Monday, January 29, 2007

If You Don't Know, Now You Know

I am going to Fashion Week in Paris! Mark Gill, designer and stylist, invited me along to view the Fall ’07 Collections and I jumped at the opportunity. What a dream! So, in preparation, I need new hair (style, that is), a completely pre-arranged stylish wardrobe, and to calm my nerve so I don’t look like a crazy fashion-groupie for a week. To top off this absolutely amazing event, my darling friend, Porsha Summerville, will be there too!

UPDATE: I took the GRE again and did an awesome job! I am so glad to have that test behind me and for about 3 days, I was totally relaxed, but now I am back to juggling a million things at once and can no longer be free. While waiting to hear back about graduate school, I have a full-time job, PR duties for R.A.W. Magazine, 4 magazines to catch up on (I just got around to reading the January Vanity Fair this week), a great book about leadership and some scripts to get through for a film project. As usual, somehow I find myself with a million commitments. Oh, and my sister is getting married and I am the maid of honor….you can’t imagine…

The First Lady

Miss Renee (my mom) came in town this weekend and we met The First Lady! When I arrived at my mom’s hotel (her DC home) Sunday, three darling men sat in the lounge where we meet, eat, and drink, among other things. Greg, Luke and the fabulous Istvan (right). Now, all three were fantastic, but to the left you see the Pepto Bismol pink robe that was the topic of conversation. Purchased in the hotel’s giftshop, it was hilarious to see the adorable man bearing the title, “First Lady.” Our three companions were amazing: Luke, the PR prince, George, the Luis Vuitton toting lush, and Istvan, “The First Lady,” a make-up artist and master of disguise. The sexy brown haired hottie showed me several Myspace pictures with blonde hair of all lengths complimented by dramatic make-up. The afternoon was blissful, having a lot to do with the fact that George gave me a beautiful and warm taupe Fendi wrap, but also because the gentlemen were delightful company.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Recently on TBS, I watched a Season 4 episode of Sex and the City just after Carrie cut her hair. Because I am searching for a new hairstyle for my trip to Paris next month (I will discuss this at a later date), her color caught my eye. I love the two-toned look! I am sure you can imagine how many pictures there are of Sarah Jessica Parker on the web, but these are the only ones I could find with this look, you get the idea.

I often wear my hair with a similar wavy texture, but my hair has been only a few shades away from extremely dark brown for as long as I can remember. Therefore, it would be a huge change to lighten such a thick top layer. I think the style is beautiful, but it is seldom seen on black women. The same look might be ghetto on a black woman…which brings me to my contemplation: Why is it that black women have so few examples of unique and chic hair icons? The same rings true for the celeb make-up tips magazine’s give. Often, I will go through a magazine and spot a beautiful make-up job or hair color or style, but the model will be white. Those looks are almost guaranteed to look completely different on me.

In fact, when I did my best to search for more two-toned looks on the internet, I found only limited options: two beautiful looks by two women who wear hair peices. I love the look, but neither of them has to live with it for more than an hour. (But, let me just say: GORGEOUS, B.)

Now, maybe I am frustrated because I don’t wear weave or wigs. Not that I have qualms with either, but Tyra’s locks are automatically disqualified because I can’t strive for a look that’s’ completely fabricated. (I hope I am not assuming too much by believing we are all aware that Tyra wears wigs.)

Here is my best attempt to demonstrate the selection available to black women:

Tracee Ellis Ross – She transformed her beautiful natural curls into what appears to be a roller set or large barrel curling iron version of the same do. Her volume is probably the hardest part of this look to imitate.

Beyonce – B is a great example of the various color and style options a various black women have. Because she goes through so many dramatic looks using wigs, and presumably, weave, she serves only as an inspiration to anyone whose natural hair texture might match hers that particular week. (I mean, come on, if you can successfully pull off the Foxy Cleopatra hair, it is not likely that your hair texture can also fulfill B’s smooth, straight tresses.)

Keyshia Cole – Another creative representative for fake hair. I don’t care if it is ghetto – I LOVE her two-toned red and blonde hair, but there is a certain level of celebrity required to pull it off. FYI – Most of us don’t have it.

Meagan Good – I am beginning to think Ms. Good has a large forehead, because she does not leave the house without those predictably placed bangs. Pretty style, but tired!

– I will give it to Tamia. When I “google imaged” her, a plethora of striking looks came up and I am sure she has brought about some “Girl, would this look good on me” discussions for many black women.

After only a few names, I am back at square one. Gabrielle Union, Brandy, Golden Brooks, Nia Long (thanks for the pixie cut, girl, but we can’t all pull it off), Sanaa (is it weave or not? I can’t figure it out), Kerry Washington, Thandie Newton, Zoe Saldana, Jada Pinkett Smith, Reginas King and Hall. Between weave or the typical black girl permed hair, little else is presented; When I think about cute hairstyles to try, I am seldom provoked to bring my hairstylist a picture of a black woman.

The moral of my story is much less detailed than my deliberation. I truly love the two-toned hair color worn by Sarah Jessica after season 4 of Sex and the City and I really want to know what it would look like on a black woman without having to be the test dummy myself.

