Nov 11, 2015

The Story Behind Feed the Streets

It's been awhile, guys!

I want to share a story with you that means so much to me. It is hands-down one of my favorite memories in Los Angeles; it's heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time, and for me, put all my blessings into perspective.

Two years ago, my friend Kristen came over to my apartment and we exchanged Christmas gifts. Kristen is so generous, and I was overwhelmed with all the goodies she brought me — including One Direction notepads. (She knows me too well.) After she left (it was around 9:45 PM), she called me.

"Kirb. I have these kits I made for the homeless. They have a blanket, a gift card, food and water — do you want to come with me to deliver them?"

It warmed my heart that she thought to do this by herself, and that she was going to do this all alone, without anyone knowing about it. Of course I wanted to join.

We spent the next three hours driving around Los Angeles, looking for people who looked like they could use some help, some hope and some blessings. It was such an eye-opening experience; homeless men and women are everywhere in LA, but getting to talk to them and hear their stories are forever imprinted on my heart. And since it was just the two of us, we were able to bond together and deepen our friendship, talking about all kinds of things from Christianity to finding people to date. (Ha.)

The experience made me empathetic and grateful. I hate that people walk by the homeless and won't speak to them, or won't look them in the eye. Some of them have made bad decisions, sure. Some of them are deceitful, but I have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. At the end of the day, no person deserves live on the streets. 

One man told us about how he had lost his job. He went bankrupt; his wife divorced him, and he hasn't seen his children in a few years. He was smart, and seemed to have a great personality, too. He was sleeping under an awning with a sleeping bag and little else.

Most everyone was so gracious to get the kits; some passed, understandably. Some didn't know we left them — they were sleeping. 

That's why we created Feed the Streets. We loved doing this so much that we want to make sure that everyone we come across is able to be provided for, and we are expanding our troop (aka myself and Kristen) to a little army of people! That's where we need your help: donations. We paid for all the supplies in past years; they amount to about $20-$30 per kit. We give each person a bag filled with a blanket, water, nonperishable food and a gift card to K-Mart for $10 to pick up water or anything else they desire. 

Please help us spread God's love and help feed the streets! Every little amount helps. Any money not used for kits will be donated directly to the LA Mission, but I think we'll be able to use every penny we can get! 

Happy holidays,

Aug 25, 2015

To the Person Who Called Me "The Ugliest Person They've Ever Seen"

UPDATE: Thank you all for the kind words, but please know this wasn't a ploy to get compliments. I truly want everyone to start thinking about what they'e saying online, whether it's to someone they know or about Kim Kardashian. I felt petty that my emotions took over, given the comment is superficial. It shouldn't have affected me like that. But it did! #WorkHardBeKind -- KJ

The comment section is essentially the joke of the internet, where many say the uneducated, ridiculous people of the world go to sound-off about a myriad of topics. (Usually including the incorrect use of "your/you're" and "there/their.") And yes, I know: "Don't read the comments." Sounds easy, but my interaction with people online helps me to develop a relationship with the viewers. Every digital content creator or host does this. So avoiding the comment section isn't something I can do. And usually, commenters are spunky, fun and offer their own tricks, so it's sad when people take a turn. 

The unfortunate part of my job is that people will have an opinion of me without actually knowing me. That's okay. This isn't the first comment I've received about my looks — I have a Rolodex in my brain where all these mean-spirited opinions are stored and hidden (for the most part). And you know what? I never really cared. Beauty is subjective, that's my motto. While I might not be attracted to someone, that doesn't mean they aren't beautiful. (And vice versa.) Who cares if I don't look good to someone? 

But Sunday was different. I got online to follow up on comments and came across this on one of our Youtube channels. 

And you know what? I cried. A lot. 

I'm annoyed and embarrassed to admit that, even though I shouldn't be. I'm human.  But I'm 28-years-old, and the last thing I should be doing is letting an unknown troll on the internet affect my emotions like that, like I've gone retrograde and am responding to getting called "Moose Lady" in elementary school. 

I don't know if it's because it was essentially the "last straw" comment, the one that threw me over the edge and made me burst into tears, or if I was just hormonal, or needed more sleep. And I can't decide if the comment itself is what hurts, or the 10 likes it has, or the additional comment made: "I thought I was the only one." 

