Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You must dance, dance, dance

Hey Pumpkins,
Smooooch! How are my girls? I'm bursting with all kinds of news and random pop culture musings and other procrastination miscellanea (I SO relate to Jake Gyllenhaal's description of his screenwriter mom in the latest GQ: "I always knew when my mom was writing something when there'd be ten banana breads around. When writer's write, they do everything BUT write"). My mind is such a blur that I have no choice but to break out the bullets:

* Does anyone remember that FANTASTICALLY addictive and poorly acted mid-eighties musical TV show, "Rags to Riches?" It was about the four singing, dancing orphans in the Sixties who were adopted by a very rich Joseph Bologna? Me and my friends were deeply obsessed with this show, and used to tape all the episodes and learn all the dances. I bring this up only to help explain my fascination with J Lo's new MTV show, "Dancelife." These days, each person who enters my apartment is forced to watch me perform Nolan's Janet Jackson tryout routine ("more drama in the face!"). At press time, I'm still working on the little number Sexy-Ass Kenny taught the kids from his Beantown dance studio.

* Guess who's In Touch Weekly's new TV spokesperson? Yep, you'll be seeing me here and there running my mouth about the stuff I know best--beauty, fashion, random celeb goings-on, and the like. Catch me this week on VH1's All Access Celebrity Showdown 3. Deep stuff.

* "SHAKE YOUR BEAUTY" WON THE GLAM NETWORK AWARD FOR BEST VOICE/CREATIVE WRITING!! Actually, I should say "we" won the award, since I clearly owe it all to your much-appreciated votes. Check out the winners showcase slideshow here. Oh, and I'm thrilled to say that one of my favorite blogs, Young Black & Fabulous, won THREE awards: Best Buzz, Best Design, and Best in Celebs & Entertainment. I'm coming for you, Natasha!

* If you girls haven't yet checked out Ambermag.com, you absolutely MUST! Ambermag is the brand-new, heartbreakingly gorgeous new online beauty magazine for scarily smart and cute multi-culti women like us—and it's brought to you by my friend, the glamorous Miss Marcia Cole, a former top editor at Suede and Essence. Oh, and she's assembled a staff of contributing editors that reads like a who's who of magazine publishing...including, ahem, me. Speaking of, if berry-toned lipsticks drive you wild, you probably should read my latest Ambermag product roundup, shouldn't you?

* Go see "Stomp The Yard" if you haven't yet!! It sooo brought me back to the BBS (Black Bus Stop) at UVA, circa 1993. Even though I never did the whole sorority thing, I still got chills when the yummy main guy stood in front of the heritage wall, with all the old pictures of black luminaries and which sorority/frat they belonged to. And where can I buy Megan Good's butt?

* Thank you soooo much for all your sweet compliments about my author photo! Seriously, I'm blushing as I write. I got tons of comments from you ladies, asking me how to get the look...and well, I can take a hint. So here, I've broken it all down. The hair is A LOT easier than it sounds, by the way. Try it and let me know how it goes. Love you so much it's tearing me up inside!

Your Tia

1.) HAIR
I style-jocked this trick from my sister Lauren, when she used to be relaxed. Now she has a head full of natural, unprocessed curls, and can't be bothered with the curling iron. Anyway, for years, this bouncy, spiral-y moment has been my go-to "fancy occassion" look. Here's how to do it: Start with dry, blown-out hair. Pile it all on top of your head, and pull down a one-inch section with your finger. Spray the section with a heat-activated setting lotion...I adore MATRIX BIOLAGE THERMAL ACTIVE SETTING SPRAY ($11.89)...this stuff gives such incredible hold, my curls usually last a whole week. Next, hold the bottom of the section and twirl until it's coiled. Then wrap the coil around the barrel of the curling iron (ie, DON'T OPEN THE CLAMP. Leave it closed, winding the hair around the entire barrel). Hold for ten seconds, then slide it out. Repeat all over, until you have a head full of tight, slightly-crunchy-from-the-setting-spray curls. Resist the urge to shake 'em out...instead, let the curls cool for about twenty minutes without touching them. Then, rub a quarter-size amount of silicone-based shine serum between your hands—I use PHILOSOPHY CURLY HEAD ($11),an excellent frizz-fighter—and vigorously run fingers throughout curls, breaking them up. Voila! You'll have gorgeous, rippling, glossy, waves for days. And Lauren to thank!

