Sometimes I find it absolutely crazy that as part of my job I get to write copy, especially since I didn’t actually know what “copy” meant for a long time. I still remember at one of the first beauty events I ever went to a writer from either People or Us Weekly asked me where I filed my copy and I had no idea what she meant. I literally stared at her like a deer caught in headlights and mumbled something about blogging. She didn’t continue talking to me afterwards. This was a really long time ago when blogging, particularly beauty blogging, was still a dirty word.
The thing is, I’m not a real wordsmith. I struggle to find the right words to string together to make it poetic and melodic. I can tell stories in a sense that I know what angle I should approach it, what should be included and how to make it exciting. Plus I use words incorrectly all the time and add S to words that shouldn’t be pluralized. But my coworker shared a saying from Anna Quindlen that I’ve since adopted as a mantra any time I’m tasked to write anything: “Don’t get it right, get it written.”
That saying went through my head repeatedly while I wrote the get-the-look copy for Lindsey Vonn and Meredith Melling Burke’s hairstyles from the Met Ball. I had the hardest time figuring out what I wanted to say, but once I started getting words and ideas down on paper, it did come together eventually. I’m happy with how it turned out and I’m happier that the final copy was not heavily edited from my own draft. It’s down below – hope you enjoy!
RENÉ FURTERER MASTER CLASS: RED CARPET 101
FROM CHAOS TO COUTURE: JIM CRAWFORD SHOWCASES THE EXTREMES OF PUNK ON LINDSEY VONN AND MEREDITH MELLING BURKE AT THE 2013 METBALL
The biggest names in fashion and Hollywood joined together at the 2013 Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala to celebrate this year’s exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, hosted byVogue. Marked as the fashion industry’s “Night of Nights,” stars and fashion insiders pushed the boundaries this year to showcase the extremes of PUNK culture. Vogue tapped into the uber-talents of mega-celebrity hairstylist Jim Crawford to showcase both ends of the PUNK spectrum. By using René Furterer products exclusively, Crawford channeled the chaotic street version of punk onVogue’s own Senior Market Editor, Meredith Melling Burke, and the glamorous side of punk forVogue’s guest, Olympic gold-medal winner Lindsey Vonn.
Here, the details from Crawford on how to go from one extreme to another:
STREET PUNK REDEFINED
To celebrate the rebellious punk spirit in the streets of 1970s London and New York City, Crawford sculpted a deconstructed updo for Meredith. “I wanted to create a romantic punk updo with different textures and finishes,” said Crawford. The result: shiny, wild hair that screamed chaos and punk!
« Before constructing the updo, I prepped dry hair by applying different products to create a variety of textures and finishes to the look. I start with René Furterer VOLUMEA volumizing foam throughout her whole head and sprayed NATURIA dry shampoo on the roots to create volume and texture.
« To create a smooth finish, I applied René Furterer FIORAVANTI no rinse detangling spray and VEGETAL GLOSSING SPRAY all over for shine, and then I tweaked the ends with a mini flat iron.
« To start the updo, I first braided the hair into two side braids before deconstructing them by pulling out strands and loosening it with a wide tooth comb and my fingers. This way the different finishes, the soft shiny pieces and the wet-looking strands ? both created by applying all different prep products ? are shown next to each other.
« To finish, I pulled up the rest of the hair into a messy updo and secured it with bobby pins. I topped the hair by spraying René Furterer VEGETAL FINISHING SPRAY all over for a soft hold to carry her through the night.
PUNK: FROM STREET TO RUNWAY
Taking punk from street to runway, Crawford took cues from Fall 2013 shows to create a couture-worthy, slicked-back look with a severe side part for Lindsey. As this was Lindsey’s first red carpet appearance with her beau, Tiger Woods, Crawford wanted to create something modern and upscale to carry her all through the evening. “With the theme for this year’s Met Gala as punk, I went for a new look that takes Lindsey out of her comfort zone by creating a fashion-forward look directly from Fall 2013 runway shows.”
