Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dew Me, Baby

QUESTION: "Do you know any fake tanner for dark skinned women? I don't want to become darker, just more "goldeny." You know, something I can wear year round to make my skin look amazing."
MY 2 CENTS: If there's one look the SYB girls know I'm down for, it's the "goldeny" moment (some might say I beat that horse deader than dead). But unless you're fair to olive-skinned, you probably won't benefit from self-tanner...which is a lotion formula full of chemicals that actually darken skin. For girls like us who have the luxury of already being brown, the goal is to get a sun-kissed glow...and bronzers take us there! They come in a zillion formulas--everything from powders to gel sticks--but I happen to think that liquid highlighters are the most natural-looking of all. Mi favorito, hands down, is Clinique Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator in Bronze or Natural ($22.50), depending on your skintone. This dewy, glowy illuminating cream is HEAVEN blended onto cheekbones (over blush), down the bridge of your nose, and along browbones. Also, a standard makeup artist trick is to blend a drop into your daily moisturizer for an allover glow. And finally, this is going to sound bizarre, but try applying just an eensy dab to the center of the cupid's bow on your top lip. Your mouth will look as full and impossibly sexy as a Bratz doll.

PS...Am I the last person alive to see Beyonce's jaw-droppingly brutal onstage spill? Check it out on Stereohyped, along with Lauren's on-point Open Letter to Beautiful B. She's so right...anyone who can hop up and resume hair-flinging after such an epic wipeout is worthy of worship. Own it, Sasha!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Amazing Face

Hey sweeties,
Summer's practically over, and I just found the antidote to mid-day greasy skin. You know how you leave the house in the AM looking all flawless and matte, but by 2 or 3 your T-zone's an oil extravaganza? My answer used to be to pile on the powder, but I LOATHE that thick, unnatural-looking buildup (and the fact that it can clog the hell out of your pores). Ugh, heaping platter of wack. Enter Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Face Powder ($12.95)! This insanely lightweight, totally colorless powder is packed with oil-absorbers that get rid of shine without drying out your skin or looking too heavy--in fact, you'll barely even feel it. You won't even know it's there! Kind of like what's going to happen to those dear Making the Band boys once Diddy tires of them (I'll award a Mineral Face Powder to whoever can tell me where Babs Bunny is). Anyway, this powder will change your life, I swear. And FYI, don't be scared of the pale shade...it's translucent, so it blends into your skin.

Back to the 90210 marathon on SoapNet. Oooh, it's Brenda and Dylan, The Early Years. Holy Moses on a cracker, those two were MAGIC.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Head Case

Ugh, so sick with a pre-thunderstorm migraine. Am posting the SECOND I recover from painkiller haze. Love you all madly!
Until tomorrow hopefully,
Your Tia

PS...Thank you for all your support re: you-know-who. And hope you feel better, CeCe. As my grandma used to say, "What's good hair mean? Hair that doesn't bite?"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hit or Mist

Hi pumpkins,
Here I am at the Harlem Book Fair…wilting considerably in the most caliente of climates. But doing so with a sporting smile and Oliver Peoples sunglasses, dammit! I’d love to say I had a gorgeous time, but sadly, it was not my best HBF experience. The day sort of soured when I showed up at the Children’s Pavilion to do my IT CHICKS reading, and the coordinator, who I'll not name, “forgot” to put me in the lineup. Since I’m not THAT kind of diva, I smiled politely, turned on my heel and walked away. Into a trash bin filled with fried shrimp tails. Only then did I get…flustered. Pissed, peaked, and perspiring I stormed off into the YMCA to pull myself together.

Here’s where Nic's Naturals Herbal Mist ($5) comes in! A little backstory: The other day, Adam came home with a bag of homemade luxury bath and body products that his old NYU friend, producer/songwriter Nicole Hamilton, had just whipped up. Being me, I get sent tons of homemade hooey…and most of it I wouldn’t subject the unnamed HBF coordinator to. Nic’s Naturals is veddy veddy different. This line is full of high-quality pampering essentials--but I was immediately drawn to the Herbal Mist. A blend of distilled H20, vitamin E, and calming essential oils like lemon and chamomile, this refreshing spritz is just the thing to refresh your face on hot, sweaty days or after a workout. And the mist is so fine it won't muss your makeup (in fact, it magically refreshes it, somehow). Back to the story...safely sequestered in the YMCA, I whipped the portable Mist out of my Prada, spritzed my face and the back of my neck, and inhaled. Voila, a new woman! Rejuvenated, I sauntered back out into the fair and proceeded to sell about a zillion books.

