Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Catch Me Writin' Dirty

Hey Girls,
This title means nothing, I just always wanted to say it.

How are my sweethearts? I know, I know...where have I been? I was in Miami on a much-needed sexy vacay with Adam!! It was so delicious. I don't know, there's just something about Miami. REALLY. We stayed at the very swanky Delano hotel, had a SICK dinner at Casa Tua with our very "couple-about-town" friends, Sarita & Matty; we went dancing at a member-only club where several 5,000 year-old jetsetting moguls and their siliconed sixteen year-old wifeys mambo'd with frenzied abandon...it was fun, fun, fun.

Other notable happenings: I found a pair of clunky Michael Kors platforms on sale at the Bal Harbor Neiman's for $117. I fell desperately in lubb with Brownes Beauty Bar and Spa (if you're ever in Miami--and you have a thing for luxe brands like Molton Brown, Comptoir Sud, Diptyque and Bliss--you must stop by this super-posh, totally exhaustive beauty emporium). Oh, and Kelli Rowland was there. MOST notable, though? I discovered a radio station, 103.5, totally devoted to late-eighties/early-to-mid-nineties slow jams!! Look, I realize this will be lost on anyone born after, um, about 1980...but they played the following songs IN A ROW: Mint Condition's "Pretty Brown Eyes (Breakin' My Heart)," Jodeci's "Come & Talk to Me," Prince's "Adore," and R. Kelly's "Down Low Remix." Okay? Suffice it to say, I may've gotten pregnant on this trip.

Allow me to interrupt for two seconds. I'm watching the American Music Awards as I write, and I just watched Jay Z perform "Show Me What You Got." Yeah, he was amazing...but what I couldn't believe was how OPEN B was! I mean, hopping all around in her Freakum Dress, throwing up the Rocafella sign, grinning like a schoolgirl. Well, FINALLY. Everyone knows you're together, why shroud the damn thing in secrecy? Claim your man, B! Go ahead and accept that you're one-half of a powerful, world-dominating super-couple. Oooh. I just gave myself chills.

And on to the whole point of the post! HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Pretty Girls! This week, I've assembled the top four most Thanksgiving-y beauty products in the land. I don't know, in November, I so enjoy pickling myself in products inspired by goodies from the Big Feast...apple pie, pumpkin pie, vanilla extract, cranberry, all of it. And here's the best of the best. Go forth, celebrate, and be thankful for everything you've been blessed with this year. I know I'm thankful I have you, my SYB'ers.


1.) LOCCITANE APPLE PIE SCENTED CANDLE ($17): I know what you’re thinking, and I, too, loathe synthetic, fake-ass-wrong “baked goods” fragrances. They remind me of those scratch-n-sniff Strawberry Shortcake dolls from back in the day. Positively diabolical. However, sexy reader, you and I both know L’Occitane isn’t about to stamp their name on some icky eau d'eww. Yes, this candle seems overly-sweet at first sniff, but when you burn it, the scent becomes warm, snuggly…spicy, even. I think it’s the nutmeg? Whatever it is, my living room’s enjoying it in a major way.

2.) CAROL’S DAUGHTER BLACK VANILLA LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER ($10): When I worked at Elle, I wrote an article about no-brainer scents—ie, fragrances that everybody loves, across the board. And guess what? Both the venerable Fragrance Foundation and my half-hearted man-on-the-street poll (so mortifying; it was Fleet Week, a whole other story) produced evidence suggesting that all men ADORE vanilla—race, creed, and religion be damned. Yes, this leave-in conditioner renders dry hair impossibly glossy—but I love it because Adam can’t keep his face out of my creamy, vaguely musky, vanilla-scented hair after I wash it.

3.) PHILOSOPHY PUMPKIN PIE 3-IN-1 SHAMPOO/SHOWER GEL/BUBBLE BATH ($16): YUUMMM!! Okay, but forget the whole “it’s a shampoo” thing…it isn’t. Philosophy’s lying. But it is a positively decadent shower gel and, if you run a capful under the faucet, a kick-ass bubble bath. Oh, the scent is downright heavenly…and after a bath, it leaves your whole bathroom—the towels, the shower curtain, all of it—smelling faintly like sweet, wintry delectableness. Again, I'm assuming it’s the nutmeg?

