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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kumbaya, Ladies

Hola Chicas,
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Such feistiness from the comment board! Since I’ve always believed that a true lady quietly walks away from reckless neckrolling, I offer nothing but love to Miss Brooke (and for the record, the loose definition of “coming out your face” is stepping to someone loud and wrong). But my heart was warmed by all you loyal-to-death SYB’ers jumping to my defense—especially Judith, who’s advice for me to “dust your shoulders off cuz you are definitely doing the damn thing, mama” literally had me rolling on the floor. I swear to you people, I couldn’t love you more if you teased out your hair, smoked out your eyes, and belted out Sex Shooter on American Idol ("I need you to be my main thing, plaything, pillar of stone, woo-hoo-ooooo!!").

And oh, your delightful response to IT CHICKS!! So, so sweet—I throw myself at your feet in unwavering gratitude (I’m rapidly descending into a teary puddle of mush, a’la Sally-Field-accepting-her-1983-Oscar…“You like me, you really like me!” PMS always makes me blubbery). But seriously, I’ve been grinning from ear-to-ear for a week. While I swear it hasn’t gone to my head, I have noticed a little bit of a strut in my step lately. Of course, my sassypants swagger may also have something to do with my new H&M trench. Girls, it’s ten kinds of fabulous. Just ask Caliprynses, who electrified my world with the following comment:

"Hey Tia, I was vacationing in NYC this week and I swear I saw you in SOHO on Broadway looking fly and fabulous in a tan trench. You were talking on the cell, so i didn't want to interrupt. Was that you??"

Why, yes indeed! The funny thing was, I was wearing hole-y leggings and an ages-old T-shirt that says “Latin Boys Do It Better” underneath. Which brings me to my tip of the day: No matter what silliness you’re wearing, a really crisp trench always pulls your look together, in a delicious Julie Christie/Faye Dunaway/Jackie O-sort of way (just try to avoid pairing it with white-rimmed shades and a brightly printed scarf—too Rhoda). The good news is, trenches are everywhere this season, and at practically every price point—Banana has one for $198, Juicy has a SICK one for $398, but I got mine for $50!!! And believe me, it's practically IDENTICAL to the more expensive ones. Get thee to H&M right now, before they sell out.

So, let’s get to the beauty, shall we? The past couple of weeks have been a total flurry of IT CHICKS promotion, industry events, and TV tapings—and incredibly, I’ve picked up an invaluable beauty trick at every turn. I now pass them onto you, because as a friend in 12-step once told me, in order to keep the goods in life, you must give some away (nice, right? I’ve decided this does not apply to my bag collection or my stash of Moonlighting DVD’s).

With so many kisses, squeezes and hugs that horrified onlookers tell us to get a room,
Your Tia

PS—did you see IT CHICKS reviewed in the latest Essence? I’m unreasonably excited about this. Huge thanks to Essence's book editor, Patrik (that’s right, he’s too fly for a “c”) Bass…you made my month, doll!

1.) IMAN SECOND-TO-NONE LUMINOUS FOUNDATION (around $15): Last Friday, I had the yummiest lunch at Soho's Noho Star with my Fairy Supermodel, Iman. And in between looking effortlessly fab (her) and devouring arguably the best hamburger in Manhattan (me), she introduced me to her latest invention, the Second-to-None Luminous Foundation. Now, when I say this stuff is totally ground-breaking and revolutionary, I am NOT exaggerating. It's the market's very first all-in-one foundation/bronzer! Here's the thing: This wet/dry powder foundation (use it as a powder for a sheer look, but dampen the sponge for major coverage) is spiked with subtle, bronzy shimmer--so when you apply it, it infuses your skin with the most amazing, sunny radiance. You'll look air-brushed, I'm telling you. The Luminous Foundation comes in 12 brilliant shades--I wear Clay 5, if that helps you narrow it down--and it's gentle on oily, acne-prone skin. FYI: It's not out yet, but it'll be coming to a Walgreens near you in April!

