choose similar styles of necklaces. If one has a contemporary look, the other two should at least blend with the contemporary look. Decide which necklace will be the focal point. The other two should be simpler, reflecting some elements of design, but not drawing the eye toward them. 


One interesting use of charm necklaces is to evenly space stopper beads, creating an illusion-style necklace. It is especially effective with mini charms on a thin chain. Wear the mini charm necklace as the shortest, smallest of the three necklaces. Later, the mini charms can be reconfigured for a totally different look.   


Check your jewelry box for different lengths and lay them out. If you’re missing a layering piece or wish to update, bring in your outfit with your existing necklaces to select the perfect piece. For additional help, attend Morgan Fitzgerald’s Fashion Fridays at noon.



What the Color You Wear Says About You (October 22, 2014)


The color you are wearing today can communicate non-verbally your mood, personality, or even relationships.  Red denotes passion, anger, energy, and power.  It attracts attention.  If your ideas are not being heard during meetings, try wearing a red jacket.  If people seem confrontational, maybe the red jacket makes you seem angry.


Need to persuade?  Wear pink.  Pink is viewed as non-threatening and calming.  It is also viewed as caring and tender, not to mention it is associated with love and romance. Want to calm a group?  Wear blue.  It is associated with trust, conservatism, and cleanliness.     


Is your glass always half full? Wear yellow to symbolize joy and optimism. 


Do you love being outdoors, or are you a no frills, down to earth person?  Brown would be the color of choice.  It is also related to home and comfort. 


Gray suggests intelligence, modesty, and dignity.  Going to a job interview?  Gray is one of the top three colors to wear.  Navy and tan are the other two colors.  Black can be viewed as too powerful or dominant. However, black in fashion can have multiple meanings. It suggests sexuality, sophistication, or remorse and mourning.  A little black dress is great for OPAS but not as good for your daughter’s wedding. 


When costume designers create for the stage, they dress emotionally-linked characters in similar colors.  It identifies them as belonging together.  Notice your friends that seem to belong together.  Often, they unwittingly wear similar colors. 



One of the Best Kept Jewelry Secrets (October 15, 2014)


Once in a while I come across a line of merchandise that I can’t believe isn’t a household word.  John Medeiros jewelry is one of those lines.  All made in the United States, it has classic, timeless design that looks like fine jewelry but isn’t.  It is made from alloy, triple-plated in silver, and then plated in rhodium or gold which keeps it from tarnishing.  Each piece is individually hand designed by a master craftsman, perfected in its sample prototype, and then molded.


As the pieces exit the mold, each is inspected then sent through twenty steps which make it a final piece of jewelry.   One of the remarkable characteristics is that the jewelry has a lifetime warranty.  For any company to offer a lifetime warranty, it has to have faith in its products’ durability.  John Medeiros jewelry has fashion design but also structural design that endures long wear.  Many parts are molded as one piece instead of being soldered.  The jewelry is beautiful, but equal time is spent perfecting weight and balance so the jewelry fits beautifully.


When larger stones are used, they are pronged, not glued, allowing the maximum light reflection. Each piece has the JM logo to guarantee its authenticity.  When a piece of John Medeiros jewelry is slipped on, it looks and feels like fine jewelry. The front, sides, and even the back has highly detailed craftsmanship.  Clasps and closures hide within the design.  The look without the price makes John Medeiros jewelry America’s best kept secret.



What Care Tags Don’t Tell You (October 8, 2014)


Manufacturers and importers are required by law in most cases to have a visible, permanent, care tag label attached to all garments sold in the U.S.  Believe it or not, what the tag doesn’t say often indicates how the garment can be cared for.


Based on information from the Federal Trade Commission and Bureau of Consumer Protection websites, here is a summary.  The tag should contain how a garment can or cannot be cleaned.    


Machine wash. Tumble dry. Those instructions indicate that the garment can be washed and dried at any temperature, that ironing isn’t necessary, and that any bleach can be used. There are no additional warnings. If the tag states “dry clean only,” it excludes washing. However, “dry clean” means it also can be gently washed.  It cannot state that it is “dry clean only” unless there is proof that washing would harm the garment.


Temperature of water or of the iron does not have to be included if the “hot” settings do not harm the fabric.  Likewise, if any bleach is okay, it does not have to be mentioned.  A listed warning such as “wash with like colors” or “wash separately” means the fabric is not colorfast.  Unless elements are detachable, the instructions apply to the entire garment including ornamentation and lining.  Detachable items requiring different cleaning methods need their own labels.


Symbols are allowed on care tags instead of words; check the Clorox website for a table of symbols. Now you can care for your garments with informed confidence.



Earrings: Choose the Right Shape, Metal, and Care (October 1, 2014)


Earrings can enhance or detract depending on whether they are complementary to your face shape, neck length, and outfit. A general rule is to not wear earrings that are the same shape as your face. For example, if you have a square face and wear square earrings, the angles of your face are accentuated. If you have a long neck or long face and wear thin, dangle earrings, your neck will look even longer. In contrast, an oval or round earring softens a square face and a shorter fuller earring shortens the face and neck.


Some women have sensitive skin which reacts to different metals. Usually most women can wear sterling or gold, but earrings made from precious metals are more expensive. If you have a metal sensitivity and can wear sterling, consider Brighton earrings that have sterling posts. Stainless steel posts may also solve the problem. In addition, Skin Guard, a paint-on product can be used to coat the offending metal. Recently-pierced ears that continue to bleed and ooze may be prevented from healing if you continue to apply alcohol to the piercing. 


Rhodium, a precious metal, can be used to plate metal to prevent tarnishing and to increase reflective properties. All John Medeiros jewelry is triple plated in silver and then plated in rhodium. Never use silver polish on jewelry such as Brighton’s, that is clear coated, or jewelry plated in rhodium. Just rub gently with a soft cloth.



Vanilla Extract: Pure and Simple (September 24, 2014)


A friend gave me a bottle of Perpetual Vanilla.  Actually it was a bottle with three vanilla beans in it. The instructions said to break the seal of the bottle, remove the beans, split them lengthwise, reinsert into the bottle and fill with vodka. After three weeks, the vodka extracted vanilla. Every time I use some of the vanilla when cooking, I refill with vodka and thus have virtual “perpetual” vanilla. It fascinated me, so I did a little research.


