Finding Your Bliss Unexpected Ways

A bit off topic, perhaps, but I am excited to attend the Minnesota Orchestra this weekend and see my good friend Eiji Oue conducting. I met Eiji when he came in for a haircut many years ago when he was the director of the MInnesota Orchestra. Before entering the beauty business, I started my life journey as a music major at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

I had entered St. Olaf with excitement and anticipation. FINALLY I’d be out of small town rural farm country Minnesota and in college, where I’d suddenly blend in and find like minded souls. In truth I had only traveled two hours east to another small town in the country. I chose St. Olaf because, aside from it being a stellar music college everyone looked “preppy.” Plaid pleated skirts with peter pan collared blouses and adorable ribbons in their hair the girls were just as I imagined in those Hollywood musicals. Having read the “Preppy Handbook” cover to cover, I had been preparing since my sophomore year in high school the cocksure attitude of the ultimate preppy. Off I went that fall of 1982 in my Kelly green cotton trousers, matching polo (collar up), canary cable knit over my shoulders, and of course, the requisite boat shoes sans socks. Even aptly attired, I didn’t fit in. I felt lonely, isolated, intimidated and uncomfortable and I couldn’t “find my peeps.”

The following summer I finally met my peeps at the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park. I started my sophomore year determined to be a new man. I grew a beard, permed my mullet and, shocking I know, smoked cigarettes. Players. Black box. I lived off campus and had my own car. A dark brunette shielded with bronzer and bravado, I bore little resemblence to my fellow well-scrubbed Scandinavian student body.

To this day, if you happen to catch on youtube the PBS presentation of the 1983  St. Olaf Christmas Festival you will find me appearing like “Where’s Waldo?” standing out from the mass blonde and fluffy haired chorus like a strangely shiny Afro-Midwesterner with big white teeth.

The point I’m arriving at is I quit and moved to Minneapolis where I was hired as a professional singer/dancer. After a few years I attended beauty school “for something to fall back on.” In my early 30’s, when I began to fear I’d never live my dream to sing on stage (my first mid life crisis, I call it) Eiji was referred to me for a haircut. He heard me sing, had me audition for the decision makers and as a result I had the opportunity to do what I only dreamed could happen while attending St. Olaf.

I was recently interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio and for once it was not about beauty tips. It was a culmination of the part of me I rarely have the opportunity to share. Here’s the interview.

At this juncture I’m happy to say that when you find yourself your people you can’t help but find your bliss. I’m so grateful to you who help me continue to share what I know and continue to learn. I so and appreciate your kind responses.

Isn’t life grand?


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A Gallery Of Life Changing Makeovers!

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Mother’s Day Makeover Gallery

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MAKEOVER! I Look Like Me! by Christopher Hopkins, The Makeover Guy

Terese flew in from Nashville and at 61 wanted a BIG change. So that’s exactly what we did. Amy Goulette, one of the countries leading makeup artists helped draw her wide set eyes in with brows and liner, plus contouring. Margaret Bodensteiner, lead colorist at reVamp! salonspa in Minneapolis, created the perfect red. In the end we all agreed, this was one of our favorite makeovers ever.

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Organized. How Quickly Clear Your Closet Clutter

When I wrote this step-by-step closet cleaning system for my book “Staging Your Comeback,” I didn’t realize it would lead to days of “research” as I attempted to streamline the process for myself. What a mess I had. And what emotional angst discarding beautiful, designer clothes that had nothing wrong with them. But they were obviously dated. And even if they might come back in style it would scream time stamp on someone who wore it when.

Letting go of the past allows us to move forward and flowers can’t flourish in a weed filled garden.

An organized closet helps organize your life.

An organized closet helps organize your life.

So let’s do it!

First, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Note paper and pen, or electronic tablet
  • 6 Large plastic bags
  • Stick on labels
  • Collapsible rolling rack (optional)
  • Full length mirror
  • Hand mirror (for the back shots, of course)

Step One:  Create your space. Put on some beautiful relaxing music, make a cup of tea, and create a positive energy of change and improvement.

