Dec 31, 2013

Beauty Favorites: Which Products I Tried (and Kept Using!) in 2013

One comment I get, without fail, is, "you must get A TON of beauty products to try!" I do. But that's a perk to my job. I get sent several products a week, hoping that the product will get a mention in a video or gallery online. It sounds glamorous, until you realize that your skin is going into crisis mode from trying too many products within a month. You've got to be selective, and honest. Because some products? They don't work. Some will break out your skin. Some should be illegal — that's how bad they are.

But let's not discuss those products. I have had the pleasure of testing some of the most amaaaaazing products this year. The best of the best. The holy grail. The wham-bam-thank you MAM products. And you know that if a beauty editor is going out and actually buying a product, it's worth the splurge (or steal, in some cases). Here are my favorites from the past year.

Favorite Beauty Products of 2013
Bumble and Bumble, La Prairie, Jordana, Marc Jacobs
#beautyeditor favorites from the year.
Tangle Teezer | Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray | La Prairie Compact | Magic Marc'er | Jordana Mascara | Lip Tar | NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (click to purchase)

1. Jordana Mascara, $3
I've read and read and READ, what seems endlessly, about Jordana. The $3 "Miracle in a Tube." People raved about how it enhanced their lashes better than anything else they'd ever tried, and all you had to do was hop on over to the drugstore to pick it up. For some reason, I could not find it at all in Los Angeles, and had read I'd need to order it from the UK, so that made me want it more. Until I went to Texas for Thanksgiving — and my best friend's little sister, Lily, had amazing lashes. They looked long, full, and most of all, CLEAN. No clumps. Her bottom lashes looked fake — that's how good they were. And sure enough, it was Jordana! So I drove myself to the nearest Walgreens to pick up a few tubes (that cost me less than $10) and voila! So whenever people ask me if my lashes are real, I pull out Jordana and tell them to thank me later.

If you're choking on your latte, I understand. $300 for a hair dryer? NEVER WOULD I EVER. In the teeny bop words of Bieber, never say never. Never, that is, until I tried the Harry Josh Pro. I had heard all about this guy from celebrity stylists (and celebrities themselves — Miranda Kerr, Gisele, Karlie Kloss) and I loved the adorable mint green color. The barrel of the dryer wasn't longer than the handle, which appealed to me, and it looked compact. But I never really took the time to blow dry my hair because I tried to keep things natural, especially with my overprocessed blonde highlights. So a blow dryer wasn't necessary for me. 
Then Kirbie met Harry. For real. As in, Harry Josh. We worked with him on a video about how to achieve Rose Byrne's disco waves from the EMMYs, and he used his magical dryer on me. I fell in love, and when he learned I didn't own one, well, the rest is history.
Would I buy this? Yes. In a heartbeat. And I've single-handedly gotten six of my friends to purchase this as well. One thing I've learned about women is that if there is a product that will make their lives easier, they'll invest. And this guy not only dries your hair in half the time, but eliminates frizz, thickens your hair (if you need it), and looks great while doing so.

Everyone makes fun of me because, during the earlier portion of this year, I carried a giant TeaZe brush in my purse. Because I wear extensions from time to time, I like to make sure they aren't showing, so I'd pop into the bathroom, give my hair a fluff and be on my way. Problem is, teasing your hair is like going back to your ex-boyfriend: it feels good for a minute, but ultimately is contributing to the larger problem. (Your larger problem being broken, ratty hair.)
My mom introduced me to Quick Tease by Redken. It's a backcombing spray that gives your hair the fullness and lift without having to pick up a comb. And for that, I am grateful. Mom knows what's up.

4. Tangle Teezer, $22
On the teasing note, the Tangle Teezer was also a lifesaver this year. The brush, which allows you to backcomb your hair, then brush it out without breaking any of your hair, has been in my purse, in my bathroom and my shower for about three months now. I have the travel size, which comes with a lid, as well as the regular size and the AquaSplash, which is used in the shower to better work your shampoo and conditioner through your hair. Victoria Beckham is a huge fan, and every person I've gifted this to is obsessed.

5. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar, $14
My makeup bag has been stocked with Lip Tar of all shades: bright fuschias, reds, nudes, and moreso than anything else, deep burgandy and almost-black violet shades. The pigment is gorgeous, and I love that you have to paint it on with a brush. It adds that element of glamour that goes missing when you apply a regular gloss or lipstick. It's a stain more than anything, so lightly dab it on for a wash of color, or load it up for a creamier look.

6. Bumble & bumble Thickening Hair Spray, $28
You might see a trend here: I like THICK HAIR. My hair is fine, but I have a lot of it, so a few spritz's of Bumble & bumble's Thickening Hair Spray gives my hair that fuller, lovelier look.

