Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TELA® BEAUTY ORGANICS & P2™ by Philip Pelusi®

31 Little West 12th Street, NYC


Words/Studio Images Judith Ecochard/

Earth Day should be everyday. We get the awareness campaign when this concept was in its infancy back in the 1960’s (Rachel Carson’s chilling Silent Spring tome that documented the devastating and SCARY effects pesticides have on the environment)…but these celebratory occasions are watered down…no pun intended…

We thought about this as we entered the stunning, over 2000sq. foot loft like space that serves as the salon/performance mothership for the brands---- Tela® and P2™ by Philip Pelusi.

This hair and body luxurious collection (truly) takes the concept of organics seriously…meaning, when the Pittsburgh native Philip Pelusi came up with the brand…his concern was to make the most effective treatment products possible, irrespective of costs, using certified organic ingredients…as a starting point. Not with a set budget and work the other way. The typical MO.

THE RESULTS: Products that are as organic as they can possibly be (and the USDA certified organic contents ingredients are listed with percentages). Clever packaging too so that key goodies don’t become oxidized/contaminated and therefore NOT WORK.


The warm brick walls, floor to ceiling windows filled with natural sunlight brightening up a gloomy winter day, glistening wood floors, and a 19th century Empire design bar that serves organic drinks and teas…are so calming in and of itself…we thought, we could hang here, for hours.

Our visit was more focused however…as we are spending an inordinate amount of time in a swimming pool these days. Besides emitting eau de chlorine from our skin…our hair is now a tinge lighter (actually, we like that)…BUT naturally, we are paranoid about how frazzled our locks might get. 

Tela Design Studio is a full service salon…but we opted for a serious moisturizing treatment, a multi-step slice of heaven that included applications of the Rehydration Moisture Charge and the Red Marine Hydrating Treatment…both from the high end P2™ collection.

And we had our locks expertly trimmed, as we were embarrassed after we saw a back view of just how straggling it all got.

RESULTS: How hair was so shiny and silky soft…we couldn’t believe it. And we are attempting to keep the glow via P2™’s Clarifying Shampoo Treatment (we wet our hair, apply a bit, lather up and slap on our bathing cap to safeguard vs. pool chemicals)…followed by a hose down with the HAIRx Intense Hydrating Treatment…and the Tela® Healer…that we sparingly use from roots to ends…and then drip dry.

FYI: The assortment of products is staggering…that is why retailers like Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom’s--- that carry the line…and the Tela Design Studio itself…have a Consultant Analysis questionnaire (for P2) that’ll help target treatments and everyday care requirements and offer up suggestions…


We love the mission of nurturing creativity in more ways than one…as Tela Design Studio has served as a gracious host for fashion shows and art performances.

FINALE: We were there early afternoon…but as this space is in the hip Meatpacking area of Manhattan…the hours are neighborhood friendly---till 8 or 9PM Monday-Saturday---and Sunday hours too.


A lightweight, greaseless sun-guard ---Guardian is the first organic hair care product that provides superior sun protection with SPF 18…with 75% certified organic ingredients like:d, 

Pomegranate, Green Tea, Bilberry Extract (Tela’s Organic Core Blend)

Hydrating Fusion Complex of Solomon’s Seal, Mountain Ladybell humectants, Plantain, Marshmallow Root and Reishi Mushroom  (moisture, strength)

2-Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Benzophenone-3 and Polysilicone 15----active sunscreen ingredients to protect hair and scalp from UVA/UVB rays.

 HINT: Guys can use this cover a bald spot when out and about.

212 463-8213

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Big Ass Book of Home Décor Launches on April 1st for the "Perfectly Imperfect"


We couldn't stop laughing at this one...and partially because we are desperate for home decor help. Actually, a meaningful SOS is in order.


Designer, author and television personality, Mark Montano, 

is launching the next book in his effusive Big Ass Book series, The Big Ass Book of Home Décor on April 1st. Specializing in turning the “mundane into the insane” on any budget, Montano’s creativity and exuberant personality have made him a household name in the interior design and fashion worlds. The Big Ass Book of Crafts was published in 2008 and is currently the number one selling craft book in the US.

