Find My Profile on the Psychology Today Web Site!

Great tips and tricks from Merry herself!

Find My Profile on the Psychology Today Web Site!

Today, I signed up to proffer my skills as a clinician, coach and business-building partner on the Psychology Today web site. It gives some details of the background and skills that I bring to the table.

You can find my profile here:

Please feel free to visit, check it out and contact me if you would like to discuss working together toward the goals that can make you feel the most fulfilled personally, professionally and financially.




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This was a Sparkling Week in New York!

The Crohns & Colitis Fund Raiser @ The Waldorf
Me Coveting Daisy's Head Piece
Jamila Payne & Me at FemFessionals Event
By Merry P. Nachemin, LCSW-R

Although I don’t do this regularly, I would like to share some of the activities in which I participated recently because they were very exciting.

On Saturday April 20 I had the honor of being hired to apply makeup for a very special event. The FastTrac Program, which helps entrepreneurs, like myself, to launch and /or grow their businesses, celebrated 2,500 graduates. Franne McNeal, one of the world-class coaches who taught my class, organized the event. There were photo and video shoots for the graduates. Franne asked me to help out and prepare the participants for their big moments. Since I was working, I did not have a chance to take a picture or shoot a video myself, but that was my choice, since I was working with the other graduates.

The second huge event in which I participated this week took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in mid-town Manhattan. For the sixth time I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. so that I could work “front of house” for the Women of Distinction’s fundraiser for the Crohns & Colitis Foundation. They raised more than $1.75 million for their worthwhile cause with this event this year, which was their 20th anniversary.

Over the years they have raised over $20 million for this very worthy cause. The event’s Mistress of Ceremony was Cynthia McFadden of ABC News Nightline fame. Bergdorf Goodman sponsored the event.

We were treated to a fashion show of eveningwear designed by Andrew GN, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, CD Greene, J. Mendel and Reem Acra. The jewelry for the show was by Lorraine Schwartz and the evening bags were by Judith Leiber.

Some of the raffle prizes included a Birkin Bag, Judith Leiber clutches and glamorous vacations to tropical destinations along with clothing, jewelry, accessories and spa packages from some of the world’s best-known and loved designers and salons.

Finally, I stopped off in Tiffany’s to see their special displays of Art Deco Jewelry in honor of the launch of the film The Great Gatsby. They both took pieces from their archives and created new pieces that evoke the Decadent 20’s. They have several Art Deco displays. If Art Deco is your thing, as it is mine, then don’t miss this showing!

This Tuesday I attended an exciting networking event sponsored by FemFessionals—a great women’s networking organization. Jamila Payne of Soul Purpose Company gave an exciting talk designed to help the members explore and define the goals that we want to achieve. While this is something I do with clients frequently, I don’t give thought to searching my own soul as regularly as I should…now, I will!

Okay, enough for now. See you soon at some of New York’s World Class Displays and Events!




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I Thought I Knew About First Impressions…Before I Read Amy Cuddy’s Work

Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Harvard
Dr. Amy Cuddy

Based on Fresh Scientific Research from Harvard’s Dr. Amy Cuddy on a Time-Honored Topic

 We all know about first impressions, right? They are quick. They are relentless. They are immutable. It’s important to convey how smart, experienced and knowledgeable we are. The personality part is secondary, right? We have to make that opportunity work for us. End of topic, right? W-R-O-N-G!

That’s what I thought about first impressions. I also thought that although personality counts, perceived competence was, by far, more important.

Then, as I began researching the topic for this article, I came upon the incredible work of Amy Cuddy, Ph. D., who presently teaches courses in negotiation, power and influence at Harvard. She is an amazing woman. As she continues her research, she comes up with new information that leads to useful contributions that can be applied to real life.

Here, I am going to surgically incise some specifically relevant information from her article for Harvard Magazine, “The Psyche on Automatic” that focuses solely on our first impressions and what we need to know to maximize them.

Dr. Cuddy discusses what she calls “spontaneous trait inferences” which is a very fancy way of saying, “first impressions”. Her research indicates that 80% of each first impression we make is based on the warmth and competence projected by us and perceived by our interviewer.

