Esperanza Spalding

I had the pleasure of seeing Esperanza Spalding perform last month. It was my first introduction to her music. When the curtain opened and I saw this petite, young woman standing next to an upright bass, I knew I was in for a treat. It’s not often you see a girl play bass, in fact the last time I saw it was in my middle school orchestra class. But Ms. Spalding doesn’t just play the bass she sings too, and her voice is like silk. If you like jazz or you’re tired of hearing folks fake sing about how much money they’ve got and how fly they are supposed to be…Esperanza Spalding is a true talent and a breath of fresh air.

Just Like Candy!

MAC has announced it’s 2009 spring collection, Sugarsweet. Think frosting, fillings, cream and candy. I am looking forward to giving my currant pencil a rest and moving on to some colors that are lighter and in some ways a bit more daring. These are the shades that you can have fun with and still work in the office. What? Somebody, told you that you couldn’t wear pink? Please join me in 2009. It’s all about choosing the pink that is right for you–and there is one that is right for you.

Maybe your best friend doesn’t know how to wear green eye shadow and the lady in the drive-thru may not have a handle on pink lipstick yet, but that is no reason for you not to try something different. You can always turn to your nearest magazine stand for a dose of inspiration and a clear visual. Oh, and since you’ll be experimenting with new lip colors, try a new lip pencil. There are other colors besides Chestnut (oh, how I love it). Consider Cork or Hodgepodge for a softer look.

I can’t wait!

Happy Monday!

In my quest to live well and have a clutter-free life, I didn’t get a chance to sit down in front of my PC. I suppose it was all those episodes of Clean House that made me fire up my trusty shredder and get to work. The new season started last week, and Niecey Nash is still MIA, they need to get her back quick (really, we’re talking Presto!). Still, the spirit of the show rings true. And I can vouch for the fact that It really doesn’t matter how much you’ve got it going on, clutter throws off your equanimity. The days are getting longer and every now and then there is a hint of warmth in the air, which means spring is coming. This is a time for renewal, growth and yes, cleaning. That is, cleaning up, clearing out and moving on. And to that I say, it’s about time.

So this week, I’ll continue with Investing in You, defining success, and a few products. I have to admit, I’m a bit more inspired by living well than products right now, so if you know of a product that is a must have, do share. Just hit my e-mail:

Meanwhile, there are a few magazines that have made some cover changes recently and being the magazine junkie and loyal reader that I am, I couldn’t be more excited.

Essence magazine has finally put new faces on the cover. Do you think they finally read my e-mail? Let’s hope they can keep this trend going trough 2009. The April issue features Serena Williams, Iman and Taraji P. Henson. This issue has my favorite annual feature: Ageless Beauties. They usually do this in January, but delayed it this year due to their extensive coverage of the inauguration. All I can say is, these women remind me to ignore the nay-sayers and the haters and keep doing me.

Speaking of change…Lady O has finally chosen a co-cover girl to grace the cover of O magazine, and she could not have chosen better. First Lady, Michelle Obama is on the cover of O. The interview is very insightful and the photography is great. Oprah definitely knows how to interview. Don’t you just hate it when you open a magazine and the interview is all of two superficial questions amounting to one paragraph? Editors, take heed.

And interestingly enough, Beyonce will be on the cover of Vogue Magazine’s annual Shape issue. Anytime Vogue has a woman with a hint of color on the cover it is a big deal. In fact, we can count the number of times that has happened on our hands. This being the second month in a row (Michelle Obama was on the March cover)…like I said, it’s about time.

Salon Dreams

Miss me? I’ve been under the weather, dealing with weather, sick, tired, and sick and tired. Cold medicine and a high temperature (code for fever) kept me glued to my pillow and away from my PC. Between Psuedoephed naps and repeat episodes of Clean House I’ve had an interesting week. But alas tomorrow is my day at the salon. I so look forward to it. No heels, possibly no makeup, no corporate smile-I love it!

I must admit, I’ve been to every kind of salon (if that’s what you want to call some of them) including kitchen beauticians. I’ve even had to bring a meal ’cause the last thing you need is for her to pass out when she is curling you (everybody’s got to eat). What about the salons that wash you right away, put a cap on you and keep you there all day? That was the last time they saw me. Ok, second to the last time. Too many sisters leave the salon feeling like they worked a second shift. Thankfully, I’ve got a good one this time. But I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a fantasy salon? I mean have your salon experience your way.