Read below for the step-by-step on creating this punk couture look straight from Crawford:
« Starting with towel-dried, damp hair, I applied René Furterer MYRRHEA no rinse silkening fluid, René Furterer VOLUMEA volumizing conditioning spray – no rinse and volumizing foam – no rinse all throughout to create a smooth but full base.
« I also smoothed RENÉ FURTERER VEGETAL SCULPTING GEL along the hairline to make it easier to sculpt her bangs once her hair was dried.
« Once I prepped her hair with products, I did her blowout using my fingers and my Mason Pearson brush for a straight and sleek finish.
« Next, I created a deep side part with sculpted bangs and combed the rest of the hair back. I pulled the sides in tightly as I secured her hair into a low ponytail at the nape of the neck, spraying René Furterer VEGETAL FINISHING SPRAY to create a smooth finish.
« To take Lindsey’s hair to a couture level for this special event, I spritzed René Furterer VEGETAL GLOSSING SPRAY for extra hold and mirror-like shine.
I have an addictive personality. Once I get into something, it pretty much takes over my life. Of course I never get addicted to things that are actually good and healthy for me like exercising.
My latest addictions? Manicures.
My first few manicures in high school were complete nightmares. I didn’t know where to go or what to ask for and as a result, I ended up with acrylic french tip nails at least three times. I’ve since learned that I hate acrylics, I like my nails short and to always ask them to push back my cuticles instead of cutting them. I also now live in a city where the best manicurist of the moment, Jin Soon Choi, owns nail spas!
It’s actually a bit crazy. In LA I thought I was getting a great deal at Bellacures, a pretty decent place with decent service with $20 manis. In NYC, I can get a mani AND pedi from places at the same level as Bellacures for $20-$23. At JINsoon Hand & Foot Spa, a regular mani is only $18! It’s also a thousand times better than any manicure I’ve ever gotten in LA. On top of that, unlike most nail places that only carry Essie, OPI, China Glaze and Zoya, JINsoon carries every single brand of polish ever made, including NARS, Chanel, MAC and Jin Soon’s own polish line. They don’t even charge you extra and you know for certain the polishes weren’t watered down.
I know, it seems so vain and excessive to be addicted to manicures when it’s something you could do at home yourself. But there’s something so relaxing and soothing about manis and pedis. You get to sit there and unwind while someone files your nails into a perfect shape that you can never achieve at home, push your cuticles back ever so gently, remove all those yucky hangnails and give a nice massage. You can’t use your hand at all while getting a manicure so you can’t even be on your phone! You’re practically forced to sit there and chill. Plus it’s so satisfying to look at your nails when it’s well groomed! Something that’s $18 to bring you all that happiness is so worth it and could possibly explain why I, along with so many New York women, can be found at a nail salon every weekend.
On thing to note, don’t you think it’s a bit funny how everything in Manhattan can be so expensive but manicures are so affordable?
PS: I’m also addicted to Candy Crush Saga. I literally think of colored candies exploding the entire day.
Dating anywhere is a pain. In NYC? Well, it’s dramatic to say the least. Or traumatic? I don’t know. But after chatting with a friend the other day, I’m adopting some of his suggestions. Why? His suggestions overall are just more positive and fun.
1) Smile! No, not a fake smile, but a real genuine smile. His take? I’m from California where everyone smiles and I shouldn’t let New York take that away from me. So if I see a guy I fancy, I should just smile and see where that goes.
The problem with that is that most of the time I’m cringing at something I witness or smell or hear. This city as a whole assault your senses, from the smell of an unsavory dude on the subway to that of horse shit near Central Park, it’s hard to smile through it all! Now imagine that I’m mid-cringe when I see a cute guy. Do I go from cringe to smile in half a second? Won’t that look just a teensy bit.. I don’t know.. crazy? I’m probably thinking too much into it. Maybe I’ll work on not cringing at everything first.
2) Instead of thinking about what you DON’T want, think about what you DO want. When you think about things you don’t want, all those attributes are in your head. Get them out of your head completely by only focusing on what you want. Change the “I DON’T want a guy with issues” to “I want a level-headed guy with a great smile.”
