Monday, June 25, 2012

Mistress of Makeup: Guest Blogger - Celebrity Hair & Makeup Artist, Zavia Ross


I am honored to introduce you to my first guest blogger, the luminous Zavia Ross!  "Z" and I met in 2006 when I started working for CBS Atlanta.  Back then, I had a bad weave and was spending money on all the wrong products.  She taught me that there are certain items to splurge on-- especially when you need to be camera ready, like foundations and primers, while you can go cheap on products like mascara and lip gloss.  She knows some of the industry's best beauty tips-- and has been doing my hair extensions and helping me with my makeup ever since!  She's also become one of my best friends in the world.

Me & Z 
Zavia is one of those rare people who radiates a light from within--- and whenever you're around her, you feel that beautiful energy and light.  She's not running low on awesome!

Here are a couple screen shots of me interviewing Z on the morning news a few years ago!
Local Reporter is stunned by Zavia's Live TV Makeover!

Blondie is speechless after seeing Z's talent LIVE on the news!
Without further, adieu, I give you, Zavia Ross-- the GO TO stylist for Hotlanta's celebs!  In this post, she is sharing her favorite products (both splurges and steals) to put together your "every day makeup bag."

Be sure to check out her beauty blog at 
And follow Zavia on Twitter: @mystellarimage

As a busy, career-driven, working mom, I have found a way to simplify my makeup bag to the absolute essentials. I believe that when you have found something that works for you, stick with it!  I don’t believe in buying something just because it's on sale, but spending your money wisely is key. For instance, ELF cosmetics has a price point of $1 per product for the most part. That doesn’t mean that their lipstick will be your favorite, but maybe you love a shade of their blush and can add it to your everyday collection. You may prefer lipstick from MAC cosmetics and an eyeliner from Maybelline. I always tell my clients, "Whatever it is, make your makeup bag your own!"
First things first -- separate your face into categories: Face, Eyes and Lips.  

  • Powder - Covergirl Powder 
  • Blush - Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush

  • Mascara - Loreal VOLUMINOUS 
  • Eyeliner - Prestige Waterproof Eyeliner  

  • Shadow - Loreal High Intensity Shadow Duo  

  • Gloss - NYX Lip Gloss
  • Lipliner - Ulta Lipliner 

  • Eyelash curler - Pick one up at your local drugstore
  • Eyeshadow Base - MAC Paint Pots

  • Find a product line that you absolutely love and that would be your primary line -- kind of like a primary checking account.  Everything else can be faves from other lines.
  • Have 2 of each product, except for foundation and mascara. (If you need two shades of foundation, you should find a new brand that would match your complexion as close as possible. Also, get an eyeshadow duo or quad-- it will take up less space.)
  • I prefer mascaras that have a thinner brush that really gets into the lash line.
  • You can find an affordable makeup bag from Sephora, Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Target. If you want to go high end, you can check I recommend purchasing something that is dark in color and easy to clean :-) 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

An Ode to my Dad

Me and Dad, circa 1975
Happy Father's Day!  It was the Father of Psychology himself, Sigmund Freud, who said, "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." 

Despite my parent's contentious divorce when I was 7, my Dad was always a consistent force in my life-- I never had to question whether he'd show up, offer his help or advice...he was there for my younger brother and me.  And I always felt protected by him.  I still do.

When I was younger, I used to think I could never please him-- but it was only because he understood my capabilities and pushed me to be my best.  He used to say, "You're like a thoroughbred race horse-- how are you going to win if someone isn't there to push you harder?!"  It was sometimes to my chagrin-- but he was that person, cracking the whip when I needed it the most.  Looking back now, I credit my Dad with instilling that sense of 'fight' in me--- and I still call him when I need to be reminded.  I just did today, in fact.

One of my favorite stories about Dad was right around the time my parents split up.  It was 1982 and Jordache jeans were all the rage.  I'd been begging my Mom to buy me a pair-- I simply HAD to have them, but they were $40, which back then, was a small fortune.  My Mom's 'single mother' status meant that Jordache jeans were not "in the budget."  She would say, "I'm sewing my own dresses for work and you want me to spend that kind of money on a 2nd grader?  I don't think so!"

On weekends, my brother and I went to my Dad's apartment.  He'd pick us up in his old 1971 Volvo and take us out for Mexican dinners on Friday night and let us order Shirley Temples and Virgin PiƱa Coladas.  One Friday after Dad picked us up, he said he had to stop by Hecht's Department store.  I bee-lined for the rack of Jordache jeans.  I was so tiny back then, I was eye-level with the hangers.  I remember running my hand over the embroidered pockets, lost in a little girl day dream, just envisioning how cool I'd look wearing a pair.  

