Monday, July 31, 2006

Saving face

All the ladies in the house say OWWW!
Hi girls! I miss you so much...I've been kinda MIA over the past week. Number one, I had a little hospital procedure that kept me out for awhile--no biggie, I'm good! Number two, it's totally wedding season and when I haven't been out of town at showers and engagement fetes, I've been gossiping about all the bad shoes I saw at said showers and engagement fetes (I'm kidding). And now, a very serious question. Am I the only thirty-year-old dying to see John Tucker Must Die and that dance school movie, Step Up (I'm particularly excited about that one, since the teen book I just finished, IT-CHICKS, takes place in New York's School of Performing Arts!)? I'm very concerned about my "taste level," as Tim Gunn would say. I only like teenagery, Us Weekly-ish things. I've addressed this before, but I feel it bears repeating, since I've memorized The Pussycat Doll's entire "Buttons" routine. So you can imagine my agita when, last week, I had to interview Nick Lachey for Cosmo Radio!! Now, I've done a lot of celebrity interviews. I never get starstruck, EVER (although I do, at times, feel that I must belong to some separate species of female, after spending a couple hours with perfect-looking fembots like Christina Milian and Ciara). And even though I've always thought Nick was vaguely hunky in a "come-on-Jess-you're-leaving-your-adoring-hubbie-to-hit-the-maroon-five-guy?" kind of way...he always seemed a little FRAT to me. Not so in person! Ooooh, he looks straight in your eyes, and laughs easily, and makes fun of you in that comfortable, knowing way that makes your thighs go squishy. And he has puffy red lips. I blacked out after the interview, I was so shaken. I remember nothing but the sweat. By the end of the twenty minutes, I had black mascara-tears running down my face and my concealer was puddled at my feet. It could have something to do with the lack of AC in the studio and the one hundred degree weather...but the point is, I was drenched. If only I'd had MODEL IN A BOTTLE ($18)!!! Girls, this stuff was manufactured in heaven. And it couldn't have come into our lives at a more perfect time, during the illest heat wave this country's ever seen. It's a very light, fine setting mist that you quickly spritz over your face after you've applied makeup, and it keeps everything perfectly matte and sweat-free until, like, three am!! You won't even need makeup touch-ups during the day. Listen, I don't know how it works and I don't care. All I know is, I'll be toting it in full effect to Lola's wedding this weekend. Pictures last forever, muchachitas.

You simply must buy this stuff, girls! Just so you know, I'll be returning in a hot second to answer your sexiest beauty questions, but I just had to get a quick rave in. Seriously, MODEL IN A BOTTLE. It's life-changing.

Monday, July 17, 2006

okay, FINE!!

Hey Hey Hey,
Hola ladies!!! I am EXHAUSTED beyond belief. Mama cannot shake it like she used to. But wow...E for effort! On Saturday, me and my friends Adina (a deliciously sexy NFL publicist, far left), Mashawn (a high-powered Florida attorney and fellow UVA grad, in the pink) and Kibwe (J Mendel's illustrious design director...check the twinkly gold dashiki and matching chain, okay?) hosted our fab friend Lola's bridal shower and, later that night, her bachelorette party. I couldn't believe how emotional the shower know, the whole "toasting one of my greatest friends' life as she starts a whole new moment" thing! I honestly thought I'd be too emotionally drained to really get down at the bachelorette party at BLVD, a very sexy Manhattan club, but alas, I had no trouble at all. Kibwe, who's dance floor situation ought to make Debbie Allen terrified for her job, led all of us in a four-hour interpretive dance salute to reality TV. We copied routines from "So You Think You Can Dance" (he would shout out things like, Paso Doble!, or Contemporary!, or Lyrical!...and we'd have to quickly bust a move in that style. Yes, this seventh grade regression required five or six cocktails). We attempted various "Making the Band" routines that we now know by heart (like the "Ooh La La La La La" shimmy, last season's banger to Cheri Dennis' "I Love You," and the cute little "baby, baby, baby, baby, baby" Betty Wright stomp). We were fools. But because we embraced our foolishness, we were fabulous. So there.

In an abrupt subject change, that is indeed me in the August issue of Marie Claire! Do you like it? Can anyone tell I've gained ten pounds? Whatever, everyone's telling me that the lbs. were much-needed. And my brand-new butt has certainly made my very Latin husband happy. If he's happy, everybody's happy.

Speaking of wanna know who makes me smile uncontrollably? The Great and Powerful Sam Fine, who along with being one of the most accomplished makeup artists of our time, is also one of my dearest friends (he's quite sexy, too...I've never seen the man without the CLEANEST edge-up, ever). Perhaps you've heard of his beauty book, a veritable black girl classic, FINE BEAUTY: BEAUTY BASICS & BEYOND FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN? Sam has worked on all of our most iconic beauties--Tyra, Patti, Naomi, Iman, and Queen Latifah. Vanessa Williams calls him "a visionary." Brandy says she "can't stay out of the mirror" after he's done her face. When Veronica Webb became the first black model to land a cosmetic contract with Revlon in 1994, she demanded that Sam work on all her campaigns (for you young'uns, she was one of the original, "capital S" Supermodels of the late '80s-early '90s) . And, ahem, when it came time for me to work out my ACCIDENTAL DIVA author photo, clearly I had to call on Mr. Fine to "beat my face." Sam truly changed the way black makeup was done--he's a true genius; an artist in every sense of the word. And this week, he's SHAKE YOUR BEAUTY'S guest editor! Yaaay! Here, in his own words, he's letting us in on his favorite beauty products of all time. Wanna learn more? Check out his fancy website, SAMFINE.COM, or email him questions directly at SAM@SAMFINE.COM. Okay, pay attention...the master has spoken.



