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A childhood interest for art and design grew into a passion for all things beauty. Currently, I’m still smitten.


Urban Decay Sparkling Lickable Body Powder

Yesterday my client and I headed to the mall on a quest for beauty booty. Amongst the list of goodies, we shopped for body shimmer. We tried a number of things: liquids, foams, oils and powders. A favorite find is the URBAN DECAY Sparkling Lickable Body Powder/$29.00. It's a light silky powder that has a delicate glow and a sensuous fragrance. The oversized purple puff makes application easy and cuts down on the mess. Choose from three shades: Marshmallow (white shimmer), Honey (golden shimmer) and Cocoa (bronze shimmer). Each smells and tastes like it's namesake. (Yes, it's edible and a perfect gift for brides!) And it can be applied everywhere!

You can try it at SEPHORA stores or order it online at

The Perfect Smile

Summertime photos are the best: pictures from graduations, parties, weddings... the list doesn't end. Keep in mind, one of the first things folks notice is your smile. Tyra Banks recommends you "smize." Basically, you smile with expression (it's all in the eyes). We totally agree and have other tips to ensure your smile is perfect!

Consult with your dentist to get options for a brighter whiter smile. They offer quick fixes that can change the look of your smile with beautiful results. Depending on how much time you have you can close gaps, straighten teeth or get rid of discoloration. An over-the-counter option to refresh a smile is SPRAY WHITE 90/$150. The kit brightens dull-looking teeth in a couple of minutes...literally. The no-mess two-step process includes a spray treatment that whitens with peroxide in 90 seconds.

For a DIY approach, a little baking soda will do just fine! Getting a picture perfect smile is easier than ever.

Tips for the Perfect Pictures:

1. Select the right shade of lip color. Lipstick with blue undertones make teeth look whiter.

2. Push your tongue against the back of your top front teeth to elongate smile (celebrity tip).

3. Don't smile too big to avoid gums from being overexposed.

4. Be sure to stand tall to lengthen the neck.

(Post inspired by NewBeauty/Summer 2011)


Blot It Out

The only things that should shine are your hair, the sun and your best friends (diamonds)!

Keep your t-zone in check with blot paper. Unfortunately not all blot papers are created equal.

You have to find one that:

* erases the shine with without taking off your makeup.
* has finely milled powder to prevent product buildup.
* mattifies skin without a drying appearance.

Brands I like:

The MAC Cosmetics Blot Film: Perfect travel size -- 30 sheets/$13.50.
The BOSCIA Blotting Linens: A green option free of dyes, chemicals, parabens and sulfates. Great for sensitive skin. 100 sheets/$10 at Sephora.
The SONIA KASHUK Blotting Papers oversized blot tissue. 100 sheets/$7 (VALUE)

Blotting papers keep skin fresh and shine free -- great on makeup-free faces too! They're a staple item in my kit and are perfect for male and female clients alike.

Do you use blotting papers? Post your favs in the comments section.

Bold Lips for Summer 2011

The ongoing trend to sport a bold red lip adds a certain confidence to any look. In case you're uncertain about what shade works for you, follow these guidelines:

For fair skin, try orangey reds. Medium tones should stick with a true red. Dark skin looks best in deep brick or blue reds.


  1. Make sure your lips are prepped in advance. Use a baby toothbrush, granulated sugar and olive oil to slough away dry skin.

  2. Prevent bleeding color by applying lip pencil in a matching shade and smudge to soften line. Or you can use a clear lip liner from L'OREAL Crayon Petite Automatic Lip Liner at$9. I like the SMASHBOX Nude Lip Liner/$16. Available in four shades.

  3. Apply lipstick with a lip brush for even application. Blot with tissue and reapply to lock in color. You can also use a little foundation around natural lip line to "clean up."

These tips work for any bold color: deep berries, magentas, fuchsias and oranges! Don't forget to carry the lip color with you for reapplication. At end of day, use an oil-based makeup remover to remove all residue. If you're still nervous about the impact of full color, go for a lip stain instead.

(story inspired by from, Getty images)


Whether you choose to "beat your face" every day, opt for barely there makeup or none at all, we all want healthy clear skin. It's the key to a flawless look. I've been introduced to, a site that features products, skincare routines, and customized recommendations based on your personal profile. It also has a community board where you can chat about skin issues (hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores and rosacea) and compare what works with a SkinTwin (someone with a skin profile like yours).

Finding a solid skincare regime can be costly (trial & error methods) and dermatologists are expensive. What's really cool is that is completely 100% unbiased. They don't push products. Online consults are tailored to your needs specifically and based on stuff you already use. Purchase products from brands like MURAD, ANTHONY LOGISTICS for Men and OPI to name a few. provides expert assistance to all ethnic backgrounds, age groups and both sexes. And did I mention that it's F.R.E.E?