She states that one’s level of warmth is the first trait that is perceived and that it also accounts for more of someone’s evaluation than competence. She states that it is rooted in the “friend or foe” survival instinct.

What are these “warm” traits that carry so much weight in making a great first impression? Authenticity is part of the “warmth” package of traits. To signal authenticity, there must be congruence between verbal cues and non-verbal cues.

In addition, appropriate self-disclosure, the use of humor and natural smiles (involving the muscles around the eyes vs. only the muscles around the mouth) are important when projecting your warmth.

Behaviors that she calls “immediacy cues” also project warmth. These behaviors include leaning toward the interviewer and being physically closer to the interviewer. She does state, however, that the ideal distance varies across cultures.

In the nutshell, Dr. Cuddy’s research indicates that the most advantaged candidate is the one who comes across as warm as well as competent. When that combination is perceived, the interviewer feels admiration. This admiration leads to the active behavior of helping and the passive behavior of cooperating. These are both traits we want to engender in an interviewer.

Examples of this phenomenon in action can be reflected in the sphere of politics. George W. Bush was perceived as genial but not that experienced. His competitor, Al Gore, was perceived as qualified but not in touch with the common man. Perhaps similar comments can be made in regard to Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney. We know the outcomes of both elections. Perceived warmth won out over perceived competence both times.

Another distinction between perceived warmth and perceived coldness is that while warmth is not generally assumed as an asset from only one incident, coldness can be perceived as a generalized personality flaw.

Examples of this can be seen in the negative impact of Mel Gibson’s anti-semitic rant on his career as well as John Galliano’s immediate dismissal from Dior after 15 years of employment along with subsequent legal consequences for the same reason.

Dr. Cuddy’s article offers much more grist for the mill. But for our purposes, the takeaway is that our warmth and charisma are as important or even more important as our perceived competence in terms of a first impression in any interview. Therefore, as we prep for that all-important meeting, let’s relax and know that being ourselves and coming across as warm and human may be the best key to success.












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Make Your Appearance Your Best Marketing Tool!

Merry Nachemin
SIBL Presentation—3/14/13
Make Your Appearance Your Best Marketing Tool!

By Merry P. Nachemin, LCSW-R

Please note that the categories referenced below are from an article by Peter Fiske, Ph. D.

On Thursday 3/14/13 I presented my topic, “Make Your Appearance Your Best Marketing Tool” at SIBL. As always, it was an extremely rewarding experience for me because I got to interact with the attendees, hear their perceptions and respond to their questions.

Some of the key points that I made are that there are 10 main interview biases faced by job seekers from an image perspective. That is really a misleading statement because while these biases may seem superficial, in fact, science is learning more every day about how the factors that I mention here are hardwired into the human brain. I believe that many of them are triggered by unconscious mechanisms and in that regard are not “deliberate” as we think of deliberate actions such as catching a ball. Nevertheless, they are factors to take into consideration when entering someone else’s universe with an eye toward becoming part of that universe.

Six of them are under your control. Four of them are not. In brief, they are:

Biases Under Your Control


Suggested Optimal Remedy for Best Outcome

The “Primacy Effect”

The “First Impression”

  • Most indelible & visceral impression
  • Always come early
  • Always look crisp & well-groomed

The “Halo Effect”

One characteristic colors other traits positively or negatively

  • Research your target company & interviewer
  • Your poise, taste & focus can effect your “halo” positively

The “Beauty Bias”

Candidates who are more attractive have a much greater chance of being hired

  • While we can’t all be Mr. or Ms. America, we can all have good grooming & look our personal best

The “Similar to Me” Effect

Looking or seeming similar to the interviewer or having similar interests gives you a better chance in the candidate pool

  • Once again, research is key here
  • While you want to be genuine, you may discover that you share an interest or a cultural similarity

The “Nonverbal Bias”

The interviewer judges you based on your body language

  • Practice your web-to-web, firm handshake
  • When the interviewer speaks, lean forward
  • Maintain eye contact
  • DON’T look at your watch
  • TURN OFF your cell phone, put it on silent or leave it at home

The “Anchoring Bias”

  1. Similarly to other biases, an interviewer may “anchor” one trait and generalize about all of your traits.
  2. Interviewers guesstimate your salary level based on your initial appearance
  3. If you look “low maintenance” the interviewer will think your salary should be “low maintenance”
  • Wear the best clothes you can afford
  • Make sure your shoes are polished
  • Make sure that there is no lint on your clothing
  • Make sure that there are no loose threads


Biases Beyond Your Control


Suggested Optimal Remedy for Best Outcome

The “Contrast Effect”

Your ranking relative to others in the group

While you cannot control who else has applied for the position, you can do the best you can.