7. La Prairie Eye Anti-Aging Eye and Lip Perfection a Porter, $150
La Prairie was a staple in my beauty regimen this year, from their Caviar creams to this lovely compact. It's double-sided with an eye cream and a lip balm, and the eye cream is the most luxurious I've ever used. It has a balm-like consistency with reflective qualities, so it masks dark circles and you can wear it over your makeup, which makes it perfect for flying. I've used it for every wedding trip and family vacation I've had this year.

Jojoba Oil for the win! Some people are obsessed with coconut oil — which is fine, because it has countless uses — but I learned from Sharon, the creator of MV Skincare, that jojoba oil is the only oil that simulates sebum, the oil your pores produce. So chances are, if you're too oily or breaking out, jojoba oil can help to stabilize it. She uses a pure, all-natural form, and all you need is 3-4 drops. I use it as a moisturizer and to remove my eye makeup at night too. PLUS, it acts like a barrier on your skin against wind and extreme weather conditions.

9. Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc'er, $30
I love a great liquid liner pen, and I've tried them all. Stila was my favorite for awhile, but since Marc Jacobs debuted his beauty collection in August, I've been obsessed with his! It goes on fluidly, which is key, and I've had it about 4 months and it STILL HASN'T RUN OUT.

10. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $28
True life: I've been battling adult acne the past 12 months. Honestly, there are days I don't want to get out of bed. Many of you think I'm overexaggerating, but this month especially, my skin looks like I'm on the Varisty football team. It's embarrassing, and I've tried everything — pills, diets, skin treatments, creams, face washes — all except Accutane. I'm bound and determined to find a cure, because too many of my girlfriends are going through this hormonal acne thing at 26.
However, one of my gifts is being to paint my face like the Mona Lisa, and one concealer I swear by is NARS New Creamy Concealer. Gives my skin the coverage it needs without drying it out, and matches my skin tone perfectly.

Dec 30, 2013

Easy Resolutions You Won't Break

Yes, it's another resolutions post! I'm sure you're read plenty, and are bored to death. Fear not, this list won't include anything too specific — like resoluting to hit up Cardio Barre 4 times a week. These resolutions are all easy and if you break them, you can pick yourself back up and get back on track without feeling too guilty.

1. Bite Your Tongue Before You Complain
We all need release, and we should express ourselves. But don't complain every time you get the chance. I'm too guilty of this, especially at work. From complaining about the internet connection, to the temperature of the office, to not being able to find a product right away. All things that won't matter in a year, and all things I could just shut the hell up about and would probably get fixed with a little patience.
On a larger note, it's easy to complain about what you don't have, or what's wrong with someone else. Instead of speaking more negativity into your life (your words actually matter — something I'm reaffirming through reading The Secret), keep quiet. Have faith that it will all work itself out, and if you really need to vent, calmly express your concerns and then leave them be. Be positive and bring more positivity into your life. Easy as pie.

2. Meditate
When I used to read about people meditating, it usually included an eye roll of epic proportions. But once you get away from the hippy-dippy stigma of meditation, it can be extremely valuable in calming your nerves, gathering your thoughts, and aligning your emotions into a more positive, reflective state. It takes 10 minutes of quiet time, and you can do this while you read the bible, or while you're taking a breather during lunch. Getting in tune with what you think and feel will ultimately help you to accomplish your goals and reach your best potential. Don't believe me? This should do the trick.

3. Save Money
We all vow to get on a budget and save money, but then award season hits and our entire emergency fund goes out the window because we've called appromixately 27 ubers for the month of January. Don't fret. Saving a little bit at a time, and realzing you won't die without your Starbucks every morning, is enough. As long as you're trying, that's all that matters. That $5 a day will eventually turn into a habit of saving $100 a week, to $500 a month, and so on. Sign up with to help keep you accountable. It allows you to budget and keeps track of your spending, on everything from gas to laundry. 

4. Take a Technology Break
I made a joke on Twitter once that my future husband will have to accept the fact that there will be two laptops in bed with us — both of them being mine. I have photos where I'm on my work and personal computer, watching Hulu on my iPad and have my work and personal iPhones charging on my nightstand. But I subconsciously started sitting at my desk in the living room more often to work, and ultimately banned my computer from my bed. It was affecting my sleep cycle, and I wasn't able to wind down as quickly after I had been working. I know I'm addicted to technology (the first thing I do in the morning is check my email and Twitter), but give yourself some alone time. TIME agrees.

5. Call Your Parents More
Just do it. You won't regret it.

Dec 28, 2013

You've been Catfished, Hartford!

27 is getting off to a great start. I've been the big dos-siete approximately 36 hours and already have been notified that my photo is being used on the Hartford, Connecticut Casual Encounters Craigslist to solicit sex with men!

