Ask Sam: Those Creative Types

Award shows like the Tony Awards celebrate the stars of our beloved Broadway.  These people managed against all odds to act, dance and sing their way to the top, often while barely making a living. (All the big money seems to be reserved for the Hollywood stars that are cast for box office draw because tickets to see theatre have become outrageous, verging on elitist.)

Those creative types – we all know at least one – whether they’re a dancer, choreographer, director, composer, singer, set designer, costume designer, writer, makeup artist, hair stylist, painter, etc., they all have something in common, a need to create, to perform for an audience and a desperate longing to be appreciated for their talents.  For them, it’s not just a “gig” it is an intrinsic part of who they are.

When your accountant goes home after a long day of crunching numbers, they leave their desk and return to the rest of their life, but for creatives there in no release.  They do what they do because that is who they are.  Their need to create and perform is intrinsic to their personality; it’s their identity.  When they are not in the act of doing it they are thinking about it.  Some have managed to thrive at their chosen profession.  A blessing.  For the rest, they are forever unfulfilled.  An all-consuming yearning stays in their blood like an addict.  When they are lucky, there is work, or hope of work that fills them with a fleeting high.  When not in the process of doing what they were put on this earth to do, there is only despair, an emptiness accompanied by symptoms of withdrawal that eats away at their very soul.  A demoralizing, slow and painful decline.

Often, when people speak of support for the arts, it’s in terms of education in the arts or obscure grants that few artists ever manage to gain access to.  We need to embrace the creative disciplines as part of our culture.  Without, color and music, performances that provoke us to think, laugh or cry, and visually stunning endeavors that move us, we would be in a totally bleak, uncivilized world, void of all the best parts of life.  We need to value the arts and the creative forces who pursue them.

More outlets for our friends who need to make things beautiful, would mean a world filled with more vibrancy and happiness and less misery from your waitress, bartender or sales person because instead of dreaming of a chance to be doing something else, they would be doing it.  In fact, that goes for all of us.  We are all meant to do something in this life.  The lucky ones find their path, it welcomes them, and they are the most fulfilled, happiest people you know.  It is when we have a passion for doing things and our lives don’t contain any of what fulfills us that leads to antidepressants.  We all need to find and chase our calling in life; we are as a whole much richer, more peaceful and happier that way.  If we can say “yes” more often, instead of “no” and help each other pursue our dreams we would live in this very positive technicolor environment filled with taste, music and motion and words that have meaning.  If the theory behind “Six Degrees of Separation” is true, than we should all be able to have the life we want while helping others to do the same.

Ask Sam: Your Kids Are Not That Cute

Screaming-Children-Sign1I recently attended a dinner that I had really been looking forward to. Lately my schedule has been all work and no play. An evening of relaxed, adult conversation was a long awaited event. Unfortunately, after one hour, I could not wait for the evening to be over. Three hours of relentless screaming and a splitting headache later, I was silently begging for mercy, trying to drown out the decibels with wine. At one point, during the first hour of dinner, after trying to make out what the woman sitting diagonally across from me was saying, I had to apologize to her and explain that I had not been able to hear the last fifteen seconds of what she had said. To my amazement, the parents of the screaming children did and said nothing. At one point during dinner, a rug rat from under the table attacked my leg and screamed, “A bug!” Pounding a plastic pest against my leg he yelled at me again. I looked down in his direction and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t respond to yelling.” Again, no response from a parent or any of the adults related to the trouble maker. An hour later, I ran into the little gang’s ringleader in a hallway. I asked her if she would please do me a favor and kindly use her indoor voice. I was disregarded and ignored. The pandemonium continued.

A week before, I was applying some make-up to one of my clients. Her daughter, about seven, who was with her, pushed into my legs with both hands while making a grunting noise then whined, “Me too!” Her mother kind of smiled at her and half-heartedly said, “Don’t be rude.” I was stunned, I never would have dared to push anyone, (with the occasional exception of my little brother) certainly not an adult.

Divorce, media, households in which parents work full time with no one qualified to watch them at home have changed the environment in which children are governed. Parents want to be their child’s friend instead of their parents. Civility is rarely taught or enforced in school. So we are raising the next generation to be rude, antisocial, self- centered and selfish with delusional perceptions of entitlement. It seems to me that no- one says “No” anymore, leaving us to be lorded over by little tyrants. When children are rude, look at the parents and there you will find the root of the problem.

I frequently give etiquette classes to children, hired by parents who wish to outsource this kind of training. Thinking that one hour’s worth of dining etiquette is going to turn the little heathen into an angel is not going to work if the parent does not continue the training at home, every day.

So I’m wondering what this means for society. What kind of world will be wrought by the next generation? I am afraid. All rules of etiquette, protocol and diplomacy stem from a common denominator – respect for others. I cringe at the thought of what the implications are for humanity from this pandemic. The problem is global. A world devoid of civility is going to be far more unpleasant and scarier than it already is.

Please, consider “Please”, “Thank you,” chewing with your mouth closed and giving up your seat on the train to someone who needs it more than you and other basic good manners. The future of our society depends on it.