This I can totally dig. Essentially I’ll have to think positive and figure out what positive attributes I’d like in a guy. Now what attributes do I want in a guy? Hmm…
I want a guy like Jim in The Office. Tall, handsome but kind of dopey looking, and smart but unassuming at the same time. Someone with a nice smirk. Now that I’ve put it out in the world, hopefully he’ll appear!
OK I’m done being weird.
As much as I enjoy my job in NYC, I do at times miss being a lil ol’ blogger in LA. Case to point, I totally missed out on the launch of a new Hair Extensions Bar hosted by Jamie Stone of Queen of Quarter Life Crisis. What’s a Hair Extensions Bar? It’s like a blow out bar (think Blow – the first US blow out bar ever), but instead of blow outs, they only focus on extensions! Below’s the info on it and pictures from the launch. I know where I’m going if I’m in LA & in the market for hair extensions!
Just as Blow Dry Bars took the world by storm with a one stop location for all blow-drying purposes, Just Extensions, the first Hair Extensions Bar in Los Angeles, takes that model one step further by providing no cuts, no color, just extensions. The salon atmosphere is clean, fun, and aesthetically pleasing, complimenting this refreshing approach to extensions.
Just Extensions, founded in January 2013 by Riqua Hailes, offers extension lovers an alternative to the long application hours and overpriced services typically associated with getting extensions. Whether clients are looking to add length, volume or color, the experienced extensionists and licensed stylists can help guests achieve the look they want. Just Extensions also allows clients to choose a preferred method of application. This one stop extension destination conveniently sells high quality 100% remi human hair in a variety of lengths and colors on site.
Each new client receives a consultation and maintenance tips. The salon offers three signature packages that include micro-links, braided sew-in, beaded one-step weft and fusion techniques that range from $100 – $300 dollars. For those simply looking to add some length or volume for a special event or occasion Just Extensions also provides clip-ins at an affordable rate per row.
For more information: www.justextensionshair.com
n. the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you’d be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.
That’s pretty much my existence I’ve always felt out of place, out of order and out of sync everywhere I went. The only two places I’ve ever felt at ease – home with my family and online.
Raw and unfiltered, just like this post
I took refuge to the internet at a fairly young age. 11 to be exact. I adopted early to pre-social media communities and found real true friends. I opened up easily and never felt judged or bullied. At the time I never came across cyber bullying. If anything, all the bullying was done in real life.
It was only natural that I started blogging and even more natural for my blog to evolve into a beauty blog. I remember some of my oldest beauty related posts – I simply listed everything I had applied onto my face! Then little by little I learned to craft stories, to craft reviews that I would want to read, to craft editorials, to conduct interviews and write actual stories. In fact, I was doing really well and producing content that I was incredibly proud of. Somewhere along I gained enough confidence to quit my day job as a lab tech and move to New York to find a beauty editorial internship!
Around that same time I also fell in love with Cat Marnell’s unique style of beauty writing. She embraced the confessional nature of blogs with her vast beauty knowledge to create something that was new and different. It literally opened the door for a lot of girls in how they choose to blog and express themselves on the internet. Before that beauty content was so edited and filtered through a certain lens. For the most part today it still is, especially in print. But digitally it’s OK to integrate raunchier content with beauty. In a sense it made beauty more accessible and less frou-frou.
In a way I embraced that as I realized that’s how I can truly differentiate this blog from a thousand other blogs. There are millions of beauty blogs that focus on review, that contain amazing swatches and photography, so exactly how was mine different? Well, my stories are different. My perspective on life and on beauty are different than other bloggers. And in a sense, my desire to share my thoughts is why I created my first Xanga blog in the first place and as a matter of fact, the reason I went online. It was because I was scared of letting my voice be heard in real life.
A few months have past since I’ve taken to semi-beauty blogging retirement. Obviously it’s hard for me to stay away as I find solace here. I find solace in the beauty blogging community as a whole. I feel loved and heard and encouraged and motivated by this community.
I look at all these successful beauty bloggers, some old, some new, and I wonder, if I had kept up with this blog on a consistent basis, would I have been successful as well? Could I have monetized this blog and actually make a living off this blog? Would brands have sought me out and paid me to be their “celebrity” blogger?
