Saturday, January 31, 2009

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

This was an interesting week for me. I made a couple of mini-power moves that I'm proud of. Getting a little closer to a much larger goal I have. And I'm still high on the fact that Barack Obama is my president and that he and his beautiful family are living in the White House. I really am. But I realize that, as Q so eloquently pointed out in her recent blog post, the work has only just begun. Which leads me to the down side of this week. I found out that 7 people I know were laid off from their jobs. SEVEN. That is bananas. And then someone very near and dear to me received some unfortunate news about their health. What a week it was.

I also found out that one of my fave mags is folding as of their March 2009 issue. Now, I'll admit that I never had a subscription to Domino (it's been on my to-do list for about a year though) and I didn't even buy it that regularly. But whenever I did, something in it put a smile on my face. And I will miss it. The last page of every issue of this cool shelter mag listed the ten things that made some hip mover and shaker happy. One of my favorites was when VIBE magazine EIC Danyel Smith was profiled. (She's a fan of lemon water, too.) So, in honor of the soon-to-be defunct Domino, I decided to post my personal list. I might not be a hip mover and shaker to Conde Nast, but I really dig this stuff and think you will too.

Oh and before I start, the point of this post is to remind us all that despite what craziness is going on in our lives, there is always something to be happy about. ALWAYS. My father often used to tell my brother and I this (probably after we complained about not having some silly toy): I used to complain about not having new shoes until I met a man with no feet. Now that didn't mean very much to my adolescent ears at the time, but like so much of the wisdom my father bestowed upon me as I child, I am very appreciative of those words now.

Without further ado, here are 10 Things (And People and Places) That Make Me Happy (in no particular order). Recession and all.

1 - Smythson of Bond Street Stiletto Note Cards
I've blogged about these before. But I had to include them because they're just that fly. Writing and sending handwritten notes in this digital age is refreshing. And the red high heels are sexy (but tasteful). I save my pennies for these because I think they're worth it and they've become a trademark of mine.

2 - This is the first piece of "adult" furniture I purchased for myself and I'm quite proud of it. Still. There's nothing like the first, right? I like to sit on it and write in my journals or read the Style section of the New York Times on Sunday. And I got it at Macy's! Don't sleep on their furniture.

3 - Taking a shower in the dark with just the light of a scented candle is heavenly. It really is something to write home about I tell you. I like to pretend I'm back at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami when I do this, by far my best spa experience.(If your bathroom is large, you might need a couple of candles.)

4 - Drinking out of my purple martini glasses is always a quick pick-me-upper. I'm not a big drinker but my good friend Tamara gave me the glasses so they're quite special to me. I usually drink iced tea or cranberry juice out of them. I found these similiar ones at

5 - Dancing in front of the mirror in my living room. This is one of my guilty pleasures. It has helped me get over everything from drama at work to a broken heart. I turn up the tunes in my apartment as loud as my neighbors can stand it and dance my little heart out in front of this huge mirror behind my couch. The best things in life really are free.

6 - Playing hand games with my 6 and 8 year old nieces fills my heart like nothing else in this world. "East, west, I met my friend at the candy store, she bought me ice cream she bought me cake..." Let's do it again, Auntie B! They get such a kick out of it and so do I.

7 - Getting together with my family, eating food and talking ish about everything under the sun. The last time this happen was Christmas. I love my family and we have so many great memories and I look forward to creating new ones. It doesn't take a lot of money for us to have a good time together. I used to take this for granted but now I know how blessed I am to have them.

8 - One of my favorite things to do in NYC is eating at Fred's. Located in Barneys New York (the flagship store on Madison), one would think it is stuffy but it isn't. I like to sneak in there by myself from time to time to eat and people watch after window-shopping. I never spend more than twenty-five bucks on my meal either.

9 - Kai Perfume Oil
I've blogged about Kai before too. I guess I'm pretty brand loyal, huh? Kai has a sweet and light scent that I love. It's an oil and not alcohol based like so many popular fragances. I can't really stomach the smell of alcohol in perfumes.

