Sunday, December 30, 2007


Ever wonder why magazines are always “rounding up” the 20 Sexiest Men On The Planet? Or why cable television seems obsessed with those 10 Hottest Celeb Couples type of shows? Well, we seem to love ‘em. In media, lists always sell. They are easy for readers to digest and typically don’t require original artwork or footage. Simply put, they are inexpensive to produce.

So, is that the reason behind this post? Nah. It was just fun to write. Hope it is equally (or more) fun for you to read. HAPPY NEW YEAR! And don’t forget to leave a comment with your can’t forget moments of the year.

Rihanna: Bahamian Bombshell

Ella. Ella. Eh, eh, eh… Pop music at its finest. She’s not a top vocalist, songwriter or even performer by any standards; but this Def Jam protégé made sure that Umbrella wouldn’t be her only hit in ’07. Proving that long and blonde aren’t the only two hair options for an R&B diva, she officially brought the bob back for the masses. With the help of her fierce hairstylist Ursula Stephen, Rihanna kept her ‘do slammin’ whether she was rockin’ it curly, bone straight, with bangs or asymmetrical.

Beyonce: We Fall Down. But We Get Up.

I wasn’t buying The Beyonce Experience hype before watching her perform at the Essence Music Festival earlier this year. I’d observed Destiny’s Child in action live before and was unmoved. Well, now I am convinced she is the quintessential entertainer. All the more reason I was so happy of Ms. B during her YouTube debacle this summer. Yeah she fell but she got right back up and danced even harder. Never missed a beat. What sealed the deal was her interview with Lola Ogunnaike on CNN where she showed a rare moment of introspection. Of the now infamous fall, Ms. Knowles said, “It wasn’t the first time I fell on stage and it won’t be the last.” What an important mantra for life. Who knew Bouncy could be profound?

Angela and Vanessa Simmons: Reality TV Stars We Can Actually Be Proud Of

While most of the young, fabulous “It Girls” were checking in and out of rehab, getting arrested or trying to cover-up some sex tape, the daughters of Rev. Run were designing sneakers (their line Pasty debuted this spring), editing magazines and landing acting gigs on The Guiding Light. Blessed with the Simmons Hustle gene, these lovely ladies have even caught the attention of The Girl Scouts of America since the American institution requested them to be their spokesperson(s). By the way, I interviewed the duo for my full-time gig earlier this year and they were just as charming and down-to-earth in person as they appear on television. Thank goodness.

Kerry Washington: Lemme Upgrade You

She’s always been cute (remember Lift?), smart (she graduated from NYC’s Spence School for Girls) and cultured (Washington lived in India before taking on acting full-time). However, she wasn’t really on my style radar until this year. Now I always check for the Bronx native to see what she’s wearing. Whether she’s taking fashion risks like pairing a canary yellow belt with a sporty mini dress and red heels, giving all-out glam by rockin’ electric blue pumps with a sequined frock or keeping it sleek and sophisticated in a floor sweeping gown – Kerry is always so very… picture perfect!

Africa Rising: The Not-So Dark Continent

In 2007, the motherland seemed to be chic. For better or worse, everyone wanted to be associated to Africa in a philanthropic way. One of the most notable examples of this was the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair. The Conde Nast pub dedicated an entire issue to Africa and had uber-photographer Annie Leibovitz shoot twenty completely different covers for it. Then they had Bono guest edit the issue. Cover subjects included: Jay-Z, Don Cheadle, Oprah, Iman, Barack, Madonna and George Bush. Yeah, that last one confused the heck outta me too. Bottom line, it was a gangsta (and quite memorable) move regardless of what the intentions of the issue were.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Better Late Than Never

Dang Gina. I had all hopes of posting this list well over a week ago. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I'll spare you the excuses. My guess is many of you have waited until the very last weekend to finish up (or maybe even start) your holiday shopping. So, here are some ideas for my fellow procrastinators.

Without further ado... MY OFFICIAL 2007 CHRISTMAS SHOPPING LIST:

Mi madre - A subscription renewal to one of her favorite mags: O, The Oprah Magazine. I actually gave her the initial subscription a few years ago for Christmas and I just continue to renew it. It's a gift that keeps on giving. Also, since my mother retired she has really become a jet-setter. I'm so happy about this and know that a gift card from any major airline would be put to good use immediately. Check the corresponding airline's website for more info on how to hook-up the world-traveller in your life.

Mi hermano - My big bro will be a hip-hop head for life. But he's honestly a hip-hop elitest of sorts. A Soulja Boy fan he is not. That is why I know he'll appreciate this authentic coffee table book, Born in The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop (Rizzoli); major bookstores nationwide. The photographs in this tome were taken by the well-respected Joe Conzo and truly captures the golden days of hip-hop.

Mr. TK (aka boyfriend/significant other)- I'm such a private person so revealing too much of my personal life on this blog is terrifying for me. But, I will say Mr. TK is still MIA. (well, sorta) We'll see what 2008 will bring. Anywho, I would enojy treating someone to a relaxing facial and/or massage at Harlem's own BBraxton. Catering specifically to men, BBraxton seems to have just the right mix of cool and masculinity my TK would desire. 212.369.3094/1400 Fifth Avenue at West 116th Street
(Blogger isn't letting me post the pic but please check BBraxton out on their website. So sexy. So cool. Gotta love all that haberdashery being back in Harlem!)