4.) THE BODY SHOP CRANBERRY QUARTET GIFT SET ($25): If you’re far away from your family and find yourself invited to a friend’s family’s house on Thanksgiving, and you’re culinary-ily challenged like me, then what do you bring to dinner? Certainly not Toaster Strudel, which is the only thing I can successfully cook. You bring The Body Shop’s genius gift set! Not only is the cranberry theme adorably Thanksgiving-appropriate, the actual products are delightful. Inside, there’s a shimmer-infused soap, a tiny body lotion, and an adorable sparkly lip gloss—all with an addictively fruity scent! By the way, I own the body lotion, and it plays very well with all of my perfumes.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Beauty Babble-on

Hi Ladies,
Missed you to death!! Girls, I have so many things swirling around in my head this week, I feel like I can only communicate through bullet points. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about, lately:

1.) I’d love to give Anchal a swift kick in the butt. For those of you with a life, I’m referring to the latest model-wanna-be ousted from America’s Next Top Model. Inarguably, she was the most beautiful girl in the damn contest, am I wrong? And so what if she was a tad curvier than the model standard? I saw her in that bikini, and her body was INSANE—not runway-perfect, but pin-up-girl luscious. And who are we kidding—the winners don’t go on to real careers as runway and print models, anyway! If they model at all, it’s as Eva-Diva “personalities,” not as true blue modely-models (some of the previous runners up have gotten some work, though, like Anne and Mercedes). My point here, is that if she’d really loved herself, really worked her curves and scarily perfect face, she could’ve been a superstar. And wouldn’t that have been fabulous for all the Middle-Eastern and Indian little girls out there, trying to feel beautiful? Instead, she showed them how to give up. Shame on Anchal. At least she got rid of the blue contacts, for the love of God.

2.) Democrats in the house, woo-hoo! And just in time, no? Liberals needed some good news after Mr. Kerry flubbed his funny.

3.) Wanna know why Adam is my dumb blonde? Because, after my last post, Miss Traci left me a comment, saying: “You know that saying about how everyone in the world has a twin? Well, you’re a doppleganger for my seven year old self. It’s uncanny.” To which Adam responded, “Wow, that seven-year-old has one hell of a vocabulary.” So wrong, so cute!

4.) I’d like to get some funding from a haircare company, maybe Pantene or Clairol, so that I could fly to Laguna Beach High and host a clinic on weave maintenance. Those girls are really in trouble. Poor Rocky’s line of demarcation is so glaringly apparent, it’s like she has two hairdo’s—the shoulder-length bob and the Barbie. And Cami! It’s gotta be a bitch being the only black girl at Laguna. No one to teach her about flatironing FROM THE ROOT.

5.) Warning: Do not let your driver’s licenses expire past a year. Mine did, and now I have to go thru the process all over again—five hours of school, the written test, the driving test, the abject humiliation. I am a thirty-one-year old woman, I own my own home, I’m married, and I have a learner’s permit. Last time I had a learner’s permit, I was “cool like that, I’m funk like that, I’m freak like that, I’m jazz like that, I’m out.” Yeah, looong time ago.

6.) Well, well, well. I get the point, Schanina and CeCe. I should not abandon my muchachitas for more than a week, or you will gladly answer your fellow beauty-shakers questions for me. You two have me shaking in my new Tocca shift, nervous that your infinite beauty knowledge has rendered me a rickety, obsolete old lady (with a learner’s permit)!! So now I’m back, and I’m answering your five most intriguing questions. As always, keep ‘em coming, thanks for reading…and don’t worry LovelyL, I’m doing a holiday gift guide in the next two or three weeks!


SYB BABE: Chic Princess Petite
QUESTION: I'm looking for a new skin regime. What soaps/body washes do you recommend for all over body moisture that lasts throughout the day?
ANSWER: Olay makes the single most moisturizing body wash I’ve ever used in my life, and I’m not just saying that ‘cause I’m in one of their commercials!! OLAY’s BODY WASH PLUS BODY BUTTER RIBBONS ($6.49) is actually blended with a super-rich body butter. So it’s a lotion and body wash in one! And it’s so incredibly hydrating and skin-soothing that you’ll barely need lotion after your bath. Perfect for the hideously dry, ashy-butt-enabling winter months. PRO-TIP: When my skin’s super-insane dehydrated, I apply JOHNSON & JOHNSON LAVENDER BABY OIL ($4.29) to wet skin after showering, and then towel off—it makes my skin feel totally smooth and supple for days.

