Friday, July 22, 2005

Holiday, celebration...come together in every nation

Hey Ladies,
Everyone LOVED Iman...I'm so thrilled! She's a fabulous lady, and I'm tickled to muerte that she agreed to shake her considerable beauty with us for a week. I'm living for all of your enthusiastic responses, so much so that I'm moved to holla back a bit...

Ghettogeisha: Hope my silly beauty blather helps you recover from your tonsilectomy!
Diva: Made me weep, you knowing THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA by heart..
Funkdeeva: I hear you on the Flori Robers, girl. Ew?
Struggling Princess: Good luck, baby--here's hoping you find your fairy.
Richell: And anyone who appreciates my literary tastes is alright with me.
Todd: A "gifts for your wife" list would be cute, but sugar, you're my only straight male reader.
DivaSoulSistaHuneyChil: Totally feeling your new blog! []

Back to business. On Monday, me and my adorable hubby will be off on our first wedding anniversary European vacation (Paris, Cannes, Sevilla & Barcelona!!!) for two weeks, so this will be my last post for a minute. I'll be thinking of you...will you be thinking of me? Anyway, today I'm running last-minute errands, and my Adam has the nerve to say to ME, of all people, "oh, can you stop by the drugstore and pick up some generic products for us, like lotion and sunblock and stuff?" GENERIC?? Hello? I'm going on a fabulous, jetsetting holiday--clearly my beauty products must support the moment! Here, I've listed my top five summer vacation beauty picks. Glamorous, pampering and essential, every one.

sending you loving kisses from the south of france,

1.) REDKEN UV RESCUE HAIR PRODUCTS: If you're not rocking one of those Joan Crawford turbans on the beach, please protect fragile, highlighted, relaxed, or generally dry hair with Redken's ingenious "sunscreen-for-your-strands" line. If you're just laying out, slather on the nourishing UV Rescue Protective Oil, but if you're jumping in the pool or ocean, apply the UV Rescue Brunette Gard color-saving swim cream to keep combat hair-dulling chlorine and saltwater. And post-sunworshipping, wash that sun, sand and surf right out of your hair with UV Rescue After-Sun Shampoo. Fabulous, and they all smell vaguely beachy.
2.) KIEHLS ESSENTIAL TRAVEL GEAR SET: The beauty equivalent of an all-inclusive resort, this seriously chic, travel-sized kit includes Vital Sun Protection SPF 30 Lotion, Mango Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser, Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (doubles as ultra-rich body cream), and Kiehls' star product, Lip Balm Number 1 (great for sun-chapped lips).
3.) PETER THOMAS ROTH ALOE-CORT CREAM: Go get this immediately, if you're a person prone to bug bites or sunburns. This unsmelly anti-itch cream contains aloe vera, hydrocortisone and vitamin E--so soothing, so worth the price.
4.) LIPPMAN COLLECTION NAIL POLISH IN CORAL RED: There's no point in breaking out your bust-boosting Malia Mills bikini, those oversized Dior shades or your Giuseppe Zanotti beaded wedges if your toes look crazy. Bring out your inner "Palm Bitch" with this deliciously juicy, fruit punch shade of coral-red.
5.) PHILOSOPHY SENORITA MARGARITA SALT SCRUB: Actually, this should've gone first. Before baring an inch of skin on your vacay, make sure its baby's-butt-smooth, supple, and totally ash-free. This lushly decadent salt scrub does the job--and the margarita scent gets you feeling all tropical!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Meet Iman: Supermodel, Entrepreneuress, and SYB Guest Editor!

I’ve always dreamed of being a glamorous woman. It all started when I was eight years old and told my Aunt San that I was ugly—and she told me to hold on through the awkward phase because when I grew up I’d look EXACTLY like early 80s actress, model, and former Miss Ohio,Jayne Kennedy. Jayne Kennedy!!! She wore a sexy candy-cane striped leotard in her own workout video!! Could my life one day be tinged with such fabulosity? At that tender age, I began reading all of Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins’ books, those shoulder-pads-and-sex-filled epics starring gutsy, lusty broads and the rich, rakish scoundrels who loved them. I’LL TAKE MANHATTAN, SCRUPLES, CHANCES AND LUCKY, are the reason I moved to New York City! I wanted to be one of those glitzy glamour queens with careers in magazines, photography, or fashion. Of course, these characters were all white, so I was going to be the “black version” (one of the main reasons I’m writing novels about black It-girls…why should the next generation have to dream of being anybody’s “version” of fabulous?).