But what I do know is this: it's not right. You wouldn't walk up to a stranger on the street and say that. You wouldn't say it to an acquaintance. Hell, you wouldn't say it to someone you know. So why am I expected to turn a blind eye to these comments and pretend they aren't there? 

I take the Chrissy Teigen approach to social media in that I address everything, including my own shortcomings and missteps. I don't take myself (too) seriously and use it as a way to connect with people. So in the past, when I've received rude comments, I've called people out on them. Cool, you think I'm ugly, but did you learn something from the video? I slaved away on delivering useful information to help you. Did it? It did? Great. 

That's the whole point.

After reading this comment a few hundred more times, I pulled myself together and went to that user's Google+ profile and found out, apparently, it's their life's work to ridicule others, deliver backhanded compliments and generally terrorize people like myself. 

I called my mom to talk to her about it and she actually laughed out loud — not at me, but at the fact that I was taking this comment so seriously. She also told me not to respond to it. (Too late.) "But it's not right. Why should they get away with it?" And what she told me is why I will stop responding to rude Youtube comments moving forward:

Calling somebody out isn't a reflection on them, it's a reflection of myself. 

She was right. I'm not feeling 100% about myself these days. (We've all been there.) I need to pull it together. She also expressed that I couldn't change that person. And truth be told? I don't like that piece of advice one bit — I'd like to think that maybe I am going to help change how a person acts moving forward. But the truth is, I'm not. I can't. I won't. People who comment in that manner don't have empathy for others, and they're not going to stop. They can get away with it because they can't be tracked and they can hide behind a computer. I'm not saying that for sympathy, I'm saying that because it's the truth. 

Wouldn't it be awesome if when you applied for a job, they were able to pull up you entire comment history? I'm sure many people would think twice about what they said to others on the internet if they knew their future employer wouldn't hire them, based on their comment history. 

Granted, I am not in Taylor Swift territory and don't have millions of people projecting their opinions of me in the headlines on a daily basis, but it still hurts. Maybe I'm weak for admitting that, but I'm only human! I can't imagine that celebrities see terrible comments about themselves and manage not to feel anything about it. 

So I say all this not because my feelings got hurt (update: I'm just fine now), but because we have to do something about the way we treat people online. It's not okay. The courtesy we give people in real life should be extended into our online life. Not everything you say or think needs to come out of your mouth, or in this case, be typed into the comments. And if you'll let me, I'll quote Tina Fey by posting this:

Different context, but same message. Stop criticizing others just because you can. And next time you go to make a rude comment on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube, take a minute and think: this could be someone's child, sister, brother, wife, husband, etc. How would you feel if it were yours?

PS: I need to re-read this one again, apparently. 

Apr 11, 2015

"I'm a Dude... What the Hell Do I Wear to Coachella?" 2015

Coachella weekend 1 is currently underway, and since my original post from 2011 decided to stop showcasing the mood boards I created, I figured I'd dust off the ol' blog and come up with some fresh outfits.  YAY FASHION. You know, Coachella is basically becoming NYFW. Music? What music?

Let's start with...

If you're going for a preppy vibe, plaid needs to be a major part of your weekend uniform. Plaid shirts, shorts, shoes — not altogether, though. White lace-ups are clean and crisp, but don't expect them to go without a little dirt by the end of the festival. If you're worried, buy a cheap pair you can toss after the weekend ends. And don't forgo socks! You'll end up with blisters, and that ain't cute. (Especially if you plan on wearing sandals at some point.) Also, on the grooming front, moisturize your damn feet before you gallivant around the fair grounds. You can thank me later.

The shirts showing up on this widget are black and red, but the ones I had originally picked were blue. They matched the Ray-Bans. 

If you want the "IDGAF" look, pack 1000 muscle tees and you'll be fine. Please don't pair them with gym shorts, though — this isn't the pre-season, okay? Go with cutoff jean shorts and slides. Dress up the look with boots if you prefer. Graphic tanks and tees will also be your friend!

