Tuesday, May 24, 2005

She lost by a hair

Hello all,
I'm SO happy Keenya did not win the lofty-but-sneakily-vague title of America's Next Top Model (if you're "next," you're certainly not "first," so it all seems a bit like you're competing to become a runner-up). Among her annoying qualities was a tendency to be:
1. LOUD AND WRONG. [Keenya: "Naima just doesn't seem black to me--I don't get that from her." Naima: "I am black."]
2. EVIL TO SWEET GIRLS. [Keenya, judging a shot of Naima's: "I just see dirt. She looks dirty, like, in her underwear."]
3. PSYCHOTICALLY HUNGRY DESPITE THE POOCH. [Keenya: "What's that?" Kahlen: "Chocolate muffin." Keenya: "Can I have a tiny piece?"]

Now, I am not perfect. Oh stop, no, no...I'm not. Loudness runs in my family and I'm often wrong, but ever since a bout with stage fright in sixth grade during my oral report about a great South African leader named "Howie Mandela," (how apt) I try never to be both simultaneously. And Lord knows I've been evil, but only to those who really, really deserve it. Any of my friends could tell you I'm ALWAYS hungry and ALWAYS eating--but I'm also not in a modeling competition (how would Keenya've faired in those crotch-riding, everything-but-the-nip swimsuits in the runway finale?). But no, the absolute worst, worst thing about Keenya was THAT HAIR. Not only was her confessional 'do a nightmare--those swept to one side, James Brown curls, ach!--but the weave was wack. When Keenya wore a ponytail, she made zero effort to smooth down the pieces sticking out in the front and back--and she actually went on her go-sees like this!! WHAT? And it wasn't just her, KAHLEN'S WEAVE WAS A DISASTER, too! Just a clumpy, matted monsoon of mommy-I-need-a-new-Barbie hair in the back, with her natural bangs in front. WHAT? Ladies, never let 'em see where your real stuff ends and the faux stuff starts--so sloppy.

The point of today's lesson is this. Whether you're unbe-weave-able or all-natural, no one should ever SEE the tricks behind your hairstyle. Speaking of tricks, because this is my promise here at "Shake Your Beauty," I will let you in on the FIVE cult hair products (sorry, not ten this time--some things are sacred) secretly beloved by beauty editors, top hairstylists and celebrities since the dawn of man. None of which can help Keenya, at this point.


Everyone knows heat-damage leads to brittle, dry, crazy-lady hair, so don’t even PICK UP the flat-iron or blowdryer before applying a dab of this heat-protecting serum from roots to ends—it shields hair from high temps, smoothes frizz like nobody’s business, and leaves the silkiest, straightest finish. [FOR FLAT-IRONED HAIR]

Obviously its not about the scent, but mmm—very aromatherapeutic! Anyway, if you’re desperately seeking sexy volume and bounce, work this brilliantly non-sticky, virtually weightless styling foam into damp roots before drying [FOR FINE, THIN HAIR].

For curly girls in-the-know (like Sarah Jessica Parker and, ahem, me), discovering this curl-defining/refining spritz was not unlike stumbling upon a man willing to hold your “maybe” pile during a sample sale (Ouidad’s NYC salon-cum-curly hair mecca is similarly moving). On wash-and-go days, I spritz it on damp hair and scrunch for perfectly defined, frizz-free curls--with no gross 80s crunchiness! [FOR CURLY HAIR]

I swear, I don’t have a thing with yummy scents, but this shampoo leaves your hair smelling faintly of honey and roses—so fresh! The deeper reason its such a stylist favorite is that it’s chock full of essential oils that protect hair from heat, sun and styling damage—great for the summertime. [FOR NORMAL-DRY HAIR TYPES]

If you got unreasonably excited about my last post (the L’Oreal Glossing Toner), than listen carefully! That product is amazing because it makes trashed hair instantly APPEAR brilliant, but this strengthening, re-hydrating deep conditioner works over time to heal each weak strand from the inside, out. [FOR OVERPROCESSED, CHEMICALLY-DAMAGED HAIR TYPES]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Because you're worth it

"Because I'm black, I always wanted to come to Africa before I died. Because I'm black, this experience means more to me than them. Because I'm black, I feel like home. I just got so emotional standing in the cell where Nelson Mandela, like, LIVED [wait, is he alive or dead?] because, you know, I'm....."