The BFF - My best girlfriend is a working mom and rarely makes time to pamper herself because she's so dedicated to her family. But I know that she's secretly a glamourpuss and would love these pencils from Color by Cynde Watson. Isn't the packgaging slammin'?! Plus the line was created by a top make-up artist who happens to be a sister.

My nieces - I adore stationery. Always have too. My dad ensured that I had my own personalized stash as a little girl. In keeping up that family tradition, I can't wait to get my seven and four-year old nieces a set of their own from American Stationery. This catalog based company is super-affordable but doesn't skimp on the quality or style. Now they'll have no excuse for not writing letters to Auntie B!

A not-so close co-worker, neighbor, hairstylist, manicurist, etc. - Gift cards, gift cards, gift cards. But I like thinking outside of the box. Movie theater tix. Barnes & Noble or iTunes hook-ups. Even a Starbucks gift card for ten bucks. In this case (we probably don't know each other that well), it really is the thought that counts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Summer, Summer, Summertime!

The title is a stretch but I wanted to get your attention. I am overdue for a post and don’t have the time or energy to put up part two of my holiday shopping list right now. Meanwhile, I’m visiting my fam for the weekend. So funny updating this blog from my mother’s computer which for the record is much faster than mine. While on the plane traveling here, I caught up on some reading and came across the gorgeous ensemble below in the latest issue of TIME Style & Design.

This sorbet hued frock would be hot all by itself (those sleeves!) but paired with that ridiculous chunky turquoise necklace is just sinful. I think I’m even more moved by this vibrant color and ultra femininity because it’s the dead of winter and I’ve been wrapping up in layers to protect me from the harsh effects of a Northeast winter. NYC had the first real snow of the season yesterday. I admit that I rock bright colors year-round - they look so good on brown skin - but this pic (courtesy of Giambattista Valli) injected just a lil’ bit of summer into my life today and I felt the need to share.

You can thank me later. Oh, and my mom says hello.

P.S. – If you’re patiently waiting for the temps to increase where you are too, accessories can definitely help. Mittens (Don’t we prefer them over gloves?), scarves and hats in primary colors make any grey or black coat pop. And will erase those winter blues – at least for a minute.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Let’s Take It Back To The Old-School

This is going to be quick - I have Saturday morning errands to run. But I’m slowly learning that every post doesn’t have to be the same (long) length. Before I go off errand running I need to share my fabulous find of the week. Well, it’s actually the fabulous find of a co-worker of mine. Feast your eyes on the handbag below:

Bananas, right? Old-school handbags officially made their comeback a few years ago but MCM kinda stayed in the shadows. (I did peep Salt of Salt ‘N Pepa rocking a gigantic signature logo one on her reality show.) The huge logo screams "look at me" but it works here because, duh?, it’s a freakin’ MCM bag. Now if it was Gucci, Fendi, Prada, etc. it would be so obnoxious but on this bag it’s slightly kitschy. Loves. It.

For the youngins who might be clueless reading this, MCM is a European luxury brand that was uber-popular in the States from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. Rappers like Finesse & Synquis had outfits made out of MCM leather for their music videos. Since everything old is new again, the company appears to be attempting a comeback with a younger, hip set. The bag in the picture sells for $995 at Bloomingdale’s. (Yeah, that’s what I said.) Their other current offerings are way too gaudy for my taste. My co-worker clearly got the best of the bunch.

I hear that eBay sells authentic vintage MCM bags pretty regularly but I think I’m content sneaking a peek at my co-worker’s for now. Let’s hope she doesn’t freak out at my stares… Oh well, off to the grocery store I go!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The British Are Coming!

That’s me in the above pic during my London jaunt a few years back. I lived in London in ’03 and while my stay was brief, I became attached to several things. London is synonymous with bad cuisine, but I always managed to get delicious grub in Brixton. I also grew fond of Neal’s Yard (awesome organic health and beauty products), Portobello Road and Spitalfields Market (inexpensive vintage finds) and window shopping at Liberty or Browns (think Henri Bendel or Jeffrey with cooler interiors).

One of my absolute fave London shopping spots was Topshop. The retailer gained some American notoriety earlier this year with their Kate Moss/Barneys initiative but it’s still unknown to most on this side of the pond. Well, let me tell ya - Topshop is the TRUTH! Imagine a wallet-friendly mass retailer that combines the femininity of Zara, the trendiness of H&M with the sophistication of Club Monaco. Now imagine that same place stocking their shelves with new merchandise as often as three times a day.

I frequented the flagship store in Oxford Circus because it was walking distance from my flat and my school. I went there way too often. Sportswear, outerwear, denim, footwear, accessories, lingerie - it’s all there. Topshop is a leader of what the Brits have labeled the High Street. And dudes, there’s a Topman for y’all as well.

So, what does this really have to do with you? Topshop is officially opening up a store in the U.S. next September! Rumors have circulated about this move before but this time the talk seems legit. Now, my Topshop finds won’t feel as exclusive (picture me looking sad) but I’m still excited. WWD is reporting that the store is scheduled to open in Soho (perfect fit) and gradually expand to other locations.

If any of the nine (Thanks Barri!) folks reading have ever been to Topshop - please leave a comment and share your experience. Are you excited about the soon-to-be British transplant?