Montano is the author of Dollar Store DécorThe Dummies Guide to Window Treatments and Slip Covers, CosmoGirl Cool Room: 35 Make-It-Yourself Projects and Super SuiteCelebrity fans include Hilary Duff, Shannon Elizabeth and Katherine McPhee."

Just check out the pics...the man gets it and the tips don't require a steady diet of Ramen noodles for the rest of the year. 



Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle NYC
Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Last week, we attended a breakfast that heralded the launch of an online campaign by the makers of Botox® Cosmetic…and introduced spokeswoman TV personality (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) and the VERY CONGENIAL Didiayer Snyder---- as brand advocate/ambassador to the popular injectable.

Actually the #1 injectable, non-invasive cosmetic procedure right now…that “ reduces the appearance of the ‘11’ those moderate to severe vertical lines between the brows.”

The campaign works like this---access the dedicated Internet site EXPRESS KINDNESS CAMPAIGN and fill out the--- one minute (less), eight question profile---including a description of a personal act of kindness. Allegan the company, in turn will donate $25 to one of three chosen charities:

MAKE IT RIGHT (founded by Brad Pitt- with a mission to build at least 150, very eco savvy homes for working families in the devastated 9th ward of New Orleans post hurricane Katrina), (provides suitable work attire, coaching, and mentoring for disadvantaged women worldwide, trying to succeed and become self-sufficient individuals), or CHILDREN’S ACTION NETWORK(taps the entertainment community, among others to help kids in foster care with the basics-like luggage to pack their stuff in--- that most other children take for granted…and finding adoptive families).

Hint-fill it out > one time…and enable one than one charity to benefit!!!. And the questions are basic stuff…not a detailed personal privacy turnoff, IMHO.

Tweet or Facebook the campaign (the site explains just what to do)…and another $5 is donated, for a total of $30.

Add it adds up…that is serious dollars---topping out at $250, 000/per charity, in total. The campaign runs through June 2010.

FYI: The charities selected were chosen by other Botox® brand ambassadors--- the Emmy® nominated actress/singer Ugly Betty fabulousness Vanessa Williams, best-selling author Vicki Iovine, Oscar® nominated actress Virginia Madsen, and 5 time Gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci.

The panel itself lasted about an hour…and gave us time to ask the panel members Joy Gordon (CEO, Dress For Success), Jennifer Perry (Executive Director of the Children’s Action Network), Tom Gordon, Executive Director, Make It Right) and Board Certified Dermatologist/author Dr. Ellen Marmur (Simple Skin Beauty), questions…

Interesting for us, it was noted that most users of Botox® are working women who make under $100,000 a year…but who are also the most generous with their time and money---when it comes to giving to charities/non-profits.

Laurin Sydney, who wrote a book titled, LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE, masterfully led a lively discussion that included her recounting how a celebrity interview with George Clooney, the famous actor---motivated her to use Botox®---- back in 1992 when she was a CNN on air correspondent.

It was kind of a roundabout way of tying in--- getting rid of an ‘angry’ frown face----to acts of kindness…and the campaign…

Whatever…it worked for us.

Didiayer Snyder cheered on how excited she was “to celebrate acts of kindnessas it is a simple way that people can become part of the movement, ” via this online effort. She noted how five gal pals…filling out the survey for a combined total of $125 (or $150) “can dress a woman.”


Tom Gordon filled us in that the support $ will go to helping families “fill the gap” in affordability towards buying a rebuilt home “that is better” than what the 9th ward had before Katrina hit…. meaning made from non-toxic, storm resistant materials and construction, with solar panels …and elevated!

Joy Gordon informed us that Dress For Success started in the basement of a 4th Street NYC church …and how important it was to “create awareness…and get passionate about how to help women succeed.”

For the Children’s Action Network, Jennifer Perry stressed, “It is important to know the stories of the half a million kids (WOW) in foster care…and what they don’t have…and what every kids needs.” LIKE free dermatology and dental care.