Hey ladies! First things first, we have a winner! Please raise your glasses to Miss Kim J. of Illinois, the very first winner of my very first Product of the Month contest. Just to recap, the trivia question was: WHERE WAS JAY AND BILLIE'S FIRST DATE?"--and she quickly and correctly answered, The Biography Bookstore (she's read the book three times, so had she gotten it wrong, I would've suggested someone submit her for testing)! Of course, tons of you got this right, but Miss Kim J. was the only one to answer within roughly 2.5 seconds. Practice your trigger finger and better luck next time. Yay Miss Kim! Your fabulous Stila Midnight Bloom collection is already on the way.

Muchachitas, I was SO EXCITED by how many of you had read and loved the book! But I must admit, something has been keeping me up at night. I got emails from a couple of you saying you hadn't read the book and didn't even know who Billie and Jay were--but hey, keep up the beauty tips! I'm a sensitive artiste, folks, and my feelings were hurt. I felt like the ugly girl in high school that tutored all the guys to straight A's but stayed home on prom night (oh wait, that actually WAS me). You are my readers! I write for YOU! Becoming the next Jackie Collins aint "ACCIDENTAL," lambchops!

(Oh, don't mind me. It's been a bad week. I'm experiencing major writer's block, leaving me an emotional mess prone to violent crying jags that terrify my tiny, metrosexual dog. Hence, I must keep today's post short in order to go back to actively Not Writing a Goddamn Thing).

A lot of you have asked me what to do when your sexy streaks, allover dye job, temporary color or even your natural shade goes blaaah. Sadly, the blame is ours--the color stars off very "Feria commercial," but add blow-dryers, relaxers, Japanese straightening treatments, flat-irons, curling-irons and all the other pulling, tugging, and general man-handling--and of course your glistening, gorgeous shade will morph into chemically annihilated, heat-damaged, dull, brassy mess. Everyone's aware of the moisturizing conditioners and shampoos that'll nurse your chemically annihilated, heat-damaged mop back to health--but what to do in the meantime? Well, celebs and vip's go to salons for glossing toners, which not only restores and brightens color by balancing out brassiness, but also coats dull hair with a sheer, glassy sheen. Now, you can recapture your sparkling, sexy shade AT HOME, with
L'oreal Tone Refiner Balancing Toning Gloss
--it's only $8.23, works in FIVE MINUTES, and you don't have to wait 'til 2009 for an appointment on Madison Ave!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

NEWSFLASH!!: Enter to win May's Product of the Month (friends & family--don't even try it, I give you enough free s&%$)

What's up, homies? I'd love you to join me in celebrating my first ever PRODUCT OF THE MONTH GIVEAWAY CONTEST!!! Here's the deal. Every month, I'll rave about some product that gets me all tingly (over there, down on the right hand side), and out of the graciousness of mi corazon, I'll give ONE set away to the FIRST PERSON to answer a trivia question about THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA.

Okay, so here's the first question. Again, to my family and friends—big, big kiss, but no.



Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Twinkle, Twinkle Singed 'n' Charred...or, How to look like you've been chillin' in Tahiti while avoiding tanning beds


“You’ve been through anger management, you’ve been through your grandmother getting her lights turned off to buy you a swimsuit for the competition, and you laugh?”
--Tyra to Tiffany

“Y’all need to get a life…read a book, or something.’”
--Tiffany’s grandmother

The week before their wedding, a couple hurried into a neon-covered midtown tanning parlor, hoping their huge shades and low basketball caps rendered them unrecognizable. They'd be an odd sight, sneaking into a place like that...as a caramel-skinned Latino and a cinnamon-skinned black chick, they were significantly browner than the usual clientele (and even so, most white women wouldn't be caught dead fake-baking, aware that tanning rays cause major wrinkling and possibly skin cancer—and who knows what stripper wore those spa slippers before them?). But when a longer-than-The-Aviator winter left their skin looking dull and washed-out, they convinced themselves, like 1950s coeds, that nothing bad would happen their first time. They knew better, but dammit, they also knew A SEXY GLOW WAS CRUCIAL FOR THEIR WEDDING PICTURES!

