Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lashes, Tarte and Joanne

Okay, before I get into today's Q&A, I have may-jah news. I GOT BANGS (don't laugh at my pic, though...I took it with the Photo Booth application on my IBook)!! What do you think? Looks-wise, I've been having a huge late-Sixties, Jean Shrimpton/Marianne Faithfull moment, so I had to go there. And, oh, I'm obsessed! In fact, my new bangs have so dominated every conversation I've had this week, that I went ahead and gave them a name: Joanne. Say hi, Joanne!

QUESTION: "Tia, I want my eyes to pop. Can you give me your recommendations for the best lashes sans anything artifical? Best mascara and techniques? How do you feel about lash tinting for brown girls? Will it help?"
MY 2 CENTS: Mmmm....lash tinting can help give your eyes divine dimension if you're a natural blonde with barely-there-fair lashes. Lucky for us, our lashes our already a lush black. That said, there are a million ways to give your lashes more oomph--lash primers, curlers, volumizing/lengthening/de-clumping mascaras. The sexy ladies at Tarte realize that it's all about one-stop-shopping...which is precisely why they whipped up this handy little Tarte Rejuvelash Lash Exhilarating Set ($40). I love this even more than the Sidney/Sharrain vs. Kid/Play danceoff in House Party. Girls, not only do these three lash-loving products give you the sexiest eyes, ever--they're each encased in the sweetest purple faux-python print packaging, too! Here's what's inside:

1.) Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler: To maximize your lashes, you MUST curl them first. It's imperative. To do this, open up the curler and clamp it down at the base of your lashes (close to the skin, but without pinching). Hold for five seconds, then release.
2.) Lights, Camera, Lashes! 4-in-1 Mascara: This blacker-than-black mascara contains special polymers that lengthen, curl, volumize and condition your lashes. Apply two coats, starting at the base of your lashes and sweeping out. For extra volume, jiggle the wand a bit at the base. Also, here's a tip I learned from Salma Hayek (long story, it was a Avon beauty event, years ago): Bend the wand a little bit, so you can catch the tiny hairs in the corner and on the bottom. It works!
3.) Take Two Declumping Lash Exhilarator: This stuff is amazing. After your mascara dries, sweep this fabulous Exhilarator through lashes to separate and get rid of gross clumps. Also great for reviving end-of-the-day lashes. SO GOOD.


PS: I'm off to Cape Cod for my friend Emily's glamorous wedding weekend...but I'll be back on Monday with tons of delicious beautytalk! For Joanne's sake, let's hope the humidity levels are lower than low.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No games I want you excluuusive..

Hey pumpkins,
Sorry, I'm just over the moon for Big Mike!!! So enjoying the ballad version of "Exclusive" by the way...those boys should send Jodeci a humble thank-you note, no?

Yes, I'm a 32 year old woman who loves Making the Band. I also love the beach. I am SUCH a beach person. I'll never understand why Beyonce and Jay Z aways look so maligned in their South of France paparazzi shots. My jaunt to Cape Hatteras (in North Cackalacky's Outer Banks...look into it) last week was the vacation version of Coldstone ice cream. Heaven! And my feet are THRILLED. As faithful SYB'ers are well aware, my feet are mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Especially in the summertime, with my dry heels and troublesome Pavement Toe (you know, the long second toe that hangs over your sandals and gets all crusty?). One of the first things I always do during a beach vacay is treat my tootsies with a serious sand exfoliation. Sounds lah-di-dah, but really the treatment simply consists of me stomping down the beach on the wet, hard know, really digging my heels in. It looks spastic, but my feet end up shockingly soft. For years, I've tried to find a product that reproduces this effect--anything other than pumice scrubs, I HATE those...too ticklish--and a couple months ago I finally zeroed in on a fabulous candidate. C.O. Bigelow Smoothing Body Buffer ($14) is packed with these divine peppermint sugar crystals that buff rough, Hammertime skin to a gleaming, baby-soft finish...without getting all scratchy, in the process. And it leaves your feet feeling all cool and tingly! Hats off to the C.O. Bigelow team for developing an exfoliating scrub infused with all the tingly-minty goodness of their cult-hit lip balm, C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine ($7.50)! And girls, if you haven't yet tried the Genius Mentha, your lips are so mad at you right now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Black Woman's Burden

