Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dr. Jart BB Cream Review

These thumbnails drive me nuts...

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Trends in Makeup and Beauty That Sadden Me

As I watch and follow more media outlets - from magazines to videos - I feel a little empty inside. The reality is, right now most of us cannot afford $40 lipsticks and $60 conditioners (you know who you are, Kerastase), and $120 creams (keep dreaming, LaMer).

I love makeup and beauty as much as anyone, but the trends continue to move farther into pushing expensive products than enjoying the art, the simplicity, and the joy of makeup. It saddens me that so much of us want to look like Kim Kardashian rather than ourselves. Remember: She has so much disposable income that she can afford a top makeup artist who spends hours on her a day (by her own admission).

Other countries have put limits on how much false advertising - in the form of airbrushing - advertisements can do to represent a product's performance. America has not. Seeing an un-retouched photo of Cate Blanchett's skin was evidence that SK-II isn't creating porcelain perfection. Yet she is frequently referred to as perfect based on how these ads appear. It isn't to knock this talented actress, but to demonstrate the misrepresentations behind what get us to buy.

In one Youtube video by makeup artist Petrilude, he demonstrated how lighting can make a huge difference someone's appearance, taking them down from a filter-like beauty to real life imperfections. He used his own face as an example..

I've fallen hard myself into the trap of coveting products, never feeling quite satisfied with what I owned, and spending more money than I could afford on products that never satisfied an internal hole. The truth is, stop searching for the holy grail eyeliner, lipstick, foundation. No amount of perfection in the form of makeup will satisfy you. I know this because I've lived through this hard, expensive journey.

Six months ago, I went on a low-buy: Rather than depriving myself entirely of makeup, I limited myself to $20/month of beauty spending. That meant I had to think long and hard about what I spent my money on. I used cash only. In time, that hunger for more began to ease to the point where I could cruise a makeup aisle without any temptation.

In time, that low-buy dissipated into a no-buy. It wasn't a vow of makeup chastity: I was satisfied and defaulted to just not spending more. As time went on, I appreciated more of what I already owned, rediscovered old loves (many of them under $10 each), and found that sense of joy I felt as a teen when first discovering makeup.

I still enjoy a good haul video or magazine article on new products. Yet it's like window shopping: out-of-reach, yet fun for that very reason. Most importantly, the less I buy, the more I love makeup.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What I Wish Someone Told Me About the Workforce

Carolyn Kepcher maintained her cool - and her class - when Donald Trump essentially said, "You're fired."

For anyone who's graduated college within the last four years, first, let me offer my sympathy: This is truly one of the hardest job markets in recent decades. When I graduated in the late 90s, we felt hopeful about prospects. For the most part, we could find jobs in our chosen field with time and effort.

A mortgage crisis has pushed our economy so far down, immigrants seeking prospects here are actually returning to their countries of origin. This isn't the American Dream. All dismal news aside, there are tips and strategies to give yourself an advantage and increase your odds of being hired.

Always Say "Thank You": This seems so basic, but I've seen many people who never showed appreciation for the opportunity. When I was offered a position that I declined to take for another job, the first thing that went through my mind was to send a thank you note to the hiring manager whose job offer I didn't accept. Remember that we still live in a small world where paths may cross again. Also, I was truly thankful that someone gave me an opportunity.. I recently read a quote from a woman who's a banking industry veteran: "Many people don't appreciate their jobs, but I've been thankful for every job I got."

Look for Opportunities That Others Miss: Even if you don't land your dream job, there is often a hidden gift in it. Carolyn Kepcher, formerly an executive for Donald Trump's National Golf Club, said she learned so many business skills when she was a waitress. She observed that every single table you wait on is a potential sale, and every customer is your "client": You're presenting yourself to someone who's judging your performance. As a young woman, being a waitress was probably a job she settled for; however, she took those skills into her executive positions. She now works for Bill Gates.

Don't Publicly Bad-Mouth Your "Evil" Boss: Speaking of Kepcher, she refused to bad-mouth Trump when he let her go. The reasons seemed clear: His children were entering the business world, and he was bringing them on board. Kepcher kept her class and never spoke publicly about his decision. Meanwhile, she'd been a loyal and hard-working employee of his for many years. Some bosses are truly rude and unfair, but the best revenge is to move on and succeed. Resentment of others will only hold you back.This is a lesson I've learned the hard way.