10 - Over the last couple of years, I've become a huge fan of dresses. They are such a no-brainer. My all-time favorite dress is a Levi's denim number I picked up in Chicago over seven years ago. (And I'm still rocking it.) I always receive loads of compliments on it but even if I didn't, I love it because of the unique details (it's longer in the front than it is in the back) and it is a rare item that looks just as good with kicks like my Air Riffs as it does with shoes. (This pic is so not doing my dress justice.)

What people, places and things make you happy?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just My Size

Happy Hump Day!

So my home computer was acting real funky this morning. (Picture me looking very sad.) My real post will be up tonight. In the meantime, check out this fun lil' something I put together for the main gig. Click here to see the gallery.

I dished on the style tips of folks like rapper turner actress Latifah and more!

It's full of tips, tricks and informative info about dressing for your size -- whether you're shaped like Queen Latifah or Jada Pinkett Smith. Check it out and leave a comment here or there telling me what you think.

Have a good one~

Monday, January 26, 2009

What Michelle Obama Owes You

Absotively nothing.

However, some folks of the Black Artists Association seems to think otherwise. The group is livid that our First Lady has not notably worn anything by Black fashion designers. BAA cofounder and former model Amnau Eele said she will make a formal appeal to the First Lady's office regarding her outrage. "It's fine and good if you want to be all 'Kumbaya' and 'We Are The World' by representing all different countries. But if you are going to have Isabel Toledo do the inauguration dress, and Jason Wu do the evening gown, why not have Kevan Hall, B. Michael, Stephen Burrows or any of the other Black designers do something too?" Eele told Women's Wear Daily last week. Eele added, "She [Obama] had seven slots to wear designer clothes. Why wasn't she wearing the clothes of a Black designer? That was out moment."

First Lady Michelle Obama rocking a Maria Pinto frock.

Sigh. I guess I better get used to this. For the next eight years (yep, EIGHT years), the Obamas will be placed under an enormous amount of pressure to "represent". I really think our First Lady's fashion choices are a matter of a tree simply being a tree, for the most part. She also appears to be a creature of habit, sticking to the folks she knows. Maria Pinto is a prime example. Quite frankly, I was happy to learn she was wearing Jason Wu because he wasn't really on anyone's radar for her to wear. Oscar (de la Renta) would have been kinda predictable as would Pinto have been at this point. She likes to keep folks guessing and the fact that he is only freakin 26 years old was a plus for me too! Yay for the underdog. Now, are there Black designers I'd like to see Michelle wear? Of course! I've already mentioned that Edward Wilkerson of Lafayette 148 would have Michelle even more smashing. He's a beast. And since she seems to favor flirty print dresses for day, Tracy Reese should certainly be a staple in her wardrobe. Because she is nearly 6 feet tall, I imagine that she wears at least a size 11 shoe. Samanta would be a great footwear choice for her since they offer stylish heels, strappy sandals and sophisticated stilletos for women who don't wear a standard size 8.

And we also don't know if Michelle's people actually reached out to any Black designers or not. I believe I'll hold on and see what the end will be. Let's give the woman a chance already before we start publicly pouting to reporters at WWD.

What do you think? Are the folks of the BAA being too critical or do you agree with their beef? Leave me a comment and let me know.

UPDATE: B. Michael tells the BAA not to speak on his behalf.

UPDATE #2: Eele defends herself on

People, this is exhausting.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Beauty of Olive Oil

Happy Friday! Today I felt like exploring a topic I seem to be covering a bit more here on PPT: beauty. But, I specifically want to share a hair secret I discovered a few weeks ago courtesy of my hair stylist, Vikki of the Styles Salon in NYC. Vikki is superb with short, relaxed cuts and can really work a flat iron. She also doesn't try to slap a relaxer in my hair every 3 weeks which I can really appreciate.

Well, since my hair/scalp can get dry and I now have a relaxer again for the first time in 8 years, I decided it might be a good idea to get a hot oil treatment. I don't want my hair to break for lack of proper maintenance. (Remember ladies, a hair stylist can only do so much.) So I asked Vikki if I should get one during my next visit. She instucted me to saturate my hair with oilve oil the night before my next visit and keeping my hair covered (I use a scarf and then a head wrap) until I arrive to the salon for a shampoo the next day. Since I only use extra virgin olive oil for cooking, this is what I use in my hair as well. Now, call me a sucker but I thought this was genuis. While I've used olive oil in my hair before, especially when it was natural, I'd never thought of it as an overnight remedy for my parched strands. And best of all, it is cost effective as hot oil treatments can run upwards of $25 bucks in most salons. How many stylists pass up money nowadays??? The ones who really care about their clients and their hair do I guess...