QUESTION: "I work out 3-5x a week, and my blowout and scalp are becoming a dirty mess. Is there a product I can use in between my weekly blowout to keep my scalp so fresh and so clean? Washing my hair every other day is not an option."
TIA'S 2 CENTS: Oh, Teesh. Isn't this so the black woman's burden? "But...but, my hair!" is the excuse I've used for years to excuse myself from working out (and quite honestly, the phenomenon isn't limited to us...I know quite a few Jewish girls who'd rather gracefully accept the pudge than disrupt a blowout). The great thing is, hairstyling-guru-to-the-stars Oscar Blandi has invented a wonder product that solves the entire problem, stat. Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo ($10) completely cleanses your hair and scalp without water, in like, two seconds flat. This lemon verbena-scented dry spray contains natural rice, oat and tapioca starches that absorb excess oil, dirt and product, while tea tree oil treats dandruff. It's fabulous! Just spray it all over, concentrating on roots, and marvel at your squeaky-clean, fresh-smelling, Pantene-commercial-ready hair.

PS: The other major working out issue we have is the whole sweating-out-the-roots thing. Well, my sister Devon/Brownie is a MAJOR gym bunny, and her adorable Nicole Ritchie bob always looks sleek. Her secret? She puts her hair in a ponyail, and then slides a terrycloth elastic headband just over her hairline. It protects the roots around her face and the "kitchen" from frizz-making sweat...and it keeps the hair flat (seriously, when you take off the headband, it'll look like you just got a touch-up). Try American Apparel's Flex Terry Headband ($6) comes in tons of cute, now-you-have-no-excuse-for-skipping-spinning-class colors.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Beachy Keen, Jellybean

Hey girls!! Wanted to tell you we're off to the North Carolina's gorgeous, beachy Outer Banks for five days! Mama's so needing a vacay (this whole 32 thing is wearing me out, and it's only been two days). But I'll be back next Thursday--bigger, deffer and tougher than pleather. Love ya, mean it :-)

PS...My sister Devon noticed that lists "Shake Your Beauty" as one of the sites they love. We're SO famous!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We Heart JanJay

QUESTION: "Isn't the Fashionista Diaries the next best thing to IT CHICKS? And can anyone tell me what Janjay puts in her hair to give it that funky, not-so curled-curly thing it does? I thought her hair was relaxed and then she wore it curly and I love it!"
TIA'S TWO CENTS: Have you guys seen SoapNet's totally addictive new reality show, Fashionista Diaries? It follows the lives of six assistants as they start dream jobs in fashion, beauty, public relations and magazine publishing (so up your alley, isn't it?). As someone who LIVED this show (albeit circa 1932), I can tell you, it's spine-tinglingly real--and a great thing to watch if you're trying to break into these fields. Anyway, the breakout star is definitely one Miss JanJay Sherman, an assistant at Flirt Cosmetics. I can't tell you how tickled I was to see one of us on this show!! Not only is she searingly chic--like, PERFECTION, every day--she's giving hope to all the brown girls out there with seemingly far-flung fashionista dreams. Loving it.

Anyway, Toya isn't the first SYB Babe to ask me about JanJay's truly inspiring mane (sleek one day, wash-and-go curly the next). So, I figured I'd go straight to the source! JanJay and I had been emailing about the Flirt Cosmetics/Vanessa Minnillo contest, so I nonchalantly slipped her Toya's question. Here's her response:

"At the beginning of the show I was trying to go natural, but I gave in and got a mild relaxer! It made my hair easier to manage, and made my curl looser and more tamable. Wearing my hair curly makes it dry and more susceptible to breakage, so I condition with Grassroots In Perfect Condition Deep Moisturizing Conditioner ($9.50). Whether I wear it straight or curly, I use L'Oreal High Shine Polishing Serum ($20) for shine--it's not greasy, and it provides the right moisture while maintaining body. I also use Tea Tree Oil ($9.95) on my scalp."

