Thursday, May 29, 2008

Makeover Mama

Hi ladies,
Two weekends ago, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the TotalBeauty Beauty Summit in L.A.! Oh, the whole thing was glorious. It was just me and about 60 beauty bloggers mingling and gossiping and talking blush at the posh Ayres Hotel for three days. There were seminars, cocktail parties, club jaunts, sundresses, mimosas...good times! Julia from All About the Pretty even hosted a yoga lesson (5am...I did not attend). Okay, so, Saturday was easily the most exciting day, and here's why:

1.) I spoke on a panel called "When Blogging Becomes your Career," with a bunch of other fabulous beauty editors-turned-bloggers, including Kristen Lambertson of BeautyRiot, Nadine Haobsh of JolieNadine (formerly JolieinNYC), Anne Fritz of JetSetGirls, and Annie Tomplin of PopSugar (there we are, looking very knowledgeable). I'm now obsessed with Annie, and I expect a call about a restraining order very soon.

2.) I won an award! Yes indeed, SYB Babes, you're looking at 2008's "Media Darling." Darling, at that! I love it.

3.) For the first time in my entire life, I won a raffle. The prize was a fancy makeover! In the middle of the day, while everyone else was learning about how to maximize their blog readership, I was spirited off to a secret beauty room. Here, I was treated to an INSANELY relaxing and luxurious facial using Lisa Hoffman Skincare products. Never heard of her? You will! Lisa Hoffman, wife o'Dustin, just introduced a very affordable, very high-end line of portable, single-use bath and skincare products (great for travel, the gym, throwing in your office desk). The aesthetician used all ten vials from the Spa Facial Packette ($35), a little pouch containing all you need to give yourself an exfoliating, moisturizing, spa-worthy facial. If you are at all stressed and have no time to make it to a spa, I recommend that you purchase this kit immediately--such an easy, quick way to feel fabulous. Afterwards, my skin felt like BUTTER. That's not I got a fabulous haircut/blowout and makeover! When it was all over, I flaunted my new look in front of the group while the hilarious hairstylist explained his genius to everyone (meanwhile, my "before" and "after" pics were projected across the wall behind me). So much fun!

Speaking of makeovers, have any of my SYB Babes ever visited It's BEYOND. You can actually upload your photo and try on a zillion celebrity hairstyles! Plus, there are real women makeovers, and a whole community discussing the hottest products around. It's endless, addictive fun!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hot Stuff!

Hi girls,
It's been sooo long! I've had the worst problems, you can't imagine. But enough about that. How was your Memorial Day? Hot dogs or hamburgers? Mine involved neither. At the VERY last minute (ie, four hours before my flight boarded), I decided NYC was too rainy and schlumpy and I booked a last-minute "weekend deals" ticket to Ft. Myers, Florida. I don't know, I like 95 degree weather and a beach with my Memorial Day. Okay, so Ft. Myers isn't the most happenin' spot in the world--I was the only person of color/person under 75 for miles--but it was sooo relaxing. And the tan is epic! Here's what I want to talk to you about. My favorite, favorite thing about a good tan is that you don't need a lot of makeup to look fabulous. It's all about rocking a naturally glowy look. You won't believe this, but in terms of mi cara, I only packed TWO KEY PRODUCTS. Not only will my dynamic duo instantly enhance your beach babe fabulousness, they somehow make you feel more refreshed on those super-hot, sweaty days (really, when trying to feel fresh in crazy heat, the key thing to remember is less makeup is more, more, more). Girls, don't leave for your beach vacays without these two stunners...

1.) Lancome Hydra-Intense Mask ($28): So after a day by the pool or at the beach, no matter how much sunscreen you slathered on, your skin is going to be extremely parched, dehydrated, and dying for moisture. It's so important to re-hydrate after lengthy sun exposure!! After I wash my face, I leave this mask on for five minutes and it leaves my skin so supple and gives my complexion a gorgeous natural glow. You know, that dewy thing that J Lo and Aniston pile on twelve pounds of highlighter and bronzer to achieve? Anyway, the radiance is so fab there's no need for concealer, foundation, or any face makeup.

2.) Tarte Cheek Stain in Sunkissed ($28): So after the mask, it's all about this glorious, oil-free cheek stain. It's my favorite thing in the world. A little dab on the apples of your cheeks, and you look like you've been schtupping all night. Just absolute healthy, sexy radiance. I particularly adore the Sunkissed shade because it's a looks -fab-on-brown-skin bronzy-berry shade...and it's coconut-scented, which drives the whole "beach goddess" thing home. That said, if you can't stomach shelling out $28 for blush (even, quite literally, the cheek stain all other stains are judged by), I also enjoy Flirt Lip & Cheek Tint in Berry Flair ($10).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

So Sorry!

