1. Be Better at…Spring.

    5 Ways I’ll Be Jumping the Gun on Spring Edition:

    Since I moved to New York, I have been notoriously bad at winter. Like…to an obnoxious degree. Typically you’ll find me standing outside of some dark, dank bar, complaining about how I can’t feel my fingers, yet have somehow forgotten to attach pants/tights/gloves to my body. I do this an annoying amount and am actually quite shocked that by spring, I still have friends. 

    Being bad at winter can only mean one thing…I am also terrible at spring. My small brain can’t handle the thought of something in between winter and summer so I omit that bit of information and just proceed with regularly scheduled programming of shorts and no jacket time. 

    My only saving grace is that I live in a city filled with millions of other hopeful idiots who also cannot understand this seasonal middle man. Here’s how I’ll (and everybody else) will be jumping the gun on spring 2013. 

    1) Wearing Stupid Shit: Not only will I pack up my jackets/coats/gloves/beanies a month too early, I will also coat myself in floral prints and start wearing brights so that I can signal to my body that the winter coma is over and now it’s time to have a personality again.  I suggest investing in some mid-temp jackets and blazers…because naturally, we will still be freezing our asses off because New York hates us and wants us to move away forever.

    2) No Tights Time: That first day of no-tights is always such an interesting time in a New Yorker’s life… the men are excited to see that we have girl parts again, and the women are just now realizing what all those crock-pot stews have done to their eggshell-colored cankles. The Duane Reade’s self-tanning section has hurricane-quality scarcity and women are fist fighting over the last bottle of Jergen’s Natural Glow like they are getting the last box of baby formula for their starving baby. 

    3) Spring Break: Though I am well past my college years (RIP 2003-2007), I still can’t help my mind from wandering to where I shall spend my Spring Break. Except I am an adult and I don’t get a Spring Break. I have what’s called a job and it prevents me from the fun of banana boating and consuming my body weight in drinks that are measured in yards. Anyway, kayak.com searches will still happen and I will continue to think of how I can get to Cancun and back without getting my head cut off by the Mexicans and still manage to get a good glow. 

    4) Beach Hair: Say goodbye to severe buns and shit people…It’s time to let loose, get your roots dyed, and get some serious natural wave going.  Pretty much every spring I decide it would be in my best interest to put more blonde in my naturally almost-black hair…I’m fooling everyone….shut up. 

    5) Eating Out: One of the perks about living in New York is that you can consume 3 meals-a-day and their associated cocktails on a godforsaken sidewalk. I love eating outside, it feels very European, and like any good New Yorker, I’d like to feel as posh as I can while eating my KFC double-down. Here’s the thing though…we’ll all flock outside to eat that first springtime brunch and half of the patio will be basking in sunlight (a picture of amazing city life) and then other half will be a crowd of people looking like they went on a Siberian expedition and lost their luggage. It will be miserable.

    Now, I wish I could say that I won’t do any of these things this year…and that I’m going to “Be Better at Spring”..but let’s be honest, I have three pairs of newly ordered sandals under my desk at work and a bikini on it’s way. 

    Cheers to suffering together,

    Chinae

     


  2. Be Better…Blogolympics™!

    Let’s be straight here…I really want to LOVE the Olympics. I really do. 

    I totally admire the athletes sheer strength, skill, and discipline but I am having some severe issues with really pretending to be a huge fencing fan when the closest I’ve ever come to fencing is a group of losers really cool people LARPing in Prospect Park.  

    Side note: there are some friends of mine that it totally makes sense that they really love the Olympics…but then there are others that I’m like…when did you become an expert on trampolinist form and rotation? Whatever. 

    Since I can’t watch that fencing poke-in-the-butt meme one more time (YOU NEED TO SEE THIS), I figured I should entertain myself with my own sort of Olympics. BLOGOLYMPICS™!!!!!

    For those of you who don’t know what Blogolympics™ is (that’s pretty much everyone because I just made that word up), I’m going to give medals to my favorite blogs and hopefully recommend some new reading for your bored-ass eyeballs. Also, I needed a reason to use my new word. 