And before I go, I must confess that I was a shampoo girl one summer while in college. What an experience that was. Between listening to man drama and getting the scoop on sales (the salon was located in a mall), I picked up a few handy hair care tips that I still use today. One nifty one being that you can apply an oil (again, I say use EVOO) to your scalp and roots for a hot oil treatment AND add a creamy conditioner to your hair stimutaneously. The trick is to add the oil first and try not to let the creamy conditioner overlap with the oil until the end of the process. Cover with a shower cap (aluminum foil or saran wrap work too) for a deep penetrating treatment (about 30 minutes or so depending on the length and thickness of your tresses) and then rinse. The combination will leave your strands ultra-moisturized and super soft!

P.S. - Vikki has no idea I'm bigging her up. I only did so because I think she shared a jewel with me and I wanted to pass on the love.

P.P.S. - I know some folks also use avocados and mayo, even beer to condition their hair. I can't co-sign on those though, sorry. However, if you have a DIY hair tip that invloves a kitchen staple like EVOO to share, please do so in the comments section. I will use them for a later post!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What We Can All Learn From Malia and Sasha: Living Within Our Means

I'm still overjoyed and sorta numb right now so forgive me. I will post more about my new president and what he, his wife and two adorable daughters means to me on a personal level another time. Right now, I wanna get into practical matters: spending.

As all the world watched the inuaguration yesterday, many of us were waiting with baited breath to see what Michelle, Malia and Sasha would be wearing. Don't front, if you're reading this blog, you were probably one of those people. What? Are you thinking that it seems frivilous to blog about fashion after such a historic day? Well, keep reading.

Malia and Sasha were wearing J.Crew for their father's big day. Yep, J.Crew - that store you can basically find in any mall or on any Main Street, USA. (I must add that their looks might have been "budget" but they were very high on style.) I am even more grateful to Barack and Michelle for what I know is the beginning of a major shift in values throughout this country. Now everything is relative so I understand that for some people, J.Crew might be considered "high-end". But, in context folks - Malia and Sasha had EVERY major designer label throwing dresses at them - it is certainly budget. Trust me, I interned and freelanced at a childrenswear trade magazine and I am well aware of the types of clothes the Obama girls had access to. I'm talking the kind of stuff that can be found in Bergdorf Goodman or Barneys New York. I think a conscious decision was made to have Malia and Sasha wear J.Crew.

People, a very clear message is being sent here: We must start and/or continue to LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS! While Malia and Sasha didn't have on couture yesterday, I guarantee that they will both have their homework in school today. I am willing to bet (if I was a betting woman) that they will even make up the work that they missed in school yesterday. My mother pointed out to me that although there is hired staff to wait on them hand and foot in the White House, Michelle insists that the girls will still have chores (Michelle wants them to continue to make their own beds.). I've mentioned this here before, but prioritizing when we spend (especially for our children) is so important and I'm estatic that the First Family is leading by example.

When we instill these types of values into our youth, it prevents them from spending their rent or mortgage money on a Gucci purse later in life. Or, blowing 40k on a wedding without having a 6-9 month emergency cushion saved first. As President Obama (I love the ring of that) mentioned in his eloquent speech, the days of spend now, figure it out later are over. That is part of the reason we are in the mortgage crisis we're in now. Sacrifices might need to be made so perhaps Junior can't get those new Jordans this month after all. Instead of sulking about that though, let's make sure Junior can go to college debt-free. And I must add that I am in no way in a perfect financial state myself. I certainly have work to do in order to get where I would like to be financially. But thankfully, I can now look to my new First Lady for guidance in this department. (I wonder if that would have happened with Cindy McCain...)

