Tuesday, March 28, 2006


"I know I'm a threat. I'm a strong-ass woman. I'm a soldier sista. Recognize."
--Jade, who is also a "bi-racial butterfly." Sweetie, please.

Hola chicas,
Oh, how INSPIRED I am to talk to my girls today! This past Saturday, I spoke to Howard University journalism students on a panel about breaking into magazines--and you guys were so sweet, graceful, supportive and generally lovely that I wanted to impregnate you ALL (and I was so excited to find that most of you were already SHAKE YOUR BEAUTY fans, that when I got home I checked my "stats" I discovered I have more than a million hits so far!). Huge special gracias to Stacy, Nakisha, Monica, Genae (who I had zero idea was LuxeDivaSoulSistaHuneyChile, in the flesh...hello! If I'd know I was hollering at one of the most dedicated beauty-shakers I would've done an interpretive dance for your ass) for your sweet words of thanks and just your general Howard Hotness. And an even bigger "hollaaa" to Miss Julia (allaboutthepretty.blogspot.com) for showing up at the conference to convince me that I am, in fact, not the Western Hemisphere's bigger beauty psycho (girls, the woman travels to PARIS every year to stock up on hard-to-get makeup and stuff...you have me beat, doll). Not only did Miss Julia put her Houston Neiman Marcus beauty counter chica, Juanita, on to SHAKE YOUR BEAUTY, but she made me all blubbery telling me that I've helped her teenaged nieces realize "it's okay to be brown." Wow. That's EXACTLY what I'm trying to do here. Good times, good times.

Ladies, its getting a tad bit warmer this week. After a winter that seemed to be in effect since 1979, I couldn't be more thrilled. Spring is totally the highlight of my year--and my favorite part is getting my flaky, ashy, dull, wack body prepared for tiny mini's, strappy wedges, and teeny tank-tops. I KNOW I'm not alone in this, so I've gathered my three most essential "spring into spring" products to help buff your winterworn skin into a frenzy of radiant, gleaming, suppleness. This is the stuff I whip out every single year to get my spring cleaning on. And, oh, what a difference they make! Jessica Alba, the most glowy girl in Hollywood, will want to slap your face for having such supernaturally stunning skin--I promise.



FACE: Origins Never a Dull Moment Skin-Brightening Face Polisher ($23.50): This is my all-time favorite face product!! Before spring starts, you must exfoliate the layers-upon-layers of nasty, dead skin cells that've built up on your skin's surface over the winter. Now, I hate scrubs with big, harsh grains in them (so bad for my sensitive skin). This face polisher contains nature's most gentle exfoliators--crushed papaya, apricot and mango--all fruits containing yummy enzymes that GENTLY slough off dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover to reveal the radiant, glowing complexion you'd forgotten you had. And I swear, it smells like a smoothie. Love.

BODY: Fresh Milk Bath ($35): This incredibly luxurious, deeply decadent bubble bath (a tried-and-true beauty editor cult fave) was inspired by the milk soaks Cleopatra used to dip in to soften her skin. The ancient sex goddess definitely had it right--milk contains vitamins A and D and lactic acid, all of which work together to give even the roughest skin a baby-soft, deliciously smooth finish. Also comes in nectarine milk, chocolate milk and ivy milk scents...each one more sensual and spa-worthy than the last. Oh, and if you really want to make the scent last, layer on the matching body lotion, too. Mmm, mmm, good.

HANDS & FEET: True Blue Spa Wax On Wax Off ($12.50): If you've had a paraffin wax treatment at a spa, you KNOW how your hands and feet feel afterwards--so soft you never want to wash another dish or scrub another toilet in your life. For the uninitiated, here's how it works: You dip your hands or feet into a heated, creamy wax that hardens like a mask onto your skin, imparting intense moisturization and tons of skin-nourishing benefits. You used to have to pay a small fortune to get this treatment, but now you can do it at home with this paraffin-in-a-jar. So easy, so inexpensive, and the results are positively EPIC. I wouldn't even dream about getting the hottest spring mani/pedi (think coral, by the way) without it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I want my MTV