Vanilla “beans” aren’t really beans, but seed pods from an orchid vine. The vanilla orchid plant grows best at a specific latitude associated with tropical regions.  Where the plant grows and how it is cured affects the taste and quality of the bean. Madagascar, an island off the east coast of Africa produces what is considered by many, the best vanilla beans. Grade “A” or “gourmet” has more moisture and oil than grade “B” and looks more attractive because it appears plump. Most vanilla beans from Madagascar are cured by dipping into hot water to stop the growth of the bean. Mexican vanilla beans are sun dried and have a woodier texture. Split beans are more mature beans that begin to split apart as the bean matures increasing the vanillin which causes the vanilla flavor. 


 “Pure vanilla” by law has to have a 35% alcohol content. Vodka is most frequently used because it has no taste or smell to interfere with the vanilla flavor. However, rum, bourbon, or brandy can be used to add a twist.



Human Hair Wigs--$400 or $2000? What Makes the Difference? (September 17, 2014)


The availability of the type of hair, the treatment of the hair, and the amount of handwork involved in making the wig determine the price. Indian hair, because it often is donated to the church for the poor, is the most abundant and least expensive. It is distinguished by the thickness of the hair fiber and slight wave. Oriental hair is straighter and slightly more expensive. European hair is less available and thus more expensive. It has a finer texture than Indian or Oriental hair.


Human hair, when viewed under a microscope, has an outer scale-like cuticle. When it is growing out of the head, the “scales” lay flat in a downward direction. If the hair fibers are reversed when cut, the “scales” catch on other “scales” and the hair becomes more easily tangled. Most inexpensive human hair wigs have had the outer cuticle chemically removed to prevent tangling. Remy wigs require that the hair, when cut, is carefully placed in the same direction so that the cuticle does not have to be removed. The hair retains its natural luster.


The amount of handwork adds the final cost. Hand-knotted wigs require each individual hair to be threaded through a needle, pulled through the wig cap and knotted. Wigs can be partially hand-knotted, usually in the crown or at a part line. If a wig is fully knotted with European Remy hair it can cost $2000+ depending on length and style. 



Be Creative with Scarves (September 10, 2014)


Change the shape of a neckline. Add color to flatter your complexion. Keep warm in winter. Any of those things can be accomplished by choosing the right fabric and style of scarf.


The American Heritage Dictionary defines a scarf as a piece of cloth worn about the neck, shoulders, or head. It doesn’t define it as a certain shape, size, or texture. That leaves it up to you to be creative. The most popular contemporary scarf is the infinity, a continuous loop scarf, long enough to loop twice around the neck, creating a casual, soft neckline, while providing warmth and style.  


If you have a sleeveless dress, use an extra-long rectangular scarf to create “sleeves.” Wrap around the shoulders, then tuck the ends under the arms and tie at the waist in the back. Use a brass safety pin to secure the scarf to the back neckline of the dress. Since brass pins have points sharper than pins made of other metals, they are less likely to damage delicate fabrics. These same pins can be used to secure any scarf at the neckline to prevent it from sliding. 


Use an extra-large square scarf to create a “jacket.” Fold in half and tie the open corners together on each end. Two “arms” will be created.


Your outfit may be a classic neutral color, but you want color around your face. Silk fabric allows variation of dyes while reflecting the true color. Experiment with different scarf ties to create your own distinctive look. Questions? Call me.



Fall 2014 Fashion Trends (September 3, 2014)


This fall’s trends present combined contrast. Wear sheer or woven, plaid or bold print, bright or winter pastel, mini or mid, wide leg or leggings, oversized coat or belted. Sound confusing? It is not when you see it on the runway.


Sheer fabric creates the sense of femininity without exposure. Sheer tunics worn over tanks and leggings provide a flow and movement of fabric, yet a visual illusion of form.  Choose a sheer short sleeved shirt worn over a tank or woven long-sleeved shirt to provide texture contrast.                            


Plaid teams with soft cowl or turtle necks.  Women with long necks look best in high neck turtles.  Those with short necks should seek lower cowl necks or mock turtle necks. Try asymmetrically-cut plaids that create a diagonal line for a slimming effect while still following trend.  Look for handkerchief hems of both shirts and skirts that give a contemporary look but a comfortable fit. 


Color pallets provide similar contradiction. Choose red paired with brown, royal blue, and black. Experiment with bold sixties-like prints or select a classic Jackie O look. 

Animal prints appear on any clothing or accessory. Don’t limit the design to leopard spots or zebra stripes. When winter proves to be as cold as predicted, wear a mid-length skirt and high neck top. Wear an animal print infinity scarf with an oversized coat.  Put on opaque tights and slip into ankle boots.  This season, choose your favorite look and wear it confidently.



Do’s and Don’ts for Dry Skin (August 27, 2014)


Dry skin suffers from sensitivity and premature aging. Look in a mirror. Place the back of your index finger against the middle of your cheek. Lift upward. If your normally smooth skin wrinkles or you see additional wrinkles, you have dry skin. It is still dry, even though your skin may have oily patches on nose or forehead. 


Determine the cause of your dry skin. Do you wash your face with soap? Soap dries the surface of the skin, stripping the skin of natural, protective oils. Likewise, hot water removes natural oils. Instead of soap and hot water, use facial cleansers that can be removed with tissues or tepid water. Pat dry. Follow with a toner made for dry skin.  Certain medications, age, weather, and natural body chemistry can cause dry skin. 


Dry skin looks dull and flaky. Use a chemical exfoliator to speed dead skin removal. It loosens the “glue” that holds the dead cells to the skin. On a different day, use a gentle, manual exfoliator to lightly scrub away the chemically loosened cells. If the chemical exfoliator is painful, switch to one that is made for sensitive skin or discontinue. 


After removing the dead, dry cells, use higher tech serums and moisturizers that penetrate the layers of the skin. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and humectants. For serums and moisturizers to work, use them consistently day and night, both on the face and the neck. Merle Norman studios offer free steam facials to provide additional moisturizing effectiveness.



Accentuate the Positive (August 20, 2014)


We marvel at magic shows because the magician directs our attention to what he wants us to see, not to the slight-of- hand tricks.  We can look thinner, shapelier, taller (or shorter if we prefer,) simply by directing the attention to our positive attributes. 


Take a look in the mirror. In one column, write down what you think are your most attractive features. Circle the top three. You may have a well-proportioned body, a great smile, and narrow ankles. Write down what you view are your unattractive features in another column. Circle the three you wish would disappear. Perhaps you feel you have a thick waist, small eyes, and ugly knees.