I haven't forgotten you blogger server has been all screwed up! I can't upload photos and everything keeps erasing. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Goin' Back 2 Cali

Hi pumpkins,
Just wanted you to know that I'm leaving for LA and won't be back till Monday! invited me out there to speak on a panel about beauty blogging, isn't that fun? Will tell you all about it and my tan when I return. Sadly, I won't be posting on Friday...but you know I'll be loving you in absentia.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Magic, Plain & Simple

Hey girls,
I've been looking quite tired know, spirit-less complexion, wan eyes. Me sans radiance. No matter, I've just found THE cure. Celebrity makeup artist extraordinaire, Mally Roncal (she's largely responsible for Beyonce's whole doe-eyed moment) has whipped up the Mally Beauty New Naturals Eyepopper in Fabulous Summerlight, $15 (the golden one on top). This clever little wand has a concentrated bullet of shimmery golden-bronze eyeshadow at the tip. Either blend it over your lid for a dreamy, sun-kissed look, or use it like I do...swirl the sponge at the inner corners of your eyes. It's an old trick makeup artists have been using forever to make tired, hungover models look instantly radiant! And this particular shade looks dazzling on all skin tones, from the fairest of the fair to the deepest brown. I don't leave the house without it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Q&A Monday


QUESTION: "I need to find an exfoliator for my face that gives my skin a healthy natural glow in about 7 days, I'm thinkin maybe Sephora? Can you guide me in the right direction?"

ANSWER: Well, of course I can! It's funny, Shy, that you actually specified "seven days," because I believe that the best, best, best exfoliator on the market is Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula ($17.50). It's not harsh like most face scrubs--in fact, it's so gentle you'll wonder if it's actually working. But after a week of use, your skin will feel absolutely baby-soft, supple, and flake-free. Here's how to use it: On clean, damp skin, massage in with your fingertips for about 10 seconds (steer clear of major breakouts). You can use it on your lips, too! Then, rinse or tissue-off with warm water and follow up with moisturizer. Try it for a week, Shy. You'll notice SUCH a difference. PS? My favorite time to use Clinique 7 Day Scrub is after a beach vacay, when I start to flake off that un-PC sunburn. It's so non-invasive, and the exfoliant is so fine, that it manages to slough off the dead skin without causing any irritation at all. I use it on my face, shoulders, wherever. Such a cure-all!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Hey girls,
Just found out that is running an excerpt of SIXTEEN CANDLES! Check it out right here!

Yellow Fever

Hi ladies,
Thanks so much for your sweet emails about SIXTEEN CANDLES! I hope you love it and tell all your 12-18 year old associates to buy, buy, buy! Okay, must back off from the self-promotion for a minute. Lately, I've been trying to give my nails (fingers, not toes) a polish break. They've been getting really brittle and they're peeling and's a nightmare. So, I've just been doing a nice buff and clear polish, getting my nails prepped for the onslaught of summery, trashy-bright manicures that'll start happening around May 31st. Here's the problem, though. After a season of dark, vampy polishes, my nails are now a sickly yellow color. HATE. My brilliant manicurist suggested Barielle Nail Brightener ($16), a natural enhancer containing anti-oxidants that cancel out the yellow, while brightening and moisturizing your nails. I'm loving this stuff! You just apply one coat to get a luminous, totally natural-looking sheen (I hear it's also lovely as a yellow-preventative measure, if you apply underneath colored polish). If you've experienced the yellow at all, this Nail Brightener is a must. Thank me later!

Monday, May 05, 2008


Hi ladies,
It's here, it's here! The second book in my IT CHICKS series, SIXTEEN CANDLES (Hyperion/Disney, $8.99) hits stores on Tuesday, May 6th! It’s juicy and fabulous and, despite being a book about a bunch of sassy performing arts school kids, it's total grownup guilty pleasure (over-21-year-olds should not feel bad about buying a paperback with pastel balloons and a birthday cake on the cover)! In lieu of giving the whole delicious plot away, I'll just give you a little update on what's been going on with the It-chicks in the month since all their first-week-of-school drama went down:

SKYE: Everyone's favorite diva is turning 16, and her wildly over-the-top party's being filmed for an episode of"My Super Sweet 16!" Hi-jinx involving a near-fatal wardrobe malfunction, an epic love spat, and an It-chicks performance ensue...

