I would have totally missed this stunning African inspired fashion spread in the New York Times style section were it not for one of my fave blogs, Fly. Liya Kebede is just so, so stunning.

This photo took my breath away. Love the makeup, and I want those earrings! It takes a bold woman to pull those off, but I think I’m up for the job.

Run, don’t walk to your nearest Target. When I was there last weekend wandering the curly hair aisle (what, don’t you bellas just naturally wind up in that aisle every time you’re in there?) I made a fabulous discovery. Behold, Organix Soft & Silky Vanilla Silk Conditioner.

It’s made with Tahitian vanilla bean oils, and smells exactly like what I think Heaven must smell like. Best of all, it came with a little tag that said TRY ME FREE. Yes, there’s a rebate on your $6.99 purchase! I was already excited to try it, and now that I’ve been using it for a week I’m thinking about getting more. I love it. I’m pretty sure I just love it because it’s a good conditioner and smells great, but the free factor will make you fall in love all the quicker.

One random thing readers have been asking me to write about — food. Well I’ll have you know I’ve become quite the cook. I might share some recipes soon, but for now, I’ll start with my favorite food website. Hungry Girl!

Hungry Girl does awesome food reviews — they will introduce you to all kinds of new stuff. If you’re like me and you tend to eat a frozen microwave meal in your sad little cubicle every day at lunch, the e mail newsletter is a must. Hungry Girl introduced me to my beloved Kashi frozen meals, so that should say it all right there.

They also have great recipe swap ideas, one of which I use ALL the time. Kellog’s Fiber One Cereal when ground up into dust, makes a great bread crumb substitute, and is pretty delicious. I made some delicious baked chicken yesterday with this stuff, trust me.

I’m super excited about Ludacris returning to reprise his role on Law & Order SVU. I’m much, much less excited about Star Jones playing a consulting lawyer on the show. I’ll still watch, though.

What are your thoughts on the new Joss Stone?

Joss Stone 2.0 has abandoned the lovable hippie chick image that drew me to her in the first place. Now she’s embarrassing herself at award shows, rocking a pink version of Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” hairstyle as a rebellious statement about her image, and wearing dresses one of Austin Powers’ jumpoffs might wear. Fashion wise, she’s on the fast track to becoming the new Teena Marie. But I must say I am kind of digging her new song. (sound quality is better on this version). Maybe it’s the Raphael Saddiq influence. I love me some Raphael Saddiq!

And finally, this last link is going to be strictly personal.

Today is my birthday, and my present is a trip to New York! By the time you read this, I’m already gone. I’m booked solid with college friends to catch up with, and it’s freezing. But still, we’re so excited. The last time I went to New York, I was a bratty 12 year old. And my husband has never been!

March 8, turning 28. I feel pretty good to be where I’m at, and I’m psyched for our mini-vacation. But every birthday, I miss being with my family in Trinidad. See, we’re all Pisces. My sister Petal’s on the 3rd, my dad’s on the 6th, I’m the 8th, brother Clint’s the 10th, and Aunty Opal brings up the rear on March 18th. So when I was growing up, March 3 – 10 was Birthday Week complete with four different kinds of cake in the fridge, parties every other day, and a generally fun atmosphere.

It’s still my birthday and I’m gonna party like it’s my birthday, but I’ll be thinking of my people at home as well. Especially my mom. I was a C section baby and a rebellious teenager. But I came through everything OK, and I know I make her proud. That feels amazing.

I think this song by Sizzla Kalonji says it all.

I love you, mom. And dad. And brothers and sister. Thanks for always being there for me. Even though I’m far away, we’re still celebrating together.

Today is International Women’s Day, bellas! Take some time out to show your sisters some love.

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