Monday, April 10, 2006

The genius factor

"1. I will treat you in a way identical to, or worse than, the way you treat me.
2. I am the best person to discuss me with.
3. If you need anything other than emergency items, please do not ask me.
4. Stay out of my personal business unless I invite you in."
--Furonda, on her "tips for successful interaction." Okay, now I kind of worship her.

Hola mis amigas lindas,
Hiii! Okay, so I'm back from yet another fabulous trek to my hometown, DC, for yet another fabulous Howard University panel. And as always, I was totally impressed and inspired by you sexy/brilliant/dynamic/well-heeled HU hotties (by the way, Miss Queen-To-Be, I peeped the oh-so-flattering T-Weezy shout on your sassy lil' blog...v. cute!). I'd be thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to come back and listen to myself speak, anytime.

So, this week was I thinking about my favorite beauty products. You know, the ones that get me all flushed, and tingly, and breathless. I decided that the one thing my most recent faves have in common is "the genius factor." If you don't know what I mean, I have a story for you about a time when I myself exhibited "the genius factor." It happened on one of the sexiest press trips, ever. For those of you unfamiliar with the extravagant ways of the beauty industry (and shame on you, for you haven't read THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA), a "press trip" happens when a huge cosmetics/haircare company like Chanel, Cover Girl, Pantene or Clairol takes a handful of the top beauty editors to a faraway, exotic locale--all in the name of introducing that season's new product launches. Basically, its a glamorous way to gently convince said editors to write about the products in their magazines. And on these deeply fab free vacations, we stay in the fanciest resorts in the world, eat the finest cuisine, enjoy tons of free products and indulge in the most pampering spa services imaginable. Boo! I miss it. Anyway, mi favorito was when Lancome took us to South Beach a couple years ago--I was the Beauty Director at Teen People, then. We stayed at The Raleigh (yum), a celeb-studded boutique hotel, and on the last night, we were treated to an uber-fancy dinner/cocktail party at....THE VERSACE MANSION! How do I describe the Versace Mansion? The entire thing was an ode to so-tacky-its-fabulous, Meditteranean-style excess. I'm talking posh, plush bedrooms dripping in velvet and gilded chandeliers; hand-painted ceilings featuring winged cherubs with tiny, bouncing penises; and everywhere you looked...color, color, color. The mansion is built around an outdoor palazzo, which is where we had dinner (overlooking a ridiculously extravagant infinity pool with the Versace medallion emblazoned at the bottom...AMAAAZING).

In short, it was a major, major night. And I'd packed this super-sweet, powder-pink slipdress I'd gotten from my favorite vintage store in New York City, Edith & Daha. Running late (duh), I turned the iron on high and slammed the thing down on my delicate, age-old gown and poof! The damn thing went up in smoke. You can image my devastation. So, with no time to waste, I ransacked my suitcase for something else remotely suitable to wear and came across a golden-tangerine, multi-tiered peasant skirt with a stretchy waist (this was back when the idea of a peasant skirt was sort of novel). Thinking on my toes, I hiked the skirt up to my armpits, adjusted the stretchy part over my nonexistant boobs and rocked it as a flowy minidress...with huge gold hoops, it was very Sienna Miller. What's the moral of this long-winded tale, you ask? I tapped into my very own "genius factor" to turn a deceptively mundane piece into a thing of beauty! And that's what these products do, too. They each work their brand of genius to the FULLEST by taking a seemingly whatever concept and turning it on its head. You'll wonder how you ever lived without them.

love you so much i can't bear it,
miss tia

[ guys are aware of my Prince obsession, yes? Well, I just had to share this oh-so-Princely song I recently rediscovered. You guys must download Sheila E's "Koo Koo" immediately...remember this song? This delightfully obscure 1987 tune is very Sign of the Times-era funky, and better than most of the ish on the radio today.]


1.) KIMORA LEE SIMMONS MINI-LICKABLE LIP KIT ($32.50): I admit, when Miss Thang debuted her makeup collection this month, I so wanted to scof (is that how you spell it?). But this do-it-yourself lip gloss kit is no laughing matter. Okay how brilliant is comes with a double-sided applicator and six delectable gloss shades you can snap onto either end, creating your own portable lip gloss wand. So smart, Kimora (I'm not mad at you for creating your own mini-empire during your brief marriage, because I KNOW that prenup is kicking your ass right now).

2.) GARNIER FRUCTIS LONG & STRONG ANTI-SPLIT ENDS LEAVE IN TREATMENT ($5.99): Whether your hair's long or short, I know for a fact you have split ends. Black hair is naturally brittle, but with the added stress from relaxers and heat tools and the wear-and-tear of a long, dry winter--our ends can turn into a frayed, split nightmare. Nothing short of a trim can cure split ends, but this seriously rich leave-in conditioner smooths down jagged edges so brilliantly that even your hairdresser will be fooled.

