Thursday, January 31, 2008

Well Damn.

Hola chicas,
Well, well, well! Aren't I having a major media moment?! Check me out in today's New York Times' Style Section! It's all about the rising power of the beauty blogger...and they photographed me in my "beauty" room, where I cram all my products and write SYB (there's the pic, on the left)! I have to say, even though I'm clearly loving the splashy photo, the article left me rather insulted. I mean, the implication that I write SYB for the swag is beyond ludicrous, and really broadcasts the writers complete non-understanding of the way the beauty industry operates. No, I wasn't allowed to accept gifts at Teen People, but during my days at Elle, Glamour, and Lucky, I was a virtual swag magnet (and quite honestly, my sqeals over free stuff abated circa 2001). I started SYB because, at the time, there were no brown girl blogs written by a bonafide beauty insider. I wanted to proved a service for my mas, no menos! The idea that I'm in this for any other reason is actually quite offensive.

Plus, I've NEVER "censored" myself in order not to offend a major company. I only write about stuff that works, products I know you'll love...why discuss the ones that suck? Sigh. Must concentrate on the fact that my hair looks fab in the photo...

And now, let's get back to today's regularly scheduled gush-fest!

Girls, I'm getting to that mid-winter moment where, despite all my best efforts, I look in the mirror and see a "before" shot. In the beauty world, we call this a Looks Crisis. And it's serious. You know you're in the throes of an LC when, despite your best beauty efforts, nothing seems to make you look hot, sexy, or even passably cute. The only known cure for said rut is to make a profoundly dramatic change in your beauty routine. If you ordinarily wouldn't dream of rocking a red lip, break out the Nars Scarlet Empress! If you're a haircolor virgin, splurge on some face-framing highlights! In my case, I decided it was high time I dabbled in some "cat eye"-style liquid liner (I mean, how profoundly chic are Zoe Saldana and Joy Bryant with their sultry, subtly winged liner? Meeoow!).

For weeks, I've been searching high and low for a user-friendly liquid liner (you know, one that doesn't smudge, or go on all shaky, or looks like drag) and girls, I finally found The One. Le Metier de Beaute Precision Liquid Liner in Noir ($42) is utterly goof-proof. It's all about the delicate, quill-tipped applicator--it gives you tons of control, so you don't get that quivery finish. Literally, you just use it like a pen! Here's how: Place the tip just beyond (and a wee bit above) the outside corner of your eye. Then, holding it at a slight angle, slowly drag the pen along your lashline, until you get to the inside corner. Somehow, with minimum effort, you end up with a perfect cat-eye! And believe me, I've tried practically every liquid liner in the market. This one is HEAVEN. Girls, my Looks Crisis has officially gone the way of John Edwards. Sexy time!


Blogger the addict said...

Hey Tia! Congrats on the mention! Like you, I felt she took a bunch of things out of context (and got a couple of things totally WRONG), but hey, it's still the Times, right? :)

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really don't like what they said about you at the Supermodel PJ Party, but I think the article is really informative. Hey--you guys are lucky--you get free swag to put in your blog; I have to buy it. *growl*

In other, non-hating news, I also love gel eyeliners, like Bobbi Brown's, and the new L'Oreal HIP ones that come with the brush. They're amazing.

10:03 AM  
Blogger yummy411 said...

hi tia! congrats on making the article. i have mixed feelings about the message in the article, but whatever they make it out to be, your blog and the others aren't a hit for nothing.

many girls are raving about the classic revlon liquid liner with the felt tip. i tried it and it is nice. wonderful to get the same liquid liner look, minus the extra work of the brush, etc.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Julia said...

Tia, why do they always have to take things out of context. BTW, I love the Beauty Room.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Naki said...

Congrats Tia!!! I was just coming by to post the link:

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI...I totally love Nars Babe gloss, a "look at me" siren red!!

11:31 AM  
Blogger DermDoc said...

Dear Tia,
I found you from the NYT piece today.

Your blog is truly outstanding in a dense beauty blogesphere; I wish you all the best.

If I can ever be of assistance to you, please don't hesitate to contact me.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Schanina said...

Look on the bright side Tia, Today you’ve just introduced the whole world to the concept of a BEAUTY ROOM. Now that is something to squeal about. With that said, I am embarrassed to admit I am now having dreams at night about Shake Your Beauty. SYB is like an ultra glam night club where the admission price is the secret to a girl’s lip gloss. Swag or no Swag, we’ve all bounded on this site and I think it’s really about the community of girls we’ve would have never connected with without having a common interest. And a big plus for the beauty marketing world is that beauty blogs have increased the credibility of its products. We can trust what other girls of similar likeness have tried. But as you have said, I didn’t plan on getting that deep on a blog called Shake Your Beauty, so I digress.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Me&Me said...

