Tuesday, May 29, 2007

wah wah wah

Hey girls,
SO sorry I've been away so long...mama's sick, sick, sick. Migraines again. So, as much as I HATE to do this, I'm gonna have to slowly walk away from the laptop, hook myself up to a morphine drip, and get better. I swear I'll be back, bigger and deffer than ever. Love you, SYB Babes.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Billie Does Dallas

Hey girls,
This isn't a beauty thing! Just wanted to address a question that's been popping up hither and yon for the past two years. It sounds vaguely like this:

"Yeah, yeah, yeah...we get you've regressed back to high school for a minute with this whole IT CHICKS thing, and it's a cute look and all, but where's your follow-up to THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA?"

I've been avoiding the question because, well...multiply "long" times "boring" and divide it by "tragic," and then you'll get the idea. Also, whenever I talk about my ACCIDENTAL DIVA follow-up, I refer to it as my second "adult" novel (as opposed to a teen one), and it always sounds like I'm writing porn. BILLIE DOES DALLAS. But anyway, here's the story. A second adult novel does indeed exist, its fabulous, and I'm positive you'll love it. It's not an ACCIDENTAL DIVA sequel, though Billie and Jay do make an appearance...and you'll find out what's happened to them, five years later. It's sexy, fun, and delicious--and I turned it in seconds before my deadline, two years ago--but alas, my book editor took off for a high-powered gig at Random House. At which point my sweet manuscript got lost in the shuffle (as almost always happens in these situations...hark, future published novelists). My lovely agent Mary Ann was poised to shop it around to other houses when, drumroll, Disney came a-knocking with IT CHICKS...and the rest is history. For the past couple years, my homeless manuscript has been on-hold.

Until now! As we speak, Ms. Mary Ann is finding BILLIE DOES DALLAS a home, and it should be all published and ready for your literary enjoyment before you know it (in book publishing years, that probably means early 2009). So, now you know the story and I have nothing else to hide. Except my true age and my flabby ass.

love you to distraction,

PS...Check out my fabulous friend Zandile's article about the hottest summer fragrances on AOL's Stylelist. It's quite informative, and I'm not just saying that 'cause I'm quoted.

Friday, May 18, 2007

As wrong as Akon in Trinidad

Hey pumpkins,
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! Why? My sassy new teen novel, IT CHICKS, has been in bookstores for a month...and it's already selling out everywhere!! It's all because of my SYB Babes, I just know it. Of course, I don't even have time to die of happiness (or properly celebrate Jaslene's win), since my every waking hour is spent writing IT CHICKS Book #2. A couple posts back I cheated a bit by asking you to send in some plot ideas--and I promised to send my favorite ladies a signed copy of IT CHICKS, remember? Well, join me in congratulating the following literary geniuses on their brilliance: Malikah, Shay, Rukiya, Candice, Schanina, Aderonke, Zena, and Julie "Fergie-Ferg" Ferguson (and a couple others who asked not to be mentioned, as their bosses might not love finding out that they play on SYB all day)!! Check out some of their positively soap operatic plot points:

* Eden gets dissed by the rapper (can't remember his name) but gets invited to do a tell all on Wendy Williams!

* Some rival girls pour paint on each of the It Chick's cars in the middle of the night. The next morning the It Chicks, along with their parents, discover the scandalous event, and compare notes. And while they have a good idea of who committed the crime, the It Chicks decide to show up at school looking more fabulous than ever, laughing and carrying on in the hallway as if nothing happened....defying the evil doers instant gratification...until, of course, it's time for appropriate payback. [THIS REALLY HAPPENED TO THE WRITER. HAVE YOU EVER?]

* On a drunken rampage C.J. lashes out at Trey for "stealing his woman,yo."

* Tangie gets a once in a lifetime chance to spend a summer overseas training with the dance teacher of her dreams. Unfortunately, her mom/close relative falls ill, and she must choose between pursuing her dream or sacrificing the opportunity to be there for her family.

* Regina is starting to have second thoughts about being a full on lesbian and is becoming atracted to Nick. She starts to think that maybee she realy is bi just like he said. She decides to have Izzy give her a complete make-over from her hair to her face and,of course, her wardrobe. And of course, she turns out looking fabulous and better than ever.

