Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Shim-shimma, who's got the keys to my beama?

"If anything, I'ma keep my enemies closer. I'm looking at it like, you're not gonna walk all over me and think I'm gonna sit there and be your puppet. It's not gonna really happen like that. You playin' me, ma, I'm playin' you, too. And in the end, I'm winning."
—Bre (about Kim) in the first clue that she was a stone cold bee-atch

Hi Ladies,
How's everyone? I'm SWAMPED (its tough, trying to balance sample sale season and a looming deadline), but I had to quickly share my new obsession. Folks, as you well know, this time of year is about exactly two things: The End of the Year Beauty Rut, and The Holiday Party. At precisely the same moment you're so over your hair, your makeup, your stubbornly straight lashes, whatever--you're expected to look your most fabulous at a flurry of seasonal soirees. Right? Well, I recently stumbled upon the PERFECT solution to this perennial, late November/early December-ish problem. It's all about layering a sheer, glitter-flecked gloss over your favorite lip shade. Sounds whatever, but TRUST...this tiny shot of sparkle will instantly make everything about you seem more scintillating, dynamic and irresistible. I know what youre thinking, but I'm not talking the kind of hardcore, seventh-grade glitter that gives your lips an awful gritty feel (so TRL)—these fabulous new "accent" glosses are blended with the softest, most subtle shimmer. And since they're see-thru, they look good on everyone, and over every lipstick shade. Its festive, its glam, its The Answer.

Enjoy, and prepare to totally out-sex whoever has the misfortune of standing next to you in your party pictures.


1.) VICTORIA'S SECRET SWEET TALK SHIMMERING LIP GLOSS in STRAWBERRY SHIMMER ($7 or 2/$10): Oooh, can't say enough about Sweet Talk. Each of these fruit-flavored, twinkly gloss tubes has a different barely-there shade, but my standout favorite is the rose-tinted Strawberry Shimmer (somehow, the pinkiness adds kick-ass oomph to lipsticks in the brown family--I've tested). Also comes in Peach Shimmer, Pear Shimmer, Blueberry Shimmer and Cherry Vanilla Shimmer.

2.) SMASHBOX GEL IN SHEEN ($18): Okay, maybe I'm a twelve-year-old, but flavored glosses make me unreasonably happy. Smashbox's ultra-chic lip gel has a DIVINE honey flavor (its actually infused with real honey extract, as well as shea butter...which accounts for the serious moisturizing benefits), but the best part is the pearly, slightly holographic sheen. Transforms your favorite lipcolor into a '60s Mod moment.

3.) URBAN DECAY XXX SHINE LIP GLOSS IN BAKED ($15): Not only this disco-shimmery, clear bronze gloss flavored with tingly-fresh mint (love), its got a truly inspiring consistency: Not at all tacky, just smooth, smooth, smooth.

4.) BENEFIT DANCING DARLINGS SHIMMERING LIP GLOSS SET ($24): Or, you can skip the first three and invest in this brilliant, all-in-one set of four sparkling mini-glosses. Experiment, mix and match, do whatcha like! Set includes the following transparent colors: Rhumba (white gold), Jitterbug (yellow gold), Two Step (pink gold), and Tango (bronze gold).

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Eat me

"My weave is sweatin,' I gotta go."
--Bree, after a particularly challenging photo shoot

Hello Ladies,
Happy Week of Thanksgiving! Oh, I LIVE FOR this time of year. I'm not big on birthday or anniversaries...but the holidays? Hold me back! This past weekend, I decorated my apartment (it took me three tries to erect my fake-fir garland, as my worried dog Chappie wouldn't stop chasing me around, nipping at the tail-end of the thing), and after wreath-ing and ornament-ing for hours, I stood in the middle of my living room, grinning like a simpleton. So happy. In part because I'd successfully turned my Brooklyn walk-up into a wintry country cottage in New England, but mostly because I knew what was coming next. I was about to dive into my arsenal of sugar-and-spice beauty goodies.