Serious hateration going on. Is there any difference between what you do and what they do at Lucky?

They are just upset because in the blog world a nineteen year old from Podunk has more sway than they do. I rarely buy a product because of a blog. I usually have a need such as dry ashy skin in the winter, I see adverts in mags about the new cocoa butter gel, I'm interested in that product, then I go to blogs that I trust like this one and find a review and I may buy it or not. Blogs inform me they do not sway me.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous afrobella said...

Tia, I feel ya. I read that article and it made it sound like beauty bloggers were just in it for the swag, spelling and credibility be damned. Parts of it were interesting, but other parts left me with a bad taste in my mouth. But hey - you look fabulous! Yellow suits you beautifully. Keep on workin' it for us brown girls making our way in the beauty game!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Mikaela said...

Now Gawker is in on it, and they are using this picture of you...

Boy do I know the LC's. Why do they seem to hang around for like a month at a time?

1:10 PM  
Blogger Divine Blackness said...

Congrats on the article nonetheless. Even if you didn't think it was up to par. You are a huge fan to us at Clumps of Mascara! One time for the brown beauty bloggers!

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I actually like the blogs that give ratings on products, including negative ones. It helps me to weed out products before wasting my time and money on them.

That said, I was happy to learn your process. Before the article I thought of your blog as serving the industry because you big-upped every product on your site. Knowing that you only post about things that you like and that work will have me returning to your blog more often.

1:18 PM  
Blogger The Jet Set Girls said...

Tia-Most importantly--you look hot in the photo! ;) As a former magazine beauty editor myself, I do wish that the article pointed out that magazines aren't exactly ripe with negative reviews of products either. Generally, if we don't like something we don't cover it.

Look forward to meeting you in person soon!

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tia...The article was BEYOND insulting. Especially the comments by Julie Fredrickson of Coutorture. When I was a member of that community she was the biggest SWAG magnet of them all. It seems that the writer took a whole bunch of things out of context and applied it to everyone. Crazy...on another note - I am LOVING the "beauty room"

1:38 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Keep on doing what you're doing darling, cause I think you are great.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Beanie said...

I love the DVF top in the pic. I really do :)

2:01 PM  
Blogger A*E* said...

I definately feel some type of way about that article. You blog because you love it, not for the free stuff! However, you look fabulous in your beauty room!

PS - I'm totally having a LC month! Spring needs to hurry up and come so I can feel cute again! LOL

2:12 PM  
Blogger The Write Stuff said...

Well, you look maah-velous. Don't you hate when writers can't get their facts straight? Is the writer a female? She's probably jealous of your perks and fabulous life. You know the saying... if they're not talking about you then you're finished. Just the price to pay for living a life in the fab lane. Keep doing what you do because you do it soooo well! And all of your SYB readers love you!

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being in the New York Times. I read the article, its great to see beauty bloggers getting more exposure.

3:28 PM  
Blogger The Write Stuff said...

Ok... I just read the article and ugh, I understand why you and others are left with a bad taste in their mouths, moi included. How dare she accuse you of not being humble because you blogged about your VS Pajama Party. How rude! There is definitely undertones of jealousy in the article. But I have to agree with everyone else, it is the NY Times... Congrats on the mention. And again, keep doing your thing, girl!!

3:46 PM  
Blogger divasoul said...

Congrats on the article but BOO on them for getting it twisted.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love "LOOKS CRISIS" as I was having a major, major one last week- the solution: a new haircut. I had been tempted for months to cut my long hair into a bob and I finally gave in to my desire Friday and cut my hair a la Nicole Richie circa 2006. A huge transformation for me and I've received nothing but compliments. Crisis averted!

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Bring Sexy Back! said...

here is a question mildly related to the flaky skin question from a few posts ago:

I'm having an issue with my back. The skin in the middle is all splotchy! Is it dry? Am i not getting lotion back there? Am out of the loop on some wonder product!? i love backless tops and dresses so I would love to fix this issue before spring rolls around. Help!!!

thanks Tia!

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, that article infuriated me. Three years ago, I started a beauty blog for brown women who looked just like me, because we didn't have much to refer to. All I wanted to do in life was to work under Mikki Taylor at Essence, and tell all the brown girls what to wear and how to wear it. It's even gone so far as to create youtube videos for us to refer to. That is personal time, time I could be out with the girls, studying for class, or anything else. My blog is my second job, and while you may get samples, blogging is truly a JOB. Hours upon hours of work go into it, and instead of explaining to the world about our passion, they make us look like beauty golddiggers?? Oh please. We still buy beauty products because we love beauty products. Sorry, had to vent.

