Saturday, November 29, 2008

Budget Beauty Buy: BOOTS Bath & Body at Target

I cannot believe that I haven't blogged about this before! During my stay in London, I grew to fancy several High Street staples: Topshop of course, Marks & Spencer (the U.K.'s sexier answer to Target) and Shelly's for funky footwear. These were pretty likely suspects for an American gal into fashion though. The unlikely suspect that I developed quite a crush on while across the pond however was Boots.

There is literally a Boots on every other corner in Central London. Sorta like there is a Duane Reade on every other corner in NYC. But Boots is like Duane Reade meets C.O. Bigelow with a sprinkle of Sephora and much better customer service. It was fabulous. My roommate and I would make excuses to go. The packaging on everthing they sold was sleek and cool looking as if it were from the first floor of Henri Bendel but carried a price tag of Conway.

Well, last year Boots decided to bless their American fans by offering a select group of their products in Target. Perfect fit as the companies seem to have similiar philosophies. Boots current bath & body collection contains one item that I have to sing the praises of and that is the Amazon Forest Mango & Babassu Bath Cream. Folks, it is heavenly. Containing mango butter and babassu oil, it leaves my dry skin totally moisturized and simply smells delicious. Plus, it retails for $8.99 so it won't break the bank. Unfortunately I take showers much more than I do baths but this product works equally well for both. All of the items in the Amazon Forest line are available in body scrubs, lotions etc. so they're great for gifts.

It is worth checking out the other bath & body lines available from Boots presently at Target like the Mediterranean as well. They also offer an extensive make-up line too but since I only really fool with lip gloss and mascara, I can't comment it.

I'm telling you, if you have a gift to buy for anyone who has spent significant time in London recently, consider giving them something from the Boots collection at Target. You're guaranteed to put a smile on their face. And if you treat yourself to a bottle of the Mango & Babassu Bath Cream, write me and let me know if it changed your life. Or at least made you and your bathroom smell really yummy.

P.S. - My niece digs her stationery. Looks like I'm back in the running for Auntie of the Year after all.

P.P.S. - Congrats on the engagement Kesha. If you like it then put a ring on it -- HA!

Friday, November 28, 2008

10 Holiday Shopping Tips & Tricks

Hey, hey, hey!

Hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. I certainly did. I have loads to blog about too but Mr. TK will have my head if I don't hurry up. (In his defense, he is always waiting for me.) I plan to post a few things this weekend but in the meantime, it is Black Friday. So, check out the story I wrote for the main gig ASAP. I interviewed my girl and best-selling author Kathryn Finney aka The Budget Fashionista for the article and it has some really informative tips. I even learned a few things.

Gotta go -- happy reading! ;-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is Solange a Trendsetter?

I hadn't thought so until earlier this week when I spotted these pics on YBF. (Don't front, you read it too.) I love the idea of pairing a chic, sophisticated pencil skirt with a playful tee shirt like Solange did for a recent NYC performance. The high heel grey booties in what appears to be suede is a fun addition and really complete the look as black would have been so expected. Normally I feel like the younger Knowles tries too hard to be the anti-Beyonce (with the exception of that Texas hair neither can seem to let go of). I rarely, if at all, look to Solange as a style influence but I'm totally impressed by this get-up.

A pencil skirt never fails to make the wearer feel sexy...

The sleeves on this shirt are S-I-C-K!

I might have to pay more attention to what Solange is rockin' these days. What do you think? Lovin' this look to pieces or think it is straight up hideous? Leave me a comment with your two cents.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Living Within Our Means: What We Can All Learn From Dame Dash

Damon Dash with his driver next to a luxury Macbach in 2006. These rides typically go for $400,000.

Music mogul Damon Dash has some serious money issues. How serious you ask? Well, according to The New York Daily News, it's pretty daggone serious. Check it:

* Last week, a Manhattan judge ordered the city to seize Dash's Chevrolet Tahoe, since he wasn't making the $714.99 monthly payment on the leased SUV.

* Eastern Savings Bank foreclosed on the $7.3 million mortgage for two trendy Tribeca condos where the monthly $78,504.26 bill went unpaid for months.