I woke up this morning (after a wonderful birthday celebration, chock full of choreographed dance moves to "Timber" and, ironically, after Emily's car got hit by a horse-drawn carriage in downtown Austin... a story for another time) to an email from a "Josh," notifying me of the following:

From: Josh
Subject: Someone is taking your photos and posting on craigslist

You appear very image-savvy and also seem to make your living off the way you present yourself, so I thought you might want to know that the picture of you in the skirted romper here: is showing up on craigslist in Hartford from someone pretending to be a UConn business major in various W4M posts.
Happy new year!

Here is the image he is referring to. Don't mind the selfie, as I took this and sent it to my mom last year, then used it in a post of items I was "loving" at the moment.

Meet "Claudia"

After consulting with Emily, we decided it was not a scam or virus and that, indeed, this guy seemed legit. (However, we were slightly concerned as to what he was doing perusing Casual Encounters in the first place...) So I emailed Josh back, asking for a link to the post, so I could flag/report it. And he responded, link and all:

From: Josh
Re: Someone is taking your photos and posting on craigslist

Sure - there's one left in the 'casual encounters' section (which, by the way, provide near endless amusement - love coming across lines such as "Have a tendency to be so great there is no option individuals.")
Apparently, you are "Claudia" and you've just moved here from California.  The photo seemed like it was probably stolen from somewhere, so I ran the pic link through google image search on the off-chance that I could contact the owner and let them know someone was misrepresenting them.  It turned up your website, so that gave me a chance to reach out and let you know.
Best of luck - I know protecting your brand is important, and I apologize if this email exchange was disconcerting in any way.

"There's one left"???

Part of me is wondering if some idiot I know decided to play a "prank" and put this up, but the other part of me isn't overly concerned, because anyone who knows me knows my name is not Claudia and that I am not 24. Oh, and that small detail that I don't get online to search for sexual encounters with strangers. (Or with anyone for that matter.) 

Further, any coherent person would recognize this post doesn't even begin to make sense — I'm a UConn student from California, but I'm home for the break in Hartford? Wouldn't I be in California if I were truly home for the break? That's besides the point entirely though. I feel that if you are looking for random sex on Craigslist, that you shouldn't be surprised that you are not getting exactly what you anticipated... in more ways than one.

I had figured Josh used image search to find me — I know all too well about Google Image Search since I got involuntarily addicted to Catfish (the show) this past year. That's the only way he could have found me. Luckily, that image is linked to my blog, and he was able to contact me. 

I am appreciative of him notifying me, and even asked him if he does this type of thing for a living. That being "notifying people they are being used as Catfish bait." (Which, I hope to God he does, otherwise we have a sexual deviant with a heart of gold on our hands.) 

Dec 3, 2013

Most People Just Want to Be Heard

It's been awhile since I took the time to just write. Write what I'm feeling, how I'm doing... I write a lot about music lately (it seems), so I figured 'd take some time, give myself some therapy, and maybe help some of you out in the process.

The other day, I was frustrated at work. (We all have those moments.) I didn't understand why something was happening, and one of my producers, Vanessa, advised me on what I should do. I did it. (Hang in there, I know this is vague, but there is a point.) So I did as she suggested, and ended up receiving some great feedback; the problem was solved, and all was well. And all I had to do was send a measily email that took me about 5 minutes to construct, re-read and press send on. And then I wasn't frustrated anymore. She ended up telling me afterwards, "See? Sometimes people just want to feel like they've been heard."

This is the God's honest truth, and I feel like we could create world peace if everyone took the time to make someone else feel like they're ideas are being heard, are being noticed, and mostly just being taken into consideration. 

Everyone prides themselves on being a great listener. But are you actively showing other that quality? Listening is one of those things that requires some kind of action to really prove that you've been heard. Let's say you've complained about the toliet paper and how it's never replaced and that the empty roll just sits there. And your family says, time after time, "yes, we hear you, we will refill the toliet paper," but then they don't actually do it... you're going to feel as if you're not being heard. And moreso, that you're not getting respect. (Sorry for the lousy example but this always hacks me off — seriously, REFILL THE TOLIET PAPER. IT'S NOT GOING TO CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE.) However, if you complain about it and then never experience an empty toilet paper roll again, you're like, "that's right! They get me." The action is what makes you feel like you've accomplished something.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say here is this: maybe you don't see someone eye to eye on something. Perhaps it's your boss, your mother or your boyfriend. Maybe it's your client. Whoever it is, don't write them off. Give them the respect that they deserve as a human being, and make them feel like they've been heard. Even if they're being difficult, wow them by sending a re-written pitch or show up 15 minutes early to make sure their coffee is waiting for them. It can be as easy as sending a follow up email, in my case. Ultimately, everyone wants to feel like they have ideas that are appreciated, thoughts that are considered, and a voice that is heard. So give it to them. Don't you want the same in return? Powered by Blogger.
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