Friday, June 22, 2007

Me, me, me...oh, and you, too

Hola Muchachitas,
I was so tickled at how so many of you wrote in about your Dominican Salon experiences! And you're right, las dominicanas are deeply into heat--first, you sit under the dryer with a roller set, then you get blowdried straight, and in some cases, they flatiron you, too. Last week, I was so caught up in raving about the magic that I kind of forgot an important caveat. I never, ever get a full blowout--or flatiron--after sitting under the dryer. After my roller set is dry, I ask that the stylist blow out my roots ONLY, just to get rid of roller bumps. That's really the only way you can go every week, like I do, and not end up with hair damaged beyond recognition. Also, the just-the-roots method leaves you with crazy body! Try it next time, you'll see.

Okay, so I'm really, really happy this week. Here's why:

* So You Think You Can Dance is baaack!! I really don't feel complete unless there's a dance-oriented reality show happening somewhere on TV. Not the "Dancing With the Stars" kind (so earnest!)...I'm talking Search for the Next Pussycat Dolls, Making the Band: The Danity Kane Years, or DanceLife. But SYTYCD is my fave. Quick update for those of you tuned in--Danny is my boyfriend, Lacey and Kameron are doing it (the audience loves a Schwimmer!), poor Jimmy, and can Mia Michaels please pass me whatever she's puffing?

* Boho maxi-sundresses. Love, love, love! And, uh, just wanted to point out that I was repping Summer '07's hottest trend back in Fall '05. Sorry, gimme an opportunity to showcase my favorite dress of all time, and I'm on it like Eva Longoria on her whipped, b-ball-playing fetus.

* Okay, this is the really big news. I've been a major, major fan of Devi Kroell's ultra-exclusive, seriously stunning metallic python bags for years, but sadly, I've never been able to afford one (the only thing Devi piece I've ever been close to purchasing is a $250 wallet at a sample sale). You can imagine the heart palpitations when I discovered that, on July 15th, Target will be launching a limited edition line of Devi Kroell faux-python handbags!!! Before you scoff at the faux, I want you to walk with me for a second.

Please behold Devi's Classic Large Hobo in Metallic Python, which happens to be $2890.

Now, check out Devi's Target Clutch in Light Gold, below. This one costs only $34.99. Practically identical, yes? Close enough for mama! See you in line on July 15th!!

So girls, I'm going to be taking a teeny-tiny break. IT CHICKS Book #2 is due in a week, so I'm retreating to my parent's lovely mountain home in Virginny to pound the thing out. Wish me luck! I'll be back the week of the 2nd, and in a fabulous mood for having met a back-breaking two-month deadline! For now, though, I've dedicated this post to you, my sweet ladies. Many of you have raved to me about your favorite products, and here, I've picked five of the yummiest ones. Enjoy and know that I'll miss you like the deserts miss the rain.

big kiss,


SYB BABE: Christie
OBSESSION: "I have to take a second and refer all the SYB ladies to the new lip gloss that I have been having a serious summertime affair with. It's Clinique Glosswear for Lips Sheer Shimmers in Sunset ($14). It gives the most lovely summertime sheen."
MY TWO CENTS: So much word to this, Miss Christie. There is nothing not (double negative, much?) to love about Clinique Glosswear in's a soft, sheer, peachy moment that also happens to give intense, kiss-me-you-fool shine. Easy summer glamour in a tube!

SYB BABE: Anonymous
OBSESSION: "I love Kiehls' Herbal Shampoo & Scalp Treatment for Dandruff ($17.50)!! I used it last week and OMG my hair feels so good, and it is bouncy and silky, oh my. I kid you not, I bought it at Jack's World—the 99 cent store on 32nd St. in Manhattan—and then I went to Kiehl's to get more at full price."
MY TWO CENTS: Here's the thing. Head & Shoulders leaves your hair insanely dry and wierd-feeling. Which is exactly why Kiehls' infinitely more elegant flake-fighting shampoo is such a relief for dandruff sufferers! It's spiked with all the hardcore, medicinal stuff that heals scalp issues, but it also has eucalyptus extract and aloe leaf juice, both of which help make hair look incredibly shiny and bouncy. And it smells looovely. Good work, Miss I-Refuse-to-Properly-Introduce-Myself-to-Tia!