* Dash faces an outstanding $2.1 million tab with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, a $4,500 bill from the state for not paying workers' comp and a suit that says he stiffed the law firm that handled his child-custody case.

* Dash even got dumped by another firm representing him in a $3.5 million suit against accountant-to-the-stars Barry Klarberg, who is accused of bungling his tax returns, costing him millions.

Dang Gina.

Now I know there are folks right now saying (or thinking) that Dame is getting what he deserves. Apparently he hasn't always been the easiest cat to get along with. I can't do that though. Never actually met the dude and he hasn't done anything to me.

But what I can do is remember Dame tossing around all that expensive champagne a few years back in music videos. And I believe I caught some crazy spending on his BET reality show The Ultimate Hustler a couple years ago (Yes I watched it once or twice - forgive me!). Then there was the New York magazine article that quoted him stating he had 1,300 pairs of sneakers.


Doesn't take a genius to figure this out folks. Dame spent more than he had. And hopefully he will dig himself out of this hole. We've seen this before though - MC Hammer anyone? Truth is, he's still probably not broke. His wife Rachel does have a clothing line which is seemingly doing well but the fashion biz is more gangsta than the music industry so who knows what kind of deal she has. Still, I think broke is sending your kid to bed hungry or wondering if your rented or borrowed furniture will be waiting for you on the sidewalk after you get evicted, again.

My girl E told me the other day that we are all living better than we have to (materialistically speaking) and now I agree. And some really wise person once said that the more we make, the more we spend. Let's all learn from Dame's mistakes people.

Living beyond our means is so not stylish. At all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

And The Auntie Of The Year Award Goes To... (The Beauty of Stationery)

Not me. My oldest niece's 8th birthday was last Friday and I forgot it. The next day my mother informed me of my oversight so I called my niece immediately. She came to the phone sluggish, still tired from her slumber party the night before, and listened to me apologize profusely. Then she says, cool as a fan mind you, "It's okay Auntie B." After we discuss her big day: how being eight doesn't feel much different from being seven, the cupcakes at school and her cool new bookbag, I ask her what she wants from me. Nonchalantly she responds, "It doesn't really matter. Whatever you want to give me is fine." This kid and her sister never cease to amaze me. But she does add one important caveat: "I would like something girly though."

No prob. Auntie B can handle this...right? As I start to rack my brain about what to get - nothing too expensive (I'm trying to save more), not clothes (she doesn't need 'em) - I remember that I never got her the stationery I wanted to buy her and her sister last Christmas. Perfecto! It's certainly girly (at least the design I pick out will be) and American Stationery has a plethora of affordale options for children. Plus, while I am always buying my nieces books, I also want them to learn and appreciate the joys of writing; especially in this digital age. No email, text message or IM will ever take the place of a handwritten letter. Ever. Furthermore, I will be continuing a special family tradition. Her grandfather gave me my first set of stationery when I was about her age.

Letter writing is an art that I'm happy to expose my nieces to.

I'm hoping to make hers personalized as well. How fun! I'll be sure to let you guys know what she thinks of her belated birthday gift especially since many of you will be searching for frugal gift suggestions (if you're not already) in the next couple of weeks.

Check out American Stationery items for yourself as well here. My red stiletto notecards from Smythson are a must and I also love the detail of Atlanta-based Bluorchid designs. Are you into stationery? If so, where do you score your finds?

Monday, November 10, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Michelle Obama's Fashion Stylist Speaks


I don't have any exclusive with the stylist of Michelle Obama. The last I read, the Chi-town native wasn't officially working with one but I'm sure that is going to change very soon if it hasn't already. Now, let's get a couple of things out of the way. I am officially a proud member of the Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama Fan Club. Need proof? Read this and this. But even I think constructive criticism is appropriate when it is well, constructive. In the words of fellow Chicagoan Common, "If I don't like it, I don't like it. That don't mean that I'm hatin'."

A runway shot of Michelle's election night frock.

Runway to Realway: The much-talked about Narcisco Rodriguez dress on Michelle.

So, here it is - Michelle usually gets it right in my humble opinion. I think she is always dressed appropriately for her age and she has figured out her body type (she has an hourglass shape). But she does have the occassional miss (like on election night) and I have a few suggestions of things her stylist might want to adopt (and a few things she should continue doing) to make her look even more fabulous consistently.