2.) SKIN
Sam Fine is all about stick foundation! They totally cover up hyperpigmentation, uneven skintones, and random scars...all in all, sticks give serious coverage, so they're perfect for pictures (remember this, brides-to-be). Sometimes the coverage is so stellar that you won't even need concealer! The downside? Apply too much and you might look like an oil painting (ie, eerily unnatural), so tread lightly. Instead of rubbing the stick directly onto your skin, use a foundation brush to apply, and then blot your face with a tissue for a more luminous--less matte--look. On me, Sam used BLACK OPAL TRUE COLOR CREME STICK FOUNDATION IN HEAVENLY HONEY ($9.95). And then, to add a sun-kissed glow, he then lightly dusted IMAN SHEER FINISH BRONZING POWDER IN SAND ($16) along my forehead, cheekbones, nose bridge and chin. Not bad, right?

3.) EYE
It's actually really easy to achieve this sort of sultry-but-neutral moment. First, apply a matte beige allover lid, then blend a golden-champagne shade along browbone and inner corners of the eye. Next, blend a deep reddish-brown along crease—SMASHBOX EYESHADOW TRIO IN "ON STAGE" ($28) actually has all three colors. Finish up by applying black eyeliner along upper lashline, and coating lashes with LOREAL VOLUMINOUS MASCARA IN BLACK ($6.99), Sam's hands-down favorite volumizing mascara on the planet.

Faithful SYB-ers will know that I'm crazy for orange blush. Years ago, Sam told me that he uses it on all his clients, no matter what their complexion, because you can't beat the results--warm, natural, slightly sun-kissed yumminess. PLEASE trust me. No matter how Crayola-crazy it looks in the packaging, I swear it'll work wonders on your skin. For my author photo, Sam used CARGO BLUSH IN LAGUNA ($22), a lovely, gold-flecked peachy-orange. Look into it, babe.

5.) LIP
I'd asked Sam for a glossy, nude lip, and I was wearing a coral blouse, so when he whipped out MAC LIPSTICK IN HONEYFLOWER ($14), a creamy peachy-caramel shade, I knew the magic was about to happen. Honeyflower has just enough brown in it not to look chalky, which is often the issue with pale lipcolors. To add some extra-sexy oomph, he added on a layer of DIOR ADDICT ULTRA-GLOSS IN BITE OF TOFFEE ($23.50), a sheer, super-shimmery gloss with tons of twinkly gold flecks. If your lips are on the thinner side, like mine, it helps to add some shimmer in pictures--the light reflects off the flecks, making your lips appear fuller.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

You Must Not Know 'Bout Me

Hey Ladies,
It's COOOLD!! Brrrr!! Fareal, dog, it's BRICK (remember when folks used to say that?). Honestly, I can barely stand this weather. Most of all, because I hate wearing my Raekwon circa-95 puffy down parka. If anyone can think of a sexier cold-weather-coat, please advise. Hey, I'd looove to thank you for all the sweet-as-pie compliments on my new author photo! My friend, lothario-about-town Wyatt Gallery shot the picture, and this man's a genius (check out his award-winning photography here). If it wasn't for a very blind set-up with Y-Gza in early '02, I never would've met his super-cute roomate, Adam, and eventually married his ass! There's a lesson to be learned here, kids...never turn down a blind date. He/she might share a George Foreman Grill with your beloved.

Can we quickly talk about the Golden Globes? How stunning was Reese Witherspoon? There's nothing like a gut-wrenching public breakup to make you put on your red "dontcha" heels. As usual, J. Lo went one accessory to far. But I kind of love that about her. She's loud and tacky and overdosing on glitz, but thank God somebody in Hollywood takes their glamour responsibilities seriously. As I live and breathe, ENOUGH with the white grecian gowns! And poor, B. I love my mommy too, but if I were a diva goddess sensation, I'd AT LEAST hire Rachel Zoe. Tina Knowles keeps her ravishing daughter in 80's pageant dresses that don't do her justice, and I want it to stop.

