All About The Pretty

A Southern Girl's Guide to All Things Beautimous

Monday, June 12, 2006

All About the Pretty Has Moved

Please check out the new link for the blog: All About The Pretty.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pretty Changes Are Coming

Ladies, I just wanted to let you know in the next few days you will see new changes for the blog. I have worked with an amazing graphic designer who is going to make the blog even more pretty than I could ever imagine. It's going to be more girly, more beautimous and definitely more pretty. The great thing about this designer is she is even designing my very own stationary. I love to write beautiful handwritten notes and it doesn't get any better than having your own stationary. I am so excited as if I just purchased a new beauty item. Of course I did. I purchased the Dior Sunshine Blush in Sunset Fiesta that Tia Williams posted on last week. Of course, I, the beauty junkie even coughed at the price. But today, on this beautiful spring like day in DC, I admit that I love this blush. I have to find if they are going to discontinue it. As soon as I fall in love with a product it disappears. On Friday, I had lunch with my friend Janelle and being that she is blonde, she mentioned that she didn't know if some of the products I mention will work for her. So for Janelle and my light skinned beauties here are a few products that will definitely work for ALL skin colors. For shimmer, you can't go wrong with Bobbi Brown's Shimmer Brick in Rose. Another amazing blush is Nars Cosmetics Blush in Angelika. It is a shocking pink color, shocking. But on top of a bronzer on the apples of the cheeks it's amazing, even for my brown skin. I also think the Dior Blush works on various skin tones. I hope you are a having a great weekend.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Pretty You Find When You Aren't Looking

I love finding the unexpected when you aren't actually looking. On yesterday I was able to find my perfect "fall nude" lip look without searching. After another 60+ hour week, I needed to walk out of the office and just take a much needed break. I headed over to H&M and picked up a few t-shirts and hoop earrings, but as I started back to the office, walked into Hecht's and here's what I found. I am not professing to be the next Rita Dove or poet laureate, but this cute and goofy rhyme popped into my head. All products by MAC. What to do, what to do I'm stressed and I don't want shoes I don't need another gloss for my lips but as my hips make there way to look I spot a gloss and I'm immediately hooked The sweet lady shows me the lipstick to match I try them together on my hand and immediately snatch them up as I say "I'll take both" "Cushy" liner goes with them you know The Lustre Glass is called Love Nectar and the lipstick called Touch and what I can ascertain from such is, I felt much, much better last night because there is nothing better than new makeup to make a girl feel right. Have a very pretty weekend. P.S. I know it's goofy, but I am having one of those goofy moments and the Dallas Mavericks one last night. Yeah!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Staying Pretty in the Heat II (Brand Names)

Ladies I am so sorry that I completly forgot to put brand names. So here you go: I use Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer in Deep Tint or Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with an SPF 20 in Walnut. I sometimes apply with my fingers, but most of the time I use a foundation brush, but only to certain areas. If you need the coverage of foundation, why not try a foundation stick, just to the areas you need to blend well, that way you don't have to use foundation over your entire face. I also use the Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick in Almond, but I have used Warm Walnut. Give those a try and let me know. I have foundation, but if I do use it, I try to use it in the fall/winter because it just seems so heavy for everyday wear. Please check out those blotting papers from The Body Shop. I think everyone will be highly pleased with those.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Joie de Vivre (Joy in Life) and Staying Pretty in the Heat Part II

This past weekend was one of those days that I am thankful to live in an area where I can walk around and enjoy the smaller things in life. Sunday, after a vigorous yoga workout, Deidre and I had lunch at a cute little bistro in Dupont Circle, then headed over to the Farmer's Market across the street. This is one of the reasons I truly enjoy living in the city. The simple art of enjoying a leisurely stroll and being chatty with a good friend is a great way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon. I love a really good Farmer's Market, such as the one here in DC. Not only is the produce, organically grown, fresh and free of pesticides, but they also have fresh flowers and body products. After buying a bouquet of beautiful peonies, I was able to snag homemade soaps from a little booth across the way and which do not have any preservatives. You have to sit the soaps out in the open for two weeks before using them otherwise they disappear rather quickly. I decided to sit them on top of my bar, next to the beautiful flowers on a cute little decorative salad plate. If I have to sit them out, I might as well make the soaps look extra pretty too. I didn't realize that most soaps we buy have preservatives to make them last longer. Funny, what you learn at the market. This company has organically grown soaps in a variety of scents that are so yummy. I can't help thinking these will make wonderful "just because" gifts to my mom, aunts, nieces and friends. I love surprising people with the unexpected handwritten note or little token of love to let them know what they mean to me. Random acts of pretty kindness abide wherever you choose to look. ( As I sit at my desk and think back to the weekend it truly reminds me once again of the European outlook on life. There is nothing better than coming home to fresh flowers. The great thing now is the cost is not too expensive. Here in DC you can buy 8-10 roses outside the Metro for about $6. This is almost the price of a large fancy coffee. I try to have fresh flowers every week in my home. I love putting them in empty candle jars by the bathroom sink, one in the bedroom in a small clear votive jar and one on my desk. This is a way to make your place very pretty even on a budget. Fresh flowers and buying from the local market to support independent commerce truly reminds me of my stay in Europe. They live this way everyday, as well as, many American cities such as San Francisco, L.A. and NY. This weekend do something for yourself. Say I love you, to yourself, with flowers. I hope everyone has a pretty weekend. I sure will. I inherited my love of any kind of lotion, potion, and body butter from my mom, aunts and grandmother. My mother and I can spend hours just smelling lotions from any store, from Target to the grocery store. So, I am ecstatic to discover this amazing new collection from Origins called Shedonism. Don't you just love a name that gives us ladies even more power. Well, I bought the Deeply Hydrating Butter Cream and Shaving Mousse. All I can say is move over other body butters, there is a new butter in town. I smelled so yummy that even I had to call mom and rave. Now, I have to go back and pick her up one. It's that great and in my Texas slang, "dog gone good." We all know Origins products are natural wonders, but who knew. I was all into the Ginger Souffle, but I had to put that down for this. Staying Pretty in Heat II: I was asked how do I keep my making from running in the summertime heat. The answer for me is to make sure to NOT use foundation. I think during the summer it's a great time to let your face breathe. I live by tinted moisturizer in the summer. It's light and airy and since it's moisturizer it completely blends in with your skin. If you want to target specific areas, I believe in foundation sticks and just target where you need it the most. To keep my eyeshadow from creasing, I apply loose powder to my lids before I apply my eyeshadow. I also tend to only use a cream eyeshadow as a highlighter and not in the crease. Also, what truly irritates me is to see all this heavy makeup in the summer time. Our clothes are lighter, bags brighter, but our skin looks too "made up." Instead of constantly applying powder to combat shine, just find a great blotting paper and do this throughout the day. You can find a lot of blotting papers at the drugstore, Sephora or higher end department stores depending on your budget. I try to change mine up. My favorite right now is from The Body Shop . I hope this helps with staying pretty in the summer heat. Adieu.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

With A Friend Like Tanya I Will Always Feel Pretty

Every woman should be blessed to have a friend who is a makeup artist and works for a makeup company. I am so fortunate to have a few who always keep me abreast of the latest lip glosses and beauty products to hit the cosmetic counter. My friend Tanya is such a person. Not only is she a great makeup artist, but a beautiful friend and person inside and out. I love that when we get on the phone we can dish about beauty products as if the Oscars are on daily. Last night I was able to get home at a decent time, cook and have a great glass of wine. I start flipping through my new Smithsonian member catalog and Tanya calls to see how I'm doing. We did the usual pleasantries and then the beauty marathon talk began. I am informed that I need these MAC products in my beauty arsenal right now. I am also told that they are launching June 1 and I need to get my beauty self down to the store and pick them up. I tell her that I just bought a bronzer from MAC, but no she tells me I need the Hooked Refined Enriched Bronze Bronzing Powder in the ever so fabulous irisdescent turquoise package. What is a girl to do. I listen and was also informed that I needed Sundressing Collection's Glamoursun Tinted Lip Glass and Lure Collection's Phosphorelle Tinted Lip Glass. I really began to shake my head until she tells me that Phosphorelle looks like the Elle lip glass from last year. I go "really, you gave that to me as a 'sister friend' gift." She immediately replies, "well I didn't mean to." We both crack up in hysterical laughter. I then hear her bemoan about how she couldn't find hers and didn't know what happened to it and she thought she lost it. I reiterated she gave it to me. Then she says, "I'm really sick now." We continued to laugh. I was also told to buy the Motif eyeshadow because it looks gold but goes on pink. I tell her I will take a look tomorrow. She states, "Julia, you need to buy, not look. You need these products in your life." I keep laughing, I have so many beauty products now because I desperately needed them in my life. She says to trust her. I just returned from the store with the above mentioned products. Since I don't know how long Phosphorelle will be around, I buy two for safe measures. Better safe than sorry in the beauty world. I take out an eyeshadow brush. (I leave a set of inexpensive brushes at my desk). I put the Motif on from lash to crease. Ladies, we all need some Motif in our lives. I'm having a really pretty day. Thanks again Tanya and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Staying Pretty in the Heat