My fantasy salon would be something like this:

1. No pitter patter of little feet. Love the kids, but when it comes to salon visits: Leave home without ‘em.
2. Mimosas (wallarby darneds are acceptable)
3. Complimentary foot rubs or facial massages (why not both)
4. No street hustlers, fish dinners, and fake hand bag pushers
5. No TV (I do not want to see judge-in-the-box with all that arguing and foolishness. I’m trying to relax)
6. Wouldn’t it be nice if hair dryers had headphones like airplane seats. Because if you forget your iPod, it can be a long day.
7. All of the shampoo girls (shampoo people) would shampoo you just right would be men.
8. On slow days they’d text me a heads up instead of telling me on Saturday, “you should have been here yesterday.”
9. Maybe they’d offer a raffle on a manicure or instead of letting that guy nag me about that fake bag, maybe they’d raffle one of those off.

You know what, I don’t think that people would complain about waiting as much if salon owners disguised the waiting. In spas people hang out all day, you wonder when are they going home, that massage was an hour ago. That is because the atmosphere makes you lose track of time. If they had waiting areas that were cozy, comfortable, and quiet. With, let’s say some slippers, complimentary libations and current magazines–they could silence all that yang about a wait. That is every woman’s dream.

So what’s your fantasy salon like?

Without ever stepping onto a runway she has managed to do what supermodels are supposed to do, but haven’t. She has made us sit up and take notice of fashion in a way that no other singer has. She’s made women of all ages re-evaluate our style and our fashion choices. Her peers strut around looking like a bag of brand names, but never seem to pull off the “together” look. They think they do, but no.

And the winner is…Rihanna.

Wait a minute! Hold on, before you get your Spanx in a bunch. I do not support, condone or agree with any of the actions that have been reported in the recent media headlines involving Rihanna (who knows which ones are true). I know what you want to ask, “Rihanna? But she just…?” You’re exactly right. according to reports she just did what many of us did when we were her age (some did worse and you know it). And aren’t we all glad that no one wrote us off or ignored the areas of our lives that were going well because of it? If every one of us had our talents and/or professional achievements weighed against the backdrop of the decisions we’ve made in romantic relationships, would any of us be viewed as successful? What if after making the deans list they adjusted our grades by the boyfriend we chose or the verbal insult that we took?

When Oprah told us that she grabbed on to the back of a Datsun B210 chasing after a man, we didn’t think any less of her. For those of you who question whether Rihanna should be a role model for your daughters, well…Should any 21 year old be a role model? In fact, it’s the 21 year olds that need role models. If she weren’t singing, she would not have even graduated college yet. Besides, I don’t think any child has ended up in therapy because of what their favorite singer did. Stop passing the buck to the younger generations and be the role model you want to see. That’s why the men have their pants sagging now, nobody ever…never mind…that’s a different post for a different blog. I’m going to stay in my lane.

In light of all of that, I must add this reminder for all my rainy day divas:
Makeup was created to enhance your beauty, not cover your bruises
Smiles are supposed to show the true happiness you feel from within, not hide your pain.
I wish all of you (me too) and Rihanna the best.

Steve Harvey on Oprah

Did anybody catch this show? In case you didn’t, Oprah does live shows every Friday where she and Gayle dish about whatever is happening in the news and they also invite guest to be a part of the show. This past Friday was Steve Harvey and Jennifer Hudson, who gave an awesome performance as usual and she looked great- face was flawless. Anyway, I must say that Steve did an excellent job promoting the book, in fact Oprah asked him to come back and do another show with an all female audience (isn’t it always all female). It looked to me like Steve got teary eyed for a moment. Well, personally I liked Steve’s book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, and so did Oprah and Gayle with all the notes, stickies and questions they had for Steve. But then I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a corresponding book for men. Something like, Think Like A Man, Understand Your Woman? And who better qualified to write it than me. I’m a woman, and I’ve got a few things to say.

So I started outlining chapters and then I realized something…men are not going to read a book like that. They don’t want to know how to improve. Audio tapes won’t work either, they will ignore it like every thing else…But if we could broker a deal with X Box, Play Station, and ESPN to get some subliminal messages going, we might just have a winner. I’ll keep you posted.

While some starlets show up on red carpet after red carpet for who knows what reason, this actress gets invited to the party for what she brings to the screen and I can’t think of a better reason to receive an invitation. Along the way she has developed quite a fashion game of her own.

