Michelle’s Choice

Yesterday’s inaugration was not only a historical moment, but it was the moment when all the fashion lovers had been waiting for. Finally to see what First Lady Michelle Obama would wear. By now everyone knows what she wore. I must say that I liked all of the outfits that she chose and I especially liked her use of color–and unexpected color at that. Instead of wearing the usual red, blue or purple, she chose softer colors, yellow, white, mustard. I just loved it. While Jill Biden looked fantastic in her red gown,Michelle Obama surprised all in a white, not winter white, not ivory, but a white gown. Soft, feminine, and classy. The fact that she chose an up-and-coming designer for both her inaugural dress (Isabel Toledo) and her gown (Jason Wu) is even more refreshing. Neither of them them had any idea that she was going to choose their designs (see why it pays to put forth your best and be prepared). So maybe we can throw out that not wearing white in winter rule for good.

I also loved her hair. I’m not sure who her hair stylist is, but they did an excellent job. On a cold blistery day, you need hair that is sleek and hair that has a lot of body. We want to move with the wind, not fight against it. Practical and elegant. She didn’t have a stiff moment. How many times have you wanted to have body like that and had a stylist who refused. You remember back in the day asking for a certain style and some body and being told, “you don’t have that kind of hair” or “you think you’re a white girl?” So then you try to find a picture with your favorite actress, to be told, “that’s weave, your hair can’t do that.” Well, there may be times when that holds true, but basically, style is for all folks and so is a little body. Yes, I’ve moved on from stylist like that, but I know that they are still out there–even in 2009. So swing it, flip it, and let the wind blow in it. Move on ladies, you witnessed what a good stylist can do on yesterday.

Now you won’t need to worry about the wind if you wear a hat, like Ms. Aretha Franklin decided to do. Her hat was designed by Luke Song and I need to see his collection. Believe me he is going to be a busy man. I loved that hat! Some didn’t get the hat, but that’s a cultural thing. Y’all know it is–and not just one culture either. Women in the South are known for their hats, especially in past generations and have any of these negativity mongers and fashion critics ever witnessed any event with the royal family. Talk about hats!

Keep It Up.

It is absolutely frigorific in the North East. Bitter temps, wind and snow have been the backdrop for my weekend. To say it’s cold outside is a major understatement. Let’s just say I’m not a fan. And it’s this kind of weather that makes me want to hibernate in warm socks and comfy clothes. But because I know the importance of self-care and I need a few pleasures in my life I trotted out for my appointment at the salon to have a pedicure. I wasn’t the only one, but it wasn’t quite as busy as usual. Having been a nail care specialist in another life, I had to shake my head at all the empty pedicure chairs. Surely, these chairs will be filled in the spring with rough and ragged soles who have neglected their tootsies all winter (and probably fall). You wouldn’t believe the people that come in wanting a manicure, and they have been building cuticles since they were building blocks with an obvious aversion to lotion of any sort, and they want you to turn back time in 20 minutes–the miracles that have to happen. Remember to pick up some cuticle oil and if it’s not in your budget, canola works just as well.

But anyway, I watched as an anxious woman smudged her burgundy nails as she tried to get into her suede boots a few moments too soon, glad that I had bought a pair of slip-on sandals (my car wasn’t far)–no smudges for me. Before I left the salon, my pedicurist wrapped my toes in saran, to prevent the chance of dents or smudges. I’m telling you, what I thought was a block, seemed like a mile. My feet turned into blocks of ice. By the time I got to my car, I could not feel below my ankles. So the first thing I did was turn on some heat and as I headed home I was thankful to be in the warm haven of my car. Finally, I could feel my feet again…but uh-oh!!!

Ladies, I do encourage you to continue self-care all year long–including pedicures. But if your nail care stylist ever wraps your feet in saran, please remove it before you turn the heat on in your car. You’re talking about a whole new meaning to the word top-coat. They say saran clings and they didn’t lie.

This week is going to be great. I have received phone calls, text messages and a few good talking-to’s about some of the things on this blog. Your points are well taken and I’ll be clearing that up this week. There will be beautiful inaugural fashions to talk about, all new–comfort zone, a follow up to Invest In you, and a cool new way to meet people. Oh, and you no longer have to wait for your sister’s best-friends cousin’s co-worker to forward RainyDayDiva to you via e-mail, Subscribe and have it delivered to your inbox.

In the meantime, tell me what has been one of your -funniest beauty/fashion faux pas (anything funnier than heated saran)?

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Let’s Go!