Thanks JanJay! And THANK YOU girls...your birthday wishes made my day. I'm so serious. It's crazy that a bunch of girls I've never met can make me feel so good :-)


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


COULD SUNSHINE BE ANY CUTER?! Squeal! Swoon! Thank you, baby, for being the most romantic, sexy, supportive, love-me-long-time Dr. Doolittle (check the pic) I've ever known. Mama adores you, for tiempo siempre. In fact, your birthday post was such a darling display of old-school undying devotion that I don't even need a present. Ha! You know I'm lying.

Girls, thanks so much for your birthday wishes! You know how I'm celebrating? I'm chomping on ice cream bon bons while watching my Laguna Beach Season 1 DVDs (The Hills premiere on Monday really turned me out. More on my stomach-churning hatred of Speidi, later). It may sound boring, but after celebrating your 21st b'day eleven times, your well of creativity starts to run dry.

Love you guys! Stay tuned for a brand-new post tomorrow AM. And Jessica R, email me your just won Vanessa Minnillo's new Flirt collection! Congrats, pumpkin.

The Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday To My Wife

This isn't your average beauty post from Tia. This is her husband. I've hacked into her blog and want to wish her a Happy Birthday as she celebrates her 21st birthday again! I figured since this is the place for beauty, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the beauty in my life that makes everything so beautiful for not only me but the rest of the blogosphere. Join me in wishing Tia a Happy Birthday today!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A pinch o' salt

Hey Sweeties,
How was your weekend? I spent mine by the pool at La Cabezas Compound, having a "diving board tricks" competition with my plucky seven-year-old niece, Victoria. Now, usually when I visit Adam's parents' casa, I like to lay out on a beach chair nibbling on dark purple grapes (I like to peel the skin off and pop 'em in my mouth like bonbons) and reading biographies of vintage Hollywood divas (this was Natalie Wood week) while Adam, his bros, and the kids frolic in the pool. Frequently, there are waterguns involved and I'm having NONE of that. But this time, Victoria said "Aunt Tia, why're you always WEADING SOMEFING?" Hearing her loud and clear, I begrudgingly joined the diving board competition..and launched into the most awkward, flailing bellyflop you've ever seen. And the water was so freezing that the second I was surfaced, I screamed "OH SHIT!" Victoria was scandalized by my tarty language, and I was ousted from the competition and demoted to judge. Whatever. I slathered on the SPF and continued safely working on my tan. It was a lovely weekend, but by the time I got back to Brooklyn last night, all I wanted to do was take a long, hot bath. I don't know, something about a luxe soak after a day in the sun feels SO decadant and yummy! Adding to the decadence was a cupfull of GapBody Bath Salts in Nightfall ($10.88)! I know what you're thinking--GapBody doesn't exactly have the fanciest of reps. But trust me, they truly got it right this time! And it's not just about the chic, vintage-apothecary packaging. These salts have the spiciest, most grown-up-sexy scent...and they're chock full of almond oil, which makes the water deeply moisturizing. Hello, cashmere-soft skin. I'm so in love with the Nightfall scent that I put all tiny bit in a Ziploc bag and stuck it in my purse. Sachet in a pinch!