Lady in Red - Michelle is not afraid of color.

Hometown girl Maria Pinto has been holding it down for Michelle and should certainly continue to do so (she is responsible for the fab red dress Michelle wears in the above pic) but below are a few other folks worth our future First Lady's consideration. These designers also create clothes for real women with real bodies:

Lafayette 148 - Edward Wilkerson is slept on by the masses. His tailored pieces will take Michelle from power lunches and brunches to PTA meetings for Malia and Sasha.

Donna Karan - This NY native has long been Seventh Avenue's darling and for good reason. Karan's innovative usage of jersey will compliment Michelle's curves.

Oscar da la Renta - The Dominican designer should be a go-to guy for Michelle when she starts preparing for the black-tie dinners that will quickly start to fill her calendar come January.

Other Style Notes...

Shoes with a heel - Michelle steers away from heels and at 5'10 one can only assume it is because she doesn't want to tower over her husband. Still, a 2-3 inch heel can be slipped in every now and again to give her look more of an overall polished punch.

Hair - Michelle's tresses are always shiny and healthy looking. Keep doing what 'cha doing Michelle!

Make-up Artist - Michelle's make-up can be hit or miss - early on in the campaign her brows were a bit hard. I suggest she get one great make-up artist and stick with him/her then get an equally fabulous back-up. Someone she should consider is Sam Fine.

Lastly, I think that Michelle should continue to embrace bold color as it looks so right with her complexion but prints can be tricky and don't always read well on camera. Solids are probably best when cameras are around (which will be the next four years...).

Now when all is said and done, Michelle probably doesn't give two hoots about what me or any other blogger, critic or reporter has to say regarding her style. And why should she when she has this?


Still, this was fun to write. Do you agree or disagree with my advice? Did you like the dress she wore last Tuesday night? Leave me a comment and sound-off.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

If You're Gonna Be In Chocolate City This Weekend...

This could be a cool lil' event to check out. A co-worker put me on to it yesterday since I was considering going to D.C. today myself. Well, my plans changed so I won't be able to make it but I thought I would share the wealth.

Designers you can expect to find at this shindig include fashionista faves like:

Diane von Furstenberg
Jill Stuart
Marc by Marc Jacobs
James Jeans
J Brand
Juicy Couture
Loeffler Randall
Mike & Chris
Tory Burch
Lewis Cho
Catherine Malandrino
Tracy Reese
& more!

RSVP to for location address.

Just remember ladies (and gents), sometimes 30% off means paying 70% for something you really don't need. Now more than ever, we need to live within our means.

Have a GREAT weekend! I'm looking forward to mine. (hee, hee)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama - A Picture Is Worth A Thousand and One Words

Hello PPT fam. I am still numb. Tuesday night and all-day Wesnesday, November 5th was filled with so much emotion that I honestly don't know what to write today. Yesterday, friends and colleagues happily emailed loads of pics that evoked what people across the world were feeling about this historic win. They all struck a cord with me, even after I started to get the same pics multiple times.

But the one below of an adorable little boy in Indonesia says it all.

Yes. We. Did.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


They didn't complain about waiting in long lines...


(For Barack Obama and Joe Biden. This is my blog and I don't have to be objective.)

Questions about where to vote? Visit this site NOW!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Project Runway's Korto Momolu: Losing Never Looked So Good

Korto Momolu: The People's Champ

I admittedly am not a huge fan of Project Runway. Reality tv just isn't really my thing. But I had the pleasure of interviewing last season's runner-up Korto Momolu from the popular Bravo series for my day gig and I must share with my PPT folks. I was so inspired by Korto's can-do attitude. She is a sweetheart, she's driven (has that immigrant do-or-die spirit) and clearly loves her family. Oh and Ms. Girl is way talented.

Read the interview and leave a comment here or on the other site to let me know what ya think. As I get updates on her collection, I'll be sure to pass them along.

I'm about to get ready for church but I hope to make some calls to PA for Barack Obama later today as we are in the final stretch of this historic election. If you would like to do this as well, visit this site for the deets. You can make calls from home or go to a phonebank center in your area. We're almost there!