    BEST MEN’S BLOG

    Gold Medal: Uncrate-Whenever I want to drool over gear that isn’t made for girl parts, I head over to Uncrate. Need a gift idea for your man? Want to check out the best cars, techie sh*t, or manly food/drink? This site never disappoints and he posts frequently so there’s always something new to get all slobbery over.

    Honorable Mention: Art of Manliness

    BEST GEEK BLOG

    Gold Medal: Lifehacker-From opening a can with your toenail to tips for uploading new software..Lifehacker mixes helpfulness with absurdity. Budgeting, travel, gadgets, and tech are all covered with a light tone and humor by this Gawker Media subset. And yes, you’ve probably all heard of Lifehacker…I didn’t say I was going to find the most obscure blogs, this isn’t the Hipsterlympics™ ok? Stick with me here.

    Honorable Mentions: Thedailywh.at 

    BEST TUMBLR BLOG

    Gold Medal: Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things-If you can make a North Korean dead dictator humorous, I commend you. I’m pretty glad that he’s in the grave, but I can’t lie by saying I’m a little bummed about the eventual blog death, due to lack of material. 

    Honorable Mentions: Bon Iver Erotica, Things Organized Neatly, Best Roof Talk Ever These all could be gold medalists, really. 

    BEST FOOD BLOG

    Gold Medal: I Am A Food Blog- If you can make me want to READ recipes and fool me into cooking by utilizing beautiful typefaces, splendid photography, and simple prose, I will give you a gold medal any day. Any blog that can make chores interesting (yes, cooking is a chore), wins my heart. 

    Honorable Mentions: The Yellow Table, Pardon the Dog Hair (ed note: both of these are by friends of mine, but I actually LOVE their blogs…so yeah)

    BEST FASHION BLOG

    Gold Medal: Life! Death! Top Tips!-Most of the time, fashion blogs are just recycling the same ol’ shit…so I tend to stay off of them completely. Manrepeller used to be funny and cool, before she became famous and was like doing everything BUT writing a fashion blog. Life! Death! Top Tips! is a blog worth a read…she takes tips and advice from women’s mags, so we can all hang our heads in shame regarding how ridiculous we’ve become. Note: she’s British so sometimes I need Google Translate (for idiots) to understand what the hell she’s talking about.

    Honorable Mentions: Runway Falls (a no-nonsense blog featuring a collection of photos and video of models falling on the runway…which completes my life in a lot of ways)

    BEST GENERAL BLOG

    Gold Medal: Humans of New York- Every time I read, I laugh, I cry, and I wonder how I continue to live in the crazy-ass city. If you like short stories and profiles of interesting people, this is your new favorite site. 

    Honorable Mention: Surf Collective NYC

    BEST DIY BLOG

    Gold Medal: NO ONE GETS A MEDAL…I F*CKING HATE DIY BLOGS AND I WISH THEY WOULD ALL FALL INTO A DEEP CREVASSE AND NEVER COME BACK AGAIN. Seriously people, we can’t just make our whole lives out of colored paper and mason jars. 

    Honorable Mentions: Go back to pinterest or etsy you twits…but if you are looking for some laughs, head over to REGRETSY.

    If you want to vote my Be Better Blog for an imaginary medal in a made up sporting event, click HERE. 

    What are your favorite blogs? Or your least favorite?

     


  3. Be a Better…Beauty.

    NEW SERIES: Be Better Reviews:

    BB Cream…reviewed.

    I’m so f*cking sick of hearing about the magic goo that might transform my semi doughy face into Charlize Theron and grow larger breasts as a potential side effect. I mean, unless it’s a jar full of scalpels, it’s not going to carve new cheekbones, right? 

    Well, fat face aside, I’ve found a beauty product that actually does what it says and doesn’t make me want to spray my face down with a firehouse from a short distance, within 5 minutes of application! YAY for shit that actually works. 

    Let’s talk BB Cream. 