Now is the perfect time to start planning your vacation. I just hit the “confirm” button for my plane ticket. Have you thought about where you’re going? Vacations are necessary, so don’t skip. I had to cancel my vacay plans in 2007 and by 2008, I was almost Cookoo for Coco puffs. Which is why I packed my bags and headed to Mexico. Puerto Vallarta to be exact. I’m telling you there is nothing a little sunshine, ocean water and relaxation won’t cure. A little tequila doesn’t hurt either.

And those morning massages on the beach…I was in heaven.

Now if major travel isn’t in your budget, consider a weekend getaway. You can usually get to the Bahamas or Cancun on the cheap. If that is still too much, take a road trip. You’ll be surprised at just how much fun it can be.

Try sites like Kayak and Priceline to compare the best prices on airline tickets.

So where are you heading in 2009?

Go Ahead, Blush!

Foundation? Check. Lipstick? Check. Mascara? Check. Blush?…Blush?

Our makeup bags may overfloweth with tubes of gloss, eye shadows and pressed powders, but for most women, blush, is conspicuously absent. While some of us are still using lipstick on our cheeks, the way mom used to (yes, I noticed), most of us consider it an opt-out for our morning ritual. Besides those who are trying to save a buck like mom did back in the day, many of us believe that it is impossible to find the right shade for brown beauties. Welcome to 2009. Today there’s a bounty of shades that compliment skin tones in every shade. Varying shades come in every color from the palest pink to earth and raisin. Allowing those of us with brown skin and darker skin tones to not only find the right color, but to have options as we create different looks.

Blush brightens your face. If you only wear foundation and lipstick, blush adds a glow and dimension to your face. It completes your look.

Not all makeup experts agree on the best way to apply blush. Here are two techniques you can try:

1. Starting at the ear and with a light hand, work your way downward toward the apple of your cheek. You want to avoid dragging your brush, so as not to have just one straight line of color. The blush should blend with your foundation without any noticeable starting point. Dust with a little pressed powder to set.


2. You can apply blush to the apple of your cheek, in a light circular motion. Again, be sure to blend well into your foundation.

If you’re still a little nervous about blush because you’ve seen someone else where it wrong (we’ve all seen the circus clown effect), just remember that before to shake off the excess powder from your blush before you apply and BLEND.

The most recent blush I added to my collection was PlumDu Bois by MAC, and I love it.

What’s your favorite brand/color? Is there any make up that you’ve been hesitant to try?

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Investing In You

Let’s face it, falling off is easy to do. It can happen to anyone: a billionaire talk show host like Oprah or yours truly. The usual blame goes to: time and money. Or should I say lack there of. So many people will say their finances are the reason why they can’t maintain their style/health (choose one). No matter how bad the economy is (and it’s bad), I’ve noticed a few things:

1. The lines at the drive-thru aren’t any shorter.
2. People still have the money to buy cigarettes.
3. Liquor stores aren’t laying off.

If you know where I’m going with this, you might say, “But those are addictions.” Addictions? Maybe. But what if you were to get addicted to health, happiness, feeling good, positive conversation–just being the best you could be.

What if you skipped two value meals and replenished your foundation?
What if you watched Fitness TV instead of Flavor of Foolishness?
What if you reduced your cable bill, let’s say opting for a meager 300 channels, and kept your hair appointment?
What if, you invested 99¢ in a nail file and did your own manicure?

Feeling good is NOT a luxury. It is a must! Looking like the Sea Hag never helped anybody! If you’ve lost a job, you will probably need another one or you’ll start your own business, or possibly find a wealthy man. In any case, the way you present yourself is important. And believe it or not, it is most important to you and your well-being.

Is time the issue? Well, if you are so important that you are needed by everybody, for everything, all of the time, doesn’t that make you important enough to be a priority?

Maybe finances and time are not your problem/excuse (choose one). A breakup, perhaps? The relationship may not have worked out, but your life has to. This is the best time to commit to loving you. Buy yourself a ring! Until the next time, celebrate your freedom, peace of mind, and space–the very things people in relationships complain about not having.

Don’t lose yourself in your circumstances.
We have the time, energy and resources for what we deem important, and that should include you.

What do you do or plan to do to maintain self and sanity in challenging times?

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Sam Fine to Release DVD

Yes, ladies you read correctly. Sam Fine, make up artist to the stars, will release an instructional DVD April 2009. The DVD will be available at SamFine.com. Believe me, these are going to move like hot cakes. Fine spoke to Essence magazine about working with Queen Latifah for the 2009 People’s Choice Awards. When asked how he chose Latifah’s look, Fine responded:

“I chose the color based on what she was wearing. She had a purple dress and a green dress. The key is to complement, not match! Pull in subtle shades of the color that contrast or complement the shade you are wearing. It’s NOT about matching.”

