Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fashionable Foodie

Most of us know fellow BG, Padma Lakshmi as the host of Bravo’s culinary contest show, Top Chef, but she is actually a well-respected food aficionado. In fact, she has a new cookbook entitled, “Tangy Tart, Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Everyday.” As I’ve written before, I’ve got quite a passion for collecting cookbooks and with a tasty title like that; I had to pick it up. Besides, who doesn’t like tangy, tart, hot and sweet foods?

This vibrant cookbook is filled with tantalizing recipes including everything from South Asian salads to Rice Krispie-battered fried chicken. Because Padma is Indian, she added a few recipes that reflect and celebrate her heritage as well. Writing her recipes in a style similar to short essays gives the book a friendly feel, while the personal photos add flair. Not only is Padma a true foodie, she also has a killer sense of style that rivals some of the hottest fashionistas in the country. Now if only we could get those super skinny models to pick up this cookbook and check out Padma’s style, then maybe they would see that one can actually eat and enjoy food and still be fashionable!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gangsta Lovin'

If you don’t do anything this upcoming weekend, make sure you go check out Denzel Washington’s latest movie, American Gangster also starring the incredibly hunky Russell Crowe. This extremely gritty, edgy and perfectly executed tale based on the infamous Harlem drug lord, Frank Lucas’ life had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

It follows the life of the drug kingpin’s rise to the top of the narcotic trafficking ladder in Harlem during the Vietnam era. Crowe plays Officer Richie Roberts, one of the few good cops who try to take down the drug empire. While both actors seemed to have done an outstanding job capturing their character’s personality, Washington embodied the arrogance, ruthlessness and greed of the very complex Lucas character effortlessly. His ability to make you feel like he was the heartless and cold-blooded Frank Lucas is a skill that not many actors possess. Washington’s riveting performance will definitely land him an Oscar nomination and if it doesn’t, the powers that be in Hollywood must be smoking that blue magic (heroin) that Lucas pushed back in the late 60s and 70s!

Even though the movie was entertaining, it still leaves you with a pain in your gut because you know that it is based on real facts. We all know that the insurgence of drugs within the African-American community during that period set the tone for the demise of our families across the country for years to come. Nonetheless, as I’m sure all BGs will agree, Washington’s captivating portrayal never made a gangster look so good!

In theaters, Friday, November 2nd nationwide, but I've been told it's already been on the streets...bootlegging at it's finest.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cute Coats for the Cold

With the air getting more brisk and cool, it’s time to find that perfect coat! Being from Chicago and now living in NYC, I know all about blistering cold weather. That’s why I’m always on the prowl for finding a coat that has the perfect mix of both warmth and style. Over the years, I’ve bought many coats that were too fashionably fabulous to pass up, but too thin to really keep me warm; or a super warm and comfy coat that didn’t exude an ounce of chicness making me look like an unattractive Eskimo. Remember, during the fall and winter months, your coat is the first thing that people see and it should look as pulled together as your clothes underneath.

That’s why this year I vow to purchase a coat that I can walk down the streets of NYC and feel warm without compromising sophistication or style. Seriously, how cute can you really be if you’re shivering like a person suffering from hypothermia? You can’t; so save time and money by purchasing a coat that can cover both bases. We BGs love fashion and hate being cold! So, check out some of these chic coats that will keep you warm and stylish.

Dereon Faux Fur Hooded Belted Jacket for $149 available at

Dereon Wool Melton 3/4 Button Front $199.00 available at

The North Face 'Metropolis' Parka for $279 available at

Soia & Kyo Saucer Button Walking Coat for $350 available at

Nine West Belted Coat With Detachable Fur Hood for $150 available at

Women's Frost Free Belted Anoraks for $78 available

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beautiful Black Books

I don’t know about you, but I love a nice coffee table book. Even though my current apartment is too small for me to even think about putting the tiniest coffee table in it, I still collect nice hard cover books for the day when I can actually move into a reasonably sized apartment where I can buy “real” furniture and fully decorate my humble abode, but I digress.

The photo-essay styled book was actually featured in this month’s Essence and showcases celebrity and everyday women with their fathers. Because I’m a sucker for celebrities and the art of photography, this book is a must-have!

Earlier this year, I came across a similar book entitled, “Pop: A Celebration of Black Fatherhood,” by Carol Ross that features a stunning collection of black & white photographs of African-American men with their children. I think both books are definitely worth purchasing because they're artistically beautiful and celebrate black fatherhood, which far too often gets a bad rap.

So go out and get these books because you can add sophistication and style to your space while supporting black authors and photographers. You know we BGs love dual-purpose purchases!