Then again, I’m more than happy with my new found career path. No other job would fit me better than beauty PR. It’s something I instinctively understand. Yes, I’m studying and learning everyday, but there’s no mental struggle with it like so many other jobs I’ve tried in in the past. Establishing relationships, reaching out to people, and assisting people however I can – that’s something I fully embrace. Perhaps it’s because growing up I was scared of talking to the popular kids in school and somewhere down the line I figured I will just say hi to everyone and befriend everyone. It’s what makes me happy and in a way, makes up for all those moments of monachopsis I consistently feel.
On top of wondering if I would have ever made it as a beauty blogger in the same way that Karen of Makeup and Beauty Blog or Patrice of Afrobella made it as beauty bloggers, I wonder from time to time what would have happened had I stayed at my old job. It turns out, I might have gotten laid off. When I heard it, t felt like the universe was telling me to stop looking backwards and to continue charging forward with my life. I had kept the thought of my old job as Plan B just in case I failed in NYC, but the universe pulled that safety net away so I really don’t have a choice.
I did leave behind a lot in LA. I think about it all the time. My family, my dog, my friends, and in general a comfortable life. But I just realized that I also left behind a lot of negativity that was holding me back from becoming who I wanted to be. I’m in a place where I can only go forward and go up in every aspect of my life. Is it still as scary as it was 9 months ago when I quit my job? Hell yes. But the universe has spoken, there is no going back.
Ps – Jenna Marble’s new video resonated with me in a way that made me cry. We all see Jenna Marbles and we see this funny, beautiful and popular girl who just seems to be awesome. It also seems like she’s made it in life with her YouTube videos. But like all of us, through so many phases of her life, she keeps wondering “Where am I going? What am I doing?” – something I think about constantly. The thing with getting older though is accepting that we don’t always know where we’re going or where life takes us. We can spend endless amounts of time predicting outcomes of our decisions or we can just take a step forward and make it work.
I’ve been waiting months for spring to arrive. Though it’s technically here, it still feels like winter. Shouldn’t it be warm and pretty in spring? Isn’t it when all the flowers bloom and the trees come back to life? All I know is that it’s still cold and I’m self-tanning until the sun comes out.
Anyhow, I now think I’m completely deficient in Vitamin D. A spray tan artist (I think that’s what she was called?) actually thought I was even when I lived in LA. My legs are unnaturally white and they never ever tan. But having read up on Vitamin D deficiency, particularly Vitamin D3 deficiency, I’m totally convinced I am. Now that the sun never ever comes out, I look the part too.
I’m trying to mask that with a bit of self tanner. Sinead, the founder of Beautisol, is a good friend who so lovingly sent her self-tanner to me to try. The last time my face was spray tanned, I looked hilarious. I called myself Glooki. With the Beautisol self-tanner, I avoided that Glooki territory. I just looked like I had a healthy natural glow about me. Like I’ve been eating tons of carrots, which is scientifically proven to give you a very attractive glow!
Until the sun comes out (or until I move back to LA), this shall be my best friend. There’s also a version for dry skin which I imagine is more emollient. As this version is for oily skin, it had a thin, gel-like texture that absorbed quickly. If it streaked, I didn’t notice it. =D
Sometimes when I’m not feeling particularly bright or chipper, I like to put on “sunny” makeup to cheer myself up. It’s one of those fake it til you feel it type of things.
In this instance, I apply on MAKE UP FOR EVER’s Uplight Face Luminizer Gel in #33, Sparkling Golden Copper, on top of my cheek bones, across my nose, and on my temples for that sunkissed glow, then I apply Youngblood Cosmetic’s LUMINOUS CRÈME BLUSH in Tropical Glow for a very natural flush. By using gel and cream products, I get a very realistic luminous glow that it really does make me think that I’ve been having fun at the beach the entire day!
This has to be the longest time I’ve gone without enjoying the sun and decent warm weather. With what’s happening to me personally, I hope the sun will bring more positivity into my life!
