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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why I Love YouTube Beauty Gurus


I'm not a makeup freak by any means. As a matter of fact, this is the entirety of my makeup collection. My dress collection is much more embarrassing (or awesome!).

I know I'm late to the party on this. However, over the past 6 weeks or so, after having stumbled upon Grav3yard girl's YouTube channel during a Dereck and Kay Show broadcast, I have been obsessively watching YouTube "Beauty Gurus" talk about makeup, hair products, beauty products, etc. I wasn't sure why I became so fascinated with the entire phenomenon. All I knew, is that I could watch them all day and I knew I wasn't the only one. Grav3yard girl has over TWO MILLION subscribers alone. TWO MILLION. This blog at current has 91 followers, which is a drop in the internet bucket. Why had I become so fascinated with these girls when I didn't even care that much about makeup? Here's what I figured out:
  1. I don't have any sisters: Growing up a military brat, I got shuffled around the world and by the time I got to high school, I was much more concerned with "being serious" than I was about makeup. Most of my makeup experience had to do with Stage Makeup and that was boring (and gross). I didn't care about it in college, and I didn't care about it in graduate school and I cared even LESS about it in my entire 20s and early 30s. I have one really girly, stylish friend and I only get to go to Sephora with her about twice a year. When I do, we spend an hour or more in there and it's very satisfying. Watching these videos is like having a really stylish, girly friend any time you want.
  2. Someone else gets to spend money (or get it for free in some cases). It's no secret that some of these girls make their living off of YouTube Videos which fascinates me. High-end cosmetic products are INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE. In 2011, I impulsively bought a super-overpriced YSL Eyeshadow Palette that I honestly wish I had returned. The colors don't work with my skintone and the eye shadows kind of suck. Now, if I'm thinking about buying something, I just look it up on YouTube, watch some reviews and try it in the store before I buy. No regrets. That being said, a lot of these YouTube Beauty Gurus get sent products for promotional purposes, but that doesn't bother me. It's Retail Therapy without the spending money part.
  3. The-Behind-The-Scenes Catiness & Scandals: Admit it...you like a good internet scandal. YOU DO. Back in the day when the Anthropologie Blog Community Anthroholic Scandal happened, I could NOT stop reading message boards and posts. When girls are involved in something, you can almost guarantee that there will be some kind of drama and there is no shortage of interesting controversy revolving around these YouTube Channels. I think most of it comes from a mean, jealous place, so I won't place any links here, but it does make for an interesting contrast. I have great admiration for anyone who has found a way to monetize their hobby. I'd say, "You Go, Girl!" but that's so 90s...
  4. It's Light and Fluffy: I spend the majority of the day worried about stuff. I'm a worrier and most of the time, I'm worried about pretty serious stuff. Almost the entirety of 2014, I have been quite worried about my kitty cat, who has had some serious health problems. Watching someone talk about mascara for 10 minutes will make me forget about worrying for a little bit and maybe even cheer me up.
I don't know how long this phenomenon will continue to be popular on YouTube, but I'm loving it. I think I'm also fascinated by the "Anyone-Can-Be-A-Star" thing. It also does, unfortunately also make me want to buy stuff, which is BAD. I'd be interested to talk to a few of these girls about their experience! In the meantime, I'm entertained. Anyone else watch these videos in their spare time too?
Thursday, February 20, 2014

OOTD: Sweet Life & Getting Lucky

It's a few days before the big Cantata Singers concert and I'm having fun choosing outfits for rehearsals. It's been so long since I posted an outfit and I did not have any decent light to work with so I apologize for the quality of this photo.


Paddington was totally photobombing as well! The cardi is from Express, but it's ancient. I got the skirt from a second hand store, but it's from Anthropolgie and it's from Corey Lynn Calter (Sweet Life Skirt). It still had the tags on it when I picked it up and I got it for a steal. It's one of my favorite skirts as it's so cute with the pink and gray stripes. It's really well made and looks adorable on. For some reason, I have INSANELY good luck at consignment stores. Everything I find that I love was like a highly coveted piece or something, it's in my size and either still has the tags on or looks like it's only been worn once. I don't know why I am so lucky in this way. I don't have ANY other luck in life it seems, but I can find something awesome in a consignment shop any day of the week.