    First of all, since I am a natural skeptic, the name BB cream just sucks. And it makes me think of this:

    or this:

    YUCK. But I got past my initial worries and just decided to let it go because some crazy Europeans made it up and that’s why it was so dumb. (AMERICA!) Good thing we made up names like the KFC Double Down, Four LOKO, and Sweet N’ Low.

    Anyway, I went to my local Sephora and got me a sample of their best BB cream…Smashbox was the premier choice, and because it was a free sample, I obviously asked for the best most expensive one. 

    Here’s what it’s supposed to do for your face: (straight from the Smashbox site)

    PRIMES: Wear alone, or under your favorite foundation to create a smooth canvas.
    PERFECTS: Tinted formula in 5 shades evens out skin for a flawless finish.
    HYDRATES: Improves skin moisture in 4 weeks. Guaranteed.
    PROTECTS: SPF 35 guards against UVA/UVB rays. BB is loaded with anti-aging peptides for a decrease in fine lines over time
    CONTROLS OIL: Minimizes shine with no chalky finish.

    Now, calm down Smashbox...I don’t know about all that, but here’s what I DO know after using your magic goo for a week:

    • -My face looks less like an oil slick and more glowy than it ever has.
    • -I don’t wear foundation, so this works great for covering the scales to the general population. Without it, I look like this:
    • -Foundation makes me feel like I’ve landed the starring role in the re-imagination of Memoirs of a Geisha…this feels more like starring on the real life version of Dora the Explorer…I can pretty much conquer the world and traverse the wilderness while still maintaining some dignity.

    Alright so here’s the point. I like this crap and you should try it for yourself. At least go get a free sample from Sephora and see what you think before you fork over your hard earned $39.99. Check it out HERE

    And no, the company did not pay me for this post…I would have to probably reduce my expletives by about 50% to do professional product reviews, and I’m just not cut out for that.

    On a related note, I feel like the Roger Ebert of beauty. I win!

    P.S. If you are wanting to spend less moolah, here’s a cheap option that I have no idea if it works or not, but I’d love to get a report back if you try it! Garnier BB Cream

     


  4. Be Better at…the Internet.

    5 Reasons I Hate Pinterest:

    Hate might be a harsh word for a dark place where I sometimes find myself in a moment of quiet desperation…I should rephrase. Instead of “hate”, let’s say…"don’t understand why people love Pinterest". 

    The initial concept is great, and for some companies and people, Pinterest is an amazing world of inspiration, wonderment, and inevitably a money making machine. 

    But, for the average gal/guy, it’s a f*cking time suck.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I occasionally find myself browsing and trying to love my expereience on Pinterest, but I can’t pretend to like this sh*t anymore. I’m coming out of my social networking closet, RIGHT NOW.

    Here’s why:

    1. Pinterest Kills Creativity: At first, Pinterest was about getting inspired and sharing ideas with others…now it’s a cesspool for the same ol’ shit, over and over. I swear, it’s the same 100 images, just recycled and replicated. We no longer are getting inspired by things like color/nature/art/architecture…but now just using other people’s work as the highest level of creativity. A prime example of this is weddings these days. Have you seen a rise in a homogenous look and feel of weddings like I have? The combination of wedding blogs and Pinterest have just about killed unique events…turning them all into a hodge-podge of cake balls and DIY painted paper lanterns. NOTE: If you want to have a spectacular, special event…don’t look at Pinterest. 

    2. “I’m PINNING!”: Please stop saying this. It’s pretty much…the worst.

    3. Too Much Estrogen: Let’s face it, Pinterest is the Internet’s vagina. One way I think it could be saved in my eyes, would be more men adding manly, useful sh*t on there. I know, you know like 2 dudes that use Pinterest…well, that’s just not enough ladies. It’s like a femme vortex…where we get lost in the delusions of being able to cook gourmet meals, while learning new exercise moves, all while knitting a f*cking ankle warmer. 