Be Nice and Respectful to All Colleagues: Whether a person is higher, lower, or at your professional level, treat that person with the respect and kindness you'd like. The old adage of the Golden Rule doesn't stop at the workplace, but many people forget this in an effort to climb. This tactic has short-term results, but in the end, you lose credibility and respect for your behavior. Your reputation precedes you no matter what field you're in. A CEO whom I will never forget treated other executives, clients, and janitors with equal politeness and dignity. I have incredible respect for people who don't base their behavior on someone's title. It's rare and one of the most clear signs of honorable character.

Take Personal Responsibility and Learn From Your Mistakes: There is a columnist for Cosmopolitan magazine who offers invaluable advice to young females in the workplace. If you get the magazine for no other reason, this pays the price of admission. The best thing is she focuses on her own professional missteps: She doesn't blame others for her failures. She acknowledges she took things too personally early in her career, and she knows she would be much farther along today had she not. She's been fired, which she freely writes about and examines without a hint of blame or self-pity. She's mouthed off to superiors (even dropping F-bombs) while seeking a promotion. A career woman who takes responsibility for her behavior - the good and the bad - is a model for how to succeed. The columnist's biggest piece of advice: Don't blame others.

Decide What Matters to You and Follow It: If your career is number one, put more than 100% of your skills, talent, and work ethic into it. If your goal is to raise a family, realize that you have a window of opportunity and plan for it. Some women can "do it all," but the hardest thing to face is most of us have to choose. I've seen more women have a baby and resign than women who've had a family and still put their focus on career. Many of these women - if not all - said choosing their family was the best choice.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Respect: The Legacy of the Beastie Boys

I was a pre-teen the first time I heard the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right." Their 80s rebelyell roused an entire generation to engage in an adolescent version of the 7 Deadly Sins. It wasn't one of my favorite songs - mainly because I was that odd teenager without the party gene - but they shook my psyche. It was one of those rare songs that you remember with astounding detail, like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Welcome to the Jungle." Once you heard it, you knew we were heading into a new era.

When hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons announced Adam Yauch's death from cancer this Friday, I was suspended in unexpected grief. A quick search online showed millions of others were in that same state.

The Beastie Boys never would've succeeded on paper: They were skinny, Jewish kids without boy-band good looks. They screamed their lyrics in almost every song, making them hard to peg in any one musical genre. An executive searching for bankable and quick commercial success would've sent them home.

Their success is amplified by their odds for failure. In the end, they succeeded because they had immense talent and out-of-the-box style that transcended musical- and racial boundaries. Everyone from hip-hop's greatest to the Dalai Lama expressed their condolences. Yauch was quietly a devout Buddhist. I discovered this a few years back when a rare photo surfaced of him bowing to His Holiness. Unlike many celebrities, he kept his spiritual beliefs largely private. That was evidence of the authenticity in his personal spiritual quest.

In life, Adam "MCA" Yauch united the most varied fans. In his passing, he fittingly did the same.

The Beastie Boys' credibility as white rappers with talent preceded Eminem's. But they also knew how to grow with their fans, rather than clinging to their youthful party-boy style that made them famous. They didn't dye the gray out of their hair. Their musical style became increasingly varied, veering into psychedelic and thoughtful lyrics as they grew older. They paid a sensitive tribute to NYC following 9/11. "You are down two towers, but you are still in the game."

The video for one of their more recent songs, Sabotage, was directed by the talented indie filmmaker Spike Jonze. The potential for creative genius was immense, and all of them delivered. The 70s "Baretta" TV show-style gave so many cultural nods and showed their sense of fun and humor was still firmly planted.

The lesson in all of this? Most of us will never become a famous musician. Many probably aren't seeking it out. The Beastie Boys didn't worry that no one paved the way for their success: They carved it out, on their own terms. Something about this - along with their music - is what has made them a force in our collective conscious.

If you don't fit anyone's mold for success, don't worry. Keep going and trust your instincts. People who are pioneers are for the very reason that nobody did what they did before. The Beastie Boys didn't seem to be hungry for success, and partly for that reason, they maintained it.

Adam Yauch, you are beloved and missed by the fans who grew with you. Continue to scream.