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Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Beauty, Fashion, Politics, POSHGLAM, POSHNOIR

America’s Dreamer Michelle Obama Stars in New Biography


The first deeply detailed account of Michelle Obama’s life has been written, and as Elle Magazine reports, the “American Dreamer” text by political journalist and Northwestern University Professor Peter Slevin called Michelle Obama: A Life, is an engaging and authoritative window into life beyond the role of First Lady.

The text grounds itself in Michelle Obama’s Chicago roots, examining her life’s achievements and ascent to the White House through the lens of her working-class upbringing in Chicago’s segregated South Side. Slevin’s rich reporting winds a narrative across the span of decades, intertwining all the important elements of her life. Slevin shows a strong interest in her attendance at Ivy League universities during the racially charged 80s, her experience navigating through worlds separated by class and race, her first meeting with young Hawaiian law student Barack Obama and her community involvement work in Chicago’s South Side, to demonstrate how her history sets her up to take on the role of first black First Lady and then seeks to illuminate the true Michelle.

The book explores a world submerged in every-day human trials; faults, failures and successes in the scope of our broader cultural flaws and human perseverance. While recognizing her position as First Lady, Slevin constructs a relatable narrative. Most notably touched on are her choice to leave prestigious law firm Sidley Austin, her effort to stand as a pillar for her family during the long years of endless campaigning and her struggle to strike a balance in her life. Slevin looks pries at her marriage, remarks on her childhood, delves into her community engagement and casts aspirations on the legacy she’ll leave behind when the Obama term ends.

The literary biography has already garnered positive accolades from a swath of critics, and Elle Magazine is equally impressed with Slevin’s reporting. “Just as she’s [Michelle] consistently reiterated Barack’s humanness over the years, Slevin treats her and her accomplishments with the detail and nuance they deserve,” writes Elle.

Michelle Obama: A Life is the first chance readers will have to catch a glimpse into the inner world of Michelle Obama and possibly the closest they’ll ever get to really knowing her.

Happy Easter from these two!

A photo posted by First Lady Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

Image Credit: BarakObamaDotCom/Flickr; MichelleObama/Instagram

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Monday, April 6th, 2015

Beauty, Canada, Fashion, Politics, POSHGLAM, Stylicon

Stylicon: Norma Jeane, Marilyn Monroe


Marilyn Monroe’s beauty, which encapsulates the idea of sultry Hollywood glamour, has been oft-described as timeless. It must be true—2015 is turning out to be a big year for Monroe. Quite a feat, considering she’s been haunting fashion, beauty and entertainment for going on 53 years. Yet here she is, gracing the inside pages of Cosmo’s April issue for Big Sexy Hair’s newest ad campaign, just months after she was appointed Max Factor’s new “global ambassador” . Sexy Hair and Max Factor aren’t the first brands to call on Monroe to primp their public image and they won’t be the last; MAC and Chanel have previously boosted their marketing campaigns with the help of her fame. Then there’s Star Magazine’s Special Investigation April cover emblazoned with Marilyn’s face and 200 of the FBI’s darkest and most mysterious photos and documents on the long-deceased Hollywood celeb. Of course Star itself might have missed the boat on this one, didn’t the FBI take the wraps off Monroe’s famous communist file way back in 2012? The feature speaks to our culture’s ongoing obsession with uncovering the nitty gritty damning details about those whom we elevate to stardom.

The irony of all this recent media frenzy over Monroe is not lost on us; still in 2015 society is striving to impose its beauty ideals on the long-admired woman and Max Factor’s hands are the grimiest of them all. Aside from Max Factor’s glaringly inaccurate statement that Max Factor Jr. was the guiding force behind Marilyn Monroe’s transformation from the young brunette Norma Jeane into the blonde bombshell Monroe we’ve come to know and love, the company has been busy trying to squeeze Monroe (quite literally) into our contemporary structures of beauty and fashion.

Max Factor has taken their own spin on the star’s classic look for their advertising campaign. If you haven’t yet spotted Max Factor’s Monroe lookalike she definitely has the blue eyes, blonde hair and bold lips down packed, but there’s more than a couple sizes between model Candice Swanepoel and authentic curvy Marilyn Monroe. Max Factor has appropriated Monroe’s image so smoothly most people haven’t even noticed the degree to which it’s been re-imagined (delete: curves) to suit our millennial ideologies and then re-distributed to the public as commercialized “reality”.


And sorry Max Factor, but I think I’m missing a beat in this #GlamJam advertisement. What exactly is so lacking in Marilyn Monroe’s younger Norma Jeane natural beauty? While the difference between Monroe’s early look and later look can be great shock-factor, let’s not make fodder of the unenhanced among us. There’s something pure and riveting in the beauty of Norma Jeane, which Monroe left behind in her efforts to garner more work at the behest of Emmeline Snively, head of the Blue Book Modeling Agency (not Max Factor Jr. as the company claims).

