Aug 11, 2014

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams

It's safe to say that many of us grew up on Robin Williams movies. What I loved most about those movies was that he was able get those belly laughs – he was so quick and had the best execution — but would touch your heart at the same time. How many times did I watch Mrs. Doubtfire with my brother and my best friend? Countless. In fact, I remember watching it for the very first time. It's stuff like that you don't forget, you know? When an actor or a movie impacts you so much, it stays part of you forever.

Mrs. Doubtfire, while it's seemingly a lighthearted comedy about a man cross-dressing as a Nanny, also broke my heart. The scene where Robin doesn't get to have his kids, when the kids realize it's him... all of those moments made you feel something, because that's how good he was. He was able to impersonate a hot dog and then hit you right in the gut, too.

I know he won't be remembered for Jack, but I remember crying hysterically during that movie. I was nine, I think. I hated watching how mean they were to Jack. "He was just a kid!" And even though I knew it was a movie, the emotions that movie made me feel lingered long after the screen went black. 

I couldn't help but to feel somber today at work. I know it sounds nuts, but it shouldn't — I felt like crying. (I sit here in tears as I write this.) Many may scoff, but I don't think it's odd or bizarre to feel this type of attachment to people. In fact, the world would be a better place if we did! 

My emotions are all over the place. Molsty, poor Robin. A man with a great, special gift, who thrived off making others laugh, was dealing with his own personal demons. I think it's a blessing that God gave him tha talent. The ability to make someone else laugh is not a dime a dozen. And I think it was a coping mechanism, too. I hate that he felt that way on the inside. 

I hate that his family and friends have to go through this. I'm sure they wondered how they could have helped or stopped him. And all you can do for people who suffer from mental illness, especially depression, is just be there for them. Offer them love. Treat them like a human being. It's not your fault.

It makes me think about the people I know who deal with depression, and bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses. I would absolutely lose my mind if any of them took their life. It's important to seek help if you feel suicidal — and I know that plenty of times, if you're depressed, it may not show outwardly — but it's also important for us, as the friends and family, to dig deeper, and to read the signs; to take note and do all we can to help. Don't be idle. Take action. That being said, pleae know I'm not referring to Robin's case when I say those things. They did all they could.

I felt this way when Michael Jackson died. When Whitney Houston died. I will feel this way when George Strait dies, when Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Oprah, Tim Allen, Steve Martin... Justin Timberlake... when these people pass, I will mourn. I will feel the loss in my heart, because they impacted me so profoundly as a child. These will be the people I tell my children about. 

This isn't the major emotion I have, but it's like a piece of my childhood died. And thus I'm getting older. I remember when I was little, I'd think about the days I would get to work with Robin Williams, or get to interview Michael Jackson. It's sad that I won't get to have those moments. Maybe that's selfish. 

And to top it all off, I live in LA. Business as usual, right? A premiere is happening right up the street. And I can't help but to think, "shouldn't have all that been cancelled?" It's that stunning. Maybe it's droll of me to believe this town should have shut down, but he was probably one of the top three most influential comedians of our time. 

Perhaps my friend Kevin said it best:

Aug 7, 2014

Why Teens Shouldn't Have Social Media

I'm perusing Twitter (as I do). I'm stuck on this trending topic "#askacacia." 

It's the #1 trending topic in the United States. 

It's also the #1 trending topic in the world. 

So what's this topic all about?

Usually a celebrity conducts a Twitter Q&A with the hashtag #Ask______ to get their "fandom" (the United Fans of the World) to ask, comment, bond, etc. 

This particular trend brings together two fandoms, 5SOS and One Direction fans, to ridicule and make fun of a teen named Acacia Brinley. 

After looking her up, she appears to be some kind of professional regular person. She dated a famous Youtuber, which gave her notoriety; joined a band, unjoined a band. She has a Youtube channel, over 500K followers on Twitter and over 1M on Instagram; apparently she's getting deals to rock Bongo and correspond from the Young Hollywood Awards. Good for her! She apparently meets a lot of famous people. She's cute. Takes lots of selfies. Basically, normal teenager stuff. And there are blogs dedicated to her. You would think it would be as a form of worship, but her followers appear to follow, if only to ridicule her. 