Oh, I'm tickled pink by the brilliance!! But enough about me. Let's talk about you. Your beauty questions have been piling in, and I'm wrong--wronger than Akon in Trinidad--for not answering them sooner. Here, I solve your catastrophic cosmetics conundrums and it's about time. Love you madly!

T-Pain (not of "Buy you a Drink" fame but of the migraine kind)


SYB BABE: Bashful Beauty
QUESTION: "I'm getting married September 1st and I was curious about what scent is appropriate for the day? Me no likey Vera Wang. But I want to stand out!!"
TIA SAVES THE DAY: I agree, I think Vera Wang is a leetle too..."Arggh, I'm the bride, beeyatch!!" Way agressive. A fabulous alternative is Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker ($49.50). I know, I know, celebrity fragrances are beyond gauche--but SJP's sweet, sophisticate, just-exotic-enough scent is totally the exception. A super-pretty blend of lavender, orchid, paper whites and musk, the fragrance is romantic enough for your Big Day, but sexy enough for a throw-me-against-the-wall honeymoon. Congratulations, Bashful Beauty!! Send us pictures!!

SYB BABE: Lakrishia
QUESTION: "I'm attending the NABJ conference in August. It's in Las Vegas, so it's gonna be obscenely hot. Also, I want to make a good impression on the magazine industry people, but my advisor wants students to err on the side of overdressing. How do I balance being stuffy with being fresh and magazine-staff ready? Please offer some suggestions for a grad student's budget!"
TIA SAVES THE DAY: NABJ stands for National Association of Black Journalists and their annual summer conference is a big honkin' deal (particularly if you're a hot-to-network recent college grad). And yet I'm always surprised by the number of eager young networkers in boxy, ill-fitting suits and church shoes (perhaps they're in cahoots with your advisor?). Here's the thing, Kreesh. Journalism is a creative industry..."stuffy" is so not the order of the day! In fact, you'll get more attention for being relaxed, fashionable, CHIC. Skip the suit and pack crisp summer dresses, simple jewelry and killer heels. I'm really into the Cotton Chino Dress ($128, above) from Banana...pair it with a cheap woven belt from Forever 21, and you're good.

On a budget note, try Style & Co's Linen Shirtdress (on sale for $51.75)...it's super-fresh and hip, but still manages to mean business. Hate dresses? Go for tailored wide-legged slacks with a sweet, cap-sleeved blouse.

SYB BABE: Anonymous
QUESTION: "My face is having "fits." My parents have lovely skin, but when it comes to me...there seems to be no hope. I'm on meds now for my skin. Have you ever had any issues with your skin? For once in my life, I'd like to feel beautiful."
TIA SAVES THE DAY: Sugar, you're killing me! You are beautiful, "fits" or no. SYB does not attract ugly readers. Quick story: The other day, I was speaking to a high school class and this darling girl told me her Proactive wasn't working. I asked her if she was using the whole system--the cleanser, toner and lotion--and, of course, she said no. Girls, no matter what acne regimen you're on, it's sooo important to A.) use ALL the products and B.) stick with it. Even Proactive, which I believe is magic (my husband doesn't leave home without it), doesn't work if you don't do it right. Now, to answer your question about the state of my complexion...when I was 22 I had severe adult acne. But I used Neutrogena and, as I live in breathe, it SAVED MY FACE. Here's how: In the morning and night, wash withNeutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Daily Scrub ($6.29, above), and moisturize with Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Lotion ($6.65). And at night, in-between the cleanser and moisturizer, tone with Neutrogena Clear Pore Oil-Controlling Astringent ($4.49). Your face will feel dry at first, but keep the faith!!!