It's official summer to me here in DC. Since I'm from Texas anything over 75 degrees is hot. I know many feel that is spring weather, but I continue to visualize that 90 degree temperature vastly approaching. Since we will be exposed to lots of sun, please make sure that ALL your daily moisturizes contain an SPF of at least 15. I make mine an SPF 45 by adding a little boost. Dermalogica makes a Solar Defense Booster which is an SPF 30. (Yes, African-Americans can get skin cancer.) Also, the sun causes wrinkles and hyperpigmentation of the skin. I know when I was a child my grandmother always called them liver splotches. It's the areas of the cheeks where you see darkening or lightening. Back then we didn't know the sun could cause damage to color pigmentation, but not until the past two decades have studies shown the various types of sun damage. Many over the counter products that contain hydroquinone can help the dark areas, but the BEST way is to add an SPF to your skin routine. I have tried it and found out that I am currently in love with Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream. I have used it over 20 days and must say that I really enjoy it at night. I love to use a heavier night cream and this will now be in the night cream rotation. Because I usually wash my face more with a glycolic wash more in the summer my face tends to become a little dry. I know many ladies have heard of Creme de la Mer and the price can be a little daunting for such a cream. I have found that the Bobbi Brown Extra Moisturizing Balm has a similar consistency and is around $80 cheaper. I also use Bobbi Brown's Vitamin Enriched Face Base which is a little lighter in consistency, but it just sinks in and traps all that great moisture into your skin. I am so excited because my favorite beauty shopping place, NM, has finally added Becca Cosmetics to its website. A few years back when Banana Republic came out with a line of lip glosses, they had this particular brown mocha color that I loved. Of course they discontinued it and I had to hunt to find a similar color. Then I found Becca Cosmetics at Nordstrom and they had it. I was satisfied. What happened? The Nordstrom in Houston's Galleria stopped selling Becca Cosmetics. I then found it at Sephora in Houston. What do they do? They stop selling Becca too. Well, I go to NM website and there in the Beauty and Skincare link is Becca Cosmetics. I was so excited that I ordered two tubes of the Glossy Lip Tint in Caipirinha (I'm trying to figure out why they named it after the famous Brazilian drink, but go figure). My day has gotten a lot prettier. I hope your day is as well. P.S. For all the ladies who are in love with Paris or any other city that captures your heart, you are not alone. There are many who understand.

Monday, May 29, 2006

French and Italian Language Podcasts

To find the French and Italian Language Podcasts go to the Music Store in iTunes. Click on the link for podcasts. Scroll down and then click on the "Education" link. Then select "all". After that a ton of names will pop up. Click on the "name" link to arrange in alphabetical order then look for "Learn Italian Pod." Hit subscribe and it will put it on your iPod. You might have to go back and subscribe to all the older podcasts, but it's worth it. The French Pod Class is also there. I hope this helps.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Allure Has Fondness for the French Pretty

I picked up the June 2006 Allure magazine and low and behold who is on the cover. Audrey Tautou, the French actress of Amelie fame and currently starring in the movie version of The Da Vinci Code. (In the letters to the editors there is a backlash of recent articles on the French). Of course, I am thankful to freedom of speech, it keeps things interesting. Most people who know me very well also know that I have a passionate and consuming love affair with everything French. I am a true Francophile. I was blessed to study the French language in Paris in 2001 and because of that I childhood love affair with the French became a burning obsession. I remember stepping off the plane in the Charles de Gaulle airport and just sitting down and becoming teary because here I was this Southern girl in this new city, by myself, in a country in which I had only studied the language during high school and college. I also remember the cab ride and my little apartment in the 12th arrondisement (12th district). I had a great time studying the language, but the real education came in studying the French women. As my classmates and I would retreat to the nearest cafe after class, you couldn't help but notice the great skin these women had and that you hardly ever saw an older woman with plastic surgery. I had to find out why. I went to the place that I had read in numerous magazines. Anne Semonin spa. I had a French facial. After this, my obsession with skincare became part of my life's mission, aside from reading every book on the Modern Library's List of the 100 Best Books. Of course, I had heard of Dr. Sebagh, the French dermatologist that all the supermodels, when they had true supermodels, took care of their skin, but at the time I couldn't afford him. So, I decided to go to the best aesthetician. The French believe that everything can be solved with a lotion, cream or other potion. They were the first to pioneer innovations in skincare with antioxidents, grape extracts, Vitamin C, extra. I love the lines of Sisley, Darphin, Clarins and Vichey (which is available stateside now). A great book is Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. He lived in France and wrote for LeMonde along with the New Yorker culminating in a great book. My other obsessions became Bordeaux, Buddha Bar and Hotel Costes CDs, linens, and Hermes scarves which I am trying to control. My friend Deidre and I had a discussion on how everywhere in France there is twice the focus on skincare. Sephora on the Champs Elysee has the largest skincare collection in one place. There are rows and rows of skincare as well as a perfume bar to get custom perfume. It's also interesting that Chanel is sold at the neighborhood pharmacy. I love shopping for my skincare in France because you get a 15% credit if you spend a certain amount of Euros. I am very thankful for Nora at Skin Beauty Lounge who takes care of my skin here in DC. I really appreciate, as I have stated before, the European way of viewing women as they age. They still find beauty and sexiness in an older woman. There is a rumor that a woman is planning to run for President of France. Not only is she smart, educated and intelligent, but the papers have also deemed her "sexy." How many times have you seen a newspaper in America say a 52 year-old woman was sexy. I think this is great. My current European obsession is Italy and Spain. I have downloaded Italian language classes to my Ipod because I want to know a little more of the language when I visit this summer besides hello, thank you and you're welcome. It's time to step up my languages to the next level. After Italian, I plan to conquer true Spanish. I think a trip to Madrid is in order. (Thank you Steve Jobs at Apple for creating the Ipod. No, I am not getting paid to say this, but I depend on this little gadget so much that I don't know what I would do without it.) I try to get to Paris once a year to do a skincare, candle, linens shopping spree. Since I have been back a few times, I tend to not do the "tourist" thing. The only museum I choose to visit is the Musee d'Orsay to see the beautiful impressionists on the 3rd floor. I love having a great cup of tea or cafe at Laduree (known for macaroons) and of course, beauty product shopping which for me is the Sisleya Eye Cream by Sisley products. I was very disappointed to hear the closing of La Samaritaine. This was a beautiful department store with a rooftop restaurant. You had the entire view of the city from the Eiffel Tower to the Sacre Coeur. I also love Galerie Lafayette because the painted ceiling is just so pretty to stare at. You walk into this store, look up and it's a piece of art.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The French Idea of Pretty

In today's New York Times Style Section, (, there is an article on how French women view makeup and what is considered pretty. I have visited Paris numerous times and I must say their skin is always fabulous because they focus on skincare more than makeup. The majority of their makeup lines do not have as many choices of color to choose from as here in America. I don't necessarily agree with the entire article, but I do find some points valid. I can appreciate a different perspective and wholeheartedly believe different views can be a great way of understanding what we deem as pretty. I hope you find it interesting. I did. When I head back to Paris for Thanksgiving, I hope to remember this article and maybe my beauty perspective will be a little more acute. I hope this blog makes everyone who visits feel pretty on the inside because that is what truly counts the most. Au Revoir P.S. I don't know how long the article will be available so please pass along to others.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Beauty Makeup and Fall Fashion Preview

Last night I attended the Fall Fashion Preview at the very pretty and elegant Corcoran Gallery of Art. I really love this museum and they have one of the city's best lecture programs. Edward Allen of the Nordstrom East Coast Fashion Office and THE Michael Fink of Saks discussed and showed a DVD presentation of what will be in for fall fashion, accessories and beauty. My main focus was of course the beauty. Here is a quick run down of what will be "All About the Pretty" for Fall 2006. Clothing: Volume, layering, leggings, black, fabric and less ornamentation. Accessories: The big bags are here to stay and will feature exotic skins such as crocodile, snakeskin, etc. Beauty: Here is where I am having some problems. The faces are supposed to bare and the nude look is in which I absolute hate. I believe all women need color somewhere on their face, even if it's a little pink on the apples of the cheek. According to M.A.C.'s Gordon Espinet: "Beauty this fall asks women to embrace their masculine sides. Brows are fuller and less arched, skin is matte and taupe is the new pink. It's very much about no color - not girly. It's also very much about lined and smudged eyes emitting the smoke signals of dark romance." PPPPLLLEEEAAASSSEE. All women want to feel pretty and everyone knows smoky eyes have to be toned down according to one's day job. I plan to invoke a "less made" up face with beautiful lashes and a strong mouth with a beautiful red lip. Summer hasn't even began and now we have to focus on fall. I've had two wonderful nights of culture. On Monday, my friend Janelle (another bibliophile) and I went to a book signing at Olsson's in Penn Quarter to see Curtis Sittenfeld read and sign from her new book The Man of My Dreams. Curtis is also the author of Prep. Prep was voted one of the 10 Best Books of 2005 by the New York Times Book Review. It is a great coming of age story about a young lady going through bordering school on the East Coast. It's similar to J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, only this time Holden is Lee Fiora. If you are a fan of great literature this should definitely be in your library. I recommended it to Janelle, but when she first saw the cover I think there was a little doubt. One 5-hour plane ride later and she was hooked. We are both now devoted fans of Curtis Sittenfeld. The prose is superb, the writing intriguing and it's really great to sometimes read a book that challenges the mind. The week has been wonderful and "oh so pretty." Have a great "hump" day. The weekend is almost here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Beauty Beauty Why Has Thou Forsaken Me