You can imagine my glee when I actually made it to Manhattan and landed the glamorous job: Elle’s associate beauty editor! And it was a VERY good look—fashion shows, industry parties, free blowouts at the swankiest salons on Madison Ave. I saw my byline in the world’s biggest fashion magazine every month (not to mention, I finally resembled Ms. Jayne Kennedy). What? You couldn’t tell me SHIT.

But inside, I was a tad lost. As the only black beauty editor at a mainstream publication, I ran into some...situations. Like, I’d have a phone relationship with a publicist, and when we met in person I'd get the "oh, she's BLACK!" face. Like clockwork, the “you go girls,” and “uh-huh girlfriends” would tip-toe into conversations. Or once, a celeb colorist ignored my protests and left my highlights on way too long (hello? relaxed hair?!). I was horrified, not only that this uber-famous salon hired a chick unskilled at treating a variety of hair types (do we not have money for $300 highlights? okay, mine were free, but still)--but because I WENT BALD. Oh, and then there was the drama about my spring makeup story, where I'd included shades for each skin tone instead of saying, for example: "get the new red lip with Revlon Cherries in the Snow"--advice that would leave anyone not Cindy Crawford's complexion resembling H.R.Puff 'n' Stuff or wasting forty-five minutes in Sephora figuring out the right red for them (of course, these days most women's mags have caught on...duh). At times, I thought it would be easier to just be a “ version” of a white beauty editor—you know, sans any issues or distinguishing features. Like the white girl’s token black friend in the movie. Like Lisa Turtle on “Saved By the Bell” (she never made a fuss about having to always take Screech to dances, while all the others had dates). Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time, and God knows making change ain’t easy. Looking back, I just needed guidance and inspiration from a black beauty chick who’d done it pre-me.

Folks, it blazed into my life in the form of my first MAJOR story assignment—a profile of Iman and her new product launch, I-IMAN Makeup! I’ll never forget the first time I met her: I was an anxious 24-year-old sweating through my brand-new Chloe blouse, over-the-moon and terrified. Iman flung her office door open and as God is my witness, at 10am on a Tuesday, she was sporting the vampiest scarlet lipstick, an oversized leopard print hat, and skin-tight black leggings that would flatter roughly three people in the world. Friends, she was four months pregnant. “You look Somalian!” she trilled, kissing me on both cheeks. I fell in love. Here was a real-live, high-powered, glamour goddess of Jackie Collins proportions—AND SHE WAS NO “VERSION.” The real epiphany came when Iman pointed out that as black women in beauty we had the unique power to change America’s beauty standards—as a model in the Breck Girl Seventies and by creating makeup lines for women with skin of color (from African and Middle Eastern to Asian and Latina), she certainly broke a gazillion barriers. Power. My job, my words suddenly had PURPOSE—no more of that Lisa Turtle shit. And power, well, that’s real glamour, no? I finally felt like the woman eight-year-old Tia wanted to be. From that moment, I claimed Iman as my Fairy GodModel, and she’s been the sexiest mentor a girl could ever hope for.

And this week, she’s “Shake Your Beauty’s!” Guest Editor!! In place of Tia’s Top Ten list, I begged Iman to give us an insider peek into her five favorite products from her IMAN Cosmetics collection (for stores and more info, click on So sweet, right? I’ve tried them all…here, in her own words, she explains why you should, too.

Your Faithful Beauty-Shaker, who, after this lengthy post, has developed carpel-tunnel syndrome.

1. TIME CONTROL SLOUGHING GEL: "This exfoliator is divine! Gentle enough for the body and face, it leaves even the flakiest skin impossibly silky—essential to achieving the smoothest, most streak-free faux or real tan."

2. CORRECTIVE CONCEALER IN SAND, CLAY, EARTH (light, medium, dark): "A heavy face of foundation is incredibly dated, plus it’s way too hot for all that drama! Its all about swiping this flawlessly blendable cover-up on problem areas and calling it a day. So clean."

3. SHEER FINISH BRONZING POWDER IN SAND, CLAY, EARTH (light, medium, dark): "I use Clay all year round, but absolutely nothing beats it in the summertime. Brush it along cheekbones, forehead and chin for a hint of sunny sparkle."

4. LUXURY LIQUID BRONZER: "Nothing says “I’m rich and fabulous and do nothing but sunworship all the livelong day” than sunkissed shoulders, legs, and everywhere in-between. Brilliant on all skin types".