SYB BABE: Tabitha
OBSESSION: "I can't use the Neutrogena acne stuff (they test on animals and I'm a vegetarian), but I've always been a Murad girl (even when making only $8/hr at Starbux)...use the whole regimen. It's the only time people have repeatedly stopped me on the street to ask about my skin."
MY TWO CENTS: Thanks for bringing up the whole "testing on animals" thing, doubt it's something tons of SYBers pay slavish attention to! And guess what? Dr. Howard Murad's skincare line is INSANE--the kind of stuff beauty editors and celebs covet almost as deeply as the latest Tory Burch flats. A fab alternative to Proactive, Murad Acne Complex Kit ($59) is lauded in the beauty industry for it's no joke pore-clearing properties (the magic is in the salicylic acid/glycolic/retinol combo). It's kinda expensive, yes, but it comes with the award-winning Clarifying Cleanser, Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel, Skin Perfecting Lotion AND a pocket-sized version of the cult-fave Acne Spot Treatment. Whether you have monthly breakouts or full-blown cystic acne, it's the best sixty bucks you'll ever spend.

SYB BABE: Christie (Loving you!)
OBSESSION: "I used to think the point of burning scented oils was to hide the smell of "funny cigarettes" but my sistergirl turned me on to them, and now I think they are great! They last longer and produce a more lasting fragrance than candles. My favorite scent is The Body Shop Fragrance Oil in Satsuma ($7.50)!
MY TWO CENTS: Have I told you the story about how, in high school, I was the makeup girl at the Tyson's Corner Body Shop in Fairfax, VA? And that in Spring of 1992, I sold the most makeup in their East Coast stores...and got to wear a special tiara for a week? Heard it already? Woops. Anyway, Satsuma was always my favorite, favorite, favorite home fragrance oil--and the fresh citrusiness is simply perfect for summer. Simply add a couple drops into the well of an aroma jar, burn a votive candle underneath, and voila! Instant ambiance. I'm all for The Body Shop Satsuma Oil Gift Set ($10), which comes with the oil, aroma jar, and votive. Burn it during a mid-summer cocktail party, and wonder why your guests refuse to leave.

SYB BABE: Jennifer
OBSESSION: "L'oreal's new Vive Pro- Smooth Intense Conditioner($4.99), is a SUPER product. I have really coarse relaxed-hair that in its "I Need a Relaxer NOW" stage, and it really does smooth it out. Plus, I have barely any breakage during the comb out stage."
MY TWO CENTS: Oh Jen. Doesn't Loreal just always get it right? Their Smooth Intense Conditioner is like mother's milk to dry, overprocessed, frizzy hair. I used this stuff for awhile before I decided to indulge in weekly Dominican salon visits...and on my life, it not only smoothed out my frizz, it was an A-plus-plus detangler (great for hair that gets really knotty when it's wet, like mine). The best part? It really doesn't weigh hair down, like many other super-hydrating conditioners. Yay!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Skittles vs. Booty-Panties

Hey girls,
What's shakin', bacon? Ladies, I am ashamed. I am ashamed because this week, two things happened to me that confirmed a suspicion I've had for quite some time--that I have some sort of undiagnosed beauty compulsion. If I tell you what I did, will you still think I'm sweet and pretty? Promise?

Here goes. And if you notice, TV is totally to blame.