They know everything about her life: how she used to cut herself; when she posted nudes online when she was 14. And they will forever use that against her.

And sadly, you too can know all of these things about her, just by Googling her name. That's all I did. You won't even have to meet her to know these things.

"#AskAcacia" is filled with photos, jokes and terrible comments about the teen. Everything is at her expense. She's referred to as "trash," "a hoe" and made fun of her looks excessively.

Going through the trending topic, I felt immediate and overwhelming sadness. I don't know how old she is, but I don't think I would have been able to handle consistent ridicule online as a teen. Furthermore, what if that was my sibling? Or my child? I didn't want to even post those Tweets, but I felt it was necessary. Are you kidding me? 99% of these people, these millions (yes millions) of followers don't know her. They never will. They would probably cower if they met her face-to-face, and sadly, I bet some of them wouldn't. I would be distraught knowing my child or my sibling was being attacked; I'd also be heartbroken if I found out what they were doing to be on the receiving side of that attack. I would be more concerned and shattered if my child was a part of the ridiculing. 

Teenagers see social media as an outlet and a way to bond. As do I! And I'm 27. But I also did some idiotic things as a teen that I would never do in adulthood. I didn't drink in high school, and I rarely got in trouble or did anything crazy, but I did do some things that were stupid. Idiotic, really. And mostly out of boredom. Once, my best friend and I went to Wal-Mart at 10:00 PM and bought the most absurd bras we could find, blacked out our teeth with eyeliner and took photos in ridiculous poses. If you can visualize that, you can probably deduce that the photos were hilarious and very clearly unsexy, but in hindsight, that was stupid. I wouldn't want anyone else seeing them! But I had no fear that anyone would see them. I wasn't posting them online, or sharing them with anyone. I would have died if any of my "derp" moments I had as a teen were put on the world wide web for everyone, including my future husband, my future employer... my future children... to see. 

That's the thing, though. I was a teen. I was still learning. There is a reason you tend to live with your parents until you're 18 — you still need guidance. Hell, I need guidance NOW and I'm almost 30! But now I know better. Absolutely no one is perfect or free from mistakes. I get it. I am adult enough to admit that although I was made fun of, I made fun of people, too. Maybe not to their faces, but I'm not sure which is worse. Nobody is pure in that aspect. 

I am so thankful the only form of social media I had in middle and high school was AIM and email, so those mistakes didn't show up for people I know — and people I don't know — to see. I didn't even get Facebook until I started my first year of college (dating myself here — it was back when you had to have a college email address to login). 

Why should developing humans (such as teenagers) get access to post whatever random, reckless, bizarre, inaccurate, hurtful thoughts that come to mind? They're absolutely insane. They're posting the craziest things I've ever seen: selfies at Auschwitz, a complete play-by-play of how one's Dad reacted to her "accidentally" sending him nude photos; tweeting that they didn't realize Titanic was an actual historical event. IT'S MADNESS. Complete madness. I'm sure I had a few dumb thoughts in my head as a teen, but guess what? I didn't feel compelled to share those with the world. And I didn't have the means to, either. (BLESSINGS!)

But now, because of the society we live in, everything is out in the open. Everyone shares everything. I see people roaming the streets of LA with selfie sticks. I watched a woman take a selfie with a grapefruit at the grocery store last week. I've posted screenshots of conversations I've had over text messages. I took a photo of the ramen I ate yesterday. Everything has to be documented, it seems. And I'm guilty of this as well. Heck, I have a blog where I write down all my thoughts for the world. There's this overwhelming desire to share, share, SHARE! Share so we can get those likes and feel important and get recognition. It's fun, sure, but it's also tiring. And at times it can be detrimental.

