"Social Media Is Not Real"

Around the time I shot today's post the internet was buzzing about Instagram celebrity, Essena O'Neill's, new campaign against the authenticity of influential social media users. She took down many of her posts on Instagram and edited the remaining ones to reveal the truth behind each shot. She also completely deleted her presence from all other social media platforms - all to prove that "social media is not real." This all caused quite a stir amongst the online community. O'Neill, who's based in Australia, was making publications, other social media influencers as well as many others speak up about the subject around the world. It went on for about a week and as quickly as her star rose, it began to fade. The whole campaign hasn't received much publicity since. 

I found it all very interesting, not only as an individual, but as one that works in the industry of social media. It is true that social media has become a business and though, not everyone may like that - everyone on this earth finds their own way of making money and supporting themselves. It was inevitable that brands, individuals and the social platforms themselves would find ways to monetize the massive audiences they all draw in. That's money making America for you in a nutshell. Though what O'Neill was preaching to the world was true of her own experience of being a professional Instagrammer, what she failed to note is that this was a path she chose to take and it's effects were on her specifically. Using any platform to make money is a choice. If it makes you happy, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If it doesn't, then there's also nothing wrong with leaving it like O'Neill did. 

So, now we go back to the day I shot the images featured in this post. I spent about an hour perfecting my hair, makeup and outfit. However, my makeup was what I was most proud of that day. It was the first time I used nothing but Maybelline, a drugstore beauty brand, to create a look I felt was worthy of shooting in a greater way than an iPhone selfie. I wanted to show the people who follow me on social media that you don't need to spend a ton of money to feel and look your best. Sometimes all you need is a quick stop to CVS for the perfect red lipstick. Mine is Maybelline's Creamy Matte in 'Divine Wine'. You see, social media is all about what you chose to share and the things in life that make you feel some type of way. More recently, makeup is something that has actually had the power to make me feel happy, and confident in myself. I put it on before I leave my house in the morning and I really feel like I can conquer anything. So of course, I want to and am going to share that with others.

To go with the theme of "social media is not real" I also wanted to share the story behind these photos. As mentioned earlier in this post, I felt damn fine that day. My friend (and the photographer of this series) and I walked around my neighborhood and found a brown stone with the most perfectly painted blue steps. We decided it would be a good place to shoot. After taking a few snaps he asked me to do something a little different and lay down on the staircase. Despite the odd suggestion, I did it. After taking a few shots in this direction, he showed me some of the images and they looked so cool - even though I really wasn't comfortable laying on my neighbor's staircase like I was Beyonce feeling myself. We continued to shoot this way and after a bit of time the door at the top of the staircase burst open. Before I could get off my ass, a small child was hyterically laughing at me. His father stood behind him, incredibly shocked to see a girl literally laying on his house like it was her thrown. It was a little embarrassing, but I'm happy with the end result of all that. Social media may not show the full story, but it definitely shows the result of the work put behind it. That's the beauty of social media, you can only guess what was going on, but you'll never really know unless you were there.  IRL will always be greater than URL. Though Essena O'Neill is fighting to prove that to others, I do believe most of this world knows that in their hearts. Real life can never be replaced with images. That's not living. 

Get the Look

Face: Primed with Baby Skin Instant Pore EraserFit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation topped with Fit Me! Foundation Powder and Better Skin Concealer to hide my purple under eyes! • Contour: Master Contour Palette Brows: Define & Fill Duo in 'soft brown' to fill and Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara in 'clear' to hold in place. • Eyes: Blushed Nudes Eyeshadow Palette. * Primed with Too Faced's Glitter Glue to enhance pigmentation and make it last all day. Seriously, it doesn't come off for anything except makeup remover! Lash Sensational Mascara Lips: Creamy Matte Lipstick in 'Divine Wine' topped with Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss in 'Berry Chic'. • Clothing: American Apparel Dakota Dress in 'Navy', Unif Penny Coat

Frizz Dismissed!

The curly hair struggle is real. In saying that, I'm only referencing haircare and the information available to individuals with hair like mine, not what I felt like as an awkward teenager with a relentless jew fro in the early 2000's - that story is for another day. Until quite recently, trends and beauty publications really only catered to girls with straight or wavy hair. Natural curls and the treatment of them were rarely spoken of in the media until the rise of social media, blogs, and digital influencers - who have been successful in providing inspiration, education and more for girls with curls. I thank the internet for giving me amazing websites like Naturally Curly, which helped me identify the exact type of curls I have because big surprise - not all curls are created equal. Though, the struggle still continues.