Coincidence? Maybe, but I'm superstitious. Gracias, Herbal Mist!


Monday, July 23, 2007

Nightie in shining armor

Hey sweeties,
My current obsession isn't exactly a beauty product, but I know you'll relate. In a cheesy response to Live Earth, I've been trying to sleep sans AC for the past two weeks...and it's killing me, slowly. Especially since I'm a "hot" sleeper, anyway. I tried sleeping naked, but my Adam gets WAY too hubba-hubba about things (I've tried explaining to Sunshine that my nudity is strictly for practical purposes, but he accuses me of being a tease and gets all huffy. I secretly love this, of course). I tried wearing panties and a tank-top, but even that felt too tight and sticky. And then, at a recent trip to Urban Outfitters, I found a nightie that solved all my bedtime sweat-bath issues! Sparkle & Fade Parfait Slip ($32) is so feather-light I barely even know it's there. Airy as a whisper, it is! And it's so super-cute that I feel like I'm making a fashion statement in my sleep. Which makes for incredibly empowering dreams. You must invest!
A zillion kisses,
Miss Tia

Friday, July 20, 2007


Hey pumkins,
How are my ladies? I'm positively wilting from this oppressive humidity. For those of you attending the Harlem Book Fair tomorrow, I say this in advance: please, please, PLEASE don't hold me responsible for my frizzy roots. Totally out of my control. Whew, I have tons to talk about this week...definitely feeling some bullets comin' on!

* First of all, Victoria Beckham is AWESOME. I'm not afraid to say it. Was I the only one totally shocked at how cute, funny and "may-jah" she was on her Coming to America special? And it was a total surpise for me, because I always felt she was a pin-thin sourpuss who, quite frankly, wasn't cute enough for Beckham. But there's something so HONEST about a filthy rich glamourpuss who has no problem embracing her diva-ness. You'll never see her looking grungy for the paprazzi, just to prove she's "real." Whatever to that. I really never needed to picture J. Lo on the 6. I like my divas to be so fabulous it's painful. Positively ripe for drag queen icon status. Thanks, Posh, for bringing back old-school, Tina-bring-me-the-axe, slightly demented glamour.

That said, please honey, PLEASE eat an empanada.

* Clinique has asked me to fill you in on their "Beauty Boot Camp" contest! 10,000 contestants will have the opportunity to try out Clinique's new Acne Solutions Clear Skin System FREE (enter here to find out how). After trying out the products, send in before and after pics, plus a short description of how you feel with clearer skin...and the five outstanding finalists will be awarded an Apple MAC Book. And the winner gets a total Celeb Makeover in NYC (photo shoot with Emmy Rossum, $5,000 and all!), a special tour of TEEN VOGUE, and an appointment with a stylist!

* Fellow SYB Babe, Glamazon Girl, on theme-dressing:" I had to dress in a nautical theme the first time I ventured on a yacht. I wore white bermudas, a stripped shirt, a scarf as a headband, and a lifesaver necklace. I totally wanted to be like Beyonce on the French Riviera, but it was more like "Peaches" on the Detroit River." HYSTERICAL.

* Last Saturday, The Washington Post ran an article called "Of Curls and Culture," all about our love for Dominican Salons! You guys are gonna LOVE this, and not just because I was interviewed for the piece. It really goes into the socio-cultural situation that goes down in these salons...so fascinating. Let me know what you think, pumpkins.

* Last night, Glam.com had a fabulous loft party for all it's bloggers, and several of them told me they wished I posted more frequently. Which is something I've been hearing A LOT. I've always wanted to--but my deadlines are really no joke. After giving it much thought, though, I've decided to give it a try! Girls, "Shake Your Beauty" as you know it is about to change. Instead of doing one long, rambling post a week, I'm now going to do much smaller posts, THREE TIMES A WEEK. In each post, I'll highlight one product I'm loving right now, or answer a reader question. Hopefully, you'll love the new change!!

To kick off the new "Shake Your Beauty," here's a product that's currently driving me wild. Over the last week, I think I've whipped YSL SUN LINE NAIL TOUCH BRUSH PEN ($23) out of my bag at least three times. Oh, there's so much to love! First of all, the uber-glam packaging is just too cool for school. Secondly, it comes in six glossy, barely-there shades that flatter brown skin to death (transparent, metallic pink, parma, pearly beige, golden beige, and pearly white). The best part, though? In one click, this goof-proof pen releases the perfect amount of polish, coating your nail to glossy perfection. No layering, no angling to get the tricky spots in the corner. You can't go wrong! Mark my words, in six months every nail brand will have their own version of this salon-worthy pen. I just love that I was in on the magic, from the beginning.

