Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bin-Worthy Beauty

We BGs love makeup, which means that we probably own a ton of it that needs to be tossed! I know that I have plenty of bin-worthy beauty products that are no longer good, but still taking up space in my makeup drawer.

In most cases, the expired cosmetics have been barely used or we simply don’t realize that our makeup must-haves are in need of a replacement. Wearing old products can wreak havoc on our skin and cause nasty bacterial infections that are not pretty!

BGG has gathered the facts to let you know the lifespan of the most common cosmetics.

According to various studies:

Mascara – Needs to be discarded 3 months after use
Lipstick – Toss after 2 years
Eyeliner Pencils – Replace within 3 to 6 months
Foundation – Find a new one between 6 months to a year after use
Blush, Eye-shadow, Face Powders – Get rid of after 3 years

Also, if any of your products have an odor or have changed colors, those are obvious signs that it's time to throw them away!

Do you pay attention to the shelf-life of your beauty products?

Monday, September 29, 2008

BGG Chats with Singer Michelle Williams

Last week, I had the chance to speak with 1/3 of the superstar group Destiny's Child - Michelle Williams. Her latest CD, "Unexpected," which is her third solo release is in stores October 7th!

Check out our Q&A:

BGG: Tell me a little bit about “Unexpected.”
MW: My album is entitled, "Unexpected." I was more hands-on with this project more than I’ve ever been on a solo project. There are a lot of dance songs. It was just unexpected. I just didn’t expect it to go that route (dance). I originally planned on doing your typical R&B album, but I let my mother listen to that first album and she did not like it. She was like it’s, “alright.” Those were her exact words. (laughing) So we changed some things.

BGG: Do you have any gospel songs on this album?
MW: I do have a song on there called, “The Greatest.” There are times when I’ve sang that song and thought about how great God is to me. So I’m not forgetting about gospel. Gospel is still my first love.

BGG: You were brought up in the church, right?
MW: Yes, so gospel is in me. It’s not going anywhere! People will still know that I still have that church sound.

BGG: I know that Solange wrote your hit single, “Break the Dawn,” what other producers and writers did you work with on “Unexpected?”
MW: Stargate, Jim Johnson, Andrew Framptom, Wayne Wilkins, Rico Love etc. Rico actually wrote and vocally arranged and produced the entire album. I really like working with producers who…(pause) Well I know that you have to get paid, because I would want to get paid, but I hate producers that all they do is take a track. But Rico took the time and was like, “Michelle, you’ve got something, I believe in you.” So he really cultivated what I have. You know how Janet Jackson has Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis? They know Janet. To me they bring out the best in her and that’s what I feel Rico Love does for me.

BGG: How did it feel to have that song ("We Break the Dawn") be at the top of the dance charts this summer? Was that unexpected for you?
MW: It was VERY unexpected. I was like, “Wow, This is absolutely amazing,” but I didn’t get too caught up in it. I really didn’t even celebrate because I still have a long way to go. I was really grateful for that #1 spot, but there are other charts that I’d like to conquer as well. I’m still trying to get on that top R&B airplay to make sure that my album stays on the Top 200. There are so many other charts, but I was very, very happy about that. Dance radio was the first to play anything from my album so I really appreciate dance radio for that.

BGG: Do you have any collaborations on this CD? I know that you worked with Flo-Rida on “Break the Dawn.”
MW: Yeah, he did the remix. Like I said, the only feature on there is me! (laughing) For “Hello Heartbreak” there is a remix that I’m not supposed to even know about, but somebody opened up their mouth and told me. I haven’t heard it yet, so I can’t even say who it is. (laughing)

BGG: Was your ex-fiance the inspiration behind some of the songs on “Unexpected?”
MW: The first draft of the album absolutely, but this album it wasn’t about …Well this album is about love, relationships and heartbreak, but with this album the person who is not even in love can relate because it doesn’t even matter.

BGG: What’s your next single going to be?
MW: "Hello Heartbreak" and "The Greatest." I actually just shot the video for “The Greatest” yesterday.

BGG: I know that you’ve worked on Broadway in the past; do you see yourself doing that again in the future?
MW: Yes, I’d love to! In between each album I want to do a Broadway show. That’s what I want to do!!

BGG: You have a new look this time around. How would you describe your new style?
MW: I cut my hair. I have an edgier look. To me it’s fun.