1. Black Opal Stick Foundation ($8.95): "As a makeup artist, perfecting the canvas is the most important part of my job. I love these foundation sticks because they come in a wide variety of shades, offer great coverage and don’t cost a fortune!"

2. Iman Luxury Pressed Powder ($20): "If you’re one of the many women of color who doesn’t wear foundation, or simply want to skip it during the summer months, try using a pressed powder. First, apply a light moisturizer (with SPF!). Blot, then, with a large powder brush, apply powder."

3. Christian Dior Plastic Shine Lip Gloss ($22): "Gloss is the one item you should never be without, especially during the summer months! Whether used over lipstick to create a multi-dimensional effect or alone as a summer sheer, gloss is a glamorous, yet natural item to own."

4. Stila Eyeshadow ($14): "When applied, eyeshadow should look true to the color in the pan and Stila shadows do the job! They have beautiful mattes and shimmers shades that don’t turn ashy on deeper skintones, making it easy for any woman of color to enhance her eyes easily."

5. L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara ($6.99): "Yes, waterproof… Why? Because it builds thicker, fuller lashes faster. Begin by applying a thin coat, then wait a few minutes and apply a second coat, this time building lashes that look long and lush!

6. Cargo Bronzer ($25): "Bronzers are often sold during the summer months because they’re meant to enhance tans, but every woman of color should own a bronzing powder because she’s a color year ‘round! In addition to adding a golden glow, bronzer can also take the place of blush by adding warmth and luminescence to the face and body.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Hey Girlie Girls,

Miss you! Tomorrow is my friend Lola's big debaucherous bachelorette bash and momma is running all around getting ready for the big night. I haven't even gotten my hair blown out(I mean, REALLY!). I'll hit you back on Monday with a post featuring a VIP special guest editor. You'll just die!!!



ps....Yes I be that chic in Marie Claire :-) Aren't I cute??? More on that later...

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Devil Wears Forever 21

Hey Girlie-Girls,
DID YOU SEE DEVIL WEARS PRADA??! Love, love, love. And for any of you wondering if the movie exaggerated the deeply humiliating, totally ungratifying life of a fashion magazine editorial assistant…please don’t get it twisted. It’s EXACTLY like that. Everything from cold-sweat panic when Boss Lady arrives at work, to the delivering of the book to Boss Lady’s house and the frantic co-ordination of last-minute travel arrangements (first class, or off with your head)—it’s all real. The most hideous part, though, was being expected to read Boss Lady’s mind when she easily could’ve explained exactly what she wanted. Instead, you have to take a wild stab at things like which designer she’ll want to borrow clothes from for the CFDA awards, and whether she’s in the mood for Haru California rolls or nuts-and-berries from Pump (a hideous Manhattan health-food store that always gives me projectile diahrrea). It’s insane, what’s expected of an entry-level chickadee in fashion. But we abused editorial assistants wouldn’t have given it up for the world. It’s so thrilling, being privy to the innerworkings of such an influential, far-reaching industry. And if you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll inevitably learn the business in a way that’ll ensure a swift, brilliant rise to the top.

And here’s where I get annoyed. My issue with both the book and the movie was Andie, the title character. I loathed the way she behaved like she was above paying her dues, like both Vogue (let’s face it, that’s what we’re talking about here) and the fashion industry were beneath her. Get the hell out, then! Meryl Streep herself commended Anne Hathaway (who is stunning, by the way…I predict that we’ll all be rocking eye-skimming bangs by the fall) on making such a whiny character seem sympathetic. It’s really a very lucky thing to be in such close proximity to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (on whom Runway’s Miranda Priestly is based), inarguably the most important fashionista of them all. She’s an abusive sociopath, to be sure, but if you want a career in fashion, who better to learn from? She’s an icon! I just don’t get this new wave of girls taking entry level positions with the attitude that they’re too cute for the work. Like Heidi on Laguna! Jesus Christ, that girl. “Uhh, sorry I just thought I’d be part time…and I just didn’t realize I’d be stuffing envelopes?” It boggles my mind that this nineteen-year-old assumed she’d be hobnobbing with A-listers at the hottest clubs in L.A….as an event planner’s ASSISTANT (I do, however, adore Heidi’s hair). Ladies, anything worth having is worth working your ass off for. Behind every star is a saga of suffering and sobbing—so go have a cocktail and get over yourself.

That said, let’s move on to your most pressing beauty issues of the week! Listen closely, friends, some of these may apply to you. Mama hearts you big time…keep shaking that beauty!