"So which ones are you going to pick out?"

I was startled from my Jordache daze...I looked up and there was my Dad, grinning at me.

"But Dad, they're $40!"  I stuttered.

"Well then, I guess you better pick out a pair that's going to last you a while!" He winked.

It was a moment I will always remember.  Dad bought me my first pair of Jordache jeans-- and I think I might have worn them every day for 6 months.  They got more and more faded, and when I finally grew out of them, I cut them off and wore them for another couple years as Jean shorts!

Somewhere, I have a pic of me in those jeans-- I'll have to look for it.

Thanks for those jeans, Dad....and for everything you've done to remind me to be ME.  You have helped me grow into the woman I am today.  I am so lucky to call you my Dad.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Birthday Wishes and Vegan Dishes

So, the old lady turned 37 this past week....I'd like to think that I look, ahem, in my 20's, still, and was touting my good genes when JP said, "Yeah, honey, there's no turning back from your 40's now.  You're no longer in your early 30''re in your late 30's."

Really, dude?  Thanks for that reminder!  (More on him later!)

Birthdays have always sort of been like New Year's for me, in terms of resolutions.  It's a chance to look back at the previous year and consider what went right and what didn't.  36 was a totally shitty forgettable year.  As in, "Please, help me forget the power getting turned off, the firing from the bar hag job, the 25 pound weight gain and the financial hell hole I'm still crawling out of."

Bottom line, 37 feels like a whole new start!  A GREAT START!

Here are my main goals for this year:

1. Get in the best shape of my life-- back to my fighting trim 145 pounds
2. Publish some of my writing
3. Get back on TV
4. Figure out a plan to get and stay organized (No more Mistress of Mess!)

Now, let's recap diet and exercise, shall we?

I finished the first week of Hamelin D'Abell's 3 week challenge.  It's similar in technique and philosophy to Tracy Anderson's Method, with light weights and a focus on accessory muscles.  The cardio portion is much more low impact compared to TAM's dance cardio mayhem.  I like that on days when I'm dragging, but for me, I find the higher intensity of "uncoordinated white girl dancing" is usually more effective!

I'm planning to start META Omni tomorrow and alternate with Hamelin's workouts.  2 days of TAM, 1 day Hamelin.  It's going to take longer to get through the META series that way, but I like mixing it up.  Now that the weather is warm, I've also been swimming in our backyard pool which has been awesome!  Today, I did 50 laps and was completely out of breath!  On my breaks, I've been researching new recipes-(More on that later, too!)

Recipe Research Poolside
I've been enjoying majah Pool Boy Eye Candy.  My Badmuthafucka BF (or just the BMF as he has come to be known as) has been working on his latest line of recycled furniture--- specifically, coffee tables using recycled car metal.  This was my view yesterday: (Now if I can just convince him to wear a sparkly thong....)
Parker's Pool View
And for a gratuitous arm shot, I have to include this pic from when we went to Home Depot for his supplies.  JP tells me to stop taking pictures: "Parker, people are either going to think I look like a Neanderthal or an ax murderer!"  And I'm like, "I know, baby, and that's why you're so hot!!!"  ( ;

Gratuitous Bicep Shot
And to round out the BMF show, (just to make sure you don't think he's as mean as he looks....) check out this pic- PURE L.O.V.E.

My 2 Pitbulls

OK, so I'm totally crushing on my boyfriend.  Can ya'll tell?

Part of my cookbook research was finding new/exciting/unusual vegetarian-vegan-raw recipes that I can experiment with.  As the only chick on Earth who doesn't like salad, I am making a concerted effort to come up with cool veggie creations.  I actually took salad with me to work 3 times last week and enjoyed it-- I loaded it with chick peas, cucumbers and avocado and topped it with a homemade red wine vinaigrette.  As far as salad goes, it was pretty beast.

I'm challenging myself to 30 days without meat, eggs or dairy.  Basically, a vegan diet for a month.  I've pretty much been eating dairy and egg free for the last couple months, but it's going to be tough to do completely meat-free.  Initially, I was going to try RAW for 30 days and then realized that cooking vegetables is not allowed-- in fact, no cooking of anything is allowed.