Yep, change is here. (And I love it!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Your Chocolate City To-Do List

With the Obamas in the White House, D.C's monkier CHOCOLATE CITY will have even greater meaning. For the next few days, the weather is scheduled to be frigid, the crowds upwards of 4 mil (yikes!) - I'm exhausted already. There are a gazillion sites/blogs listing parties and "official" events that are supposed to be happening in the District but below are a few people, places and things that I doubt you'll read or hear about anywhere else. You're welcome.

LETTIE GOOCH - An adorable boutique that carries vintage and one of a kind pieces for those who like to stand out a bit in the crowd. Y'all know everyone is going to head to BCBG for a last minute dress, so keep this quaint shopping destination in mind if you need to find a unique gem at the 11th hour. Plus, while all of D.C. will be excellent for people watching this weekend, U Street, where Lettie Gooch is located, has a bustling scene year-round. Visit the site here.

SOUL DAY SPA - My girls and I had a pamper day here a couple years ago for my dear friend Cocoa before she headed off to fight Bush's war. Well, thanks be to God that Cocoa is back and Soul Day Spa has become a fave spot of hers. This full-service spa will be an excellent choice for someone who wants to get a quick massage (their hot stone is awesome) or body treatment after hours of dancing and walking. But Soul also has a salon with hair stylists that can really flip the strands on women of color. (Extra bonus: The owner is a former attorney who got tired of the corporate BS and decided to do her own thing. Don't we love those stories?) Visit the site here.

FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS - Pretty much every decent restaurant in the District and surrounding areas will be packed this weekend. I tried to make a reservation at Bodega (love this place) and they are booked solid until Wednesday, January 21st! If you desire a nutrious and tasty meal during your stay in the DMV area without all the hoopla, check out personal chef Tianna Feaster. Her company Feast Your Eyes On This supplies busy professionals specially prepared meals to their liking and can even hand deliver them. Word is the crab cakes are delish. Visit her site here.

Oh if you decided to head down to the Inuaguration at the last minute, there might still be availability in D.C. Again, tell 'em Bsquared sent ya.

· 2BR semi-furnished apartment available for rent in the heart of Washington, D.C.

· 5 minutes from two Metro stations

· 10 minutes (driving/train) from the National Mall

· Includes 2 Smart Trip Cards (Metro Cards) and a useful information packet on what to do, see, eat, etc. in the District during Inaugural Weekend

*** $400 per night or $1500 for a week***

For more information call: 202.487.9439.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mascara and Men

The other night, I was heading out with a friend and because we were rushing (I'm always rushing) I had to put on my make-up in the cab. Make-up for me consist of lip gloss, a little blush that reads like bronzer/highlighter on my dark skin and mascara. Oh and I have to fill-in my brows as well because they're so sparse. So I save the mascara application for last since I know it will be the most challenging to apply due to our cabby's defensive driving. Although I dig and dig through my huge purse, I can't find my mascara at all. I'm annoyed. Very annoyed. My friend offers me hers with this disclaimer: "I know you're one of those people who doesn't share mascara but if you don't mind you're free to use mine. It's really good." [PPT NOTE: It is so unsanitary to use someone else's mascara.] I say, it's cool (said friend is my authority on all things beauty) as I reach for her bottle. Hey, I'm not perfect and it's not like I'm making a habit of doing such things. Sue me.

Anyway, I quickly realize that it was destiny for me not to find my mascara. As soon as I brush on her Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara, I know my life has changed. Ladies, this stuff is the truth. My lashes were immediately transformed into long, thick extentions of my eyelids and actually made me reminisce on the time I had my individual lashes done by some fancy smancy make-up artist for a beauty story. I think it has something to do with the round brush. Whatever it is, I'm telling ya, this stuff is worth every bit of the 14 bucks it costs. I couldn't wait to bat my eyes! What is crazier is they sorta reminded me of my brother's eyelashes. Confession: I've always been jealous of my brother's teeth (they're perfect), eyebrows and eyelashes. Mr. TK's lashes are pretty long and full too. It's like a gender role reversal or something... Anyway, I have learned that a lot of women pine over the lashes of the men in their lives and say things like, "It's not fair! I should have those." Well, after investing in this Clinique mascara chicas, you won't have to utter such words again.

