Pucker Up!

You’ve seen her donning some of the most elegant dresses on the red carpet, but she’s not an actress or singer. Keisha Whitaker is an entrepreneur and wife of Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker. This mother of 3 recently launched her own line of lip glosses called, Kissable Couture. The line consists of a variety of “dreamy hues” that will make your lips what else…kissable!

Her flair for fashion has made her a celebrity in her own right. With a style that’s chic and classy, Keisha is definitely on her way to becoming an A-List Hollywood fashionista. Although she always looks like a million bucks, she’s a self-proclaimed bargain shopper. She even confessed on Oprah that two of her favorite stores are Target and Marshall’s. With a serious sense of style like hers, you’d never guess!

You can buy her lip glosses online or if you’re in the NYC area, they will be available at Henri Bendel’s starting tomorrow (11/8).

“Forest” named after her husband retails for: $22.00 www.kissablecouture.com

“Chris” is a peachish color that retails for: $22.00 www.kissablecouture.com

“Dylan” is described as pink perfection and it retails for: $22.00 www.kissablecouture.com

Marvelous Manicures

We BGs aim to look sophisticated and chic from head to toe. Because details are so important toward maintaining our overall pulled-together appearances, keeping our nails clean and neat is crucial.

Getting a manicure is an essential relaxing experience for me. However, when I am unable to make it to the nail salon, I whip out my cute pink Bath & Body Works manicure set and my favorite nail polish and get to work!

I know some of you might prefer nails with a little bit of length, but a BG like me likes to keep them short and sweet. I generally opt for the nude, pinkish polishes, but I might venture to the dark side for this season’s vampier and deeper shades.

Even though we’ll be grabbing our gloves soon, we should still keep our nails looking nice. Remember, a fresh manicure can make you feel and look great. Your hands are seen more often then you might think, so why not make them look as sleek and polished as you!

Take these steps to get the perfect manicure:

1. Remove old nail polish with polish remover
2. Soak your hands in a bowl filled with warm water to soften cuticles
3. Remove fingers and dry them off
4. Rub a moisturizer over your hands
5. Trim your nails evenly to make sure they’re all the same length
6. File and shape your nails to make sure the edges are smooth and round
7. Wash off your nails again and proceed to dry them again
8. Rub some a moisturizer on your nails and push back with a cuticle stick
9. Apply a clear basecoat. Use three strokes only.
10. Be patient and wait several minutes before applying your polish
11. Apply two coats. After color is applied and is dry to the touch, apply one more layer of topcoat.
12. As needed, apply the clear top coat and this will help you to make the manicure last longer.

By the way, I swear by Essie’s nail polishes. They’re easy to find (drugstores nationwide), inexpensive and they take a long time before they chip.

“It’s Delicate,” by Essie. This is my all-time favorite nail polish color. It really pops against brown skin.

Try all the “it” colors of the season with this Essie Winter 2007 6-pack kit: $45.00 Availble at www.essie.com

Festive Frocks

Sipping seasonal martinis, mingling with friends & family and donning your favorite party dress – yes, it’s that time of year again – the holidays! Every BG should have at least two killer dresses that she can wear to various functions throughout the holiday season. Wearing a great dress always makes me feel beautiful and confident. That’s why I especially love the holidays because it gives me a justifiable reason to play dress-up and rock a pretty party dress. Whether it’s a dinner party at one of your girls’ houses, your company’s soiree or a festive family get-together, you should always look fabulous. Here are a few of my favorite fashionable finds. Enjoy!

ECI Beaded Cut-Away Shift Dress: $188 Available at Nordstrom www.nordstrom.com

BCBG Max Azria Strapless Metallic Lace Dress: $360 Available at Nordstrom www.nordstrom.com

Max and Clio Wrap-Style Dress with Tie: $96 Available at Macy’s www.macys.com

Kenneth Cole Reaction Sequin Dress: $126.75 Available at Macy’s www.macys.com

BCBG Max Azria Black Strapless Dress: $412 Available at Nordstrom www.nordstrom.com

Isaac Mizrahi for Targer Trapunto Silver Birch Dress: $49.99 Available at Target www.target.com

Getting Great Skin

How many times have you waken up to a huge, ugly pimple staring back at you in the mirror in the morning? Unless you have flawless skin like fellow BGs Halle Berry or Jennifer Lopez (and they probably have had their days too), odds are that this unpleasant occurrence has happened to you many times before. I know that I can go a few months without experiencing a breakout, but when I do it’s awful.

As most of you already know, acne is caused by several factors, but the most common culprits are hormones and stress. Because we BGs have such full and busy lives, developing stress is almost inevitable. That’s why I try to keep my stress levels down to a minimum as best I can, but when I just can’t shake my issues and pimples begin to appear, I break out my all-time favorite weapons of acne destruction! Using these following items helps get rid of my unwanted guests every time.

I LOVE this stuff! It has these green micro-scrubbing beads that gets rid of dead skin and leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed.

I’ve been using this stuff since high school and it has never failed. I place it directly on a pimple overnight and it mysteriously disappears by the morning. It’s like having your own cortisone injections right in your own bathroom!

My mother actually introduced me to the wonders of Oil of Olay. I use it once in the morning and again at night. It makes my skin feel and look smooth and soft. I know there are a lot of expensive moisturizing creams and lotions out there, but this one is the best to me!

• NEVER sleep in your makeup. Sleeping in your makeup allows bacteria to seep into your pores overnight. If you want to know the best way to remove your makeup, get the 411 from my fellow blogger Yummy over at http://yummy411.blogspot.com/ for her take on baby wipes VS. makeup wipes.

• Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize some more! Your skin requires moisture in order to function properly.

• Don’t pick or squeeze your pimples. I’m guilty of this too, but the dark spot caused by hyper-pigmentation is not worth it because it can sometimes take months to fade.

• Be sure to only use non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic products on your skin. These products will not clog pores, which will prevent breakouts.

• Don’t scrub your face. Gently wash your face by massaging your skin with your hands or a super soft face towel. Washing your face harshly will irritate the skin that could result in breakouts.

• Exfoliate!! Removing layers of dead skin cells is essential to keeping your skin looking fresh.

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