Opt for Art

I recently had the pleasure of visiting ColaLex, a new art gallery located in the heart of Harlem. Actually, a friend of mine is the owner. I always knew he was talented, but when I saw some of his magnificent pieces on display at his gallery, I was totally blown away. His rich and vibrant paintings beautifully exemplify spirituality, new beginnings and freedom.

Not only does he exhibit his own paintings at ColaLex, but he also displays the artwork of other African-American, Caribbean and Hispanic artists. If you’re ever in the New York City area, you should definitely stop by ColaLex, (1695 Lexington between 106th and 107th) and check out some exceptional paintings, sculptures and drawings. In fact, they’re hosting a reception to announce the launch of Brazilian artist, Ernani Silva’s exhibit at the gallery on October 27, 2007.

Even if you’re not in NYC, there are plenty of African-African galleries throughout the country that might be closer to your city. I strongly believe that every BG should invest in a one-of-a-kind painting that will appreciate with time. So, instead of dropping hundreds of dollars on a handbag or a pair of shoes, put that money toward something that won’t be a fashion faux pas next year; invest in great artwork because it never goes out-of-style!

Here are some of the paintings and sculptures currently on display at ColaLex:

For more information, please visit: www.colalexgallery.com

Must-See TV?

Now that the new fall TV lineup is in full swing, I’m left feeling rather disappointed. Where are the brown faces on mainstream and even primetime cable networks? Of course our 4 brown-skinned Girlfriends are back, along with the Game and Everybody Hates Chris, but that’s only one network – The CW. Have the other networks completely forgotten that we too enjoy watching people who look like us portrayed on TV? I don’t know about you, but shows like, I Love New York 2 and all the shows on BET don’t exactly qualify.

Don’t get me wrong, I love reality television, but I long for the days of good scripted television shows of substance like NBC’s A Different World and Showtime’s Soul Food. Those were well-written and well-acted shows that many of us related to on a weekly basis. I loved both shows so much that I find myself watching all of the reruns as if I have never seen them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the episode of Whitley and Dwayne Wayne’s wedding. I can never get enough of seeing Dwayne walk down that aisle and profess his love to Whitley! Whenever I watch it, I’m immediately transported back to 1993 when I was 13-years old glued to my tube. Or that time on Soul Food when Bird kicked that oh-so-fine Lem out their house because she caught him lying about having a job? That stuff was definitely MUST SEE TV! I just hope that the next generation of BGs can reminisce about good TV and not be referring to Flavor of Love.

Luckily, both series are available on DVD. However, only the first season of A Different World and only the first 2 seasons of Soul Food are available.

Season 1: Available at www.amazon.com for: $14.99

Season 1: Available at www.amazon.com for: $31.49

Season 2: Available at www.amazon.com for: $32.99

Hot Mommas!

Even though I have yet to experience the wonderful world of pregnancy, I hope to one day join the motherhood team. Oftentimes I find myself daydreaming about wearing cute and flowing dresses that perfectly drape my baby bump while exuding a radiant glow.

Gone are the days of frumpy and undesirable maternity wear. Thanks to the fashion gods, it’s the absolute best time to be pregnant! No longer do pregnant women have to sacrifice their sense of style for 9 months. Expectant mothers can now maintain their chic-ness by donning adorable baby doll and empire waist dresses and tunics. I just hope theses fashionable trends are still in style when I finally give in to my husband’s constant plead and take the preggers plunge.

This entry is dedicated to my beautiful cousin who’s expecting her first baby in the spring.


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.