Step Two: Label your bags; Charity, Trash, Friends/Family, Alterations, Cleaners and Undecided

Step Three: Clear out the clutter. I prefer to do things in sections. Trouser, shirts, jackets, suits, shoes and so on. Take each section, place on your bed then move to step four.

Step Four: Try on each garment and examine in the full length mirror.

Step Five: Ask yourself the following questions (and be honest)!


  • YES:  if it needs alterations or cleaning put it in the alterations or cleaning bag. If not put it back in the closet.
  • NO: Put it in the Charity, Friends/Family or Trash.
  • I’M NOT SURE: Sometimes you don’t love it, but it suits a purpose. Put those items in in the undecided bag and leave it until later. (I also call it the procrastination bag).


  • YES: Put it back in the closet.
  • NO: If it can be altered to fit or flatter put it in the alterations bag. If not put it in the Charity, Friends/Family, or Trash.
  • I’M NOT SURE:  sometimes a garment doesn’t fit or flatter but you can’t let go. Put it in the “undecided” bag.


  • YES: If it doesn’t need alterations or cleaning, put it back in the closet.
  • NO: Does it fit an alternate you? Vacation wear? A theme or costume party? If not. You know where to put it.
  • I’M NOT SURE: Undecided bag.

4.  HAVE I OUTGROWN THIS? (Is it appropriate for my accumulated wisdom, experience and good taste?)

  • YES:  Be honest. It’s difficult, but if you feel at all like this may have worked a few years ago, but you’d rather not risk looking desperate or dated get RID of it!
  • NO: If you feel confident that from all angles represents you and your life experience with pride, INTO THE CLOSET!
  • I’m Not Sure: If you squint and can imagine if you lost that weight or maybe you’re being too hard on yourself ask yourself this. Do you feel 100 percent confident in it? Still can’t decide?  Undecided pile. You may have to enlist the eye of a friend who can be brutally honest.


  • YES: If it doesn’t need alterations or cleaning, put it back in the closet.
  • NO: If it’s a trend that says 5 or more years ago. Ta Ta. That was then.
  • I’M NOT SURE. Give it away anyway. Your undecided pile is becoming it’s own project.

Step Six: Analyze your undecided pile. Ask yourself some serious questions as to why you’re hanging on. If you haven’t worn an item because it goes with nothing, note on paper or e-tablet what you need to make it an outfit and start a shopping list.

Step Seven: Archive anything you just can’t give up. Put it in a box, label it and give it an expiration date of two years, noted on the box. If it turns out you’ve still not worn or missed any items by the expiration date, let them go.

Step Eight: Once you have gone through the process with all the items in your closet, move on to your drawers and do it again. Repeat with accessories.

Step Nine:  Take your alterations to the tailor, your shoes to the cobbler, and any jewelry that needs repairing to a jeweler.

Step Ten: Take the soiled laundry to the cleaner. Give your family and friend their new hand-me-downs. Donate your charity bag and discard your trash bag.

PHEW!  What a relief!  Don’t you feel better just reading that?  Imagine how you feel when you DO it?  Here’s a thought.  While you’re inspired, why not just do one simple thing right now?  Before you do anything else, right now collect the items from the “What You’ll Need” list. Put them in place.

The beginning of a thousand miles begins with just one step. You’ve already made it, you’re here, at the end. Print this off. Give yourself a date on your calendar and commit. Make it fun, exciting, thought provoking, whatever. Any time you clean out the clutter your mind clears, the future looks brighter, and hope and possibility fills your mind. How’s that for a no cost project that inspires and improves your entire life?

Cheers to the new, fresh, motivated, organized and forward thinking you!

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MAKEOVER! Thinning Fine Hair

Sue wanted a change. She had worn her hair basically the same all of her adult life. She also doesn’t want to spend much time fixing it.