The End of Civilization

As I tap this article on my iPad going to lunch, I think, “There is too much to do in this hour!  There is no way I can get it all done. It’s Saturday, and that means that most business calls will now have to wait until Monday.  There is never enough time.  With my cell phone glued to my hand, head phones on, special high tech gloves made to protect me from the cold while still allowing me to dial, text and e-mail so I can multi task on the run, I race to get it done. The technologies that were supposed to make us more efficient have enslaved us and forever changed the way we live. While on my phone I read an e-mail from my mother. “Cherie, Last night I was at a benefit seated at a table with nine men.  Not a single man spoke to me – nor to each other – the whole night they were on their cell phones. The end of civilization!” This is why when American women go on vacation abroad they feel back in tune with their womanhood, they feel sexy and appreciated.  Here, you can be pregnant to the teeth carrying packages and still not get a seat on the train.  Within a week of returning from their trip, the glow is gone. When I hear men in New York complaining about women of a certain age being bitter, I reflect on this bad behavior and think, “Well gentlemen, that’s why!  They feel invisible, and under appreciated.” Not only is it incredibly rude to sit at any table with other people on your phone the whole time, it can also be insulting. My mother who is a glamorous, sophisticated, and alluring older woman (a French Sophia Loren) was scandalized not just by the lack of manners but by being made to feel uncomfortable with all those men that could not lift their eyes away from their screen.  Polite dinner conversation does not exist anymore.  What a shame! Every time a new technology is introduced there is always some lag time for the etiquette around the technology to emerge.  We have had phones in our pockets for years now, yet ignore the protocol as they become more and more of an affixed appendage. These technologies that were invented to help us be more productive, have in reality changed the speed at which we are expected to live and work.  There is no turning back. As each day becomes a greater challenge to function at fiber optic speed, in the totality of what is now an integral part of our existence, e-mail, scheduling, texts, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Four Square, Instagram and countless other portholes, it strikes me that perhaps technology has finally developed  faster than we have biologically evolved to function at this pace.  So attached are we to the gadget in our hand, in our compulsive efforts to keep up with all that it demands of us, we no longer can come up for air long enough to engage with the person sitting across from us at a table. What does this imply for us as a species?  Will evolution demand that we evolve into beings that do not require human contact?  Will microchips be implanted into our brains so we can keep up instead of keeling over?  Clearly, this is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it because we have ceased to be civilized.  Hopefully a new way of being will emerge from the present chaos.  Either the novelty of keeping up with cyber space will subside and we will achieve better balance in our lives or we will mutate and evolve into beings better suited to the current tempo we live by.

Exclusive Interview with Tanay Jackson – VIDEO!

Here’s your Jackson family lesson of the day: Tanay Jackson, the niece of the lateMichael Jackson, is pursuing a music career!

Tanay, who began talking to her father, Michael’s older brother Tito, when she was in her teens, is following in the family business. Not only has she rerecorded the classic ’80s hit “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too!),” she’s working on a new single, “In the Spotlight” (seems like an appropriate title!)

Watch below as Image Gal Samantha von Sperling gets the exclusive scoop on Tanay’s career and her NY Fashion Week adventures!

NY FASHION WEEK Fall 2013 – Image Gal Interview with Rocco!

Image Gal Samantha von Sperling interviews fellow image expert Rocco Gaglioti at the CONAIR STYLE360ʼs semi-annual New York Fashion Week showcase showing Fall/Winter 2013 Collections. Check out her exclusive interview below!

Enter our NY Fashion Week Swag Gift Bag giveaway and take home some Fashion Week of your own!

IMAGE GAL’S Excellent Fashion Week Adventure – PHOTOS!


NY Fashion Week Fall 2013 was one excellent adventure for our Image Gal Samantha von Sperling, who weaved her way from the tents at Lincoln Center to Pier 59, and captured it all in photos!

The beginning of Fashion Week at Demeter custom fragrance event at the Duane Reade Look Boutique.

I’ve always wanted to hold an Oscar, from Oscar Roadtrip at Distrikt Hotel.

Backstage in the chaos at W Hotel Union Square with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics,Prive and KISS Nails.

Cool nails by KISS for NY Fashion Week!

With designer Mathieu Mirano at his show at Lincoln Center.

With Conair Style360 host Rocco at Tumbler and Tipsy by Michael Kuluva show.

At Vantan Tokyo at the Stage at Lincoln Center.

The NOLCHA  clothes!

At Yotel for NOLCHA Fashion Week Closing Party with liquor rep and friend Steve Shaw Jr. in a private booth sponsored by Iceberg Vodka!

I sent my mom a Papyrus card from Lincoln Center to tell her I wish she could have been with me at the shows!

Until next season!
Image Gal

Barry Manilow By a Fanilow

The fun started in the lobby bar of the St. James Theatre, which featured fruity cocktails in adult sippy cups with fun names for the occasion. I got a a black T-shirt with diamond rhinestones that spell out Manilow. If you’re going to buy a Manilow T, it’s gotta have sparkle! Go all the way!