Many of you might argue that Acacia is a public figure, and she is subjecting herself to ridicule and criticism. I absolutely hate this argument. Just because you want to be an actor, or want to be in a band, and you want people to actually like and appreciate your work (and make money for it!) doesn't entitle the public to give their personal opinion about said person. I see the comments on Selena Gomez's Instagram and it's not only frightening, but I can't help but get a pit in my stomach, knowing she sees some of the horrible, terrible things that people are saying to her. Comments from other women like "die, bitch!" and "you're a whore" and "I hope your baby sister dies." That is truly psychotic. It scares me that anyone could actually get to that place, let alone feel compelled to comment like that on someone's public page. When did it become a human right to attack strangers and speak to them like scum? To commentate on people we don't know in a negative, abusive way?

This is nowhere near Selena Gomez or Acacia's situation, but I remember experiencing online bullying when I was about to start my sophomore year, in 9th grade. I was helplessly crushing on my best guy friend, Wes. He knows this. (Or he should have because it was blatantly obvious). We had a great relationship — my mom adored him, we'd hang out all the time — but he wasn't into me. (I feel like this is a Taylor Swift song.) His girlfriend, also our age, was a cheerleader and very pretty, but looking back, she was very obviously insecure. Blows my mind because, seemingly, she had everything going for her. She was not friendly to me, and I'm sure it was because of my relationship with Wes.

One day, I'm sitting online and I get a message from her friend. I remember it vividly yet not at all. Couldn't tell you the screenname or anything like that, but she started attacking me almost instantly. "This is __________. You're disgusting. You're fat. Wes will never like you. Seriously. Stop being rude to _________."

I barely even spoke to his girlfriend, let alone was rude to her. I mean, for the love, I had a PERM IN 9TH GRADE! I wasn't breaking hearts by any means, and I definitely was not a threat. I didn't do anything to solicit a "you're fat" comment. Except maybe being bigger than his girlfriend, but does that entitle people to throw that in my face? Especially since these girls didn't speak to me in the first place? 

If someone called me fat today, here's how that response would go:
"You're fat."
"Great! Is my said "fat-ness" physically harming you? Then shut the hell up, or stop looking at me."

But when you're 15, it's the worst thing in the world. I remember my vision blurring with tears, getting offline, changing into shorts and a bright pink tank top from Gap, going outside and running around my block five times in the dead heat of Summer. I started eating only tuna fish and salad. I would run for a solid hour on the treadmill while watching the first season of American Idol (yes, Kelly Clarkson's season). I didn't lose the weight immediately, but I was consistently trying to shed the l-bs. Eventually, I moved on from my crush and started my first relationship, and stopped caring about the weight loss.

Or so I thought. At one point, I was 102 pounds. It was a mix of not eating, eating only salad, and breaking up with aforementioned first serious boyfriend about a year later when concerns were raised. ("The breakup diet.") After sleeping through a few days, my mom took me to the doctor. She knew I had a broken heart, but I was also starting to get sick. The doctor let us know my BMI was 16 — severely low for my height and weight. 

I'm not saying this to get sympathy. The point is that I hung on to that weight comment long after the fact. Every single one of us has a moment where we felt humiliated or not good enough, and I dread that my future children will have to experience feeling like that.

Although I know they will. And it's going to kill me. Because kids are mean! 

Before, we would deal with the ridicule at school and could go home to escape it; now there's the internet. And the ridicule can continue long after you've left school.

I've seen so many ridiculous comments on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and I have to wonder what brain cells are missing that allow you to confidently comment about someone, whom you don't know, just because the thought came into your head.

Sure, I have my opinions. I'm not perfect. But I'm not seeking these people out just to harass them! And embarrassingly enough, kids and teens are huge culprits in this, but adults get involved too!

This past weekend, I had some random person, who wasn't even following me, write this on one of my photos. (I tried to remove as much identifying information because I wouldn't want this person to feel upset or insecure by this idiot.)

I went to her page, commented on one of her photos and asked why she felt compelled to do that?

She responded: "because she's fugly." And then took the time to roam through more of my photos to write this:

Good thing I care! And listen, I know she is probably some internet troll. But WHY? Why do trolls exist? And maybe she only has a handful of followers, but what does it matter if she has 3M followers or 33? What's it going to take to make this all come to an end?

Shamefully, this is a grown woman, who appears to also be a mother.

Another example. Here's the comment section from the account of a woman on Bachelor in Paradise:

The second comment is what I like to call "backhanded." Still not okay.
You came to her page to say those things? Seriously? You are adults! And when did "being lonely" become a bad character trait?