I ADORE all those cozy holiday smells, like cookies baking and hot chocolate brewing...but girls, mama doesn't cook. Instead, I scent the air with candy cane essential oils, take honey-vanilla scented baths and slather my body with hot cocoa-smelling salves. For those of you as deeply uncomfortable in the kitchen as I am, I've put together a list of my favorite yummy-smelling, almost-edible beauty products...all of which fairly yodel "ho, ho, ho!"


Oh, before I forget!! HUGE shout out to Miss Dionne, who was the only one who got the November Trivia Question right--the answer was indeed Spike Lee. Oh, Dionne, I'm so going to be your favorite person when you get those Stila Holiday Candles in the mail...

1.) DIPTYQUE CANDLE IN POMANDER: You remember pomanders, those Victorian potpourri thingies you make by putting cinammon cloves into an orange? This insanely glam candle captures that beloved Christmassy smell like you wouldn't believe. At $52, its a little steep, but Diptyque candles are way top-of-the-line (Pomander was back-ordered at Nieman Marcus, but I searched and searched and found it for you on the Four Season's site). Anyway, I burn it every year during the holidays—the cinnamon-orange scent is to-die, and the chic golden glass holder adds major class to my mantle!

2.) PHILOSOPHY A FEW GOOD MEN: This sweet set comes with three adorably packaged, sheer lip gloss tubes in the yummiest, most feel-good-food scents: Muffin Man (lemon custard), Gingerbread Man (ginger ale), and Ice Cream Man (bubble gum ice cream). All three give fabulous shine, and each one tastes and smells better than the last.

3.) ORIGINS COCOA THERAPY TOTAL BODY TREAT: This intenisive, cocoa-buttery salve is perfect on ashy, winter-worn spots like elbows and knees (for me, the corners of my nose). Also makes a yummy massage balm in a pinch. Did I mention that the cozy hot chocolate smell is the MOST uplifiting thing on a freezing, rainy day like today?

4.) XELA AROMA STICKS IN CANDY CANE: Aroma sticks are the newest, hottest thing in home fragrance. You MUST get on board. It comes with a bottle of scented essential oil (in this case, in a very "'tis the spirit" peppermint/eucalyptus/vanilla fragrance) and a stack of long, bamboo reeds. Here's how it works: You stick the reeds inside the bottle so that the ends stick out. The reeds are porous, so they draw the oil out into the air, where it evaporates and wafts throughout your room. The scent is much gentler than candles and room sprays, and it lasts up to six months. Lovely.

5.) LAURA MERCIER HONEY BATH W/DIPPER: One of my all-time favorite indulgences, this thick, lush bath soak is the ULTIMATE in decadent luxury (okay, that was a mouthful...I have to lighten up on the oh-so-breathless adjectives). Dunk the tiny, wooden dipper in this honey/vanilla/caramel-scented syrup, swirl throughout your bath water, and...inhale. You may never come out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

NEWSFLASH: Enter to win November's Stila Cosmetics Product of the Month!!

Hello My Pretties,
Though they make my sweet little doggie choke, I'm totally obsessed with November's Product of the Month (to check it out, scroll down on right). Can't wait to share the yumminess with the first person to answer this ACCIDENTAL DIVA trivia question correctly!!

big love,

Which famous Hollywood director discovers the saucy mother of Jay's friend, Yellow Andre?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Violet! You're turning violet, Violet!

America’s Next Top Model Quote of the Week

“Never show your ‘oops!’”
--Tyra, after Nicole apologized for a goofy walk
“Create your own wind!”
--Tyra coaching Diane on her walk
“I’m a baby! I’m a virgin!”
--Tyra to Jayla, during the b&w beauty shoot