2.) CREATIVE NAIL DESIGN STICKEY BASE COAT ($6): Twice a year, Creative Nail Design (the hot, hot, hot nail brand seen backstage at all the best fashion week shows) hosts an event at the Bryant Park Hotel where their top technicians give mani/pedi's to beauty editors. At today's event, I had the pleasure of receiving a top-notch pedicure from Shalina, who whipped up the insane Georgia O'Keafe-inspired nail art at Baby Phat's Spring show. And she, for once and for all, broke down the key to long-lasting nail polish (seriously, when I leave these events, my polish lasts for AT LEAST four weeks). It's all about CND's Stickey Base's outrageously strong, and acts as a gripping agent to bind polish to the nail. And it works even better when you swipe your nails with CREATIVE NAIL DESIGN SCRUB FRESH ($18) first (it's a professional deep-cleanser that acts as a primer). My toes thank you, Shalina.

3.) MOTIVES EYEBROW PENCIL IN EARTH BROWN ($15.75): Have you guys ever perused It's an addictive online boutique run by my friend, Jamila Payne. Miss Jamila also hosts an event called "Female and Fabulous" in Philadelphia, which features a panel of lovely ladies discussing how they got started in their careers, as well as tons of fashion and beauty vendors selling their wares! Last Saturday I had the pleasure of speaking on her panel...and it was truly inspiring. Also inspiring was the Motives Cosmetics table, which happened to be selling the best eyebrow pencil I've ever seen. And I've always had trouble with brow pencils--they always seem so harsh and old lady'ish, right? Very all-you-can-eat-buffet-at-Shoney's. But this one's sooo smooth and natural-looking, and it comes attached with a sweet little brush for blending. I'm so into it, I apply it before I brush my teeth.

4.) JOHNSON'S BABY OIL GEL IN LAVENDER ($4.29) plus BONNE BELL GLIMMER BRONZE HIGHLIGHTING DUST ($3.95): A couple week ago, I taped an upcoming episode of BET's new talk show, Meet the Faith (Sunday at 11am and 10pm). It's a roundtable discussion hosted by the adorable Ian Smith (you probably know him as the medical/diet expert on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club) and we were debating black plastic surgery. Compelling stuff, without a doubt. But at every break I could get, I was gazing at my glowing, shimmery arms and legs, courtesy of the darling on-set makeup artist. Instead of using the super-expensive Body Bling ($48) or Nars Body Glow ($59) to give my skin a sheeny glow on-camera, she mixed a dollop of Johnson's Baby Oil Gel (a totally non-greasy moisturizing oil) with a touch of Bonne Bell bronze glimmer in her hands, and applied to my collerbone, arms, legs...basically any skin showing. Oh, the finish is SO sexy, SO Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. And it costs nothing! I'm going to Miami in a couple weeks, where clearly I'll be setting the night on fire with my glowing gams.

5.) CLINIQUE EDITOR'S CHOICE GIFT WITH PURCHASE The other day, I visited my book publicist, Danielle Burch, in her office...and lo, there was a package from Clinique waiting for me. In it, were their latest "gift with purchases"...but there's a catch! For the first time ever, Clinique has commissed the beauty directors of Elle, Allure, In Style, Lucky (my mentor, Jean Godfrey June!), and Marie Claire to select their favorite Clinique products to be packaged together as a gift. And starting in April, these 7-piece sets are all yours when you hotfoot it to a Clinique counter near you! My absolute favorite is the Allure gift--the adorable makeup bag comes with a mini Mild Facial Soap with Dish, 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula, Moisture Surge Extra Thirsty Skin Relief, Long Last Lipstick in Bamboo Pink (very Kerry Washington), and All About Eyes cream--all in the cutest travel sizes, perfect for your spring getaway.

posted by Tia Williams at 5:22 PM 53 comments
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Saturday, March 17, 2007

All about IT CHICKS!!