BGG: It’s just an extension of your personality.
MW: Yeah, I just feel freer. When I cut my hair my whole vibe just changed like “ooh!” (laughing) But eventually I will grow it back. Sometimes I do miss my long hair.

BGG: But change is good.
MW: Yeah!

BGG: How’s your experience been while being a judge on MTV’s Top Pop Group? Who are you most like, Simon, Paula or Randy?
MW: I’m a combination of Simon and Paula. I told the groups if someone like TLC or Whitney Houston or somebody could’ve given me pointers…true pointers. Telling me the truth on how they feel. So I had the chance to talk to one group that were sent home after the show. When I was about to leave, something in my spirit told me to go back and talk to them. I gave them some good advice and they seemed to really appreciate it.

BGG: What’s your fondest Destiny’s Child memory?
MW: My fondest memory was when we were in Virginia and we saw a Waffle House restaurant! That tour bus went (screeching sounds)...!!

BGG: How long ago was that?
MW: That was in 2005. That was a hilarious moment. We were acting like some little kids who had never seen anything!

BGG: When do you think Destiny’s Child will reunite?
MW: Well in 2005 we retired Destiny’s Child. That was the craziest thing. During our last show, our publicist looked at us like, “When are you guys going to make the big announcement?” B (Beyonce) and I looked at each other like, “I’m not saying anything!” (laughing) So then Kelly stepped up and said it. I couldn’t bring myself to say it. A lot of rumors have come around these past couple of months that we're getting back together and I don’t know where they’re coming from because we honestly haven’t talked about business in like 3 years.

BGG: So no reunions anytime soon basically?
MW: No.

BGG: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not recording or performing?
MW: I really enjoy just hanging out at home. I live in a nice small town outside of Chicago and I love it! I have wild turkey and deer in my backyard!

BGG: You seem to have a really great sense of humor. Were you always funny?
MW: I was actually. Yes, yes, yes! The older I get…I get it from my dad’s mother. She’s hilarious!

BGG: What would you like to tell your fans?
MW: Everybody in New York has been the absolhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifute greatest. They have been so supportive and just wonderful to me and I have to say thank you for that. I love all my fans around the world!

Click here to watch Michelle's video, "We Break the Dawn."

Oh and in case you thought I forgot, the winner of Usher's new fragrance for women is...Eb the Celeb!

Congratulations! Please email me with your mailing address info.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ravishing Ruffles!

Want to look sexy, ladylike and chic all at the same time? Well, the key to achieving this look is easy when you drape yourself in ruffles! Of course ruffles have ripped the runway for a few seasons now, but this fall they have never looked so pretty! Whether you opt for chiffon or even tweed, this wearable trend allows you to explore your super girly side, while still maintaining a sleek and sophisticated style.

Would you wear ruffles?

Check out these lovely pieces:

I actually received this adorable, yet practical tank during Fashion Week. I absolutely love it! Plus, it's only $24. I've worn it twice under a cropped jacket already. Available at www.express.com

Herringbone Fiona Jacket available at www.jcrew.com for $150

Wrap Ruffled Dress available at www.standardstyle.com for $117

Ruffled Silk Wrap available at www.gap.com for $39.99

Phoebe Couture Ruffled V-Neck Dress available at www.nordstrom.com for $288

Max Studio Ruffle Sweater Dress available at www.maxstudio.com for $88

William Rast Ruffle Broken Twill Jacket available at www.nordstrom.com for $398

Arden B. Long Sleeve Ruffle Top available at www.ardenb.com for $48

Brown Graphic Tweed Ruffle Coat available at www.bluefly.com for $270

BCBG Max Azria Ruffle Shirt Dress available at www.nordstrom.com for $87.90

Black Poly-Taffeta Ruffle Dress available at www.bluefly.com for $209

Bebe Ruffle Soft Leather Bomber Jacket available at www.bebe.com for $249

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fresh Fragrances for Fall

With the onset of the fall season, many things begin to change and fragrances are no exception. During the colder months, many people often switch up their scents. This fall there are plenty of new perfumes that are worthy of a whiff. From Usher's new fragrance for women to Ralph Lauren's latest addition. Whether you prefer fruity, floral smells or earthy aromas, this fall there's a fragrance that you'll fancy!

Do you use the same perfume year-round or do you change it with the seasons?