Available at for $27.95 (it goes on sale Oct. 30)

Available at for only $16.95 (this is steal because it was originally $29.95)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blushing Beauty

In my quest to find the perfect blush/bronzer, I made yet another trek to the beauty Mecca – Sephora! As you can probably tell by now, I have quite an obsession with buying products that will help give my skin that shimmery, golden/rose glow. After hearing so much hype about NARS’ blush/bronzer in Orgasm for years, I decided that I had to try its sister color – Lovejoy. Because we BGs don’t need that much color or shimmer to make our already beautiful skin radiate, this color perks up the cheeks and cheekbone perfectly. However, if you take my advice and try this blush/bronzer be sure to tap off the excess powder, otherwise, you could end up with cheeks as red as Raggedy Ann!

Available at Sephora: for $25

Here are a few examples of blush/bronzer done right by some of our favorite BG celebrities.

Halle Berry

Kerry Washington

Thandie Newton

Lauren London

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What About Your Friends?

We BGs always value our true friendships. However, there are times when one of your girls becomes more of a bother than a buddy. When that time comes you need to know when to cut her loose. Good friends are like fine wine, they usually get better with time, but with some women, that is just not the case.

I had the difficult experience of ending a nearly 4-year friendship recently that took a lot of consideration and introspection. Ending a friendship can sometimes be as emotional as breaking up with your beau. Although, I must admit the end result can leave you feeling empowered, liberated and burden-free! I know that’s exactly how I felt with my decision to end my friendship. Take note from that episode of Girlfriends when Joan and Toni finally called it quits. It may just be television, but Joan seems to be doing just fine without Toni even though it may have hurt in the beginning.

Our time on earth is just too short to deal with someone who doesn’t add anything to our lives, but drama, stress, jealousy and a laundry list of other negative attributes. Cherish those who are always there and hold them near and dear to your heart because true friends are really hard to find.

5 Tips on When You Should End a Friendship

1.When she only points out the negatives in things that pertain to you. Example: You tell her that you just bought a new fabulous dress and she says, “It’s cute, but isn’t that style so last season?”

2.When she doesn’t support your decisions. Example: You tell her that you’re breaking up with your boyfriend because you don’t feel he treats you with respect and she says, “Girl you better keep him, you know that he’s the best thing that’s happened to you; plus, we all know you can’t keep a man.”

3.You begin to dread her phone calls.

4.Hanging out with her drains you emotionally because she always has some kind of drama.

5.You always listen and provide advice to what’s going on in her life, but when it’s her turn to lend an ear and give you some feedback she’s too busy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Girl in Tinseltown

Remember last week when I said that I was going to check out a few other Tyler Perry films after seeing the brilliant Why Did I Get Married? Well, I got that chance this weekend. On Saturday I curled up on my comfy futon and wrapped myself in my favorite super soft pink robe and popped in the first movie in my personal Tyler Perry Catch-up series -- Daddy’s Little Girls. I had heard that it was a great movie with a positive message. I was really impressed with Idris Elba; I don’t know if I was moved by his character or mesmerized by his sexy swagger. At any rate, I thought that the movie was ok, but definitely not as good Why Did I Get Married. However, the performance by Tasha Smith was strong and I think that she could become a household name very soon. Her incredible and hilarious portrayal in Why Did I Get Married is going to catapult her into a new stratosphere. So here’s to our new “it” girl actress. Move over Kerry and Gabby!

5 Facts about Tasha Smith

She was born in Camden, NJ.

She has an identical twin sister, named Sidra.

She is a motivational speaker for kids in disadvantaged communities.

At the age of 18, she started doing stand-up comedy.

She is one of Tyra Banks’ best friends.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rachael Ray in Training?

Ever since I moved to New York I’ve realized how much I enjoy cooking. I find chopping fresh vegetables and prepping ingredients to actually be quite soothing. Preparing dinner has become the perfect antidote to having a hard and long day at the office.

Now just because I love to work my magic in the kitchen doesn’t mean that I’m signing up to be a contestant on the next season of Top Chef because I am far from that. In fact, I can’t even get my husband to eat any of my dishes, but that’s another story. So in an attempt to perfect my culinary craft, I’ve started collecting cookbooks.

Every BG should have at least 2 tried and true cookbooks that you can refer to when you want to try whipping up a new dish or find great menu ideas for your next dinner party. You know we BGs love to entertain! So get off the couch or in this case out of your chair and take a visit to your local Borders or Barnes & Noble and start browsing the cookbook section.

Here's one of my favorites. It's packed with dozens of tasty and easy recipes.

Available at for $19.77

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bag Habit

Like most BGs, I’m a handbag fanatic! Although I can’t afford to splurge on some of the designer brands like Fendi, Alberta Ferretti or Balenciaga, I still find classic styles that complement my wardrobe as well as my bank account. I know I told you about the “it” colors of the season last month – metallics, but the style of the moment is the quilted pattern. Designers are now mimicking the classic Chanel quilted look with their handbags. From a small and shady back room on Canal Street to high-end boutiques in Italy, the quilted bags are all the rage. I’ve seen this refined and chic style in a variety of colors and shapes. I haven’t purchased one just yet, but when I do, it’s going to be hot!