I did experiment with a raw dinner this week, though, and it was a TRIUMPH, as my grandfather would say when he loved a meal Grandma Ronnie made!  Using the basics from a recipe on the Forgiving Martha blog for Walnut Tacos, I improvised some elements of my own, including homemade taco seasoning and a chipotle cashew cream.  It was divine!!!  You MUST make the guacamole and the pico de gallo homemade too, for it to be as fabulous as mine was!  Here's what the finished product looked like:

Walnut Tacos with Chipotle Cashew Cream, Roasted Blacked Beans , Guacamole and Pico de Gallo
Walnut Taco “Meat”
2 cups walnuts
1 Tb soy sauce or Tamari
2 Tb olive oil
2 Tb taco seasoning (see recipe below)

Pulse all ingredients in food processor.  Don’t pulse or blend too long or you’ll have walnut butter!
Once pulsed to “meat” consistency, I toasted in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to bring out the nutty flavor.

Chipotle Cashew “Cream”
½ cup cashews
Juice of ½ lemon
4 Tb water
3 Tb adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis
1 Tb honey
Blend in food processor until smooth

Spicy Black Beans
2 cans of black beans (don’t drain)
3 garlic cloves
1 large sweet onion
Handful of chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper chopped
2 Tb chili powder
2 Tb cumin
1 tsp salt

Sautee 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 sweet onion until transluscent.  Sautee the jalapeno for another minute.  Add cans of black beans and the salt, cumin and chili powder.  Simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat.  Stir in the cilantro and serve!

Homemade Taco Seasoning
2 Tb chili powder
2 Tb cumin
1 Tb garlic powder
1 Tb onion powder
1 Tb sea salt
1 tsp thyme (optional)
Mix together in a bowl and set aside 2 Tb.

Pico de Gallo
2 large tomatoes diced
½ red onion or white onion diced
1-2 jalapenos
Juice of one lime
Handful of fresh cilantro chopped
Salt to taste

5 avocados
Big handful of cilantro chopped
1 small red or white onion diced
1-2 jalapenos chopped
Juice of one lime
Salt to taste (usually 1 tsp of sea salt)

Mash avocados and fold in chilantro, chopped onions, jalapenos, salt and lime juice.
Feel free to add chopped tomatoes!

To put together Walnut Tacos:

  1. Spread cashew cream on lettuce leaves. I prefer using red lettuce leaves, but you can use cabbage, iceberg or whatever “lettuce shell” you prefer! 
  2. Scoop walnut “meat” on the lettuce
  3. Add warm black beans and top with guacamole and pico de gallo.  Dig in and enjoy!

We stocked up on beans, spices, nuts and chili pastes today from the farmer's market-- I am so excited to start experimenting with new vegetarian recipes!  

Farmer's Market Treats: Spices, seeds, nuts and more....
And to save the best news for last, lovelies, I submitted this picture to the Tracy Anderson Instagram contest and I'm *currently* in the #1 slot!!!!!  

Didn't I tell ya'll bee-atches that me, Tracy and Gwyneth would be doing some serious bonding this summer??!  LOL!

If you haven't voted yet, I'm going to take this opportunity to beg you ask you to vote for me! 

Click on this link and then 'like' the photo!  Thank you, ladies!!!!!

According to this article, Tracy's detox week details are still top secret, but it's definitely going to include "meals based on a body-type analysis, two hours of daily exercise with Tracy Anderson and senior teachers Maria Kelling and Stacey McDermott, daily lectures and question-and-answer sessions."

I am determined to win this!  I hope the Goddess of Fairy Dust can sprinkle some on my (getting tighter and leaner by the day) buns!  


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Old Friends and New Resolutions

"The best mirror is an old friend." - George Herbert

Over the course of the last 2 weeks, I've reconnected with several of my oldest and closest friends, and my heart is heavy with nostalgia and sadness that I've let so much time slip by between visits.  Last weekend, I had lunch with my friend Maria who I haven't seen in over 4 years.  The worst part is, she lives in Georgia about an hour north of me and has had 2 babies since our last visit!  She called to tell me that her husband accepted a new job in New Jersey and wanted to see me before they left the state.  I couldn't believe we'd be reconnecting just as she's packing up to move 900 miles away.

Maria and I met when I was 18.  It was the summer after I graduated from high school, back in 1993, and we were lifeguarding at an apartment complex pool together.  We instantly bonded and she became the friend who was always up for an adventure-- and we had many over the years-- from jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 20,000 feet, to a wild road trip down to Miami for spring break.  

