You Must “Just Do It”

“Just do it” – the motto coined by Nike is great advice. We all know we should work out. We know we would be healthier, look better and have more energy. So why don’t we do it? Here are some of the crappiest reasons I have ever heard. They are also the most common. Do you recognize any of these?

I don’t have the time

I don’t know what to do or how to do it

The gym is too intimidating

I need to shower after every workout – it takes too long

I know I should but I just haven’t gone

I have bursitis, arthritis, fibro myalgia or any of a host of ailments

My doctor told me I need to take it easy

I am pregnant

I don’t enjoy exercise like you do.

Well, I don’t have the time either, nor does almost everyone else who schedules fitness into their day. They simply make it a priority for themselves. Their sense of self includes being fit which makes it imperative that they work out. I do not accept anything less.

There are so many resources out in the world to help you gain an adequate understanding how to work out – at least at a minimum. There is free, good, information online, and there are dozens of books and videos available for beginners.

Nobody gives a darn what you look like at the gym. Everyone who is there is just as self-conscious as you are. Even the ones who look like fitness models – those men and women devote so much of their time and lives to exercise, they are probably limited in their knowledge and experience outside of the gym.

You don’t need to shower after every workout. This is simply bull. 90 % of people don’t smell from a good clean workout – especially if they use powder and deodorant. It is perfectly fine and healthy to wait until you go home several hours later. That is a bad excuse. And it is an excuse.

Nobody understands just how important health is until it is taken away from them. People who become chronically sick say they would give anything to be healthy again. Do it now, before you become sick, before your bones shrink and become brittle, before your joints become stiff and painful.

Overwhelming evidence suggests that exercise improves the symptoms of bursitis, arthritis, fibro myalgia etc. You need to go gently through the pain – but you need to move through the pain in order to eradicate the pain.

If your doctor tells you need to take it easy and not exercise, you need a new doctor. Advising against exercise is like saying “don’t eat any vegetables.”

Pregnancy thrives with exercise. You may need to moderate it slightly, but it is better for you than not exercising. It is a myth that a woman can’t lift moderately heavy things while pregnant – only in extreme circumstances is this a problem. Most of us do not fall into that category.

Nobody loves to exercise. I would prefer if I could get fit by eating a candy bar, or going to a cocktail party. That just isn’t going to happen so those of us who make fitness part of our identity, do it anyway. Most of us don’t really like the hard work, but love the results. Don’t be fooled into thinking there are the exercise lovers and then there is you – someone who is allergic to the gym.

Now that we have dispelled these bad excuses, let’s move on to how to get yourself gorgeous, fit and healthy.


The Vast Impact of a Great Smile


Besides great skin and hair, a healthy looking smile is the most important feature for making a high impact first impression.  A smiling acre off straight white teeth immediately does more to enhance a person’s looks and prestige than almost all other physical traits. Studies have shown that a good smile will make you appear more successful, interesting, intelligent and approachable – as well as more attractive.  A beautiful and clean looking smile exudes warmth and attracts people to you.

When we feel we have an attractive smile, we do it more often. Studies have shown that people who smile more are able to handle stress and other abrupt changes in their lives better. This may be due to the fact that simply the physical act of smiling makes us immediately feel better by releasing endorphins and neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in our brain that make us feel good..

I have always maintained that feeling good about ourselves is the best way to immediately improve our looks. The inner image we have of ourselves is what we project to others and to the world, so how we feel has an enormous effect on how we look.

I have heard women say that they are considering having a breast augmentation surgery – yet their teeth are crooked and brown-looking. That horrifies me. Boobs are so much farther down the ranking of physical assets than great teeth and a bright smile.

How do we get a great smile? Keep impeccable oral hygiene – that means flossing (correctly) daily, brushing teeth with a vibrational toothbrush twice a day, and using a whitening toothpaste or have teeth professionally whitened. Use lipstick, the brighter and “cooler” the color, the whiter your teeth will look. Cooler color means colors that have blue undertones like blood red, royal blue, blueish green – warmer colors have orangey undertones like peach, yellow or brown (see color wheel below).


