September 19, 2013 at 9:04 am , by Maggie Niemiec
I sat down this week with celebrity chef, author, mom, and all-around superwoman Giada de Laurentiis. She teamed up with Clairol this month for the “Healthy Hot Challenge,” encouraging women to try a new mind, body, or beauty challenge every day for 28 days. Giada gave us the scoop on how we can all live our best lives (and just how she stays so gorgeous!).
I want people to know that being healthy is hot. Healthy is many different things to many different people, which is why this challenge is fun. It’s more than just what you eat and how much sleep you get, it’s also challenging yourself to try something new every day, conquer your fears, and go on some more adventures. It can be as simple as downloading that e-book you’ve been wanting to read forever or visiting a restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to or donating your time once a month to a charity you really care about. It’s little things like that that I think enhance our lives and make us happier people.
What’s one major change you’ve made that’s really made an impact?
Yoga. I was never interested in doing yoga before my daughter [Jade, 5] was born. I was a gym rat, and six months into my pregnancy my doctor suggested yoga. I thought, “That is not a workout. I’m never going to sweat!” And instead it was one of the biggest workouts I’ve ever done. It actually changed the shape of my body because it lengthened and strengthened from the core. I feel healthier, stronger, and more secure because my core is strong. So I get up every day and do some yoga just to breathe and center myself for the day.
Ok, I have to ask: How do you stay so trim when you’re constantly cooking Italian food?
Portion control. I used to eat a lot, lot more, and I really think it’s about moderation. In everything you do. I think you can have a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. That’s kind of how it works.
You’re always on the go. How do you de-stress and relax? (And what tips can we steal from you!?)
De-stressing is hard, especially at the end of the day. A lot of people don’t sleep well because of it. So what I like to do is – this is going to sound strange — but I do a little yoga before I go to bed. I lie on blocks that open up my shoulders and I try to stretch before I go to bed, for just a minute and a half to two minutes. I also have a 5-minute meditation app that I listen to. I have a lavender mister I spray on my pillow, and the scent is very soothing. The other thing is that you have to get rid of your phones and your iPads and all your electronics in the bedroom. That’s the best way to decompress.
I’m dying to know: What’s your secret to glowing skin and super-healthy hair?
Well I exfoliate every day. You can use baking soda mixed with water or baking soda mixed with olive oil or almond oil if you have dry skin. Just gently exfoliate your face, your neck, your chest, and your hands so you look glowy and shiny.
As for my hair, I use Natural Instincts hair color, but my favorite thing in that box is the conditioner. It’s fantastic, especially for someone like myself because my hair goes through so much torture every day. So I use it twice a month. If my hair is really dry and I’m traveling a ton, then I use it on the ends once a week. I’ll use coconut oil on the ends, too.
How do you update your beauty routine for fall?
I’ll go a little bit darker with my hair color. I also like to change my lipstick, and lately I’ve been really liking a sparkly eye shadow. It’s an easy pick-me-up! I’m really into nail art these days as well, so I mix it up a lot. I’ll do a lot of these little, inexpensive things that actually brighten my day. Sometimes it makes me feel younger, you know? Changing things up is really important.
September 5, 2013 at 8:54 am , by Sonia Harmon
We love Taye Diggs for his acting whether it’s on TV (Private Practice), the big screen (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) or the Broadway stage (Rent, anyone?), but we especially love him for his commitment to children’s education. The issue especially resonates with Diggs since he’s the proud dad of his four-year-old son, Walker, with wife and actress Idina Menzel. We chatted with the actor (and children’s book author!) about being a parent, his new movies and the hilarious six-second Vine videos he posts on Twitter.
Why is education important to you?
Once I found out that around two-thirds of kids in poverty didn’t have books at home, I partnered with Kellogg’s and Scholastic to help change that. I was a very avid reader and I have no idea where I’d be today were it not for books. And now I’m a children’s author; in 2011 I wrote a children’s book called Chocolate Me. So this is something that’s close to my heart. (Click here to learn more about how you can help give hundreds of thousands of books to kids.)
Where did you get the inspiration to write Chocolate Me?
