Pretty Tickled

Living with a makeup addiction can be expensive, but who can put a price on achieving beauty? Ok, maybe you can, but I get my makeup fix at Sephora a couple times a month. This makeup mecca serves beauty addicts across the country with everything from Shu uemara eyelash curlers to Bliss body butters. Whenever I go, which is way too often, I feel like a little kid in a candy store.

During one of my recent visits, I decided to finally try the highly lauded water-based cheek stain by Tarte. I tend to have very oily skin so I wanted to try something different, as opposed to the typical powder blush, which can sometimes make me look even greasier. At first, I was a bit apprehensive because I wasn’t sure if it would complement my BG skin, but to my surprise the Tickled hue suited my skin-tone perfectly.

You can apply it directly from the push-up gel stick or use your fingertips, which is the way I prefer. The peachy-red tint goes on sheer and gives my skin a natural glow that looks barely there and not overdone. If you want to look super chic and natural, I highly recommend giving this innovative blush a try. If you go to Sephora or any other makeup counter, be sure to ask for help or suggestions on what color works best for your complexion. You definitely don’t want to spend $28 on a shade that doesn’t work!

Available at www.sephora.com for: $28

My First Love


If you love fashion, beauty, pop culture, decorating and other trendy things, you’re more than likely a magazine junkie like me. My obsession with magazines started back when I was about 6-years-old when my mother ordered my first subscription to Highlights magazine; I’ve been hooked ever since. I remember feeling an overwhelming anticipation as the mailman approached our front door with a large bundle in his hand hoping that he’d be delivering what seemed to me like candy in the form of glossy paper.

Throughout elementary school I continued to read Highlights until I became obsessed with the now very cheesy kid version of Bell Biv Devoe – Another Bad Creation (ABC). During that time I had to have every issue of Right On! and Black Beat magazine so I could frantically rip out the posters, plaster them on my wall and read silly stuff about Ro-Ro’s (he was the cute one) favorite color and what he liked on his pizza. By the time I reached high school I became more interested in magazines like Vibe and Honey. While in college I continued to read Honey, but grew more interested in Ebony and Essence. Now I read everything from Real Simple to Newsweek. I currently have subscriptions and access to dozens of magazines and a lot of them are weeklies so you can imagine how cluttered my apartment and office can get with all the magazines arriving so frequently. Due to my obsession with the oftentimes beautifully designed periodicals, I tend to not want to part with all of them. Magazines like Time, Entertainment Weekly, People and some of the other weeklies are easy to toss in the trash, but to me artistic and significant magazines like the now defunct Suede are worthy of keeping.

So, my problems were solved when I came across these super cute pink and canvas magazine holders. Now my favorite mags are neatly stored in my office and are no longer haphazardly stacked in the corner. So to my fellow BG magazine lovers, if you don’t already own a few, go out it buy some because they’re inexpensive and totally worth it.

These are the ones that I bought from Target. They’re great space savers, plus the inside is pink. What’s not to love?

This is the Real Simple magazine holder, which is similar to the one I have. It’s available at www.target.com for $12.99

Not only can magazine holders help de-clutter your office/home, but they can also add style with bursts of color. These are available at www.containerstore.com for $11.99

The Write Stuff

Not many times does one get the opportunity to be in the company of living legends. I was lucky enough to have had that experience last night. I attended a reception hosted by the multi-talented and eloquent Tavis Smiley announcing the president and authors for his new publishing company, SmileyBooks.

The event took place at a lovely and chic penthouse loft on 5th Avenue. The atmosphere was laid-back, yet professional. While networking and mingling, I was honored to have met the legendary actress/activist, Ruby Dee. She is definitely one of our precious treasures. I’m not easily impressed when it comes to meeting celebrities, but I have always admired and respected her as an actress and a trailblazer for us BGs. The room was filled with many prominent and prolific African-American authors and legends such as, Iyanla Vanzant, Cornel West, Terry McMillan, Walter Mosley, Veronica Webb, Judith Jamison and a host of others. It was a night that I will forever remember because I’ve wanted to become a writer since I was in elementary school; being surrounded by such talent was truly inspiring. So in honor of the African-American literary world, here are a few books from some of the aforementioned writers.