More news coming on this phenomenal site soon...Stay tuned!


Don't Neglect Your Neck

Many of us are committed to our makeup and skincare routines...but it's not all about face. Your neck and decollete need TLC too. It's been said "the neck tells the story" and it's soooo true. Due to age and hormone changes, your neck is prone to skin discoloration, ingrown hairs (yuck!), lack of tone and wrinkles. Pay attention to these body parts since they're exposed during everyday activities like walking and driving.

Bring It Down: You can apply the same exfoliating products, moisturizers and sunscreens to your neck and chest. Use scrubs with soft beads to avoid irritation to these sensitive areas. For mild body acne, try an anti-bacterial wash like DIAL All Day Freshness Lavender & Twilight Jasmine AntiBacterial Body Wash/$4 at Walmart. Or mix a few drops of tea tree oil with distilled water in the shower and apply to neck and chest.

* Reduce wrinkles by being propped up properly. Deep creases may be caused by the constant strain of looking down.
* Apply face masks to neck and chest area too. Follow with a cool water rinse to close pores.
* Give your neck a gentle massage with slow stretches to keep it toned.

(post inspired by
(image from


DIY Natural Hair Mask for Dry Hair

Hair goes through alot during this time of year. Exposure to the sun, swimming, exercising and changing our hair color can strip the hair of moisture and weaken our locks. Who has time to hit the salon every week? Not me!!! So, I'm sharing an easy inexpensive recipe to restore shine, moisture and softness to hair.

For Dry Hair: Mix one half of a mashed avocado with 1/2 cup of *olive oil and 1/4 *almond oil. If you have an itchy scalp, massage the mask into your scalp for five minutes. Be sure to coat all of your hair with the mixture. Cover your head with a plastic cap for fifteen minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Continue with your shampoo/conditioning routine.

*The fatty acids in the two oils are super hydrating and strengthen the hair. The protein and amino acids found in the avocado also fortify the hair shaft and leads to less breakage.

This DIY deep conditioning treatment is essential for healthy hair. Two of my other favorite hair secrets: I rub pure coconut oil onto my hair prior to relaxing and I trim my ends every two to three weeks. Share your hair care secrets with us here...would love to hear from you. Check out InStyle for the 50 Best Hair Tips from around the world.


DARK & LOVELY Fashionista Casting Call

(above image credit: WireImage)

The DARK & LOVELY kickoff event at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC was quite the success. Brown beauties came out in droves to compete in the live casting flawless makeup and perfectly coiffed hair! All in hopes of winning a trip for two, a shopping spree, a celebrity styled makeover and an ad in Essence -- pretty cool prizes. Brand ambassador, Bria Murphy, looked amazing in a burgundy dress and a modern bob (one of my favorite hair styles -- easy maintenance). She was joined by Mikki Taylor, Angela Guy, SOFTSHEEN CARSON GM, Corynne Corbett, Essence Beauty Director and Carlton Jones, celeb stylist. You still have a chance to enter this contest. It ends August 8, 2011!

Guests received complimentary hair consultations and product review from SOFTSHEEN CARSON's style squad. The Healthy Gloss 5 Shea Moisture No-Lye Relaxer now includes a Keratin Silk Protein treatment in each kit. There's even a relaxer for color treated hair. For more details on this product, click this link.


The "How To" For All Over Sexy Summer Skin

Today I found myself at the beach, slathering on sunscreen and sipping icy cold water. It gave me the chance to take a good look at my skin in natural light. My thoughts? Since this is the season of baring skin, I want to do all I can to make sure my skin looks and feels great.

Isn't it ironic that I came across an article from GLAMOUR featuring product finds for all over beautiful skin? I'll share some of Baze Mpinja's (GLAMOUR Beauty Editor) tips with you.

1. PROTECTION: I'm on the right track. Protecting your skin takes priority on the list. In the world of peels and laser treatments, basic coverage with a good sunscreen is a must. Make it easy --choose a sunscreen or moisturizer with an SPF 30 and antioxidants like green tea and Vitamins A or C. Try Origins A Perfect World SPF 35 UV Face Protector/$27.50. Don't forget your neck and chest!

2. FIGHT: Chest breakouts can easily be remedied with a salicylic wash. Shower with an antibacterial soap right after your workout or at end of day since trapped sweat can clog pores. Try Neutrogena Body Clear Scrub/$6 to gently sweep away dead skin cells without pore-clogging residue.

3. SMOOTH: With barely there ensembles, you want your legs to be scar free. A fresh blade will help to avoid nicks when shaving...change frequently. And try not to scratch bumps or dry spots. Keeping your skin hydrating is essential. Sometimes I switch my body lotion with Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil Gel with Shea Butter & Cocoa Butter. Conditions and nourishes my legs with natural ingredients and leaves behind a great glow.