On a totally different note, I know many of you are heading to D.C. this weekend/next week for Obama's coming out party. I'm also looking forward to it as a good riddens fiesta for Bush. Anyhoo, I will be posting on the people, places and things to do off the beaten path in the District on Friday so be sure to check back for that. In the meantime, if you or someone you know still wants to attend this historic event but doesn't have a place to stay (I have friends that booked rooms in July!) don't fret. Read the info below and make it happen. (When calling, mention that you were referred by Bsquared.)

· 2BR semi-furnished apartment available for rent in the heart of Washington, D.C.

· 5 minutes from two Metro stations

· 10 minutes (driving/train) from the National Mall

· Includes 2 Smart Trip Cards (Metro Cards) and a useful information packet on what to do, see, eat, etc. in the District during Inaugural Weekend

*** $400 per night or $1500 for a week***

For more information call: 202.487.9439.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Golden Globe Glamour (less)

Happy Monday. It is 2009 and time to step things up. Is this New Year’s Resolution residue resurfacing? Nah. Last week I received this email from a colleague:

So I'm reading your blog...admittedly I haven't read it in a minute due to your non-daily updates! ;) (Don't be offended, but if I really love a blog that doesn't update daily, I get frustrated and tend to not visit every day. Don't hate me, but it's the truth!)

Ouch. I had no choice but to respond to Paula with a "You’re right. I’ll post more often" response. No need for shoulda, coulda, wouldas.

So because of Paula’s kick in the tush, I will be posting three times a week as of today. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, I will make it my business to update PPT. Period. Now, most of the posts probably won’t be as long as they have been but shucks, I think that might actually be a good thing. And hey, I might even post more often if the mood hits me, I can’t get too robotic on here after all, but three times a week is the minimum for my posts going forward.

2009 is gonna be a-okay. I can feel the growth already and we’re only 12 days in. So, on with today’s post.

Jenny from the block lights up the red carpet.

I admittedly didn’t get into the red carpet hoopla for the Golden Globes this year (I was on the phone catching up with the real friends in my life) but I did manage to steal a few glimpses of a couple of gowns that made me do a double take. I was particularly feeling all the one-shoulder numbers that popped up this year. Wasn’t a big fan of Beyonce’s gown as it seemed ill-fitting to me but her make-up was flawless. Lots of folks clowned Jennifer Lopez’s plunging gold metallic gown but I quite liked it. It provided a wow-factor that was generally missing this year. Hey, Jennifer is a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx with a sick body, she’s gonna bring the fire regardless of what her stylists "suggest" she wear. Gotta love her for that.
Bouncy's hip hugging gown and pretty nude makeup.

Of the looks I did see, both on-air and online, I think I am most impressed by Maggie Gyllenhaal’s leopard print, belted one-shoulder gown by Lanvin. I hope this dress has pockets too, I couldn't tell from the pics I saw. I might be the minority on this as some press are already dogging her choice this year. I happen to love the flouncy one-shoulder detail and have been inspired by it for an upcoming black-tie event I might be attending soon. For my shindig, I would like to see the top of this dress recreated into a blouse, paired with a super wide-leg, high waisted black pant and black patent leather pumps. A long, sleek clutch in red or yellow along with chunky gold vintage jewelry complete the look. Perhaps I can find all those elements in time for my possible event but chances are slim to none as I don’t have much time. (I’ll let you know how that turns out.) Whatever get-up I do end up donning, I hope to pair it with my black motorcylce jacket as I mentioned here. Regardless, Maggie's dress is bound to be an inspiration for something I end up rocking in the near future, I already have three weddings to attend this year and it is only January… Thanks Maggie!

What awards shows are you looking forward to and who do you usually rely on to bring it while on the red carpet?

Lanvin: from runway to red carpet...

P.S. - This is embarassingly late so I apologize but R.I.P to Oscar Grant. Maybe subconsciously I was hoping it was a bad dream. UPDATE: R.I.P. to Adolph Grimes III as well. *SMH* This ish here MUST stop!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

French Connection: Chillin' with Catherine (Malandrino) Plus a Les Nubians Performance (sorta)!

