I’m a makeup moron. I’d never even bothered with eyeshadow until I interviewed Sonia Kashuk for the Pioneer Press when her line debuted at Target. She handed me Aubergine and suggested I use some. Immediately. So I did, and still do. But on any given day, there’s a fairly decent chance my eyeliner will take a detour toward an eyebrow and my mascara will clump or seem altogether invisible. So it is not very often that I dare to dispense beauty advice. Yet a few products I’ve discovered recently seem to actually work, which is so unexpected, I feel I must share.

The Body Shop Matte It Face & Lips, $12.50. I’m shiny. No, not my personality — my big forehead. I’ve tried patting it with powders both expensive and cheap and nothing makes much difference. But this clear gel really seems to take away some of the shine. (While leaving my demeanor in tact.)

Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer, $38. I’m not into foundation. But it’s nice to, as the experts say, "even things out." This creamy lotion does just that — without the cakey, unnatural finish I abhor. The makeup artist who convinced me to give it a try applied the stuff with a brush — dabbing on the thinnest of layers. It’s expensive and a bit high maintenance, so I save it for select lunch dates.(Come dinner time, I find it easier to pick a dimly lit spot where blotchiness can’t be detected.)

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer, $32. So here’s what happened. The day of my brother’s wedding in Chicago, I ran to Bloomingdale’s and begged the first person I could find to make my face look presentable. Lucky for me (perhaps less so for my wallet), that person worked for Bobbi Brown. Until then, I’d been more of a MAC girl. But this concealer really does work wonders. Especially after a late night of blogging.

Behold: The power of the almighty pre-awards show gift suite. The promise of pictures featuring celebrities holding your product makes entrepreneurs do crazy things, like pay money to give their goods away to people quite able to pay. Removed as we are in Minnesota from such goings-on, many a Twin Cities business owner has ventured to Hollywood to get in on this career-making opportunity. I wrote in the Pioneer Press on Sunday (Jan. 14, 2007) about Ramsey-based Simply Ella infant car seat covers and clothing line, given away last week at a pre-Golden Globes party to Angie Harmon and dozens of semi-stars.

Meanwhile, Minnesota-based fashion designer Joy Teiken of Joynoelle set up her own Golden Globes suite in L.A. with smashing results. Marcia Gay Harden fell in love with the line and might want something for an upcoming premiere. Alicia Keys is also interested, as is Shaun Robinson of Access Hollywood. Won’t be long before Joynoelle is all over the red carpet. But all that sucking up to celebrities and their demanding stylists does take its toll on a down-to-earth designer. “Lots of drama,” Joy said of the trip. “People not showing up for appointments or being two hours late. Thank goodness I have a fabulous assistant.”

Sbgbrooke_2 Another native Minnesotan who has learned to play the celebrity game with enviable finesse is jewelry designer Sara Goldfine of SBG Designs, who grew up in Golden Valley and now lives in L.A. (She returns to the Twin Cities for trunk shows at least a couple of times a year.) Last week, Sara participated in a Golden Globes gift suite and got her necklaces and bracelets on Brooke Shields, Paris Hilton and Josh Henderson (who plays the new two-timing teen hunk on “Desperate Housewives”) — to name a few. But her favorite celeb encounter was Ethan Embry (“Can’t Hardly Wait”). Says Sara, “He hung around to chat with my sister and me for what felt like a half an hour….told us all about his up and coming projects and how he is going to have to gain a lot of weight for a new film he’ll be working on.”

Give that actor a bracelet!

Macy’s is hoping to get some buzz going by announcing the date for this year’s Glamorama fall fashion extravaganza: Aug. 17 at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis. (Details and ticket information to come this spring.)

While Glamorama has long been considered the Twin Cities’ biggest fashion event of the year, featuring top designers, national talent and a lavish after party, Voltage Fashion Amplified is fast becoming known as the premier showcase for local design and music. Show creator Anna Lee took last year off to regroup following the overwhelming success of her first two Voltage shows. This April 11, Voltage is back at First Avenue, and if the new Voltage website is any indication, the event promises to be even bigger and slicker than before. Participating designers include Katherine Gerdes of "Project Runway" and Kimberly Jurek of Kjurek Couture, which is about to go national. Read the designer bios on the Voltage website and you’ll never again complain that Minnesotans have no sense of style.

Stay tuned for ticket information — this show is sure to be a sell out.

This is why I always end up returning to that store, the one they now call Macy’s:

Yesterday at Nordstrom, I dismissed a pair of DKNY tights…$18 just seemed a little pricey, especially at this point in the season. Tonight, at Macy’s (which was delightfully dead — Monday night might be my favorite new time to shop. Still made it home in plenty of time for "What About Brian?") I picked up the exact same pair, on sale for $12.60.

And I only had to walk three departments over to pay.