I had a free weekend all planned out for finding and discovery the new Azuree Collection from Tom Ford for Estee Lauder. I journeyed from the downtown DC to Tyson's Corner for a "me" day full of beauty shopping and some much needed time with self. Ladies, I was so disappointed at this line. I felt forsaken. Where were the colors for the Liya's of the world. First of all the colors, in my personal opinion, are not made for us brown skin girls. I looked and looked again and the only thing I thought was worth anything was this coral lip gloss. I thought the face glow and body tint gave me an ashy look which is so not cute in the summer. I also though the body tint was not up to par with Nars Body Glow. There was also a body oil spray for shimmer. I tried it on and once again disappointed. The cheek tints, which resembles Nars Multiples were not giving me goose bumps. I thought my heart would leap with this collection. I could see all that pretty robin's egg blue packaging displayed ever so elegantly on my bathroom countertops. Not happening with this line. The eyeshadow colors were just okay. It was nothing to right home about. Go see for yourself? If you find something in the collection you like, please let me know. Next, I headed to the Laura Mercier counter and let me just say that Ms. Tia was right on with the Translucent Loose Shimmer Powder in Stardust. The color is so flattering, not in a fake back tan sort of way, but a gorgeous shimmer. I applied it from cheeks to temples and just new it had to be part of the beauty shelf. This product is gorgeous. It is so light and airy that it screams of beautiful summer skin. The powder is so soft, I didn't use much, but I wanted to put it on every nook and cranny of my face. I then headed to Sephora. This is a beautimous girl's playground, the way Best Buy is for the guys. I love to wander through Sephora with Ipod plugged in. I put on the good music and proceed to just have fun. I was thoroughly pleased with Stila's Eyeshadow Trio in Bronze Glow. There is also Gold and Copper Glow as well. Just test them to see how great they are. Once I got home, I just couldn't help but play with all my new products. I applied a little bronze eyeshadow as a liner on my lower lashes really close to the lash line, which I rarely do, but I said "let's give it a try." I was reading the best beauty tips from May 2006 In Style and decided to pull out my makeup and have my own personal makeup session. Once I did this, I had to flip through my beauty books by Kevin Aucoin, Sam Fine, Trish McEvoy, Bobbi Brown and had a party for one. I put on the soundtrack to Grey's Anatomy, poured a wonderful glass of Bordeaux and felt like Eloise in my own personal Ritz. I had a pretty great weekend. I'm looking forward to Memorial Day. I just might happen to do it again.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Thank Goodness for Recess

I remember when I was in elementary we had a recess period everyday. Of course, back then I couldn't wait to grow up and get a job. Now that I have a job, I realize that our recesses only happen on the weekends and not everyday. I have been working constantly for a month and I finally have two whole free weekends before it picks back up June 5. What to do, what to do? My first duty is to plow through The Dante Club which I have been reading for two weeks and for me this is way too long. Working 16 hours a day does not make a voracious reader, it makes a sleep deprived, yoga deprived, cooking deprived, wine deprived and beauty deprived lady. I keep thinking of the rap lyrics from way back: "Back in the day when I was young, I'm not kid anymore, but sometimes I sit and wish I was a kid again." So true. My cure started on yesterday when I was able to leave work while it was still daylight. I wanted something pretty to prepare me for the weekend. I walked to my downtown Hecht's and started my quick search. I passed all the beauty counters, Benefit, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Clinique, MAC, and Lancome. I did a quick circle and there my new heart's desire. I bright pink and orange makeup bag at the MAC counter. I fell in love immediately. I had to have it. I looked around to see what I also wanted, how about a new Lip Gelee in Goldensoft, a beautiful shimmery gold gloss to go in the new bag. I can't wait until tomorrow when I head to Tyson's Corner for an All About The Pretty Day with Julia. I plan to do a little shopping, have lunch at Neimans, head to Bloomingdales, stop at the wine store and then head home to finally tackle all my May magazines. Recess is in session. Have a pretty weekend.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hand Cream and Philanthropy Are a Pretty Pair

I love a great hand cream. I am constantly in search of what will make my hands soft (1) because I wash them so much and (2) I want my hands to be as great as everything else on my body. So here are my top hand creams. L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream. Hands down this is the number one pick for hand cream. Over 10 years ago, I read in InStyle that this hand cream was wonderful. Back then the only place to find it was at Barney's in the Galleria. Of course, Barneys back then closed in 1993 and I was stuck. I eventually found it at a cute French like beauty emporium in the West University area in Houston. I am still hooked. I buy other hand creams but, I always make sure I have this one. I also buy the travel size, leave one at work, and place one in each purse, that way I don't have to transfer hand creams or lip balms from purse to purse. Most ladies have a few staple handbags that we really on 90% of the time. I have about 5 and I love knowing that each bag has all my essentials. When I first went to Europe, before the Euro and the loss of the American dollar, there were francs. Francs were so much cheaper. I remember buying about 10 tubes of hand cream for me, mom and all my wonderful aunts. I still buy this for my mom and she leaves one at home and leaves one in her classroom. The purse sizes can be found anywhere they sell L'Occitane, but Sephora usually has the smaller sizes near the register. This hand cream will also last a long time because you don't use as much. It works well for people who cook, because you are constantly washing your hands. Second, is Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream. It is all natural and can usually be found at Whole Foods. I use this one primarily before I go to bed. I don't know why. I was given this as a gift a few years back and I keep one in my nightstand. If I am somewhere and it goes on sale, I try to buy a jar or two. It lasts a long time as well. Third, is the Bath and Body Works Signature Hand Cream in Blackberry Raspberry Vanilla or Warm Vanilla Sugar. I love the consistency, but I also keep this one at my desk. When I need a sweet scented pick me up during the day, I moisturized my dry hands with this one. They usually go on sale, so you can check the web or the store. It has a great thick consistency and the scent is not too overpowering. Fourth, is Ahava. This a hand cream made from the Dead Sea. It is wonderful after a hand exfoliation or masque. Yes, I do put the mask on my hands as well. This slows the appearance of fine lines and hand wrinkles. Ahava can also be found at Whole Foods as well. I hope you enjoy these hand creams. I recently received my June 2006 Town & Country which is dedicated to Philanthropy. Every year the magazine focuses one issue on the art of philanthropy. As I flipped through the magazine I was again touched by how we as people are able to help others who are less fortunate than us. As much as I love beauty products, I also love assisting and touching someone else that's why I love this blog. The issue made me thankful to my mother and grandmother who taught me that you can't receive if you can't give. So, I urge everyone who reads to clean out your closets and donate at least 5 items to a shelter, Goodwill, The Salvation Army or any charitable organization. Please make sure these are items that you would definitely wear, they have all the buttons and so on. I clean out my closets every spring and fall because I know that I will always have more because I give. Every summer I buy a new pair of white jeans, so I always donate last year's pair after I wash and make sure they are clean. Please don't tell yourself that you can't donate any clothes because you plan to get back to that size or it will come back. Yes, styles do come back, but do we really need 10 pair of gaucho, capri, bootcut, wide leg, black pants. No. Also, fall fashions will be in stores in 2 months and we are all going to want something new. So, I encourage you to start your own personal philanthropy. It's not about how much you give or what you give. It is about making sure you give something. After all your hard work, rub a great hand cream into your skin and be thankful that you are able to give of yourself, your time, and your heart. You can't receive unless you open your hands to give. I am blessed to be a blessing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Skin Gets a Piece of Candy

I am so excited because my favorite beauty spa in DC is on today's post of Daily Candy DC Edition. A big congratulations to my very wonderful aesthetician Nora and the entire team at Skin Beauty Lounge. Of course, now it is going to be incredibly hard to get an appointment. May 16, 2006 Skin Deep Rigorous, twice-a-week pedi schedule? Check. Hostess gifts in anticipation of beach invites? Prettily wrapped and waiting. Kicked-up bikini-season workout? Sir, yes, sir! Aren’t you forgetting something? Your skin should be primed for summer, too. Which is exactly why Skin Beauty Lounge offers Skin Boot Camp, a regimen of rejuvenating facials designed to eradicate the effects of frigid wind and indoor heating and enhance your summer glow. The series of three treatments puts your face through the paces of exfoliation, extraction, moisturizing, and circulation-inducing massage. So you’ll be ready for summer from head to toe — all you have to do is sit back and relax. You remember how to do that, right? Skin Beauty Lounge, 404 1/2 Eighth Street SE, between D and E Streets (202-543-6993).

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dior Does Yoga

On Friday night I participated in my first Hip Hop Yoga Class. I'm sure you are thinking, "what the . . . ." Ladies it was so much fun. My yoga studio held it's quarterly Hip Hop Yoga class and I tell you I sweated like nobody's business. I would have never thought you could get your down dog, warrior 1 and 2 going to Eminem and Jay-Z, but it was well worth the two hour class. Of course being a newbie I was really able to focus on my breathing and posing while trying not to sing along to the music. Yes, I said two hours. I was whipped and hurting so bad Friday night that I took an old school bath in Epsom salts to alleviate some of the pain of these sore muscles, but it was well worth it. But the greatest thing about the class was realizing that my DiorKiss lip gloss stayed on the entire time. Through the sweating and chugging of water, it stayed on. I purchased the Caramel Apple color after Ms. Toya said she loved it. Thanks again lady. It had a vibrant color, but the best thing about it was it stayed pretty on my brown lips. I was so excited because I hate having dry lips after exercising. It truly irritates me. I have realized that the DiorKiss is going to be a staple in the lip gloss bag of my life. The DiorKiss stayed on and I left class sweaty, stretched out due to lots of hip opening poses and feeling cute because I didn't have to touch up my lips before hitting the metro. So today, I am at my day job which currently pays the lip gloss bills and what do I have on. DiorKiss. Have a very pretty mother's day. P.S. To Ms. Anonymous, if you email me I will give the information on the nail salon in Houston.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Giving Good Toes :)

Spring/Summer is definitely on the toes when you realize it is time to step out of the boots and start with that very important first pedicure of spring. So this post is dedicated to feet. I know feet are usually an issue that troubles so many women. I have problems deciding on a spring/summer color and what important shoe to pick. All the magazines have stated that the wedge is THE shoe of the summer, but I still love an open toe slingback because I am short. I have rather muscular calves and sometimes those wedges can make you look like Paul Bunyan on stilts. I find for me that a slender stiletto, open with just enough toe is perfect. I want to thank Nancy for sending me this great website that sells discount nail supplies. Of course, I had to place an order for my staples OPI nail polish in Bubble Bath and Sweetheart, Essie Mademoiselle, Ballet Slippers and Real Red. ( I decided to buy a color from Rescue Beauty Lounge in NY ( If you haven't heard of Rescue you don't know what you are missing. Ji Baek is one of the premier manicurists in NY. The spas are gorgeous and my idea of what a nail salon should be. The shop is pristine, cute and elegant with a flash of hipness. My mom is coming up for the summer and we are going to NY to shop 'til we drop and I will definitely be stopping in at Rescue. I splurge on the Nail Color in Coral. This will be so great against my brown bronzed skin and my summer whites. When I moved to the area last year I had the hardest time finding a nail salon (1) that wasn't an arm and a leg for a manicure and pedicure; (2) that was clean and gave great services; (3) that didn't smell of chemicals and only does natural nails; and (4) did not rush my time or do those fake leg massages where they slap your calves. I hate that. I was used to in Texas a manicure and pedicure being a full hour and a half complete with the best 20 minute leg and foot reflexology massage. The salon is a cult favorite of the very wealthy Houston women in a little enclave in the center of the city. I moved up here and was thoroughly disappointed. I have found a place that is 80% near mine in Houston. When I return home, the nail salon is the first place I hit. So here are a few products that will make your feet supple, and beautiful for the summer. Akileine cream. ( It's also sold on the Rescue website, but check independent nail supply stores, they usually have it. This product relieves dry cracked skin and helps keep feet soft and clean.