Hi Girls!!
I’m hyperventilating with excitement--and no, not because Search for the Next Pussycat Doll is so good (go Asia!). Guess what’s happening in two weeks? The first book in my new teen series, IT CHICKS, is hitting bookstores (it's available for pre-order at Amazon)!! Woo-hoo!! Here’s some back story: There’s a huuuge trend in teen fiction called “chick lit-lite,” which refers to series’ like Gossip Girl, The Clique, and A-list, all of which are dripping with fabulous clothes, juicy love stories, and spicy-hilarious dialogue (and these books don’t sanitize the teen experience, either—they’re very frank about sex, drugs, parties, etc., but in a cautionary-tale sort of way). The problem is, none of these books were written expressly for girls of color. That is, until Hyperion/Disney approached me about a year ago about creating the VERY FIRST “chick lit-lite” series for brown girls (black, Latina, Indian, Filipino, bi-racial, all of us!)! You can’t imagine how wildly thrilled I was about creating smart, sassy, fabulous characters for our teens to relate to. Now, being a child of the 80s and a practically psychotic “Fame” fan—especially the Nia Peeples years, my goodness—naturally I pitched a series based on a group of kids that go to a New York City performing arts high school. And thus, IT CHICKS was born!

IT CHICKS is a dishy peek inside 15-year-old Tangie Adams’ first few weeks at Louis B. Armstrong School of Performing Arts, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of anything I’ve ever done (and not just ‘cause the cover’s so dope..but more on that, below). Now, obviously this book’s targeted for teens—but IT CHICKS also happens to be a total adult guilty-pleasure. Especially if you’re the kind of gal that finds herself hopelessly addicted to shows like The Hills, Laguna Beach, My Super Sweet Sixteen, So You Think You Can Dance, and Dance Life (R.I.P.). Oh, I cannot wait to hear what you think of the book! For now, though, you'll have to be satisfied with a quick look at IT CHICKS’ cast of characters:

THE DREAMER: Hip-hop dancer Tangie’s the only one who doesn't know how fly she is…will her insecurity be her undoing?
THE DRAMA QUEEN: Fame runs in Skye’s family, but she’s about to discover that the superstar doesn’t always get the guy!
THE BAD BOY: Grafitti-artist CJ is a little rough around the edges, but diamonds eventually find their own shine...don’t they?
THE BOMBSHELL: Eden is Armstrong's top actress; will attention from a platinum-selling rapper help or hurt her career?
THE WILD CHILD: Izzy’s hot and her rhymes are, too...but her scandalous past might threaten everything she’s worked for.
THE SILENT THREAT: Aspiring filmmaker Regina caters to her idol’s every whim, but every sidekick has her breaking point.

Cute, huh? And how fun is the cover? Our shoot budget didn’t allow for real models, so I found these three cutie-pies (from left, Candice, Melines and India—would you believe she’s Charli Baltimore’s daughter? And why is Sanjaya stealing her 'do?). Since they were working for free, I wanted to treat them to a celebrity-style makeover…so, I pulled together a totally A-list glam squad: Penguin’s womenswear designer Kibwe Chase-Marshall styled the fab outfits; celeb makeup artist Sam Fine worked his makeup magic (and he wants to slap whoever cut off the girl’s faces on the final cover); and genius Pantene celeb hairstylist Tippi Shorter worked-out the hair. Check out my photo page for more shoot outtakes (um, just as soon as i update it)!

Now, since it’s me, you know the pages of IT CHICKS are riddled with beauty product plugs (I could be writing a George Foreman Grill instruction manual and still find a way to work in a Maybelline Great Lash mascara). So here, I give you my five favorite plugs. Enjoy…and pick up a copy of IT CHICKS! Or two! And pass on the IT CHICKS love! I mean, do we really want our kids reading something called HOMO-THUG? Yep, the last time I spoke to a high school class, three kids revealed that this classic was the last book they’d read. Hell, at least they’re reading.