I wrote it to help kids who are dealing with the same situation that I dealt with as a child. My mother did an amazing job, but it would’ve been even easier for her if she could’ve just whipped out a book about that specific moment when kids were making fun of me because of my skin color and how I should love myself and find my self-esteem from within. I’m working on a second book called Mixed Up Mike that will address my son’s point of view, being the product of an interracial marriage.
What’s been the most challenging part of parenthood?
Realizing how much more vulnerable I am. I have no control over how much love I feel or how much fear I have when he leaves the house everyday. But I relish the moments when he hugs us and tells us how much he loves us. The other day he even said he wished he could go back in time so that we could be friends in school.
That’s so adorable. And you’re a working dad—you’ve got a couple of films coming up.
Yes, I worked with Paula Patton on a movie called Baggage Claim and the role was a bit of a departure for me. My character is this overly ambitious, self-involved politician who’s obsessed with his little dog. So that left room for lots of comedy and improvising. I’m also starring in Best Man Holiday, which is a sequel to The Best Man. It’s the same character, but he’s older and has more experience under his belt and you get to see how the relationships have changed.
We hadn’t had a night like that in Manhattan in a while so we just took advantage. It was so much fun. I love those Vine videos. I could do eight a day.
August 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm , by Maggie Niemiec
Did you tune in to the season finale of The Bachelorette last night? My girlfriends and I watched together, and we couldn’t get over how gorgeous Desiree’s eyelashes looked despite all that crying. (Seriously, so much crying!) So we asked our friends at the show what exactly Des does to get such amazingly beautiful eyes. It turns out she actually has eyelash extensions (by Danielle Asher at StudioLash in Ventura, California). Aha! That’s how she can make it through all those teary moments—sad tears over Brooks, sympathetic tears for Drew, and let’s not forget her gloriously happy tears with Chris—without raccoon eyes! Lash extensions typically last about a month, and you don’t even need to wear mascara with them. Interested? Check out our beauty editor’s experience with them here.
May 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
Season 16 has come to a close. I have to admit I had no idea who would take the mirror ball trophy home this season. The race was the tightest its been in a long time. I thought with Zendaya’s 2.7 million twitter followers, she was a shoo-in for the title. But Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough worked some magic on their freestyle routine and created a very profound moment of television. I ran into Derek backstage right after they won and he told me that he was inspired by my call to Kellie to find more expression and connect more to the emotions of the dance. I think he said it haunted him as he was putting the freestyle routine together. I’m so glad that he understood what I was going for when I made those comments. That’s what makes a winner to me—someone who can take on the challenges we give them instead of taking offense to them. Dancing With the Stars is a challenge that takes stamina, strategy and a willingness to face parts of yourself that you don’t want to. In order to win you have to find a way to incorporate our critiques and comments into your dances. When I gave Kellie feedback about the emotional quality of her dance, I was trying to help her grow.
I had a feeling that this season was going to be a tight race to the finish line. I know that the key to winning this competition is having breakthroughs and growth on top of the fantastic dances we expect in the finals. But magic is made when you push yourself to do something that’s really not a “sure thing.” When you accomplish that goal, there’s nothing like it.
A lot of shows out there will fake moments to create dramatic television, but I think the audience has become savvy to that and our audience is smarter than that. Kellie and Derek’s win is proof. I’m not saying that Zendaya and Val did anything fake or anything like that. Not at all. She is a phenomenal performer and Val’s choreography showcased her beautifully. She’s been outstanding the whole way and she has a special quality when she performs that will take her career very far. But Kellie hadn’t been completely connecting on an emotional level to her dances. She hadn’t really let go until that moment. She made progress, but in her final freestyle she discovered something new about herself and we all witnessed it. Derek created a piece of choreography that allowed her this discovery; in fact, it pushed her right into it. There was nowhere to hide. The movements lent themselves to vulnerability and heart connection. Kellie stepped right up to the plate and swung a home run.
I’m so happy for her success. As a dancer it is this heart-centered and honest type of performance that touches your audience’s core and creates loyal fans and supporters. I’ve been in this business for a long time. I’ve seen talent come and go and I’ve seen amazingly talented people never find themselves in their performances and get lost in the shuffle of the entertainment industry. Eventually they fade out, but every once in a while someone is able to push themselves past their own limits and dig so deep that they find a whole new layer. But this applies to anyone. You have to continue to push yourself. Just when you get comfortable, I think it is imperative that you push and see what else there is and what else you have to offer this world. This courage is what creates a satisfying life and that’s something we all crave.
