Thursday, August 28, 2008

Read her lips...

Hey girls,
I do not want you to think that I haven't been paying attention to the issues while watching the Democratic National Convention. I have, I swear! But I keep getting distracted by Michelle Obama's GENIUS lip gloss (BTW, hats off to her makeup artist, who's sent Mrs. Obama out with a suitably flawless face every night of the DNC...did you catch the eyebrows and carefully smoked-out eyes?). Seriously, she's rocking like, that exactly perfect shade of everyday pink gloss I'm constantly coveting. As you know, it's practically impossible for brown women to find a pink that A.) doesn't disappear, or B.) doesn't have a cool-ish undertone, which gives an ashy cast to our skin. The trick, my friends, is finding a pink with a good amount of neutral brown, bronze or gold mixed in to warm up the shade. Since Michelle's gloss shade is classified information, I've found a perfect runner-up for my ladies...

Yes, Not Soap Radio is primarily known for their cult-fave bath and body products, but they also have a little-known lipgloss line, Talk Smart, that's INSANE. Just so, so pretty on all brown skin tones, from the fairest to the deepest complexions. Not Soap Radio's Talk Smart Lipgloss in Soledad ($16) is the perfect Obama knockoff--it's a spicy rose-pink that's spiked with just enough nutmeg-y shimmer to look totally natural on us. Plus, even though it goes on like a gloss, it's long-wearing like a lipstick...and, inexplicably, it has the faintest Creamsicle scent, which is like carrying around a secret treat with you all day. We're coming for you, Lady Obama!
Big kiss,

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Babymoons and Brides

Hi girls,
Okay so lately, I've been getting tons of emails from SYB Babes either asking to see pics of my belly bump, or ones of my wash-n-go summer hair...and I figured, this shot of me on our Bahamas "babymoon" flaunts both situations! Me and Sunshine spent last weekend basking in the shade of the majestic Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island, and it was soooo choice. We frolicked in the ocean, gorged on roasted lobster, and bogled to various Buju Banton songs like it was our last weekend on Earth. The only disappointment was that pregnant ladies weren't allowed on Atlantis' water slides. Boo. Whatever, I got over it and splashed around in the kiddie pool with a gorgeous toddler named Priyah.

Do you like my maxi-dress? All summer long I'd been hesitant to go the maxi-route, simply because I'm carrying around a big ball and need to flaunt my good legs to retain some sex appeal. But I've been so charmed by tabloid pics of similarly preggers Ashlee Simpson swanning around LA in her sidewalk-grazing sundresses, that I had to get my own! I recently wore it to our friends' Patti and Dayo's extraordinarily chic City Hall wedding (it was'd think a City Hall ceremony would be a clinical affair with shifty-eyed brides in ill-fitting rayon slipdresses, but I saw some of the most glamorous brides, ever, swanning through those vanilla-painted hallways! I suspect Carrie & Big's wedding had something to do with this...).

Okay, I'm going somewhere with this. Exactly two days after Patti's ceremony, after I'd already gifted her with a bag of beauty goodies for her honeymoon, I discovered a perfectly perfect gift: Philosophy 'Here Comes the Bride' Set ($45)! I know wedding season is almost over, but if any of you are stuck for a bridal shower gift or just something pampering to give your girlfriend as she's going thru the grueling wedding-planning stages, this set has it all. It includes the Purity Made Simple Facial Cleanser, Hope in a Jar Daily Moisturizer, Amazing Grace Shower Gel, Amazing Grace Hair Conditioner, Amazing Grace Body Emulsion, Soul Owner Exfoliating Foot Cream, and Time on your Hands Exfoliating Hand Cream. The best part? Tucked in the kit is an adorable faux-marriage certificate pledging that the bride commit to "marrying herself" before she pledges herself to anyone else. Love it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Selling Hormones in Harlem

Hey sexies,
Please tell me you saw Project Runway's drag queen challenge last night? Possibly my favorite episode since the Santino years. RuPaul judging!! I was mesmerized by her blinding white smile and effortless delivery of the following (paraphrased) criticism: "We want these girls to look glamorous, aspirational...not like they're selling hormones in Harlem." Adam was like, hormones? But when I explained the some particularly desperate transgendereds buy/sell their lady hormones on the black market, he marveled at Ru's sparkling wit, too.