Big love,

1.) Cover Girl Cheekers Bronzer in Copper Radiance ($2.71), page 33: Here, we find out about Tangie's very simple makeup regimen: "The only makeup she ever wore was a touch of Cover Girl Bronzer on her cheeks; sometimes for performances at dance camp, she would put some glittery stuff on her eyes. Generally, Tangie thought eye makeup made her look slutty." I picked Cover Girl Cheekers Bronzer because, even if you wear nothing else, you can look totally fantastic with just a sweep of this shimmery, sun-kissed blush swept over cheeks and eyes. Of course, I would add a hint of mascara and gloss, but I'm not fifteen.

2.) Urban Decay Midnight Cowgirl Eyeshadow ($16, on right), page 34: In this scene, Tangie's ultra-sassy, mysteriously mature new friend Izzy gives her a makeover in the girl's bathroom at school. Izzy says, "I used this bronzy Urban Decay shadow, Midnight really pops on deep brown skin, like yours. You look so good, you should be performing onstage with Kelly and Michelle!" And Izzy's right. Ladies, Midnight Cowgirl is SUCH a classic neutral for brown skin—the twinkly, golden-beige shade is really so flattering on all complexions, from golden-tan to the richest dark tones. If this one's not in your makeup drawer, it's time to update, Sugar.

3.) MAC Lip Pencil in Chestnut ($12.50), page 99: Here, Eden and her best friend Marisol are sitting in front of her bedroom mirror, getting ready for a night of underage partying at Marquee. Hovering over them is Eden's crazy, drunken former TV-star mom, Alexa, who's reflecting on her life in the most annoying, self-helpey terms. Totally fed up, "Eden slams her MAC Chestnut lip pencil down on her thigh and says, 'Please! Two more seconds of this 'Lifetime For Women' drama and I'm vomiting all over the floor.'" Eden's totally glamorous and into makeup, and I thought a girl like her would definitely have MAC's iconic lip pencil on hand, right? Seriously, the pencil looks good on everyone...and it's great to have on hand if you're rocking a paler lipcolor. To add depth to a shade that's too light, simply line and fill in lips, first. Simply the definition of "beauty no-brainer."

4.) Clarins Extra-Firming Facial Mask ($44), page 102: Here, Eden's bummed-out sister Skye is applying the mask before she goes to bed. "Her tears were softening the thick armor of her Clarins Extra-Firming Facial Mask, which she'd applied twice a week ever since Alexa had told her she had a double chin in photographs." Awful, right? Alexa is a truly evil mother (but I love her 'cause she played a bitchy black supermodel on a fictional 80's nighttime soap, "Shoulder Pads"). Anyway, I've used Clarins mask for years, though admittedly not for its firming benefits. Packed with good-for-you botanicals, the cream-gel mask is PERFECT the morning after a fabulously late night, or when you've just recovered from a sucky cold. I don't know the science behind it, all I know is it instantly wakes up your complexion, giving you rosy cheeks and the dewiest, most radiant skin.

5.) Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in Caramel ($12.99), page 115: In this scene, one of the main characters--it's a surprise!--is attending a secret support group for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered teens. During group, one of the girls is discussing how, when she had chicken pox, her very needy girlfriend was mad that they couldn't hang out as much. When the leader invites the group to respond, a tall freckled boy named Paris offers the following non sequitur: "Did you know that Revlon Colorstay Foundation is BRILLIANT for covering chicken pox scars?" It really is, actually. Revlon's Colorstay line gives amazing coverage and is formulated to stay put for up to sixteen hours (absolutely no smudging or rubbing off on your clothes)! And comes in great shades for darker skin--try Golden, Caramel, Toast, Rich Ginger, Cappuccino, Mahogany or Mocha (I'm a fan of Caramel, myself). Definitely try it if you have oilier skin that tends to cause foundation to smear.

posted by Tia Williams at 12:46 PM 46 comments
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Friday, March 09, 2007