Bathed in shame, the couple was greeted by an orange, muscle-bound Joey Bagadonuts-type-guy with a “Lawn-gai-land” accent. Visibly confused as to why people born with tans wanted tans (whooa, that whole 'wanting what you already got thing' must be how those gays feel!!?), he instructed them to get naked, gave them spa robes and eye-protectors and led each to their own human-sized microwave (to keep them awake during the fifteen minute session, he blasted a CD of 90’s dance hits into the pods). Losing their minds to a stream of classics like “What is Love” and “Finally,” our couple stood in the blistering, claustrophobic pods feeling SO WRONG---who were they, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline? Everyone knew those rays were deadly (and the girl, a gorgeous, brilliant beauty editor who’d written countless articles on the subject, had NO EXCUSE), not to mention the whole thing was as tacky and dated as Paula Abdul. In the end, the dazzling duo looked positively radiant in their pictures, but a very valuable lesson was learned on their honeymoon when flakes the size of Rhode Island started showing up and asking for room service.

To wrap things up, no matter if you're super-fair or the deepest brown, EVERYONE LOOKS A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER SUN-KISSED. It's just a beauty truth. But remember this: Vanity should never win out over common sense. Get some sun-kissed, just-returned-from-Tahiti action with these bronzy makeup picks, not by boiling in some germ-infested Pod of Death.

Beachy-Sheen Products

1.) Secret Sparkle Body Spray, Vanilla Shimmer, $4.49:
Sometimes brilliance is found in the most unexpected of places. Okay, Secret Deodorant, everyone’s heard of it—its great (the only one I use—Ocean Breeze is insane). But I was totally shocked to discover how breezily, warmly feminine their new Shimmer Body Sprays are! And its not just about the ultra-sheer Peach, Rose, Tropical, and Vanilla (my favorite) scents, it’s the to-die-for sparkly sheen the Spray leaves on your skin—so summery! Secret could charge a hell of a lot more.

2.) MAC Refined Beyond Bronze Powder, $18.50:
Unless you’re into the Pig Pen look, matte bronzers are way over. This coffee-colored bronzer is sheer enough for all complexions, and has luminous mica flecks that deflect light away from imperfections like acne scars (stop picking!), leaving skin totally flawless.

3.) Benefit Gilded, $18:
I learned this gold shimmer pencil trick from Mally Roncal, celeb makeup artist and goddess responsible for every look you’ve seen on Beautiful B over the last three years or so. Anyway, to make your lips look Island Mama-pouty, before gloss, use gold pencil to lightly highlight inside the bow of your top lip (the little “V” in the middle of the outer rim, and blend with a finger.

4.) Cover Girl LipSlicks in Bronze Goddess, $3.99:
My first, my last, my everything. In the seventh grade, LipSlicks was the only thing I wore, and its still one of my major staples today. The sheer bronzey gleam it gives your lips is so tropical-without-trying.

5.) Chanel Glossimer in Zanzibar, $24:
For those of you interested in a more 12th grade moment, this sparkly, golden-tawny gloss is all about an opaque, long-lasting, megawatt finish. Somewhere J. Lo is buying it right this second.

6.) Revlon Skinlights Instant Skin Brightener Lotion Bronzer, Warm Light; $11.99:
Speaking of J. Lo, this transparent bronzing moisturizer is like Miami, bottled. Swipe it over cheekbones, forehead, bridge of nose and chin (where the sun naturally hits you) for a beachy sheen.. For more coverage, mix with a drop of foundation.

7.) Lancome Shimmering Blush Cheek Sets; $15:
So genius, its been knocked off more than those Indian Maharaja flats. You’ll see why---this portable roll contains forty-eight chic, tissue-thin sheets lightly dusted with luminous rosy-bronze powder (it comes in four gorgeous bronze shades). Sweep your cheeks with just one twinkly-radiant sheet and you won’t know what hit you.

8.) Neutrogena Healthy Defense Trio SPF 30, Medium 03; $11.99:
No time, attention span, or room for more products? This trusty palette whittled the sunny-sheen look down to three essentials—a bronze cream for cheeks and eyes, sheer golden lip gloss, and translucent powder for iffy T-zones.

9.) Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, Medium Skin Tones; 6.99:
Jergen’s Natural Glow, a revolutionary body lotion blended with self-tanner, is so, so…REVELATORY that it’s sold out everywhere and isn’t even available on the web anymore (I could only find a link to an auction, that’s how serious it is). But check in with your local drugstores—they’ve assured me they’re restocking.