Hey Sweeties,
I have some wildly intriguing news for you aspiring journalistas! MTV has teamed up with Rolling Stone magazine to create a new reality series in which they'll search among amateur journalists to determine who'll win a ONE-YEAR STAFF POSITION with the magazine. Hark! On the show, which is expected to launch late this year, the contestants will be asked to cover a variety of events and topics over the course of three months. Interested? Check out either MTV or Rolling Stone's website for more information and application restrictions. But get a move on - the deadline is APRIL 7TH!!
good luck,
your tia

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Sippin' DP on my way to DC..."

Hey girls,
Remember that line? From Biggie's "Get Money" remix? I'm totally aging myself..eww. Guess what? For all you Sassy Sassersons living in the Washington DC area--and at all interested in pursuing a career in magazine writing--I'll be speaking on a panel at Howard University this Saturday, March 25th! The Dept. of Journalism is holding it's third annual "U.N.C.O.V.E.R." magazine conference at the Armour J. Blackburn Center on the HU Campus. The keynote speaker will be Angela Burt Murray, the editor-in-chief of Essence magazine (and my former Teen People co-worker)...and the panelists are equally as amazing. I'll be speaking on the "Reinvent" panel from 4:30-5:30, and its all about how to get started in mags. And then I'll be selling and signing copies of THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA!

So if you're a budding journalist or just want to holler at your girl, come on by! Registration is from 2-5pm on Friday, March 24th (room 142). Love you so much it tears me up inside,
miss tia

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Some serious beauty-shaking

"I don't like gay people, I don't like Muslims, I don't like abortions, I don't like anything liberal. But other than that, I really like to get along with people."
--Dani who, soon after this muttering this nonsense, got the boot

Hey Ladies,
Muchachitas, I'd like you to join me in congratulating my damn self! Why, you ask? Well, I just completed my very first week as the co-host of Cosmo Radio's brand-new morning show (Sirius satellite radio, channel 111)! OMG, its so much fun. If you don't have Sirius yet, you MUST get it immediamente, if for nothing else than to call in and chat with me on-air...the number is 888-81COSMO, and I'm DYING to talk sex, relationships, and intriguing celebrity gossip with you. And thank you sooo much for all your well wishes and compliments on my new Olay commercial! Guess what--my yummy husband Adam figured out a way to upload the commercial, so if you haven't seen it yet, check it out right here: COMMERCIAL(it's a quicktime file).

So, looks like it's about time for me to take my lovely ladies to Shake Your Beauty school! I love it to death when you guys write in with your most pressing beauty questions, and I'm all set to answer them, here and now. I picked the top five questions that I thought were most universal...let me know if I eased your sexy little minds. Speaking of universal, tons and tons of you have been asking me how to break into the magazine industry. Fret not, for I explained exactly how to make it all happen in my post entitled "An Insomniac Writer talks to Beauty-Philes." One chick who was definitely paying attention? The lovely and talented CeCe, who just wrote to tell me she applied to NYU's School of Publishing for their fabulous summer course on magazine and book publishing--it was how I got my start! Best of luck, Sweetheart, NYU would be eternally lucky to have you!!

And now, let's get into some serious beauty-shaking, shall we?

love ya,
miss tia if you're pretty

Dear Anonymous British Lovie,
First of all, how thrilled am I that you found my humble little blog all the way across The Big Pond? Second of all, your question about how to get rid of acne scars is an issue almost everyone deals with. Especially black, Latina, middle-eastern, Asian and Native American chicks (basically, any one with pigmented skin). See, our skin stretches and expands when we have a pimple. And its the action of the skin contracting when it heals that causes the dark spots. Get it? That's why we have such crucial stretch marks and seem to keep scars from chicken pocs, rashes, or the smallest cuts, like, FOREVER. Exhibit A--my chin. I break out on my chin everytime I have a period, and underneath my daily concealer-job is a veritable map of all my former zits. But I found something that helps fade the scars, finally! Forget cocoa butter and Ambi, those old wives tales of yore. If you coat the offending area with BLISS SLEEPING PEEL RESURFACING GEL every single night, the dark spots will slowly fade away to nothing in a couple of weeks. I swear. The way it works is the gel gently peels off the tippy-top layer of the skin, and since the dark spots are superficial, they're stripped away in no time. Yeah, it itches something fierce, but if you haven't figured out by now that BEAUTY IS PAIN, I can't help you, mama.