The panelists each weighed in on the small acts of kindness that touched their hearts too.

Tom Gordon referred to Brad Pitt’s determination and a kid from upstate New York who saved up his $6/week allowance…and donated a total of $76. “I admire supporters like that.” PLUS: “The job is a mission…everyday something happens…it’s a powerful moment when the mailman starts delivering the mail (to a Make It Right home).”

Perry gave a special shout-out to actor/mench Henry Winkler who “uses his celebrity to give back…and get kids birthday presents.”

Dress For Success’ Joy Gordon recalled that amidst the millions of suits donated…how a donator went out of her way and took the time to hand write a note, tucked in the front jacket pocket, containing words of encouragement: “You are going to succeed…best of luck.”

Additionally, she recalled how she actually gave the shoes off her feet to a woman when a correct sized peds were not available. “…something so small meant so much to someone else,” Gordon recalled.

Dr. Marmur touched on her pro-bono surgeries, for a young, female skin cancer patient…and the lengths to which she and her colleagues went to not only remove the cancerous cells…but to also “make sure we don’t add more disfigurement…to the repair…because: WE CARE.”

All the panelists had personal stories why they loved their jobs…for as Joy Gordon noted…going from being a litigator to Dress For Success (first as Board Member, then on staff)…she is more able “to pay attention to the small things…and look for the good in people.”

There were some questions about Botox® itself…where it was emphasized that only tiny amounts of the toxin are used to temporarily block nerve signals in FDA approved areas of the face.

No surprise, “off-label” use has soared, according to Dr. Marmur but as with any medical procedure…it is vital to have treatment by only those who are experienced, qualified…and legit.

A question about the difference between Botox® Cosmetic and a similar working, Type A toxin, Dysport did come up...with the answer that “there have been no great studies to compare the two…and that both take 3-4 months to wear off.”

Possible side effects (redness, minor bruising) were mentioned too…as were the desired effects from a Botox® treatment…from “baby,” with a lot of expression…to a more frozen look, that seems to be out favor.

And an ice pack was deemed to be just as good as numbing the pain, anecdotally speaking, as a numbing cream.

We asked about donor overload…and the overwhelming need of so many at this time. Perry acknowledged “you might take a back seat for a couple of months…and the Children’s Action Network, as any organization, rolls with the ebb and flow…and sometimes you are not a priority.”

“But people understand what charity is.”

And as Didiayer Snyder concluded,

“We make it easy for people to give easily. This campaign just takes a little time and it is free.”

“I have never seen a gift too small or too big.”






Words/Images Judith Ecochard/Lyramag

It’s amazes us how season after season, Donald Pliner…and his wife Lisa--- with her own very different collection-- manage to cobble out new styles and eye candy twists on popular peds--- that make our hearts beat a little faster…with each preview.

White Washed Suede-Mustard 

Lucky us, we had an extensive chat with the Mrs. during our visit…

We took what he’s (DP) about but we made it a new baby,” she told us about her HOT HOT HOT collection for Fall 2010.

It doesn’t matter how old you are…Lisa for Donald Pliner is a shoe for all ages…and about having your own style…like Gwen Stefani, a working mom…they are role models.”

So true…but also, the Lisa for Donald Pliner customer has attitude and sass.

IAGO... we would wear these every day ($250)

“My toe is more extreme,”

...a structural bump that we think elongates the foot in an elegant way. And many of the soles are green--- and this we love…the traffic lug sole…that are urban friendly for walkers!

Plus, Pliner was doing the stacked hidden wedge/platform heel, giving gals height comfortably...way before any other line we ever previewed.

Highlights for us…

The distressed suede over the knee…great with denim or with office attire.

The classic booties in a earthy tone but taken “more bike-ish” with welting inside.

A classic pump gets roughed up a but with studs.

“It’s fun,” Pliner noted, And the basic black pump has a removable ankle strap.