For the night

Jackets are key, because while you could possibly undergo a heat stroke during the day, it gets cold at night. So swap your shorts for jeans, put on some boots, and add a beanie and jacket or hoodie to your look. 


This is for the guy who wants comfort over anything else. Pack v-necks with moisture-wicking material (think Adidas and UnderArmour). I'm still telling you "no" to basketball shorts, but at least you'll feel normal and won't be a sweaty mess.


Bust out your fake vintage rocker shirts and rip a bunch of holes in them — you should be fine. Bonus points if they have cigarette burns. Pair with black, shredded-knee jeans and a leather jacket at night. If you want, throw on a beanie during the day. It will be 1000 degrees, but it will complete the look — and you won't have to shower! If you're concerned about your skin, because let's get real, any guy who goes to Coachella is 90% vain and there for photo-ops, try this giant fedora to protect yourself from the sun. Combat or Chelsea boots are your best shoe options.

Can someone please buy and wear this? Entertainment value = priceless.

Mar 12, 2015

Landing a job in Los Angeles: what you need to know

This post is originally from May 2013 and has been updated. 

I receive, almost daily, at least two messages or emails about how to get a job in LA, or how to get my job. Which is flattering, to say the least. These emails go on to explain they've read my blog and relate to how I feel, the worries I have and had, and find comfort that someone else out there has the same anxieties, curiosity, faith and determination as them. Which thrills me beyond belief, because that's one thing I want this blog to do: be something people can to relate to.

Unfortunately, my days are long, and I rarely have time to write back on Facebook or email... so I figured I'd break down some of the key questions and concerns I get and answer as best I can. 

First off: I'm humbled that you all even took the time to write me, and that you think my job is awesome. I think my job is awesome too! But I'd be remiss if I didn't address a few things: I'm 28. This isn't my first rodeo — nothing fell into my lap, and I've been doing this quietly for several years. It wasn't until the past year and a half people started taking notice! But I have a learned a few things in my almost six years (SIX!!! OH MY GOD) here in Los Angeles that have been helpful, hurtful in some instances, and mostly just insightful. Attribute it to the ol' "lessons learned" file, folks.

Learn more by reading my #IamaGIRLBOSS feature on Recycled Novelty 

Some of these emails have questions, which I'll respond to, but also I would like to offer some perspective, too. First one (identifying info blurred out, obviously):

I already responded to this lovely lady and got into how I got involved with my job. I have to commend her for something right off the bat though: MOVING! That is really half the struggle. I know everyone banks on moving to smaller markets to keep the competition at bay, and it's true that movies are filming more and more out of Louisiana, Texas, the Carolinas and New Mexico because it's cheaper and people are getting tax credits, but they're hiring all the people for those movies in California, because that's where everyone is cast, that's where all those who were cast agents, managers, publicists and basically anything and everything else in the entertainment industry live, too. There are always technicalities and exceptions, but to quote a book I shouldn't have ever read in high school (He's Just Not That Into You), "Assume you're the rule. Not the exception."

It's a hard thing to come to terms with, I know. Tip #1 is, basically, suck it up and move to Cali. 

Here's the other thing: I did not recommend any jobs at my company for her. Not because she isn't great or doesn't have the drive or ambition, but I honestly don't know what is available. And, if there were a hosting position open, I have no say so in that. BUT WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANTLY (please, someone catch which rap song I'm referencing by that) is that I don't refer people I don't know personally. Don't take it personal. (Heh.)

Of course I've had friends who introduce me to their friends and I pull favors from time to time, but the moment you refer someone and they're terrible, they not only tarnish their reputation, but your own. Just like I wouldn't recommend a beauty product I haven't tested and tried, I won't recommend or even pass along resumes unless I know the person. Or unless I have a specific feeling about them. :)

This email solicits the same response from the first email. But to further elaborate: I used to work with high profile agents and managers, and like a broken record, they'd consistently talk to me (besides asking when the latest FedEx pickup was) about how being in LA wasn't necessary — it was mandatory.