5. LUXURY LIP SHINE IN SANGRIA: " This glimmering, golden-orange gloss will have you and everyone else positively tipsy. And it looks stunning on virtually every skintone. Ole!"

The enigma of booty

Hello Playettes,
I'm thrilled that so many of you are excited about my panel at this year's Harlem Book Fair! Just found out the specifics (clearly I'm the most excited to meet fellow panelist and world class video, ahem, "vixen," Karrine Steffans--I've already starting reading her new tell-all biography chronicling her sexploits throughout the hip hop industry!)...hope you can make it!!

**After the panel, I'll be signing books/flossing in the Author's Pavilion from 4:30-5:00. DYING to meet you!**

THE ENIGMA OF BEAUTY: Airbrushed to Perfection
Location: Harlem Hospital Auditorium
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Introduction by: Krishan Trotman (HBF Advisor)
Moderator: Lucille McEwen (Director, Harlem Community Congregations, Inc.)
Panelists: Tia Williams (The Accidental Diva), Iman (The Beauty of Color), Akiba Solomon (Naked), Benide Little (Who Does She Think She Is?), Karrine Steffans (Confessions of a Video Vixen)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

My cup runneth over (but I'm doggy-paddling in the spillage)

Hello ladies!!
First, THANK YOU for all your incredible, funny, encouraging emails (especially VADAMSEL… you, your sis, two kids and boyfriend are in mi corazon). I’m tickled fuchsia that you like me, you really like me, and I adored your gentle-but-firm admonishments for not including your favorite glosses on the Tia’s Top Ten Lip Essentials list. It makes me feel so vindicated, your passionate product loyalty, as it proves I am not the only cosmetics crackhead willing to ride or die for her MAC Lipglass!

And yes, I’ve been missing as long as Mariah holds that last warble on “We Belong Together,” but I’ve had QUITE the couple of weeks!! Some very exciting projects have been thrown my way, so I’ve been somewhat distracted—not to mention working every second I get on my novel (which is finally sputtering along n-n-n-nicely). Here’s what’s been going on with me!

Forever and consistently shaking my beauty and you better do the same, bitch,

1.) Me, my apartment, and my metrosexual Miniature Pinscher have just been photographed for an October feature in Glamour magazine (it hits stands in September…look for it!!), tentatively titled “Creative Women and Their Spaces.” Have you EVER? Chappie wore a beautiful red prep school-esque sweatshirt over a stiff-colored white oxford shirt. Very back to school hot (he looked like Seth Cohen from the OC). And I wore fabulous fall frocks from Max Azria and Nanette Lepore—both very bohemian luxe. The best part? The Glamour folks brought in a red chaise lounge, and as I lay there, draped languorously across the thing with my handsome pooch in my lap, the camera snapping away, I thought to myself, “Okay, this makes up for the mortification of turning THIRTY in August.”

2.) Starting on Monday,'s beauty page will feature a link to “Shake Your Beauty!” Just go to "beauty" on the left column of the home page, then scroll down and click on the "Shake Your Beauty!" icon (my saucy illustration) to access. Pass it on!

3.) For the second year in a row, I’m signing books and speaking on one of the many fabulous panels at THE black literary event of the year, the so-called "Mecca of Black Literature"…The Harlem Book Fair! On Saturday, July 23rd, literally every black author (from Zane, Toure, and Nelson George to Cornel West and Bebe Moore Campbell) will be somewhere among the 250 or so tents along 135th St. in Harlem, selling and signing books, doing readings, speaking on panels. Its an orgy of booklovers (at least 5,000 folks a day) and books…you won’t have to go to the bookstore for a year! Anyway, last year my panel was “Love, Lust and Lies” (needless to say, the “Down Low” guy was one of the panelists), and this year, it’s “The Enigma of Beauty.” Oooooh. And my very own Fairy GodModel, Iman, just informed me that she's on the same panel!!! Cannot, cannot wait. If you’re anywhere near New York City, you MUST attend.

4.) Anybody gonna be in Atlanta from September 30th to October 2nd? I’ve been invited to read, sign and participate on author panels at the Million Reunion/Consumer Expo at The Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta (click here for list of authors, schedules, tickets, etc.) It’s sort of a reunion of the 1963 March on Washington, the Million Man March, and The Million Woman March—expect tons of exhibiters, celebrities, entertainment, interesting panels, etc. Lets get positive, people.