1.) So, the other day I was a guest on Fox News' "Red Eye" (a late-night roundtable thingie discussing celeb gossip and stuff). One of our topics was a recent newspaper interview with some inmates at Linwood Correctional Facility, the scene of Paris' recent incarceration. In the article, the ladies reveal their behind-bars makeup tricks. Since cosmetics are strictly verboten, they improvise, using red Skittles as lipstick and blush, coffee grinds as eyeshadow, and black pens as eyeliner. Well, I was FASCINATED by this. You can imagine what happened next. Yes, the very next day I found myself in Duane Reade, buying a bag of Skittles. And yes, I licked a couple of red ones, and proceeded to rub them all over my lips. Now, here's where things went wrong. I have a bad habit of nibbling off my lip skin, and sometimes I go too deep and I break the skin. On this particular day, I happened to have a little cut on my bottom lip--and when the Skittles sugar hit the cut, not only did it sting like all get-out, my lip blew up THREE SIZES. When asked about the puffiness, I went for the sexy lie ("Well, this is what happens when it's your anniversary and you make out with your husband for, like, five hours! I know, we're like randy teenagers!"). Hello and welcome to Loserville.

2.) Yep, that was me on BET's "Meet the Faith" last weekend, discussing plastic surgery with Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Griffin, and evangelist Juanita Bynum! My position, of course, was anti-surgery. At one point, I mentioned that my ex-boyfriend hated my flat butt--but hello, that doesn't mean I'm gonna go out and get implants, does it? At which point, Dr. Griffin happily offered to give me butt implants at a discount. On national TV, this happens.
Behind-the-scenes, this sparked a discussion about a special bum-enhancer panty--and of course, the second I got home, I ordered the damn thing (fedex delivery, no less). The deeply unattractive Rago Enhancer Panty ($24) comes with two little pads that go over each cheek. I couldn't wait to try it out! I decided to start small, so I wore it on a walk to the Haagen Das up the street. I'm feeling good, imagining that all the stay-at-home Park Slope dads are ogling me as I wiggle down 7th Ave. Everything's cool until I went to sit on an outside bench with my cone. Somehow, the butt pads threw off my depth perception and I thought the bench was higher than it was. So I ended up toppling to the ground, in full view of said stay-at-home dads. So DUMB. I've since retired the ugly booty panties--because it's weird and wrong, but also because Adam says it looks like a little animal and he'll shoot it if he sees it again.

Thank you for letting me purge! Hopefully, you've learned something from my foolishness. And now, my favorite part--I've been itching to do this post for awhile, but I keep putting it off because it's so unglamorous. Here's the thing...I can go on and on about blush, body bronzers and nailpolish, but that stuff means nothing if you're starting with an un-fabulous canvas (ie, spotty face, rough skin, chapped lips, overgrown cuticles, etc.). This week, it's all about the maintenance products that buff your face, body and nails to a gleaming finish--so you can pile on the cosmetics and look your sexy best! Whoever's rubbing up against you at night will looove me for this.



I.) PRETTY HANDS & FEET ROUGH SKIN REMOVER, $6.99: My feet suck in the summer. Somehow, the combination of sandals and tons of city walking make my feet look like my father's--scaly, rough, horrendous. This mysterious, milky, exfoliating lotion is a total drugstore classic AND a godsend! I'm not sure how it works (and the company has always kept the recipe under wraps), but here's how you use it: Before you take a shower, shake it up and apply a tiny bit to dry spots, like elbows, knees, hands, ankles, or feet. Massage it in and miraculously, the rough skin just rooollls off. Not only does it leave your skin totally smooth, rolling off all that old, dead skin is wildly, ecstatically satisfying.

2.) MAVALA CUTICLE REMOVER, $8.99: When I'm bored or blocked (in a writerly way, not a constipated way), i enjoy removing my cuticles. Which is why I've been a fan of Mavala's brilliant Cuticle Remover since 1994. You just paint the stuff on your cuticles, and after a couple seconds, the magical formula softens and loosens that gross, overgrown skin, so you can basically just wipe it off. Again, sooo satisfying. Honestly, therapists need to start handing this stuff out at sessions.

