- Chantez et vous trouverez votre chanson -

Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.
     -George Bernard Shaw

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves- in finding themselves.
      -Andre Gide

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Simplicity. Happiness.

After almost six years, I think it's time to end this blog. I've had trouble keeping up the posts, as you can tell by the dwindling number of posts per year. I'd like to blame it on my perfectionist streak - I can't even post a Facebook album without meticulous photo editing and caption writing, so it takes forever to publish a blog.

But, more importantly, I think my life has taken shape. When I started this blog in 2008, I needed an outlet. I wasn't happy, though I was trying to pretend (fake it 'til you make it, right?). My life felt out of focus and all over the place. It seemed like an interesting experiment to flex my creative muscles, write it all down and see if I was any good at that. And it was a fun experiment! For kicks, just read back through some of these posts. Some still feel really poignant and bring me back to those days, others make me roll my eyes.

My story isn't unique. I think these are feelings and issues most people have during those in-between years, right after college ends and you're spit out into the real world. Man, did I do some fun things while trying to "grow up," though. Travel (including a once-in-a-lifetime solo trip to France!), goofy nights with friends, ill-advised drunken decisions, beauty experiments, shopping addictions, adventures in cooking, finding my way into and out of debt... I kept it interesting.

With less than a month until my 29th birthday (cringe), I have to say, I feel pretty grown up. My life has a calm, happy rhythm, and I think it's primarily due to these three guys. They are my world and make me smile every day.
Having a job that allows me to write and be artistic, an apartment I can be proud of, and loving friends and family I can rely on helps, too. In a few words, the lessons VIPS in my life have taught me about being an adult:

Mom - love others, faults and all, always
Dad - dream a little dream, and keep it alive until it comes true
Evan - challenge yourself to do something great (this kid runs marathons!)
Regina - be strong, be kind, be open to what the world gives you
Rita - do your research and be bulldog for the things you believe in
Bryan - stay focused, be organized and be on time! (a lesson I still need sometimes...)
Mary - laugh at yourself, at others, at life
Sarah - embrace change, sometimes it can be pretty great
Theresa - never stop exploring; be a good friend to others
Jen - be poised and gracious (and a charming Southern belle if possible)
Amy - cooking is love; look for the deal everywhere
Minna - be spontaneous!
Karyn - it's okay to be exactly who you are, all the time

Though I will not be updating this blog anymore, I do still love sharing my musings and view of life in NYC. Here are two channels I do intend to keep up: Twitter and Instagram.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beach Waves, pt. 2

If you've read any of my previous posts, you know I love wavy, beach hair. It's just so easy and it looks soft, pretty and surfer chic, especially with my long ombre hair.

Well, I have a new favorite product that helps me pull off the look - Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray. I got it last month in a gift bag at work (one of the perks of working in the beauty industry), and now I'm hooked.

Don't go telling everyone you know, but thanks to this product, I've put absolutely zero effort into my hair this summer. Seriously. I step out of the shower, towel dry my hair for a few minutes, spray Oribe and let it air dry. I don't even comb or brush my hair! My hair dries into loose, natural waves and has a pretty sheen (seen above!).

Now for the actual product deets: The directions on the back read, Spray on wet or dry hair. Tousle to taste and let dry in the St. Tropez air. Follow with lipstick and heels. So cheesy. But it works!

The spray has an aerosol pump so I'm able to get the product all through my hair within 10 seconds flat. It smells nice, too. I can't quite put my finger on the smell, but it's really airy. Sort of like a clean beach (duh) or a freshly cut lawn with flowers.

One caveat - I have noticed that it doesn't work as well when I let my hair air dry overnight. It's probably because I toss and turn in bed, but I've woken up with kinky ends. As the directions (sort of) state, I think it really works its best when I let my hair dry outdoors, whether I'm walking my dog on the weekends or letting my hair dry on my way to work. I'm curious to see if I'll love it as much during the fall/winter months when I won't be able to do that anymore.

