Fashionable Foodie

Most of us know fellow BG, Padma Lakshmi as the host of Bravo’s culinary contest show, Top Chef, but she is actually a well-respected food aficionado. In fact, she has a new cookbook entitled, “Tangy Tart, Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Everyday.” As I’ve written before, I’ve got quite a passion for collecting cookbooks and with a tasty title like that; I had to pick it up. Besides, who doesn’t like tangy, tart, hot and sweet foods?

This vibrant cookbook is filled with tantalizing recipes including everything from South Asian salads to Rice Krispie-battered fried chicken. Because Padma is Indian, she added a few recipes that reflect and celebrate her heritage as well. Writing her recipes in a style similar to short essays gives the book a friendly feel, while the personal photos add flair. Not only is Padma a true foodie, she also has a killer sense of style that rivals some of the hottest fashionistas in the country. Now if only we could get those super skinny models to pick up this cookbook and check out Padma’s style, then maybe they would see that one can actually eat and enjoy food and still be fashionable!

Gangsta Lovin’

If you don’t do anything this upcoming weekend, make sure you go check out Denzel Washington’s latest movie, American Gangster also starring the incredibly hunky Russell Crowe. This extremely gritty, edgy and perfectly executed tale based on the infamous Harlem drug lord, Frank Lucas’ life had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

It follows the life of the drug kingpin’s rise to the top of the narcotic trafficking ladder in Harlem during the Vietnam era. Crowe plays Officer Richie Roberts, one of the few good cops who try to take down the drug empire. While both actors seemed to have done an outstanding job capturing their character’s personality, Washington embodied the arrogance, ruthlessness and greed of the very complex Lucas character effortlessly. His ability to make you feel like he was the heartless and cold-blooded Frank Lucas is a skill that not many actors possess. Washington’s riveting performance will definitely land him an Oscar nomination and if it doesn’t, the powers that be in Hollywood must be smoking that blue magic (heroin) that Lucas pushed back in the late 60s and 70s!

Even though the movie was entertaining, it still leaves you with a pain in your gut because you know that it is based on real facts. We all know that the insurgence of drugs within the African-American community during that period set the tone for the demise of our families across the country for years to come. Nonetheless, as I’m sure all BGs will agree, Washington’s captivating portrayal never made a gangster look so good!

In theaters, Friday, November 2nd nationwide, but I’ve been told it’s already been on the streets…bootlegging at it’s finest.

Cute Coats for the Cold

With the air getting more brisk and cool, it’s time to find that perfect coat! Being from Chicago and now living in NYC, I know all about blistering cold weather. That’s why I’m always on the prowl for finding a coat that has the perfect mix of both warmth and style. Over the years, I’ve bought many coats that were too fashionably fabulous to pass up, but too thin to really keep me warm; or a super warm and comfy coat that didn’t exude an ounce of chicness making me look like an unattractive Eskimo. Remember, during the fall and winter months, your coat is the first thing that people see and it should look as pulled together as your clothes underneath.

That’s why this year I vow to purchase a coat that I can walk down the streets of NYC and feel warm without compromising sophistication or style. Seriously, how cute can you really be if you’re shivering like a person suffering from hypothermia? You can’t; so save time and money by purchasing a coat that can cover both bases. We BGs love fashion and hate being cold! So, check out some of these chic coats that will keep you warm and stylish.

Dereon Faux Fur Hooded Belted Jacket for $149 available at www.dereon.com

Dereon Wool Melton 3/4 Button Front $199.00 available at www.dereon.com

The North Face ‘Metropolis’ Parka for $279 available at www.nordstrom.com

Soia & Kyo Saucer Button Walking Coat for $350 available at www.nordstrom.com

Nine West Belted Coat With Detachable Fur Hood for $150 available at www.macys.com

Women’s Frost Free Belted Anoraks for $78 available www.oldnavy.com

Beautiful Black Books

I don’t know about you, but I love a nice coffee table book. Even though my current apartment is too small for me to even think about putting the tiniest coffee table in it, I still collect nice hard cover books for the day when I can actually move into a reasonably sized apartment where I can buy “real” furniture and fully decorate my humble abode, but I digress.