“This Year Year You Write Your Novel” by Walter Mosley – I loved this book! It really inspired me to stop procrastinating and start writing my novel. It’s packed with great advice and strategies on how to stay focused.

“The Covenant in Action” by Tavis Smiley – This book was included in the swag bag at the event yesterday. I’m definitely going to check it out.

“Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism” by Cornel West – He is quirky, intense and a genius, it’s a shame that I haven’t read one of his books. I have seen him on TV quite a few times though!

Visit www.amazon.com for more information about each of the books.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which means every woman is reminded by the entire country the importance of getting our annual mammogram and breast exams. Breast cancer affects all of us. I’m sure that each of us knows at least one person who has suffered from this deadly disease. I’ve especially been devastated by breast cancer – I lost two of my beloved aunts to the disease.

African-American women have a greater chance of dying from breast cancer, as opposed to our white counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that we don’t seek treatment in enough time to effectively eradicate the cancer.

Fellow BGs, please set up an appointment to get your mammogram today. I know many of us tend to think that it only affects women in their 40s and older, but statistics show that the rate of African-American women in their 20s being diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing. Remember, early detection is the key to living a long and healthy life.

Here are a few tips on how to prevent breast cancer:

1. Stop smoking – This can lower your risk of lung cancer and breast cancer, plus it’s just stupid to smoke period!

2. Get more exercise – I know a lot of us don’t want to work out for various reasons, me included; but we have to realize that the excuses that we make can jeopardize our health.

3. Eat your fruits and veggies – I love fruits and veggies, but I know that I don’t eat as much as should be consuming. Get creative with your diet and find ways to incorporate veggies and fruits into meals. For example, for a tasty and healthy snack, slice some red peppers and eat them when you have a craving for something crisp and crunchy.

4. Relax – Reducing your stress level can improve your overall health. You can help do this by surrounding yourself with positive people and not letting senseless things get to you.

Celebrity Eats

He may have brought sexy back, but Justin Timberlake definitely didn’t bring good-tasting food to his new restaurant, Southern Hospitality. On Friday, my husband and I decided to check out the pop/R&B singer’s southern cuisine eatery on the Upper East Side. We had both heard and read stellar reviews about the restaurant and wanted to see if all the hype was warranted. I wanted to call ahead to make reservations because some of the reviews said that one of the downsides was the long waits and in some cases, being turned away due to the throngs of foodies and celebrity stalkers trying to get into the restaurant.

After finding the number on the web, I called and was told by a less than courteous hostess that they were booked for the evening and were no longer taking reservations. I quickly responded, “Are you booked for 3pm?” She said, “No, because we don’t open until 4pm.” Becoming somewhat annoyed I said, “So, are you booked for 4pm?” She went on to say, “No, because no one’s here that early. If you want to come at that time making a reservation would be unnecessary because the place is virtually empty.” I told her, “If you could please take my name down just in case, I would appreciate it.” She obliged and hung up.

We arrived right at 4pm and she was right; the place was empty. However, that didn’t stop the hostess at the front of the house from asking if I had made reservations. I politely told her that I did and she looked on a piece of paper and said, “Ok, wait at the bar while we get your table ready.” Perplexed, I looked at all of the empty wooden booths and tables which already had silverware and wondered why she had asked us to wait. Determined to have a great time, I tried to overlook her reasoning. As we sat on the bar stools gazing at one of the many flat screen TVs and the photos of soul legends like Aretha Franklin adorning the walls, people started to stroll in as if someone had yelled, “Come on in, we’re open now!”

As I watched a couple who came in after us being seated, I immediately approached the hostess. I guess she could sense my frustration so she quickly grabbed our menus and proceeded to seat us. After surveying the menu while being bombarded by dozens of fruit flies swarming around our wooden and quite uncomfortable booth, our waitress came and took our order. For our appetizer we ordered the southern fried chicken fingers (my hubby is a self-proclaimed chicken finger connoisseur!) Surprisingly, our food came out in a timely manner; too bad it was bland and less than appetizing. Hoping for a miracle at this point, for our main course I ordered the fried catfish and my husband ordered the baby back ribs. I must admit, my food was ok, not great and not catastrophic, just ok. On the other hand, my husband’s ribs were TERRIBLE! They were tough, dry and basically meatless. We agreed that the best thing we had eaten were the hand-cut fries. The pink lemonade was sweet and refreshing, but it just couldn’t make up for the poor-tasting food.