Hey, have any of you heard of a blog game called "5 Things You Don't Know About Me?" Apparently, I was just "tagged" by Miss Antonia, and it's my turn to spill all. Instead of really going there with my most scandalous, walk-of-shame-ish secrets, I decided to reveal the five BEAUTY-RELATED things you may not know about moi. Promise you'll still respect me in the morning?



1.) I USED TO BE A TEEN MODEL. Yeah, but not the cover-of-Seventeen kind. I was strictly DC-local, doing cheesy mall shows during prom season, and weird "conceptual" fashion shoots for local papers. "Conceptual" meaning posing with twigs in my hair in the middle of a parking garage. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As wrong as Isaiah Washington. And how about me in the little-red-corvette pants? Baby, you're much too fast! I do love the shiny scarlet lips, though, and I've been searching for the perfect red since I took this pic back in '94. As you know, finding that pitch-perfect, brown-girl red is as improbable as Tyra showing up at panel in nude lips and demure hair. It's because most reds are blended with so much blue or pink (both cool tones...BAD) that they clash on darker, yellow-based complexions. For awhile, I was a HUGE fan of Tarte's Lipgloss in Bonnie & Clyde, but it's discontinued. I found the next best thing though...NARS FROST LIPSTICK IN SPANISH RED ($22.50) is a deep, vampy reddish-plummy-brown that sets my world ablaze. I like to lightly fill in my lips with MAC Lip Liner in Chestnut before applying--this gives it a deeper, more stained look. Heaven.
Hey guys, had to add one thing. I just got turned on to LOREAL HIP INTENSELY MOISTURIZING LIPCOLOR IN GUTSY #854, ($7.06)!! This shimmery, coppery-brown crimson is my new favorite red, even moreso than the Nars. If you want to know what it looks like on, check out the L'Oreal HIP ad with Kerry Washington. GORGE.

2.) SAM FINE HATES MY EYEBROWS. Sam Fine is a legendary makeup artist and one of my dearest friends. And he has no love for my twin arches. Last time he beat my face, he spent the first fifteen minutes trying not to weep with frustration at how totally ghastly they'd become. Uneven, inelegant, choppy, et al. Poor Mr. Fine worked so hard whipping my arches into shape that afterwards, he was rushed to the ER for a sprained wrist. Anyway, since then, I've simply plucked along the lines he created, and they look fantastic. Now, Sam taught me that it doesn't stop with the tweezing, kids. If you've got sparse lashes like mine, you simply MUST fill in. Since I'm now a paranoid wreck before I see him, I always use DUWOP'S BROWWOW BROW PALETTE COMPACT in DARKER ($34). Again, I know I rep DuWop, like, every other week, but their stuff is soo cutting-edge! This palette has it all...a defining powder to fill-in barely-there brows, a finishing gloss for hold, and a truly fantastic shimmer cream to highlight the browbone (use your finger to dot along the underside of your arch, and blend...it wakes up your eyes like crazy).

3.) I HAVEN'T WASHED MY HAIR IN TWO AND A HALF WEEKS. And what? It looks fabulous! And here's why. Since I discovered AVEDA LIGHT ELEMENTS REVIVING MIST ($21), I suspect I could go up to six months between blowouts without resembling Pat Riley! You just spritz this fresh-smelling, lavender-scented mist about a foot away from your hair, and it helps break down oil and product buildup without weighing down your hair--and it moisturizes, too. The best part? It doesn't interfere with any products you've already put in your hair...in fact, it re-activates them. So, if you've already applied a shine product or an anti-frizz, the mist just helps it to work better. Brilliant, right? Also great if you have braids or extensions for long periods of time.

4.) I GO TO BED WITH PINK DOTS ALL OVER MY FACE. And so does Adam. We're hell-and-gone addicted to MARIO BADESCU DRYING LOTION ($17). Iman first introduced this celeb-fave to me when I profiled her for Lucky. When she first came to this country in the 70's, she got her very first facial at Mario Badescu, and has been using this fantastic spot treatment ever since. There's a reason that this blend of calamine (hence the pink) and salicylic acid is a supermodel favorite...it manages to totally dry up zits in about two nights! Here's the thing: DON'T SHAKE THE BOTTLE. The pink sediment is supposed to collect on the bottom, while the astringent lays on top. Simply dip a Q-tip down into the pink stuff, then pull out and dot over pimples. Looks funny, but so does Lil Wayne, and he's a millionaire.