Since your body is well proportioned (torso to legs balance in length and weight,) you can use color to redirect attention from your not-so-pretty knees. A red top and neutral colored skirt will draw the attention to the upper part of the body instead of the knees.  Of course, skirts that fall below the knees, or pants could cover the knees as well. Use lip liner and brighter lipstick to draw attention to your lips and great smile.  A scarf or statement jewelry also directs the viewer to your smile.  Eyes should have light colored eye shadow to make the eyes appear larger, but also to avoid drawing the attention away from the lips. Add a delicate, ankle bracelet with small rhinestones.  The viewer’s attention is drawn to the upper body/smile and the narrow, shapely ankles.  The full waist isn’t even noticed.




Understand the Sizing Puzzle (August 13, 2014)


Figuring out what size you are may be as difficult as solving the problem of the national debt.  Women’s sizes are as different as women themselves.


Are you a 4 or 14? Or could you be both? Most U.S. manufacturers categorize by junior, petite, missy¸ plus, half sizes, or simply XS-XL.  Other manufacturers categorize by a numbering system such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And then, to the further complicate the issue, foreign sizes are different as well.


First, for U.S. sizing, determine what category your body type fits. Junior sizing fits a younger body type.  Bust, waist, hips are narrow and less rounded.  Petites are 5’4” or shorter.  The cut of a petite means the arm holes and waist will be higher, the sleeves, rise, and pants shorter.  Missy women have rounder figures with fuller busts, hips, and tummy.  Arm holes, and waist are lower than in petites.  Sleeves, pant rise and length are longer. Plus sizes have larger busts, hips, tummy, and arm fullness. Plus tops also have a longer length. Few manufacturers make half sizes.  Half sizes are petite proportions, but but with fuller bust, tummy, hips, and arms.   


Sizes XS-XL vary depending on the manufacturer and the category.  Generally a missy XS is 2-4, S is 4-6, M is 8-10, L is 12-14, and XL is 16-18.  Ultimately, every garment can have a slightly different fit.  Because of the variance in manufacturing sizing and design, it is best to try everything on to be sure you get the best fit.   




Travel “Must Haves” (August 6, 2014)


Whether traveling this summer or throughout the year, there are numerous products that make traveling easier.


Cinda B offers a quart- size, clear zippered pouch to carry liquids through airport security. The sturdy zipper and plastic hold up much better than regular baggies.  Cinda B also has covers for hot curling irons or straighteners. Brighton’s totes and cross-body bags made of parachute cloth are extremely durable and light weight.  They fold and pack easily in luggage or for use as carry-ons. 


Tilley hats for both men and women pack well and offer sun protection. Tilley also has a line of quick drying socks and underwear.  Wash the night before, squeeze in a towel to get out excess moisture; they dry by morning. Sunveil hats, shirts, jackets, pants, and sarongs are see-through, light weight, sun protective garments that are equally quick drying. Forever New granular washing packets allow you to rinse out garments.


The most wrinkle resistant clothing include Fridaze linen (yes, 100% linen), Ming Wang knit wear, and Foxcroft blouses.  These may wrinkle in the suitcase, but hang and the wrinkles fall out. All come in solid colors that can be mixed and matched to give multiple looks. Shedrain 8-inch umbrella with open and close button fits easily in to a handbag or carry by its wristband.


No need to pack bulky evening attire when you can add a Sleevey Wonder to dress up an outfit.  Sleevey Wonders are thin bolero- shaped tops in lace or sheer worn under a sleeveless top or dress.



Makeup for Tweens (July 23, 2014)


When should a girl begin to wear makeup? Lifestyle, maturity, and personal preference all affect when she should begin. At age 12 her body changes as well as her face.  It is important that she begins a skin care regimen to cope with impending blemishes and skin changes. She should first learn to properly and regularly care for her skin. Then she can add makeup.


Her first step in skin care is cleansing her delicate skin. Over-cleansing strips the skin of natural and needed oil and moisture. All products should be free of ingredients that clog pores. First determine whether her skin is dry, oily, or normal. Foaming cleansers labeled “normal to dry” or “normal to oily” work well. For especially delicate skin, use cleansers made for sensitive skin.  They tend to have fewer perfumes or additives that can irritate. Follow with an appropriate toner for her skin type. Skin should be cleansed and toned at least once a day.


Choose a moisturizer with duo-spectrum sunscreen that hydrates and protects the skin. A sheer, tinted moisturizer or light foundation gives a natural look as well as balancing skin tone without being too heavy.

Use a lip color that matches her lip color or simply a tinted or clear gloss. To accent the eyes, use an eyeliner only on the top lid in a thin line at the roots of the eyelashes.


By developing a skin care regimen and choosing age appropriate makeup, your “tween” will be better able to handle her changing skin.


Create a Visual Facelift (July 16, 2014)


Whenever we look at something, our eyes see dimension because of light and dark. That which is closest to us appears lighter and bigger. That which is farther away appears darker and smaller. This is what I call the principle of light and dark. Apply this principle to cosmetics and you can create a visual facelift.


Beauty experts consider an oval face to be the most desirable, but few of us have perfectly oval faces. By using brown-based blush, you contour your face so it appears oval.


Draw a curved line from outside end of the brow to the beginning of the chin on one side of the face. Gently blend the color from the line toward the ear, creating an effect of a light shadow. The shadow makes the side of the face appear to recede. Place the blush brush under the cheek bone (not on top) and rock the brush from side to side in a shallow U-shape.  Blend the blush downward and to the side to hollow the cheeks. Looking straight ahead in a mirror, compare one side to the other. The side you have contoured with blush will look thinner and lifted. Now, repeat on the other side. For the final touch, tilt your head backward and apply the brown based- blush under the chin on to the neck.


Use the same principle to reduce the appearance of puffy eyelids by applying darker eye shadow over the puffy lid and lighter eye shadow in the center of the lid.



My Little Pony (July 9, 2014)

We often think of young girls with ponytails; but long, fashion ponytails are for all ages. Most women on the runways or red carpets “enhance” their own hair with add-ons. The look is easy to do, gives a visual lift, and saves time.  

Pull your own hair into a ponytail high on the back of the head. Your own ponytail doesn’t have to be long if it can be secured with a band. Use a good quality band because the ponytail comb should go under the band instead of into the hair. A separate wide strand of hair wraps around the band to cover it so it looks natural. By placing the ponytail high on the head, the head balances the weight so it does not seem heavy. If there are shorter, stray hairs on the back of the head, pull them up and secure with two bobby pins in a V-pattern. 

Once the ponytail is in place, experiment with different configurations. Loosely braid, wrap to form a bun, or twist. The color does not have to be exact since the ends of hair are usually lighter. Choose the style that best fits your lifestyle or hair type. The Beach Pony has loose waves that give a slightly unkempt, natural look. The Straight Pony gives a sleek, sophisticated look. When hair is pulled back and up, the face actually looks lifted.  