I know I'm not alone in saying, I've literally tried every product intended for curly hair and the majority of them didn't do much for me. So, when Redken sent me product from their new Frizz Dismiss line I put them up to the test. Oh, you think your shampoo and conditioner can rid me of frizz in the dead of summer?, I thought, Let's see about that. 

I applied the Frizz Dismiss Shampoo and Conditioner just like I would any other - very little shampoo as it often makes curly hair unmanageable, and a lot of conditioner to fight frizz and make my hair easier to comb through. Afterwards, while it was still wet, I sprayed in some Frizz Dismiss FPF 20 Smooth Force Lightweight Smoothing Lotion Spray, which combats humidity. The result? Clean curls, minimal frizz, and hair that doesn't poof up in the humidity of a summer in New York City. The best thing about these products is that second day hair looks just as good. I'm amazed and in love with Redken's new Frizz Dissmiss line and would definitely go out and purchase it on my own. My rating for this product: 5 out 5 stars.

I had a lot of fun trying this product out and in an effort to save more curly haired girls from wasting money on products that don't work, I'll be doing more reviews like this! I would love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments below or on twitter. Tweet me at @ahitofsarah and let's keep our #curlsonfleek. 


The Sweetest Smelling Beauty Subscription

Have you ever found yourself rushing from the office to a date, quickly smacking your lips together with a new layer of lipstick and throwing on a pair of sexy heels only to find yourself questioning if you smell as good as you look? You, of course, already know he's going to want a kiss at the end of the night. If it goes well, you want to leave behind a scent he'll remember. The struggle for most of us New York women is that long work days don't generally result in smelling like a bouquet of roses (unless you happen to be a florist, which is awesome!) and perfume bottles are too large to casually carry around in your purse. This is where Scentbird comes in, the new subscription service for ladies who like to smell good and switch it up when they can. 

Scentbird is a new subscription service that sends a new designer fragrance to your door step for  $14.95 every month. It's just like dating - you try a scent out you think you'd like for a month before you commit to buying a full sized version of it. The scents you receive are based off of an easy and fun test you take when you first sign up. The quiz attributes a scent personality to you based on other fragrances you already enjoy and everyday scents not specific to perfume. You also have the option to pick your own fragrance if you're already interested in a scent, but haven't decided wether it's worth its designer price tag. The best part of the service is that it delivers quickly and in the perfect packaging. The bottle can easily fit in any purse, but isn't a small sample size that you use once and lose afterwards. It's a fun way to try out new scents, while also having a scent that travels easily for when you need it.

If you're interested in trying out Scentbird yourself or learning more about the new subscription service for fragrance aficionados you can learn more on their website. 


W Magazine: An Army of One

After I completed my last internship at Harper's Bazaar two summers ago, I swore that I would never intern again. Yet, when the opportunity to play a frizzy haired, Warby Parker wearing beauty bitch at W Magazine came about, I was down to help out. For Beauty Director, Jane Larkworthy's newest installation of  web series, Jane's Addiction, she pokes fun at the stereotypes and assumptions made to her beauty routine. It's a hilarious little video and it was a pleasure to play a very small role in it. Unlike you might imagine, Jane Larkworthy is actually a very kind magazine editor. It was so nice to meet her! Watch the video below and see more of W Magazine's videos at WMagazine.com/video.

L'Oréal USA Fellowships For Women In Science

On Thursday night, I had the pleasure of attending L'Oréal USA's Fellowships for Women in Science awards ceremony at the Museum of Natural History. Prior to the event I had no idea that this award, let alone L'Oréal's support of the academic field even existed. So, it was an incredibly great surprise to have the opportunity take part in an event honoring such inspiring and powerful females, working to change the planet. Accompanied by my lovely friend, Elizabeth Nerich, I was lead through the museum into a massive space, with high ceilings, and surrounded by animal displays from all different natural environments. The largest figure in the room was a massive whale, which hung from the ceiling directly above the event. Just looking in, we were excited for the festivities to come. With smiles on our faces we sat down and joined the other guests in honoring the award recipients. 

This event marked L’Oréal USA's tenth year honoring five post-doctoral female scientists as the recipients of the 2013 L’Oréal USA Fellowships For Women in Science. This national award program supports the advancement of women in the sciences, with grants up to $60,000 to further their scientific research. The program also offers each Fellow professional development workshops facilitated by the program's partner, AAAS. The evening program welcomed honorary guests including: Keynote Speaker FCC Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel.