TANGIE: When everyone least expects it, the sophomore dancer's secret fling with senior stud Trey Stevens takes a shockingly juicy turn (don't worry, she's still a good girl)! Will CJ implode with jealousy? Quite possibly...

CJ: Besides feeling lovesick, the adorable, graffiti-loving bad boy is riddled with guilt over a scandalous secret that'll change Tangie's life forever. Let's see if he can keep it.

IZZY: The hot-blooded Ethiopian MC and artiste has been disappearing a lot lately--what's she hiding? Well, besides that naughty past...

REGINA: Skye's former sidekick has a new obsession--the cute cameragirl filming the "Sweet 16" episode! Are they BFF's, or something more? Depends on whether or not you believe Lindsay Lohan and Charlotte Ronson spend their time braiding each other's hair.

NICK: The beyond-gorgeous actor boy reluctantly agreed to be Skye's date for her Sweet Sixteen...apparently, she's the last one to hear those pesky rumors!

Okay, that's all I'm giving away! I can't WAIT to hear what you ladies think of the book, so run out and get SIXTEEN CANDLES right away (buy a couple, give them to your niece, your hairstylist's daughter, whoever)! Honestly, I hope you love the book as much as I did writing it. There are a zillion teen series out there, but very few that have brown characters--let alone, ultra-smart, talented, funny brown characters--so, hopefully, we can make a change. Happy reading and guilty-pleasuring, ladies!

PS...How cute's this pic of me, Joanne, and the models from the cover shoot?

PPS...To find out more about SIXTEEN CANDLES (and to see ADORABLE illustrations of all the characters, courtesy of my brilliant designer amigo, Kibwe Chase-Marshall), check out the official Myspace page:

Friday, May 02, 2008

Scalp craziness, solved

Hi girls,
I innocently walked into a Mizani event yesterday--you know, the groundbreaking brown-girl haircare line?--and left with the best hair of my life. So much so that, despite fighting off a deadly stomach flu--hence the sallowness and eye bags--I had to come home and immediately take a pic of my hair for my ladies (excuse the 70's porn quality, I took it with the "Photo Booth" thingie on my I-book). Let's get right to the point. The event was to launch Mizani's new Scalp Care, a new in-salon treatment for all kinds of scalp issues (dandruff, dryness, itchiness, excessive oiliness, etc.). It's absolutely ideal for girls with dreadlocks, braids, and weaves, too, since they tend to get product buildup at the scalp. The service starts off with the Scalp Care Pre-Treatment, an in-salon-only, pre-shampoo treatment that exfoliates dead skin cells and product buildup with salicylic acid, while moisturizing with tingly-zingy peppermint oil (you get a brilliant massage while all this is happening, too). SO exhilarating! After letting the treatment marinate under the dryer for ten minutes, then comes the super-creamy, luscious Scalp Care Shampoo and the incredibly moisurizing Scalp Care Conditioner, both of which contain dandruff-fighting pyrithione zinc, peppermint oil, and tons of hydrators (you can buy these, FYI, just not the Pre-Treatment). Now, most dandruff shampoos and conditioners leave your hair stiff, dry, and totally unmanageable, so I was FLOORED by the glossy majesty that was my hair. I'm talking the shiniest of shiny. Look at it! Also, my hair is usually a severely tangled trainwreck when it's wet, but Gala, the genius stylist/Mizani educator that treated and styled my hair, was somehow able to run a fine-tooth comb (fine-tooth, no less, not a wide detangling comb!) through my crazy wet hair with nary a problem. Girls, I'm sold. And I don't even have scalp problems. To find a Mizani salon near you, call 877-726-3624, or visit
Happy Hair,

PS...Huge shoutout to Gala, poor thing, who didn't know what stomach flu madness she was getting into when I sat in her chair. When she first started the treatment, I was fr-r-r-reezing, so she had the salon folks turn off the air. When she started blowing me out, I broke out in this insane sweat. I had the nerve to try to play it off like my early-onset menopausal attack wasn't really happening, but she turned off the dryer and was like, "Girl, you are not going to sit there and sweat out my brilliant blowout!" So she blew cool air on my face, someone handed me a croissant and an Evian, and all was well. Anyway, just wanted to thank Gala for dealing with my flu...and my hair...BRILLIANTLY.

PPS...Stay tuned for Monday, when I tell you all about my new IT CHICKS book, SIXTEEN CANDLES, which hits bookstores May 6th!!!