FYI – While searching for black female superstars from which to steal hair ideas, I found this really cool website listing many notable black actresses and short bios:

I spent last week taking pictures of myself before I went to work. Sounds REALLY vain, but it was mostly because I tried some new make-up and hairstyles and I wanted to see what I looked like from different angles (ok, maybe a little vain). In the process, however, I discovered something for us all.

Do you see the pink highlight around my eyes? If you love it as much as I did, here's how I did it.

  • CVS sells a brand of make-up brushes by Essence of Beauty. I used the Smudge Eye Shadow Applicator, which comes with 2 brushes that are really just pointed sponges. I used the larger of the two (it’s smaller than your pinky so don’t try it without the brushes. Click here to see a product similar to the brushes I am talking about).
  • After the concealer and a nude shaded shadow over my lid, I applied the soft pink shade from my Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Bronze (everyone needs a Shimmer Brick) in the part of my eye closest to my nose (as you can see). You can basically apply it wherever you like around the eye, but I had always seen celebrities in magazine with this look and thanks to my friend, Brooke I was able to find the right color and tools and recreate it.

In the first hour of the new year, I was in a foul mood and wondering how great of a year this could possibly be if, during the first hour, I was miserable. Well, I have no complaints about the last two weeks and I am actually hoping the act of one man may influence us all...


"My Blue Hat Got Dirty"

Describing the moments the subway cars were going over him, Welsey Autrey said of the worst part about laying on top of a stranger in a drainage trench in the New York City subway, “My blue hat got dirty.” R E W I N D…A drainage trench in the subway?! Eew! This is the center area between the two tracks that guide the train on its path. Yes, the area where rats frolic and bums urinate, and mud, dirt, and grime collide to form new diseases.

Who is this guy parlaying dangerously in the filth of a dirty subway...and for what? On the afternoon of January 2, 2007, 55-year old Wesley Autrey was taking his young daughters to their mother’s house and witnessed a young man having a seizure dangerously close to the subway tracks. After trying to calm the college student and allow him to sit with his back against Autrey’s legs, the young man had another seizure and fell off the platform and onto the track.

Long story short, Wesley Autrey made an instant decision to cover the convulsing victim with his own body to prevent his flailing limbs from suffering the force of the oncoming train. There was roughly 21 and 24 inches from the teenager’s back to the bottom of the train, as the train traveled over the two of them. Autrey hugged the young man to lessen their mass and tried to make conversation to calm them both.

Autrey’s motivation was simple: he didn’t want his little girls to see a violent and bloody accident; His act of bravery was unparalleled. The humble construction worker and former navy man made an appearance on The Late Late Show with Dave Letterman shortly after the event. It is an outstanding interview that starts out slow because Autrey is nervous, but I have so much respect for Dave Letterman for recognizing the importance of this man’s story and drawing attention to it by interviewing the hero. I encourage you to view it on youtube.

Will Smith, everybody. Will Smith. Not since Ali has his talent shone so evidently as in The Pursuit of Happyness. This time, I didn’t even waste a night to express my feelings about the film. Honestly, you have seen it already. If you have seen 1 preview or read any sort of synopsis, you have seen this film, but the experience of it, is worth the trip. Hearing of someone struggling to feed and provide shelter for his child is not new, but watching him do it, with fear in his eyes, but assertion in his step is inspirational.

If, for some reason, you have been living under a rock and don’t know what the Pursuit of Happyness is about, allow me: Chris Gardner was making very little money living with his girlfriend and raising their son. After she got tired and left him, he fought for a couple dollars here and there and faced homelessness. He is now making millions and it has nothing to do with the sales of his book or the film depicting this part of his life.

Often, I joke that if I had a child I would be more motivated. Cathy Hughes bought a radio station, then went through a divorce and lost her home. She had to sleep in the radio station with her young son eventually building a radio and television empire (Radio One & TVOne). Chris Gardner accepted an unpaid internship with the slight possibility of becoming a stockbroker and you don’t need to tell me that the idea of spending a night in a homeless shelter with his son fueled him in his pursuit to excel.

I know what it feels like to see yourself making a certain amount of money or fulfilling your dream career, but for whatever reason, we are not taking the steps. Whether it is our generation or maybe just me, our obstacles range from laziness to fear, but we must overcome them. For Cathy Hughes and Chris Gardner, they had a mouth to feed, a life to nurture, and that served as just the motivation they required to achieve greatness. In retrospect, they did just that, and we can all now see the extent of it, but greatness is an everyday feat, completely attainable to you and me. Commit to achieving your best in all that you do and everyday you will have made a significant contribution to your own success and, undoubtedly, that of others. That is greatness.

So, climbing down off my horse, I hope that I sufficiently shared how The Pursuit of Happyness reminded me that motivation is within me. Oh, and before I step down completely, please remember to stay true to what you love, otherwise, you won’t be truly happy. On that note, have a great week and feel free to post comments on my blog if you want me to discuss something in the future.