Hey Ladies,
What’s going on? So, yeah, just back from a week-long stint in the hospital. If we’re going to be good friends, you should know that I get these hideous migraine spells that leave me totally incapacitated from time to time. It’s no big thing; been suffering from these “head haunts” since I was ten (which was in 1985, for those who took a wild stab at guessing my age—yep, I’m 30!). Anyway, I had ample time to think about how to approach this week’s post. I’ve been meaning to cover the whole purple trend since September, but frankly, I’ve never been a fan. I realize I’m totally in the minority on this, especially this season. The…howyousay…DIFFICULT color cast its grapey glow over practically every fall runway show, beauty collection and red carpet getup (cut to tape of Maddie’s Hung Up video, starring a purple vinyl jacket and matching boots). I’ve just never gotten down with purple makeup, myself—it calls to mind things like a high-school-era Denise Huxtable dancing in the living room with her breakdancin’ buds, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, or the Italian Stallion’s face at the climax of Rocky II. Also, purple is a cool-ish color, and therefore tends to make golden-brown girls (fine, yella) like me look a tad sickly-green or ashy. We do much better with maroons, burnt oranges, bronzes, and anything sunny.

But it’s not just about brown girls. In a scene from THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA (I swear this isn’t a plug), a blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty editor named Sandy is presenting story ideas to her boss, Paige. The exchange goes as follows.

“Well, there’s a lavender lip moment,” said Sandy, who was very intimidated by Paige. “It’s kind of an Easter egg look…very flirty and soft?” She pulled out six lipsticks and lined them up on Paige’s product-cluttered desk.
Paige considered the lipsticks. “Walk me through how one can wear lavender lipstick without looking very, very cold.”

And yet I realize, as somewhat of a style insider, that it would be irresponsible of me to turn up my nose at a trend that shows no sign of abating (God help us all). Instead, I spent hours sifting through every new product falling anywhere between blackberry and lilac—and these five came out WAY on top. As Baby's father so eloquently admits to Johnny in Dirty Dancing..."When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong."



Remember how blazing-hot Chanel's Vamp Nail Enamel was in the mid-nineties? When that deeper-than-deep slick of plum-berry sassiness was coated on short, rounded nails it seemed to be the EPITOME of chic. Well OPI, your neighborhood nail salon's favorite polish brand has just put a new, sexier twist on the shade with a subtle splash of coppery sparkle. Very Film Noir Seductress meets Beach Babe...

I would never have picked out the color for myself (see my above issues with "cool" colors), and when legendary celeb makeup artist Frances Hathaway pulled out this deep sangria-colored blush at the MAC Cosmetics Bridal Shoot, my knees buckled in horror. Until she applied it, and I instantly morphed from a cheery good-girl to the kind of woman you wouldn't want your man to share an elevator with.

Nars's brilliant little pots o'glosses contain some of the most beloved lip shades of our time. And this ridiculously shiny, subtly shimmery, ultra sheer (dare I say barely-there?) merlot-tinted gloss is divine.

I've covered this product before for its brilliantly skinny tip (perfect for evenly winged lines) and beyond-soft textures (smudges like no other), but this shade is new. Picture the deepest purple ever--grape juice concentrate, if you will. It makes for a sultry, less hardcore look than black eyeliner, and if you smudge it along your lash line, the shade fades into kick-ass smokiness.

Okay, technically not a MAKEUP product, but when I wear it everyone within a mile demands to know the name of my perfume. Spritz this seriously lite, non-greasy dry oil onto wet skin after you shower, rub in, and voila: Your skin will carry the light, sweet scent of fruity musk all day.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

...or my name's not Shauntia Williams

**special double edition**
“I almost feel like the bubbles are owning you and you aren’t owning the bubbles.”
--Lisa, aka “Alcoholic Bitch"

“If anyone should understand a difference in gender expression, it should be Miss J. I mean, are you kidding?”
--Kim, aka “The Object of Tia’s Girl Crush” (her preppy-butch ensembles are the CUTEST)

Hola Homies!!
Mama’s back, y’all! Oh, I was getting so very distracted at home in BK (as Nas eloquently put it on Kany-eezy’s “We Major”…I heard the beat and I ain’t know what to write), but my little sabbatical worked wonders! Sometimes you just need to push pause on your immediate environment to drown out the noise and FOCUS, you know? I got tons done, my editor is feeling me again--and if I may say so myself, I think you’ll kinda like my new novel (even though its not technically a sequel, Billie and dem do make an appearance…you won’t believe what’s up with she and Jay five years later, tee-hee). No title yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all your adorable emails wishing me good luck! When I got stuck, you all made me smile (except, of course, for the nameless hater who wrote: “Shutup Bitch.” Omarosa, is that you?). And now, bear with me while I address a couple of you, directly:

So tickled you like THE BEAUTY OF COLOR! It’s only in English as of now, but I believe a Spanish translation is coming soon.