Love you! Hopefully I'll see you in all your gorgeousness at tomorrow's Harlem Book Fair!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Hootinany in Harlem

Hey sweeties,
Before my "real" post tomorrow, I just wanted to let all my ladies know that on Saturday, July 21st, I'll be getting my panel on at the 9th Annual Harlem Book Fair. If you're in the NYC area, you must stop by and show me some literary love! Along with the panel discussion, I'll also be reading from IT CHICKS and signing books (there will be copies of THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA, as well). Here's my schedule:

Dr. Loretta Long (Courtney's Birthday Party); Roscoe Orman (Sesame Street Dad); Sonia Hayes (The ATL Girlz); Dr. Sabrina Martin, Chief of Pediatrics, North General Hospital; Alex Simmons (Buffalo Bill Wanted!); Tia Williams (It Chicks)
YMCA Kraft Room main lobby
180 West 135th Street (near Adam Clayton Powell Blvd)
New York, NY 10030

The Young Reader's Pavilion (close to Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.)

The Borders booth (across from the Schomburg Center on Lenox)

Love ya, mean it!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Groupie Stands Alone

Hi girls,
Is theme dressing cheesy? You know, a'la Carrie Brandshaw wearing that francofile-cum-Cirque-du-Soleil ensemble to meet The Russian in Paris? The other day, my dear friend Charlotte and I went to a fabulous book reading in Soho, for Ms. Pamela Des Barres. Have you heard of her? She wrote a book called "I'm With the Band," all about her groupie days in the 60s & 70s, and me and Charlotte are OBSESSED with her (whatever, we all have our eccentricities. I mean, I know a girl who's really into soapbar-whittling). Anyway, I totally dressed for the occasion. I wore tiny cutoff jean shorts, a halter, pigtails, and 70s-ish wedges! I was SO getting backstage, I can't even tell you. Cut to last night, when Adam and I went to a flamenco concert in Prospect Park. I wore a ruffly, hot-pink, off-the-shoulder top with big hoops (ole!). Of course, I was the only one dressed like a Sevillana hooker, but I felt festive. Today, though, I'm noticing a trend. I am a person who adores theme dressing. And here's my question...have any of you ever theme-dressed? If so, I'd love to hear your stories. Because right now I'm feeling very The Cheese Stands Alone.

Shout-out to Miss 1990! Last week, I asked you ladies to help me think of a title for IT CHICKS BOOK #2, and Darling Miss 1990 came up with my absolute favorite...BITTERSWEET SIXTEEN (verrry fitting for a novel about a Sweet Sixteen bash). I have some goodies for you, 1990, so make sure you email me with your address (beauty@tiawilliams.net). And now, onto this month's Q&A. Keep the questions coming, girls, and try to stay cool in this oppressive heat. Jesus. My roots are destroyed.

love you forever,


QUESTION: "I have naturally dark tinted lips and would finally like to move away from brown and plum lipglosses. Any suggestions for some cute summer-y lip color for dark lips, like corals or whatever is concerned a summer color? I think I only own one tube of lipstick but I'm not at all against going the lipstick route."
TIA'S 2 CENTS: How I wish I had naturally brown lips like Lady T ("I'm wild and peaceful Lady T/I gotta keep my irons in the fire you see" --Teena Marie, Square Biz, REKANIZE!). Since your lips are already tinted, you really don't need a gloss with tons of opaque color. Just stick to soft, sheer glosses blended with a hint of shimmer. Stila Summer Lip Glaze in Daquiri ($20), a twinkly golden-pink, is absolutely lovely on dark lips...and it tastes yummy, too.

SYB BABE: Stacey
QUESTION: "How do you go about storing your beauty products? I am constantly purging things in an effort to keep my bathroom under control, but I was wondering how other beauty junkies such as myself handled the same problem. Just curious!"
TIA'S 2 CENTS: This is why the Container Store is so brilliant, man. Their sent-from-heaven Large Acrylic Makeup Organizer ($24.99) is separated into crafty compartments (love the lipstick organizer) so you can easily store your entire makeup arsenal. And the clear acrylic matches every bathroom decor, from Early Bachelor Pad to Shabby Chic for Target. Ooh-la-la!

QUESTION: "I don't like going to the beach because I am awfully hairy and when I shave my va jay jay area, I get razor bumps like men on their face. I mean it is really bad. What should I do?"
TIA'S 2 CENTS: Oh honey, it happens to ALL of us. Five words for you...Completely Bare Bikini Bump Blaster ($32)! I've written about this miracle worker before because it's awesome for treating and preventing va jay jay bumps. These easy-to-use pads are soaked in glycolic and salicylic acids, which clear away the pore-clogging sebum that causes ingrown hairs. In between waxes or shaving, simply swipe a pad over the bikini area after you shower...and revel in your sexy, silky-smoothness!