I recently started buying a scratch ticket every now and again and this weirds me as well as intrigues me. I'm not even sure (and this is embarrassing) what to do with ones that win. I won about $5 (which is actually not a win because I spent more than that for the tickets), but the tickets are just sitting around. I'm just not lucky with that stuff. I went to Las Vegas in September and I was like the most unlucky person ever. I won a little bit of money at the stupid Sex and the City machine (like $75), but only because I was obsessed with watching the stupid show clips when I would hit the bonus. They know how to get you. Yet, I still like to try my luck...why do I continue to do this when I know my luck is bad? Or is it just a mindset? If I believe in my luck, do I become lucky? Maybe I should just stick to keeping people organized... Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whip-it-Up Wednesday: Organizing Tips for Renters


Good Morning, everyone! This week, I'm going to introduce the first of my series about organizing (because it's what I love to do!). I decided to begin by talking about the challenges involved in organizing a space that you rent. When you live in a home that you own, you have a lot more flexibility about what you can do with the space. If you need a closet, you can just knock a wall down and build a closet. If you need to install a custom cabinet pull-out drawer in your kitchen, you grab your drill and you go to town. If you rent your apartment, live in a dorm or rent a room, the amount you can change the space is limited. Here are some tips to help you stay organized in a rented space! I made a video showing what I've done in my own rented space. The music is pretty loud, but I uploaded it that way by accident and I'd have to remake the video to fix it. So, bear with me!


In this video I talk about:
Hooks
  • Hooks are really great for hanging things. Hats, coats, hoodies, pot holders, oven mitts...and other stuff. If you rent your space, you probably don't want to put a lot of holes in the walls or damage the paint with permanent adhesive. I LOVE Command Hooks! These are a renter's best friend. You can do SO many things with Command Hooks and there are so many different kinds that do all kinds of different things. You can hang pictures, message boards, coats, towels, control cords...the possibilities are almost endless. There are even clear ones now!!!
  • Over-The-Door/Cabinet Hooks are cool too. An Over-The-Door coat hook, dishtowel hook or bath towel hook works well in a space where you cannot drill into the wall.
  • YES,  I know that all over-the-door solutions look somewhat unattractive on the other side due to the way they function. Here's where I'm going to give you a little tough love: DEAL WITH IT. Beggars can't be choosers. If it really bugs you that there are two little silvery little nubs on the other side of the door, don't use them or paint them to make them blend in. This is just the unfortunate part of the over-the-door situation.
 Under-cabinet Drawers: 
  •  Can't install pull-out cabinets? NO PROBLEM! Get some drawers you can simply place in the cabinets and voila! You've got a great solution! If the drawers you get are stackable, you can use the majority of the vertical space. The ones I purchased aren't for sale anymore but here some awesome ones from Ikea. Here is also a great solution from The Container Store, which is a little more expensive, but worth the extra cost since it will basically last forever.
Freestanding Shelving:  
  • Just because you can't put some holes in the wall doesn't mean you can't make the most of some empty wall space. If you're pressed for space...GO VERTICAL! My kitchen is SUPER tiny, so I built a freestanding pantry:
You can also purchase a wardrobe and use it as a pantry if you don't want to look at all your stuff. I personally like having it exposed so that I can make decisions easily. This pantry is a combination of InterMetro Shelving and Elfa Cabinet-Sized Drawer Units...both from The Container Store. Not attached to the wall, so I can disassemble it and take it with me to my next space. I also love these wardrobe solutions from Ikea.

Personalizing Your Space:
  • Can't Paint? Well, you have to work with what you've got, baby! Something I haven't tried, but I'm dying to is Tempaper. Tempaper is a removable wallpaper that is supposed to be damage-free when you remove it. It looks super awesome and it's a great way to bring a little bit of personalization to a rental space if you can't paint the walls, but are bored with plain white walls. Tempaper is not a cheap solution, but I think investing in just one wall's worth of color can really transform your space. 
  • Changing knobs: There have been some ugly, super boring knobs on cabinets in places that I've lived. The good news is, if you have a screwdriver, you can often easily switch out these boring knobs for some cute ones. I got mine from Anthropologie. The regular-priced ones are a little expensive, but you can grab some super cute ones on sale pretty much all the time. I only paid about $3 for each of the ones I purchased for my kitchen. I splurged for my bathroom knobs, but only because I needed two. It brightened up my kitchen so much to use these cute knobs and made it feel like it was a little more "me". JUST KEEP THE OLD ONES and replace them back when you leave ;-)
  • Doing something bigger: If you really want to do something bigger like say...replace the faucets with something better and fancier...ask your landlord. There is a chance, they may even do it for you or offer to split the cost! Some changes will increase the value of the space and it may benefit the landlord to make the change. The bottom line, is that you don't want to do anything that will cause you to lose your security deposit and you always want to be up front with your landlord about what is going on in THEIR property. The worst thing that could happen is that they'll say no and chances are they'll appreciate that you at least asked.
What do you do to keep your rented space organized? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks! 
Thursday, January 30, 2014