10.) Dior Addict Backstage Nail Enamel in Sparkling Yellow; $16.50:
To die for, to die for. I’m hyperventilating. Get thee to Sephora, if you have one near you. Inspired by their Spring collections, Dior whipped up these glittery, candy-colored sheers for Sephora, exclusively. I love this gold one—very bored rich bitch taking a lover in her seaside cabana.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

If it's not one thing, it's your mother

Okay, okay, okay...more than a few of you have put me in time-out for not being prompt with my Mother's Day suggestions. Can't a girl have a finally-its-flowing-and-nothing-willl-tear-me-away-not-even-gossip-about-justin-and-cam's-alleged-wedding-next-weekend couple of days at the writing desk? Sheesh! Anyway, I've finally taken a work break, and after some major deliberation and hawk-eyed editing, assembled a downright brilliant gift guide. I'd love you to know, though, I was careful to keep costs low, since I've also received a few verbal beatdowns for coaxing you to buy stuff way out of your price range. Though inarguably DIVINE, you say, that new Shiseido Eye shadow ain't gonna turn your lights back on. So fine, because I'm a beauty artiste, I've drummed up relatively-inexpensive-but-to-die-for gifts sure to make your mom forget all about the time you dialed 1-900-HAMMER and divulged your innermost secrets to the rapper's recorded voice for a shudderingly expensive hour.

Modestly Priced Mother's Day Gifts

Laura Mercier's bestselling "lemon tart" scent—a warm, not-too-sweet blend of lemon, vanilla and musky heaven—is whipped into this set's honey bath and soufflé body crème. Not only will the apothecary-style bottles look totally chic on your mom's vanity, but your dad, step dad, "auntie" or whomever gives her the bedroom business won't be able to keep their hands off her. I have proof--my mom's a fan, and the buttery musk drives my father insane (FOR THE MOM WHO BAKED CUPCAKES FOR YOUR FIRST GRADE CLASS ON YOUR BIRTHDAY).

I’ve always wondered if the Prescriptives lipstick elves know their own worth—their unique formula has just enough shine, just enough coverage, and manages to stay-put without drying-out! Revolutionary! Anyway, said elves have packaged their eight-bestselling lipsticks into one amazing palette, and all I can say is your mom should be so lucky. (FOR THE MOM WHO’S WORN THE SAME LIPSTICK SINCE AGE 17)

I mentioned before that Narciso Rodriguez for Her was my favorite perfume. This is true, but I didn’t tell you the rest. I spritz on NR in the A.M., but carry a travel-size bottle of designer Stella McCartney’s Stella in my bag for touch-ups—together, the two create the sexiest, most “lying in the afterglow” scent, ever (my friend Charlotte works the same blend, and it smells different but just as sultry). Stella—a moody blend of roses, peonies, and mandarin—is just as heady worn alone, and this expensive-looking lilac gift box containing four sleek, portable roll-on fragrance pens is quite glamorous. (FOR THE FASHIONISTA MOM)

In step with fashion’s bohemian-babe obsession, wood jewelry is currently the toast of the town. And why shouldn’t your mom get to raise a glass? These 4” long danglers come with your choice of emerald-and-gold or brown-and-gold painted round wooden beads. Muy exotica! (FOR THE MOM WHO HONEYMOONED IN MARRAKECH)

Everyone needs a good set of makeup brushes, but who would actually buy one for themselves? Voila, the perfect gift! Celebrity makeup artist, Cindy Crawford BFF, and all-around hilarious chick, Sonia Kashuk, designed this sleek fuchsia kit containing six essential, top-quality brushes and a sexy little mirror. And how ‘bout that price? (FOR THE FRUSTRATED-MAKEUP-ARTIST MOM)

Carol’s Daughter is a lovely bath, body & hair boutique in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn (my hood of seven years until nine months ago…I even gave it a shout in my book!) famous for its all-natural, hand-made products. On word of mouth alone, the boutique has become a natural-beauty-mecca-of-sorts, with celebrity fans like Oprah and Jada Pinkett Smith going crazy for their deliciously nurturing, pampering products. Send your mom into the bathroom with this basket of soothingly sweet-scented mango shower gel, body spray, and body cream, and you may never see her again. (FOR THE WORKAHOLIC MOM)