Dear Anonymous Cutie-Pie with the So-Called "Back to Homeland" Hair,
Well now, I am offended! Ladies, the aforementioned cutie pie is skeptical that the hair products I mention will work on her "coarse, non-mixed" hair. Honey, I promise I would never plug a product if I wasn't absolutely CERTAIN it would work on all types of hair. I realize that I'm writing for a wildly diverse audience, and I would NEVER leave anyone out! The thing is, no matter what "grade" of hair you have, anyone with curly-to-kinky hair suffers from the same dehydration, dullness, split ends, and breakage. As Digital Underground said waaay back in the day, we're all in the same gang! That said, if you want a specific diagnosis, beyond-famous celebrity stylist ELLIN LAVAR'S line of hair products is amazing, amazing, amazing (I've written about her so much she should give me stock options!). Every black chick in the industry--from relaxed to natural and all hair types in-between--uses her stuff. The best part is, on her site she prescribes specific product regimens depending on what your needs are. Sounds like you could seriously benefit from the products she mentions in the soft/supple category (its for coarse, hard-to-manage hair types)--the Optimoist Shampoo, SatinSoft Conditioner, Nourish Oil (my favorite hair product of all time...rub into your scalp and on ends at bedtime, and you wouldn't believe how luxurious your hair feels in the AM), and Detangle Mist. Enjoy!!

Dear Anonymous Sweetie-Pie Growing out Her Perm,
Oooh, this is never a pretty moment. The telltale line of demarcation where everyone sees where you perm starts and the inches of new growth begins, the horrible breakage, the who-gives-an-eff-where's-my-Dark-and-Lovely desperation when the process takes FOREVER and your future looks bleak. Of course, I've never had the beauty balls to go there myself (plus I'm married to a Dominican man, you know how those Latin men feel about hair), but I've known many a chica--my sister, included--who have gone through it. And the product that invariably gets them through the night? MISS JESSIE'S CURLY MERENGUE!!! This hi-gloss, lightweight styling cream is formulated for curly-to-kinky hair going through the relaxer transition phase. Slap it in wet hair before drying and it'll help create a uniform texture throughout your hair. And oh, your hair will feel so soft, so supple, so bouncy. There's a reason it's a cult-favorite product among beauty insiders.

Dear Darling Porsche,
So, you wanna know what shoes I'm wearing in my Vibe Vixen photo? I'm OBSESSED with these shoes...they're SEYCHELLE'S LEATHER WEDGES IN GOLD, and they're as comfortable as they are incredibly chic. So universal, I rock them with jeans, miniskirts, and cute little bohemian dresses. And you're in luck--I bought them for $100 in the fall, and now they're on sale for $35! Also in black, brown, rose, and copper.

Dear Suzette aka Mz. Black Geisha (love the name, by the way),
You're not the only one deeply intruiged by those new, Beyonce-and Scarlett-Johannson-staring commercials for LOREAL H.I.P. HIGH INTENSITY PIGMENT MAKEUP. The makeup is daring, bold, vibrant and sexy in a Get in the Groove-era Madonna way. However, you should be warned that it's not for the timid--the shades aren't at all sheer. They're dramatic and opaque, what my sister calls "Birthday Girl" makeup (meaning, you wear these eyeshadows, lipsticks and blushes to the club when you want folks to know it's your birthday!). I'm currently having a love affair with the eyeshadows--they're so vibrant and delicious, I want to eat them. Try the CONCENTRATED EYESHADOW DUO IN LIVELY, it comes with an incredibly hot, super-deep forest green that looks fabulous applied with a skinny eyeshadow brush along the lashline.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Come up in the spot looking extra fly