If your teeth are less than perfect, it is not nearly as expensive as it used to be to have teeth improved with new technologies like Invisalign. However, even if you can’t fix imperfect teeth, any improvement in the color and quality of oral hygiene will have a vast effect.



Looking Younger: Facial Contrast Changes Perception

Clinical studies have concluded that women whose faces have high contrast are perceived as younger. High contrast is when facial features have bold delineations and color distinctions as compared to the surrounding skin. Contrast decreases with age so it is natural that the perception of youth increases with artificial contrast created with make up. Conversely, the perception of youth decreases when the color and distinctions among facial features are weak.

For this reason, I prefer to use make up to significantly delineate eyes and lips as well as fill-in lips with color. I clearly define and fill in eyebrows, and create significant contour of the face (consisting of darker shades for areas to recede and lighter shades for areas to highlight.) Enhanced eyelashes also add to youthfulness as they open and widen the look of eyes. So, I use eyelash extensions.

The face below was artificially enhanced with increased contrast on the left, and left natural on the right. See for yourself which side looks older and which younger.


Following are two before and after photos of mature women whose “before” shows them natural – with no make up, and the after with make up creating significant contrast.

blogpic10-25-16bKnowledge is beautiful.

To Immediately Improve the Way You Look (and feel!) Change Your State-of-Mind

THE MOST most important beauty tool is attitude. Call it a positive state-of-mind, or joyful outlook on life, it beats beautiful skin, hair, gorgeous eyes, long eyelashes and a great body in its impact. An unhappy or angry internal state shows on your entire being. There really is no faking. Every bit of your physiology is negatively affected: shoulders slump, posture and facial muscles sag, eyes cast down, lips void of smile, eyes void of smile contractions – these are just a smidgeon of ways your body presents your state-of-mind.

To immediately improve the way you look (and feel!) change your state-of-mind. How? Act “as if” you were happy and care free. Interestingly, acting and moving “as if” you feel great, actually creates the positive feelings we are pretending to have. Physiology can truly create psychology. Regardless of you initial mood, act “as if: you have love in your heart, compassion for every living being and gratitude for all that is yours. You will be amazed at how quickly you feel these good feelings and the resultant postures will come naturally.

As I am in the second half of my life, I INSIST on controlling my thoughts – resisting negative thoughts such as resentment, envy, anger and fear and directing my attention towards what I am grateful for, like the beauty and joy of life for life’s sake, the grandeur of nature, the brilliance of a specific artist, author, or gymnast, the quiet moment of sitting silently with my little son. You get the point. We have 100% control of our thoughts and thought patterns. Directing our thoughts toward the positive, brings about the positive feelings and vastly improves your life.

A wonderful byproduct of this mental discipline is that you look fabulous. Your whole demeanor and presence are positive and attractive. Give this a try for just one week and see what kind of results you get. A week of continuous re-setting your thoughts to positive ones, means when you slip into negative thoughts, catch yourself (do not berate yourself!) and gently move your thoughts towards gratitude and positivity. You will be amazed at the impact on your entire life and on your overall looks.

If you would like to explore this further, check out “The Seven Day Mental Diet” by Emmet Fox:


For the best hair, make sure your scalp is healthy.

A healthy scalp is a big deal when it comes to the look and texture of your hair. Hairs spend about two weeks bathed in the tissue of the scalp before they break out into the world. If your scalp is not healthy, your hair will already be compromised. Then brushing, washing and processing – especially with heat and friction, begin to degrade it further. Some conditioners can help fill in the gaps of damaged hair with specific proteins and fibers, and can replenish moisture with humectants, and gloss with specific oils, but giving hair the chance to be as healthy as possible from the beginning is the greatest advantage you can give your hair.