Diamancel #11 The Tough Buffer ( This is available at Bliss online, but I do know a few Nordstrom's also carry it. I am a runner and trust me, this gets the bottom of your feet like a baby's butt. Be very careful. You don't want to remove too much skin because the feet still needs a little cushion;

A great foot scrub and great nail color.

I try to go to bed with heavy cream or good old fashioned Vaseline with socks every other night during the summer to keep my feet perfect.

FYI: Fragrance Alert: I know I have been discussing spring makeup, but I just found out that in Fall 2006 Banana Republic will be coming out with 5 new fragrances; 3 for women and 2 for men. For the ladies the scents are Alabaster - a floral scent; Jade a floral fruity scent; and Rosewood a floral-Oriental scent. Also if you liked Kimora Lee Simmons Goddess scent she will be introducing Golden Goddess in the fall as well. Congratulations to Sarah Jessica Parker on her 2006 CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) Beauty Insider's Choice Award for Best Women's Cent $24 and over for Lovely. I had this the first week it came out and I am now on my second bottle. As the commercial says "Lovely on the Inside," and I feel lovely on the outside as well when I wear this. I received this very cute email from my cousin Yolanda (thanks Yo!) and I knew that is was way too adorable not to pass along. Ladies, raise your right hand and make the pledge: The Open Toed Shoe Pledge As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow the Rules when wear sandals and other open-toe shoes: I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. And the sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps. I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe. I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow. I will shave the hairs off my big toe. I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, coworker, mother or sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes ifI tuck it there. If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it. I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him. I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids'sizes. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one canwalk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle. I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages. I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as my fingers and no sandal makes creepy feet look good. I will promise if I wear flip flops that I will ensure that they actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them. I will promise to go my local nail salon at least once per season and have a real pedicure (they are about $20 and worth EVERY penny). I will promise to throw away any white/off-white sandals that show signsof wear. . . nothing is tackier than dirty white sandals. Don't keep this to yourself - pass it on to other sisters. Have a great weekend.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I Want More Candy!

If you are not a part of the million plus subscribers to Daily Candy (, where have you been. Not only are the emails informative, but the pictures are Oh so cute! I recently received there new book Daily Candy A to Z: An Insider's Guide to the Sweet Life and I must say I truly love it. I think it's one of the cutest and best guides out there. I also like the size and it fits easily in my tote. I love to read and this is truly a great little gem. I am ready for round two. Now on to a great lip gloss. Because I have a wonderful customer relationship with my beauty sales lady at NM, I decided to spend this week on using the lip gloss samples that she has given me. I picked up a rather cute bowl for spring and dumped all my sample lip glosses, lipsticks and lip liners into the bowl. The crazy thing is that the bowl is almost overflowing with stuff. This morning I decided to use a DiorKiss lip gloss in Praline. I wanted a very neutral color to go with my new gold eyeshadow. I played up my eyes since I have been working so much and I wanted them to be the focus. Let me just say I was wondering why haven't I purchased this stuff before. The color was neutral, but the shine was great. It doesn't have an amazing scent, but I know that it will work great with running and yoga. I must say the color doesn't look like it will work on the sister girls, but trust me it is gorgeous. Of course I filled in my lips with a little Corx and lined them with Chestnut, both from MAC. I'm so hooked that of course it's on my list to purchase for the summer. Ladies go out and try it. I know you are going to love it. Speaking of lip gloss, my BFF, cousin Cassy and I had a conversation last night about lip gloss. Back when I was Houston, we were riding down the street and she said "JP how do you get your lips to look so juicy." I cracked up laughing because I said I used a little Juicy Tube. She was like "what?" The one I had on that day was L'Oreal's Iced Latte Juicy color. Of course, we all know Lancome owns L'Oreal so they make similar colors. But I was telling her that you CANNOT get a perfect lip from one color. I look at all my magazines and every time they show a cover model or model in the pages they list one lip gloss. Ladies we all know sometimes it takes a few lip lines, some feathering of the lips and lots of gloss and/or lipstick. She agreed. I know you will too. So whenever you see your favorite celebrity and they say, "all I wear is this." I disagree. I'm sure you will agree. As always May the Lip Gloss Be With You!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Skin Is Playing Tricks On Me

I wake up this morning, burned out, exhausted and tired from the past three days. No, it hasn't been lip gloss and late night magazine reading, but 60 hours of work in three days. Not counting the fact I worked all weekend. I am pooped, definitely. Could I fall asleep right now typing this, yes. But, I have to work late again tonight. What I have found happens when I work long hours, not enough sleep and not enough proper nutrition is lackluster skin. There is no glow just sallow skin and not pretty. This is when I thank God everyday for the power of makeup. Beauty products are the guiding light to all women at all the times. As I try to listen to the morning news, I focus on a rather dry patch on the side of my nose. When did that happen. I realize that I haven't been drinking enough water. So I vow to get in an extra liter today. I do a quick exfoliation and then proceed to "putting on good face." Even though I am dog tired, there is a highlight. Yesterday I received my AVON order. Yes, I love AVON too and wanted to try out this new concealer brush that I purchased from their Mark line for the bargain basement bottom price of $5.
I grab my Prescriptives Camouflage Cream (I switch between this one and the Bobbi Brown concealer) and apply to the undereye area. I find that the concealer sets better if I have applied eye cream and moisturizer and let them set for 5 minutes. I must say I was impressed. The brush is not as great as the higher end versions because the bristles are rather stiff. You must use a gentle hand because they poke. I feel my Trish McEvoy concealer brush and compare. For the price the AVON is great and inexpensive for those who aren't ready to invest in higher brushes. It did get the job done, but you can definitely tell the difference. I also purchased the Mark Blush+Bronzer Brush. I used my Bobbi Dual Compact with bronzer for this brush. I applied the bronzer part first to create a contour, applied blush to the apples up to the hair line. I followed through with my Brownie Brick, which I am addicted to, until the next one comes out. I applied Marks Kiss Therapy Super Soothing Lip Balm in Sheer Peach. I really like these beauties. They remind of the Smith Rosebud Salve. I plan to purchase the Sheer Red and the Original. I love lip balms and these are really great. I finished with perfume. marks White Tea-Vanilla Scent Mist. I love to layer my vanilla and topped off with my new Jill Stuart's Vanilla Lust perfume. I might be exhausted, but I look rested. Makeup is the great transformer.
Have a pretty day. Au Revoir.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bobbi's Brownie Is Beautiful

I received my Brownie Shimmer Brick Powder by Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. As you know, I recently bought the Apricot for spring, but the Brownie is for summer. It was gorgeous on my skin. I put a little on when I got the office on Saturday, yes I had to work. I was able to get my yoga on, so I came in the office, washed my face with Dove Cleansing Cloths, added moisturizer and nothing but the Brownie Brick. (Uh-huh, I do keep my desk fully stocked of all the things I will need at work after working out). All I can say is, I LOVE BOBBI BROWN'S MAKEUP!!!! I love makeup and anything to make me feel my motto, "All About The Pretty," but Bobbi truly makes me feel that way. I tell you I could sell Bobbi to Bobbi. The great thing about them is you can use each strip on your eyes as well. Just sweep a shade onto your lid for an instance pick-me-up. I have been busy with work, therefore, long nights makes for sagging eyes. I make sure to put on "good face" so I at least look refreshed when the caffeine stops working. All I need are the essentials for a tired face: concealer, blush, Bobbi Brown brick over my blush, a dab on the nose, the chin, add a lip gloss (I can never forget lip gloss) and voila. I look rested and pretty. I also received the lovely Laura Mercier Bronzed Bronzing Book. ( I like to think of my face as a palette and I am the artist. Since spring and summer are great travel times, maximizing space in your luggage is a must for your makeup. NEVER, and I mean NEVER put your makeup in checked luggage. (1) your luggage might get lost and (2) it may melt. I always bring my makeup in my carry-on. Another positive for the Laura Mercier Books or the NARS palettes (which are equally impressive because they have lips, eyes, cheeks and his GLORIOUS multiple sticks are the fact that they travel well ( They come in numerous shades. You can take one and your whole weekend is in one kit. I love to play with my makeup with my hands and these are great. If you have travel brushes use those as well. I find the travel brushes at Sephora are the best bang for your buck. I can't wait for my trip in August. I will need the much needed break, but until then I will look at the pictures of the Greek Isles I have pasted to my office walls and know that I am working toward my trip. As always, May the Lip Gloss Be With You

Thursday, April 27, 2006

MJ Continues to Make a Splash

MJ stands for Marc Jacobs if you were thinking someone else, shame on you. Well, Mr. Jacobs has added 3 new scents to his great perfume collection, Rain, Cotton and Grass. I am a fan of the original Marc Jacobs perfume which is influenced heavily by the scent of gardenia. So, I am sure these 3 Splashes, as they are so appropriately called will be a big hit. Since I love clean smells, I have ordered Cotton. I know it's funny, but the other two titles just don't make me feel all warm, fuzzy and pretty on the inside, so I'm going with my beauty gut instincts and picking cotton. It should be here next week. Also, the May InStyle, I so love this magazine, has the "50 Best Makeup Tips." If you don't want to buy it, just go to your local bookstore, turn to page 347 and voila, all yours. Also, in the magazine is a picture of the cutest raffia clutches in gorgeous sorbet colors from the Gap for only $19.50 (such a pretty price for something so adorable). As of today, they are not on the website, but I will keep checking back.