So, based on this post, it seems like you actually need an IQ test and possibly an psychiatric evaluation to determine whether or not you should be on social media. As for children and teens,  they don't deserve it. They don't deserve the ridicule, and they don't deserve the freedom to do and say as they please online. They're not fully functioning adults, and they can't necessarily take blame for their actions (although they should at this rate).

Is this a ludicrous statement? Sure. There's no way there will ever be an age restriction on social media. But to me, it makes a whole lot of sense.

Aug 6, 2014

Katy Perry's Prismatic Hair | Hair, Colored

This year has single-handedly been the year of hair color. No, not blonde, brunette or red — but vibrant, psychadelic shades like lavender, rosé, sea green and a variety of ombré looks, too. And I get asked, frequently, what it takes to get these shades.

If you want to know how Nicole Richie did it, check out this interview with Daniel Moon at Andy Lecompte. (He took Nicole lavender, then blue.) 

My obsession started last year (actually) when I Photoshopped this image of my hair, much like Nicole did with her hair this year.

Photoshopped hair (@kirbiejohnson)
People thought I actually went grape, and it was a source of inspiration that I always kept in my back pocket. I had some fun on Photoshop this year a well, and knew that after Women's Wear Daily posted about it, that I owed it to myself to give it a go.

Photoshop take II (@kirbiejohnson)
My hair is a dark ash blonde naturally, and I've been highlighting it pale and golden blonde for as long as I can remember. So coloring my strands is a relatively simple process, because bleach isn't involved —at home, at least.

Dip-dyed with Fudge Paint Box (@kirbiejohnson)


I'd been playing around with Fudge's Paint Box in Purple Haze and really loved the results! It washes out in about 6-8 washes. I use Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner because it's clarifying, but also great for color-treated hair. My hair was a little dry after using Fudge, so I did need to load up on the leave-in conditioner and hair serums after I washed.

Here's my hair with the tips freshly colored:
... and here I am a week later. Barely detectable!
(@kirbiejohnson) photo by Maarten de Boer

Anyway, I really wanted to experiment with multipe shades, which lead me what I'm deeming as "prismatic" hair color, inspired by Katy Perry. I get questions on how I do my color, and with the purple, I just painted it on the ends, ran my fingers through, and washed it out. Super simple. But here's the play-by-play on how I created my prismatic look.

Color application brush (these cost like $1 at Sally Beauty Supply)
Manic Panic Hair Color (or semi-permanent hair color of your choice. If you're in the UK, I recommend Bleach London color) 
Small bowls for mixing
A hair clip 
A shirt you don't care destroying

I went to the Manic Panic Asylum on Melrose and dropped about 50 bones to get three different shades, as well as the pastel mixer. I knew I wanted mermaid-esque hair, and wanted it to cascade into darker shades at the tips. So I went with a pink, purple and a blue-green. (Lie Locks, Pastel-izer, Cotton Candy and Enchanted Forest.)

(This looks more royal blue, but Enchanted Forest is a blue-green.)

Please note that my hair still had some purple left over from the Fudge color job I did a few days before. That morning I used Clockwork Orange and Red Corvette as well — the orange all over my head and the red focused underneath my hair and at the tips. 

If you're lacking inspiration, get on Pinterest! Like I said, I was inspired by Katy Perry and my own Photoshop job, but Pinterest is chock full of great color palettes for your hair. 

Don't go buckwild with this hair color. You need to read the directions. For Manic Panic, you must wash your hair and then dry it before using the product. If you just washed it, perfect, but the point is that it needs to be freshly cleaned, without any product in it.

If you're brunette, chances are, this isn't going to work on your hair. You'll need to lift your hair color with bleach so that the color shows up. I do not recommend bleaching your hair at home — some of you will have no idea what the heck you're doing and you'll end up looking like one of these:

It's not worth it. Also, if you don't apply the bleach correctly, it can look spotty, which isn't cute for when the color rinses out over the next few weeks. I did this at home because my hair was already lightened by a professional. However, I did lighten the ends a taaaaad more so the blue would stand out. I have experience in this area so do as I say, not as I do!