Letting Go

Every person who spends over a decade perfecting an art has a dream. Whether or not they want to admit it, every painter, every writer, every singer, every dancer and every actor would love to spend all day at their craft and be handsomely rewarded for it. If you have ever watched a talent show, such as The Voice, America's Got Talent or American Idol, you have seen the amount of talent in the world that is unrewarded. Only a select few can really put food on their table solely through the money earned through their art. This is a reality we all know at the core of our hearts, but few of us want to admit.

During the past 6 years that I've been singing professionally after having not sung at all for 7 years, I've been through a lot of transformations. There was a time when I didn't think I was worthy of getting paid for singing and that I should give it up and never open my mouth again. I started to get hired for things...little things and actual good things with great ensembles and big names. I got good reviews. Over the past 16 months, I've felt really great about the work I've done vocally. I am a professional singer and I can say with confidence, that I'm not bad. I'm actually quite good and I'm proud at what I've accomplished.

That being said, I'm all over the place. I have spread myself so thin with all of my hobbies and pursuits that I have not been able to put 100% of my effort into any one thing. I'm teaching here, I'm singing there, I'm organizing here, I'm selling there. Aside from work, there are all of those other things in life like eating, being a friend, love, living and basically trying to enjoy your life. Some people are content to be a Starving Artist. I have decided about three weeks ago, that I am not one of those people.

I want to be able to buy frivolous items, go on vacations and go out to fancy dinners more than I want to excel at my art...and that's okay.

At one point in my life, I may have looked at this crossroads as one path being failure and the other path being a valiant artist, but I really don't think that it is either of those things. There is no failure in wanting to live a certain lifestyle and making sacrifices to get there, as much as there isn't necessarily valor in eating ramen noodles every night and working 6 different jobs so that you can go on thousands of auditions. They are simply paths to be taken. There is neither shame or valor in either one.

Over the last few weeks, I have been struggling with the realization that I cannot "Live The Dream" anymore. I have been grieving as though someone close to me had passed away. I am spending a lot of time struggling financially, going to job to job and losing track of my schedule. I lead an interesting and fascinating life and it is so satisfying and amazing when someone hands me a check for singing. It's actually unbelievable to me. But it is no longer enough for me. Giving up music as a "career" is not a failure when you haven't actually failed. The failure would have been all of those years spent at my office job, passing the time, wondering if I had any talent at all. That would have been the ultimate failure.

Letting go has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. And letting go doesn't mean abandoning my art. In fact, I am more in love with music than ever. I've done great work. I am still a very hire-able soprano. I still am working to perfect my technique. I will still audition. But it is not going to be my primary career, and I'm okay with that. Letting go has made it possible for me to sing more freely. I am not critical of every single sound that leaves my throat, I'm grateful I'm able to produce it. I still have gigs to do and recitals to program, but not depending on these things for my income is freeing. To have music in my life be the sweet dessert instead of being the entree makes singing all the more delicious.

My life has been such an adventure. Here's where one chapter ends, but let's turn the page. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Monday, January 13, 2014

Beginning. My Bedroom Closet.

A lot has happened since I last posted to my blog. I'm not ashamed to say that some of things have been sad, but most of the things have been exciting! In the last 16 months, my entire life has changed. I moved to an apartment with 4 other roommates only to have to move again two months later! I started my own business and I have been singing a lot more! Needless to say, I have missed The Stylish Soprano and have decided to come back to my sweet little blog.

My business, Hub Neat Organizing is all about getting your space organized and clutter-free. I have had the luxury of living in a gorgeous 1100 sq foot condo for the last 5 years. It was so spacious and I had a place to put all of my things. My new apartment is 429 square feet...talk about downsizing! I had to sell a lot of furniture and get rid of many, many things. Moving is great for that. It forces you to pick up an item and say; "I don't even know why I have this!".