A few comments back someone asked what magazines I subscribe to. I hate to tell not because I don't want others to have the information, but because it is so many. I am so OCD that I made a monthly list to check off which ones I have read. Crazy, I know but I love to read, anything. So here goes:

  1. Black Enterprise
  2. Essence
  3. Money
  4. Vanity Fair
  5. In Style
  6. Food and Wine
  7. Town and Country
  8. InStyle
  9. Vogue
  10. Domino
  11. Newsweek (weekly, I must stay on my current events)
  12. Lucky
  13. Bazaar
  14. Travel and Leisure
  15. Town and Country Travel (quarterly)
  16. O at Home (quarterly)
  17. Yoga Journal (just started)

I used to subscribe to these, but stopped because I was getting to many and now I still buy them from the bookstore: W, Elle, Gourmet, O, Bon Appetit. I also try to read at least 2-3 books a month. I know it's crazy, but I can sit home an entire weekend and turn out 1-2 books if they are very good. I try not to keep a book longer than 2 weeks. After that I begin to get frustrated with myself and make myself finish it. My goal is to read more books every year. I don't read for anyone but myself and what I enjoy. My book list various for each book, sometimes I want to read very literary and thought provoking novels and other times I want to read a chick lit fun girly book.

I keep telling myself to cut the list down to 10, but I always think I will miss something. I know it's many of you out there who think the same thing.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fragrance Is In The Air

Hello ladies, I hope everyone is having a fabulous week thus far. I am having a very busy week, needless to say I am using the concealer like you wouldn't believe. I wanted to let everyone know that starting April 30 until May 5, 2006, Saks is having fragrance week. With every $85 purchase you will receive a "flacon" or in everyday lingo, a perfume bottle, while supplies last. Now is a great time to pick up a new spring fragrance for you or for your mother since Mother's Day is May 14. Last year, I picked up Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb for spring and was highly pleased. Just when I thought I would never need another Bobbi Brown Brick all over face shimmer (for about 6 months), I get a voicemail from the "ever so sweet" Ms. Juanita to tell me she was sending me the Brick Compact in "Brownie." I went she has another one. I just bought Apricot in March, she said well that was spring and this is the one for the summer. I thought about it and said the magic words, "just send it anyway." Of course she replied if I didn't like it I could return it and I responded, "Ms. Juanita, I haven't met that many beauty products I haven't liked." Brownie will be here by Saturday.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Threading is for Eyebrows, Definitely Not for Sewing

A few comments wanted to know where I get my eyebrows threaded in DC. The location is downtown, but they will be opening a second location near U Street. Threads Eyebrows Work 202.737.7710 1424 L Street NW Washington, DC 202.737.7710 Located between 15th St. and Vermont Ave., next door to Ollie's Trolley Burger Joint. I hope this helps. I have found that once you start threading you can't go back. Nothing opens up a face like perfect brows.

Amel is Still Making Pretty Music

I am so excited because tomorrow, Amel Larrieux's new album, Morning is finally out. Log on here and you can listen to the entire album before it hits stores. If you are not a fan, I completely understand. ( Now, I love me some music and since the music that is coming out today is just now up to its game. Of course, most of the artists that are out now won't be making music in 10 years, they are definitely not worth the cost of a CD. I love music and have a HUGE collection, but I have had to diversify my listening choices. I can't rely on good music from the TV, I have to seek and search out. Thank goodness for the web. If you are open to new music and have an open acceptance to variety, you have got to check out the Chillcast from Anji Bee. Anji sings with the LoveSpirals and the music is just cool. I heard one of her songs during my yoga class, yes we listen to more than just chanting stuff and had to buy a couple of things. Some of the artist even offer free downloads on their own websites. Here's a link to her website and podcast. Totally cool. ( Also, what did we do before IPODs. I can't even remember. I am always shocked to still see people on the metro with CD players and headphones. I mean, I have a 20gb and still feel that is not enough. I am totally into the podcast culture and realize that almost half of my IPOD was podcasts so I had to delete some music so the computer wouldn't stop working. So, here I am waiting on the new Amel. Also, the cutie from LA, Avant has a new one out tomorrow as well. He still has sold his R&B soul to the devil so I still keep him around. I just hope that these new CDs are iTune compatible otherwise, I will have to buy them twice if they won't load. On to beauty. I am getting ready to have a few busy months due to my day job, but it will all be worth it when I go on a 2 week Mediterranean cruise in August. Of course, I will have to bring my laptop to report on beauty trends abroad, but right now it's making sure my butt looks half way decent in a swimsuit, especially since the majority of the beaches in Europe you can go topless if you want. That's another subject, so I am feeling the love toward my Avon Plant Spa Arizona Hot Sands Smoothing & Toning Body Clay. You apply to your stomach, butt and thighs and wait for the tingling sensation to start. It exfoliates and firm. It's not than expensive $7.50, smells great and much cheaper than the Clarins version. ( Yesterday was official spring cleaning day. My tiny apartment was made spotless and for dinner I ordered takeout. Once I got it, I decided that I just can't do Chinese takeout anymore. I have been cooking gourmet food and meals and just couldn't see doing this when my place was so spotless. So I boxed everything for lunch and prepared an easy crab ravioli. But, there is one thing about cooking, it makes a tiny apartment really smell. My solution has been the Soyology candle in Sprig. I picked this up at my yoga studio, Tranquil Space and I am now hooked. It smells clean and eliminates all orders. If you live in the DC area and haven't been to the Cezanne exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, get thee over there quickly. It is going back to Provence, France in May. I love the French impressionists and Cezanne's pictures of his family home in Provence are gorgeous. It took me back to the 3rd floor of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris where the Manets, Monets and Degas exist beautifully together. The art at the Gallery is breathtakingly pretty. Also, it's free, so why not enjoy the free culture this city has to offer. I am thankful that so many of you ladies have responded so positively to my little blog. My cousin thinks it's the funniest thing that people are so into makeup. I keep telling her that she is in the minority. I hope everyone has a very pretty week.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Lady, Lady Where Does Your Info Come From

My friends always ask me where do I get all this beauty information. I have always loved products. I haven't met a beauty product that I don't fall in love with. I have a lot of friends who are makeup artists and others who work at major department stores. Plus, there is no one better for information than my lady, Ms. Juanita at Neiman Marcus in Houston and makeup artist Tanya. I subscribe to at least 10 magazines that have beauty sections and have the scoop on an industry trade magazine. This is how I get my information. I visit a lot of beauty counters and the sales staff always let's me know of upcoming items. I am going crazy waiting for the latest beauty product from Tom Ford for Estee Lauder. The new collection is Azuree, and will focus on bronze and coral colors. The highlight for me will be the body tint. Yesterday, I received the new Bliss catalog and I am still contemplating buying the eye cream from Dr. Sebagh. If you have never heard of this great French dermatologist, here's a few basic ideas. First, he has a waiting list for an appointment of at least one year. Yes that's right. Second, he does not travel to meet any client, not even celebrities. Cindy Crawford, who at 41 still puts those young Hollywood party girls to shame, was a loyal client until she had kids. He also helped her create her own skincare line, Meaningful Beauty. Back to the great doctor. Well for years, I have always believed the French aesthetic that everything can be solved with a cream. The older women over there do not feel intimidated by the younger girls to go and have their faces slit to look half their age. So, I love the entire concept of aging gracefully. Now, my dilemma with beauty. It is so crazy for me to not even blink to drop a $100 bucks for another eye cream. I still haven't even finished my new Lancome and I always say give a product at least 2-3 months for it to work with your body chemistry. So, to buy or not to buy, that is the question. I haven't consulted my facialist, but I definitely will soon. Until then, I will have to settle for my new Carol's Daughter ecstasy Souffle ( I might not have a new eye cream, but a new body moisturizer lifts my spirits just as well. I had question posed about the eye cream Hylexin. I haven't used this product, but I believe anything before surgery is worth the price. I understand that under eye bags are hereditary, I have them, but not so bad that a great concealer won't cover up. Plus, I have allergies and living in the district makes them flare up and my can really get puffy. What I use is Origins No-Puffery $20. I use this in the mornings before moisturizing and it reduces the bags. So, if you decide to drop the money for the Hylexin, I would say buy it only from an upscale department store because it is so easy to return because you didn't like it. Another idea is to go the department and ask for a week's sample, the only thing they can tell you is no, but once they see a sale, I think they will give in. I hope this helps and have a great week. More beauty to come, my May magazines are slowly trickling in. Au revoir.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Nars Body Glow

I wanted to respond to a comment regarding Nars Body Glow. I believe that it is definitely worth the money. I understand that $59 is a little up there for a body glow when other drugstore brands are cheaper. I personally believe the difference between the Nars and the others are you actually don't need to wear perfume. It has the most amazing scent. I love the smell of vanilla, so when I use the Nars it reminds me of all my vanilla scents. Also, when you spray it in the hair and brush/comb through your hair has this intoxicating scent. I have tried the others by Jergens, Neutrogena, but the Nars has been consistently the best over the past 4 years.