The “Harshness or Leniency Bias”

Companies know that some interviewers are usually positive & some are negative.  They have both people interview candidates to get balance

You can hope that you influence the more lenient interviewer as much as possible.  If you know who your interviewers will be, you can research both & look for things with which you have something in common with both.  It couldn’t hurt.

The “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Bias”

Once judgment is made—positively or negatively—interviewers look for traits that support their bias

As with all the biases, this can work in your favor if you are the top candidate to begin with.

The “Recency Bias”

The interviewer judges you based on more recent interviews conducted rather than earlier interviews

While you cannot influence who applies or when they are interviewed, if you think you have a good shot you might select a slot later rather than earlier.

As I mentioned during my presentation, any one of these biases can work in your favor as well as against you. The best things any interviewee can do is take a step back, breathe, observe the process that is going on and do the best you can. If you do that, you will be at your best in almost all situations and will be best able to think on your feet.

As John Malloy said in his book, “Dress for Success”, “People who look successful & well-educated receive preferential treatment in almost all business or social situations”. The good news is, you have total control over the way you dress!

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Extreme Elegance Image & Marketing Consultants, LLC


Renew, Refresh, Revamp & Re-invent the Wardrobe You Already Own! Put Your Own Unique Slant on Pieces Already in Your Closet
You May Love them More than When You Bought Them! Two-For-One Fashion Workshop Package

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Part 1

Wednesday 2/13/13-6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. 277 Park Avenue Bet. 47th & 48th

  • See Merry’s professional back stage styling kit & learn how to use the tools you will see to freshen the pieces you already love
  • Learn how the stylists shorten garments in seconds
  • Refresh faded leather better than new
  • Receive two handouts:

    o A how-to describing many common wardrobe problems and their solutions

    o A chart with many of the off-the-beaten-path stores and venues that cater to the stylists you read about & that carry the unique products that put their clients on the best-dressed lists

    Part 2

    Field Trip! Saturday 2/16/13 – 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Shhhh! 10% off your Entire Purchase
    At Merry’s Favorite Stylists’ Haven! Location Disclosed @ 1st Workshop
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Exciting News! Collaboration with EAPrefer—An organization that is a member benefit of The National Association of Social Workers

Have you ever had the feeling that all of the diverse elements of training and experience you have had in your life have led to a project that uses every bit of it and helps you to grow as you move forward?

That is how I have felt over the last couple of months by collaborating with EAPrefer, an organization that is a benefit of membership in The National Association of Social Workers. It feels as though all of my training and experience is being elicited and challenged in this wonderful venture.

Recently, through EAPrefer, I ran two webinars, which attracted over 350 attendees. One webinar is called, “Three-Step Prep for Private Practice Success”. In this webinar I give an overview of some of the essential elements of growing a private practice that is uniquely geared toward the clinical community.

The other webinar is called, “Dress for Clinical Success”. In this webinar I describe some of the image-oriented elements that will help clinicians maximize their marketing efforts and clinical sessions in order to reach their professional potential, particularly in the corporate sector, where large numbers of social workers do not traditionally have experience. EAPrefer members can view both webinars on their web site,,

As you may know, for almost 20 of the 30 years I spent as a professional social worker, I ran an outpatient mental health program. When the funding for that program was cut, I decided to enter the business world and fulfill my dream of being an Image Consultant by launching my own business. Now, I have the privilege of combining these diverse skill sets and helping my fellow social workers in the process.

EAPrefer’s mission is to help client corporations, their employees and EAPrefer members. They do this by connecting a network of qualified social workers to corporations whose employees are experiencing issues that affect their job performance and may be jeopardizing their employment.