The Girl With the Big Chin's Arse

Hola SYB Babes,
My, my, my, it's been such a busy week for me! First and foremost, I have to thank all of you who turned out for my sassy lil' shopping soiree at Te Cacan. So , Soho's uber-glam designer shoe emporium. Not only did I get to meet SO many fabulous ladies, I had the distinct honor of picking out my ten favorite shoes in the store!!
Aren't the red patent leather platforms just EVIL (you should've seen the "smiling graciously through the pain" look on my face when I realized that my picks were for promotional purposes only, and I wouldn't be taking them home)?! The party was also notable because it was another chance to wear my New Year's dress! At first, I was a tad hesitant to so publicly rock the same frock twice, but my stylist/designer friend Kibwe offered these wise words: "Why wear a new dress you just feel 'eh' about, when you could wear an old-faithful that you KNOW curls your toes?" Very sage, indeed.

Speaking of soirees, last week I was thrilled to attend the be-all end-all of book parties! It was for my darling friend Erika Kendrick's very first novel, CONFESSIONS OF A ROOKIE CHEERLEADER ($11.86)(there we are together--please excuse my Dynasty-era makeup, I'd just wrapped up an MSNBC segment on Le Scandale herself, Miss Antonella Barba). If you haven't heard of her yet, just you wait, Missy--Erika is about to be a staaah! Forget the fact that she's gorgeous, she's also a Stanford grad, a former NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls, president of the NYC chapter of NABFEME, and a former exec at Island Def Jam...and now, she's written this Spring's juiciest piece of chick lit yumminess. It's all about Hannah Love, a 28-year old record exec who, after her fiancé is caught cheating, pursues her dream of becoming a Chicago Diamonds cheerleader. Not only does she kill the audition, she soon embarks on a super-juicy affair with Max Knight, the Diamond’s star player. Totally delicious, totally funny, and if you're anything like me, you'll picture Max as Chris Weber. Girls, join me in applauding this dynamic diva on her very first book--it's a huge accomplishment, and it couldn't have happened to a girl with sexier hair.

And now, on to your questions! I promised you ladies that I'd do a Q&A this week, and OMG, it was so hard narrowing it down to just five. Before I start, I just wanted to quickly address a few non-beauty related issues:

SYB BABE: Glib Gurl
QUESTION: "Can you tell us more about the "IT CHICKS" project you are working on? Sounds interesting!"
ANSWER: I can and will, Darling GG, in my next post! I was deliberately holding off gushing to death about my new book, IT CHICKS, until closer to the launch (more exciting that way)...and now that we're just weeks away, Mama thinks it's time. Oooh, you're gonna LOVE it :-)

SYB BABE: Monica
QUESTON: "I met you at last year at Howard University's Cover to Cover spring conference. I was looking forward to seeing you again this year, but sadly you were MIA. You had so much valuable info last year!"
ANSWER: Oh, Monie-Love. I'd totally planned to speak at this years Cover to Cover conference, but then at the very last minute, I had a ridiculous personal drama and had to cancel! DEVASTATION. But I promised Cover to Cover that I'd come back sometime before the end of the year to chat with you guys. Would goodie-bags filled with lip gloss make it up to you?

QUESTION: "Greetings, I am a fan of yours. You are exceptionally beautiful! I am redecorating my offices and would love to have a personalized autographed photo(s) of you to display. It would be great! Thank you for your time and consideration."
ANSWER: Um, no.

Finally, here are the top five questions of the week! Enjoy, Pretty Girls.


PS: Who's addicted to Becky from The Agency? "I'm sorry, but she thinks the sun shines out of the girl with the big chin's arse!" Love her. And her walk is FIRE.