All Eye . . . Brows on Me!

Mademoiselles, by now everyone knows I am addicted to all things pretty. Two days ago I was on the phone with my oh so sweet cousin Cassy and made the comment that I needed to send my eyebrow tweezers in for sharpening. Ladies, she laughed at me like I had lost my mind. I am addicted to beautiful eyebrows. I have been getting my eyebrows threaded, an Indian way of removing facial hair, for over 10 years. I make sure to get mine done every 2 weeks. So here I am watching all the new hair come in. I don't try to pluck all the hairs just the strays on the side. So here I am with my Tweezerman tweezers and realize they are a little dull. Therefore I make the statement. She laughed and laughed. I told her that if you purchase a pair of Tweezerman tweezers, there is a lifetime sharpening for them. ( If you look in the bottom right hand corner, you will see the link for "free sharpening." So, I'm not crazy. I'm obsessed with perfect brows. On to new beauty products. Francois Nars of Nars Cosmetics has just released his wonderful Body Glow II. If you are a fan of the original Body Glow, which I love on chocolate skin in the summer, then ladies I know this one is going to be phenomenal. It has the amazing monoi oil made from Tahitian gardenias. This is pure luxury and it leaves such a lovely glow on the skin. What I also do is put a little of the Body Glow in a small spritz bottle and mix with water and you have an amazing oil sheen that smells yummy. It has a very sweet smell, so if sweets are not your thing. Stand clear. If you haven't used any Nars products, get the to the store immediately. They have amazing colors and very intense pigments for eyes, lips and cheeks. Kiehl's has been know for amazing skin care products and they have just released their Ultra Facial Cream. Fans of the Ultra Facial Moisturizer are going to love this one as well. It will not be available in stores until May 9, but is available on their website. ( Au Revoir.

Monday, April 17, 2006

All That Glitters Is Gold: Eyeshadow That Is

It was a gorgeous weekend here in DC. It was warm, but not the Texas heat that I am so used to. I could at least walk around with mascara and not have my eyes run because of the heat and humidity. It might sound crazy, but humidity is actually good for the skin. I have finally found my gold eyeshadow for spring. Two of the eyeshadows are new, but I discovered a long last one in my makeup bag. I know sad, that I let eyeshadow get lost in my bag. Thus for spring my favorites are Shiseido Hydro Powder Eye Shadows in Goldlights and Tiger Eye. These are very beautiful and very golden. Remember to use a lighter hand otherwise you will look like David Bowie circa 1973. I rediscovered my Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Key Largo (a pale peach and a golden bronze). I have found that the best way to get eyeshadow to stay is to put a little of translucent powder that matches the skin on first. This sets the powder and the eyeshadow won't crease. Next apply a lighter color such as the peach in Key Largo or Bobbi Brown's Woodrose which I use all over. I then apply the golden bronze from lash to brow bone and followed with the Goldlights. I finished with bronzer and lip gloss and had a beautiful glow to walk around Georgetown and have lunch at Cafe Divan. I felt sassy, saucy and a down right cutie pie. I decided to create an email address to send questions to me personally. I understand that some people want to stay anonymous and I completely understand. So if you have any questions for me, please email me at I finished the weekend with a great yoga class at Tranquil Space. I am realizing that yoga is helping me to decompress, nurture my mind and my spirit, but it helps me with my crazy insomnia. After every class I feel strong, powerful and pretty. At the studio I picked up a gorgeously scented bath soap called Willow by The Lavender Moon Soap Company ( It was such a great day. I am thankful for hot baths, freshly washed sheets and a brand new spring eyeshadow. What an "oh so pretty weekend."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Luscious Lips Love Luxurious Lip Exfoliants

Yes I know the title has a lot of alliteration, but it is so worth it. I love lip gloss. Okay, everyone who reads this blog knows this by now. But no matter how much you love lip gloss if you put it on dry, chapped and seriously dehydrated lips, the lip gloss is not going to look pretty. I used to be like everyone else and use my toothbrush to exfoliate my lips. Let's get serious. We are "big girls" now, with jobs and we get step up our soft lip game. My favorite two lip exfoliants are divine and I hope you enjoy them. Smashbox's Emulsion Lip Exfoliant - $18.00. ( I was given this lip exfoliant as a gift and I can't not have it in my beauty arsenal. I love to use this at night because it is so heavy and thick. It has a peppermint scent that you just want to lick off, but you can't. Just smack this emulsion on your lips just like lip gloss and leave on for 5 minutes. Wipe off with a warm towel. Your lips will be super soft and ready for lip balm. Sally Hershberger Face Place Lip Refinisher - $18.00. ( I read about this lip product in Allure and Lucky and had to have it. Of course, the entire lip kit was featured on QVC Saturday Beauty Night. (Yes, don't laugh. I love QVC. They have great products.) You can just order the refinisher or the kit from the website. This lip exfoliant contains sugar and smells like vanilla and orange. I think this is great to keep in your makeup bag because it's not hard to wipe off or you could actually lick it off. It tastes amazing. Of course, to finish each off top with lip balm. I am addicted to lip balms, but I think the gold standard is Smith's Rosebud Salve. I have used most of the expensive and inexpensive ones, but I keep coming back to this one. This is not the only lip balm in my life. I also have Kiehl's, Perfumeria Gal from Madrid, Burt Bee's, Dr. Hauschka Lip Care and many others to name. Start spring off right. The key to luscious lips are exfoliants.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Random Acts of Pretty Kindness

I arrived at work yesterday to a beautiful pink bag full of vanilla goodies. I begin to think, "who gave me this wonderful stuff." I racked my brain because I knew the person had to have read my blog on vanilla. Sure enough it was a really nice co-worker Deidre who turned me on to a new beauty product. Bliss of Venice is located in Venice, California and they carry these amazing Fizzy Shower Bombs. They also carry bath bombs, but ladies those Fizzy Shower Bombs are scrumptious. Here's why. The bombs also have an attached moisturizer which dissolves after you use the side with the exfoliation on them. They come packaged and look similar to a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but without the extra calories. You will step out of the shower with your body feeling like a newborn baby, all soft and smelling like heaven. Not only are they great products, they are not terribly expensive so you could afford to splurge on various scents. I was given the Hera - Vanilla sandalwood; Thalia - Chocolate Peppermint and Calliope - Sage and Lemongrass. I have already purchased the Bath Salt Shakes, more Fizzy Shower Scrubs and I can't wait until they arrive. The Fizzy Shower Bombs must be ordered before summer because they will melt otherwise. She also topped off my gift with Vanilla Body Butter from The Body Shop. Awesome. I went to yoga this morning and every time one practices you are to set an intention. My intention was I hope that the kindness Deidre has shown me is given back to her triple fold. It's nice to know there are still good people in the world and that is really what being pretty is all about. Random acts of pretty kindness.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Foodie Weekend

The weather wasn't very pleasant on this past Saturday, but the highlight of my crazy and busy week was meeting Giada de Laurentiis. No, she is not in the beauty business, she is a chef and has her own own show on the Food Network called "Everyday Italian." Of course, I had to show my groupie love for her because I have literally cooked almost all of the recipes in her 1st cookbook, Everyday Italian and I am so excited to get started on her new one, Giada's Family Dinners. I know that most women these days are way too busy and stressed to even think of cooking, but her recipes are easy, colorful, quick and wonderfully delicious. Not only do I spend my weekends in pursuit of the best makeup and beauty products, I also spend it trying new recipes and wine. I am so excited that this weekend is my cousin Cassy's birthday. I love being able to provide her with lots of lip gloss because she doesn't particularly buy the "higher" end stuff, so I come through every year. It's my ritual. I scope out pretty colors and then send them to her. I won't post what they are until next week because I don't want her to know what she's getting. So, in the meantime, this is my p.m. beauty routine. I must for warn that this list is extensive. Again, I am on the other side of 30, so I don't think the ladies under 30 should start using some of them. Also, if you don't like the greasy look at night, you might want to try something a little to your liking. I know I go to bed looking like a wet seal, but it's worth it to me. So here goes.
  1. I wash my face with a gentle cleanser. I already mentioned I love Oil of Olay, so I use the Foaming Face Wash. I often switch this up and use Dermalogica's Extra Cleansing Gel which is easy on the face.
  2. After washing, I apply witch hazel as my toner. I know this is drying, but it works for me. Sometimes I switch up and use Kiehl's Rosewater Toner without alcohol, but lately it's just been the WH.
  3. I apply an under eye cream, specifically targeted for evening. I figured if I use the inexpensive during the day I can splurge on my nights, which I believe is more important. I use Sisleya Eye Cream. Now ladies, this stuff is an arm and a leg in the U.S., so I purchase this in Europe and save at least $75-100. I know you are thinking that's a lot of money, but I drive a very inexpensive car to afford my beauty products.
  4. I then apply Sisley's throat cream. Yes, I use a throat cream. I don't want to end up like a turkey on Thanksgiving before my time.
  5. Next, it's a serum. I used to use Revive, which was created by a top plastic surgeon. Of course, a plastic surgeon should know preventative skin care. I switched to one by Chanel and saved a ton of money. Do I miss the Revive. Of course. When I go to Europe I plan to see how much it is there and hopefully I can save myself a few euros.
  6. I then apply moisturizer. Sometimes I use plain old Vitamin E oil, or Bobbi Brown's Vitamin E cream. I also use Bobbi Brown's Extra Moisturizing Cream, which has the chemistry and makeup of Creme de la Mer. Have I used Creme de la Mer before. Of course, but I figured since Estee Lauder owns both, why not go with the less expensive one. So far it's been doing the job.

