Thursday, August 15, 2013

X's and O's

Once upon a time, I wasn’t a lipstick girl. My beauty routine was basic, consisting of Laura Mercier tinted foundation, the Nars Duo, and a swipe or two of Covergirl Lash Blast. Sure lipgloss and I had a stint. But an infamous 8th grade lacrosse game changed all of that. Here’s some of the only math I’ll dabble in: 

Gloss + Wind + Long silky strands = Nightmare.

As I stood in the crisp spring air with sticky strands, I cocked my head to one side wondering how Chanel could do this to me?

A few years and improvements in formula later, I’m back on the gloss game and have a few of my current obsessions to share. Yes, I’m a little biased towards products that I am currently assigned to (and get for free). But then again, you are reading this blog. 

*NEW* Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Anarchy

Pitched as "creamy badass luxury" Urban Decay's Revolution Lipstick delivers insane color payoff with a velvety texture that lasts relatively well. It's not the lasting power of Stila's liquid lipstick, but for the the ability to have a lightweight feel it does the trick.
Available at Sephora, Ulta, and Macy's.

Yves Saint Laurent Rogue Volupte Shine in 14 Corail In Touch

 I adore the shine collection of Rogue Volupte’s. Although they are less pigmented compared to the originals, they really do pack a powerful faux gloss finish. The creamy coral color I wear is perfect for light complexions and is a great pick if you’re trying to hold on to the last few days of summer. 
Available at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdales.

L'Oreal's Color Rich Balm in Pink Satin 

An alternative to a gloss, lipstick or chapstick, L'Oreal's Balm is the perfect amount of moisture with enough color to make a statement. The drawback is the lasting time. I found myself having to reapply after each latte and meal, but it's still a great product and outranks it's competition.
Available at Walgreens, Duane Read, CVS, and other major retailers. 

I often find myself mixing together shades and adding a gloss if the lipstick becomes dry. In addition, another trick is priming with a white lip liner. It stops color from seeping out in plus makes it last hours longer.

When it comes to picking colors to compliment your complexion, it isn't as strenuous of a selection as people might think. I've broken it down below for light, medium, and dark skin.

Light Complexion: coraly (not a word, whatever) reds. 

Medium Complexions: true red to pinky/cranberry hues will complement a golden undertone.
Dark Complexion: deep, rich colors like burgundy and warm brick- superbright can be harsh.

And the best advice of all, where what you like. If your lipstick doesn't make you feel like a bolder version of yourself, then what's the point? It's often said that lipstick is like a LBD, except when you walk into the room with a red lip, people notice you. 


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Zen and the Art of Beauty Maintenance


When familiarizing myself with my new clients at ABPR a few weeks ago, I came across a list of basic guidelines which included keeping a spare pair of heels at your desk and putting lipstick on before entering a meeting. While some in other professions might scoff at this request, for beauty publicists, it's basic. The whole document got me thinking about the notion of being "high-maintenance" and where the line is drawn. Is it getting botox in your 30's or blowouts once a week? Where is the point where self respect goes into overdrive and you get slapped with an image of a needy, whiny brat? Now while I'm not someone to wear stilettos to the grocery with a smoky eye, I still have my beauty routine.

Routines like mine and others all over the spectrum are often dismissed by those who refuse to accept the normalcy of it all. The truth is, having a once a week mani/pedi isn't some indulgence for me: it's maintenance. 

 As women we are expected to meet certain physical standards in and out of the office yet simultaneously feel like we can't acknowledge the effort that goes into it. Although I'm rapidly etching in on the feminism debate, that's not what I'm rebelling against here. I am fully aware of the gender inequality that exists in our society. The notion of phallocentricity, the riot grrrl movement, Simone de Beauvoir's marxist Le Deuxième Sexe, and the writings of bell hooks are all important and relevant topics that women should feel vehemently--one way or the other--about. 