The wedges that are popular now…usually weigh a ton. But Lisa’s are nearly weightless!!!!!

White Washed Suede-Graphite Black

There’s a tractor sole, studded (“great with jeans,”) and in leather materials for Fall.

Since boots are all seasons now…we favor the stretch materials that crop up in Pliner offerings. L for DP have some of the best EVER.

Check out the studded backs….the Fabian.

And water resistant too. IMHO: you can tell these kickers are designed by a female.

Biker boots get the gggrrrllll. With a high heel with just amount of pitch, studded, and a peep toe...

BBB-WW Calf-Black

They’re sexy and are sturdy---made for walkin'.

There’s also a flat version in a crepe sole.

Some women we know only wear flats. They would do well to check out these mustard shade peds….with a hidden wedge insole for support.

Wash Buffalo/Oilskin

TOP PICK: We wanted to walk out with the biker boots---‘smokin’ hot’---- over the knee …yes the peeper toe is HOT….but we loved the closed version with the studs that come through the leather.


"Texas girl that I am,” Pliner said…there’s cowboy kickers too.

“But, it’s made sexier with different details…a crepe sole…that’s very light.”

Also…the “flower child” kick out boot….

Other popular tones for Fall 2010:

White washed leather that is really a scrubbed suede, for texture.

And braids and studs…”fun," urban easy…throw it on and go.

And with the studded, buckled Boots---“…if it doesn’t work with jeans today, it’s not going to work, “ Pliner opined (correctily, IMHO).

“Who we are, what we like, there’s not an age on that. Every material has it’s own story.”



Pliner has a big hit with the beaded clutches and shoes that are hand done in India…and are all variations on the rug runner in the Fifth Avenue corporate offices.

New styles for Fall 2010

Variations on ---the fur collection…with a special pulldown collar.


Lace/Crush Antique Metallic Collection

Python Print Velvet

Eartha-Panther Stretch Elastic in Gray/Espresso = breathable too. $295

Our favorite kickers fall into this textured collection..with zipper hardware details…with coordinated bags. And love this booties...with double buckles. The extras...make it. 


Kickers...over the knee and booty height with a  wide buckle--- make them sexy functional... distressed leather in all styles!

In addition to the shoes emblazoned with the Peace symbol with proceeds going for the
PEACE FOR THE CHILDREN FOUNDATION, founded by Donald and Lisa Pliner to aid kids in distressed areas of the world….

There is quite the head turning grouping of peds for BULLETS FOR PEACE …which may or may not get passed airport security. What this organization does is take bullet casings, turn them into eye catching necklaces (and a dog tag)…and recycle them…for “BULLETS FOR PEACE RELOADING LIFE.” Founded by Israeli Rafi Anteby …the collections, (silver, “couture,” LED) ---Bullets for Peace necklaces donates some proceeds 12 charities with anti-violence goals/missions.

WOW…no wonder just about every name,  dropping celeb wears a piece for peace.

Now Donald Pliner has amazing peds in a unique collaboration…so the boots aren’t just knock-outs…they are comfortable too…

We say… get on the waiting list now. Deliveries anticipated in late summer…so you’ll have to wait until then “to walk for peace.”




 DJP has two collections of men's footwear...

The higher end DONALD J PLINER, "Made in the Mountains of Italy"--- have styles for all occasions...including masculine beaded slip-ons. 

Lug soles, 

lace ups---a handsome take on outerwear for urban lifestyles...always in style!

EMERIK $298.00

LEITH $325

CLYDE2-SA Suede Patent

Vintage Suede $415

                                                                     Vintage Suede---both at $298



BRAD- Pebble Grain $150

BEY-BU-Burnished Suede $190

Terrific price points...with loafers and office perfect slip-ons starting at $130 and boots...hip  variations on the classic chuka ---in vintage suede of brushed bay $185 and $160 respectively. WOW.

Why we love up close and personal visits...IMHO---the soles of the shoes, never pictured in print reads...are always seen in real life.

So, why wouldn't anyone want to know what lies beneath?