If you are planning a trip or simply want to save time daily, try an add-on ponytail.  I think you’ll like your new look.  Click here to view a video demonstration.


Be Safe on the Fourth of July (July 2, 2014)

Outside activities are the norm for the Fourth; but while having fun, protect yourself from the environment. Use the correct sunscreen and protective clothing. All sunscreens including those in cosmetics should be duo spectrum: they should protect from UVB (burn) and UVA (aging) rays. There is controversy concerning what is the best “number” of sunscreen to use. Keep in mind that the number indicates the length of time a person can stay in the sun before burning. If you burn in ten minutes, a 30 SPF would protect for 300 minutes. However, sunscreen must be reapplied every 3 to 4 hours to maintain effectiveness. In cosmetics, 30 SPF is one of the most chemically stable. However, a higher SPF is appropriate for over-all body protection. If you are going to be in the water, be sure to use sunscreen that doesn’t wash off.

Regular clothing or hats provide little UV protection unless the items are specifically made to provide sun protection. A regular straw hat blocks only 6% of UV rays. Tilley hats and Sunveil hats block almost all UV rays. However, hats should have wide brims and deep crowns so they fit low on the face. Chemically treated clothing protect as well. Be aware that multiple washings can eventually wash away much of the protection. Sunveil open-weave clothing does not have a chemically applied sunscreen. The weave of the fabric protects from the sun and mosquitoes. The garments are sheer and require clothing underneath.


Are You Throwing Money in the Trash? (June 26, 2014)

Every Box Tops for Education coupon is worth ten cents to schools. I walked through my house and clipped Box Tops for Education coupons from products I already had and collected $5 worth. If we do not clip and donate to schools, we literally throw money into the trash.


Clip the coupons from over 250 different products. Donate to your favorite school or drop them at Morgan Fitzgerald’s. We collect for your preferred school or select schools in need and deliver to the schools. Look for Box Tops coupons on cereals such as Cheerios, Zip Lock food storage bags, Jolly Green Giant fresh produce, frozen food, Betty Crocker baking mixes, Scott paper products and Kleenex, Hanes apparel, Hefty trash bags, and Land of Lake dairy products.


In addition, the Box Tops for Education website offers discount coupons to help save money for the products themselves.


When you collect the Box Tops for Education coupons, check for a current expiration date. There is no need to collect the entire box top. Only the coupon outlined with the dotted line is necessary.


Schools in other areas have used the money earned from Box Tops for Education coupons to offer enrichment programs, and build computer labs. Think about the possibilities if even a fourth of the people in Bryan/College Station donated $5 worth of Box Tops coupons each. Our schools could have $150,000.00. Next time you head for the trash, don’t throw money away. Clip the Box Tops for Education.



The Look of Custom Jewelry at a Fashion Price (June 18, 2014)


When you have the perfect outfit, the perfect jewelry may be difficult to find until now. Brighton has introduced Your True Color. You can choose the color stones you want, see a colored picture of what the jewelry will look like with your stone choices, and receive it within a week. 


The jewelry is the same quality as Brighton’s in-store stock. In fact, if the sample designs have the colors you want, you can purchase those in the store. The jewelry is made from zinc to give high detail, plated in copper, double-plated in silver, antiqued, buffed, and finally clear-coated. Once an order of custom stone colors is received, the stones are set into the jewelry in California.   


Most of the jewelry collections interchange, allowing you to select the size or design look you prefer. There are even three different designs for clip earrings. Most pieces have multiple stones, allowing you to choose different colors for the same jewelry. If your jacket is red and your skirt black, create a red and black necklace, earring, or bracelet. You achieve a truly custom look. 


In some cases, you may need multiple pieces that are identical---bridesmaids can have jewelry with the colors of the wedding, performing groups such as a drill team can have school colors. Or if you choose, you may want a color to represent the birth month of each of your children or grandchildren, or combine the available stones in any way you wish.



Father’s Day Gift Ideas (June 11, 2014)


Even though dads seem to want less, and drop fewer hints, they still deserve recognition on Father’s Day.  The problem: what would really please him?    


Brighton belts made of solid leather hold up longer than the “all leather” belts made of pressed leather.  If a belt lasts only six months to a year, it is probably pressed leather.  Brighton belt styles vary from classic to contemporary, to western and reversible.  Choose a size one size larger than his pant size.


Does he love music? The bluBOOM speaker fits in the palm of a hand, but has a full, high-quality sound.  It operates with any type of smartphone or iPad. 


A hunter?  Tilley hats, in the new camouflage pattern or the traditional khaki color, have one of the best warranties in the industry.  If it wears out; they will replace it for free.  Lose it; get one for half price.  Developed by a boater that was forever losing his hat when the wind blew it into the water, Tilley hats float.  Later he developed socks whose heel and toe do not wear out.  Out camping?  Tilley socks can be washed the night before and they will dry by morning. 


If your dad likes to cook, a Texas company has made it easier for him.  Whether it is chili mix, salsa, or habanero jelly, a special treat awaits


Finally, a fisherman remains cool, but blocks virtually all the sun and mosquitoes, when he wears an open-weave Sunveil shirt or jacket



Do You Have to Tell? (June 4, 2014)


When I was a child, I was taught to always tell the truth. What I was not taught was that you don’t have to reveal everything. I learned as I grew up that if people who didn’t have the Miss Manners course asked personal questions, I could answer without full disclosure. When I have a dinner party, I often cook everything myself, but on occasion, I may purchase something pre-made. Do I have to “confess” to the not-so-polite guest who asks, “Did you make this?” No, I simply state it came directly from my kitchen. And that is the truth… I unboxed it in the kitchen, put it on plates, and served. When asked for a recipe, I refer to the internet or, with a smile, the aisle at HEB. 


When it comes to personal appearance, we do not have to tell all either. If you wear wigs and someone compliments your hair, simply say, “Thank you.” No further explanation is needed. If someone continues and asks, “Is that your hair?” of course it is. You bought and paid for it. The persistent inquisitor may be more specific. “Is that a hairpiece?” My answer, “It’s my hair.” Same reason – I paid I paid for it; it is mine. Do you rotate your short or longer wig? Answer – “My hair grows fast.”


Quality fashion jewelry often looks like the real thing.  No need to disclose that the stone is a crystal. Some suggestions following a compliment: “Thank you,” or my favorite, “Bill (my husband) has good taste, doesn’t he?” 



Shop On-line (May 28, 2014)


Business owners have to wear multiple hats.  One is that of a clairvoyant. What does the market place need, and what is the best way to provide it? In my opinion, clients want a different level of convenience than traditional boutiques have offered. They want to browse store stock at a convenient time for them, (that may be midnight), compare prices, select, have items gift wrapped and shipped. Or, they browse when more time is available and then on lunch hours or while running errands drop by the boutique to purchase the items. 