As biographer Sarah Churchwell puts it, “Norma Jeane was not changed by someone else into the glamorous movie star Marilyn Monroe… she was always an extremely beautiful girl.” The truth is quite simply that Marilyn “was not created by makeup, in any sense: cosmetics were not sufficient to create Marilyn Monroe, and neither were other people… no one except Marilyn Monroe created Marilyn Monroe, and in 2015 it’s past time for us to give credit to the woman who earned it.”

Makeup isn’t the be-all-end-all of sex appeal. Just as Churchwell and Monroe herself point out, makeup didn’t make Monroe Hollywood’s “It Girl”, her attitude and persona did. Attraction and charisma don’t start in the mirror, but in the way you carry and express yourself.

Perhaps Max Factor ought to reconsider imposing itself on history. We live in an era of constant and considerable awareness of our behaviors, our social constructions, our cultural values and our innumerable failures to validate women regardless of shape, size or hair color (thanks for that social media). Somehow all our self-reflection isn’t enough, we’re still allowing, and even supporting, global corporations to run amok all over realism and real beauty. At the very least it’s a shame that we still fail to recognize the injustice that was perpetrated on Marilyn Monroe by her contemporaries (and now ours). All that work, including weekly hair bleachings and a harrowing exercise routine, and how much more beautiful was she? Not any more beautiful at all—simply someone else’s idea of beauty.

The Max Factor campaign isn’t the first to pick at Monroe’s long-admired looks. The minor plastic surgery she had performed on her nose and chin (let’s emphasize minor! 1950s plastic surgery is not in the league of today’s skilled carvers), has caused plenty of excitement in the media in recent years. The only person who should care about Marilyn Monroe’s chin implant is Marilyn herself, who was subjected to the critical prying public eye. She was once quoted as saying, “I want to grow old without facelifts… I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made.” The face she made and no one else. Every beautifying effort that Monroe took was about her one all-encompassing goal: to be somebody in the eyes of the world. “I live to succeed, not to please you or anyone else.”

Why are we even trying to disparage her iconic beauty or impose our 2015 standards on her 1950s lifestyle? As Monroe herself said, “Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”




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Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Africa, Beauty, Canada, Diversity In Fashion, Fashion, Fun, Politics, POSHGLAM, POSHNOIR

‘Black Girls Rock’-ed On BET Tonight


BET’s empowering awards gala Black Girls Rock! in celebration of the organization of the same name is airing this evening (Sun. April 5 if you’re reading this tomorrow morning) and the women in attendance hit it out of the park with their achievements. Oh, and their rockin’ fashions were something to behold too; well worth the week-long wait for the show to air, after its live filming on March 29 at the NJPAC Prudential Hall in New Jersey.

Highlights from the galas include T-Murda’s hastag pullover (#TMURDA) and glittery knee-length skirt, Janelle Monae’s RVN modern take on the circle skirt and her matching studded clutch, Erykah Badu’s amazing hat funky jacket, Willow Smith’s fun feminine dress suit and we cannot forget First Lady Michelle Obama who stunned in a classy, yet sexy, white off-the-shoulder dress.

Mrs. Obama is a huge supporter of education for girls and empowerment for black women. She was one of the most heralded participants at this year’s Black Girls Rock gala; Black Girls Rock is a foundation working to empower young girls of color to become leaders, innovators and strong pillars for their communities through leadership, education and positive identity development since 2006. Annually over the past four years the organization has hosted an awards gala in conjunction with BET to broadcast the amazing achievements of black women. Notable honorees you’ll recognize from this year’s show include Jada Pinkett Smith, Erykah Badu, Cicely Tyson, Ava DuVernay, Nadia Lopez and Helene Gayle.

The televised show was crafted by founder and executive director Beverly Bond with the intention of producing a groundbreaking exhibition of female talent in the African Diaspora.

“Tonight’s incredible celebrants represent the spectrum of brilliance that black women possess,” Bond says in her closing remarks. “Your elevation in our culture matters because far too often the breadth and depth of contributions made by black women are pushed outside the margins of mainstream culture and the result is young black girls do not always get to see diverse, layered and healthy representations of role models to emulate.”

Check out some of the wonderful women in attendance at Black Girls Rock!

Willow definitely loved her dad’s speech to her mom! #BlackGirlsRock A photo posted by BET Networks (@betnetworks) on

That #ErykahBadu speech gave us life!!! #BlackGirlsRock

A photo posted by BET Networks (@betnetworks) on

If you weren’t able to make it to Easter services, no worries: Fantasia took us to CHURCH!! #BlackGirlsRock A photo posted by BET Networks (@betnetworks) on

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Image Credits: RVN New York (circular striped jacquard midi skirt); BET/Instagram; Black Girls Rock/Instagram

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Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Beauty, Canada, Fashion, Fun, On Campus, POSHGLAM

Beauty Bliss: Facial Waters On The Go


First things first, your face needs a splash of mineral water like it needs a spritz of hair spray. That is to say, never, because not all face mists are created equal. We don’t enjoy overpaying for boring aerosolized spring water and we don’t think you do either.