It takes a lot for me to love a hair product. I get so many freebies at work, I don't like actually spending money on beauty products (especially expensive ones!). But, for the convenience and the results I'm seeing, I think I'll make an exception. Available at Space NK, $35.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Catching Up and Making It Count

I know, I know - it's been nearly a year since I've updated this sucker. Truth is, girl's been busy! Good thing is, I'm happy. Career life, love life, friend life...all on the up and up!

Over a year ago, I made the transition from public relations to social media marketing. What an exciting time to be in this field! It's all so new and ever evolving; some days it feels like we're making it up as we go along and other days it feels like we're riding a wave and on the brink of something big.

I work with many amazing beauty and lifestyle brands that you probably love and use often, but we're always striving to do bigger and better social campaigns, to be like the Gatorades, the Coca Colas and the Nikes of the world. In our team meeting this week, my boss shared this Nike #MakeItCount branded video and I can't get it out of my head:

It makes me feel things - I want to make it count, get up and do something and appreciate life! And, as a nice bonus, it reminds me how much I love Nike. Granted, the company has its faults, but I look past that. I love Steve Prefontaine (do yourself a favor and watch the movie, Without Limits), the story of his coach Bill Bowerman creating the original Nikes, and I love their empowering brand philosophy. I continue to purchase their sneakers, despite being told that Asics are better for runners (pssh, whatever).

And this was exactly how Nike wanted viewers to feel with the #MakeItCount campaign. The song is stuck in my head, I have a renewed drive to travel and mind is dwelling on whether I really make each day count.

The brand personality is strung right through the video, without throwing images of sneakers in your face. Nike understands that their fans love their products, but that their fans have many interests and there are many ways to reach them and talk to them.

Acting as the voice of brands and developing the content you see everyday on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest accounts, I aspire to have this kind of effect on people and I'm learning that I can't do it by talking about makeup until I'm blue in the face (I work for many beauty brands).

Overall, I just love that I'm a part of a unique and cool social media movement, and proud to write for such well-known brands. I learn more everyday and can't wait to see what we come up with next...

Until then, I'm just going to work on making each day count. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nails Are Having a Moment

In the beauty world, nails have totally been stealing the scene lately.

OPI Shatter polish.
Katy Perry and her ever-evolving nail designs (seen above).
Sally Hansen patterned nail polish strips.
The Bad Girls Club and their special finger of different polish...

I don't think I've noticed people's nails this much since high school when everyone got tips, airbrush designs and exaggerated French manicures for school dances. I think back to those days and cringe at the tackiness. The difference today? Short nails are in and the designs don't take themselves too seriously - it's all about having fun with your nails.

The recent development (for me) is that I've decided to join the fun. See, I've been a nail biter since I was 3 years old. There are definitely worse things to be addicted to, but still...my nails are gross. It's a disgusting habit and I've never painted my nails bright colors for fear of drawing more attention to the issue. I've tried unsuccessfully to quit biting my nails about 15 times in my life, and it's never worked. Who knows if it'll last this time around, but I'm going on four weeks strong! It's helping that I'm not going with muted, plain colors - I want to play like everyone else is!

Week 1 - Princesses Rule! OPI (shimmery pink) with purple and green glitter on top
Week 2 - Princesses Rule! OPI with Crown Me Already OPI (silver glitter) on top
Week 3 - Essie Splash of Grenadine (bright berry)
Week 4 - Significant Other Color OPI (a lavender-mint oil slick)

After four weeks of no biting, my nails look healthy and are the perfect length - still short, but cute and respectable-looking. I've been using a great nail hardener base coat from my nail salon that I love, too - my manicures last a full week with zero chipping.

I can't wait to try out all these silly nail trends - now that football season is back (YES), you can bet I'm going to rock a gold glitter polish with black Shatter for Steeler Sundays. At age 26, I'm finally embracing girlhood full-on. Better late than never!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Fashions That Leave Me Stumped

All it takes is a stinky, humid heatwave to remind me that NYC living isn't really pleasant in winter OR in summer.