So, to all my fellow BGs, if you’re planning to make a visit to JT’s new hot spot, remember, he might be a great singer, dancer and maybe even actor, but southern cuisine is definitely not his thing. If you don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself and let me know what you think.

Here are some other celebrity-owned eateries throughout the US:

Madre’s Restaurant in Pasadena, California owned by the multi-talented Jennifer Lopez.
www.madresrestaurant.com

The Dolce Group (Dolce Enoteca e Ristorante, Bella, Geisha House) in L.A owned by the hilarious actor, Ashton Kutcher.
www.dolcegroup.com

The Sugar Bar in New York, NY owned by legendary soul-crooners, Ashford & Simpson.
www.sugarbarnyc.com

Café Dupri in Atlanta, Georgia owned by hip-hop artist and producer, Jermaine Dupri.
Phone: (404) 846-2773

Healthy Snacking

You know that time at work between breakfast and lunch when you just want something to munch on? Instead of walking to the nearest vending machine in your office for one of the dreaded C’s – cookies, cakes, chips or candy, grab a handful of raw almonds. Eating nuts, especially almonds will stave off hunger in between meals. On a weekly basis, I buy a container of raw almonds to eat at my desk for $2 from the nut and fruit stand near my job. These stands are on almost every corner in midtown Manhattan. Even though I have no idea where these street vendors get their produce or nuts, I like the price and the taste so I have no complaints!

If you don’t have a nut and fruit stand vendor near your work, pick some up from your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Be sure to get the natural or roasted kind because they are packed with more nutrients than the salted ones. In fact, the sweet and tasty treat is the most nutrient-dense tree-nut. According to the USDA, one ounce of almonds (about 23) contains 160 calories and only 1 gram of saturated fat. The same handful is also an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, a good source of protein and potassium and has no cholesterol.

So the next time you want to binge on junk, consider almonds because they taste great and are healthy.

Blue Diamond is one of the most popular brands for almonds. I get them from Duane Reade drugstores, but I’m sure they’re across the country in stores like Walgreen’s, CVS and supermarkets in your city. They cost about $3 for a can.

I found this cute almond gift bag online. It would make a great gift for someone who enjoys snacking or better yet, for yourself!

Available for: $7.95

www.theoriginalnutfactory.com

Give Your Thumbs a Rest!

Remember doodling love letters on plain, “unpretty” (I know it’s not a word, but TLC made it one 🙂 white notebook paper to the cute boy in your 6th grade class? I remember my first elementary school crush – Corey Brown. He was short, (ok, we were all short since we were only in the 4th grade!) with a caramel complexion with piercing dark brown eyes. I thought he was so cute and nobody could tell me that we weren’t going to get married and have 2 children – twins to be exact! I would spend my weekends writing love notes to him, but I could never muster enough courage to give them to him on Monday. Ok, I can go on and on about CB (my nickname for him) but you get the point.

Just because we’re big girls now doesn’t mean that we have to stop writing lovely letters to those special beaus in our lives. In this instant messaging, texting, and emailing technological world, grabbing a pen and actually writing our thoughts can be extremely refreshing. Stationery can be used not only to send sappy love letters to your significant other, but they can also brighten the day of your great aunt down south who wishes you’d call her more. Also, many human resource managers will tell you that they’re more inclined to hire someone whose skills parallel another prospective candidate’s simply because they sent a personalized note thanking them for the interview.

I believe that writing notes is an art form. Every BG should have her own personal collection of note cards, envelopes and paper for a variety of reasons, who knows…sending that pretty-in-pink thank you note, just might land you your dream job!

Take a look at some of the cute and feminine sets that I’ve come across.

Available at www.thestationerystudio.com for: $40 (a box of 25)

Available at www.thestationerystudio.com for: $66 ( a box of 25)

Available at www.papyrusonline.com for: $15.95 (box of 25)

Available at www.papyrusonline.com for: $24.95 (box of 40)

Available at www.papyrusonline.com for: $24.95 (box of 40)