There’s also something new I have to think about it. This whole winter I’ve been covered up, but I’m not really getting younger. My skin isn’t what it used to be and I think it’s worth it for me to look into more potent procedures. In particular, some sun spots are starting to show up more and more and they’re not disappearing. For all you fair skinned Asians, remember to ALWAYS wear sunscreen. I didn’t growing up in LA and now I have to deal with the consequences.
A blogger friend mentioned an aesthetics spa in SoHo, LaserTouch Aesthetics, that offered services like skin tag removal, mole removal, tattoo removal, freckle and sun-spot removal, chemical peels, acne treatment, cellulite treatments, microdermabrasion at a reasonable cost. I also want to try their microdermabrasion – I’ve tried it before in Beverly Hills and wouldn’t mind another go at it for clearer skin.
They also offer laser hair removal and tattoo removals, which I personally don’t need as I have neither, but for you ladies looking to get rid of unwanted hair, you might want to check out this place, too! Plus it’s in SoHo – go in for a procedure and go shop afterwards!
After being out of the game (as most people tell me) for over 10 years, I am way too rusty in this wacky world of dating. I’m going after it like how I do life in general – I have an idea of what I want but I keep myself opened to all possibilities. You never know what’s around the corner and you should never judge whether or not you’d like something before trying it.
People say dating in LA has its challenges. The biggest thing is that every other girl is either a legit model/actress/dancer or a gorgeous knock out who is aspiring to be a model/actress/dancer. Sure, there are some butterfaces but still, in the land of breast implants and liposuction, as long as you’re a stick with boobs (or chicken cutlets), it’s fine. One of my fav bloggers even revealed that at one point she was going after the affections of the same guy as AnnaLynne McCord.
Dating in NYC? It’s got its own special set of challenges. One thing is that everyone is busy – me included. Nobody gets off work at reasonable times and half of the time everyone (again, including me) just wants to drink. There’s also this thing where most NYC men think they are the best judge of character – no bullshit, no whatever – it actually comes off as quite aggressive! My sunny LA personality does not bode well with most of these aggressive New Yorkers. There’s also this thought that because this island is so filled with people, you can always find something better in the next block.
I’ve been on a few dates so far, keeping everything casual and light. Even though it’s been almost 2 years since my ex and I split, I’m not ready for a serious relationship at all. For those who don’t know, to put it very very plainly, my ex of 11 years decided to leave me for another girl. I’ve since let it go and licked my wounds and all that.
Despite logically knowing that I should keep a distance to every guy, I actually like being in love and being in relationships. It truly makes me happy to have the opportunity to share my life with someone I care about. And I legitimately enjoy caring for someone, too. So of course, I, being this hopeless romantic, did slowly start to develop something more than a casual interest in a guy.
A guy who a month in turned out to be married. Of course he was – all socially normal guy within my age range is of course married or gay. Luckily my sisters and friends are super amazing. They’re all letting me vent about it in great detail. And of course, Beyonce is here singing my emotions. Thanks B!
It certainly sucks to be you right now (even though I know he doesn’t read this blog).
Let’s start with my Duane Reade obsession. Out of all the amazing stores New York City has to offer, for some very odd reason, I absolutely adore Duane Reade. I’ve always liked shopping at drugstores – they have everything you could possibly need and then some. Plus I love looking for deals on drugstore makeup – it’s a cheapie thrill!
But Duane Reade is in its own category. Unlike most drugstores with haphazardly stocked shelves and meh-looking beauty aisles, Duane Reade has the LOOK Boutique. Not only does it have every drugstore line including hard to find ones like Prestige, Wet N Wild (yes, hard to find in LA!), GOSH, Milani, it also has a super fancy section with masstige (mass + prestige) brands like The Balm, Cargo, Ramy, and of course Klorane and Avene (disclaimer: I rep those 2 brands).
The best part about Duane Reade and the main reason why I love them so much is that I once won an entire line of Sally Hershberger hair products right in the store! There was an event at a local DR where Sally Hershberger salon stylists were given instant makeovers. They were curling, blow drying, and all other cool things using their products. Plus they were doing a raffle drawing. I really only needed a razor that day, but I went, got my bangs trimmed, and won the entire range of Sally Hershberger products!