Tia, keep doing your thing honey. Hope I get to meet you at Fashion Week!

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article and was appalled! I clutched my pearls in disgust. Oh well.. as my husband would say..sometimes you have to suffer some things to be so for the greater good.

I also appreciate your honesty. I am a faithful reader (since your Model in a Bottle Post) and I too wondered from time to time if you'd tried all of the products you write about. Keep on keeping on.... Loving the Beauty Room, I need one of those!! =)

5:25 PM  
Blogger My Inner French Girl said...

Hi, Tia! Well, if there's one good thing to come out of the article, it's that I get introduced to other great beauty bloggers. I love your site!! And yeah, I don't think the writer realized just how much work goes into our blogs. I think I average about 2-3 hours a day (eek!) on mine, and on other days it's much more. And I don't get near the swag that the big, established blogs get.

Anyway, congratulations, Tia, on the mention! You looked awesome!


5:25 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Hateeeerrrrrs! I found the article to be particularly pointed at you because you used to work at a "fashion magazine" blogging was a step below that. What jibberjab is that?!
You have a following because you speak the truth. Thank you for that.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the pretty pic and mention!

I totally understand what you mean about the misrepresentation of you and other beauty bloggers though.. it made everyone seem a bit greedy, instead of focusing on the fact that there's a really cool beauty community that's been forming over the past few years.

Anyway, thanks for the liner tip! I've been dying to try LMDB...


5:40 PM  
Anonymous Jolie said...

Hey Tia! You look gorgeous in the picture! I was equally annoyed by the lack of context and half-truths, but at this point, I agree with Kristen...must focus on the positives. Schadenfreude is alive and well, it seems.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time visitor and major beauty product lover - I had no idea there was an amazing blog like this out there until I read the NYT article and I consider myself a major early blog adopter from my SF days! I'm so happy I found this :-)

7:42 PM  
Blogger Calming Corners said...

Congrats on the article. Don't worry about the context you know the truth and you have all these wonderful readers for a reason.... I do agree with Schanina.... I see beauty rooms popping up in the near future. Keep up the great work and mucho congrats to you! Such an inspiration!

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is it that you were used as the art for the article? Just curious.

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NYT reporter sounds jealous. Just my two cents.

2:37 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Ahh, yes! I'd been searching high and low for a "brown girl blog" before stumbling on to yours. You go, girl! ;)

3:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only are you a beauty blogger, you're an inspiration to us all!

9:12 AM  
Blogger 1969 said...

Congrats to you and the article. Regardless of the tone, all press is good press.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish you would blog about products that don't work. Otherwise I buy them and waste my money. Plus it's more fun to read when everything reviewed isn't the most fabulous thing in the world.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous me&me said...

You should go to I dont see the need to blog about things that don't work. This blog is similar to Oprah's Favorite Things. Does she feature things she does'nt like? As a smart consumer you should try before you buy and check out other resources. It's your money don't check your good sense and judgement at the door. I always have several opinions about a product before I buy it.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Ava Dunham said...

OT warning.
Hey, Tia... I'm an aspiring personal stylist who's currently trying to reconcile my love of fashion with the industry's dearth of diversity. I'd like to know what I could do in my career to make a difference and to help rid the beauty industry of the ugliness of racial exclusion, tokenism and exotification.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. G said...

I like many other ladies on here, read your blog for its witty prose, sharp perspective, and introduction to new (or old favorite) products. I don't really care if you paid for the product or not as long as you're giving it an honest review. I must subscribe to a dozen magazines, and I've never once thought that they paid for everything they show/use.

You're an excellent blogger/writer, and quite entertaining. Keep doing what you do and know that all of us on here love your blog and your style.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous J said...

Hey Tia,
Just found your blog and I feel like you are living in my head! I am a brown girl product junkie but looking around in magazines you would think that I was by myself unless I was looking at the latest Essence. So thanks to the NY Times article, that now reading through your old blog posts I also agree was diminutive and completely off base, I have found a web home! Seriously the fact that you talk about brown girl workout hair issues, problems with matching blush and dry skin? Loves, loves you miss lady and I rarely gush. Congrats and please keep doing exactly what you are doing!

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are out there doing what you do best. I am inspired by you daily. While we're on the subject of many compliments did you get on your beauty room? I'm sure many. After seeing your photo I completely re-designed my workspace at home.