This was a big season for all of us at DWTS. We hit our 300th episode and it was the end of our two-episodes-a-week run. That part is bittersweet. I love having all of the production numbers and I think we did some amazing work with the DWTS Troupe. They were brilliant and truly a highlight of the season. They gave our show a fresh energy and I think it’s a good time to give thanks. Who knows what will happen in the future for the show, but I know our talented producers will come up with some great ideas to ensure that the show is even better. Now we’re pushing ourselves out of our own comfort zone. We’re heading into the unknown with courage and excitement, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Change can be a bit scary, but it’s good and a very important part of life. I know I speak for everyone when I say we’re so grateful to all of our viewers and fans that have tuned in for our 300+ episodes and we look forward the next 300.
What’s next for me? I’ll be busy producing my gala for The CAI Animal Project which is on October 18th, 2013 at the Century Plaza Hotel Ballroom in Los Angeles. There will be dancing, and everyone asks me when I’ll dance; well I’ll be dancing in this show for sure! And so will a lot of familiar faces. It’s going to be exciting. Raising money for animals in need is going to be my focus for the next few months and if you’d like to help, please check out our website, www.caiap.org, or if you’d like to help with our fundraising by buying some of the looks I’ve worn on the show, go to www.fashionproject.com. I have a closet there and I’ll be adding even more clothes so check back often. You can have a part of DWTS fashion history and do something good for the animals. It’s a win-win!
Congratulations to our Season 16 winners, Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough! And congratulations to our runners-up, Zendaya Coleman and Val Chermkovskiy. Both duos were fantastic and really wowed us with their talent and fortitude. I thought this was our best season ever and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Now it’s time for a mini-staycation! I’ll see you soon, and if you miss me, just follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/carrieanninaba.
Take care and God bless.
May 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
Three hundred episodes! Wow. It’s an incredible feeling to celebrate our 300th episode. Back in the day, Mash was a very popular show that went on for quite a while. It felt like it was on the air my whole life, and they made 251 episodes. It was a breakthrough. I remember how America tuned in when it went off the air. It was such a big moment in my television history and now, to be a part of a show that has completed 300 episodes completed is an honor to say the least. I want to point out that there are three people who have been on every single episode since day one: myself, Tom Bergeron, and Bruno Tonioli.
It’s been a wonderful ride with extraordinary choreography, beautiful costumes and incredible production value. I’m really proud of our team. It takes so many people to make a show happen.
Here’s a list (in chronological order) of my top 10 dance performances on Dancing with the Stars in honor of our 300th episode.
1. Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke
Freestyle (Season 2)
This piece was such an inventive and entertaining way to approach the finale. Cheryl really created a great number here and their performance brought the house down. It was so exciting. Magic!
2. Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough
Quickstep (Season 5)
This performance was vibrant and lively, and it showcased Helio at his best.
3. Mel B. and Maksim Chermkovskiy
Paso Doble (Season 6)
It was powerful, and her costume was brilliant and very aggressive. She set a whole new standard for costumes and performance in this showstopper!
4. Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke
Argentine Tango (Season 8)
Wow. This was such a work of art and passion. Their partnership was such a sensual one. They just had chemistry that wouldn’t quit. Gilles had this wonderful way of adding a suave debonair touch to all the dances he did. He was like a character from a romance novel that’s come to life. This was smoldering at it’s best.
5. Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough
Quickstep (Season 10)
This one was such a classic. It was a tribute to the musicals that inspired so many of us to be where we are today. They danced in harmony and really made all of us feel good!
6. Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd
Bollywood (Season 15)
I loved this dance. We’d never had a Bollywood performance on the show before and it was just so energetic and lively. It really showcased the vibrancy of the Bollywood cultural phenomenon.
7. Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess
Vienesse Waltz (Season 16)
This was one of the most emotionally charged moments we’ve ever had on the show. He dedicated this dance to his daughter, Meg, and it touched our hearts in a very special way. He made an impact on all of us. He was celebrating his sobriety and his love for his daughter. It was a moment that had us all in tears.