The photo-essay styled book was actually featured in this month’s Essence and showcases celebrity and everyday women with their fathers. Because I’m a sucker for celebrities and the art of photography, this book is a must-have!

Earlier this year, I came across a similar book entitled, “Pop: A Celebration of Black Fatherhood,” by Carol Ross that features a stunning collection of black & white photographs of African-American men with their children. I think both books are definitely worth purchasing because they’re artistically beautiful and celebrate black fatherhood, which far too often gets a bad rap.

So go out and get these books because you can add sophistication and style to your space while supporting black authors and photographers. You know we BGs love dual-purpose purchases!

Available at www.amazon.com for $27.95 (it goes on sale Oct. 30)

Available at www.amazon.com for only $16.95 (this is steal because it was originally $29.95)

Blushing Beauty

In my quest to find the perfect blush/bronzer, I made yet another trek to the beauty Mecca – Sephora! As you can probably tell by now, I have quite an obsession with buying products that will help give my skin that shimmery, golden/rose glow. After hearing so much hype about NARS’ blush/bronzer in Orgasm for years, I decided that I had to try its sister color – Lovejoy. Because we BGs don’t need that much color or shimmer to make our already beautiful skin radiate, this color perks up the cheeks and cheekbone perfectly. However, if you take my advice and try this blush/bronzer be sure to tap off the excess powder, otherwise, you could end up with cheeks as red as Raggedy Ann!

Available at Sephora: www.sephora.com for $25

Here are a few examples of blush/bronzer done right by some of our favorite BG celebrities.

Halle Berry

Kerry Washington

Thandie Newton

Lauren London

What About Your Friends?

We BGs always value our true friendships. However, there are times when one of your girls becomes more of a bother than a buddy. When that time comes you need to know when to cut her loose. Good friends are like fine wine, they usually get better with time, but with some women, that is just not the case.

I had the difficult experience of ending a nearly 4-year friendship recently that took a lot of consideration and introspection. Ending a friendship can sometimes be as emotional as breaking up with your beau. Although, I must admit the end result can leave you feeling empowered, liberated and burden-free! I know that’s exactly how I felt with my decision to end my friendship. Take note from that episode of Girlfriends when Joan and Toni finally called it quits. It may just be television, but Joan seems to be doing just fine without Toni even though it may have hurt in the beginning.

Our time on earth is just too short to deal with someone who doesn’t add anything to our lives, but drama, stress, jealousy and a laundry list of other negative attributes. Cherish those who are always there and hold them near and dear to your heart because true friends are really hard to find.

5 Tips on When You Should End a Friendship

1.When she only points out the negatives in things that pertain to you. Example: You tell her that you just bought a new fabulous dress and she says, “It’s cute, but isn’t that style so last season?”

2.When she doesn’t support your decisions. Example: You tell her that you’re breaking up with your boyfriend because you don’t feel he treats you with respect and she says, “Girl you better keep him, you know that he’s the best thing that’s happened to you; plus, we all know you can’t keep a man.”

3.You begin to dread her phone calls.

4.Hanging out with her drains you emotionally because she always has some kind of drama.

5.You always listen and provide advice to what’s going on in her life, but when it’s her turn to lend an ear and give you some feedback she’s too busy.

New Girl in Tinseltown

Remember last week when I said that I was going to check out a few other Tyler Perry films after seeing the brilliant Why Did I Get Married? Well, I got that chance this weekend. On Saturday I curled up on my comfy futon and wrapped myself in my favorite super soft pink robe and popped in the first movie in my personal Tyler Perry Catch-up series — Daddy’s Little Girls. I had heard that it was a great movie with a positive message. I was really impressed with Idris Elba; I don’t know if I was moved by his character or mesmerized by his sexy swagger. At any rate, I thought that the movie was ok, but definitely not as good Why Did I Get Married. However, the performance by Tasha Smith was strong and I think that she could become a household name very soon. Her incredible and hilarious portrayal in Why Did I Get Married is going to catapult her into a new stratosphere. So here’s to our new “it” girl actress. Move over Kerry and Gabby!



5 Facts about Tasha Smith

She was born in Camden, NJ.

She has an identical twin sister, named Sidra.

She is a motivational speaker for kids in disadvantaged communities.

At the age of 18, she started doing stand-up comedy.

She is one of Tyra Banks’ best friends.