And the winner is…Taraji P. Henson

2009 Beauty Awards: Hair


And the winner is….Rihanna! If Rihanna’s bob didn’t tempt you to tell your scissor happy stylist to go for it, I don’t know what could. Not since Halle and Nia Long rocked short hair, have we been so excited about a hair cut. And that says a lot in today’s market when “unbeweavable” style is pretty much accessible to anyone. Versatility is what made her style even more appealing. From sleek to funky Rihanna showed us that short hair can be just as dynamic as long tresses.

Runner Up: Tasha Smith. You remember Tasha from Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get married. When you weren’t laughing at her lines you were making a note to self to find out who does her hair. She had everybody trying to find a picture of that style to take to the salon, me included. Not only was her hair bouncing and behaving, but when they added the curls in that last scene to take it to the next level, all I can say is “Boom”. Of course my stylist claimed to have not seen the movie, the commercial for the movie, or even know who Tyler Perry was but never the less, I know some of you requested and got that “Angela” hair do. Believe it or not, it’s hard to find a picture of it that does it justice, so here’s a couple of pics of Tasha still looking fabulous.

Beauty. Lifestyle. Inspiration.

2009 Beauty Awards: Make Up

This was a tough category. I mean so many stars get glammed up by some of the best make up artist in the industry for every red carpet event and basically any time they are in front of the camera. So I tried to think of whose make up is always on point every time I see them. There were still a few ladies in the running, but one stood out above the rest. When you hear her name, you think of her powerful voice. And just like her music her make up is always a hit.

And the winner is…Deborah Cox. Never over done or undone her look is classic, yet still fresh and youthful. Ms. Cox’s preferred make up artist is one of my favorites also–Sam Fine. She was featured in his book Fine Beauty. There were other names that I had at the ready as runner ups, but when I look at pictures of Deborah and then I look at the blank space on my screen waiting for a runner up…well, what can I say? Actually, she said it best: Nobody’s supposed to be here. I couldn’t help it. That was the song.

Now I know what some of you are thinking: “but so and so’s make up looks really nice.” Well, that may be true, but compare for yourselves. Those three you’re thinking of…I love them, but they aren’t doing this… check out these pics.

Oh, I almost forgot. Congratulations to Deborah Cox and her husband on the birth of their daughter. This is the third child for the couple.

1st Annual Beauty Awards

This is the first annual beauty awards post. The categories will be Skin, Make Up, Hair, Fashion, Signature Style, 40 and Fabulous and a surprise. I’m not going to cover everyone who has it going on a little bit. If I did I’d have to add your name, right? Besides, you didn’t send in a photo.

I decided to post this because some of my favorite magazines and entertainment programs usually have similar awards that always leave me wondering why they constantly leave out sisters who consistently deliver when it comes to makeup, style, and fashion. This list has nothing to do with how well their last CD sold, the release date of their next movie, or who they are married to or dating this week. And so, this is how I see it.


And the winner is….Meagan Good. There is only one word to describe Meagan’s skin: flawless. Meagan is a talented actress, but watch one of her movies and you can’t help but notice how beautiful her skin is. Paparazzi snapshots capture the same picture perfect complexion. I don’t know her secret, but whatever it is, it works. If she could bottle it, she’d run every other skin care infomercial off the airwaves and for certain she’d get my $19.95.

Runner Up: Kelly Rowland. It doesn’t matter if Kelly is posing for an album cover, performing, or sun bathing her skin is always glowing. Whether it’s full makeup or the natural look, Kelly always has a youthful glow.

Your skin is the largest organ of the body. So often when we think of taking care of our skin we think from the neck up. Moisturizing and exfoliation is not just for the face. It’s important to take care of every inch of the skin you’re in. Try exfoliating scrubs for the body in your favorite scent. If you’re a spa girl like me, you may want to try a body polish on your next visit. It’s a process where the esthetician exfoliates the skin all over your body, leaving you with a healthy glow. You will look and feel like a new woman. If you try it, you’ll love it. I promise.

If hyper pigmentation (dark spots) is an issue for you, try products that even your skin tone. It’s best to consult with you dermatologist first. If your condition is severe enough there are prescriptions such as Hydroquinone that can fade dark spots. While there are certain risk associated with it, your doctor can advise you how best to use the product. If it’s not that serious, try over the counter products that even skin tone, just keep in mind that the best results are achieved with consistent use.