Later, we traveled together through Europe after my semester abroad, winding our way through Spain, the South of France, all through Italy and then ending our trip with 2 divine weeks in Greece on the island of Corfu. We watched Flamenco dancing in Barcelona, lay out on the pebbled beaches of Nice, and hitched a ride with a busload of rowdy, horny Italian sailors just back from sea and had to keep swatting them off of us with our Italian Vogue magazines!  We celebrated my 21st birthday at a small, family owned resort in Greece, taking shots of Ouzo and shouting, "Opah! Opah!" with the diverse, international crowd of other travelers-- all of us drunk from the intoxicating beauty of the azure Mediterranean (and the continued rounds of shots!)

There are those rare friends, that no matter how many years have gone by, time melts away, distance disappears and the connection remains.  Over several baskets of baked tortilla chips and guacamole, we reminisced about memories together, filled in the gaps left by long periods without talking, shared pictures of our loved ones and laughed until our sides hurt.  It was the most cathartic, wonderful visit!  She brought a photo album  from our trip to Europe.  This was my favorite picture of us together--- a girl's night out, in Venice, Italy. (Check out my au natural brows!  It looks like I have caterpillars over my eyes!!!)
Maria and Parker in Venice, Italy ~ 1996

Maria and Parker in Atlanta, Georgia ~ 2012
It is so easy to let friendships slip away in the midst of our busy lives, forgetting to nurture the people who know us best and love us the most.  I have made a promise to myself and to Maria that we will be better about staying in touch--- knowing us, we'll see each other more now that we're living a thousand miles apart than we did when we were a short drive away!

Yesterday, I invited my girlfriends Shannon and Katy over for a pool party with sangria and turkey tacos.  Shannon and Katy were two of my first friends when I moved here 6 years ago-- and together, we have nursed each other through break-ups, family dramas and professional frustrations.  But since JP and I moved farther away to the other side of town, we haven't seen each other regularly. I used to live just 5 minutes from Katy and we would make dinner together twice a week and work out at my apartment gym.  Shannon and I were inseparable for years-- especially when we were single and hitting the nightlife scene together!  The three of us were together constantly-- and if not together in person-- always texting and calling.

Shannon, Katy and Parker ~2009
That changed when things got really tough for me personally and financially.  I disappeared from the grid. I have a bad habit of going underground when things are not going well for me--- I hate feeling like a burden with "issues and problems" and always feel guilty when I don't have something positive to talk about.  Intellectually, I know that this is when I need my friends the most, but a combination of pride and martyrdom rear their ugly heads and turn me into a disappearing act.  It's not healthy and it's something I'm really trying to work on.

All that said, things ARE going better for me, so I guess it's like having permission to be social and return to my status as "Fun Parker" again....Suddenly, my desire to socialize and be around people has become totally rejuvenated.

I spent the morning before the girls came over in a mad, cleaning frenzy, since I am officially, THE WORST HOUSEKEEPER IN AMERICA.  In 4 hours time, I scrubbed the kitchen, living/dining room, basement, 2 bathrooms and the pool.  AND made lunch.  I'm a freak of nature and need deadlines to get anything accomplished.  Having friends over meant a major cleaning deadline which I made with a few minutes to spare!

Waking up to a clean house this morning felt soooo good.  I realized that keeping a clean house is sort of like maintaining friendships.  You can let the dust and distance grow-- and then later, put in a ton of effort to clean everything and reconnect...OR, you can do a little bit of maintenance to keep the friendships and the organization up and reap the rewards of both consistently.  I think I'll take the latter.  I officially resolve to do major upkeep when it comes to housekeeping and friendships!

Corner of my Kitchen:  Clean! Even the Dog is happy!
I swept, scrubbed and organized my basement workout space-- and I literally FEEL like working out now that it's so clean!

Clean workout space in the basement

Workout and Diet:
I'm recommitting to my morning workouts.  Now that I'm doing Hamelin D'Abell's  3 Week Challenge which is only 1 hour, it's do-able to knock it out in the morning.  Coming home from a long day, only to have that workout hanging over my head just sets me up for failure-- and missed workouts.

JP and I have been eating primarily raw throughout the day-- juicing in the morning, with veggies/garbanzo salad for lunch and a cooked meal at night.  I'm going to be experimenting with raw recipes and am intrigued by the raw diet concept.  I can't imagine giving up meat for good, but I like the idea of a 80-90% raw diet that includes sushi and fish, but cuts out most meat.  The more raw my diet becomes, the less I crave red meat.  JP made a skirt steak the other night and I couldn't even stomach a bite of it.

I will be posting my raw recipe successes and the details about what works (and what doesn't) for me!

Happy Sunday!  Pick up the phone and call a friend you've been meaning to get in touch'll feel so much better that you did!

Much Love,

The Mistress