QUESTION: "Do you know who makes the bomb bodyshapers? Tia, I've tried everything to keep some of this "extra beauty" hidden, but it's not working. I've never had a flat stomach, but a dear friend of my mom's saw me out and said (here it comes) "Are we expecting?" I smiled and laughed it off, but inside I was falling apart. Please help!"
TIA'S 2 CENTS: Sugar, it's time for you to worship at the Spanx altar, alongside Gwyneth, Oprah, Reece, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson; every A-list stylist in Hollywood; and, apparently, many a SYB Bombshell. Spanx is an award-winning, stylist-loving line of shapewear that's constructed to control and shape unruly butts, thighs and tummies. The collection includes chic little panties, bras, footless hose, corsets and maternity yumminess...but for a tummy issue, I'd reccomend Slim Cognito Seamless Control Panty ($42, nude or black). The sleek, cling-proof design manages to pull in your tummy while boosting your booty...and miracle of miracles, it doesn't cut you off anywhere or create weird bulges.

SYB BABE: Kimberly
QUESTION: "Can you do me one favor??? Please give advice on large pores!!!! Its hot, its humid, and mommy's face looks like the kids drew freckles on me."
TIA'S 2 CENTS: Kimmie, prepare for Biore's Pore Minimizing Line to change your life! Start things off by cleansing your face, morning and night, with the Biore Pore Minimizing Foaming Face Wash ($6.99). Follow up with the Biore Pore Minimizing Lightweight Oil-Free Moisturizer SPF 15 ($12.49), which contains special soft-focus powders that make pores look almost invisible! For extra pore help, three times a week, massage Biore Pore Minimizing Refining Exfoliator ($12.49) over freshly cleansed skin (it removes all kinds of gunk from you pores, which reduces their appearance). In a couple weeks, your face will be HD-ready!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

If a drag queen applies makeup in the forest...

Hi ladies,
I FINISHED IT CHICKS BOOK #2!!! OMG, I am so effin' excited, I'm two seconds from breaking out in an interpretive pop-and-lock. I think it's kinda cute, but you never really know until you get your edits back...and obviously, I'm counting down the seconds until my editor gets back to me. In the meantime, though, these darling IT CHICKS reviews on Teens Read Too, ShoeFlyer, Kaijsa Reads, BackTalk, and Ambermag are keeping me all giggly and happy! Thanks, guys! Oh, and I'm really stuck on what to call the second IT CHICKS. Please help your girl with some ideas (FYI, the book centers on one of the characters getting her own "My Super Sweet Sixteen" episode and becoming a raging diva nightmare). The SYB Babe with the best title gets a spectactular beauty goodie from moi!

For those of you who don't know, I spent the last week at my parents summer home, finishing my book. Okay, this house is DEEP in the Shenandoah mountains. No, you don't hear me. There's absolutely nada in the area. Walmart is AN HOUR away. The nearest gas station has a hand-written sign in the window that says: "We sell guns, beer, and kittens, kittens, kittens (in the back)." Can you imagine me there? Being from Brooklyn, even my little metrosexual miniature pinscher was at a total loss (the poor thing took a misstep and rolled halfway down a mountain. His ego took a major hit, and he hasn't been the same since). But it was a lovely place to really isolate myself, buckle down, get off the "So You Think You Can Dance" forums, and write. Here's my question, though. You know that time-honored question, if a tree falls in the forest and no one's there to see it, did it make a sound? I offer you a new take on this: If a total drag queen puts on a full face of makeup in the mountains and no one's there to see it, is said drag queen really made-up? I don't have the answsers, people. All I know is, every single morning, I curled my lashes, applied my favorite Philosophy concealer, brushed on my Nars Taos blush, and finished with a hint of Revlon Raisin Glaze lip gloss. I even rocked my new favorite perfume, Margenty's Hidden Cove.

What was the point of all that primping? No one but a couple deer and a really confrontational squirrel even saw my ass for the entire week! Here's what I think. It really isn't about vanity, is it? All this beauty stuff we love so much...it's really a form of self-therapy. It's soothing, like comfort food. It's no different than an infant sucking his thumb to sleep or a pubescent boy making all-too-frequent trips to the bathroom with a girlie mag (wait, I'm going off the rails, here). My point is, beauty junkies, if anyone makes you feel vain or superficial for your mascara obsession, don't pay it any attention. Beauty makes us feel good. Life is stressful, why deprive yourself of a gold eyeshadow that truly sets your world ablaze?