Usher Raymond for Women 3.4oz fruity floral fragrance available at department stores nationwide for $68

Lolita Lempick 1oz. Eau De Parfum Spray is a warm exotic scent of granginpani blossoms available at www.sephora.com for $46

Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker 3.4oz exudes creamy musks along with sandalwood and orris smells available at www.sephora.com for $68

Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto Collection 0.17 oz comes in Heaven, Shine and Charms available at www.sephora.com for $30

Viva La Juicy 1.7oz Eau De Parfum is a blend of mixed berries, vanilla, jasmine, gardenia and caramel available at www.sephora.com for $65

Ralph Lauren's Notorious for Women 1 oz. Eau De Parfum has an alluring lay of spicy oriental scents available at www.sephora.com for $42

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shopper's Delight

When it comes to shopping, there are usually only a few stores I frequent. I am all about hunting for fabulous fashions that don’t cost a fortune. That’s why some of my favorite places to buy clothes are Daffy’s, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Century 21 and Filene’s Basement. These chain discount stores are the best for finding designer bargains for less, especially during these uncertain economic times. I’ve found some of the cutest dresses, shoes and handbags that would ordinarily be out of my budget, but got them at affordable prices at these stores. It's funny because none of my friends or family enjoy going to any of these stores because they're usually disorganized with too much merchandise to sift through, but for me that's part of the thrill and allure. To me, visiting bargain basement stores are akin to going on a treasure hunt!

Oh and of course you guys know how much I love to shop online (Macys.com, Nordstrom.com and Shopstyle.com)!!

Where are your favorite places to get fabulous fashions?

Monday, September 22, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Thanks to all who left a comment every day last week in honor of BGG's 1-year anniversary. As promised, one lucky reader has won the gift bag filled with fabulous goodies worth over $300!

And the winner is...

Congratulations MakeupbyRenRen!!

I want to give a special thanks to my wonderful sponsors. I have used and love every last one of the products that were included in the gift bag. So a big thanks goes to Cetaphil, Bliss, Miss Jessie's, Susan Posnick, Neutrogena, Dr. Miracle's, Sally Beauty, A Design Brushes, Barackawear and Smashbox. I want to especially thank Melissa S. who really helped make this giveaway possible!!

Last but definitely not least, I want to give an extra special thanks to those readers and fellow bloggers who have been with BGG since the beginning: K-Bear, Mimieyes, Kwana, Ondo Lady, T, Anthesis, PCD, PJD, B., Meme, KBL, NerdGirl, Kittyvodka, Soul, Solshine, 12Kyle, Don, and Dominican Enigma!!! :-)

I'm going to take the day off and reflect on the wonderful year I've had with BGG. Stay tuned to for more fun giveaways!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

BGs & the Big Screen

Ever wonder why movies like, Love Jones, The Best Man, Brown Sugar and other similar films are rarely found in theaters? Well, the answer is complex and is often a result of racism, but there are a couple of obvious ways that we can reverse this disparity so that our stories are shown on the big screen too.

Last Friday, I attended an interesting panel discussion about the state of black women in Hollywood hosted by Essence during the Urbanworld Film Festival here in NYC. The panel consisted of famed TV producer Suzanne de Passe (Zane: The Sex Chronicles, Sister, Sister, etc.), director/writer Gina Prince-Bythewood (Secret Life of Bees, Love & Basketball, etc.), actress Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and SVP, Production for Fox Searchlight Zola Mashariki (Notorious B.I.G). They spoke about the difficulties of breaking into the world of film for African-Americans, particularly African-American women, as well as solutions that could possibly make a difference.

From left, Suzanne De Passe, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Sophie Okonedo.

According to these esteemed panelists, the following two actions can help us get quality movies that we want to see in the theaters:

*Stop buying boot-legged DVDs!!
*Support films that star a predominately ethnic cast during the opening weekend!!

So go out and see the Secret Life of Bees starring, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys when it comes out in theaters on October 17th. Click here to view the trailer.

If we support films featuring us BGs and guys, perhaps more will be made for all of us to enjoy!

What is your favorite film starring an African-American cast? What are your thoughts on this subject? Are you guilty of partaking in movie piracy? Come on, BGG won't tell on you! :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Best Beauty Buys For Under 5 Bucks!