Once your hair is dry, start painting on the first shade, which for me was blue, because I wanted the darker shade to peek through at the bottom of my hair and at the tips. This also creates that ombré effect. To avoid getting color on unwanted hair, pin it up with a clip. I didn't do this because I'm a rebel.

I focused on the ends initially, but eventually worked the color all the way to the roots. Because that section of hair was naturally darker, I knew that the color wouldn't be as vibrant as the ends.

Make sure you paint the hair with a brush and wear gloves! Also, with Manic Panic, you want to massage the color into your hair so it foams. I know that sounds odd, but you'll understand ones you work the color into your hair. 

My hair was already partially colored from before. This is the first coat of blue.
Using a different shade (purple for moi), work the color into the midsection of your hair. If you're super nervious about screwing this up, all you need to do is pull your hair to the side and apply the color to the ends. 

That is my face on a shirt. 

Let all of your hair down and start painting the top with the lightest shade you have. Mine was pink. I focused on highlights around my face, ear, and towards my roots. 

Depending on how vibrant you want this to be, cover your hair with a shower cap and wait 15-30 minutes. I applied heat with a hairdryer, too. 

Hop in the shower and rinse your hair. Don't use shampoo or conditioner.
The great thing about Manic Panic, I've found, is that it's EXTREMELY MOISTURIZING. The consistently is much like a conditioner, and when you wash it out, your hair will feel silky soft. Great if you just had to bleach your hair! 

Don't you love my giant robe from Caudalie?!!!! I do.
These were shot two days after I applied the color, in natural light. See the orange? It looks more of a yellow-green now, but it adds to the prism effect.

If you try this at home, tag me on Instagram! @kirbiejohnson

Aug 4, 2014

Can Everyone Stop Hating on Taylor Swift?

I've personally never held issue with Taylor Swift. I like her music, and moreso, she's a gifted songwriter. (Similar to how I feel about John Mayer, ironically.) One song almost all of my friends like, despite not being a fan, is All Too Well. I've known some non-fans to turn up I Knew You Were Trouble and You Belong With Me when they come on.

tay in vogue

But throughout the years, Taylor went from this curly-haired country crooner to a bona fide superstar. Most could argue that was due in part to not only producing Billboard smashes, but also because of her dating life.

Here's my question: why must we tear down a woman whose dating life is in the public eye? Or worse, tear down a woman who is single and sings about past romances?

I don't want to harp on the male vs. female arguement (because I know you're expecting that one), but really. Why is it a crime, or frowned upon, for a woman to talk about these things? Or, even worse, why is it so bad for a woman to be single?

It's very similar to Jennifer Aniston's situation, or Jessica Simpson at one point. All three of these beautiful women found love and lost love; Jen and Jess have found it again. But for awhile, the headlines surrounding their names revolved around being "DEPRESSED AND ALONE!" or "DYING TO GET MARRIED!"

Why is everyone so desparate to set us single gals up with someone?  Why are they so eager to get us off the market? I'm not comparing myself to any of these ladies, but as a single girl, I know all too well about getting setup. (A Mentervention on that is coming soon!)

Let me breakdown Taylor Swift:
- She writes songs that are super helpful for when you're breaking up with someone
- She writes songs that encompass all the feelings you have about being in love and finding the one
- She writes songs about those people who really should just shut the hell up
- She likes cats and names them after great TV characters
- She has a ton of girlfriends and for the most part, is empowering of all women
- She gave a fan $90 on her birthday after hearing a) it was her birthday and b) she was going to Chipotle. (She might be a saint.)
- She visits her fans, even when they can't make it to her concerts. (And for this last one, I need to point out that while she was being filmed, it was by the kid's family. She's not going to tell them no. Also, they're free to share it with whoever! I guarantee you she's met plenty of fans in secret, without it being recognized by the public. Don't call this a PR stunt.)

So everyone who hates on Taylor Swift, can I ask why? Because you don't like her music? Fine. Not exactly a reason to not like her as a person, but I get it. But stop using the excuse that she "dates a lot of people" as a reason.

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