5.) I DO MY OWN BRAZILIANS. For years, I used to go to the deeply trendy Completely Bare Salon in uptown Manhattan to get my Brazilians, but you wanna know something? The shame never subsides. I thought it would, but naaah. Something about a beefy Russian flipping you onto your stomach and ordering you to pull your buttcheeks apart--it's like the first time, every time. So I do it at home. But it's not a complete Brazilian...without venturing into TMI, it's more of a thorough edge-up. I use SALLY HANSEN WAX STRIP KIT FOR BODY ($8.99). The kit comes with four different size strips, and you just warm them up between your hands, place on the area, bite on a stick, and rip off. It's not as harrowing as it sounds...the strips are treated with soothing vitamin E and skin-softening azulene oil. And it actually lasts for like two months! Try it. You'll save tons of money and pointless humiliation.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

CeCe & Me

Hi ladies,
Sugarplums, I am currently on my knees, drowning in a puddle of guilty tears as I write. I just got a comment from Miss CeCe that made me feel like an unfit mother, the kind that leaves her kids with the in-house manny as I booze, panty-less and pallid-skinned, through a series of B-grade LA hotspots. Miss CeCe said that her wish for 2007 is “for my beauty godmommy to bless us with new and exciting posts much, much more frequently. We here at SYB would like…bi-weekly posts filled to the brim with that beautylicious advice that’s just like crack. After all, you are our pusher.” CeCe, I AM your pusher and I WISH I could give my girls bi-weekly posts! But lately I’ve been so swamped, slammed, and stressed that I’ve been catching myself misspelling my own name as I sign off emails (and it’s only three letters). Girls, my posts take research and thought and tons o’love. And the sad truth is, if I were to update twice a week, it would have to be a hasty, ill-prepared situation, and then you’d have entries that looked like this:

"Revlon’s Raisin Glaze Lipgloss is hot stuff. Try it!"

You know? That said, I hate to see wishes go un-granted, so I’ll try my damndest to shake my beauty with accelerated frequency in 2007! In the meantime, Head & Shoulders asked me to spread the word about their ultra-glam “Head-Turner of the Year” Contest! Check it out:

"If you think you’re the “Head Turner of the Year," then log onto www.headturninghair.com by January 31, 2007 to nominate yourself! Simply submit a recent photo and an original essay (50 words or less) on what makes you a head-turner. The grand prize winner will receive a three-day, two-night trip to New York City to participate in a photo shoot and makeover with some of the industry’s top fashion and beauty stylists. A photo layout will run in the June 2007 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine!!"

Yeah, you’re all head-turners, but even the most dazzling dimes have beauty questions…and mama’s here to answer them. Here are the top five most interesting questions of the past couple weeks. Take notes and pass it on!


PS: Who’s trembling with anticipation for J. Lo’s “Dance Life” on MTV? I could die. J. Lo is poised to be the “fame costs/and right here is where you start payin’/in sweat”-era Debbie Allen for a new generation.


SEXY LADY: Miss Monet
QUESTION: "What is that nail polish you're wearing in that photo?"
ANSWER: Lady Miss Monet's referring to the picture of me and Adam at New Year's Eve in my last post. Would it be too self-involved to admit that I was WAITING for someone to ask? For the past couple months, I've been heavily involved in a monogomous affair with ESSIE NAIL POLISH IN WICKED ($6.65). See, I decided I was too old to do the hardcore-trendy black nail polish thing, so I went for what I believe is an even sexier look--the "as-dark-as-a-red-can-be-without-being-black" shade. Wicked is exactly that. Almost noir, but still sex goddess scarlet. Yum.

SEXY LADY: No Sex in the City (funny, that was my name for several years)
QUESTION: "I'm a self proclaimed product expert, but I'm stumped on one thing—I need a reasonable yet effective eye cream. Momma gotta eat!"
ANSWER: My mom and I have long been fans of PRESCRIPTIVES EYE BRIGHTENER FOR DARK CIRCLES & PUFFINESS ($39.50)--you gotta love a name that gets right to the point. This miracle cream's blended with cucumber extract to de-puff swollen eyes, and special itty-bitty illuminating flecks that brighten dark circles (my favorite). It's honestly like a shot of caffeine. And the illuminators give such a luminous, radiant glow that I've taken to blending it on my browbone as a highlighter.