3.) DOVE ULTIMATE CLEAR ANTIPERSPIRANT & DEODORANT IN SMOOTH CASHMERE, $5.29: It's super-unsexy to discuss deodorant, so please know that the only reason I'm going there is because this one has CHANGED MY LIFE. When Dove sent me their new, anti-streaking, skin-smoothing situation, I poo-poo'ed (how many deodorants claim not to streak, and then leave jailhouse stripes on your black Mayle blouse?). Well, it's true, and then some. Not only is it streak-free on your clothes, know how you usually have to rub in deodorant so it doesn't turn your skin all powdery? Dove's new formula is totally undetectable, leaving only a silky-smooth finish under your arms. So, so good--just hide it from your man. I caught Sunshine using mine, tee-hee.

4.) NEUTROGENA ADVANCED SOLUTIONS ACNE MARK FADING PEEL, $13.50: Probably the most popular question I get is, "How the hell do I get rid of acne scars?" I've talked a lot about the brilliance of Bliss Sleeping Peel Serum, but it's sixty bucks, yo! Neutrogena's Acne Mark Fading Peel is just as fabulous (it's all about the special enzymes and salicylic acid), and it's a fraction of the price. Use it three times a week, before bed--and watch your acne marks and other scars go the way of Montell Jordan!

5.) LORAC GLOSS STICK, $15: I've found it! Chapstick that doubles as a clear lipgloss! Lorac's Gloss Stick is the perfect thing on those cutoff shorts and wifebeater days, when you're makeup-free, but still want a little "oomph." It's blended with sunflower and macademia seed oils, so it's seriously moisturizing--but this tricky little stick also give lips major, Jerry-Hall-at-Studio-54 shine. And the all-natural vanilla scent makes me happy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Back in Black!

Hola chicas,
I'm back!! I'm so, so sorry I was away for so long...I missed you terribly. If I could've written sooner, I would've--but I could barely speak, walk across the room, or apply lipgloss, let alone write a single word (fabulous for my July 1st IT CHICKS Book 2 deadline, by the way). But a brief stint at the hospital—and a highly concentrated narcotics IV—helped me tremendously. Just in time, by the way, because my publisher, Hyperion, threw a fabulous book party last night for their top teen books of the summer--including my IT CHICKS, Melissa de la Cruz's MASQUERADE, Melissa Kantor's THE BREAKUP BIBLE, and Randi Reisfeld's STARLET! The fiesta was at Caravan, a sexy boutique in the Village. And they did the cutest thing! Caravan decked out four mannequins in ensembles inspired by each of our books...and there I am, hamming it up by my IT CHICKS mannequin. I'm wearing a bucket of concealer under my eyes, can you tell?

So, while I was away, beauty brands were debuting some truly innovative, ground-breaking stuff. Before I got into my product roundup, I just had to share with you these how-did-I-live-without-them inventions. Try to contain yourself.

1.) For all of you who've asked me where to find a Dominican hair salon in your area, some hair-oriented genius has just debuted the Dominican Hair Salon Directory! Just enter in your city, and the search will find a salon in your area. Life-changing blow outs for everyone!

2.) My sister Devon (aka Brownie), has thin, super-fine hair, and the usual mild relaxers always leave her hair totally flat, lifeless, and blaahh. Well, Soft Sheen Carson has just debuted their Optimum Care Bodifying Relaxer ($8.70)! It's the very first of its kind--a relaxer for fine curly hair that straightens without destroying body or volume. Cool, right?

3.) This I loove. Bourjois Fresh Kiss Minty Lipgloss ($15.50), already a favorite of SJP, Gwyneth and Cameron, is a ground-breaking sheer gloss packed with fresh mint and menthol. Not only is it tingly-good on your lips, it actually refreshes your breath! A fabulous antidote to Altoids, I'm so into keeping this in my party clutch for touch-ups.

And now, onto what's inspiring me at the moment--the warm weather! Oh, thank God it's finally hot outside! And in honor of the new season, I've rounded up a bunch of my favorite summery products. Even if it's still chilly where you are, this stuff will get you feeling all backyard-BBQ-and-sandy-bikini-bottoms in no time.