Now, onto this week's service. It's getting reeeaally hot outside, we're going on vacations, and so I thought it was appropriate to do a post all about sun-protection products (yes, girls, brown people CAN get skin cancer and melanoma, so don't skimp on the SPF). And here's the thing. The newest sunscreen-infused products are so much sexier than the pasty Coppertones of the past. Which is good, because we want to look glamorous on the beach or by the pool!


Oh, PS: After I posted that gorge picture of my Mom on my Mother's Day post, a lovely SYB Babe named Izley asked me the following question, which I kept forgetting to answer:

"Hey Tia, does your mother have any American Indian ancestry? My best friend's last name is Chevalier and her family has a strong American Indian lineage. I've always thought her last name was unique yet beautiful your mother favors members of her family so I was just curious if there was a connection."

Well, Izley, my mom gets that a lot. Actually, she's Louisiana French Creole, which is a sexy combo of American Indian, Black, Spanish, and French (hence her maiden name). If your friend's last name is Chevalier and she has American Indian lineage, then I'll bet you two pounds of gumbo and a bowl of crawfish etoufee that she's Creole. Ask her!


Decleor Aroma Sun Protective Hydrating Spray SPF 30 ($35.50): Sunscreen is annoying for two reasons. A.) You can NEVER get your back (and when your man does it for you, he gets it all over your bikini strap). And B.) It smells totally medicinal. Decleor's undeniably chic Hydrating Spray solves both those issues--first of all, it's a spray-on mist formula, so you can get all those hard-to-reach areas. And the scent is DIVINE. It's blended with rose, geranium, and camomile essential oils, so while it shields your skin from harmful sunrays, it also treats you to an indulgent little aromatherapeutic moment. Nice.
Guess what's better than aloe for soothing sunburned, flaky, overexposed skin? Goats milk! I kid you not--ask any dermatologist. Canus Lil Goats Milk Moisturizing Lotion ($6.29) is the yummiest after a day o'sun worshipping.

Bobbi Brown Lip Tint SPF 15 in Maple Tint ($17): Spring Break, 1997. I was a senior in college, and me and my girls spent three days frolicking on Virginia Beach...and when I woke up on the last morning, I looked like Jimmie Walker. My lips were ultra-swollen, because I totally forgotten to put sunscreen on them. The thing is, EVERYBODY forgets. Bobbi Brown's Lip Tint SPF 15 is a brilliant quick-fix--it gives serious sun protection and the prettiest hint of nutty-brown, peppermint-scented shine. So easy, so chic.
When my lips blew up, the only thing that soothed the swelling and the crazy chapping was good old fashioned Carmex Lip Moisturizer ($2.29). This famously rich, salicylic acid and menthol-infused balm really calms down sunburned lips (great on cuticles, too...but that's a different post).

Becca Luminous Skin Color SPF 20, ($40): Everyone knows you can't hang on the beach or poolside without face sunscreen--but I've always hated the chalky, ashy finish it gives my skin. Becca's gorgeous tinted moisturizer has a kick-ass SPF, but it also brightens and evens out your complexion TO NO END. It's sheer, it's luminous and it doesn't get all gooky when you sweat (in fact, no one'll even be able to tell you're wearing makeup). And it comes in six versatile shades for dark skin tones. So much better than Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, which is darling but only comes in three dark shades. Love, love, love.
A trick for over-heated skin: Stick Phytomer Soothing Repair After-Sun Face Mask ($33) in the refrigerator. After a day in the sun, smooth it all over your face, leave on for ten minutes, and rinse. Your skin will look unbelievably fresh and radiant...and the cooling effect is so kick-ass.

Frederic Fekkai Summer Hair Zero Humidity ($20): Yay!! Finally, a hair product that addresses our two biggest summer hair issues--frizz and sun protection (especially key if you're relaxed, color-treated or both). Frederic Fekkai's aptly named Zero Humidity keeps your hair sleek and frizz-free while protecting it from damaging UV rays. Lightly spray it all over before heading outside, and you'll have the glossiest, healthiest hair--all summer long.
Tropical vacays are divine, except for the fact that, by the end of the week, your hair has the vitality of Paris' jailhouse weave. To restore the ooh-lah-lah destroyed by saltwater, chlorine, and el sol, treat your hair to Rene Furterer Repairing After-Sun Mask ($26)--massage it in from roots to ends, rinse after ten minutes, and enjoy in the dazzling shine. Oh, it's a fantastic detangler, too.