SYB BABE: Anonymous
QUESTION: "I don't wear make-up very often and when I was headed to the MAC counter, at my local department store, to replace my pressed powder I found out that (horror of all horrors) they no longer make pressed powder!!! I have been holding on to my compact in NW45 for far too long and now, w/o it, I am lost in the beauty wilderness. Do you have any suggestions for an alternative?"
ANSWER: Darling, you are SO lucky that the geniuses at THREE CUSTOM COLOR SPECIALISTS (3C) are, in fact, geniuses. 3C was started by a fabulous celeb makeup artist and fellow brown-girl goddess, Trae Bodge, who was tired of makeup companies discontinuing her favorite products. The specialists can reproduce virtually any lipstick, foundation, concealer, blush, powder, or eyeshadow that's ever been created (not to mention, they have a fabulous house cosmetics line, too)! To order a new version of your beloved MAC Pressed Powder, simply send in a sample in a plastic baggie (a pressed powder compact is $36.50)...they can even make you a matching concealer and foundation. And the best part is, they'll keep your personal "recipe" on file forever, so you can make as many re-orders as you want. Sweet, right?
If you're looking for a quick fix, I'm a fan of COVER GIRL QUEEN COLLECTION POWDER SHINE CONTROL FOUNDATION ($6.99)—they come in nine spot-on shades that flatter deeper skin tones.

SYB BABE: Melissa
QUESTION: "How do you wear your hair for those last 1-2 days before your next appointment? When it's a bit too dirty and lifeless to really style? I read that a ponytail is like giving up, so I've been avoiding that and try to rock a simple french braid instead. Now I'm starting to get tired of that. Any suggestions?"
ANSWER: Just say no to the french braid, Melly-Mel! It's cute if you're just hanging out at home, but anywhere else you're bordering on dangerous "Kmart shopper" territory. I totally feel your angst, though—and I've definitely found success with the following quick-fix 'do's:
1.) The Pony/Headband Combo (as seen on Miss Hillary, above): Just a plain ponytail is kind of blase, but if you slide on a skinny headband, suddenly then it's totally chic!
2.) The Milkmaid Moment, or The "Heidi": This boho-luxe style is everywhere...Sienna Miller rocked it grecian-style at the Golden Globes, and Mary J. sported it on her latest album cover. If you have long hair, part it down the middle and create two low Pocahantas braids (if you have short hair, use those cheap, drugstore clip-on ponytail extensions). Then wrap braids around the top of your head, securing with pins.
3.) The Double-Bun: Ooooh, this is my FAVORITE. Without fail, I'm rocking the Double-Bun the last three days of my blowout. Simply create two low pigtails, leaving out bangs or long layers in the front. Coil each ponytail into a messy bun, securing with pins (don't worry if some pieces fall out--it's cuter that way!). Finally, swoop the front pieces behind your ears, or leave out for an "oh, I just woke up this way" situation.

SYB BABE: Anonymous
QUESTION: "I have a serious question about moisturizing skin care. Do you have a recommendation for a really good (GREAT), rich, mid-priced (not La Mer) and easy-to-apply moisturizer for my peeling and parched skin?? Thanks!!"
ANSWER: I love, love, love Kohl's Grassroots all-natural skincare line. I know, I know, it's seems weird to buy skincare from a huge superstore chain, but believe me, this stuff is golden. Like you, Anonymous, my skin gets ridiculously parched and tight and flaky in the winter. Clearly, I need a rich moisturizer, but it's a fine line--if it's too rich, hello zits. That's why GRASSROOTS' vitamin-packed WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING OVERNIGHT MOISTURE CREAM ($17) is so fantastic--it's super-hydrating, but it's oil-free and non acnegenic. And it smells like a mix of baby-freshness and just-baked sweets, due to the blend of Siamese bergamot and Madagascan vanilla. Because of Grassroots, applying moisturizer is now a PLEASURE.

QUESTION: "I keep hearing about primer and have finally decided to invest in some. Can you please recommend a good brand to use?"
ANSWER: I have to be honest with you, Sugar. For a long time, I thought primers were totally useless, sort of a beauty urban legend (I feel similarly about toners, cellulite creams, and mustache bleach). It wasn't until I started wearing tons of foundation for my In Touch Weekly TV appearances that I understood the hoopla. A good primer, like NARS MAKEUP PRIMER ($33), acts is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.