Whether it’s dealing with substance abuse, a child, parent or spouse crisis or some other life issue, the EAP Counselor can offer evaluation, support and a plan that hopes to offer relief. It could even save the job of the person referred to them. The social workers assess the situation and provide referrals and/or treatment based on their professional assessments

I have connected with EAPrefer to use the unique range and depth of skills that I developed through training and experience, to help clinicians develop their marketing skills.

EAPrefer is helping their members supplement their practices with these referrals. My contribution is to help the social workers maximize referrals to their practices by learning to showcase their specialized skills. The bonus here is that they can then apply these skills in their dealings outside of EAPrefer, to grow their private practices with their other target markets.

The most exciting element of this experience has been my interaction with the members, hearing and answering their real-time questions and concerns and building relationships with them.

I look forward to planning and carrying out the next phase of this project, which is currently in the planning stage. The next stage will involve more in-depth training in techniques that will help private practitioners develop the skills that will help them reach their target markets so that they can fulfill their mission to help more people improve the quality of their lives with their specialized areas of expertise.

I am doing all this while I continue to offer traditional image consulting and cosmetics services to EEIC’s client base.

In addition, I will be launching EEIC’s brand new newsletter in the next couple of weeks. Please feel free to drop me a line if you wish to be added to EEIC’s contact list. I would also love to hear your feedback and about how image has impacted your personal and professional life along with any questions or concerns you may have about your professional image.











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It’s All About the Bride–Perfect Makeup–Step III

The Bride Must Look Like her Perfect Vision of Herself

Now comes the fun part!


The basics are out of the way. The bride’s skin looks like the perky complexion it is meant to be on this very special of days. Now what?

Ariana (name changed to protect her privacy) is a very busy, modern NYC bride. She is marrying one of NY’s finest. She is the daughter of a prominent rabbi. She does public relations for a well-known organization.

The ceremony is in NYC in full view of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge. The setting could not be more romantic.

Ariana does not usually wear a lot of makeup. She really is a natural beauty. However, for her special day she wants to make sure that she looks her best both in person and for the camera.

She made it quite clear that she wants very natural-looking makeup. She did not want to look very made-up. She wanted to look like herself. We did a makeup trial a few weeks before the wedding.

I took some pix so that we could get an idea of what the final product would look like. However, I did not use a high-definition camera, have professional lighting or have professional skills.

After we discussed her makeup philosophy, I suggested the shades that I thought would be ideal. I made sure to write everything down as I went so that on the day of the event, the application would be smooth and flawless. Some things that I suggested were more over-the-top than Ariana wanted. For example, she wanted a very natural lip. I wanted to try a deeper lip color. She also did not want any false lashes. I honored her wishes.

When the day came, I showed up at bright and early at her parents’ house. There was a bit of drama with the hair stylist. What’s a wedding without drama, after all? And then I began her makeup application. I don’t want to say “transformation” because in the case of Ariana, we simply accentuated her own features. She looked exactly like herself.

Her foundation was Porcelain Mineral Photo Touch with coordinating concealer

I highlighted her eyes with Vanilla shadow. We used Black Amethyst in the crease. Ariana’s eyes were lined with Noire pencil and Indigo Automatic Eye LIner at the outer corner to subtly elongate and enlarge her eyes. The look was completed with SuperWear Mascara in Ink. This mascara not only lengthens and thickens but dries in three seconds and lasts until you take it off. It is impervious to tears!

I chose a Crème Blush in Crush to accentuate her dewy glow. Her contour was in Bare Bisque and the highlight was the Vanilla highlighter.

To get that perfect but natural-looking lip, I outlined her lip line in Tea Rose Lip Pencil. Then, I filled in the entire lip with the pencil. This would enhance the life of the lip color. The color that I used was Micro Mocha Rose.

I must say that Ariana was the bride of her dreams. I will let you decide for yourself.  Above are some before-and-after pictures.

Tell us what you think!






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It’s All About the Bride—Perfect Makeup—Step II

The Bride Must LookAmazing in her Photos

The Right Extreme Elegance Cosmetics Can Help Create those Iconic Pix!

