Monday, May 9, 2011

The End of Plumber Pants and Mom Jeans

I have a collection of low-rise jeans that probably have a permanent crease from where they’ve been folded over hangers because I seldom wear them. Why? Because they’re as uncomfortable as a pair of thongs and just as revealing when you bend over or sit down.

I didn’t intend to buy so many of those annoying pants. In fact, I searched high and low for high-waist stretch jeans, but at one time, low-risers were the trend, and the only ones available in most stores. Even if you were tired of low-rise jeans, you didn’t want to wear the much derided mom jeans.

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect jean that flatters your figure but doesn’t reveal more than you intended, consider the Serene High Waist Jean from CJ by Cookie Johnson. The Serene features a contoured, straight leg cut, a double button closure, five pockets, and is made of stretch denim (97% cotton/3% spandex) for a comfortable fit. The jean is available in three washes: Deep Velvet, Optic White and Pitch Black and sizes 24-38. You can find the Serene High Waist Jean ($158) at Saks and Neiman Marcus. For more information visit

Monday, February 7, 2011

Am I Aries or Pisces?

The whole “controversy” over the so-called new zodiac had me thinking about the first line in “Controversy,” the 1981 Prince hit--I just can’t believe all the things people say.

Am I Aries, or am I Pisces today?

So it was fortunate that I had been given a Cloud 9 Living gift card and could choose from a selection of “experiences” across the country, which, depending on the region (and monetary value of the card) could be anything from hang-gliding to dance lessons. Once I picked the fencing class, there was $95 left, so as part of the “experience” I chose a 30-minute Phone in Astrology Reading.

Before discussing my chart, Vedic astrologer Steven Stuckey asked if I had been listening to the news reports about the new zodiac. He explained that Vedic astrology is calculated differently from the Western zodiac. So the gist of it is, I am Pisces in the Vedic system, but still Aries according to Western astrology.

“Things move back in this system in order to sync up with the actual star field," he began. "All astrology used to be based upon observation in the past where people would just look up at the stars and they would see the planets in the star field. Well, today the planets and the star field don’t align anymore. They’re about one sign off. This is due to the fact that the Greeks started calculating astrology a little bit differently. The Western world is basically using Greek astrology. If you could have seen the sun the day you were born, it would have been in a star field in the constellation of Pisces. This is the difference that a lot of people don’t understand. Anyway a lot of the things will still be similar. You’ll find out.”

Photo: Sagredo/Wikimedia

He started the reading with some general things about my chart. I was born at a full moon. People born at a full moon are very sensitive, very conscious and more aware. “So it’s usually an indication of higher awareness and it brings about a lot of knowledge,” he said. “Your life has been blessed in a certain sense with the pursuit of knowledge and understanding." This knowledge and awareness often has a lot to do with the things I do in life “in terms of your work and that kind of thing. A lot of times people born under a full moon are more intuitive just because they’re generally more aware and conscious. That means their feeling levels are usually higher as well. [The moon represents the feelings.] You also have Scorpio rising which is considered to be another very sensitive placement, intuitive, and sometimes psychic.

“You’re blessed with a beautiful Jupiter. Jupiter represents knowledge and wisdom. It represents high teachers. Your Jupiter is in the ninth house of the chart, which is the house that represents long distance travels, higher learning institutions, foreign trade. It represents people that are teachers, people who might be involved in legal matters. You’re fortunate in life and you get good teachers. You also may be a teacher yourself.”

Photo: Fulcanelli/Wikimedia

There were teachers in my mother’s family. One of my sisters is a teacher. I even considered the profession until I realized that I could possibly be under appreciated and underpaid. So I became an under appreciated and underpaid writer, but at least I love what I’m doing and the writing quite often involves long distance travel.

After talking about some of the topics I write about, Steven looked at my chart again. “The moon is in the sign of Virgo,” he said. “Virgo is a mental sign ruled by Mercury. The planet Mercury (which is involved with writers and communication) was involved in the full moon.” So I have a moon and Mercury opposition in my chart. The Moon represents the subconscious mind and Mercury represents the conscious mind. “What happens with moon/Mercurys is that they have a lot of knowledge. They have a lot of information going through their head all the time. This can be a creative thing for writing because there’s just so much information that is coming through. The other side can be more technical because the moon in Virgo is a stickler for detail and they’re intellectually oriented, but the Mercury factor brings in a creative factor.

“In this chart I would say you’re also disseminating knowledge in your writing. With this Jupiter factor, which means a person who bestows knowledge, a person who has access to knowledge, what that might mean to you is, within the context of that writing, you’re a teacher in some way or another.”

Although I’m finding it hard to believe (because in laymen’s terms, Saturn is totally messing with me, making life, quite frankly, suck) Steven told me that I have “a certain amount of grace in life" so I'm fortunate. "There are obviously ups and downs like everybody has, but generally you have a good amount of luck which is brought about from previous lifetimes of good work.”

Not everybody has this kind of a chart, he added. “Normally when I see charts like this, the person has been initiated by a guru and they are practicing heavy duty involvement in higher knowledge, especially connected to the East and things like this.” It’s possible that I haven’t met my “teacher” yet.

There’s also hamsa yoga in my chart. “Hamsa means swan-like, and it refers to people who are blessed with certain amounts of knowledge and information. So there’s a blessing in your chart and that’s one of the reasons why, if you’re in trouble, something happens to help you."

People used to explain some of the otherworldly help I’ve received at times with the saying “God protects babies and fools.” Lately I’ve heard such comments as “You asked and the Universe answered.”

"There’s more to it than that,” he continued, and suggested ways in which I could pursue a certain path, which, oddly, the month before I had actually started looking into.

And it seems there’s a deeper reason for the large collection of books about yoga, tai chi, meditation, feng shui, holistic and Chinese medicine, among other things that line my bookshelves.

So whether I’m Pisces or Aries is still in debate, in my mind at least. Maybe I’ll think more about it after my yoga class today. Or perhaps I’ll just let the Higher Teacher guide me.

For more information read New Zodiac Signs in 2011?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SoftSheen Announces Bria Murphy as New Global Brand Ambassador for Dark and Lovely

(l to r) Nia Long, Bria Murphy, Eddie Murphy
PHOTO: Courtesy of SoftSheen Carson

Eddie Murphy’s daughter, model Bria Murphy is Dark and Lovely’s new Global Brand Ambassador. The appointment was revealed at an event held by SoftSheen Carson at West Chelsea lounge, Juliet Supperclub.

Dark and Lovely Healthy-Gloss 5 Relaxer and Maintenance System
PHOTO: Courtesy of SoftSheen Carson

“I grew up using Dark and Lovely products and I am so proud to be part of a brand that celebrates the diversity of African American women and inspires them to be self-confident, glamorous and fun,” Bria told the guests which included mom and dad, Nicole Mitchell and Eddie Murphy, and actress Nia Long.

Nicole Mitchell, Bria Murphy, Eddie Murphy and little sis Shayne Murphy
PHOTO: Courtesy of SoftSheen Carson

Bria, 21, will be the face of Dark and Lovely’s new Healthy-Gloss 5 System which includes Healthy Gloss 5 Relaxer in Regular, Super and Color Treated formulas and maintenance products that include shampoo, conditioner, a leave-in treatment and hair crème.

Bria, who is signed with L.A. Models, will appear in television and print campaigns, as well as consumer and other events promoting the new product line.