3.) JEN LEW DESIGNS CANDLE MATCHBOX SET ($35): I have a total candle fetish, but can NEVER find a match. Crisis averted! These citrus, sandalwood, and vanilla-scented candles are wrapped in the most darling patterned paper...and each comes with its own handmade matchbook in the very same print (and on top of that, it's adorned with a single Swarovski crystal)! Its just the most clever, gorgeous idea. My favorite is Ruby Kashmir...very turquoise-drop-earrings-with-an-embroidered-tunic-minidress.

4.) PERLIER BLACK RICE EXTREME AGE-DEFYING LINE REDUCING MOISTURE EYE CREAM ($24.50): So, my dear friend Joseph had been going on and on about this eye cream for the longest, so I finally buckled and tried it. Ladies! You know how after about 1pm your concealer starts settling into the fine lines and creases under your eyes (or maybe its just me because I'm thirty effin' years old)? If you dab this wonder-cream along the area before applying concealer, I promise you that after about a week, the crease-thing won't happen. It's like a Christmas miracle, but in April.

5.) SEPHORA NAIL WHITENING PENCIL ($3.50): I don't have time to get weekly manicures, but I'm a maniac when it comes to clean, pretty, fresh-looking nails. What to do? Lucky for me, Sephora invented this ingenious nail whitening pencil. Simply lick the tip, run the pencil along the underside of your nail, and voila--you get the illusion of a french manicure, without the fuss. Wait, there's more: The slanted, pointy cap doubles as a cuticle pusher! Quite possibly the best nail invention of the millenium.


Anonymous Apple Diva said...

Hey Tia, I will be trying the Fructis product. You qre the best. I saw your friend Lola on Martha Stewart. Anyhoo, how is the Cosmo show coming along?

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Fo'Real in Los Angeles said...

I saw Lola too on MS asking questions about her wedding. I thought, "That's Tia's BF." Anyhoo, I am loving the Bliss peel (it really is fading the dark spots). I will try the whitening pencil as I don't have time or the budget for weekly manicures.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5???? only 5? I need more,lol.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Schanina said...

Yay Storytime! I got all giddy like a five year old sitting Indian style on a multi-colored carpet! And I was glad to hear the princess made it to her ball looking fabulous!

BTW is it bad when they know you by name at Sephora? Oh well, I still have to get that whitening pencil.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Schanina said...

Did someone say wedding?

7:57 AM  
Anonymous coco_fiere said...

Hello, my name is coco_fiere and I am a lipgloss addict. LOL! I love the KLS gloss and can't wait to order it and her lip pallette from Sephora. I'll have to give that Fructis a try and add it to my conditioner stash. Good looking out.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After staying up ALL night last Sunday reading Accidental Diva..I will totally need that eye cream :)

Whitening pencil and the previously mentioned bliss peel have been added to my to-get list.

Luv Ya Lots

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a former Prince Fan,

Girl, you really went old school for that jam. lol. Can't wait to try the new products.

Happy and Prince free for 3 years. lol


7:50 PM  
Blogger Whitney said...


Thanks again for coming to HU for the SECOND time!! It was sooo great to meet you (although I felt like a knew you from reading your blog, lol) and hear all the wise words that you and Scott had for us aspiring journalistas, beautyistas, novelistas, and whatever else!!!



8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:14 AM  
Blogger queen-to-be said...

Thanks for shouting out my blog! Im glad you didn't mind me putting your business (and your dad's:) out there. And you don't need to sit in on one of your chats, because you already prove the advice works! The tips for the brown-skinned beauty shaker were much appreciated!


12:52 PM  
Anonymous Toni said...

Loved your book, foisted it on all my other friends to read!

My ? is: I'm dying to try the whole tinted moisturizer/concealer/powder method. Who has good tint for brown-skinned girls? If anyone knows, it'll be you!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Shelia said...

Now I might have to check out Kimora Simmons do it yourself lip gloss's kind of cute...maybe I can hint around and get it as a gift.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous pinkHUprincess said...

Hey Tia! Thanks for coming back down to Howard. Like Whitney said, after reading your blog I felt like I already knew you, lol! You inspire me to always stay fly!

- Susan Simmons

8:37 PM  
Blogger As The World Turns....Mystie Blu said...

Hola!!!! Just wanted to let you know that I love Granier Fructis products and I totally second the motion for the 'Garnier Fructis Leave-In Treatment Long and Strong.' Their products are not work great on my hair but they smell pretty good too!

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a note to say I bought the Seychelle's that you are wearing in Vibe Vixen. I had been looking at them since they first came out, but on a writer's budget, it just wasn't going to happen. Imagine my surprise, and glee when I walked into Urban Outfitters and they were $25. And the great thing about them is that they are mad comfortable. With wedges I usually have to wear a half-size larger, but not this time. I love them and have noticed after wearing them for a whole day, my feet still feel like I'm walking on pillows.


6:09 PM  
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