There are lots of on-line only stores selling a world of products, but customers worry about whether they can get anyone to help if there is a problem. Is the on-line only store a fly-by-night operation? How can exchanges be made? Is the product really as it appears on-line? I believe that most on-line stores will need to be an extension of a trusted brick and mortar store as well as providing an on-line store to meet the needs of its clients.


On-line stores can allow you to browse, make wish lists and send them. Or, better yet, have access to wish lists for those you are sending gifts to. You can get details of clothing availability, see available colors, costs, even measurements. In some cases you can find those hard to find items that could take hours going from store to store.


We have recently opened our on-line store to offer greater convenience to you.  Please send us your comments about our site.



Hats for Protection and Style (May 21, 2014)


As summer approaches and we enjoy the sunny outdoors, hats and clothing which block the sun help prevent skin cancer as well as prevent premature aging. Look for the UPF rating to determine how much sun protection is provided. Notice it is a UPF rating, not an SPF rating. Originally, fabric was rated with an SPF (Sun Protective Factor) that measured the length of time skin was protected before burning.  In 1998, the U.S. government developed the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) standard by measuring the amount of ultraviolet transmittance as well as artificial light transmittance. A UPF rating of 15-24 is good, 25-39 very good, and 40-50+ excellent.


Hats and clothing may have naturally effective elements that reduce sun exposure. Densely woven fabrics, dark dyes, and polyester fabrics all reduce the transmittance of ultraviolet radiation. However, some manufacturers add chemical components or alter weave patterns that further reduce radiation transmittance. Sunveil clothing has an open weave that allows airflow but, because of its unique weave pattern, has a high UPF rating. Laundering fabrics with chemical treatments may reduce the effective UPF. While the weave remains basically unaffected by washing, severely-used fabrics become ineffective in blocking radiation. 


If fabrics do not have a label, be aware that bleached cotton, knits, or viscose provide the least amount of protection. Choose hats with wide brims and deep crowns that fit low on the head. They give more face and neck protection. For added protection always wear chemical sunscreen as well. 


Some Things in Life Really Are Free (May 13, 2014)


I just returned from the Merle Norman convention where all the new products were introduced.  One of the most exciting products was a set of four gels used for our free steam facials.  Yes, free. 


The Pumpkin & AHA Retexturizing Maskcombines pumpkin puree, powerful antioxidants, and fruit acid complex to loosen the “glue” which holds the dead cells on the skin’s surface.  After the facial, the skin appears more radiant and noticeably softer and smoother to the touch while moisturizers and serum penetrate more evenly.  By exfoliating skin regularly, pores remain unclogged and the skin appears more even and clear.


The Cocoa & Vanilla Brightening Mask pairs pomegranate and licorice extracts with powerful antioxidants to brighten skin, creating more youthful and radiant skin appearance.


The Lavender & Ginseng Hydrating Mask contains sodium hyaluronate which can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. Hyaluronate hydrates the skin and locks in moisture while ginseng extract stimulates and invigorates skin cells, creating a more youthful appearance and skin texture.


The Oat & Chamomile Soothing Mask has no fragrance, drying alcohol, or preservatives. It first coats the skin with hydration.  Within minutes, the natural extracts of oat and chamomile help restore skin to its natural pH level to soothe and calm skin, leaving the skin softer, suppler, and more comfortable. 


The in-store free facials do not replace daily skin care, but can help launch a skin care regimen that includes cleansing, exfoliating, anti-aging, and moisturizing products. Consistent skin care produces beautiful skin, which enhances beautiful makeup.



Have a Fresh, Natural Look for Summer (May 7, 2014)


A natural, carefree look for summer begins with good skin. Exfoliate alternately during the week with chemical and scrubbing exfoliators to reveal younger, smoother skin. Next, use moisturizers with SPF during the day and moisturizers without SPF at night.


Achieve a natural glow by adding a few drops of liquid shimmer directly to your foundation. Mix well. Use a damp sponge to apply foundation. This allows a sheer coverage and a greater opportunity to feather edges. Use cover up to disguise flaws such as age spots. You’ll achieve coverage of the flaws without having the look of an all-over heavy foundation. Cover up can also be used under eyes to diminish under-eye circles. Mix a small amount of eye moisturizer with the cover up to prevent caking. 


Bronzers give a natural, “kissed by the sun,” look as well as serving as a contour medium. If you prefer blush, choose lighter shades and apply sparingly. Use natural eye shade colors as well. Apply darker brown tones on the brow bone and lighter off-whites or skin tones on the lids. Blend thoroughly. A natural look has no defined edges. Use dark eyeliners only at the lash roots. Add a second, lighter liner above the lash root liner. Minimize the width of both to achieve the natural look. When the makeup is complete, use loose face powder and a powder brush to dust the cheeks, forehead and chin.


Add a lipstick in your natural lip color to complete your look.



Advice for Choosing gifts for Mom or Grandmother (April 30, 2014)


My youngest son, (the Fitzgerald in Morgan Fitzgerald’s) is probably the best gift giver ever. His gifts are unique, yet functional, practical, yet intriguing. What makes some gifts so special and others not so special regardless of price?


It is appropriate to the person’s interests and lifestyle. If your mom has a passion for cooking, look for unique cooking accessories, utensils, hard-to-find items. I now sell Perpetual Vanilla ($12), because friends first gave me a bottle. They knew I was always running out of vanilla. Three vanilla beans come in a clear bottle. Slice the beans vertically, return to the bottle and add vodka. In four weeks there is a full bottle of vanilla. Replace the vodka after each use for a perpetually full bottle of vanilla.   


At a certain point in life, we women do not care for any more “dustables.” Consumables that indulge or make life easier make good gifts. Choose a favorite Brighton or Crabtree & Evelyn fragrance, or a delicious assortment of Crabtree cookies and assorted teas attractively packaged in floral tins. If travel is high on her list, make it easier with a Brighton carry-on tote made from lightweight parachute cloth.  


Determine what is important to her. Is family her world? Create a Brighton memory bracelet that includes her children’s and grandchildren’s birthstones. Are there things she would love, but never splurge on? Create a group gift to give her the special handbag or luggage. 


Your observations, and thought make the gift perfect.  Click here to view our Gifts for Mom category.



Furs Can Be Restyled (April 22, 2014)


Do you have a treasured fur that is either damaged or out of style? Fur stoles, jackets, or coats can be restyled into a garment that fits your lifestyle and that is appropriate for local weather. Damaged furs can be repaired.