Dear MalcaJ,
Big congratulations on your baby girl coming on Feb. 20th!! And even though your family thinks you’re nuts, I enthusiastically agree that Billie is a FINE name.

Dear Dimon,
Don’t you know a true lady never reveals her age? Two hints:
1.) The year I graduated from high school, my favorite songs were: Rump Shaker, Nuthin But a G Thang, Dreamlover, Janet's If, and Jade’s Don’t Walk Away (damn, how hot was that one?).
2.) My birthday’s August 15th.
A special treat to whoever gets it right!!

Dear Anonymous,
I am, in fact, NOT Shauntia Williams from Hattiesburg. Though she sounds lovely.

Back to business. Even though no one saw me for the better part of a month, I never EVAH let my beauty game slip. Which just goes to show that makeup and stuff really isn’t about impressing other people, its about making yourself feel good. An example: I’m an insomniac, and inevitably wake up at 3:30 am every single night of my life. Unlike most people, who I assume would drink warm milk or something like jumping back in bed, I do things like practice my smoky eye technique, pluck my eyebrows, or trim my split ends. Yes, folks, its that deep. When I'm bored I play "Beauty Shop." And so when I was packing I made sure to include the following five gems—all of which kept me busy shaking my beauty in between writing, sleeping, and watching Making the Band 3 (“get gully!”).


If it weren't for my palm-sized palette of bronzey-neutral goodness, I'd have to travel with a steamer trunk full of makeup. This endlessly entertaining box o'beauty has three mini sliding shelves that hold everything you need to do your entire face: Three creamy lip glosses (a toffee, copper, and metallic coffee shade); three shadows (a pale peachy gold, copper, and deep shimmery bronze); a cinnamony blush; a blush brush; a lip brush and a double-sided eye shadow brush. Seriously, everyone must own this kit--and the price is SICK.

Eleven dollars might seem steep, but this isn't an emory board its an EXPERIENCE (its made up of four differently textured halves--a shaper, finisher, smoother and buffer). Every writer should keep this by her computer--I should know, its a tradition I've upheld for six years, since I was a nervous, nicotine-addicted assistant beauty editor at Elle. Every time I'm at a loss for words, creatively frustrated, or generally in need of a distraction, I reach for this four-way stick and frantically get to buffing until my muse returns.

Where to start, where to start? The Philosophy folks thought of everything when they put together this little skincare set, which includes a luxurious cleanser, an un-greasy moisturizer perfect for spots of cold weather dryness, an ingenious eye/lip cream, and the best invention ever--the Kiss Me Red Lip Balm, a pot of smoothing salve that leaves a hint of a tint on lips. Could they possibly have understood the joy I'd have playing with these lotions and potions for a good half hour of procastination?

This is embarassing, but sometimes during those bouts of middle-of-the-night boredom, I'd obsessively curl my lashes, over and over. I just can't get over how something so itsy-bitsy--no bigger than a matchbook--can make my lashes fan out in such a deeply dramatic, Ava Gardner-way. And the soft pad prevents lash breakage, which can sometime happen with those clunky, complicated, medieval-looking curlers.

Okay, I've become addicted to washing my hair so I can play with this thing. You know how, despite how mean you are with a blowdryer, you MUST follow up with a flatiron if you really want that supernaturally straight look? Which sucks, because doubling up on heated appliances virtually murders your hair (and wears out your arm). Well, this multi-tasking, two-in-one flatiron manages to dry wet hair AND straighten it--at the same damn time!!!!! It has something to do with special built-in outlets that allow water to evaporate, and high, constant heat. Hot stuff.