Dear Delightful,
Here’s the “proper way” to arch your brows, Pretty Girl. First, brush them upwards with a tiny eyebrow brush—you’ll look really evil, but stick with me. Once the hairs are sticking straight up, you’ll be able to see the line of your arch more clearly. Create a sort-of stencil of the arch shape you want by tracing along the underside of the brow with an eyeliner pencil (a white pencil is your best bet; you can see it more clearly). The highest point of the line should fall directly above your iris. Next, tweeze the hairs that fall below the line. Voila!! A clean-but-natural-looking arch. What you should NEVER do is pluck above your brow or over-tweeze between your brows. To figure out where your brow should start, hold a pencil vertically at the outside of your nostril. And to make the whole thing infinitely easier, check out BENEFIT’S BROW ZING IN DARK ($28). The all-in-one kit comes with everything you need to create perfect brows—two brow powder shades, tweezers, a hard angle brush (to apply the powder) and a blending brush.

Dear Anonymous Girl Curious About Eyelash Extension,
Ooohh, who isn’t? Ever since stars like Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson started rocking deliciously lush eyelash extensions (Madonna’s were diamond-studded and cost $10,000), they’ve become the Hollywood trend du jour. What happens is, the salon technician glues a synthetic lash extension to your own eyelash hairs, one by one with tweezers. For up to two months, you’ll wake up every day with long, sexy, fresh-looking lashes that won’t even require mascara! The thing is, the extensions are expensive—costing between $300 and $500. Too expensive? Try semi-permanent lashes…they cost about $50 and last anywhere from three days to two weeks. And if you’re looking for a super-cheap way to get Aubrey-at-dance-rehearsal lashes (please tell me you noticed that the Making the Band babe wears fake lashes to boom-kat with Laurie-Anne for hours. LOVE her), it all starts with out SHU UEMURA’S industry cult-favorite EYELASH CURLER ($18). Every Us Weekly-type celeb under the sun uses this curler, and for good reason—it makes your lashes pop like you wouldn’t believe. Try it, try it, try it!!

Dear Zakiyyah,
First of all, huge congrats on your smarty-pants 10-month-long Fulbright Grant to Malaysia!! I fully cosign your decision to bring two weeks of clothes, and understand your confusion about what else to bring. Ahh packing. It’s so hard for us fashion-and-beauty sluts. But you’ve come to the right girl, since about five years ago I dropped everything and moved to Seville, Spain for six months…and stuffed my entire bathroom cabinet in a carry-on. Before you do anything, you should visit FLIGHT 001. It’s a fabulous hipster-chic travel boutique in Manhattan’s West Village, but the website is just as fantastic (and well-priced)—it carries things like packing aids, travel wallets, all kinds of helpful gadgets, in-flight essentials, and random goodies like all-in-one adaptors, a “No Jet-Lag” homoepathic remedy, cute luggage labels and their insanely well-edited Flightpack (for just $28, you get a waterproof bag stuffed with a dental kit, floss, mouthwash, Burt’s Bees lipbalm, moist towelttes, an Evian face-spritzer, and moisturizer). Second of all, you should leave electronics like curling irons and hairdryers at home (they probably won’t work in Malyasia—just buy them when you get there). Also, don’t weigh down your carry-on with tons of makeup…downsize with HARD CANDY TAKE OUT MAKEUP KIT ($25, above), which had everything you need in one tri-level, cutie-pie palette (six lipglosses, two lip brushes, eight eyeshadows, a black eye pencil, mini mascara, two shadow applicators, blush and bronzer). But in terms of hair products and skincare, definitely bring your usual stash—you probably won’t find Miss Jessie’s curl creams in South East Asia, Sugar. To make things travel-friendly, pour your hair and skin stuff into leakproof travel bottles. You can find really cheap ones (from 65 cents to $3) at THE CONTAINER STORE…. they even carry PERSONAL CARE LABELS ($1.79 for 36 labels) to stick on the bottles! Good luck Zakiyyah—write me when you get there!!

Dear Clothespin,
So you’ve got “large, unruly curly hair” and most styling products are too heavy and sticky for you? I have just the thing, Clothespin! You must try MATRIX CURL LIFE CONTOURING CREAM THICK/COARSE HAIR ($15). When your hair’s wet, scoop out a palm-full and saturate your strands, from root to tip. Then, carefully scrunch—not too hard, or you’ll end up with tons of frizz—and use a diffuser to dry. Your curls will be so soft and bouncy you’ll want to run out and audition for a hair commercial.

Dear PinkCrystal1908,
You’re fifteen! Oh honey, I remember being fifteen and acne-prone and desperately jealous of the clear-skinned beauties in Jodeci videos. So, your issue is that you’re an oily-skinned stunner who lives in humid, sweaty Mississippi and needs a non-pore-clogging SPF moisturizer. Well, its seems that CLEAN & CLEAR’S MORNING GLOW MOISTURIZER ($6.99) was made for you. Not only is it oil-free and blended with SPF 15, this super-light moisturizer contains tiny light-reflecting particles that’ll give your skin the prettiest, most “morning-after” radiance. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you, dear?