Big PS: FLIRT! Cosmetics, Kohl's fabulous makeup line, has asked me to shout-out the hot event they're having with TV personality Vanessa Minnillo! A little backstory: Vanessa is FLIRT's new celebrity guest creator--and her new collection, a slew of palettes, glosses, and shadows in glam bronze or purple tones, is truly stunning. On Wednesday, August 15th at 11 AM, she'll be appearing at Jersey City's Kohl's Department Store (40 Mall Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07310) to introduce the new line. And here's where SYB comes in. The first reader to correctly answer the following question will win a set of the new Vanessa collection! Here's the question...good luck, muchachitas:


Friday, August 10, 2007

The Hamburgler Effect

QUESTION: "I use my L'oreal Voluminous Mascara faithfully on the top and bottom lashes, and I love it, but at the end of the day it always smears on the bottom lash area. I end up with the half-racoon-eye thing going on. Any suggestions on how to keep this from happening?"
MY 2 CENTS: A thousand times yes, I have a suggestion! I used to suffer the same mascara-smearing moment under my bottom lashes (and when you're already genetically predisposed to dark undereye circles, the unsightly black smudges just add to The Hamburgler Effect). The problem is, your undereye area is one of the oiliest parts of the face. During the day, the mascara from your bottom lashes flakes off and mixes with your skin's surface oil, causing the smeary situation. To nip it in the bud, try blending DHC Matte Cream ($19.50) along the undereye area (you can wear it under concealer or by itself). This excellent mattifying lotion absorbs oil before it has a chance to wreak havoc on your mascara. It's a genius spot treatment for out-of-control T-zones, too. Problem solved, bunny!

Huge PS: It was all a dream/IT CHICKS is in "Word Up" magazine!!! Not only am I tickled to death for landing in one of 11-year-old Tia's favorite mags, but the review was written by my second cousin Allyson!! Who, sadly, is way too young to even remember Salt & Pepa OR Heavy D up in the limousine.

And PPS: Thank you, Trixie Star. I was feeling ugly, cellulite-y, and totally uncreative...until I read your absolutely darling comment. Mommy, is that you writing under a pseudonym?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Kerry is so very

Hey pumpkins,
Who here doesn't agree that Kerry Washington is the single most glamorous woman in Hollywood? I've been girl-crushing on her HARD since Ray. For me, though, it's not really about her movies (even though most of her male co-stars get nominated for/win Oscars. Behind every good man, and all that). No, it's all about her red carpet game. Flawless! The face, the hair, the ensemble--seriously, she makes Angelina look like eunuch. And ever since she showed up at the "I Love My Wife" premiere in that heart-stopping, marigold Oscar De La Renta gown, I've been obsessed with her shimmery, rosy-bronze gloss. I'm not kidding...I had this photo tacked to my "inspiration board" for months, alongside Diana Ross in Mahogany, Dorothy D. in Carmen Jones, and Beverly Johnson's deeply inspirational February 1976 Cosmo cover (oh, and my mom in a terrycloth shortset, circa the same era). The other day in Sephora, I finally found the perfect match: Too Faced Status Gloss in Billionaire Boyfriend ($18.50)! Not only is it the exact same scintillatingly sexy shade, it stays put for hours...and it has a vague cocoa scent. So yummy. So Kerry.

PS: Loving the lively comment board conversation, girls. SYB isn't just about me, me,'s also a forum for chatty, like-minded makeup junkies like CeCe, Tabitha, Aja Bella, Coco Fiere and Sassy Schanina. So keep passing on the advice, suggestions and raves! Just don't leave mean, anonymous comments about me. Mama's starting to get her feelings hurt :-(

Monday, August 06, 2007

Why I'm not mad at Nicole Ritchie

QUESTION: "Please help me find the best liquid eyeliner that doesn't smudge or run BUT easily glides over the lids without the fuss. I beg of you, please don't name MAC or Makeup Forever!"
TIA'S 2 CENTS: No need to beg, sugar. I totally feel your pain. As an obsessive lover of mid-60's, Edie Sedgwick/Ann Margret/Barbarella-style, sex-kitten eyes, I LIVE for liquid eyeliner. So does Nicole Ritchie. Say what you will about the knocked-up con artist, but you must appreciate the level of glamour-commitment it took to recreate Ms. Hepburn's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" eyeliner at her recent court appearance (I SWOONED at the drawings). That said, I understand why some people get nervous around liquid eyeliner. If you're inexperienced, the line can come out all spazzy and spidery...especially when you're working with a bendy brush. Which is precisely why Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner in Blackest Black ($4.99) is so brilliant. It comes with a firm, pointy brush that makes application a thousand times easier. And the line stays put until you take it off--absolutely zero smudging or smearing. But even with a brilliant liner, you're one swoop away from Tammy Faye (may she rest) if you're not careful. Here are some incredibly easy tips:

1.) It's all about keeping your hand steady, and here's how. First, prop a mirror up on a desk or table. Rest your elbow on the table and place the palm of your hand against your jawline. Hold the liner between your index finger and thumb, and apply.
2.) DON'T drag the liner across your lid in one fell swoop. Instead, use short, feather-like strokes to apply, starting at the inside corner and working your way across.
3.) Finally, stay as close to your lashline as possible. You never want to see skin between your lashes and the trashy.
4.) Unleash the sexy on an unsuspecting world.

Your Tia

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sunny Delight

Hey sweeties,
Tons on my mind! Time for bullets:

* Is anyone watching Baldwin Hills on BET? Oh, it's SUCH a breath of fresh air. In a TV moment where practically the only images of black women are seen on the plateful of skank served up by Flavor of Love: Charm School, it's so nice to harken back to the days of A Different World with a sweet, soapy show about a bunch of charismatic, educated, socio-economically diverse black kids. Finally, a Laguna Beach-type reality romp for our kids to watch. And that Moriah is the cutest cutie that ever cuted.

* Hello, fabulous Earnest Sewn contest!! The A-list denim brand has just launched their "Highwaisted Jean-ius" campaign, where you can submit your sexiest highwaisted jeans looks for the chance to win coveted Earnest Sewn jeans, a favorite among celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz and Natalie Portman. The grand prize winner will receive each of three new fall washes available in the highwaisted Whiley Trouser style, a value estimated at $700. The WINNER'S NAME WILL ALSO BE USED AS THE NAME FOR A FUTURE EARNEST SEWN JEANS DESIGN!! One second place winner will be chosen by top score to win one new fall Whiley Trouser, a value of approximately $240. Enter here!

* Here's a yummy haircare-shopping tip, courtesy of SYB-er, CoCo Chantel: Celeb hairstylist Ellin Lavar's excellent haircare line is available at CVS for 20% off. If I were you, I'd jump all over the insanely glossifying Nourish Oil before fans like Iman, Tyra, MJB and the Williams sisters scoop it up, first.

* More 90210 nonsense...I just realized that Brandon's boss at the Beverly Beach Club is none other than Grey's Anatomy Chief of Surgery, Richard Webber (aka James Pickens, Jr.). He was super-cute back then, in a corporate Apollo Creed sort of way.

* Onto what skincare obsession of the moment, Philosophy The Microdelivery Mini-Peel Pads ($35 for 60). Okay, I'm REALLY tan right now. So much so, that an old friend I ran into yesterday insisted that I must've just returned from some glamorous jaunt on the French Riviera (in actually, my golden glow is a result of some dedicated lounging by the Cabezas' backyard pool in Long Island). I'm loving my color, but I loathe the inevitable dry, flaky patches that happen after a day of frolicking in el sol. After searching my beauty bins for something, ANYTHING, that would save my shedding skin, I landed on Philosophy's brilliant Mini-Peel Pads. They're soaked with skin-resurfacing lactic acid that gently sloughs off rough spots and gross flakes...and to prevent irritation, they're also spiked with soothing green tea. Also, sometimes I get a fine heat rash around my hairline (it looks like a bunch of tiny whiteheads), but the pore-unclogging Mini-Peel Pads clear it up, almost instantly. And in a pinch, they work wonders on rough elbows, knees, and heels, too. Honestly, the only thing these pads don't do is strip my floors. But don't think I won't give it a try.