Living anywhere else is a risk. Nobody wants to hire you in another state. Well, okay, I'm aware of the exceptions. Like my sorority sister who landed an amazing job at NBCUni and was just transplanted to LA from NYC (I'm assuming she had some amazing references and excellent interviews). But most recruiters are wondering this: "What happens if they get the job and six months later they end up hating the location and leaving?" Because you will hate LA. You will loathe this damn place. Not to mention, phone calls and Skyping more difficult than a candidate showing up at your audition location. You can't half-ass it if you really want to get somewhere.

Speaking of LA, and hating it... that's a fact of life. LA is not welcoming. It's not easy to navigate. (Hollywood? North Hollywood? Beverly Hills Adjacent?! Take the 101 to where?!) (Exhibit A.) It takes you an hour to get six miles on the highway; you have to validate everything because if you don't, you'll end up paying $12 to park for a 10 minute trip to Target. There are virtually no parking lots, just annoying structures that have tiny parking spots that won't fit a decent SUV. Everywhere valets, but it's $10-$20 and the valets expect a generous tip. You will valet to go to the mall, to the doctor's office; to the bar.

Getting a round of drinks is the equivalent to straight up pouring a tank of gas onto the concrete, instead of into your car. Every guy is either A) dirt poor and chasing his dream (I applaud you, dudes, but I am not your bank account), B) a mama's boy living off his Daddy's money (he's probably doing a ton of drugs), or C) he's self-made and loaded with too much gel in his hair and a sense that women are expendable.

After all that,  I need a cocktail.

Okay, enough with that. But really, LA is hard to love, man. It's real hard. I always say this: give it two years. The first year, you're still trying to get your bearings, and make friends, and find a work-life balance. Or just find work in general. But then, after you pass the 12 month mark, you start to meet more people and enjoy LA for what it is.

Let's get this out of the way: it's beautiful. There's great weather ALL THE DAMN TIME! Also, there are beautiful trails to hike, and amazing restaurants to explore. There are beach towns that are so picturesque, you wonder if you're in a movie or not.

Palm trees are everywhere, bomb diggity bakeries, probably the best shopping in a metro area, ever. If you are looking to live a healthier lifestyle, this place is great because you can always find a gluten-free, veggie, vegan option on any menu, and there are plenty of speciality food places to buy a meal too. (Makes it hard to go back to Texas sometimes.) There are farmer's markets several times throughout the week with the best produce, fruit and fish you can find. There are a ton of workouts to choose from: your typical gym, then specialty classes likes SoulCycle, PopPhysique, Barry's Bootcamp... and not to mention everything that is now popular around the country originated here: In 'N Out, Drybar... we have a lot to offer. And, if you look in the right places, you can meet some superb guys. There are a lot of awesome, interesting, inspiring people who live here.

I'm being serious, JLAW!

Bottom line: just remember that anything worth having isn't worth giving up on after six months.

Moving on...

I won't post this next email convo, but I had someone email me about wanting a PA position, but didn't have a resume. Then, when she responded two weeks later saying she had her resume, she never attached it.

Here's the deal: if you are trying to sell yourself, always include your resume. Do not make the other person, the one that you're asking a favor from, do any of the work. Make it easy on them. After all, they are not working for you. If you need help, you might find people won't respond if you're making things difficult instead of laying it all out in front of them. Always attach your resume and a cover letter —better yet, put it all on your website and send a direct link to them. People initially may not want to respond, but then they see your credentials or like your writing style and BAM. You might have just made the connection you need.

If you need any inspiration to attach your work/video/resume etc. to your messages, by all means, read this article on Emily Belden. Emily and I follow each other on Twitter but we've never met. I think we "met" through the Twittersphere, and I instantly fell in love with her writing style. She's spent time pitching her book and now (forgive me, I'm not 100% up-to-date) has an editor AND a publisher — all good things for this chick. This article depicts why she's effing awesome. Also, she made her entire floor out of 60,000 pennies. PENNIES PEOPLE. Home Depot featured it on their Instagram; she's been written up everywhere for her penny passion. I mean, it's awesome.

And if you're ever planning on writing a book, she pretty much murders it when it comes to her proposal. (I'm taking notes, for sure.)