Speaking of sparkling, lately my hair has NOT been. See, I have these ancient, dead highlights that have totally oxidied into a brassy mess. And since I'm pregnant, I haven't been able to refresh the sad shade with new color. Quite frustrating, until I stumbled upon Clairol Natural Instincts's new Golden Shimmer Haircolor Collection ($9.53, each). This genius new line of temporary haircolor does nothing more than impart a natural-looking, sparkly golden overtone to your hair, instantly refreshing tired color. And since there's no ammonia (and it's only depositing color, not stripping it), the shades are totally safe for pregnant ladies! Bonus: Each kit contains 6 glorious weekly conditioning treatments that, so far, have left my hair impossibly glittery and glowy. I'd definitely suggest Golden Shimmer to ladies who've tired of their highlights, but don't want to or can't commit to re-dying. Oh, and FYI, my shade is Golden Mahogany. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Natural" is relative

Hey girls,
Everyone has a beauty problem area, and mine is my lips. I've always hated them. They're totally two-toned (dark top lip, reaallly light bottom lip), and it's beyond unattractive. You can't imagine how jealous I am of my sister Devon/Brownie, who has crushed-berry-colored lips that look smashing with a layer of clear gloss and nada mas! I could NEVER be seen without some kind of lipstick or gloss or something with some coverage. Which is a huge problem on low-key days when I want to be "au natural," or when my lips are too chapped for gloss. See, I can't just slather on a conditioning balm and go, since I always, always need color on my lips! On those days I line my lips with a neutral pencil before applying balm, and honestly, it's annoying as hell. I can't tell you the gratitude I have ever since Loreal's new Bare Naturale Gentle Lip Conditioner ($9.95) galloped into my life. It's a line of vitamin E and sweet almond oil-infused lip conditioners that come in super-natural, bare-but-BETTER shades! Finally, I can enjoy the benefits of a moisturizing balm, but with enough color to even-out my ill-toned lips! FYI, my shade is Soft Spice. Love it.

PS...The Hills. No longer even pretending to keep up the "unscripted" charade. I mean, fool someone! Dare I say I'm done?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

No more gym excuses...

Hi ladies,
Last night, at my darling friend Kimberly's dinner for her "August birthday girls" (yep, mine is Friday...27 yrs old, yet again), I stumbled upon a brilliant piece of hair advice. See, you guys are always asking me what you can do to preserve your 'do while working out. The problem is, mama does not work out. As you know, I don't like to move vigorously and/or perspire, so I'm never exactly sure what advice to give. Well, last night, my girlfriend Tina gave me the workout tip of life (there she is, with her fly little cut). First, a little about Ms. Wells. She's only TWENTY-EIGHT, and she's the CEO of her own, fabulously famous marketing company,Buzz Marketing Group. Basically, she consults huge companies about the needs, desires, and tastes of American teens (you'll love her recent, tres controversial essay on Gossip Girls in The Huffington Post). Anyway, aside from being incredibly inspiring, she also has great hair AND works out 4-5 times a week, so I trust her judgment. Before she works out, she applies Kemi Oyl All-Natural Cream Press ($5.95) along her hairline and kitchen, and wears a headband or scarf. Afterwards, she wipes the cream away, and her roots are as smooth as ever. I thought this Kemi Cream Press sounded too magical to be true, so I did some investigating...and it actually makes perfect sense. It's a super-rich blow-dry and pressing cream that serves as a no-holds-barred moisture barrier--which is precisely why it keeps the sweat away from your hair. Et voila! Try it...I'm dying to know what the SYB Babes think!
Your Tia

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Paris, Pat, and me

Hey shorties,
I just finished the BEST book. I've been meaning to read THE BEAUTIFUL FALL: FASHION, GENIUS AND GLORIOUS EXCESS IN 1970S PARIS by Alicia Drake since it came out to much fashion fanfare last year, but I just got around to it. GIRLS! If you are at all interested in fashion history, Paris, the disco-and-debauchery-drenched 70's, scandalous supermodels and soul-sucking gigolos, then this is a must-read. It's all about the famous rivalry between the two kings of couture in 1970s Paris, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld (who, at the time, was designing for Chloe and Fendi). There's crazy gossip, tons of fabulous gay sex, and yummy name-dropping.