Anyhow, I came across this video of another Sally Hershberger stylist from her LA salon demo-ing Veronica Lake waves. He makes it seem pretty easy in the video. Once my hair is long enough I’m definitely give it a whirl. Check it out!
One of the beauty blog’s I’ve consistently read over the years is MakeupandBeautyBlog.com. Karen has such a fun way of weaving stories through her blog posts that her blog isn’t just about amazing swatches (which she has plenty of) or typical product reviews. It’s filled with personality, well written stories, and truly knowledgeable beauty content. On top of that, you feel like you know who Karen is just by reading her blog. You also feel like her cat Tabs is part of the family. To me that’s what a true beauty blog is all about.
Anyhow, I’ve always loved her Monday polls. I’ve answered a few throughout the years and figured I’ll answer it RIGHT NOW AT 1 AM when I have a stack of magazines I’ve yet to go through for work. Why not, right? Behold:
Makeup and Beauty Blog’s Monday Poll
1. What’s a makeup brand you’ve been into lately? LORAC. My friend gave me a bunch of LORAC goodies the other day and I’m obsessed. The black eyeliner glides on smoothly and stays on forever. Plus the smudge tip is great to get a faux-smokey eye. A faux-smo, as I like to call it (no I don’t).
2. Dresses, skirts or pants? Dresses! Why worry about whether your top and bottom matches when you can just put on a dress?
3. Do you like pastel nails? I certainly do. Then again, I’m a child of the 90s so I probably like pastel more than most people. Heck, I sported pastel eyeshadows back in my days.
4. Describe one of your typical makeup looks for work? If I wake up in time, I go for the whole shebang. Foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, highlight, a defined but neutral eye, curled lashes with tons of mascara, and natural lips. If I don’t have much time, some sort of cover up, bronzer, mascara, and if I remember, a dark pink lip.
5. Rainbow suspenders? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo
6. Highlight of your weekend? I told random strangers that asked how my friend and I used to be online boyfriend/girlfriends during AOL’s heyday. They actually bought it.
7. Do you prefer taking baby steps or diving in all at once? 3 baby steps before I get impatient and dive all in.
8. Where were you in 1999? I was in 8th grade going on 9th grade. Both years I was in colorguard (tall flags) so I was probably somewhere spinning a flag and bruising myself.
9. Something you’re grateful for today? Yogurt was on sale!
10. Write yourself a nice note. “Dear Gloria, Keep up your swag streak and don’t let negative thoughts deter you.”
I haven’t always appreciated my mom as much as I do now. Perhaps it’s a sign of getting older – you finally see clearly how amazing your mom is. My mom is what my dad calls “Southern California’s Female James Bond.” In so many ways she is. She doesn’t let other people’s opinion affect her, she always stands for her beliefs and she chooses to live a happy life.
And it’s from my mom that I learned that it’s alright not to have the best material things in life. I’m not sure if anyone has ever noticed this, but despite being a girly girl, I don’t wear jewelry. In fact while getting my headshot done with my friend, she asked, “Woman, where is your jewelry collection?” But because my mom doesn’t wear jewelry, I never bothered either.
I’ve also learned that as a woman, it doesn’t mean you have to be single and alone to be a strong, independent woman. It’s possible to have a loving, caring husband without losing your identity or changing yourself. It’s totally fine that I’m stubborn and careless and that I can’t cook – my mom didn’t change who she was in the almost 40-years she’s been with my dad and my dad still loves her the same. Well, she’s gotten to be a very great cook, but that was not always the case.
But mostly she reminds me to be a good person, to have an open heart and to let life guide you through. There are things in life that are difficult, things that we want to change and sometimes go through tremendous efforts to change. Yet instead of holding on to things, my mom’s taught me that sometimes it’s better to let go. And it’s alright to let go. Life goes on and as long as we choose to be happy, that’s all it matters.
There’s so much more to my mom that I can’t put in details. As her youngest daughter, I’ve been told that I resemble her the most. To everyone who thinks so, thank you! There’s no better compliment than knowing that I’m just like my mom.