Hey, hey, hey! I had a "fashionable" evening Friday and I’m still kinda gitty about it. My coworker Eddy and I went to a party at Catherine Malandrino’s boutique in NYC’s Meatpacking district. I've crushed on Malandrino here before and nothing has changed. I still adore her ultra-feminine frocks with intricate details. So when Eddy asked me to join her for Friday night's event, I was all in. It worked out perfectly too since I had a birthday shindig to attend that was also downtown but didn't start until 10pm.

Not that I needed another excuse to pine over the clothes at the Catherine Malandrino boutique, but in addition to free booze, there was scheduled to be a perfermance by Celia Faussart of Les Nubians. Remember them? Very talented chicks that stayed somewhat below the radar in the States but the idea of hearing Celia sing in an intimate setting with live musicians was even more reason to go. She did her thing too and has a great band. The saxophone player can really blow!

Celia after her performance. Aren't we feeling the flowers in her hair?

Well, Eddy and I had a ball. Her fiance joined us and was sweet enough to take the pics you see below. Lola Ogunnaike was also in the house. That's her with Eddy on the right. After the perforamce we chatted with Celia and learned that she's raising her kids in Brooklyn, USA now and appreciates living in NYC since she doesn't drive. She assured us that she and her sister haven't broken up but rather are taking an unofficial hiatus.

We also met Catherine that night. She's cool as a fan. I was practically stuttering while telling her how much I admire her work. Very humble and gracious she was. She's such a talented designer and I've been a fan ever since she held her Spring 2002 runway show at Harlem's Apollo Theater. Yep, she made all those hoity-toity buyers and editors trek to 125th Street to view her collection. HA! She also chills with Mary J. Blige on a regular. Gotta love it. Trust me, I'm privy to a whole lotta PR gimmicks and folks exploiting culture of the African Diaspora solely for their own financial gain but I really believe Catherine is sincere and what you see is what you get.

Now if I could just afford to get her clothes at retail... LOL!

(L to R:) Me, Celia and Eddy cheesin' for the camera.

(L to R:) Me, Celia, Catherine and Eddy

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Top 8 People, Places and Things of 2008

So uh, yeah, this is a lil' late. My bad, ish happens. Regardless, I'm quite interested to know what you guys agree and disagree with so please leave me a comment with your two cents. This post wouldn't be complete without acknowledging a few of the dope (and not so dope) things 2008 meant to me personally. I finally made that trip to South Africa (Maybe I will actually upload those pics in '09?), spent a glorious day solo in the Everglades and made significant strides in my career (it's all about the plan). I also lost a couple of family members (RIP David and Darryl), gained a new one (Welcome Khloe!) and learned what it really means to forgive someone and to be forgiven. While PPT is far from what I want it to be and know that it can be; it's like me, a work in progress.

So, here are the things that were on my radar in 2008:

HAIR: Keri Hilson, Victoria Beckham and Janelle Monae get my award for maintaining the hottest tresses in 2008. Keri's modern day 70's flip with blonde accents kept me interested when I became bored when everyone else was sweating Rihanna's strands. Victoria Beckham got shorty again the way only she can. And Miss Janelle brought back the French roll! I love French rolls and have been waiting for their return. Plus, Janelle is as cute as a button (Her skin is FLAWLESS!) and I like that she wears her naturally curly hair in a style we've really only seen on straight hair.

Hilson kept a fresh do in '08.

Monae rocking her updated version of the French roll.

FASHION: Michelle "I know I've been sweating her all year" Obama. No real explanation here. She's the epitome of fly to me. Even when she rocks something I don't necessarily get, I love her style. I guess if I had to choose my favorite look from her last year it would be the purple shift dress and the black patent belt worn during the now infamous "fist bump". Michelle was killing 'em that night! Our soon to be First Lady is this blog's tagline "Style goes way beyond clothes" personified.

Purple Power

MUSIC: About 75% of the music I listen to was released at least 10 years ago. All the more reason for me to be excited about Jazmine Sullivan's "official" debut in 2008. My homie Tress put me on to Jazmine a few years back and I was instantly a fan based on her rendition of Resentment. I had the opportunity to meet the Philly songstress last year, right before her album dropped, and she was such a sweetie. Oh and all those Grammy nominations she snagged? Lovin' it.