Call it what you want, but this is simpler. My makeup and grooming preferences aren't unabashedly regressive, and I'm not keeping women from taking social and professional steps forward by prioritizing my appearance in an capricious way. 

It's the age-old cry that every girl let's out whilst looking at her overflowing closet, "being a girl is tough". Of course it is, why do you think women rule the world? The dichotomy is warped. We're expected to not eat carbs to stay bikni-body ready, yet it's "cool" when we order a burger on a date. Our legs should be silky smooth, yet we can't complain about the burn of wax. But to simply dismiss women who have strict beauty routines as "high maintenance" is naïve and won't do you much good. Yes, there are people who take this to extremes. But that's their headache, not yours. The problem with people inferring you are high maintenance is that they assume this somehow effects them. Newsflash: it doesn't. If you aren't making anyone late, missing important meetings, or spending someone else's money, who cares? 
I do it for me. 

And girls dress for girls. So spurt convoluted theories about how wearing leather skirts and an oxblood manicure is for some man's approval, and watch my facial expression. I work in a rose colored office with 50 women. The only men I interact with on a day-to-day basis would be my doorman, Rafeu (who can't tell my cranberry lip from a coral one, yet still tells me I'm beautiful) and cab drivers. 

So sure, there are absurd beauty trends we try. And there will always be girls out there who won't let their boyfriends see them without a full face of makeup. Maybe that's high maintenance, maybe it's not. But more than anything it's a matter of confidence, not a debate on gender roles, or a rebound of 1950's politics. When looking in the mirror, people see themselves in a way no one else possibly can. And if swiping on a creamy lipstick will give them the added boost they need, why not let them have one in every color?

That's the beauty of makeup. 

"It is better to be looked over than overlooked." -Mae West


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Week #1 at Alison Brod Public Relations

Last week I started my newest job with Alison Brod Public Relations as an intern in the Beauty Department. Constantly ranked as a top for Beauty in NYC, ABPR is a public relations firm on Park Ave. specializing in beauty, fashion, restaurants, spirits, and lifestyle. Crains NY Business named ABPR the second best company to work for in New York City and The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, Gotham, Today show and many others have profiled the firm for its established track record of creating new brands, re-inventing companies and sustaining long-term publicity and marketing campaigns. Yes, this is that Alison Brod featured on "The City" aka Kelly Cutrone's pseudo arch nemesis. But in reality, Alison is a powerhouse and each and every employee does their best to emulate her work ethic and style. 

Below are a few of my favorite words of advice from Alison's past interviews:

KB: If you could give women one piece of advice in order to be successful in business, what would it be?
AB: Stop crying in the office.

KB: The women in your office are all dressed to the nines and very stylish. Is that an office requirement?
AB: Our clients pay us to have a certain look; the word I use is “polished.” This is not a funky downtown agency. In the end, I say, “Take a good look at yourself before you come to work. I want you to look stylish and cool, and I want you to have a definitive look.” I do believe women should wear makeup, and I like shoes with heels. They catch on pretty fast to what the look is. Plus, there’s a built-in clothing allowance of our clients for the team members. It’s a perk of the agency and assures that [the women] are a walking, powerful way of marketing our clients and brands.

SS: What's your advice for young women trying to get ahead? 
AB: Try to do the job you want before you ask for it, anticipate people's needs before they tell you what they want, pay attention to detail, learn to juggle 30 things at once ... the theme is basically think ahead to stay head.
NY: What tips do you have for people wanting to break into the industry? What impresses you?
AB: I would say the thing that annoys me the most about the women who are coming in here — nobody reads anything. I literally said the first person who reads anything other than Us Weekly is getting the job, no matter what. 

So what have I been up to this first week? Curating gift bags for top editors, pulling samples, mailing send-outs, sitting in on brain storms, attending a host of events, creating influencer lists, and trying to soak it all in. I've followed ABPR and Alison's career since I was 15, which of course in teenage years is forever. So finally being able to be apart of this company has really been such a rewarding and surreal experience. 