Seriously, it was 102 degrees out when I left work on Friday. You know that feeling when you stand in front of a furnace for a blast of heat on a cold day? Yea, it's like that outside, except completely unwelcome. It feels like my calves are going to burn off every time I walk in the path of a bus' exhaust.

In honor of this beautiful weather, I wanted to take a moment and express my confusion with certain summer fashions I continue to see year after year:

- Gladiator Sandals - This is not Roman times and there is no need for that many straps on your shoe.
- Rompers - Rompers were originally made for toddlers. I'm still not sure how it became acceptable for grown women to wear them. Plus, they make going to the bathroom nearly impossible.
- Visors - Isn't the point of a hat to shade your eyes and protect your scalp? Who's the genius that decided a hat with the top cut off was a good idea?
- Flip flop/Boot Hybrids - Gee, I really love boots, but I want to show off my pedicure, too. Voila! ...FYI, slouchy sacks on your feet with toe cut-outs look strange and are the opposite of flattering.
- Mandals - It does not matter if they are expensive, real leather or "dressy," mandals are not a good look. A better idea: cover up your pale hairy feet with sneakers or boat shoes, or wear regular flip flops.
Stay tuned later this year for round 2 of my opinionated fashion thoughts, winter edition.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Bonnaroo Experience

I let random strangers paint my body in the extreme Tennessee heat. Oh Bonnaroo. We did it in style. And it was so. much. fun.

One of the most well-known music festivals in the US today, Bonnaroo is a 4 day musical extravaganza in Manchester, Tennessee. Everyone camps out, lives in (all states of) freedom and harmony, and listens to music ranging from classic rock to indie bands to rap to dubstep. It was glorious big ol' hippie fest, and the closest I'll ever get to experiencing Woodstock.

There's so many ways you can do a music festival - rent a RV, drive down and bring your own tent, rent a tent or RV on-site, fly down and avoid the whole long drive, etc. As three (poor) girls, we decided that borrowing my friend's parents minivan for the drive down and renting a tent through Bonnaroo was our best option. We did NOT trust ourselves to correctly pitch a tent after a 16 hour drive, nor did we own a tent to pitch. Though a bit more money upfront, renting through Tent City was awesome. I can't recommend it enough! The tents were huge and they had cots inside, so we didn't have to sleep on the ground. And the major bonus - we were super close to Centeroo, where all the action happened. If you bring your own gear, you have no idea where you will get to set up camp - you could be 2 miles away from all the stages. When there are upwards of 80,000 people attending, it's nice to have prime real estate.

Now, if you're not an expert camper, there are just some things you won't know 'til you go. Things I've learned for next time:

- You need an awning to set-up in front of your tent. Shade is your friend!
- Coleman makes these super cool freestanding shower stalls for camping. That's a bit extreme, but we would've given anything for one of those saline drip-looking bags that you fill with water that become a "shower." Even just a hose to hook up to the various faucets set up in the camping areas would have been lovely. We paid for showers twice, and washed in a trough/slop sink another day with the masses...next time, I'd love an upgrade.
- Sunscreen for your head. I was pretty good about applying sunblock, I really was. Nevertheless, my scalp is still peeling off in sheets. Um, gross.
- Even if you bring a lot of food, you're bound to want to eat and drink inside Centeroo. It may be a lawless utopia, but you still cannot bring any outside drinks or large amounts of food inside, so pocket money is recommended. Plus, at a hippie fest, imagine all the delicious treats!

Oh yea, and I heard fantastic music all weekend. One thing I loved about Bonnaroo (compared to what I've heard about other festivals -cough- Coachella), is that it's not scene-y or pretentious at all. In fact, it's the complete opposite. Everyone is dirty and sweaty and wearing as little clothing as possible (due to the heat). It's all about the music and having a good time.

My love for music began in the 5th grade, when my classmates and I decided we were into alternative, listened to 104.7 The Revolution religiously and spent recess talking about Pearl Jam, Alanis Morissette, Nirvana and No Doubt. I've loved listening and getting into new music ever since, but I'd never consider myself someone really into the scene or an expert on new bands.