Big, everlasting love,

PS...check out me out in the latest issues of CosmoGirl (a story I wrote about my first go-see, when I was a teen model, groan) and Vibe Vixen (a sidebar about "Beauty Mavens")!


EYES: Pop Beauty Lid Bronzer, $22
Omigod. Girls. If you only buy one product this summer, Pop's obscenely genius shadow palette is IT. I can't rave enough. Okay, you know how I always say that bronzey-golds are the most flattering shades for brown skin--especially on our eyes? This pallette is a bronzey-gold EXTRAVAGANZA. It has six sunny metallic shades--from deep, copper-flecked cocoa to pearly champagne--and it's everything you need for a super-sexy summer eye. Here's how I do it: Dust shade #3 all over the lid, apply shade #1 in the crease, and sweep #6 on the browbone.

SKIN: Hard Candy SoCal Glow Body Bronzer, $22.50
I recently gifted my cousin Camille with a delicious bronzer and she was a tad confused. "But I'm ALREADY bronze!" she exclaimed. Many of my SYB Babes have also expressed concerns about brown girls wearing bronzer, to which I happily respond...ladies, bronzer looks BEST on us! I love SoCal Glow for three reasons: 1.) It's absolutely enormous and will last forever, 2.) It has a deliciously beachy coconut scent, and 3.) It's talc-free and blended with moisturizers (jojoba & vitamin E), so it won't make you ashy or dry like other powders. Take a big, fluffy brush and lightly sweep it allover--your face, shoulders, legs, arms, everywhere--for a beachy, subtly shimmery glow. I wore it on my face and legs at the party, and folks thought I'd just returned from vacay. Mission accomplished.

SCENT: Majenty Perfume Oil in Hidden Cove, $48
I was running incredibly late to the party last night, so I skipped the whole perfume thing. Now, I grew up with a mom with a signature scent (Poison of was the Eighties), and I think smelling delectable is a very sexy thing. So, I was understandably annoyed last night, after running late to the party and skipping my perfume step. Good thing Caravan had a shelf full of Majenty Perfume Oils. Now, I'd heard of these hand-blended oils in celebrity magazines (poor, coked-out Lindsay Lohan is a fan, as well as Alma Award-performing Beyonce), but I'd never tried them, myself. I randomly picked the Hidden Cove scent, rubbed it on my wrists and the back of my neck (great for perfume, if you didn't know), and fell deeply in love. Holy S&^t. Blended with water lillies, coconut and a cornucopia of Far Eastern flowers, this stuff is Hawaii, bottled. And this morning, as I sit here writing in my bed, I STILL smell it faintly in my hair...and I'm in heaven.

NAILS: Creative Nail Design Polish in Passionfruit Poppy #404, $3
You all know I've been kind of sick for a minute, right? Well, during my entire migraine episode I was rocking this hot-stuff, electric-fuschia shade on my toes. And every time I looked down, my sexy, fruit-punch pedicure managed to brightened my psyche! Girls, this shade is so damn happy, I'd recommend it to Paris Hilton during her incarceration if I cared even the slightest bit about her.
PS: Don't have the time or extra funds for a salon pedicure? Try Olay Thermal Pedicure Foot Treatment, $9.99 Thermal Pedicure Foot Treatment--just add water, and this exfoliating treatment actually heats up! Use it every day for a week, and your feet will be transformed, I swear. No more rough, flaky skin or strappy-sandal calluses!

YOUR HOME: Tocca Candle in Tahiti, $36
Sometime around the end of February, I got dead-tired of winter. And so I want to Miami, and immediately fell in love with a candle that was burning in a boutique on South Beach. The scent should've been called Endless Summer. Oh, it was SO I'm-running-in-slow-motion-across-a-white-sanded-beach-in-my-Custo-Barcelona-bikini-and-sea-salt-tousled-hair. This magic candle was Tocca Tahiti, it's a totally tropical blend of tiare flower and coconut, and my home has smelled like Barbados for months. Love!