Hey Ladies,
Hollllaaa! Okay, I am having the MOST extra-fly week ever, ever, ever. By now, a few of you have written in that you've seen my TV commercial for Olay. Yes, it's me and yes, my bottom teeth really are that crooked. But hello? CAN YOU BELIEVE I'M IN A COMMERCIAL? When I taped it a month ago, i didn't want to tell you guys in case I fell on my ass or something and ended up on the cutting room floor. But I saw it for the first time last week during a beloved Project Runway marathon and my throat is still sexily raspy from the force of my screeching. Here's the setup: Its a beauty editor (moi) in a fake office, and as she's rifling through all her different beauty products and says something to the effect of "I have access to a zillion beauty products, but Olay Total Effects is the only one that truly melts my butter." Well, not exactly, but you get it. When you see it, let me know what you think! I'm still in shock about the whole thing. The audition was hilarious. It was me and a bunch of my beauty editor amigas, and while most of them were nervous wrecks (a good writer does not a public speaker make), I was all over it. When it was my turn to go in front of the cameras I was like, "okay let's do this, where's the wind machine?"

Is that so wrong? Look, if I'm going to be on national TV I'm trying to have bouncy, wind-tousled hair.

But here's the second big thing happening...I'm the new co-host of Cosmopolitan magazine's new radio show, Cosmo Radio, on Sirius channel 111! It's launching on Tuesday, and if you have Sirius radio you must tune in! Me and my co-host, Taylor, will be doing the morning show, 7-11am Monday-Friday, and we'll be talking about the hottest celebrity gossip, sounding off on all things love, sex, and relationships, and doing celebrity interviews (I'm chatting up folks like Patricia Fields and Chris "Too-Dreamy-To-Live" Brown on the launch show...oh, how I'd like to corrupt that sweet young morsel!!). Isn't that exciting? So, if you have Sirius, you MUST tune in and give us a call and we chat on-air (888-81COSMO).

In the meantime, I'd like to leave you with a tasty, tasty little piece of totally related insider beauty information. Even though my hair ended up in a low bun in the Olay commercial, it started off all wavy and wanton, like a whole pre-Rapphealite moment (the hairstylist was a genius. A GENIUS). You know, like those piecy, luscious Gisele/Jessica Simpson/Jennifer Aniston waves? I've never been able to really make that look happen on my own. To do it, I separate my hair into small sections, and wind each one around the wand of my curling iron until my whole head is done. For some reason, the waves always look a little off...too tight, or something. But the hairstylist at the shoot used this ingenious triple-barreled curling iron, HOT TOOLS PROFESSIONAL 3 GOLD BARREL WAVER. I've never seen anything like it. Instead of wrapping the section around a single barrel, you weave it in and out three different ones--it makes the most natural-looking, bouncy waves that last until you wash your hair. You've got to try it! But first, always spritz hair with a thermal heat protecting spray like REDKEN HOT SETS THERMAL SETTING MIST.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Calling all fiction writers...

Hey chicas,
Just a quick holla at all you fiction writers out there, just ITCHING to be published: Check out this fabulous opportunity from ColorLines magazine! Talk to you soon, girls...

ColorLines, the national newsmagazine on race and politics, is proud to announce its first issue devoted to fiction!
We're looking for short stories and novel excerpts written by people of color. We are specifically interested in fiction that addresses the themes of race, politics, immigration and culture. We are open to a range of genres including fantasy, literary stories, crime, and mystery.
July 15, 2006
Your submission should be between 3,000 and 5,000 words. Send it as an electronic version (as a Microsoft Word attachment or rich text file) to daisy@arc.org. The subject line of your email should read: SUBMISSION and your full name. The piece should not have been previously published. Let us know if you're submitting it simultaneously to other publications.
$100 plus two copies of the magazine.
Tell a friend about ColorLines :: ColorLines Magazine Online :: The Applied Research Center

ColorLines Magazine
4096 Piedmont Ave, PMB 319 :: Oakland, CA 94611-5221
Phone: 510-653-3415 :: Fax: 510-653-3427
Subscription Orders: 1-888-287-3126
To unsubscribe, simply reply to this email with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The darker the berry...