To read the full interview, visit Essence.com.

Living Healthy

Essence has released a new book, The Black Woman’s Guide to Healthy Living. This is one you might want to add to your collection. This guide covers everything from prevention testing to reflexology and each section has specifics for every decade of life from 20′s to 50′s. I love the fact that they include Happiness as part of a healthy living book. There’s even a food journal and recipes in the back. I think this is a good book for everyone. The chapter that focuses on exercise takes you beyond step class, suggesting yoga and African Dance–that’s fun you should try it.

What didn’t surprise me is that they didn’t mention Willpower & Grace. Yoga and Pilates are pretty commonplace. Most people have heard of them even if they haven’t tried it. Willpower & Grace is something you should add to your list of things to try thus far. It is an exercise class that takes functional and dance moves (think ballet, not hip-hop) and focuses on your strength and balance. Now if you were to watch a class, you’d think oh, that’s nothing, looks easy. Think again. Your first time will probably leave you feeling anything but graceful. But it does help with posture, toning, balance and strength and believe me you will break a sweat. Ask your gym if there is a trainer certified to teach Willpower & Grace and sign up. Oh, and Willpower & Grace will require your participation in bare feet, so you might want to get that pedicure first.

Since we’re talking health and exercise, what are you doing different to get or stay in shape this year?

Today’s quote
Health is where beauty begins.

© HFPA Golden Globe Awards

© HFPA Golden Globe Awards
As you requested, here are a couple of more pics from the red carpet of last night’s Golden Globes. Eva’s gown is absolutely stunning.

© HFPA Golden Globe Awards

Awards season is here and I am loving every minute of it. I look forward to awards season the way some anticipate the Super Bowl. In fact, they have a lot in common: competition, winners, losers, a years worth of work building to this moment, tears, grimaces, showboating. That’s not to mention the training some of these women went through to look fabulous. In the world of fashion, makeup, and all things fabulous awards season is definitely the playoffs. The People’s Choice and Critic’s Choice have come and gone, The Golden Globes aired last night.

I was rooting for Viola Davis, who looked gorgeous, as she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Doubt. But Kate Winslet took the award and who could be mad at that. Kate has done excellent work ever since that little film she did with Leonoardo DiCaprio. What was it called…oh yeah, Titanic.

These are some of the looks and actresses I loved.

© HFPA Golden Globe Awards

© HFPA Golden Globe Awards

© HFPA Golden Globe Awards

© HFPA Golden Globe Awards

© HFPA Golden Globe Awards

Chocolate Break

Hey, it’s been hard getting back into the swing of things this week. Besides it is Friday afternoon. We can’t be all estrogen all the time. Beauty does come in the masculine form. Let’s admire, shall we?

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Next week for more Make Up and Lifestyle trends, Book Reviews, Time-saving tips, and Inspiration. Have a beautiful weekend!

I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use a little financial advice these days. But before you head to the club or the mall with your paycheck, swing by the bookstore or library. Rainy Day Diva, has a few book recommendations on how to get your money right in 2009.

Girl Get your Credit Straight, by Glinda Bridgforth is great. I know some people get turned off by the “Girl” in the title, but the truth is this is a really solid book. She offers scripts for dealing with creditors, one of which I tried myself. Read it straight from the book and guess what? Got that faux pas removed from my credit report pronto. Oh yes, add this one to your collection. I met Ms. Bridgforth and was so eager to express my gratitude she thought I was a groupie. Hey, good credit cannot be underestimated. Thank you, Glinda. And just in case you missed it, Ms Bridgforth, has had a few Oprah appearances during 2007′s Debt Diet.

Debt Is Slavery, by Michael Mihalik. This is an excellent book. It is short and to the point. You can read it over dinner. This is Finance 101. If IRAs, Bonds, Funds or pre-nups are Greek to you and you really just need help with balancing the checkbook, what to pay first, how to handle your paycheck, then this is the book for you. Michael takes you to the basics with diagrams and all. You can’t beat it. If this doesn’t make you want to sever your relationship with your credit cards, I don’t know what will.

By the way, yesterday Suze Ormon made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show (love, Suze), dishing about what steps we should take towards financial fitness. If you missed it you might want to check out the highlights on Oprah.com and don’t forget to download a FREE copy of Suze Ormon’s 2009 Action Plan.

Today’s Quote:
Balance your life and your check book.

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