What your face could use is a next-generation product packed with vitamins, botanicals, glycerin and essential oils that will put your mother’s face mists to shame. These nutrient packed facial waters are possibly the most economical and convenient way to replicate the sought after day-long glow that only comes from a morning facial. Who has time for a morning facial anyway?

There’s another emerging component to the world of facial water: harmonized water. Products containing scalar waves (fancy electromagnetic [pseudo?] science) and harmonic frequencies are earning a lot of hype from celebrities for their purported ability to calm skin, stabilize bacteria levels and kick-start rejuvenation. It all sounds a little woolly though, right?

Back in my college days I had one of those friends who always seemed to be whipping out the latest MAC lipsticks while everyone else was subsisting on a diet of unflavored ramen. Long story short, she was the first person who ever introduced me to facial water. It was her go-to product for bar nights and for many good reasons: the dewy glow, the mid-evening skin refresh and the makeup magic.

There are plenty of products that are basically water in a can (i.e. Evian, Avène, Vichy and La Roche-Posay). If you want the benefits of facial water you want to look for products like these:

Phyto-C’s Icy Blue Mist 

This mist is packed with a strong-arm antioxidant (vitamin B5) and green tea extract, so right off the bat we know it’s got something going for it. It’s also formulated with hyaluronic acid, which helps bind the solution to skin cells, resulting in plumper more hydrated tissue. Plus: it’s hypo-allergenic and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Osmosis Skincare Clear Activating Mist

If you’re interested in hopping on the harmonized water bandwagon Osmosis’ product is the one to try, and Czech model Karolina Kurková recommends it as her go-to refresher spritzer. Apparently it’s antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral wonder in a bottle, equipped with properties that promote epidermal and keratinocyte growth (those are good things).

Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray

Speaking of models recommending products, super model Jessica Stam, who hails from my own tiny little town, once told Vogue she was crazy for Mario Badescu’s facial spray, which is packed with aloe, herbs and rosewater. Given our historical geographic proximity I was keen to check out her recommendation for myself. While strongly perfumed, so you’ll want to avoid if you’re sensitive to scents, it was a nice morning wake-up for my skin and worked great on taming my mid-winter flyaway hair.

Let’s recap:

1. Facial water is a great refresher for mid-day, mid-evening, mid-whatever. You’ll look like you just took a cat nap, while your coworkers and gal pals are starting to look, how should we phrase this? Tired.

2. Facial mists and daily moisturizers are a tag-team combination. Packed with hydrating power, spritzing your face shortly before applying your moisturizer will help lock in that moisture.

3. Makeup magic. Facial water spritzed on your skin between each layer of makeup is supposed to give your skin a plump, hydrated look. Finally, a top spray over the makeup is an effective method for “setting” cosmetics and eliminating a powdery complexion. Tip: apply like perfume; don’t spray directly on your face but in front and glide on through to a perfect finish.


MB_facial water

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Monday, March 9th, 2015

Beauty, Los Angeles, Luxury, Miami, New York, POSHGLAM, Travel

GLAMSQUAD app for In-Home Beauty Regime Rescue

Makeup and hairstyling is hard work. That’s why professionals apprentice for years to become masters and it’s also why there are so many hilarious Pinterest fails floating around on the internet.

Whether you’re having a beauty emergency or just want to glam it up for a night out in the city, take POSHGLAM’s advice and call the lovely ladies and gentlemen at GLAMSQUAD who are ready to make a house call on your behalf.

They will even come to your hotel room or your office – and if you’ve ever tried to beautify in either you know their ingenious service will be worth it. How many times have you forgotten to pack your eyelash curler? And really, only the most ghastly oversized purses will conceal your hair straightener from your boss anyway.

So, here’s to a complimentary blowout for free! Just use the promo code “POSHGLAM” between now and March 30th in the GLAMSQUAD iOS app and they’ll come to your rescue. Remember you must book on the iOS app and the promo is valid for first time users only. You can choose to add on additional services like makeup and up-dos at the time of booking if you so desire.

This is how the service works: GLAMSQUAD sends a fully trained stylist directly to your door. They’ve even got an entire style menu to choose from if your look needs inspiration. Finally pay with your credit card at time of booking and spend your evening worry free.

Services are available in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami.

By the way, just in case you are a little weirded out by the idea of a house call, GLAMSQUAD assures us their stylists are the epitome of professional.

“We hand-pick our hair stylists and makeup artists, who are required to have years of professional experience at top salons and makeup counters,” the company says. “Each qualified stylist is deeply background checked and goes through rigorous character assessment before joining the team.”

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