What's Happenin' Hot Stuff(s),
Hey girls! First things first, I'm having a doozy of a public relations week! Number one, my gorgeous friend Minya, aka Miss Info (if you live in NYC, you're probably familiar with her Saturday radio show on Hot 97) interviewed me for her monthly advice column in Vibe--look for it in the March issue! Also, for reasons that baffle everyone familiar with my technological ignorance, I'm profiled in the Spring '06 issue of Vibe Vixen on their "Gadgets" page (check it out, left)! Yep, folks, the lovely ladies at VV decided that a girl who has all shades of trouble navigating her voice mail was fit to discuss the latest and greatest in gadgetry. The best part? My petrosexual Miniature Pinscher, Mr. Chappie James Cabezas, managed to wiggle his way into the shot (there he is, down by my enormous, size 10 gold wedges)! Isn't he darling in his mint-green cashmere Polo cable-knit? Squeal! For those of you groaning, FINE...lets move on to more pressing issues.

So I'd planned on talking about how the best beauty products are stumbled upon through word-of-mouf (in Luda-speak), and then I was going to list my favorite products referred to me by my fabulous friends and industry colleagues. But lately, I've been BESEIGED by letters begging me to give some makeup tips to the "dark-skinned sistas out there!" So, I'm saving the first post for next week (and oh, how you'll love it, I swear) and addressing this all-too-urgent problem. I want to start by saying, however, that I never mention a makeup product unless I'm certain it'll look good on brown girls of all complexions, from the reddest of redbone to the deepest, richest brown. Listen, I know only too well how beauty companies like to insist they have a "range" of foundation shades, but then stop abruptly at a sort of cafe-au-lait situation, as if there exists no black, Native American, Latina, or Middle-Eastern chicks out there with skintones darker than some frothy Starbucks confection. As if beauty company execs have never seen a human being darker than Halle Berry. So, when I recommend a lip gloss, blush, or eyeshadow, it's with a built-in awareness that I'm speaking to an audience of seriously varying complexions, so I choose stuff in a tone family that'll look good on ALL of us. Dig? The thing is, when you find a makeup shade looks wrong on you, its more of a TONE problem than specifically a COLOR problem. Since most of us have warm, yellow-ish undertones (when something looks wrong, its more than likely got too much blue or pink in it--ie, cool undertones), I always always always pick stuff in the yellow family. So no matter if you're darker or lighter than me, the shade will look good on you! You just might have to tinker with it a little. For example, if I rave about some bronzey lip gloss and you find its a tad light for your complexion--first line your lips with a dark brown lip pencil to give the shade more depth. Or if you're fair-skinned and find that its too intense, sheer-it-out by applying just a dab and blotting. Or, say I mention some fabulous champagne-colored eyeshadow. If you're dark-skinned, you might find that it shows up a tad brighter on you--so you should just use a lighter hand. Got it? All of this was to say that, dark-skinned sistas, I haven't been ignoring you! Miss Williams speaks to the masses! I'm a woman of the people!

That being said, I've assembled a bunch of products that SPECIFICALLY rock the house on dark-skinned girls. You simply cannot go wrong with these gems, my sepia-skinned goddesses. I hope you're in good standing with your credit card company, because baby, you're about to spend this week's grocery money. Love ya, mean it!