Get more body beautiful recommendations here.

(Post inspired by Baze Mpinja for


Dark & Lovely 2011 Fashionista Model Search

Calling all DARK & LOVELY BLACKswan beauties! I've got a special casting event just for you. You could win BIG!

The event includes a panel discussion on beauty and fashion with brand ambassador, Bria Murphy, ESSENCE Beauty Director, Corynne L. Corbett, celebrity stylist Carlton Jones and celebrity hairstylist Eric Bland.

Get your photo taken on site AND a mini Q&A explaining Why You Are Dark and Lovely? Grand prize includes a trip to NYC for two, a $5K shopping spree and a hair makeover by artistic style director, Johnny Wright. Even better, you will star in your own ad in ESSENCE Magazine. Takes place on June 15th. All Big Apple bellas should come to the Metropolitan Pavilion (hope to see you there)! The rest of you can register online/click here to enter. Contest ends August 8, 2011.


Chanel Aviator Sunglasses

Squinting against the sun is not a good look. Every gal should have a great pair of shades that make her feel like a superstar. A good pair of Aviators will get the job done for sure. Popular since the 1960's, aviator glasses protect the eye from glare completely. And CHANEL guarantees protection with style. These Aviator shades have a gradient lens in a structured metal frame, frontal logo and lambskin temple tip detail for ultimate comfort. Available in three different styles: gold frame/brown lens; silver frame/grey lens or silver frame/violet lens. $290 at Nordstrom.


MAC Sized To Go Collection

It's slightly annoying squeezing your favorite skincare products into those little travel sized bottles every time you head to the airport. Thankfully, MAC COSMETICS has come up with an amazing launch to meet every MAC addict needs: the MAC Sized To Go Collection allows you to carry on your regime in travel friendly units. Everything you need to keep skin cleansed, hydrated and refreshed.

Cleanse Off Oil/$10

Cleanse Off Oil/Tranquil/$10

Fix +/$10

Pro Eye Makeup Remover/$10

Demi-Wipes --30 full sized wipes/$15

Strobe Cream/$15

Studio Moisture Cream/$15

Green Gel Cleanser/$10

Oil Control Lotion/$15

Only at MAC stores in the US June 9th/available abroad in July.


MAC & The Blogger Collection

It's an amazing thing -- this beauty blogger/brand collabo. MAC COSMETICS consulted with 80 beauty gurus for this upcoming launch. Talk about the voice of the people -- all bloggers were asked to submit color concepts for two of MAC's top selling items: lipglass and eyeshadow. The handpicked winners were flown to the MAC factory in Canada for their creative input on formulas, textures and shades. Check out what they came up with.

Nitrolicious is a lipglass I would wear for intense red with high shine. Would love to see how All Of My Purple Life looks on me. And the shadows, Sparkle, Neely, Sparkle* (a deep rusty brown with champagne-colored sparkle) Parisian Skies (a muted grey-blue) and Jealousy Wakes (emerald green tinged with teal and a gold pearl) are bee-u-tee-ful! Perfect to use as shadow for a smokey eye or liner. Truth be told, I like all of the shades...they're rich and sexy!

Only downfall, the launch is exclusive to All makeup mavens can purchase The Bloggers Obsessions Collection on June 21, 2011/$14.50 per item.

*Sparkle, Neely, Sparkle was created by The Beauty Blogging Junkie, Amber Katz. The other bloggers are Afrobella, The Makeup Girl, Lipstick Powder N Paint, Temptalia, Makeup and Beauty Blog, Nitrolicious, The Shades of You and The Beauty Maverick who all deserve a standing ovation. Congratulations to all contributors for your dedication to beauty!

Vaseline -- The Beauty Balm

Vaseline is one of the items we all keep on our vanity,in medicine cabinets and purses. Why? It's cheap and it has a bevy of uses. It prevents chafing, wind burn, and treats chapped lips. But it does so much more:

  • Dab it onto your brow and cheek bones as a dewy highlight.

  • Coat your lashes with a bit of Vaseline to protect and make them look thicker.

  • Rub it into fingertips to fight cracked cuticles and moisturize nails.

  • After a shower, massage a thin layer of Vaseline into hands and feet and cover with socks. Softens feet and improves circulation.

  • Mix with sea salt as a scrub to gently exfoliate heels.

  • Apply as a barrier before applying hair dye and relaxers.

  • Use as a base for lipstick or simply as a gloss.

  • Retaining water? Smooth on fingers so rings slip on and off easily.

Do you have a unconventional use for Vaseline? Please share with us in the comment box below.

(Photo from