These portable tubes of cream shimmer shadows in pastel shades were a huge hit when they debuted—and now, four of Lancôme’s most versatile shades, along with a tube of lip/cheek stain, are sold together in a kit! Treat your mom to these luminous, eye-brightening shadows and witness ten years disappear. (FOR THE MOM WHOSE EYES YOU WISH YOU’D INHERITED)

A flirty, feminine mix between debutante and disco, this sequin-studded, oversized change purse is a great day-to-night piece. Your mom can use it as a wallet during the day, and as a clutch for evening—that is, if you don’t “forget’ to give it to her. (FOR THE MOM WHO LOVES THE NIGHTLIFE)

Chanel No.5 will always be the last word in chic, sophistication, and timeless luxury, no matter who you mother is. She could be a man, even. Since the eau de parfum is like $4,000,000, why not award your mother with a bath & body product from the No.5 extension line, like this moisturizing, sensuous, mysteriously fuchsia bath oil—its no less fancy than the perfume, and your mom will love that you see her as a stylish woman of the world who appreciates true elegance. (FOR THE MOM WHO RAISES HER PINKY FINGER WHILE DRINKING COFFEE)

10.) THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA, paperback version, $11.20:
Oh, come on, you knew this was coming. My sweet little story just came out in paperback this week, it has a brand-new fabulous cover, it’s funny, it’s sexy, and I wrote it, dammit—help make me a bestselling author!! (FOR THE MOM WITH A HEARTBEAT)

That’s it! Hope this helps and that I’m not too late…hit me back, ladies!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Harajuku, Schmarajuku

"Don't get ghetto in the face."
--Jay Manuel to Kelle

As it's Procrastination Hour (a glassy-eyed, manic time during which I put off writing by inhaling Honey Bunches of Oats while clicking back and forth between Golden Girls, MTV's Direct Effect, and Regis & Kelly) I'd like to quickly get something off my chest. My chest is itsy-bitsy--size 34A--so this will only take a second.

Does anyone else but me find Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Girls slightly bizarre? You know who I mean right, the little troupe of Geishas de Gwen that follow her around at awards shows? Apparently, during her travels, Ms. Stefani--who I've always LOVED, by the way, let's not get this twisted--found herself in Tokyo's Harajuku district, where all the cool kids hang out in their fashion-forward hotness: Cartoon-cute-meets-vintage-eccentric ensembles, ankle-breaking platforms, and doll-baby makeup and hair. Once introduced to their "wicked style," (as she warbles throughout her album), she'd found her inspiration, and in my opinion, went a little insane.

Before you could say "Madonna's Indian Period," Miss Gwen quickly began dressing like the Harajuku Hotties and infusing said wickedness into her fashion line, L.A.M.B., which is an acronym for Love, Angel, Music, Baby...and, coincidentally, the names she christened our Geisha Gamines (that fact alone is bizarre...okay, Prince did the Diamond and Pearl thing, but that was clearly a sort of Svengali-esque, "we're-both-sleeping-with-him-duh-he's-prince" moment). Next, Gwen has the surprisingly blacker-than-black-dancing Girls hop around in her videos and inexplicably trot behind her at public appearances---NEVER UTTERING A WORD. And I just read that when our Mute Mamas speak, they're contractually bound to only speak Japanese. It's just, I don't know...it's creepy! Gwen Stefani standing there, in all her blonde bombshell glory, dressed like a Japanese teenager in 6-foot-tall platforms, with four miniature versions huddled behind her, like ladies in waiting or kiddie courtesans or funky little bridesmaids. It's just wrong, wrong, wrong.

You're too good for this! Don't fall into the "I've done everything else, time to culture-plunder!" trap. Gwen, we all get inspiration from somewhere, but please, kindly return your Mute Maidens back to their natural habitat. It's just a BAD LOOK.

WHOOH. I feel SO much better, don't you? I don't even feel the need to mention Elizabeth Hurley, mistress of ceremonies at a super-fancy breast cancer benefit in NYC last week---draped in a fabulous, ahem, SARI.

Thanks for listening, girls, and tune in next time when I give a roundup of the best mother's day gifts evah!