QUESTION: "I've recently ventured into the world of eyeliner, and let's just say most of my ventures in that world have ended in tears (of frustration and of accidently jabbing my eyeball with the pencil). Am I beyond help here?"
ANSWER: No one is beyond help, Miss Traci (well, no one but bobble-headed "New York" of VH1)! Good eyeliner application is all about knowing the right technique. First, start off with a super-soft black eyeliner--my favorite is CLINIQUE KOHL SHAPER FOR EYES ($15.50), it's ultra-smooth and comes with a sharpener in the cap..smart, smart, smart. Now, lower your eyelid until it's almost closed and tilt your head up, looking in the mirror. Using short, feather-like strokes, apply the liner starting from the outer corner. Important: Stay as close to the lashline as is humanly possible--you NEVER, EVER want to see skin between the lashes and the eyeliner (so seventh-grade pedestrian). Don't worry if it ends up a tad crooked; even things out by lightly running over the liner with a Q-tip. This gives your eyeliner a more natural, more soft-focus finish. Ta-da! You're a pro, babe.

SEXY LADY: FoxyHustle
QUESTION: "Why would anyone use clear mascara? What would be the purpose if its clear?"
ANSWER: Have you ever cried all night long, Ms Hustle, and at the end of the jag, noticed how lovely your lashes looked? Or maybe you've recently admired their shiny spikiness after a long, hot shower? There's something so effortlessly sexy, so chilling-at-the-Delano-pool chic about wet lashes, and that's the effect you get with clear mascara. But if you're like me, and desperately need to coat your lashes with some inky jet-black action, then clear mascara just won't do. That's why the geniuses at Bourjois have invented GLOSSY WET-LOOK MASCARA TOP COAT ($7.50). You just layer this weightless, water-based gel over your fave mascara...and you get that glossy, wet look without sacrificing the lushness you get from black mascara.

QUESTION: "I was wondering if you could recommend some shampoo and conditioners under $20 for relaxed and color treated hair?"
ANSWER: A, have you not discovered PANTENE'S RELAXED & NATURAL haircare line? It's all under $10, you can get it at the drugstore, and the products are salon-level fabulous. Not only that, the line's separated into three categories, so you can specifically target your specific issue: There's Breakage Defense for brittle, shedding hair; Intensive Moisturizing for super-dry hair; and Color Radiance for color-treated hair. I love PANTENE RELAXED & NATURAL BREAKAGE DEFENSE SHAMPOO ($5.99), which is the perfect thing for weak, split-ended, quick-to-fall-out hair like mine.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Who the hell is Chunky Pam?

Hi ladies,
Happy New Year! That's me and Adam on New Year's Eve, though the picture hardly represents how fabulous my dress was (it was a low-cut, mini shirtdress with dolman sleeves and an empire-waisted sash...HEAVEN. My sweet hubbie purchased at our friends' boutique in Manhattan's trendy Nolita District--it's called Sweet Tater, and if you're in town, check it out!) Oh, I missed you to pieces!! How were your holiday festivities? Are you feeling renewed, refreshed, and ready to be the star you are in 07? How much did you love Dreamgirls (“one night onleeee…”)? And most significantly, who saw that bizarre Chunky Pam, mini-video on MTV over the holidays?

I’m haunted by this woman, and here's why. This year I’d decided to give Adam an extra-special pre-Christmas surprise. So I got all dolled up in this teeny-tiny, fluffy, fuchsia Victoria’s Secret Santa miniskirt (yep, that's it), Devi Kroell stilettoes and a little wifebeater that said “Sexy Little Me,” waited till he came home from work, and broke out in a warbly rendition of Santa Baby. He laughed till he cried, which was not exactly the effect I was going for…but more disturbingly, CHUNKY PAM rocks the very same Santa skirt in her video! The nerve. Even worse, last week Adam went to a bachelor party where a “gentlemans” club was obviously involved, and he said ALL the strippers were wearing my Santa skirt. Way to sully my do-you-think-I'm-a-nasty-girl moment. New Year’s resolution #1: Next time I attempt to spontaneously sex it up, shop at some obscure, extra-upscale boutique where Chunky Pam and a passel of pole-riders are less likely to bite my style.