How do you take care of your scalp? Use a gentle cleanser for your hair. There really is no reason to use foaming shampoos that have detergents. It’s too much for hair and scalp. Try a conditioning hair cleanser for a few weeks. You will notice a significant difference in the feel of your scalp. It will feel soothed, not irritated. There are many conditioning hair cleansers on the market today.  Try one that has proven safe ingredients.

Some men have flakey hair from dry scalp and believe they have dandruff – yet no dandruff shampoo works for them. This is a sign of an unhealthy scalp. Using a gentle, moisturizing, hair cleanser will often eradicate dry scalp, which means no more flakes and fuller hair with more body. Take great care of your hair beginning with great care of your scalp!

Stay healthy and beautiful, Nikki Z


I went to a medical hair specialist about a year ago to try to discover if there was a way to regain some thickness to my hair. I am 54, and the glorious locks of my youth have become thin and frail. I was hoping the doctor would recommend some simple hair implantation that would restore the look of thick youthful hair (without a receding hair line).

No such luck. Apparently my hair is in too good a shape for surgical intervention. But he recommended that I try monoxidil 5% (the kind made for men). He emphasized that the foaming formula is a superior product to the other formulations. I bought the foaming minoxidil 5% and tried it. It took about three months to see a difference, but I did indeed see an improvement in my hairline and the thickness of my hair. My hair colorist definitely noticed an improvement as well.

I continue to use 5% minoxidil daily to maintain the improved look and I cleanse my hair every few days with a conditioning hair cleanser. My hair looks pretty darned good! However, I use the liquid formulation of the minoxidil now – as it leaves far less residue on my scalp and is less disruptive of my hair style on a given day than the foaming kind. The improvement is mild to medium – my hair is not back to the look I had when I was in my thirties and younger. But it is noticeably better than it was before I used the minoxidil. The minoxidil 5% solution worked for me. If you are considering giving this a try, as I did, please consult with a doctor to ensure that it is safe and right for you.
Until next time, stay Healthy and Beautiful

Nikki Z.

Timeless Make-up, Not Trendy


What? The Joan Collin’s uber-glamorous make-up from  Dynasty is out of style?

It took me a while to figure that out. I was in a time-warp for a while when I was in my thirties (which was the decade of the ‘90s). I still wore make-up in a very flashy, bold and glitzy way – truly like Dynasty and all other soap operas of the ‘80s. I loved putting make-up on because the Dynasty look gave me permission to virtually draw my face to whatever proportions I wanted. I am an artist who specializes in drawing beautiful faces, which has given me an advantage in make-up application to enhance a woman’s beauty (as opposed to making her trendy or fashionable). I was “schooled” by a very young lady. when I was out with a friend of similar age to me, at a night club, We both thought we looked fabulous, until the young lady said “you’ve really got the ‘80s look going on.”

Oh. It’s out of style? Does that mean I have to get rid of the leg warmers I wore down by my ankles to the gym every day? That was the first time I realized make-up styles change as do hair and clothes. It was one thing to make fun of my mom’s friend who wore a buffant and go go boots in the 1980’s (if you recall, that was popular in the 1960s). But now it is I who am embarrassingly out of place. Shit.

I always thought of make up as strictly to enhance my beauty – making my good features great, and minimizing any not-so-good features. It worked – and still does. However I keep myself apprised of how make up is worn at any given era so that I do not violate the trend, while working to make myself or another woman look more beautiful.

There are certain traits about a woman’s face that our society has, in general, agreed upon as beautiful. For instance, wide large eyes are considered beautiful. Look at Disney’s princesses – they all have exaggerated wide eyes. High cheek bones are another “beautiful” trait. Well –defined lips with a bow on the top are another. And always beautiful clear and smooth skin is a quintessential hallmark of beauty. Consider Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Deneuve, Jacklyn Smith, Heather Lochlear, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Alba. They all fit the beauty bill.

I am not saying we all must fit into a cookie-cutter one size fits all look. These faces and their features work as a template to help each of us gently contour our appearance to move towards  “classic” beauty. That has been my method in helping women look fabulous. Great make-up is art. I am an artist and classic beauties are my guides