FILM: I'm not a big movie goer and in fact my friends clown me about all the flicks I haven't seen. But I, along with most of the world, got super excited about the Sex and the City movie. I know it got a whole lotta hype that many would argue it didn't quite live up to. However, what I appreciate the most about the film was that it crushed so many stereotypes and predictions about women not turning up in big numbers at the theater. Yeah, I tend to root for the underdog.

ECONOMY: The word recessionista replaced fashionista in 2008 and for good reason. Ish hit the fan. Between the bailouts, the layoffs and the crazy oil prices, it was a bumpy ride for all of us. I've been blessed to stay afloat financially for the most part but I've altered my spending habits and focused more on what really matters to me.

THE REAL (AND NOT SO REAL) SOCIALITE: Bravo's reality series The Real Housewives of Atlanta struck gold for the network, breaking records and getting a second season. But the five women left many wondering how "fabulous" their lives really were when the cameras were off... Maggie Betts on the other hand became a presence on the mainstream front (she's been a fixture in NYC society circles) and unlike Genevieve Jones... Well, I'm not gonna go there. It seems kinda silly to boast about Betts coming from a wealthy and "connected" family when folks are b-r-o-k-e. My point is simply that she was "that girl" in 2008 for the fashion and media crowd.

Betts out and about.

BLACK IS BACK (Hopefully to stay this time.): The All Black Vogue Italia had me and most of you reading this going nuts! Again, I give most of the credit for this to Bethann Hardison for fearlessly getting the conversation started about the lack of Black models on the runway back in 2007.

And last but certainly not least (insert drumroll here)... BARACK OBAMA. Yes. He. Did. Not too much to say about this man that hasn't already been said. I am grateful that in addition to donating to his campaign and making phone calls to folks in PA among other things, I was able to use PPT as a platform to encourage people to vote last November. That is a beautiful thing. But the journey has just begun and there is a lot of work to do. For all of us to do. Looking forward to what 2009 will bring and hope you are too!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

One to Watch: Baltimore's Rye Rye

HAPPY NEW YEAR FOLKS! I can't believe how quickly 2008 passed us by but I find myself saying that every January 1st about the previous year. 2009 is here and time waits for no man.

Earlier this week I caught up on my WWD reading from the week before since I was out of town. To my pleasant surprise I saw a young brown girl on the cover of the 12.23.08 issue (see below) when I retrieved my mail. Trust me, this doesn't happen very often. Turns out the cover girl is rapper Ryeisha Berrain aka Rye Rye. Miss Rye Rye, 18, hails from Baltimore, Maryland and is actually a protege of British import M.I.A. Rye Rye is the first artist signed to M.I.A.'s Interscope imprint label, N.E.E.T. Kinda cool, right?

Well, as I read on, I learn that Rye Rye has already appeared on a track called Shake It To The Ground which became an underground Baltimore club anthem and MySpace sensation. I have to admit I've only listened to that song and she's no MC Lyte but my interest is peaked because although Rye Rye is a rapper, she might finally bring the Baltimore club sound to the masses if she blows up. I attended college in Maryland for a minute before transferring to F.I.T. and was introduced to Bmore club music and the jaw dropping dancing that goes along with it. (Shout out to anyone reading this who ever went to Hammerjacks in the late 1990's. CRAZY!) It was much faster than the club music I was used to and reminded me of techno, in a good way. Anyhoo, Rye Rye has M.I.A. cosigning for her so I have high hopes.

Apparently the fashion industry has high hopes for Rye Rye as well. In her WWD spread, she rocked everything from American Apparel to Custo Barcelona. Thanks to M.I.A., Rye Rye is up on designers like Jeremy Scott and goes on shopping sprees at Topshop. She often even makes her own clothes according to WWD. And I'm digging her rainbow hued hair (but girls in Bmore were always left with their hair) because it is refreshing in the music industry's sea of copycat locks. Right now it is too early for me to tell whether this Bmore b-girl is a true creative stylista or just a new artist being heavily styled to fit a marketing plan. It's probably a little of both. Still, I am excited about a young lady on the come up in hip-hop who is (seemingly) relying on lyrical skills (plus fancy footwork) and not using t&a to get on.

Stay tuned.

I'm posting my 'Best of 2008' list next!