I especially loved reading all about early black supermodel Pat Cleveland's sassy exploits on and off the catwalks...and if you don't know about her, start Googling! As a ballsy New York City teen, Pat up and moved to Paris and, after a scintillating social debut at a hotspot restaurant involving a sheer gown and a series of well-timed pirouettes down the aisles, she became the toast of the town. Also, she all but INVENTED the "personality" runway walk (there she is in a 1971 issue of Vogue, photographed by Irving Penn). But I'm babbling. The point is, the book is a fabulously dishy summer read. And now I'm totally in love with Lagerfeld and YSL.

Which brings me to my latest product obsession, YSL Top Secrets Flash Radiance Skincare Brush ($52). Yes, it's a tad pricey, but it's also completely magical. It's a silky brush coated with a special radiance-boosting skincare's blended with caffeine to erase signs of fatigue, silicon to erase fine lines, and light-reflecting pigments to add luminosity to dull complexions. If you've been up all night carousing, or studying for the bar, or wrestling with pregnancy insomnia, simply swipe the brush over the problem areas and watch in amazement as your skin instantly wakes up. I love it. Actually, I've been keeping my in the fridge, for an extra-cooling treat. Go ahead and splurge! Treat yourself! I feel that Pat would approve.

PS...Here's me and Pat in 2004, during a shoot for the book I co-wrote with Iman, THE BEAUTY OF COLOR. Seriously, one of the highlights of my life.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Contests Galore

Hi darlings,
Two fabulous beauty contests have been brought to my attention, and because I'm in an extraordinarily charitable mood (just saw my little lady SMILE AT ME during my latest sonogram...she's so TALENTED!), I just had to pass on the word! If you're feeling competitive, pay attention...

Attention beauty entrepreneurs: Have you or anyone you know been sitting on a totally innovative beauty product idea, but lack the resources to make it happen? Product Partners LLC, a multi-million dollar company, is accepting and reviewing submissions for their annual Breakthrough in Beauty 2009 Global Search, a contest to find the most exciting, visionary new beauty product/line in the world. If your invention is chosen as the winner, "Breakthrough in Beauty" will invest $3-$5 million to launch the product to market, with an additional $50 million in advertising to secure it's success! The winning product will then be marketed directly to women via TV infomercials (they're working with the producers of the award-winning Bare Minerals and Proactive infomercials!). To enter before the August 30th deadline, click here. Finalists will be announced in late September, and will participate in a two-day “Breakthrough in Beauty” final round competition to determine the 2009 winner. By the way, if you're wondering who the judges are, it's a compilation of major industry names...think celebrity makeup artists, award-winning dermatologists, top beauty editors and, um, ME!!! Yep, I was totally honored to be selected as a judge this year. Added incentive for you to enter, right?

Attention hairstylists: Think you're hotter than those hooligans on Bravo's "Shear Genius? If so, prove it, honey...enter the Nexxus Hairdo How-to Contest! All you have to do is develop a four-step styling plan with photos or a video of your best look, and upload here. The winner gets a trip to NYC to join Nexxus for the Shear Genius Finale party and mucho mas! Good luck, pumpkins...


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Biggest Gloss that you've Seen Thus Far...

Hi girls,
So, like I said a couple posts back, I've given up my Dominican blowout for the summer, since it's humid-sumthin-awful in NYC. Not worth it. I've been doing a wash and go moment for a month now, and as thrilled as I am, by the third day my curls look like frizzy cotton candy (actually it's just one side...thanks to a lopsided relaxer I got in early '07). No worries, though--the heavens have sent me Ellin Lavar InstantShine Frizz-Fighting Mist ($7.99), a light-as-air, silicone-based shine spray that leaves my hair all kinds of glossy, while protecting it from the humidity. All you need is three spritzes all over, and this stuff refreshes a dull 'do like nobody's business. And it smells like citrusy heaven (lovely after a night in a smoky bar). I use it maybe twice a day, and it makes me and my hair so very happy. Gracias, Ellin!