SYB BABE: Brown Shuga
QUESTION: "The guy that I am dating would like for me to ask you what you would recommend for ingrown hairs on his neck and face."
TIA SAVES THE DAY: Well, BS, it's all about Tend Skin ($20)!! This stuff is like the Holy Gail for black men...who, though adorable and we love desperately, suffer razor bumps in a major way (it's because their hairs curl back into their skin...straight-haired folk don't really have this problem). Chock full of pore-unclogging salicylic acid and, weirdly enough, aspirin (surprise, it's an anti-inflammatory!), this stuff clears up bumps and ingrown hairs seemingly overnight. But here's the funny thing. Besides black men, guess who else loves Tend Skin? You guessed it, our Sisters on the Pole...because this stuff is heaven on the bikini line! Starting the day after you wax or shave, soak some up in a cotton ball and swipe along the area. PS...it also comes in deodorant form, which is great if you get bumps or rashes under your arms.

SYB BABE: Bijoux
QUESTION: "I'm graduating in a couple of weeks--what type of make-up I should go with? My gown is "Barney" purple, but I really wanted to go glow-y and radiant to bring out my brown skin. Any suggestions?"
TIA SAVES THE DAY: No one wears glowy and radiant like a brown girl!! Here's how you get glowing: On your eyes, go with a soft, luminous copper on the lids and a champagne shade on the brow-bone (try Smashbox Eyelights in Beam ($34, above). On your cheeks, you MUST go for Tarte's Cheekstain in Sunkissed ($28)--dab a bit of this bronzey push-up gel stick on apples of your cheeks, blend with your fingers, and glow, glow, glow! On your lips, all you need is a sheer pinky-brown shimmer gloss--right now, I'm way into Talk Smart Lipgloss in Soledad ($16), which smells inexplicably and deliciously like an orange creamsicle.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Mother Bad Creation

Hey pumpkins,
I'm sooo late with my third annual Mother's Day gift guide...but I just couldn't figure out what to do! I was wracking my overworked brain, trying to think of what an SYB Babe's mom would like, and then I had a serious "well, duh" moment. Why not offer up some favorites of the ULTIMATE SYB Babe's mom...Mrs. Andrea Chevalier Williams (there she is, sandwiched between me and my sister Devon/Brownie, circa 1980. Not a stitch of makeup and look at that skin)! I figured that, since her child is a beauty junk lady, my mom's opinion of what's hot and fabulous and perfect for Mother's Day is probably dead-on. So here, I present to you...some of Andi's most favorite things.

If her daughter's anything like me--and I have a feeling she is--your mom will looove this stuff, too.



Island Michael Kors, $60: My mom is OBSESSED with Michael Kors' fragrance and all it's glam accoutrements (ie, the Leg Shine, the Glimmer Body Creme, the Shower Gel, etc.). Why? Because it's NOT Chanel #5 or Youth Dew or Beautiful. Don't get me wrong, these perfumes are terribly lovely and undeniably classic--but they're sort of expected. Cliche. Not unlike the scent version of Blair Underwood. Instead of the old standby, surprise your mom with a fragrance from one of the New Guard! She'll love this new one from Kors...it's called Island for all the right reasons. Even though it's simple and clean, there's just the slightest, chicest hint of tropicality (I made up that word, but this is MY blog, Brooke) and humid, Hawaii-ish flowers like tiare. Perfect for spring/summer! On a budget? Spring for the Island Shower Gel...it's only $40.

Ojon Shine and Protect Hair Ritual Kit, $50: I posted about Ojon six months ago, and since then, you ladies have been testifying about how Ojon's deeply moisturizing, shine-enhancing products (made from ingredients the glossy-haired Honduran rainforest natives have been using for centuries) have saved your chemically overwhelmed hair from certain death. Guess what? My MOM put me on to Ojon! She uses it faithfully. And so will your mom, when you bless her with this exhaustive, fabulously-priced-for-what-you're-getting gift set. It comes with: Restorative Hair Treatment, Shine & Protect Shampoo, Shine & Protect Conditioner, Shine & Protect Glossing Mist, and Leave-in Glossing Cream.

Black and White Cookies, $30: Every time my mom comes to New York--before she even gets to my apartment--she has to stop somewhere for NYC's famous oversized black-and-white cookies. I'm an ice cream person, so I don't get it...but oodles of Manhattanites can't be wrong. With their cake-like consistency and rich chocolate and vanilla icing, these cookies drive people wild with sugar-desire. The moral of the story is, if your mom lives far away, don't send her flowers. Anyone can send her flowers. Try these cookies instead, and she might just send you a thank-you note with a check in it. It happened to me!