Unlike other garments, most furs can be made larger or smaller, or into a different garment all together. Furriers separate and individually re-stitch each pelt in the garment. Matching fur can be added to enlarge or re-shape a fur garment. If you have inherited a fur and want to share with other family members, multiple items can be constructed such as small or large handbags, teddy bears, ear muffs, collars, or wrist cuffs. Light-colored furs can be dyed as well.


If your mink seems too heavy, consider having it sheared. Every fur has longer guard hairs on the outside and finer down-like hairs close to the skin. This insulates the animal and helps it adjust to weather changes. Animals normally shed fur in warm weather and thicken fur in cold weather. An expensive machine can precisely cut away the guard hair, leaving the very soft down-like hair. 


If your fur has rips, often the tears can be re-sewn if the pelt is not too dried out. To prevent fur loss, and the fur skins from drying out, have your fur cleaned, glazed, and placed in cold storage during warm months. Today and tomorrow our furrier will be at Morgan Fitzgerald’s to help with care and restyling of your fur. (Click here for details.)



Sleevey Wonders and Squeem (April 16, 2014)


Sleevey Wonders and Squeem solve fashion problems.  If you get too warm in summer, but don’t want to bare your arms, or if the only dresses you can find are sleeveless, Sleevey Wonders gives you sleeves without the heat.


Available in both missy ($45) and plus ($47) sizes, the sheer or lace bolero is worn beneath the garment making the garment appear to have sleeves.  If the neckline is a little too low, fasten the bolero in the back, creating a jewel neck. Fasten in the front to accommodate v-neck or scooped neck tops. Sleevey Wonders gives arm coverage, but not compression. 


Having trouble with tummy protrusion or a non-defined waist? Squeem ($57) flattens the tummy, cinches the waistline, and moderately lifts the breasts, creating a comfortable version of a corset.  A series of hooks fasten in the front to shape and smooth.  Lined with an “intelligent” fabric of triple-filtered cotton and natural rubber, it remains comfortable throughout the day.  Before and after photos show the appearance of the wearer as thinner and more toned.  Available in sizes small through XXL,  Squeem creates the best results for a person with a full tummy, and medium to slim hips.  If you have a small waist and full hips, it tends to bunch over the top of the hips.  Due to the compression of Squeem, begin use gradually; work up to longer periods of wear.


Both the Sleevey Wonders in black sheer or lace, and Squeem in beige are available on our new ecommerce shop-on-line web site.



Morgan Fitzgerald’s On-Line Store Launches Tomorrow (April 9, 2014)


Wow! Morgan Fitzgerald’s has a brand new on-line shopping web site! What does it mean for customers?


An on-line store paired with a physical store provides the ultimate in customer service.  It allows clients to shop from home with the convenience of talking with a live person to answer questions.  Shop the physical location to touch, try on, and look in person.  Shop on-line to create wish lists, reorder items, send gifts, gift cards, or select clothing and accessories when you know what you want.  Doesn’t fit? Return it to the physical location to select just the right thing, or simply return through the mail.


An on-line store allows you to know immediately if an item is in stock and what sizes and colors are available.  A local on-line store also provides quick shipping. 


When Morgan Fitzgerald’s on-line store launches, you’ll find ten product lines including apparel, accessories, and gifts. Additional products will be added weekly.  Morgan Fitzgerald’s on-line shop will include my weekly column, suggestions of items that go well with other items, and Morgan Fitzgerald’s signature gift wrapping, not a box with a string around it.


To check it out, go to  You’ll find that our previous web page, now has become our ecommerce on-line store.  If you have difficulty uploading the site, call Morgan Fitzgerald’s at 979­ 268-0608. Just like any business, the first few weeks may have its bumps.  We ask for your patience, but in the long run, we hope you’ll be more than pleased.



Solutions for Pesky Problems (March 26, 2014)


Sometimes there are little things that bother us that are not critical, but are annoying.  Simple fixes may help.  If your skin is acidic and reacts to inexpensive jewelry made from base metal, coat the metal that touches the skin three times with Skin Guard.  Recoat as often as needed.


When bra straps cut into shoulders, slide straps through Miss Oops shoulder cushions.  The shoulder cushions diffuse the weight over the shoulder, reducing the ridge line.  If bra straps fall off the shoulder, or show with sleeveless tops, use Magic Clip to draw the straps to the back.  If the bra band is too tight, use Bra Back Extenders to widen by up to three inches.  One package contains white, nude, and black extenders.


Necessities Secure Strips prevent necklace clasps from moving from the back of the neck to the front.  Miss Oops mishap tape is a double-sided apparel tape for gaping blouses, plunging necklines, or falling straps.  Stiffs keep pant hems from catching on heels by stiffening.


Maggies are sets of two magnets that can serve as damage-free scarf clasps, button-like closures for jackets, or for just about anything apparel you want to hold together.  The newly-invented Glamour Maggies, available in either silver or gold-tone woven metal strips, also have strong magnets.


Foot Petals solve foot issues:  Tip Toes stop feet from sliding forward; Amazing Arches give instant arch support; Killer Kushionz give ultimate support, but can also be worn in open-toe shoes; Sock-free Savors provide anti-microbial protection that won’t wash away.



Professional Dress Can be Stylish (March 19, 2014)


According to Dress for Success, women who dress professionally get higher raises, are viewed as more competent, and receive more promotions.  The traditional interview suit in solid blue, tan, or gray with white or blue shirt can be viewed as severe worn day in and day out once the job is secured. If your dress codes are more relaxed, there are several ways to look professional and stylish.


Professional dress almost always means wearing a jacket.  That does not mean that the jacket has to be a structured blazer.  However, set-in sleeves give more of a classic appearance to the jacket if it is a contemporary design.  Consider an asymmetrical design in solid colors or small tone-on-tone pattern to make your professional look more updated. 


Use color to your advantage.  Not getting enough attention in meetings? Wear a red jacket over charcoal tank and pant. The charcoal is a current trend color. Want to convince someone? Wear a pink jacket over charcoal.


Both skirts and slacks are appropriate for professional clothing. However, slacks should be made from fabrics that have weight to them but provide a smooth surface, such as wool or acrylic/natural fiber.  Denim, loose-knit jersey, 100% cotton, and clingy fabrics remain inappropriate for the workplace.


Scarves that reflect current colors, textures, and patterns update professional wardrobes.  Ask a wardrobe specialist to teach you new ways to tie scarves.


By following the basics of professional dressing, and varying color, accessories, and the cut of your jackets, you can be professional and in style.