When I was first apartment hunting, I just wanted the place to be cute and pet-friendly and relatively safe. I actually took the first apartment I looked at because I had such a good feeling about it. Being that this was a fashion blog, you could guess that I have a LOT of clothes. I had a very large closet at my last place and this place had NO closet in the bedroom at all. The 105 square foot bedroom was a nice enough size for my bed and it had four very bright windows. Unfortunately, there is a light that shines into my bedroom windows and I had to purchase blackout curtains for every window in order to darken the room enough so that I could sleep. I already owned some Freestanding Elfa pieces that had previously been an entertainment center in my previous apartment. I just bought some additional pieces and rods and made a closet! Here is how it turned out!

 
Skirts and DressesInside the drawers
Look at all those Anthropologie gems! I obviously do not have enough space to hang my dresses, but it was the best I could do. Who needs an actual closet when you have Elfa!? I am truly living in my own walk-in closet. Obviously, because I'm looking at it 24/7 it needs to be kept neat and orderly at all times. If I am living in a closet, it should look like the catalog shots from the Container Store Website. (Elfa is actually on sale right now if you're inspired to transform your space too!) I know this look is a little too open for some people, but I like to see my stuff. It isn't my total dream closet, but it's a pretty good substitute!

What are your closets like? Do you have your dream closet or do you hate your closet? Is it big or small? Is it messy or is it neat?
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Waiting.

I believe that the worst part of being a professional musician is having to audition. It's like having job interviews all the time. You're nervous. You worry about what to wear. Will I remember the words? Are they going to let me finish? Will they hear everything I've prepared? Is my leg going to shake again this time?

Okay...I guess you can figure out now that auditioning is not my favorite thing. I get about 75% of my work through a recommendation or word of mouth now, but I still have to go out and do auditions. As I've gotten more experienced, I am less traumatized by this process and I now perform better, but there's one thing that hasn't gotten easier...

...waiting for a result.

A few weeks ago, I auditioned for something and I felt as though I did the best possible job I could have done. I felt really good about it for the first time I can remember. I had to do a second audition for the same gig, which I suppose I was okay with. I did well then too, although I didn't feel as strong as I did the previous time. Now, all I have to do is wait. Waiting can be really crazy-making.

If the gig means a lot to you, you imagine yourself with the gig and you get all excited. You start dreaming of outfits you would wear (if you can choose your own) and you start shopping online. You contemplate how you're going to pay for your new piece of clothing for this fabulous gig. (I admit to having picked out this and this.)

Then, you imagine someone else with the gig and you start to second guess yourself. You start to ask yourself questions that don't even apply yet! "Why didn't I get chosen? What's wrong with my voice? Is it a looks thing? Who am I competing with even? Did that girl that sang before me do better?"


The truth is you're actually competing (usually) with yourself. Learning to stop comparing your own voice to others' is one of the most difficult parts of being a singer.

It's enough to make anyone a little insane. I am still waiting. I am dangerously close to asking when I should expect a result announcement, but part of me still wants to hold on to the possibility. The fantasy that until I've gotten a rejection, I've still possibly got the gig. I guess the fantasy has to end sometime though, right?

I am back, baby!!!

Hey Ladies! I have been neglecting my blog while I've been recovering. I am happy to report I am doing much better these days. At my sickest, I was down to a scary 83lbs! It was the worst ever! Now, I'm back up above 90 again and I'm feeling more like myself. My tummy is still a little temperamental (not sure if it's psychosomatic or something is actually up), but I'm learning to live with it.

It seems like if you get sick and you get better, everything in your life suddenly improves! I have begun to get very busy with gigs this season. It's quite exciting! I even have two concerts on the same day, which means a day full of happy! I can't complain! So in honor of healing and gigging, I have changed up the blog template and bought a cute little domain for her. StylishSoprano.com

I'll mostly post about the same things here and there will be cute pictures of clothes too, as soon as I have something cute to photograph on. I must confess, I've been shopping significantly less and I've fallen off the bandwagon a little, but I'm back full-force now. Have an awesome day ladies!

(BTW, please check out my podcast if you haven't before! I promise you'll enjoy the week's episode with Bryson Lang! Just click play on the BlogTalkRadio sidebar widget)