ABPR's representation is diverse: Philosophy, SKYY Vodka, Godiva, Mercedes Benz, L'Oreal, Victoria's Secret PINK, Emilio Pucci, DryBar, Van Cleef & Arpels, Havianas, Givenchy...

...Laura Mercier, Avion Tequila, Piperlime, GoSmile, Estee Lauder, BurchBox, Proactiv, Burger King, the Kardashian Kollection, YSL, Shoshanna, Barrymore Wine, David's Tea, Mackenzie-Childs, Bravo, and many, many more.

The accounts I have been assigned to are:
L'Oreal Paris, SkinCeuticals, June Jacobs, Urban Decay, Erno Lazlo, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Bliss, Oscar Blandi, Matrix, Meaningful Beauty, and Peter Thomas Roth. 

"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam"


A Love Letter to the Younger Me: Boys Edition

Look back on your teenage years. Are you laughing/shrieking at the things you said and did or are you wishing you'd risked more? Essentially, is it the things you did or didn't do that are pieced together like a crisp scrapbook page in your memory? For me, honestly it's a little of both. While at the time I'm sure there were a few regrettable choices, my biggest regrets now lie in choices that I didn't make. These choices manifest themselves in a variety of different ways, but if there was a lesson I could have given my younger self or one that I can hope to give my little sisters  (CI,NV,AB) it is one that can save some heartache. It's the oldest story in the world. One day, you're 15 and you're planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life... 

Dear Me, 

Let's skip the formalities. You want to be an Anchorwoman, you've had the same best friends since age 3, the love of your life is DF, and it was you who took the mini bottle of Skyy in 8th grade. Convinced? Thought so. At this point you'd probably never believe that you would become a serial long-term relationship girl or that you'd go to school further south than Kentucky, but somehow both of these things are true. Now I know you've had your fair share of boyfriends at this point --seven in five years ain't too bad-- but there are a few things you need to know for the future:

1. We all romanticize the people we adore.
There is no feeling comparable to that of young love. In this state we place our treasured person on a pedestal, admiring everything they do, assuming they never fail. But once the dust clouding our eyes fades away and we break into a routine, many of us notice a different person appearing out of the shadows. We'll make excuses for bad behavior, forgetting to call, and skipping out on important dates, for the sheer reason that we romanticize the person. Don't make excuses for people. All people have their faults, and by accepting these faults (along with the strengths) is when we can get real with ourselves and each other.

2. Go with the person who makes you better, not just the better person. 
Sometimes you will meet people that frankly have their shit together. They cross out every item on your checklist and add others you couldn't even know to be found in one individual. Quintessentially, they are perfect. But none of it really matters if you're left feeling a little empty at the end of the day. You can't bring yourself to end it because why would you? He's perfect. But not perfect for you. You want extraordinary love, so why waste your time if he doesn't make you feel extraordinary?

3. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
As if this even needs an explanation. Once a cheater, always a cheater. I believe that like seasons, people have the ability to change. But how often will they change for the better? Outside of philandering there will be other moments where this saying hits hard. Trust people until they give you a reason not to. Then, don't. And as a recent post on TSM pointed out, guys are very stupid. It's all too easy to read through his FB messages and find out whatever you need to know. Anyone who turns their nose up at this is rafting carelessly down a river in Jordan: denial.

4. We accept the love we think we deserve. 
Like when we romanticize others, we tend to accept the love they give us. We might ask for a nightly call, a good morning text, or a once a week date night. But should you ever really have to ask? By lowering your expectations you in turn alter your own self worth. When you're hopelessly in love you take what you can get, slap a title on it, and call it a day. You deserve someone who would climb over fences for you, not someone who is on the fence about being with you.