I showed her that she actually had natural curl, but no protien structure to support it. Thus “no body.” We added protein and let it air dry, then touched up the ends with a thermal iron. We also added a fringe (bangs) which are more youthful and while keeping the length. Another option would be very short. But she wanted to be able to “go back” if needed, since her daughter was getting married in a few months.

We kept the makeup natural, and just evened out the complexion bringing the eyeliner from the lower lid to the upper to lift the eyes.

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Thinning Hair? What Works.

Hair Loss In Women

Up to forty percent of American women suffer some sort of hair loss. Often devastating to self-image and emotional well being the request for information on hair loss products and therapies is a common discussion in my chair. Often more devastating than many serious diseases, it’s emotional toll affects physical health. But since it doesn’t seem to be life threatening, many doctors dismiss hair loss anxiety.

Your hair will remain on your head unless something such as hormone imbalance, disease, or other systemic condition is not present. Hair loss can be a short term symptom of stress, pregnancy, rapid weight loss, medication or it can become a life long battle.

Different causes require different treatments. First let’s look at the causes.

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA)

Androgenetic alopecia occurs when testosterone converts to DHT. This in turn shrinks hair follicles which in turn causes hair loss. Rising androgen levels can still be within what doctors consider “normal” on a blood test, even though they are high enough to cause a problem. Even with no rise, if your body chemistry is overly sensitive to androgen, hair loss can still be a problem

“Male” hormones in women do not need to be raised to trigger a problem. But “female” hormones, when lowered, give an edge DHT. This imbalance can cause hair loss. Consequently when women’s hormone levels decline as menopause approaches and drop during menopause, many women notice hair loss. Androgenic alopecia can be caused by ovarian cysts, high androgen index birth control pills, pregnancy and menopause. Heredity also plays a major role.

Telogen Effluvium (TE)

Following a trauma to the system such as child birth, malnutrition, a severe infection, major surgery or extreme stress, the three hair growth phases (grow, rest, shed) can shift all at once into the shedding phase. You may notice shedding from 6 weeks to three months following the trauma. It is possible to lose handfuls of hair at time when in full-blown TE. Most commonly hair will grow back when life returns to normal.

Anagen Effluvium (AE)

Usually associated with chemotherapy, hair follicles in the growing phase are greatly affected. Soon after chemotherapy begins approximately 90 percent or more of the hairs can shed while still in this phase.

Traction Alopecia

Caused by localized trauma to the hair follicles from something that pulls the hair over time, Traction Alopecia can result from braiding, cornrows, tight ponytails, and extensions. If the condition is detected early enough, the hair will regrow.

Oral Contraceptives

Few women are aware that oral contraceptives commonly trigger hair loss. Women who are predisposed to hormonal related hair loss or who are hypersensitive to the hormonal changes taking place in their bodies can experience hair loss to varying degrees while on the pill or more commonly, several weeks or months after stopping the pill.

The American Hair Loss Association recommends that all women interested in using oral contraceptives for the prevention of conception should only use low-androgen index birth control pills.And if there is a strong predisposition for genetic hair loss in your family they recommend using another non-hormonal form of birth control.

Chemical Stress

Chemical stress from irritants, pollutants, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation can also contribute to hair loss. As hair thins more UV Rays cause thickening and yellowing of the skin which in turn shrinks (and chokes) remaining hair. Keeping a clean scalp and protecting hair and scalp from UV rays will help.

Birth control pills from lowest androgen index to highest:

Desogen, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Micronor, Nor-Q D, Ovcon-35, Brevicon/Modicon, Ortho Norvum 7/7/7, Ortho Novum 10-11, Tri-Norinyl, Norinyl and Ortho 1/35, Demulen 1/35, Triphasil/Tri-Levien, Nordette, Lo/Ovral, Ovrette, Ovral, Loestrin1/20, Loestrin 1.5/30.

Hormonal contraceptives that can cause or exacerbate hair loss. 


Implants, such as Norplant, are small rods implanted surgically beneath the skin, usually on the upper arm. The rods release a continuous dose of progestin to prevent ovulation.