By now I'm sure you are going this girl is out of her mind, not really. I just don't want to be one of those women that my friend and makeup artist Sheryl T. Always talks about when I get a makeover. We will spend a fortune on a handbag and our faces look like a mile of dirt road. Don't be one of those women. You only have one face, preserve it as much as you can. As Mikki Taylor wrote in her book, Self Seduction, make an aesthetician part of your temple management team right next to your hairdresser. You won't thank me now, but in 10 years it's worth it.

Au revoir and tout au sujet du joli (Good bye and All About The Pretty in French).

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I Love Me Some Vanilla!

After yet another 12 hour work day, I arrive home last night pooped. I love to cook, but dinner last night was a long hot bath with some Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea. I love taking baths. Bath time for me is a time to reflect and just relax. I buy so many beauty products and they also include bubble baths, bath bombs, oils, candles and anything to make me smile. If you haven't tried any Lush bath bombs, you don't know what you are missing. ( I kept thinking of how I love the smell of anything vanilla. I realized that not only do I tend to go for candles and body stuff with vanilla in it. I love vanilla fragrances. I layer about 5 at a time. I know, crazy. Favorite Vanilla Scented Perfumes and Oils:
  1. Calypso Celle Vanilla (very elegant and soft).
  2. The Body Shop's Vanilla Perfume Oil and Vanilla Body Spray
  3. Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille
  4. L'Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia
  5. Fragonard Vanille (I purchased this in France because it's so much cheaper and I can't find this particular scent in the US) (
Since we are now into spring, which I couldn't tell in DC since we are still in 50 degree weather, usually spring fragrances are huge in the stores. I shouldn't complain. In Texas they are only two seasons. Hot and hotter. I have my favorites, which will always be staples and it's amazing talking with friends how every woman is so different. I only wear Chanel No. 5 on Sundays. It was my grandmother's scent and I love the sophistication and elegance of wearing this. I am already dressed up for church and this is the perfect accessory. I love how women love different things and I am always excited to see what new scents are out there. There is this great site, which is out of LA, but you can buy samples of fragrances you will never see in major department stores. This is a great way to try a fragrance without buying the entire bottle. I prefer to search for scents at the higher end stores that way when people ask what scent you are wearing you can easily go "it's something I picked up at Neiman's," that way you won't smell like everyone else. I made the mistake a while back by telling a co-worker what I was wearing. To my amazement she came to work the very next day with the same scent on. I was floored. I wasn't mad that she bought the perfume, I was pissed because she continued to say how she liked the scent on me, but she didn't think it worked for her. Well it seemed to work fine since she wore it the very next day. After this incident, I decided to never tell people what I'm wearing. I don't mind spilling my beauty wonderlust to women, but I have to maintain a few personal ones especially in the workplace. I hope everyone finds their signature Spring Scent. Mine of course, vanilla. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Gift With Purchase and Much More!

Ladies, Nordstrom is having it's beauty week. It's online only and while supplies last with an $85 beauty purchase. You get a sleek hard case and samples of the following products such as Clinique, Go Smile, Oscar Blandi, Clarins and many more. Also, Nordstrom has $5 shipping which is phenomenal.
I have been asked for recommendations for an inexpensive line of skincare. I have only one drugstore brand that I think is great. Oil of Olay. I think their Regenerist line is phenomenal. I even use their serum and eye creams. I have my staples, but I love ALL beauty products no matter what the cost is. I love the high and the low. This mix doesn't have to equate to fashion only. It can be beauty, wine, food, books and anything that makes your life pretty. I love a great bottle of wine, but staples such as Australia's Jacob's Creek blends of Merlot/Cabernet and Shiraz is a great red. I know my wine snobs are laughing, but these blends are a really good everyday wine and are great to cook with.
I hope this helps and have a pretty awesome day.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Morning Beauty Routine

Chloe has asked me what is my beauty routine. To save time I will give my a.m. and p.m. routine. Mornings for me are all about making things easy. I workout in the mornings, (1) because I can get it over, (2) Once I get to my "day job," I don't know what time I will leave and (3) because once you get home, most people won't workout, including me. My workouts consists of yoga, running, elliptical machine, walking and weights. I perform different routines for different days so I won't get board. Once I get back home, I immediately hop in the shower. I towel dry and apply baby oil and then put on a terry cloth robe for everything to "soak in." I then fix a quick breakfast, such as oatmeal or egg whites, which I boil while in the shower. Next I moisturize with Nivea Enriched Lotion or Nivea Conditioning Oil. I have tried many lotions, but this one kicks the ash factor in the butt. I have been using this forever. I've tried every other kind and I think for dry skin, like mine, I need all the oils I can get. I like a heavy moisturizer, not the drip lotion that most brands make. I spray perfume which changes daily. (I really expound on perfumes next week). I sometimes use an oil I make using Sweet Almond Oil and various fragrance oils such as Honeysuckle, Vanilla or Jasmine. If you make your own oils make sure you read up on essential oils. Too much concentration can irritate the skin if too much is used and not enough of a carrier oil. I then do my hair, makeup and eat breakfast all in the bathroom. Some days I try to sit down at the table, but most days it's in the bathroom. I drink coffee at work or home, but I have been saved with the automatic timed coffee pot. I have been OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) since early on so I set things out at night. My makeup routine is easy. I apply eye cream, currently I use Caudalie's Eye Cream which I get from Sephora. I apply Oil of Olay''s Daily moisturizer with SPF 15. They have formulas for normal, oily and sensitive skin. I have tried the expensive brands for day, but I realize for me, I rather spend money on the good stuff for the p.m. I know it's going to be soaking up those laugh lines and making me more beautimous. I wait 5 minutes to apply makeup to make sure it's soaked in. I apply concealer. I normally use Bobbi Brown's concealer in Almond, but I have been using Prescriptives Camouflage Cream in Warm Extra Dark. They also have a new concealer which contains SPF 25. I haven't tried that one, but I plan to. I apply a tinted moisturizer. I mix it with the MAC iridescent powder or my new favorite ultra chic, ultra cheap Wet n' Wild MegaGlo Face Illuminator in Toasty. This is creamy and I rub the tinted moisturizer and this together. It's wonderful. I then apply a cream or powder blush. I am addicted to blush so I use two. I will use two powders or one powder and a cream. Next, I apply my Bobbi Brown Brick compacts over my cheek and face, or MAC's Skinfinisher. (WHICH THEY NEED TO BRING BACK, SO I DON'T HAVE TO BID FOR THEM ON EBAY). I apply mascara, which Estee Lauder's More Than Mascara is my current fave and then brush eyebrows, apply lip gloss and I'm off. I hope this helps. It seems like a lot, but I can even do eyes in all of 10 minutes. The secret is learning your face, what works and what doesn't. Through trial and error, I have finally figured it out. I am sure you are asking about clothing and when do I pick out what I am going to wear. Ladies, it may sound crazy, but I do not pick out clothes in the mornings. I get my entire weeks worth of clothes ready on Sunday nights. Yes, I am crazy. I understand, but I hate all that rushing around trying to find something to wear, then what if it needs ironing and figuring out which undergarments go with what. For me, I know what works. ORGANIZATION. My father made my brothers and I do this when we were little and it stuck. Therefore, most of my mornings are a breeze. This helps with the beauty factor because I can spend more time enjoying the process of applying my makeup. Tomorrow on Oprah, they are repeating the show "Oprah's Pros Reveal Their Secrets." This is mainly a show on makeup, decorating and entertaining. I will TIVO just so I can see Colin Cowie, the KING of entertaining well and fabulously. Being a beauty takes work and I absolutely love it. May your day be all about the pretty.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oh! Happy Day!

I am so excited that words or a new lip gloss could not even begin to explain, at least for the next 24 hours. Every morning I usually try to read the newspaper to see what is going on in and around my world. (Remember ladies, a knowledge of current events are a great asset). Lately, I have been going to Shake Your Beauty blog to see what's going on in the world of Ms. Tia and beauty. I scrolled down today to see what was happening and she mentioned me on her blog. I was so excited that I am still grinning ear to ear. Luv, love, amore, aimer, Ms. Tia. I have a new product that I am really loving. Since I am on the other side of 30, I have really started to put intense focus on my eye area. I am in deep and unrequited love with Estee Lauder's Perfectionist Power Correcting Patch. ($100 for 8 patches). Quite pricey, but I plan to use every three weeks. Focusing on the eye area BEFORE lines appear are crucial. This season the magazines are calling for "sexy but classy" look for makeup. This can be achieved with pretty and neutral shades. I love mixing MAC's Golden Bronze Iridescent Loose Powder with my Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer. This gives a lovely glow. I then add cream blush, powder blush for some POP and use Bobbi Brown's Brick Shimmer Powder in Bronze or Apricot all over. Next, put on your best lips and you are ready to go. Very sexy, very classy, very pretty. I love the way European women are so comfortable with their sexuality. It's not so in your face, OC, LA or Malibu Beach. It's subtle because they have a wonderful confidence. C'est magnifique. Also, the April 2006 In Style has all the best beauty buys for the year. It includes face, body, hair, nails and beauty. I am currently looking for my spring nail look, but haven't found anything that jumps out at me. I have been using OPI's Bubble Bath for almost 4 years and I still haven't found a neutral color that I love as much. I am a runner and this stuff NEVER comes off your toes, no matter how many miles I run. I don't know what formula they use, but the cost is worth it. Today is the day the Cherry Blossoms are supposed to peak here in DC. It doesn't last long but seeing their beauty along the Tidal Basin is a great way to renew your inner self for spring. Everything begins to blossom so it's time to break out of our winter hibernation rut and spring into action. Pun definitely intended. So, commit to exercise, reading more, relaxing more, and enjoying the beauty that is you. Live in the now and do what makes you happy. I plan to take more cooking classes and invite more people over for dinner. I am so excited that Giada de Laurentiis has a new cookbook out and will be here next week for a signing. I love cooking her simple and delicious Italian meals. If you don't know who she is please check her out on the Food Network. Au revoir and tres jolie, Julia