We had great seats in the center. I’m settling in, cracking my glow stick (passed out by the ushers) into action, when Joan Rivers, with about a five-person entourage, sauntered in. The tiny Joan, with perfectly coiffed immovable blond hair and a big white fur coat, was larger than life. As she sat down toward the front, I thought, “It’s too good! Barry and Joan in the same room! This is going to be a great show!”…and it was.

Not only can Barry write hit songs and sing them like no one else, but he’s funny, quick with a joke, including self-deprecating humor complete with “I’m old” quips. He’s a charming professional with perfect timing, musical and comedic. He knows just who he is and knows just how to sell it to us.

A gifted talent spanning multiple decades, this seemingly genuinely happy man from Brooklyn bestowed us with “I Made it Through the Rain” as tribute to our dealings with Sandy.

The concert was like participating in a romantic comedy sing along! His 50 Top-40 hits were all payed tribute to. “Somewhere Down the Road” was an unplanned request that Barry graciously accepted as he joked about remembering the words, and proceeded to bring the house down! Not a dry eye in the place. The whole collective experience was to laugh, cry, singalong and laugh some more! Barry was glorious in all his delicious crooniness!

We, the audience, gushed along to “Mandy,” swayed through “Can’t Live Without You,” gyrated through “Copacabana” and could not get enough of the big finale, “I Write the Songs.” Although Manilow did not come back for an encore, like a man who knows when to leave the party, he tied it up with a pretty bow and left us wanting more.

Travel Light

You’re sitting on top of your suitcase trying to shut it.  You’re checking your list, afraid you forgot something, wondering why three pairs of shoes and your toiletries take up so much space!  You’re using your bathroom scale to determine if you’re going to have to pay excess baggage fees, stand in an endless line at check-in and have to schlep your stuff, seemingly, through your whole trip.

Your baggage, whether hand held or emotional, should be light.  I have become a minimalist and I love it.  I have some more work to do, but my life is now almost light enough to walk away from anyone, any circumstance, go anywhere at a moments notice, with only hand luggage.

Unless you are an ancient Egyptian Pharoh, “It’s just stuff, you can’t take it with you.” This  is true about life, packing for commercial air travel and unnecessary people in your life who have not earned their weight, economically, emotionally or in time consumed.

The Bedouins consider houses tombs of the living and value their freedom above all. When you gain the ability to walk away at a moment’s notice from places, situations and people that do not contribute to your happiness, you become incredibly strong, powerful and free!

The festive lights of the winter solstice illuminate the darkness, often in contrast to our spirits, as we reflect on our lives during an often stressful holiday season.  What we love, what brings us joy or ignites our intellect, is often in stark contrast to what actually consumes us. Dispose of all the superfluous things and people in your life that weigh you down.

Lighten your load and see how good and clean you feel.  How much time, money and space might you gain?  The New Year gives us a clean slate and the hope of new possibilities.  But it doesn’t  happen all by itself.  We have to close doors for others to open.  Just like editing our closets, we have to get rid of old worn out things that no longer fit us, to make room in the wardrobe for fabulous new pieces that make us look and feel great.  Life is no different.  Everything else just takes up space and time collecting dust, suffocating us emotionally, physically, mentally, economically.

This year, whether packing for a trip, going through your contact files, closet or your thoughts, take what you need, keep only what you love, leave room for the lovely new things you will acquire along the way, and go!

Inglot Make-up for Valentine’s Day

Life is full of surprises! Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I got introduced to a magnificent cosmetic line created by chemist, Mr. Inglot. Their cosmetics come in their “Freedom System” magnetic packaging that allows you to build your own palettes!

I tried a a shadow duo in gold with a grayish platinum that looks gorgeous on any skin.

I’m also in love with two iridescent glosses, #544 and #546 that make your lips voluptuous and glossy. The iridescence shows of the contours of your lips when the light hits it.  Love it!

Chemical Peel with Dr Parikh at Tribeca Skin Centre

The only man who sees me with no make-up whatsoever, the one man who knows all this leopard’s spots, scars and fine lines, is Dr. Sherwin Parikh at Tribeca Skin Centre at 315 Church Street.

When I have a lot of back-to-back days in full hair and make-up, sometimes my skin can start to act a little out of control.  A facial can help, but it simply is not going to “re-set” my skin the way a peel does. Dr. Parikh is a fantastic dermatologist who understands the problems of hyper-pigmentation that can be especially challenging to darker skin tones with unruly complexions. He is also the hippest, kindest, most positive person anyone would want to meet.  Full of brilliance and warmth, you could just eat him with a spoon!

I always walk out of there glowing, looking slightly windblown, and whether we agree to set the peel to gentle or “A deep fry please!” that determines whether I’ll gently flake for a few days or start to peel like a snake on day two following.  I suggest the deep fry, followed by a mellow weekend of catching up with laundry, cleaning, reading and social networking.

The result, glowing clear skin that is brighter, firmer, smoother and more uniform. The two days of rest and putting ones’ life in order, also did some good, I’m sure!

Additionally, when a dermatologist tells me there is a product on the market they like, I listen and promptly purchase it!  In this case, it’s called M2 Mandelic Malic High Potency Skin Refinish.  It claims to do everything.  So potent, you can not use it for one week after a peel. I can’t wait!  I’ll keep you all posted!