When it comes to emails about my job and my workplace, specifically, do me and you a favor: look for job openings. If there aren't any, I can't help you. If you send me a job description with your rezzie, it's easier for me to forward that to our HR manager than for me to interrogate you about what job you want me to help you get an interview for. I get questions about starting a new career and wanting to jump in my shoes, and I get requests about doing anything just to get a foot in the door.

I have a few things to say about that. (Shocker!) Everyone has to put in some effort and pay their dues. I did. But know your worth, too. What makes you valuable? Work on selling that. Also, have a clear direction of what you want. Nobody got anywhere by saying, "Well, I'd do this, or this, or if you need someone to do this..." People like to hire employees with determination, gumption and a vision. If you don't have a vision for yourself, how are you going to have a vision for their company?

One thing to remember is that, if you think you can do it, you can, but it's going to require hard work. And also, it's not that easy! I think a lot of people brush Giuliana Rancic off as a red carpet host and nothing more, but that takes talent and hard work. The fact that she does that live and doesn't make it awkward? I respect that. And I respected her even more after watching red carpet shows without her. It's not a walk in the park, kids!

In the same vein, I worked very hard for my gig. I do a lot of things many people don't know behind the scenes at work — I'm sure people just see that I'm posting videos about makeup or interviewing Miley Cyrus and think, "Hey, I can do that!" And maybe you can. But I'm the one researching the interview questions, working with editors to break news, working with post-production to make the segment look and sound good; developing a social plan to make sure people not only see, but also respond to my segments. It's not all frilly and fabulous. Not to mention, I've been with the company three years; I know the voice and the brand. I know what's acceptable for us and what isn't. And like any other host or producer, we spend long hours at work, whether it's actually filming a video or going to network with brands and agencies. We're also required to be on-call in case something breaking happens.

So coming to a host and saying something like, "don't worry, I'm not trying to take your job!" is a) worthy of the most side-eye possible and b) a bit condescending. Yes, we know you're asking for help, and we're happy to do that, but "taking my job" isn't as easy as you think it might be.

With that said, I'm not going to keep posting emails, but I want to thank each of you for reaching out. It is my mission to respond to you all! I do read everything. It's just hard sometimes to balance things I'd like to do (like blog and write, which I rarely do these days) and let my creative juices flow and correspond through email.

To put a big, fat, red bow on this post, here are a few more things to remember:

  • People don't have time. They just don't. Asking for 10 minutes of someone's time is harder than asking someone for a $10,000 loan, especially if you don't know the person. I did this all the time when I first moved here. I asked for a coffee date, 10 minutes on the phone, an informational interview. I wanted to meet everyone and make those connections! I had wonderful people give me their time. (I plan on giving people my time!) But make it worth their while. Because let's be honest... meeting people you don't know at all can be tragic. Online dating, anyone? 
  • Get involved. I don't care if it's a basketball league at your gym or your alumni association, find a group to be a part of. It will be an easy segway to network and meet people, who will introduce you to other people. (Novel concept!) Some of the best connections I made in LA were due to my alumni crew out here. (Just don't be the drunk idiot at the game watching parties. Everyone will hate you.) 
  • Know your passion and FOCUS. The minute you start thinking you can do everything, you will fail. If you came out to LA to be on reality TV, own that and go after it. Why do you think  top athletes are where they are today? They practiced their crafts for years. (For eva-eva?) After a few months of failure, don't decide you're not getting there fast enough, and that you'd be better suited at something else, and switch careers to get a quick fix — because then you're back to square one. Find one thing you love, go after it, and keep going until you succeed. Hell, find one thing you're good at and go after it. You will build your way up to attain your goals and then be able to spread your wings. For example, and forgive me, but you all know I adore Clay Matthews. Homeboy comes from a long line of professional athletes. In high school, he had about a .01% chance of making it to the big leagues. His dad even refused to start him, allegedly, because he was undersized. But he decided to go with his gut: he wanted to be a part of the USC tradition in his family, so he applied, got accepted and managed to walk-on to the football team. A risky decision, but you all know how that story ends up.
  • Don't make excuses. If you keep making excuses for why you can't get a job, you will never get it. Make it happen. I really don't need to explain this. Just... do it? Damn Nike. Powered by Blogger.
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