SYB BABE: City Girl
QUESTION: “I relax my hair and have A LOT of trouble keeping the new growth straight, especially in my "kitchen" area and underneath the top layer of hair. Any product recommendations would be welcome, but I really need to know about a hair dryer that can help—should I look into ion or tourmaline dryers or...WHAT?
ANSWER: Sugar, I can tell you this—your hairdryer isn’t going to make a bit of difference in helping your new growth lay flat. It’s all about finding the right product, and your technique. Now, I know this is kind of expensive, but MISS JESSIE’S CURLY BUTTERCREAM ($58) will change your life (there’s a reason it’s a huge cult favorite among brown celebs and practically sold out in Brooklyn). This peppermint-infused souflee-textured styling gel is excellent for the weeks between perms. Here’s how to use it: While your hair’s damp, apply along hairline and kitchen. Pull hair back into a pony, then scrape back hair around the hairline and kitchen with a fine-tooth comb, and blast with blowdrier. Take out pony, and blowout the rest of your hair.

QUESTION: “Do those home microdermabrasion kits really work? And which one is the best?”
ANSWER: I also got an Anonymous question asking how to get “clear, radiant skin…the kind you don’t really need makeup for.” Girls, microdermabrasion is the answer. It’s a technique that’s usually done in a dermatologists office where the doctor uses a sort of sandblaster-type device to spray itty-bitty crystals across the face, which removes dead, gross surface cells (the stuff that makes pores look large, and complexions look dull, splotchy, or uneven). Afterwards, your skin is 100% brighter, fresher, and healthier-looking. And lucky for you, there’s a fabulous one you can use it home— NEUTROGENA ADVANCED SOLUTIONS AT HOME MICRODERMABRASION SYSTEM ($37.99). Use it three times a week on clean, dry skin, and you’ll be naming your first child, girl or boy, Tia.

SYB BABE: Chacha
QUESTION: “I'm sure you know about the outrageous demand for the Limited Edition black Chanel nail color! Any recomendations for a more practical (ie, inexpensive) alternative that could offer the same coverage and longevity
ANSWER: Yes, and I’m wearing it as we speak! I’m a huge fan of NYX NAIL POLISH IN BLACK ($2.99). It’s not as long-lasting or shiny as the Chanel (you get what you pay for, babe), but the solution is simple. After brushing on your two coats, apply a layer of a super-glossy top coat, like CREATIVE NAIL DESIGN SUPER SHINY EXTRA HARD TOP COAT ($6). This stuff is my manicure secret weapon—I can literally use the cheapest nail polish as long as I slap a coat of this fabulousness on top.

SYB BABE: FoxyHustle & Talya A
QUESTION: Foxy asks: “I'm about to start my second year of college…any quick makeup tips that I can use so I do not go to class looking a hot mess?” Talya asks: “How did you maintain your image while in college? I just find it hard to look cute while going to classes!”
ANSWER: You’re asking the right person, as I was mighty cute in college. Listen, looking good as an undergrad is all about having portable items that travel well, from classes to walk-of-shame. And you’re drinking heavily, smoking funny things, and staying up all night, so your skin isn’t looking its radiant best—it really helps to have a great highlighter on hand. I think URBAN DECAY’S URBAN ARSENAL ($42) is a fantastic investment for coeds. It has miniature versions of Urban Decay’s topselling products-- and it’s all comes in a handy, chic case with a built-in mirror. Includes: Primer Potion (eyeshadow primer), Black Lengthening Mascara, Lip Plumper, XXX Shine Lip Gloss in Naked (a neutral shade that’s SO SEXY over lips filled-in with brown pencil), Afterglow Blush in Score (use this peachy-gold shade as highlighter!), and Eyeshadows in Roach (golden red-brown), Shotgun (brownish-rose), Half Baked (rich gold), and Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (beige w/silver glitter), plus a double-ended sponge applicator.