This year's awards recognized and supported the following female scientists and their work: Arpita Bose, Harvard University, Microbiologist. Dr. Bose studies unusual microbes that respire iron while using light to grow in nature. Her work suggests that these organisms harbor pathways to potentially generate biologically derived fuels. The L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science award will allow the continuation of research that can potentially provide solutions to the ever-growing energy crisis while also expanding the understanding of how microbes affect global geocycles.

Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, Princeton University, Chemical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Whittaker-Brooks and her team have been able to revolutionize the materials science field by synthesizing nanoscaled materials for use in electronics, window coatings, sensing devices, and photovoltaics. The L'Oreal USA Fellowships for Women in Science award will support the rational design and implementation of thermoelectric materials to be used as solar-thermal generators in photovoltaics that are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. The thermoelectric materials Dr. Whittaker-Brooks synthesizes could be a boon for several applications ranging from power generation to microprocessor cooling which would potentially solve energy issues in the world.

Anisa Salim Ismail, Princeton University, Molecular Biology. Mammals have coevolved with vast populations of commensal (friendly) bacteria, the majority of which are found in the intestine. Even though maintaining friendly relationships with commensal bacteria is critical to human health, the exact mechanisms that regulate this relationship are still not fully understood. Dr. Ismail will use the L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women in Science award to establish mouse models to study the possibility that commensals and mammalian cells "talk" to each other, through a process called quorum sensing, to establish the beneficial relationships shared in the intestine. 

Robin Evans Stanley, National Institutes of Health, Biochemistry. Dr. Stanley's research goal is to understand the regulation of autophagy. Autophagy is a cellular pathway involved in the recycling of cytosolic components such as proteins and organelles. Dysfunction of this pathway has been linked to many human diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration. The L'Oreal USA Fellowships for Women in Science award will provide essential support for the continuation of research at the NIH, where Dr. Stanley will focus on characterizing the structures of complexes involved in the early stages of autophagy.

Mary Caswell Stoddard, Harvard University, Evolutionary Biologist and Ornithologist. Dr. Stoddard's multidisciplinary research program explores key questions in avian evolution and behavior, with projects ranging from avian vision and feather coloration to egg mimicry by common cuckoos. The L'Oreal USA Fellowships For Women In Science award will enable Dr. Stoddard to pursue innovative research on the evolution and engineering of avian eggs. Dr. Stoddard will combine techniques from computer science, genomics and biomineralization to investigate how birds evolved eggshells with diverse structures and special mechanical properties, with the goal of contributing to new tools and advanced materials inspired by eggs.

After hearing each of these women speak on their achievements, their passions for science, and their hopes that this reward would potentially help them in fulfilling, I was incredibly touched and inspired. Towards the end of the speeches Elizabeth looked over at me and joked, "well, what are we doing with our lives?" These women are working to find cures to deadly diseases, aid in environmental healing, and find alternative resources for those humankind is so dependent on. It was easy to feel intimidated while speaking to them, which I definitely did in a dinner conversation with Arpita Bose. However, speaking to her and seeing her eyes gleam in excitement over science and her future in it reminded me of why I was there in the first place. If I can't help the world in the way that these scientists are, I can assist by informing the world of what these women, AAAS, and L'Oreal are aiming to accomplish. And for that, I am grateful.

Fashion Week Hair By Fabio Scalia

I hate to admit it, but it's been a while since I treated my hair right. I was way over due for a cut and dye and my beautiful jew fro just looked like a giant puff of cray. This fashion week I decided that it was finally time for a change. I desperately needed a new look and wanted to make my mane the main attraction this season. Luckily, Fabio Scalia Salon heard my cry and came to the rescue just in time for fashion's most important week of the year. Located in the charming Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, Fabio Scalia is an amazing hair salon with an incredibly talented staff and a mass of devoted clientele  The salon was founded by Italian born and internationally trained, Fabio Scalia in 2003. Scalia has worked at the best hair establishments in Europe, including Vidal Sassoon London, Jacques Dessange Paris, Monte Carlo and Aldo Coppola Milan, before he headed to the states where he was recruited by Laurent D. of the famed Prive Salon in Los Angeles. Later, in New York, he completed stints at the legendary Warren Tricomi and Jose Eber before debuting a salon of his own The thing I love the most about Fabio Scalia salon is how incredibly friendly and understanding their stylists are. Upon entry I was offered a delicious cappachino and a consultation with both my hair stylist, Evelia and my colorist, Simone . For color, I decided that I would be brave and attempt colored tips. I chose to do a lovely lavender. Simone was fully supportive and very excited of my decision. For cut, I chose to simply layer my hair to accentuate my curls.