Bonnaroo reconfirmed that. There were so many bands I was unfamiliar with! I saw around 18 shows during the 4 day fest, but there were so many more I wish I could've seen. I came home and instantly downloaded new music from other artists I wasn't able to see. Some of my favorite shows from the week:

- Girl Talk. Hands down, the most fun set ever. Pittsburgh pride all the way! He played from 2:30am - ? on Saturday night. It was a sweaty pit of crazy dancing people, confetti and balloons, and it was incredible. My face was stuck in someone's armpit for part of it. I didn't care.
- Mumford & Sons. What can I say? Their music warms my heart and I can't help but smile when I hear their songs. They are SO good live. They played some songs from their upcoming album, and from what I heard, I am positive it will not disappoint.
- Arcade Fire. They were awesome. They had such great energy, and they played all their big hits from The Suburbs, and a few of my faves - Keep the Car Running and Wake Up. Plus the show opened up with parachuters in the sky. So cool!
- Eminem. I was surprised I liked his set so much. The whole "Recovery" theme from his CD carried into the show, and had you rooting for him. Everyone was so into it. And whether I liked it or not, I knew almost all the words to his songs!
- Florence & The Machine. She sounded just as hauntingly beautiful live as she does on their album. We had to leave their set early, but I would LOVE to see her again.
- Wiz Khalifa. Again, Pittsburgh pride! He was great. So much fun. I can't wait to see where he goes from here.
- The Black Keys. So good live. We missed part of their show (erg), but they were excellent and I'd see them again anytime.
- J.Cole. St. John's alumni, woo woo! Another fun set, another young rapper that I'm excited to see evolve and grow in the scene.
- Robyn. I wanted to see Cold War Kids...my group wanted to see her, so I went with the flow. She was really good! As nice as it is to chill and sit on the lawn and listen to music, it's more exciting to dance the afternoon away to energetic tunes.
- Scissor Sisters. Apparently I like the gay disco scene. Who knew? They were a blast, and led right into Girl Talk's set, making up the most fun Saturday night imaginable.
- The Strokes. Love. Not only was their music great, but we got the pleasure of seeing two ugly (completely) naked girls jamming out in front of us. Anyone know why the sound was a little low, though? I felt the same way at the Which Stage during Buffalo Springfield.

Other super goodies - Freelance Whales, Chiddy Bang, Best Coast, The Knux, Smith Westerns...

Oh, and about that body paint...there were three of them. A guy in a dish towel loincloth, a girl in a sunhat armed with paints, and a guy with Braveheart face paint, a black denim kilt and a shirt that read 'Free Hugs' in duct tape. We offered them beer and a PB&J for their mushrooms, and they offered to paint us. I had no idea it would entail having my entire exposed skin (other than shorts and a bikini top) coated in paint. They called us warriors. It was hilarious...until we had to scrub our skin raw with a scour brush the next day. Oh well. We looked amazing.

What a week.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How a Beauty Publicist plans to survive Bonnaroo...

I'm going! I'm leaving momentarily! Yep, a beauty publicist is going camping at a big hippie music fest for the next 5 days or so. And I can't wait.

Wanna know what I packed to allow me to look hippie chic and not dirty patchouli grunge? Check it:

Dry Shampoo
The savior of lazy girls everywhere, my favorite brand is Klorane, and I always buy it from Sephora.

Baby Wipes
If the showers are just too gross, at least I will have a ton of Natracare organic baby wipes with me.

Mattifying Powder
DermaQuest's On-the-Go Finishing Powder is awesome. It comes in a convenient travel brush, goes on clear and has SPF 30. No burns for me hopefully!

Sun hats and headbands
Bad hair day? I'll just cover it up...and look cute doing it.

Eye Mask
Our tent is white. Meaning I'll wake up as soon as the sun rises. Um, no thanks. Silly eye mask it is. I may even stick it in the cooler so it's nice and cold going on each night. ( I got that tip from Gary Chardonnay!)

Okay, I'm off! Full review will come afterwards. Eeee!