Progestin injections, such as Depo-Provera, are given into the muscles of the upper arm or buttocks. This injection prevents ovulation.


The skin patch (Ortho Evra) is placed on your shoulder, buttocks, or other location. It continually releases progestin and estrogen.


The vaginal ring (NuvaRing) is a flexible ring about 2 inches in diameter that is inserted into the vagina. It releases progestin and estrogen.

So What Can You Do?


Tests that can help diagnose hair loss causes:

  • Hormone levels (DHEAs, testosterone, androstenedione, prolactin, follicular stimulating hormone, and leutinizing hormone
  • Serum iron
  • Serum ferritin
  • Total iron binding capacity (TIBC)
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (T3, T4, TSH)
  • VDRL (a screening test for syphilis)
  • Complete blood count (CBC)

Scalp biopsy

Having a scalp biopsy where a small section of scalp usually 4mm in diameter is removed and examined under a microscope can help to help determine the cause of hair loss.

Hair pull

The hair pull test is a simple diagnostic test in which the physician lightly pulls a small amount of hair (approx 100 simultaneously) in order to determine if there is excessive loss. Normal range is one to three hairs per pull.


The densitometer is a handheld magnification device which is used check for miniaturization of the hair shaft.


The use of topical and oral anti-androgens can help prevent further hair loss and encourage some hair regrowth. Stopping treatment, unfortunately, results in resumed hair loss.

Though effectiveness varies from person to person, many women find using these treatments have helped their hair and their self-esteem.


Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment

There are three stages of hair growth: Anagen, Telogen and Catagen or more simply, growing, resting and shedding.

Mioxodil shortens the resting phase of the hair cycle, causing premature entry of growing hair prolonging growing stage while increasing hair follicle size.

Clinical trials of topical 2% and 5% minoxidil in male and female hair loss have all shown remarkably rapid increase in hair growth. The increase is evident within 6–8 weeks of treatment and has generally peaked by 12–16 weeks. Minoxidil seems to be more effective for women compared to men. The makers of Minoxidil recommend women only use the 2% concentration of Minoxidil and not 5%. Many dermatologists prescribe Minoxidil 5% for women with AGA if used under their supervision. Some small clinical trials have been conducted on 5% Minoxidil showing that the 5% solution is significantly more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair than the 2% solution.

Androgen Receptor Inhibitors

Aldactone / Spironolactone

Spironolactone or the more popular brand name Aldactone is a diuretic used to reduce the fluid in your body without the loss of potassium. It is also used to treat hypertension and edema and to treat potassium deficiency. Spironolactone slows down the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries preventing DHT from messing with your follicles.

Tagamet / Cimetidine

Cimetidine sold under the brand name Tagamet is a histamine blocker used mainly to treat gastrointestinal ulcers. Cimetidine also has a fairly powerful anti-androgenic effect and has shown to block DHT from casting its evil spell on your hair.

Cyproterone Acetate

Cyproterone acetate is not available in the US and is thought of as one of the last resorts for treating female pattern hair loss because of its possible toxicity and long term side effects.


Also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and commonly prescribed at menopause, estrogen and progesterone pills and creams are probably the most common systemic form of treatment for thinning hair for women in menopause or for those who lack estrogen and/or progesterone for other reasons.

Oral Contraceptives

Since birth control pills decrease the production of ovarian androgens, they can be used to treat women’s hair loss. Only low androgen index birth control pills should be used to treat hair loss. High androgen index birth control pills actually contribute to hair loss.


Ketoconazole is currently used as a prescription antifungal agent that can cause a reduction in the production of testosterone and other androgens. Because of this action, it can be used to help treat hair loss. Nizoral shampoo contains 2 percent Ketoconazole and is prescribed not only for the treatment of scalp conditions, but also in combination with other treatments for hair loss.


Finesteride works quite well for most men in both preventing hair loss and triggering regrowth, and it may work for some women, although women must not take it if they are pregnant and must not get pregnant while on the drug because of the risk of birth defects in a male fetus.