Origins Totally Ginger, $49.50: My mom is INSANE for Origins' Ginger collection. You have no idea. I don't even bother darkening her doorstop anymore without bringing her their shower gels or lotions, or something. I don't blame her...Origins' addictive ginger scent is clean and citrusy with just a hint of spiciness. Very sexy, but in a warm, not-overpowering way. Gift your mom with this fabulous starter set, which comes with Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream, Ginger Body Smoother, Ginger Bar Savory Bath Soap, Ginger Essence Intensified Fragrance, and a waffled weave bath mit.

Ore Earrings, $28: Andrea Chevalier Williams was the mommy that pierced her daughters' ears when they were 2.5 seconds old. From the beginning of time, me and my two sisters wore tiny, delicate gold hoops. They were sort of the mini-me version of hers--huge, gypsy-chic hoops that always looked so HOT with her big, flippy hair. Because of this woman, I am addicted to hoops. I happen to think that, kind of like false lashes, they instantly make you look a zillion times sexier. I have a feeling your mom will love these irresistably delicate, hand-hammered gold earrings from Anthropologie. And then, when she's not looking, you can smuggle them out in your Kooba bag.

Oscar's Black Odyssey, from Hattie to Hallie, $9.98: Me and my sisters are obsessed with movies--but really, like obsessed. Meaning, we not only know who won the Best Oscar in 1939, we know the runners-up. And this is ALL my mom. And you know what? I tend to think that my having such extensive movie knowledge helped me become a better writer. You learn references, you learn tone, you learn what works in a scene (okay sorry, this isn't about me). The point is, I know my mom would DIE for this incredible documentary about the Academy Awards and Us. The doc's chock full of exquisite rare footage, long-unseen trailers from Oscar-recognized movies starring towering black talents, and interviews from nominated actresses, writers and actors from movies like "Gone With the Wind," "Lady Sings the Blues," "A Soldier's Story," "Carmen Jones" and "Imitation of Life." Honestly, this DVD is mecca for the film-buff mom. And on the low, I sort of think it's required viewing for all of us.

Lancome Sensational Effects Eyeshadow, $50: Ever since I became a beauty editor waaayy back in 1998, Mommy has really enjoyed it when I give her fancy, expensive-looking limited edition items (a fancy millenium Estee Lauder gold compact, a special Chanel anniversary sterling silver lipstick). Of course she never uses these things--just sits them up on her dresser--but I think it makes her feel glamorous just having them. Lancome's limited edition five-pan pallette is right up that alley. The shadows are a warm mix of romatic, soft, neutrals that flatter any skin tone--but the real stunner is the packaging, itself. The shadows are nestled in an incredibly heavy, incredibly sensuous sterling silver case fitted with a tiny, dangling charm. Flossy McFlossy!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Too Many Books in the Kitchen

Hey pumkins,
My hair is SHAMEFULLY filthy. But that's neither here nor there. I quickly wanted to alert my New York City, tri-state area girls to a delicious IT CHICKS event next week! On Tuesday, May 8th, I'm delighted to say I'll be doing a book signing at Harlem's infamously famous Hue-Man bookstore/cafe/notorious pick-up spizzot. Here are the deets:

DATE: Tuesday, May 8th
PLACE: Hue-Man Bookstore & Café
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd
Between 124th and 125th Streets
Harlem World (where u at, Murda Mase?), NY 10027
Tel: 212-665-7400
Fax: 212-665-1071

I realize the 3pm call time is kind of impossible...it's really for the kids, you know, when they get out of school. But if you have a pushover boss or you're proudly in-between-jobs, stop on by! I'm just dying to meet you bombshells. Oh, and please don't judge me for wearing a @#$%-load of makeup...afterwards, I'll heading off to tape Fox New's notorious Red Eye panel, yet again. Here's hoping that, since last time, the Anne Coulter-in-sheep's-clothing has attended an Al Sharpton Sensitivity Seminar.

Love ya, you rude, thoughtless little PIGS!
[Forgive me. I've been itching to blurt that out to someone, ever since Alec Baldwin's Rage-Gate went down. You know I LIVE for you.]