And now, in lieu of the New Year, I've assembled a bunch of key beauty resolutions we should all stick to in the upcoming months. If you can think of any more, leave mama a comment and I’ll post the best ones in my next entry. Let's do '07 BIG, Pretty Girls! Here’s to another year of smoky eyes, lip-plumping glosses and trimmed ends!!

Big mwah on both cheeks,

I can't even tell you how many of my SYB'ers have asked me what to do about mid-day eyeliner smudging. It's really so annoying--you leave the house with the fiercest eye moment, but by three pm, your liner has done more traveling than Brangelina. Just FYI, this phenomenon is really normal...eyelids are naturally oily, hence the smearing. But why suffer the smudge for another year when the eye makeup gods have invented E! Solutions Liner Last ($20)? This stuff is all the rage among beauty insiders. You just layer it over any kind of liner--liquid, pencil, shadow whatever--and it seals it in place all day long. And it's waterproof, too!

In the "Oh Siete," traditional perfume--you know, the spritz-and-rub kind—is on its way out. Now, fragrance brands are packaging perfume in brand-new, innovative ways that are not only easier to apply, but are tons more portable, too. Love! GEL: Housed in a chic silver pump, Calvin Klein Euphoria Sensual Touch Parfum Gel ($40) smells cocktail-party-perfect and feels so silky on your skin. TOWELETTES: Bulgari Green Tea Refreshing Towels ($25 for 15) are totally brilliant--I keep one of these individually wrapped, citrusy-fresh scented sheets in each of my bags for fragrance emergencies (great swiped thru hair, too). PEN: Don't laugh. At first glance, Fleur de Sephora Peony Fragrance Pen ($2) seems very "tween," but after one swipe, I was hooked on the light, fruity scent--and the handy-as-hell packaging.

I've been really hormonal lately, and my skin has been breaking out something hideous. And yes, I pick my zits. And of course, they leave scars. And, uh-huh, I feel busted. When your skin is looking wack, it doesn't matter how much foundation, powder or concealer you pile on...it never really looks fresh. Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch ($27.50) has special soft focus pigments that help camouflage hyperpigmentation and large pores, while smoothing out those little lines or creases (where concealer and foundation can settle and look gross). Use the cute little spatula to apply it wherever you need...and you can wear it alone, under your makeup, or even mix it with your foundation. It has done WONDERS for my complexion, girls.

I hate sweating. Gross. And I always sweat when I'm nervous. Short of getting Botox under your arms, which crazy starlets in LA are all about (and it makes you start sweating in weird places, like your elbows or toes), it's very hard to find a really good deodorant that stops excessive perspiration. Certain Dri is usually the one heavy sweaters turn too, because it keeps you Sahara-dry for up to four days--but it contains tons of aluminum, which many scientists have linked to cancer. I don't know if I believe this, but it's better to be safe, right? Anyway, there's this new all-natural product, Lavilin Underarm Deodorant ($14.24)that's setting the sweating world ablaze!! It's totally free of aluminum and other harsh chemicals, and just like Certain Dri, it stops perspiration for up to four days, with no need to re-apply, EVER. Perfect for all those flimsy, fluttery blouses that are so happening for '07.

It's almost impossible to feel all radiant and glowy in January, February and March, unless you spent New Year's Eve in St. Bart's. For those of us who aren't Kimora Lee Used-to-be-Simmons, it's all about a bit of fakery! Sephora Super Sheen Bronzing Mist ($18) is so yummy, I want to strip naked and take a bath in it. This shimmering bronzing sheen is blended with hydrating nut oils, aloe vera, vitamin E and it's spiked with an irresistible, coconut-beachy scent that's to DIE for. Spritz it over arms, collar-bone and legs--any skin that's showing--for a natural-looking, beachy sheen. And it's a cheaper (but no less glamorous) alternative to the best-selling, celebrity-loving Nars Body Glow ($59).