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Perfect Now

Missed you like crazy, love you to pieces...now, how cute is my eyeshadow? Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Steel, get into it!

Hiii SYB Babes and newbies!!  Welcome to Shake Your Beauty Part Dieux (insert double pirouette and body roll)!  I’m positively giddy to be back!  As many of you know, I shut my four-year-old blog down in ’09 to focus on being Essence.com’s beauty editor…and every day, I quietly nursed the SYB-sized hole in my heart.  Don’t get me wrong, Essence was magical.  Lovely peeps, iconic brand and Michael Ealy was a frequent visitor (he smiled at me once and I swear I got a little pregnant).

But out of all my career milestones – the “beauty editor at Elle/Lucky/Glamour/Teen People/Essence.com” thing, the books, the Olay commercial, my face showing up on a Panamanian ad for a nose-slimming clip #truestory – SYB might make me the most proud.  I started it back in 2005, when there were only like 5 1/2 beauty blogs in existence and I’d just realized “blog” wasn’t a skin condition like psoriasis.  I had a ball talking Nars Exhibit A Blush and DIY Brazilians on my terms, not a magazine’s — and most of all, getting to know my Babes!  The most loyal, hilarious, wildly beauty-obsessed chicks on the planet.  Let’s do it all again, girls!  As always, hit the comments section to ask questions, share obsessions, etc.  But if you throw shade, know that my mom might read you.  It’s happened before.

My beauty baby loves her pedi's (OPI in Bubble Bath, always). No breathing until all toes are dry. "My pawlish has to cool off!"

So, my life has changed dramatically in the last two years.  The Cliff’s Notes version:  My baby, Carolina May (aka Lina Bean, The Bean, Lina Lina Bobina) is THREE and a hilarious sass machine; I’m now a divorced single mom, but trying to make it sexy; I’m growing out my relaxer (not sexy); I’m a pole dancing monster; and I just went into business with my sisters, Devon/”Brownie,” an entertainment lawyer and new mommy, and Lauren, TheRoot.com’s Deputy Editor…stay tuned for the big reveal!  Two clues: black hair and crazy discounts.

And speaking of hair.

Yep, still frequenting Brooklyn’s baddest Dominican salons for weekly blowouts.  My favorite is owned by a moody siren we’ll call Sex on Fire.  She looks like what her alias sounds like – picture a tumble of platinum and cherry-red extensions, lacquer platform stilettos, and all House of Dereon everything.  Last Sunday, Sex on Fire looked peaked and was having visible trouble wielding her blowdryer.

Me: Are you feeling okay, Sex on Fire?  Do you need to sit down?

Sex on Fire:  I can’t sit down, mami (grimacing).  I don’t feel good.

Me:  What’s wrong?

Sex on Fire: Umm…I had bad food, my stomach not so good.  Umm…hold on.  (She sends her junior stylist to go get lunch; now the salon’s empty).  Okay, I tell you the truth.

The truth: Sex on Fire pulls her jeans down to reveal the biggest ass I’ve ever seen on a person not on the cover of King magazine. She’s like a size 8 or 10, the brand new butt is a 20.  How did I not notice this?  The badonk is encased in a gauzy, surgical panty contraption…through which I see twelve band-aids across her cheeks, each punctuated with a tiny dot of blood.  In my head, all I hear is Big Sean chanting “ass, ass, ass, ass…”

Nicki Minaj's inflated butt is a freshman. Sex on Fire's is a sixth year senior.

Sex on Fire:  I got butt injections to make it fatter! It hurts but I perfect now!  I perfect now!!

Me:  Well…look at that.  Sexy!

Sex on Fire:  I know.  But wait.

She then lifts up her shirt to her chin, showing a corset and a pair of swollen balloon breasts, wrapped in gauze.

Sex on Fire:  I got lipo and did my tits, too.  $15,000 for everything.  I never had nothing, no ass, no tits.  And I had too much fat in the middle.  I never try to get a man porque what I’m getting him with?

Me:  But…but…Sex on Fire, you have such a dazzling personality!  You’re beautiful.

Sex on Fire:  Now I beautiful (looks me up and down).  You don’t got ass or tits either, mami.  You need the shots, especially.  How else you get a new man?

Me:  How else, indeed.

Sex on Fire:  Butt shots, mami.  You be perfect like me.

And then she puts her clothes back on and blows out my hair like she didn’t just Shug Avery me down (“you sho is ugly!”).  And I’m thinking, please god tell me she didn’t go to one of those butchers luring chicks into hotel rooms to inject their arses with ingredients found at Home Depot.  And then I thought about “I perfect now.”  What she did was uber-extreme, but how could I judge, when my I’m all about products to make you feel more perfect.  The difference is, when you rock a hot pink lip or a shine serum, you’re enhancing what you already have, and there’s self-acceptance in that– you’re not Frankenstein-ing yourself to gain a brand new body.

I may be shaped like a straw, but I’m smart and loved and when I smudge Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Steel ($24) on my lids, I feel trampy-hot and invincible (second mention, that’s how boss it is).  Plus, when Bobina looks at my Mahogany poster, she thinks Diana Ross is me.  I perfect now!

Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks; Steel is fourth from the right. The richest cream shadow/liner, ever...and the quicksilver-cobalt shade dazzles.

So, what do you think about the whole butt injections thing?  Have you done it?  Would you?  Bizarre or bizarrely empowering? What would Hottentot Venus think of all this?  Let’s discuss.

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  1. DWills78
    March 12, 2012 5:26 pm 

    So excited you’re back!!!

  2. JennHU02
    March 12, 2012 5:32 pm 

    I am sooooooooo happy to have you back in beauty land, you were missed! You are the reason for my nars blush obsession and I am looking forward to many more obsessions to come. And the butt injections? Super creepy and kinda sad 🙁

  3. Karah
    March 12, 2012 5:44 pm 

    So happy you’re back! Now, Big Sean will be stuck in my head all day. LOL

    P.S. Sorry to read about your divorce 🙁

  4. March 12, 2012 5:58 pm 

    wow, so much has changed. I know a lot of women who have had Butt ingections, it’s very dangerous. When I worked in the news, we did a story on how women were going to this doctor and he was ingecting them with silicone. It’s horribe, and can have horrible side effects, like hard balls that grow out of your butt. Very scary.

  5. March 12, 2012 5:59 pm 

    So glad you are back! Lot’s of life changes- keeping you in my prayers.

  6. March 12, 2012 6:03 pm 

    You have no idea how thrilled I am, I can barely type & just forgot my e-mail address as I was filling out the comments section! First, I am sorry to hear about your divorce but glad to see you’re doing well & that lil Lina is a doll multiplied by sunshine… I remember when you’d updated SYB with your pregnancy tidbits & now she’s 3, wowzers. Ok, about the booty shots… the thing I don’t get is it never REALLY looks natural. Something about it always looks a lil off, it’s usually the thigh/butt connection that fails somehow. A woman with a naturally big rump has hips & thighs that curve with her shape & just match. But these injections & implants somehow lack that natural swerve factor & even for those who go all out & plump up their hips & thighs.. I’m looking at you Lil Kim… it just looks wrong & plastic.

    Did I mention I’m thrilled you’re back? ; )

  7. March 12, 2012 6:10 pm 

    Found you via Afrobella. Injections for more junk in the trunk = not for me. I have thought of a reconstructive breast life from time to time though. What’s helped me to gain perspective is how more sizes and types of shapes are being shown in the media. I feel less of an implied pressure to conform to some default beauty/body ideal.

  8. March 12, 2012 6:11 pm 

    Found you via Afrobella. Injections for more junk in the trunk = not for me. I have thought of a reconstructive breast *lift* from time to time though. What’s helped me to gain perspective is how more sizes and types of shapes are being shown in the media. I feel less of an implied pressure to conform to some default beauty/body ideal.

    March 12, 2012 6:33 pm 


  10. March 12, 2012 6:40 pm 

    How tickled pink am I that you’re back?!?! Your blog was one the very first beauty blogs I read — before I even know what beauty blogging was. YAY!!!

    Butt injetions??! No ma’am. That just seems a bit too much for me.

  11. AliciaH
    March 12, 2012 6:41 pm 

    I’m so glad your back!

  12. March 12, 2012 6:50 pm 

    This.is.my.DAY! I’m so glad you’re back, Tia!

  13. laurwillshar
    March 12, 2012 7:03 pm 

    And all is right with the world.

  14. LJ
    March 12, 2012 7:29 pm 

    I’m SO happy that ‘Shake Your Beauty’ is BACK!

  15. March 12, 2012 8:12 pm 

    🙂 Glad you’re back! I know of a few people who have had injections and it just doesn’t look natural to me.

  16. Mel
    March 12, 2012 8:20 pm 

    I missed you so. Happy to see my first introduction to beauty blogs is back!Looking forward to future posts.

  17. Bethany
    March 12, 2012 8:44 pm 

    SO excited this is back! Really missed it. Yay!

  18. Simone Pratt
    March 12, 2012 9:25 pm 

    OH! How we’ve missed you SOOOO!!!!!! As I told you WELCOME BACK! Carolina has two new boyfriends (Christian is 19 months Jackson 4 years old!) So sorry I missed CurlBar opening would have loved to have seen… well meet you! YAH Team Tia!

  19. Picklesandpears
    March 12, 2012 9:43 pm 

    Hey, Tia! So glad to see you back! And, baby Lina is such a little cutie!

  20. Kimberly
    March 12, 2012 9:55 pm 

    Welcome back to blogging Tia!!!! I really missed SYB. Those injections sound absolutely awful. I hope Sex on Fire is okay.

    I’m looking forward to reading Shake Your Beauty Part Dieux. Adds Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks to my ever growing beauty shopping list.

    Sorry to hear about your divorce.

  21. March 12, 2012 11:00 pm 

    HAIL NAW to the butt injections, and YES to the Laura Mercier Caviar stick which are simply deeeeeeevine!!So glad you are black fairy blogmother!!!

  22. Christa
    March 13, 2012 2:31 am 

    Welcome back! You’ve been missed.