5. If he wants to talk, he'll call. 
Here's the cold hard truth. If he wanted to see with you, he would. If he wanted to talk to you, he would. Boys don't play mind tricks the way girls do. There's nothing to read into. For the most part, what they say is what they mean and there's not much more to it. So don't exhaust yourself searching for a meaning, you won't find it. People do crazy things when they're in love. That's the point. You don't read sonnets about shared interests- you read them about traveling across the country for one day of bliss. If he wanted be with you, he would. Actions speak louder than words.

6. Kill em' with kindness.
I'll never be the crazy ex-girlfriend. This is because I have a flaming sense of self-respect. Don't say something you'll regret. Name calling is incredibly immature and passé (outside of #3 where a few choice words might be necessary). Delete his number, sure, but don't de-friend him on Facebook. Talk about it to your friends, not his. When the time comes, whether it is by your desire or not, be the girl he fell in love with. Wear his favorite perfume, put on that new bandage dress, and politely turn on your heels in the other direction.  

7. It gets worse before it gets better, but it will end.
When you know deep down that things are done there's no use delaying the inevitable. After any break up a sense of limbo happens. Maybe you get back together, maybe you get a few lingering texts here and there, maybe you get nothing at all and you're forced to pick up the pieces. We've all been there, but if you want to get over it, you have to get real. With as many forms of technology as we have nowadays, it takes a good amount of effort to cut off all contact. It will sting like hell at first, but eventually there will be that same glittering light at the end of the tunnel. Life goes on, but first you need to commit to getting over it. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can go to sleep without triple checking your phone for a text. There are, however, a few things that will help in the meantime. These include: wine nights with your mama, cuddling with your best friends, Zac Brown Band's "Rambling Man", the fact that let's face it-you're skinnier now, a fresh blowout, a new tube of lipstick, and the upturn at the corners of your lips when your phone floods with texts from old (and new) boys.

But for now, focus on not having any future regrets. Boys will come and go, our dreams are always with us. So go get em'. Trust your self, don't take any shit, remember who you are, and tell the truth. Besides, the secret to having it all anyway is knowing you already do. If Gossip Girl taught us anything, it's that you need to be cool to be Queen. And isn't that what we all want anyway? Anne Boleyn thought only with her heart and she got her head chopped off. So her daughter Elizabeth made a vow never to marry a man. She married a country. Forget boys. Keep your eyes on the prize.

PS...If you are going to talk about his bad behavior to a mama- make it his. His will forgive him, yours will not.

Oh, and the best is yet to come. Promise ;)


“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you right back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.”

-Sex & The City 


Whirlwinds and Wrap Ups

What happened to July? The fact that somehow it is currently August baffles me. I left NYC July 4th and headed out to San Diego, CA to visit some of my best friends for the holiday. After a week there I jetted back home to Louisville to relax for two and a half weeks and catch up on some much needed R&R. There are few things that can refresh you better than fresh glossy highlights and a hot pink pedi. 

I absolutely loved San Diego, it has such a different atmosphere than anywhere else I've ever been. We were able to visit Old Town, eat dinner right on the water in La Jolla, visit both Pacific Beach and Coronado, and most importantly: catch up. 

Back home honestly was bliss. I loved having plans every night and getting to catch up with my family and friends. Sleeping in your own bed is also a very under appreciated thing. 

But after a much needed vacation, it was time to start my second internship for the summer. Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and where you want to be. I crave a full calendar, and the best place for that seems to be in the city that never sleeps. So here I am again. A entirely new notebook delicately placed in my lap, eagerly awaiting it's chance to have cursive letters bleed into every page. Back to waking up at 7:30, hopping on that train, and focusing on building my life. I am incredibly lucky to have all of these amazing opportunities, but I'll never forget where I came from. 

There's no time like the present. 

“Maybe mistakes are what make our fate. Without them what would shape our lives? Maybe if we had never veered off course we wouldn't fall in love, have babies, or be who we are. After all, things change, so do cities, people come into your life and they go. But it's comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart...and if you're very lucky, a plane ride away” - Sex & The City