Cyproterone Acetate with Ethinyloestradiol

Sold under the brand name Diane 35 and Diane 50, this contraceptive tablet is prescribed in Europe for women’s hair loss. The drug works by blocking some of the actions of male hormones commonly present in women. Currently this drug is not available in the US.

For more in depth information check this out.


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TRENDING! Iridescence. How To Wear It.

Iridescent Dress

Shimmer and shine, luster and gloss, all that captures light captures the eye. But how do you wear it and where should you put it?

Iridescence is a texture that is used to draw attention to itself. Consequently any place on your body that shines will appear larger, especially in a flash photo. And any flaw under the shine will be magnified. Read: Shapewear.  If you can feel any undergarment’s line with your hand, we will see it when you move.

Less is definitely more with iridescence which in large doses easily looks overdone and flashy off stage. Keep anything that reflects light on the areas of your body you want to enlarge or draw attention. If you’re a vertical A, an iridescent boxy cropped jacket will be a great investment. If you’re a Y consider a skirt or slacks that capture the light and send it back to your audience. With a wider waist, consider a flashy scarf and skirt or hip length handbag to divide focus.

The easiest and most practical piece may be an iridescent accessory, such as a handbag, shoes or scarf. The most important point is to just HAVE FUN with it. This simple perk may be the most practical punch to your wardrobe this year.

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The Return of “Summer Sheer” Hosiery

Tights. Stockings. Nylons. Pantyhose. Whatever the current term, hosiery appears to be making it’s long awaited (at least by me) return.

If you know me you know I love hosiery. I have fond memories under the Sunday dinner table engaged by beautiful silky-sheer toned legs and heels. I came of age during mini skirts and hot pants worn with sheer hosiery. A regular discussion I found fascinating was in finding “the right color.” In my book Staging Your Comeback, I debated engaging in the no-hose-with-open-toes or anything-but-nude hosiery controversy. But I couldn’t suppress my still unwavering opinion on the matter in favor of hosiery.

This opinion, understandably, isn’t popular amidst the under 40 crowd. Many have no idea the difference between sheer, ultra sheer, semi sheer and opaque. Yet, as the fickle finger of fashion again changes course, with it we find a return to the sheer pleasure of a sultry stockinged leg.

I’m not in favor of being swayed by trends in which one feels uncomfortable. So whether you’re yay or nay for summer sheers it’s is fortunately your choice. And whether it’s the future of fashion or just my wishful thinking, it appears that we yay’s may find sheer joy once again.

Sheer Hosiery on the Runway 2014

Marc JacobsChristopher Kane
marc0083-450x675 87c0561bfb51cb124772dfcb40bf6ab8 Givenchy-shoes


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Trending. Contrasting Convertible Collars and Cuffs

Contrasting Collar and Cuffs

The crisp, menswear-inspired dress shirt get a revamp this spring with contrasting colors/textures and cuffs. But is this look right for you? Let’s delve deeper.

Contrast draws attention. At first glance one would think anyone can pull off this look, since a contrasting collar draws the eye to the face. But think again. Yes, it does draw the eye to the face, but a contrasting collar and cuff will visually narrow the shoulders and widen the hips. This makes it an excellent choice for the Y body type, acceptable for the I but not ideal for the A.

  • The trend this season is to wear it buttoned up. But of course we ignore trends that don’t suit our personal style or our body type.

  • If you are broad shouldered grab this look and wear it!

  • If you have a long neck choose a button down, collar stand or turn up the collar.

  • If you have wider hips pull sleeves to 3/4 flipping the cuffs up to draw the eye up and away. Try rubber bands or arm garters to keep the sleeves in place.

  • For the shorter neck open a few buttons and wear flat. Collars that point out help broaden shoulders thus slenderizing hips. 

  • When paired with a contrasting placket this is a triple threat to broad shoulders, full busts and wide waists. This is a very flattering choice for plus sizes.

Add a contrasting placket for the ultimate in visual slenderizing.

Add a contrasting placket for the ultimate in visual slenderizing.

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