1.) CONCEALER: Prescriptives Camouflage Cream in Warm Extra Dark: Prescriptives is, honestly, the last word in customization. On the website, they have this fabulous "colorprint" program where you can find exactly what your undertones are--yellow/orange, red/orange, red, red/blue (we mostly fall somewhere between y/o and r/o)--for the most exact match for your complexion. Cool, right? Anyway, this concealer in Warm Extra Dark is, hands down, the most natural shade for erasing underye circles, blemishes and other discolorations. Try it and see.
2.) FULL COVERAGE FOUNDATION: Iman Cosmetics Cream-to-Powder Foundation in Earth: The supermodel herself doesn't leave her ridiculously chic penthouse without wearing this, and she always looks good, no? "Earth" is the darkest category, but the great thing is that there are still a variety of shades within this group to choose from, for the most perfect match. Also, if you have acne scars, hyperpigmentation, or an uneven skin tone, this full-coverage formula will leave your skin looking totally flawless--but in a NATURAL way, not like you're performing onstage with Kelli and Michelle. And without that heavy, greasy, gross feeling, either. Genius!
3.) SHEER COVERAGE FOUNDATION: Becca Luminous Skin Color SPF 20 in Mink: If you have a pretty good complexion but just want a little something to make you look "finished," this ultra-sheer tinted moisturizer leaves a weightless, ultra-light hint-of-a-tint on your skin. With subtle light-reflectors it gives your complexion a luminous, healthy glow, like you've been frolicking on the beach all day. Honestly, it's so beautiful you might be forced to wear dark shades and a baseball cap to dodge the barrage of compliments. Never heard of Becca? Its a relatively new line created by a famous Australian makeup artist who wanted to create a no-BS makeup line for all ethnicities--and believe me, she wasn't kidding.
4.) BLUSH: MAC Powder Blush in Raisin: If you're not already rocking this, shame on you! This is the end-all, be-all blush for darker complexions. Every dark skinned girl I know--including my friend Lola, who's makeup arsenal a number of you have expressed a wish to plunder--sings the praises of this miracle worker. See, the problem with blush for darker skin is that the wrong color can look clown-like or, if its too pink, totally ashy. This cinnamon-brown blush has enough golden undertones in it that, when brushed onto the apples of the cheeks (smile big--there they are), it looks outrageously natural...like, that radiantly flushed look you get after running a marathon or dancin' in the sheets. Um, take your pick.
5.) EYESHADOW: Hard Candy Eye Shadow Quartet in Old Skool: A couple of years ago, the creative director of Urban Decay and Hard Candy, Wende Zomnir, decided to totally refurbish the Hard Candy line. Well, I BEGGED her to keep Old Skool in the lineup because, and I'm not kidding, every black girl I knew (yeah, yeah, yeah--Lola included!), lived and breathed for this compact of four perfect eyeshadows. I like to flatter myself that she took my advice, because its still in existence, and as kick-ass as ever. The genius quartet includes an ivory shade for the browbone; a rich, golden-copper shimmer for the lid (if you're feeling saucy); a matte taupe for the lid (if you're feeling corporate); and simply the sauciest, deep coffee-brown spiked with golden flecks that's amazing blended into the crease. Use one, use all, experiment with different combinations, whatever--its all good and its all hot and it was MADE for walnut-skinned lovelies.
6.) NEUTRAL LIP: Three Custom Color (3C) Lipgloss in Raisinette or Hot Cocoa: I've mentioned 3C before--its the brilliant company that custom-blend shades for customers based on their coloring and also reproduces discontinued makeup shades. Well, they also have a house line that's absolutely incredible. The head makeup artist, Trae Bodge, is a brilliant black woman so she TOTALLY gets it. The glosses are particularly genius (and I'm not just saying that because they invented a special, coppery-reddish-brown one called Billie, inspired by Miss Burke herself, of THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA fame!). If you favor an understated, is-she-or-isn't-she lipcolor, go for either Raisinette or Hot Cocoa--they're rich, beautiful, slightly sheer chestnut-browns that look amazingly natural on dark complexions.
7.) SHIMMERY LIP: Clinique Colour Surge Impossibly Glossy Lipgloss in Braisin: Ohh, this deep, bronzey-berry-brown shade with a subtle shimmer is downright breathtaking on dark brown skin. It's a bit sheer, so if you like a more opaque, intense look, first line and fill in lips with a brown lip pencil (try MAC Lip Pencil in Chestnut or BBQ, both MAJOR black girl classics) before applying. So flirty-cute!