Quick Change Artists (March 12, 2014)


My favorite wardrobe pieces have multiple personalities. They go from casual to dressy, from one color to another, from one neckline to another, or simply do tricks.   Reversible jackets when turned inside out display different colors, patterns, textures, or fabrics.


Mycra Pac raincoats reverse to different colors allowing one side for casual or “fun” events; the other, darker, color for more professional events.  Fridaze, a wrinkle-resistant linen line, has tanks with one color on the front and a different color or pattern on the back.  Not only can there be different colors front and back, there can also be different necklines. 


If a dartless tank’s neckline appears too low, wear the back in the front.  Joseph Ribkoff even has a dress that can be switched from front to back.   A sheer bolero worn under a sleeveless dress or blouse gives arm coverage, yet remains cool and comfortable. 


Valentino’s one-size long skirt truly fits sizes 6-22 and also can be pulled up over the bust to be worn as a dress.  Clothing is not the only category that provides multi-functionality.


Brighton has several necklaces that have dressy sparkles on one side and classic or casual designs on the other side. Long necklaces can be shortened by doubling.  Short necklaces can be lengthened with extenders.  Matching necklaces and bracelets can be joined to create longer necklaces.


The Magic Scarf line does tricks.  These pieces switch from scarves to short or long jackets.


Pack multi-function pieces for your next trip for a lighter suitcase while maintaining a million-dollar look.



Create Spring Wardrobe Trends with Accessories (March 5, 2014)


If we all had unlimited wardrobe budgets, we could purchase new clothing to reflect every current trend. Most of us don’t have that option, but would like to reflect the trends. Accessories make outfits look complete, but also allow us to reflect trends economically.


Color is one of the most variable trends from year to year. One color trend for this spring, pure black and white, is the easiest to replicate. If you have a black top and matching pant or skirt, add a white handbag, white bangle bracelets, and white earrings. The necklace can combine black and white. Another color trend, soft pink, can be achieved by adding a soft textured pink scarf that reinforces the softness of the pink color with the texture over a light-colored solid neutral.


Grays and taupes can be difficult to wear by themselves if your complexion requires color, but add them as accessories and they add sophistication. Choose a color such as aqua. Add a scarf or jacket with aqua and a touch of taupe or gray.  Add taupe shoes and a handbag. Finally, add a taupe belt. The belt adds a focal point that ties the accessories together. 


Fabric texture or pattern can be reflected in accessories as well. Choose clutches or larger bags with cut work that resembles lace or brocade. Add a tank (far less expensive than a jacket) that reflects the lace and brocade trend.


Invest dollars in animal print accessories such as shoes, handbags, jewelry, or even hair accessories rather than an entire outfit.   



Hair Pieces and Extensions (February 26, 2014)


If you are planning a fun New Year’s Eve or simply want a new look for the new year, follow the stars’ lead and try hair pieces and extensions. 


Want a way to take you from the grocery store to a dressier look for dinner?  The Stylemaker is probably the simplest.  Put your hair in a ponytail and then double it over and pull through the band.  If your hair is long enough to create a nub, it is long enough for the Stylemaker.   Use the Stylemaker as you would a scrunchie. Wrap it two or more times around the ponytail.  Secure with a bobbie pin if necessary. If your hair is too short to create even a nub, try the Updo.  It has combs that secure the hair piece into short hair.


If you’ve been thinking about growing longer hair, extensions give you the lookwithout the wait.  Unlike the old ones that had to be sewn into the hair, these clip in.  The critical factor in creating a natural look is to make clear parts as you section and lift the hair.   Because your real hair covers the top of the extensions, the extensions don’t have to match exactly. In fact, slightly darker ones give the hair dimension. 


Ponytail hair pieces can be attached to a nub to increase length -- or to a longer ponytail to add fullness.  Try a beach pony (wavy) and braid it with your hair to create a Rapunsel-like braid.   Side bangs offer one more option for your special accent.


Spring 2014 Fashion Trends (February 19, 2014)


I am at the Las Vegas Apparel Market as I write this column.  As always, there is excitement over all the new offerings.  Here are the trends as I see them.


Hemlines have been acceptable at any length for the last several years, but this spring there is a greater emphasis on mid-calf lengths.  Mini-skirt exceptions still exist for the young (or those who work out twice a day.)  Colors reflect pastel pinks and blues mixed with gray, or rainbow hues.  Pure black and white combos (no color added) continue throughout spring and summer.  Lace, brocades, jacquards, floral prints, and sparkle go from casual to dressy.  Exotic fabrics in browns, tans, and black pair with small prints of animal patterns.


Jackets lose fit and become boxier.  Cropped jackets pair well with calf-length skirts.  Long tunics over leggings, or long jackets over shorter skirts, add length to short torsos.


Shoes and handbags don’t have to match.  Colored handbags often are worn with classic black or brown shoes.  Quilted, leather handbags return the classic Chanel look.  Ballerina flats, platform wedges, and embellished flip flops are worn with casual clothes.  While narrow or stacked heels accompany dressy apparel; detailed, cut-out, and beaded shoes do as well.  Nude-colored shoes extend leg length and blend well with the pastel colors of spring.  Flat, gladiator sandals return.


Layered necklaces still include color and multi-metals.  Mix bangle bracelets or wear several of the same.  Put all the trends together, or add only a few; you’ll look fresh and new.


Winterize Your Skin (February 12, 2014)


Cold weather‘s wintry blast struck again this week.  Just when we thought our skin would get relief, winds chapped skin and lips, furnaces dried the air, and skin became dried and flaky.   Winterize your skin by modifying your skin care and makeup products to meet your skin care needs.


What are you noticing?  Flaky skin?  Redness?  Itchy patches?  Those are all signs of dryness.  Begin with exfoliation.  Remove dead skin cells with chemical or manual exfoliation.  Remember to exfoliate all over your skin, not just your face.  The skin is the largest organ of the body.  When it is properly hydrated, it has a barrier that prevents germs from infecting.  If the skin is under stress, pathogens penetrate more easily.  Use body scrubs with vitamins c and e, as well as body and hand creams that penetrate into the skin.  Apply cuticle oil morning and night to prevent cuticles from splitting.  After exfoliating the dead skin from hands and feet, generously apply hand cream or foot cream, then place hands in warming mittens, and feet in warming booties to help the moisturizers penetrate dry areas of skin. 


Use moisturizers morning and night.  You may wish to temporarily switch to a nighttime moisturizer with “healing” enzymes.  If you regularly use “normal to dry” formulas, consider using more emollient formulas during cold, wintry blasts.   