8. Derek Hough
Macy’s Stars of Dance (Season 16)
Wow—this was such a great tribute to Fred Astaire’s Dancing on the Ceiling number but with a cool and modern twist. It was really innovative and pushed all understanding of gravity. But I think if you really want to appreciate the number and choreography and performances by Jaimie Goodwin and Derek, you have to see it while the “box” is moving. It was really something to behold.
9. Zendaya and Val Chermkovskiy
Samba (Season 16)
While it may not have gotten the best scores, I just loved this cool fusion samba. Her Beyonce-like presence on the dance floor blew us all away. The stylings of her movements and the way her body sung the dance made this a cool number not to be forgotten.
10. Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough
Argentine Tango (Season 16)
They started the dance in silhouette showcasing her beautiful lines, and her lines were perfection. Kellie delivered an impeccable and passionate performance.
Truly, there are too many great memories to mention. Being a part of the dance revival on television has been a great honor and achievement. I’ve been fortunate enough to see two generations of dance—back in the early 90s when the Fly Girls brought hip hop to mainstream television, and now again, as we see ballroom and Latin dances in our living rooms. I celebrate the great mind that really championed our show when we were just a pitch for a pilot. I have to give credit to Andrea Wong who really gave DWTS a shot in America. Here’s to you Andrea, and to the BBC and ABC for all you’ve done for dance in television. We’ve seen so many boundaries broken down and creative visions actualized; we are a lucky generation to have so much dance on the tube. It wasn’t always like this, but I’m sure glad it is now and I’m happy to be a part of all of it.
Until next week, keep dancing!
May 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
Okay, I said the word “fart” on national TV. Live television is a blast and you never know what’s going to happen next! I apologize to anyone who hates the word or is trying to make sure their child doesn’t grow up making fart jokes. I honestly didn’t mean to offend anyone. It just made sense at the time. Sometimes the wrong word comes out. Len and Bruno were laughing so hard at me during the commercial break, and then they got on the bandwagon and said the word about 20 times back to me. Lol. I love my boys. I guess I’m just grateful I didn’t say “fart” and then fall off my chair, because that would have been a doozy! And my friends would never let me live that one down.
On a serious note, I have to say, I wish I could’ve given Andy Dick and Sharna a better score. But I couldn’t because at this point in the competition, I start to hone in on details and get really specific about things. I wanted Andy to stay in the competition until the end. He brought incredible heart to the show and he has a special quality to him. He’s a love bug on the dance floor and I love and respect him for his efforts and vulnerability. I was going to give him a 6 for that final routine, but then he had the lift in his routine, which means I dock a point. It happens. It’s my duty to do that, but I do hope he is okay. I worry about him because he is truly facing some big demons in his life. I want him to win the battle of staying clean and off of drugs as well as staying the positive role model he’s been this whole season. He’s given hope to the underdogs and shown that change is possible, fears can be faced, and demons can be battled and won—if you really want it. Andy really wanted to do well. He wasn’t afraid of making mistakes or looking silly. He just wanted to be his own personal best. In this day and age, we need more role models like him. If being inspirational were a category, I would’ve given him a 10. If courage were a category, yet another 10. If the power to move us were the only criteria we had to judge on, I’d give him a 10. Read more
April 22, 2013 at 9:53 am , by Mandy Velez
Looking for a guilty pleasure and like animals? Okay, us too. That’s why National Geographic’s Spoiled Rotten Pets is our must-see show this month. Host Beth Stern (Howard’s wife and the spokesperson for the North Shore Animal League) profiles America’s most pampered pets and their doting owners to show us just how far their love can go.
Viewers meet Wilma and Pebbles, two pot-bellied pigs who live with a couple inside their Pennsylvania home and get regular spa treatments, some diapered ducks, a few Pup Scouts, and a Pomeranian that has a bar mitzvah – yep – you read that right, a pupmitzvah!
Stern told us she and husband Howard have been known to spoil their four cats, too. “I’ve gotten horrible nights sleep due to the fact I didn’t want to move one of my cats, because they were resting so comfortably,” she says. “But I think anyone that loves animals or has pets is going to see themselves in each episode.”
Want to see it for yourself? Check out this trailer.