Mineral Photo Touch Foundation
Pressed BlottingPowder
Mineral Photo Touch Concealer

Following the Extreme Elegance gentle cleansing, light exfoliating peel, and the application of the right prep and primers, the next universal step in any bridal makeup application is perfecting her complexion and readying it for the her close-up.

Today’s high-definition cameras can cause havoc with many foundations and cosmetics. However, at Extreme Elegance we are ready to step up to the plate with PhotoTouch Foundation and Concealer.

What makes our products unique is twofold. First, they are specifically designed for high-definition photography. The formulation does not reflect light back at the camera. It is lightweight and natural looking. Yet, it is buildable. That means that if the initial application is not enough to conceal every imperfection, additional product can be applied without fear of looking cakey or orange. It also lasts all day.

The Foundation and Concealer work in tandem to create the perfect natural look. Following application of the foundation, Extreme Elegance Invisible Blotting Powder can be worn over the foundation to fix it and to take care of any break-through oils from that very exciting day.

Next Up–The Last Step: Working with the Bride to create her personal bridal vision.



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It’s All About the Bride—Perfect Makeup—Step I

The Bride’s makeup must look:

  • Fresh all day and all night
  • Amazing in her photos
  • Like her personal vision of how she should look as a bride

Step I—Prep & Prime–Looking Fresh All Day and All Night

Whether you are a traditionalist, an individualist who is super creative or a modernist, the products that help you achieve that fresh-all-day makeup are the same. It is the application techniques that vary and help you to achieve your unique style.

Extreme Elegance Brides start their day with a gentle cleansing. Then, a light Vibran–C peel is administered. This extremely gentle peel exfoliates the top layer of cells to reveal the fresh ones beneath. This allows the products and foundation that follow to penetrate deeper so that your makeup remains flawless throughout the longest day.

Following the cleansing process, we use treatment products that help perfect the skin. We will discuss your options with you at your makeup trial. After all of the treatment products or the moisturizer are applied, we use Instant Skin Smoother on any lines or creases to smooth them out. Following this is our Texturizing Face Primer SPF 20, which completes the smoothing process and assures that the foundation remains fresh all day.

We then prepare your eyelids with Shadow Magnet which assures that your eye shadow choices remain as fresh when you remove them as they were when they were applied.

Tomorrow: Using our Special Wedding-Perfect Products to Look Fabulous in Your Photos



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The Top Seven Bridal Gown Trends for Spring 2012

The first trend, The Illusion Neckline, consists of sheer fabric where there would usually be bare skin. This look is super elegant and refined, yet allows the skin to show through.

Next up is the two-tiered skirt. This is an exaggeration the Spring 2012 peplum trend. The advantage of this look is that it can ably disguise ample hips.

The third trend is horsehair. Don’t worry—it has nothing to do with actual horses. This is a synthetic fabric that holds its shape so well that it has been used for generations in the underpinnings of clothing so that they drape as the designer intended.

This year, for the first time that I know of, they are placing it on the outside of the gown for effect. Expect to see more of it as time goes on because it is a sheer white fabric and can give an extremely dramatic effect. It’s like tulle on steroids.

Lace sleeves are the next trend. Since Kate Middleton graced the bridal aisle, this has become an increasingly hot trend.

The next look is the high-low hemline. This is where the gown has a varying-length skirt. Some people call it the “mullet” skirt because it is short in front and long in the back.

Capes have been a big trend on the runway as well as the real way this year. Now they are making their appearance going down the aisle in the form of capelets. They are generally made of lace or another light-as-air fabric that allows the bridal gown to show through.

Finally, the last big style is the Hollywoodesque trend toward the sexy back. Here, the back of the gown dips daringly low, in a graceful drape. This is the bridal equivalent of the red carpet look.

What are your reactions to these trends? Are you a conservative bride who looks forward to the romantic peek-a-boo of an illusion neckline? Are you a Princess Bride who looks forward to the royal tinge of the lace sleeve? Is your vision more Hollywood Starlet? Or do you prefer none of the above? Share your thoughts with us as you plan for your big day!

Next up:  Bridal Makeup Trends













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