Makeup foundation not only makes the skin look smoother and blemish-free, but  also protects the skin.  Consider using a heavier-coverage foundation during cold, wintry weather.


Adjust moisturizers and foundations for cold weather; you’ll be glad you did.


Does Your Handbag Fit? (February 5, 2014)


We’re having a Brighton masterpiece handbag and shoe trunk show tomorrow, so I began thinking about what women might want to know about handbags before they purchase.


Handbags and shoes are the two most functional accessories in a wardrobe.  We try on shoes to see if they “fit.”  How many women try on handbags for fit?


Look at your current handbag.  What do you carry that you need every day?  Try those items in the new bag.  Does the new bag organize and provide easy access to items you use repeatedly throughout the day?  Is your cell phone easy to access, but protected?


Do you carry your handbag over your shoulder or do you carry it on your arm?  Maybe you do both.  Check to see if the bag has a shoulder strap as well as handles. If you prefer to carry your handbag on the shoulder but it slides off, choose a braided strap.  The edges of the strips of the braid grip the shoulder.  If you avoid double straps because one always slips off, simply slide one under the other before placing on the shoulder.


Wear the handbag as you normally would carry it.  Does it feel comfortable? A leather bag, as it is worn, conforms to the body.  Synthetic bags are less likely to change.  


Next, does the bag fit your lifestyle and personality?  Life of the party?  Choose colors that are vibrant.  Understated?  Choose sleek lines without ornamentation.  Or perhaps you have different personas for different occasions – have a handbag wardrobe!



Moisturizers (January 29, 2014)


Once skin has been cleansed, toned, exfoliated, and serums applied, it is time for moisturizers. Oily skin requires hydration just as dry skin does.  Choosing the correct moisturizer for your skin type and skin concerns is the next step.


If we never have sun exposure, our faces would be virtually wrinkle free.  Choose moisturizers with sun protection to wear during the day. New formulas now protect both from UVA (aging) and UVB (burning).  Give your skin a rest from sunscreen at night.  Since skin repairs during sleep, choose a formula that has enzymes to promote healing, or high tech formulas with peptides that signal the skin to repair itself. 


If you skin is oily, avoid emollient moisturizers.  Check the ingredient list to be use it is oil free and non-comedogenic (pore clogging). For the best results, choose moisturizers that penetrate the top layer of skin. If you have been using the same moisturizer for twenty years, it will give a moist feeling when it is applied, but will sit on the top of the skin instead of helping the new, younger cells maintain moisture. 


Just like the serums have ingredients to address specific concerns, so do moisturizers.  Specific moisturizers can brighten, reduce wrinkles, improve rosacea, or super hydrate very dry skin.  Moisturizers made for the face should not be used in the eye area.  The tender skin around the eye requires different formulas that are approved for the eye area.


Using a consistent skin care regimen of proper cleansing, toning, exfoliating, applying serums, and moisturizing, can make any skin look its best. 


Serums Target Skin Issues (January 22, 2014)


Once skin has been cleansed and toned and then exfoliated, with either chemical or manual exfoliation, serums can target specific problems.   Determine skin issues that create the most concern.  Does your skin appear dull even after exfoliation?  Do you have uneven pigment or dark spots?  A serum that brightens addresses those issues. 


Vitamins C and E in combination with botanicals lighten and brighten the skin.  The most advanced serums include peptides that signal the skin has been damaged and needs to repair itself.  Dryness exacerbates wrinkles.  If your skin is always dry, try a serum that holds water in the skin. 


Think of skin as a new paper towel.  The towel has texture.  If it is crumpled, it gets wrinkles.  If you smooth the towel with your hand, the towel becomes smoother, but the creases from the wrinkles are still there.  Similarly, as you add serums and creams, the skin becomes smoother; the crease lines are still there, but less visible.   


Serums should be applied one to two times daily before moisturizers.  Multiple serums can be used at the same time or alternated: use one in the morning, another in the evening.  However, do not mix together and stir.  The chemical properties may interact, diminishing effectiveness or causing products to degenerate.  A general rule is to apply products with the lighter viscosity (thickness) first.


Serums work best with regular use.   Cleanse the skin, tone, add appropriate serums, and then you’ll be ready for moisturizers that I’ll discuss in the next column.



How to Give a Gift Card (Dec. 11, 2013)


I don’t know if it is the kid in me, but I have always liked opening packages that conceal my gift.  So what do you do if you are giving a gift card?  Treat it as any other gift.  Box it, wrap it, and put a name tag on.  That’s the obvious.  But, with a little thought, you can make that gift card even more special.


Choose an ID case like Vera Bradley’s Zip ID and slip the gift card into the clear window so the store name faces outward.  A luggage tag works as well.  If it is a store she hasn’t been to yet, include a map, store hours, and a company business card.  If there is a particularly helpful sales associate include her name as well.  For a store that may be her favorite, choose various product brochures.  Write notes next to the products that you think she likes.  “This looks like you.”  Or “I could see this with your new sweater.”


When appropriate, coordinate the gift card with an activity or event.  She likes to attend theatre…  Choose a store that carries clothing appropriate for the next event. 


If there is a particularly expensive item on her list, consider getting friends or family to purchase gift cards that collectively pay for the item.  Each gift card could have a picture of the item included with the card. 


For the final touch, be sure to fill out the “to” and “from” in your own handwriting.



Cosmetic Gifts for the Holidays (Dec. 4, 2013)


Cosmetic related gifts are often overlooked during the holidays, yet can be some of the most appreciated and practical gifts received.  Many of us “make do” with worn or incomplete brush sets because we can “get by” with what we have.  Professional artists recognize that every brush size and shape, as well as type of bristle makes a difference in the effect on the canvas.  


Likewise, the right brush makes a difference in the final appearance of cosmetics on the face.  Smaller brushes give greater intensity of color; bigger brushes give more diffuse color.  Synthetic bristles hold more foundation or concealer than do natural hair bristles. During the holidays, brush sets usually are offered at lower prices than the cost of individual brushes.


Beware of giant collections of 50 shades of eye shadows or 30 shades of lipstick. Most women don’t need that many shades and will seldom use them all.  Instead choose collections of 4-6 shades in a manageable compact.


One of the best values is  skin care gift packs.  Containers are appropriate for air travel and can cost less per ounce than full size products.  Be sure to choose the correct formula for skin type such as dry or oily, or sensitive. 


Don’t overlook cosmetic bags.  Determine the size needed. Next, look for bags that have large openings for easy access, washable surfaces, and numerous compartments to keep items organized.  Brighton has a small and large cosmetic bag that matches their luggage.  Vera Bradley offers small to large as well as hanging organizers.