Obrigada (Thank you)
Xica Bahia

4:02 PM  
Blogger Miss Angel said...

Congrats on the write-up! And yes, your hair looks divine in the photo! And that dress...where is it from??

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Bashful Beauty said...

You know that I don't post often (hince the name)
but when I needed you the most you were there; my wedding! They have no idea the impact that you have made on our lives and how you have remained consistent even as you have become more acclaimed. You have given us courage to go on and pursue dream jobs that we thought were not for us or unobtainable.
I am so sorry that you had to endure this but the good news is that you are FAMOUS!!!! You know how many times they have screwed up Beyonce's interviews (yes, you are on her level of fabness!) Your hair is GORGEOUS, toss it to the side like youre in a pantene commerical and keep it moving!!

Bashful Beauty

9:24 AM  
Anonymous bashful beauty said...

oops(sp) hence

11:26 AM  
Blogger Brown Girl Gumbo said...

Congrats on being in the Times! Although I have mixed feelings about the article, like most posters have already said, you look fabulous and so does your beauty room! We are loyal to SYB because you continously do an excellent job. :-)

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Embrace the Swag and share it with your readers...I won't be mad at you lol!!

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Funkee said...

I love the prose. Love the blog. Love the wit. Love the intelligence. Love the anecdotes. Love the child of the 70's vibe. Don't care if the swag is free, you talk about stuff that works for me.

Love the blog. Don't go mainstream. Keep blogging for the women you started this blog for. We will NEVER be represented as beauty in mainstream media. We will NEVER be the "it" girl. Britney Spears' mayhem will always be more important that a black woman winning a Pulitzer in mainstream's eyes, so underground with Tia and her free swag, wonderful hubby and dog is the way for me.

*going to buy a Tia t-shirt and a latte with a side of grits* :)

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tia,

I actually think you should also write about what beauty products don't work for you. In the same spirit of you telling the story about your sister's awful experience at the salon (which has made me more aware of what my stylist is doing and made me pass along the cautionary tale to my girlfriends)telling us what simply doesn’t work for you can make us think twice before picking something up.

I don't think you should have to disclose what products your received for free (movie critics don't indicate they went to the movie premiere on the dime of the studio), but they do tell us if they thought the picture was worth watching or if we should save our $10.

I say just try one post of "Not my favorite things" and I'm almost positive you will get as many thank yous from loyal readers as you do for recommending a product.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Tia Williams said...

Hi Danie24,
I hear what you're saying, but SYB isn't really a consumer reports kind of blog. As an industry insider, I'm familiar with almost every product that's launched since 1998 (whether the products have been free isn't the point, by the way. It's the job of the beauty publicist to provide editors with new products so we can write about them intelligently--a point the Times reporter missed entirely). I'm speaking from a place where, I've sampled everything so you don't have to--and here's what I'm sure you'll love. On my blog, I just don't see the point wasting space on what sucks. Thanks for your opinion, though!

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Maura said...

Hi Tia,
I smell a hater....

I read your blog everyday and I never ever felt you were bragging about the Supermodel PJ Party.

You are a professional with a ton of experience in this industry.
As someone else said, they just dont understand how the beauty industry works - magazines dont write about products that they hate either.

There are many message boards on the internet that will post product reviews from customers both good and bad.
Makeupalley is a good one.

I think what you are doing is wonderful for us Brown Girls. I love the fact that you only review the latest and greatest stuff. I have discovered so many awesome products from you that I would not found elsewhere.

Keep up the good work and remember if you dont have haters then you're doing something wrong.

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NYT writes about beauty swag and how it may compromise journalistic integrity but do they realize this is how every industry operates Have they ever done an article on how pharmaceutical companies lace every doctor with free samples on a daily basis???? I think not.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Manillo said...

I don't think Tia should post reviews of bad products. If anyone needs excellent reviews, they should hit up I'm telling you guys, because of some of the reviews from that site, I swear I have died and gone to heaven a dozen times! Or simply try a google search.

I love Tia with all of my dear heart and I do appreciate her services because she could just take the free product samples and bounce instead of giving us the inside scoop. While everything she says doesn't always work for me, I'm pretty sure they work for someone somewhere out there and thats all that counts.

I really just want to backup Tia when she says that she is not a consumer reporter. I think we are always asking so much of her instead of just being grateful for what she is providing. For instance, I do not feel as though she should be obligated to report on what doesn't work not only is that rude, but just because it didn't work on her doesn't mean it won't work for someone else.

Peace out.
Luv ya, mean it. --Manillo

4:21 PM  
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Blogger note1 said...


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