I know that BGG oftentimes encourages you to run out and buy a luxurious lipstick, or a pricey compact, but I know that times are hard. With the stressful economic struggles that we’re currently facing it can be unwise to make unnecessary expensive purchases; that’s why I’ve found these great beauty buys for under $5. Drugstore brands are usually just as good as the department store kind. Being beautiful doesn’t always have to break the bank.

Do you prefer purchasing drugstore brand cosmetics or higher-end makeup lines?

Check these out:

Covergirl Wetslicks Lipstick available at www.drugstore.com for $4.74

Jane Blushing Cheeks available at www.drugstore.com for $3.32

Max Factor Eyelash Curler available at www.drugstore.com for $4.29

Maybelline Shine Free Foundation with H20 available at www.drugstore.com for $4.49

Milani Lipsticks available at www.drugstores.com for $3.49

Physicians Formula Mineral Eyeliner Pencil available at www.drugstore.com for $4.17

Revlon Fabulash Mascara available at www.drugstore.com for $4.93

Say Yes to Carrots Lip Butter available at www.drugstore.com for $3.69

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Get Cuffed!

Accessories are a must for those who want to create a chic, polished look. This fall season it's all about cute cuff bracelets to add that extra dose of glamour. Cuffs come in an array of styles, sizes, textures and materials. Find one that suits your style and get cuffed!

Would you wear cuff bracelets?

Check out some of these:

Kara Ross Small Python Gold Cuff available at www.vivre.com for $316

Sibillia Concentric Circle Cuff available at www.vivre.com for $185

Marc by Marc Jacobs Faux Bow Solid Crazy Cuff available at www.shopbop.com for $78

Forever 21 Arrow Metal Cuff available at www.forever21.com for $5.80

Lisa Stewart Braided Rope Cuff available at www.vivre.com for $172

Kara Ross Large Oval Cuff available at www.saks.com for $275

Fendi Logo Cuff available at www.netaporter.com for $280

Leaf Recycled Metal Cuff available at www.target.com for $38

Liz Claiborne Fresh Pain Textured Cuff available at www.lizclaiborne.com for $32

Kenneth Jay Lane Snake Cuff available at www.shopbop.com for $110

Textured Layered Cuff available at www.nordstrom.com for $138

Monday, September 15, 2008

BGG Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary!!

**First, let me say that my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Texas who have been affected by Hurricane Ike. K-Bear, I hope that you are back on your feet soon. :-)

I can't believe it's been one whole year since I launched Brown Girl Gumbo. It all started last September with me wanting to share my love of writing about fashion, beauty and entertainment with like-minded women via the internet. I had no idea who, if anyone, would find my site and read it. Slowly, but surely I began to find an audience who has been loyal, kind and SUPER supportive. I know it sounds corny, but I really couldn't have done it without you!! I appreciate every single one of you who reads and enjoys BGG. I especially want to thank those readers who leave comments because it lets me know that there are people out there who are reading, but I love the ones who don't comment too! :-)

In celebration of my 1-year anniversary, I want to give one lucky reader a gift bag filled with goodies worth over $300. Starting today (September 15th), all you have to do is leave a comment everyday until September 21st. I will take all of your names and put them in a hat and draw one lucky reader at random on September 22nd. This contest is only eligible for readers living within the United States. The winner will be announced on September 22nd (my actual anniversary). The prize will be delivered within 2 weeks of the announcement.

Have you ever won anything from a contest?

Here are some goodies that will be included:

Barack the Vote 3/4 t-shirt retails for $25 at www.barackawear.com

Miss Jessie's Curly Meringue Hold Styling Cream retails for $38 at www.missjessies.com

Neutrogena Moistureshine Lipsheers Lipstick retails for $9 at drugstores nationwide

Dr. Miracle's Oil Sheen retails for $8.99 at drugstores nationwide

A Design Brush Set retails for $63 at www.adesignbrushes.com

Tools Science Nano Silver Digital Styling Iron retails for $89 at www.sallysbeauty.com

Smashbox Bionic Mascara retails for $19 at www.nordstrom.com

Bliss Hot Salt Scrub retails for $36 at www.blissworld.com

Neutrogena Nourishing Eye Duo in Iced Coffee retails for $7.64 at drugstores nationwide

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser retails for $7.99 at drugstores nationwide

Susan Posnick Colorflo Mineral Foundation retails for $64 at www.susanposnick.com