  23. Angelica Golden
    March 13, 2012 2:34 am 

    Love how you just turned Shug Avery into an adjective!

    So, so very glad you’re back!

    March 13, 2012 2:59 am 

    Welcome back, Tia! I missed SYB and started watching your vids on Essence.com. Hadn’t done that in a while, though. Thought about you when I started wearing my M.A.C. Buzz lipglass again. I also won a BareMinerals makeup starter kit by participating in one of the contests you had. Lina is a doll and so are you!

  25. CrotchGrabberstein
    March 13, 2012 3:09 am 


  26. March 13, 2012 2:18 pm 

    Butt implants by a board certified plastic surgeon: Safe option

    Butt injections of any kind: DANGEROUS!!! WAVING THE RED FLAG, LADIES!

    Welcome back, and best of luck!

  27. March 13, 2012 2:57 pm 

    Soo happy you are back!!! Your daughter is a doll.

  28. Melanie C.
    March 13, 2012 3:10 pm 

    Holy Guacamole, You’re back!!! Yay! 🙂

  29. LA
    March 13, 2012 10:48 pm 

    Ah, I see you came back to reclaim your throne! Welcome back. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear more about your new endeavor! No comment about the butt injections…I thought people would learn after seeing how Nicki MInaj’s butt doesn’t even move naturally!

  30. March 13, 2012 11:03 pm 

    I’m so flippin’ xcited that you’re back…I can’t even comment on the foolery that is Sex on Fire right now!……YAYYY!

  31. Courtney
    March 14, 2012 12:20 am 

    I am soooooo happy you are back..no seriously I just shed a single tear. Not a day went by that I didn’t click on my tool bar to my saved shake your beauty URL bookmark in hopes that something would appear and today it did! I consider this my birthday present (which is tomorrow). I know have something to look forward to reading on my iPad. I am unhappy to hear about your divorce. Many blessing to you and your beautiful little girl. I remember when she was born 🙂
    Thanks for returning and I will happily read once again!
    Ps ummmm sexy on fire is hysterical!,,,

  32. Tee
    March 14, 2012 1:46 am 

    So GLAD you are back!!! So excited! And I’m with Lina Bean……opi bubble bath all day everyday!

  33. jw
    March 14, 2012 2:33 am 

    Great writing. I loved how you ended on the Hottentot Venus. I can’t wait to read more.

  34. March 14, 2012 8:49 am 

    My love for beauty blogs and blogging began with SYB, so I’m glad to see you back! 🙂 That story was pure hilarity! As soon as I read it I thought, “Please don’t let Sex on Fire end up like the lady with the cement butt injections!” LOL

  35. March 14, 2012 3:59 pm 

    You’re back and the world makes sense again! Lina is adorable, you look great and we’re so happy SYB is back 😀

  36. Leslie C
    March 18, 2012 3:25 am 

    I really missed your Shake Your Beauty blog and I’m so happy you’re back! I look forward to part deux!

  37. March 19, 2012 6:09 pm 

    I am so thrilled your back! I have always loved your blog; your personality shines through all of your writings. Class act!

    p.s. i too am sorry to hear about your divorce:(

  38. J
    March 19, 2012 9:55 pm 

    OMG-I’m soooo happy you’re back Lady!! I was an avid reader of your blog a few years back-I’ve def. picked up more than a few beauty staples based on your recommendations. Honestly, this made my day #simplethingsmakemehappy

  39. March 22, 2012 1:06 am 

    SO GLAD to have you back!!! I read your blog like my life depended on it. Yours was totally an addiction and you definitely paved the way for the rest of us brown beauty bloggers.

    I’m paying homage like Nicki shoulda did Kim 😉

    Lina is the most fabulous three year old I’ve ever seen.

  40. March 22, 2012 2:37 pm 

    Tia!!! Just found the site today and I’m soooo glad! Sorry to hear about the divorce, but happy that you and Lina bean are doing well.
    Um, no to the butt implants. And this is coming from someone with #noassatall.

  41. Lavendar
    March 22, 2012 9:52 pm 

    I really missed SYB for a long time. I made do with the Essence videos; but there is nothing like the real Tia, or should I say Tia unleashed. LOL Little LaLina has really shot up into a Lina Bean. Such a cutie! I admire your strength and endurance. Keep doin’ you girl! Yeaaahh Tia’s back!!!

  42. Monique
    April 1, 2012 6:19 pm 

    So so happy you’re back Tia, I haven’t really read beauty blogs since you left. I can’t wait to get back into everything.

    April 23, 2012 11:57 pm 

    Thank God!! You’re BACK!! I am BEYOND THRILLED!! Still beautiful and funny as Hell!! Missed you much… can’t wait to catch up on what I’ve missed thus far 😉
    p.s. Little Lina is absolutely gorgeous!!

  44. Audrey Whitaker
    December 1, 2013 5:21 pm 

    Glad you’re back Tia!

    IMO your body is fab the way it is. Not everyone is down with the “Thin is In” philosophy (especially a lot of black folk) but I am and contrary to the MEGA BUTT craze …. to thine own azz be true! 🙂