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Very Pretty Weekend

This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Cover to Cover Conference at Howard University. This conference was for anyone interested in the magazine industry. The conference was really helpful, but the BEST part of the conference was meeting Tia Williams. This is THE woman of beauty in the magazine industry. Of course, I know DC is focused on March Madness, but we can always focus on beauty at the same time. Multitasking is the best thing in the world. Tia is the former Beauty Director of Teen People and the co-writer of Iman's The Beauty of Color. She is also the author of the great book The Accidental Diva. She was so warm, personable and just down right nice. It has to be those Southern roots, since after speaking with her equally fabulous mother, I learned they have roots in Louisiana. This was great news. There is nothing to compare to Southern hospitality. I felt I had met the sister I have never had. Tia could talk with me all day about makeup and I would just never get enough. She even referred me to a new lip gloss. Yes, I know I have bought 4 new lip glosses in the past month, but a girl can never have too many. So, she showed me the YSL Touch Brilliance for Lips #10 - "Starry Havana." Isn't that just a lovely name. I plan to make it to Neiman's this week to pick this one up. Trust me, you can never go wrong with Tia's advice. The minute I discovered her blog, I took my entire weekend and read through every single archive. If you really want to know more about Ms. Tia, please check the link on my blog to her wonderful blog "Shake Your Beauty."

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Beautimous Chronicles #1 - "The Night of the Living Mask"

It all started with a call. “Are you coming over tonight?” Tonight, I thought? Not tonight! I didn’t actually say it, but my hesitation actually spoke volumes. “Tonight is Wednesday. I can’t possibly come over on a Wednesday.” He curiously asked, “why?” I did not have any excuses. It is not like I watch Lost or CSI NY, and America’s Next Top Model hadn’t started yet. Therefore, I was virtually stuck. After dating for a hot minute, he knew my television schedule like a hawk. He could see through my lies like a bad cellophane hair rinse. He also knew that I was a slave to TIVO and that I catch up my TV viewing over the weekend. I continued to put up the brave front of excuse making. I was stopped short of “I need to proof a friend’s as-yet-to-be-sent-and-yet-to-be-published greatest living novel.” “Okay, J, what is the real reason, you don’t want to come over?” How could I tell this man who works harder than I do, that Wednesday was “mask” night. Mask night does not have anything to do with (1) Mardi Gras, although I am from Louisiana, (2) Phantom of the Opera, or (3) Jim Carrey. Mask night is something far greater and beyond. It is my mid-week beauty routine of putting a mask on virtually every inch of my body. I literally mean from the last strand on my short ‘do to the bottom of my runner’s feet. I started mask night before turning 30. Why? Great question. I realized that I wanted to be beautimous well into my 40s and 50s. I have never aspired to be in any magazine or famous, but Essence Magazine’s Annual January issue. This issue contains fabulous women of color over 40. Of course, I have a few years to get there, but the process has to be started now. You cannot begin to use eye cream once wrinkles are established. I deeply understand the motto of “black don’t crack.” I have heard this my entire life, but there is no such thing as luck, just preparation. So I started mask nights, not to be confused with exfoliation nights, which take place on Sundays. Why is this a problem? Well the older I become, the more I realize that men and women DO NEED SEPARATE BATHROOMS. There are some things that men should never see. The way we become beautiful, glamorous, fabulous and drop dead sexy is one of them. Your man could be the best metrosexual male in the world, (BTW: I hate that term), but the mystery still needs to be contained. I did not believe this until recently, even though my friend Ro believed it since I met her. So here I am with a major dilemma. How do I maintain my beauty routine in the company of a man who at any given day or time could be gone for work at a moments notice The vitality of the relationship is paramount, but so are my beauty treatments. This is a part of the Southern Girl’s lifestyle. For women, beauty is a separate job from the one that pays the bills. I am sure by now, most people are going, “What is the problem, hasn’t a man ever seen you do this.” My response: NO, NEVER, NADA, NON. The only men to ever see me become beautiful were my father and brothers. Since I had to share a bedroom with one of my brothers, the need for privacy quickly became a non-issue. Anyway, I digress. Have the men I dated ever come close to the viewing process? NO. Somehow I have always been able to work around their visits. It is work. Thank goodness my Type A personality comes in handy and not just for work. This was different. I need an entire bathroom to spread eagle myself and stand for 30 minutes for maximum suppleness. What to do? I weighed the pros and cons. I finally conceded defeat and ask the question I knew the answer to. “Are you and your friends playing Madden football tonight on Playstation?” For all the ladies who are illiterate to the adult male world of video games, let me give you a quick run down. Video games to men are what lip gloss, stilettos, a great book and sample sales are to women. Nourishment. Life. If you put a man in front of a video game, you immediately see a three year-old watching repeats of that purple dinosaur. My answer came with a thunderous, “Yes.” He informed me of the previous games losses and he needed video game redemption. He was out to kick some butt. I calculated. This window of time gives me at least a full hour of beauty. There is a God. Did I mention that his bathroom is twice the size of mine. I was extremely excited. Anticipation filled the air. I packed my rather large overnight kit and placed all necessary masks inside. For hair: Ojon Restorative treatment. (If you don’t have this run out and get this now). Worth the money. Face: this one changes with my mood. I usually am faithful to Ahava, but I decided to use the Fango Active Mud for Face and Body by Borghese. Truly mud. Truly luxe. Truly beautimous. I double checked for all other accoutrements. Eye cream, neck cream, serum, night cream, Rosebud salve and L’Occitane travel hand cream. Yes, I know I use a lot of products, but in 10 years, it will be worth it. Of course, he already knows I go to bed looking like a wet seal. Trust me, beauty costs and being a beautimous lady takes work. I learned that from my glorious, smart, spiritual, well read, cultural and strongest woman to ever grace the plant. My grandmother and namesake, Julia Shade. So off to see the man. I arrived of course, as usual, to an unlocked door. Ladies, this happens during a timeout in the game. Yes, they have timeouts in video games too. I own a Play Station. Let’s not go there. Anyway, I walked upstairs to find him happy. Happy as a girl at Neiman Marcus’ last call sale. He was yelling into the telephone and making plays. I wave hello and ask for a quick second. You do not get minutes with men who play video games. I speak those magic words. “Baby, I need to borrow your bathroom for about 40 minutes. Can you use the one downstairs. I have girl stuff to take care of.” His reply, “do not worry about me, we are only in the 2nd quarter, so do what you will.” I tell you it was like manna from Heaven, or at least finding out that my favorite lip gloss is not going to be discontinued after I’ve just discover it. So, I strut my happy booty in the bathroom and proceed to start the process. First, you must have great music. It is a process and music sets the mood. I plug in the IPOD and put on my play list of music, Aya, Bebel Gilberto, Kelly Clarkson, Lenny Kravitz, and Mary J. Blige. Yes, I needed the variety. I placed a towel on the floor Next, gloves. Yes I needed latex gloves. I didn’t want to keep washing my hands or leave my perfectly manicured nails in disarray. My next manicure wasn’t until Saturday. I started with my face, applied de-puffing pads to my under eyes and followed with the mud. I moved on to my hair. Slowly and methodically combing the treatment in. I feel as though I am back on one of my favorite vacations, Bariloche, Argentina Then my entire body. I make a mental note to get my brows threaded next week. (Always be on top of your beauty game, girls). I started on my body and realized that I forgot my long-handled sponge for my back. Yes, I have one of those. How do you think you are going to get the mud back there? I make do. I am grateful now to vinyasa yoga DVDs. I finally finished and basked in my mother earth covered body. Still looking good kid, thanks to a combination of running, yoga and knowing how to control my portions. I take a sip of wine. Yes, wine is part of the pampering. It also helps to date someone who loves wine because he might be playing a game, but the glass has already been poured. I started the countdown, 20 more minutes. I am really feeling the music, as well as, the wine when my happiness was abruptly stopped. “What the hell?” You’ve heard those words countless times, but never from a man who is looking at you as though you are a five year-old, just jumped into a dirty creek and dancing to music. I WAS MORTIFIED. The questions began to come faster than I could think. “What are you doing? What is that on you? Why do you look a sea creature? Why are you spread eagled and naked on a towel?” “Why are you brown all over?,” which was my personal favorite. This one is particularly funny because I am a dark skinned African-American and brown everywhere. I couldn’t move, I was frozen. I politely yelled, “what are you doing in here? I asked you not to come in here.” Of course, most men are never truly listening when we talk, so our brief conversation went in one ear and immediately out the other. “Baby, I forgot. I came to check on you. And you did not answer my question, why are you brown?” I just tell him to hurry up and get out. He turns around and walks away. At that moment, I realized why he was laughing so hard. He had his cell phone headset in his ear the entire time. Whoever was on the other line heard the exchange. I was mortified. I here him laugh and say, “she’s butt naked and covered in mud.” I grabbed all the dignity I had left and headed for the shower. I tried to ignore him, but I was flustered. I focused on hurrying as fast as I could and making sure every last piece of mud was off. I stepped out of the shower and toweled off. I started applying moisturizer then I had the light bulb moment. The one that made the last five minutes so worthwhile. I forgot the incident. Why? Because baby, despite the interruption my skin was like butter and nothing else mattered. Julia