Check out some of my favorites:

Marc Jacobs Quilted Alyona: $1,375.00 available at

Helen Welsh Quilt Embossed Envelope Clutch: $198.00 available at

Francesco Biasia "Diva Dream Six" Nylon Satchel: $625.00 available at

Brahmin "Roxanne - Essex" Quilted Shoulder Bag: $250 available at

I don't like this one as much as the others, but it's the most affordable! Nine West Quilted Satchel: $59.00 available at

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Every BG has a favorite feature that they like to play up with makeup. Mine are my eyes, hands-down. I agree with the saying that the eyes are the windows into your soul. That’s why I make sure that my eyes reflect my soul, which I feel is beautiful. I beautify my eyes on a daily basis by lining them with the blackest of black eyeliner, followed by 2 coats of black mascara. I have tried tons of eyeliners and mascaras. I’ve used everything from designer products to the ones that you can find at your local drugstore. Throughout all of the different brands that I’ve applied, I stick to my tried and true favorites – Revlon Colorstay eyeliner in black and everybody’s favorite mascara – Maybelline Great Lash in blackest black. These two inexpensive products have never let me down. The properly applied combination of the two make my eyes pop without looking like Tammy Faye Bakker. I have oily skin so before I tried Revlon’s Colorstay eyeliner, my lids would look like I had used soot for eye shadow. Now my liner never smears, which is a hard feat for an oily girl like me. Not only does the mascara create to-die-for lashes, it also comes in a pretty pink and green tube. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if my eyelashes were false because of the unbelievable length that this mascara creates. If you want your eyes to look picture-perfect and camera-ready at all times, definitely give these two a try!

Available at or your local drugstore.

Available at or your local drugstore.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why Did I Get Married?

Why Did I Get Married? How many of us married folks have asked ourselves this loaded question? Truthfully speaking, I have never asked myself this question until I heard about Tyler Perry’s new movie, with the same title. So, this weekend I dragged my husband to see the movie because I’ve been dying to go to the movies since it’s the only place where I can stuff my face with nachos and eat obscene amounts of candy without feeling guilty. Of course, my hubby didn’t want to go because he knew it was a Tyler Perry movie and let’s just say, he isn’t a Madea fan. I reassured him that the hilarious and crazy old lady wouldn’t be making an appearance in this film so he reluctantly obliged and took me to see it on Friday. I had never seen any of Perry’s other movies, so I didn’t really know what to expect. To my pleasant surprise, it exceeded my expectations and was fantastic! Shockingly, my husband agreed that it was actually a very well written movie with a great message. All of the characters were relatable and flawed just like we are in our own lives. It really helped put marriage in perspective from different viewpoints. I think that I might have to hit the video store soon and pick up some of Perry’s other films and check them out because Why Did I Get Married was definitely a surprising treat. If you weren’t one of the millions who saw it this weekend, I highly recommend that you see it soon. In the meantime, check out some tips for having a healthy marriage or relationship.

Trust – If you don’t trust one another, your entire relationship will falter. Always tell the truth no matter how much you fear the repercussions. Like the Bible says, “The Truth Shall Set You Free!”

Communication – If you can’t talk openly to one another and express your feelings to your partner, then there’s definitely a problem. Never be afraid to tell him how you’re really feeling. Otherwise, don’t blame him when he doesn’t know why you’re upset.

Respect – If you don’t respect your spouse or boyfriend, your relationship is bound to fail. Remember, respect is a two-way street, if you don’t give it how can you expect him to?

Spirituality – If you’re not grounded spiritually with your partner, it can’t work. Always remember to put God first and the rest will fall in place.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

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:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

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 for: $14.99

Season 1: Available at for: $31.49

Season 2: Available at for: $32.99

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

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.

In the meantime, check out some of these hot mommas!

Our favorite BG definitely has that pregnancy glow as she leaves The David Letterman Show.

Nicole Richie finally has some meat on her bones and she looks great!

Is she or isn't she? This lovely Latina hasn't confirmed her pregnancy yet, but soon she won't be able to keep it a secret.

The superstar songbird Christina Aguilera has taken notes from J. Lo and hasn't confirmed or denied her pregnancy, but she's been spotted shopping for baby clothes, etc. in Hollywood.

Some of us old-school BGs remember Keisha from the Bad Boy girl group, Total, but she is now the wife of the yummy and oh-so chocolate Mr. Omar Epps.

Monday, October 8, 2007

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 for: $28

Thursday, October 4, 2007

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 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 for $11.99

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

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 for more information about each of the books.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

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.