    4. The Self-Absorption and Self Loathing Mecca: Now, there is a dark side to Pinterest…although you wouldn’t think it right away. Boards of “Thinspiration”, and self loathing have of course become commonplace on the site…body hate never looked so organized and adorable. Also, for most users, Pinterest becomes a safety zone, wherein you can craft the perfect life for yourself, most of which you’ll never attain, which obviously will lead to feelings of inadequacy. The perfect hair, food, home, even husband…all wrapped up in a bow that you had to dip-dye yourself.

    5. Everyone is a Self-Made Martha Stewart: I get it…you can stencil and spray paint your doormat that you hand-wove from coconut fibers…but do you really need to? Yes, some of these ideas are awesome, but we need to draw the line somewhere people. Go outside, be active, stop staring at the computer, quit planning your next trip to the craft store…because who has time to monogram your own toilet paper?! 

    OK. I’m done. 

    And yeah, yeah…I know Pinterest is great for like…recipes and stuff BLAH BLAH BLAH. Email all your hate mail to bebetterblogger@gmail.com.

    Also, I’m going on vacation for 5 days…so peace out. HELLO CALIFORNIA!

    xo Chinae

     


  5. Be Better at…Health.

    I’ve pledged my allegiance to butter many a time on this blog, but today, I’m introducing you to a new friend I made over the weekend.

    Coconut Oil. 

    I’d heard a lot of buzz over this stuff lately, and decided to do some research, haul my ass to Trader Joe’s, and take this jar of slick goodness on a date. 

    I think I’m in love. I haven’t used it in the kitchen yet, but I’ll tell you, my body is already thanking me for spending that hard earned (not so hard earned) $5 bucks.

    My first thought was…putting oil on my body is reserved for beachtime and I would NEVER put it this Exxon-Valdez oil spill of a face (too soon?). But after reading a lot of info on the interwebz, I tried it out. First, I dipped my proverbial toe in the water with using it on my legs after shaving. Result? My legs were smooth, supple, not greasy, and smelled lightly of a beach vacation. Not pissed. 

    Next up, I used it to take off my makeup and as an eye cream before bed. Now, it did feel super oily when I went to sleep, and I was uber paranoid that I would wake up with a face full of pimples. My coworkers might disagree, but I am simply glowing today. My skin felt fresh with no signs of coconut related acne this morning, and my legs still felt incredible. Lastly, I fell and scraped my knee pretty bad last week, yes I am a five year old child, and I applied some coconut oil on my wound before bed…my knee looks SO much better this morning, just saying…

    Here are some properties of coconut oil that make it fucking awesome:

    • Anti-microbial/Infection Fighting 
    • Anti-bacterial (kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum diseases, and other bacterial infections)
    • Anti-carcinogenic 
    • Anti-fungal (kills fungi and yeast that lead to infection)
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • An Antioxidant
    • Anti-parasitic (fights to rid the body of tapeworms, lice and other parasites)
    • Anti-viral (kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other viruses)
    • Infection fighting
    • Known to improve nutrient absorption (easily digestible; makes vitamins and minerals more available to the body)
    In my www.research, there are a million cajillion uses for coconut oil but here were some of my favorites and some of the especially surprising:

    After Shave 
    Body Scrub – mix with a little sugar and insta-exfoliation!
    Diaper Salve 
    Eye cream – apply on the lids directly at night.
    Lubricant – an all natural substitute, but not compatible with latex.
    Makeup Remover – use with a Q-tip or cotton pad.
    Sun Burn Relief 
    Fitness - when ingested, coconut oil has been proven to jumpstart your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and raise energy levels!
    Allergies (seasonal hay fever)
    Cellulite - And all God’s women said “AMEN!”
    Gum Disease and Gingivitis-(use as a toothpaste or rub directly on gums)
    Nutritional Supplement – melt and add to cooking or juices.
    Insect repellentmix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and brave the outdoors
    Seasoning cookware: great for cast iron pans!
    Moisturizing and cleaning leather products: hello, newly revitalized Fall boots!
    For a full list of uses, look here and here
    One warning…when you open the jar, it’ll look like hardened candle wax but the moment you put it in your hands it will go Alex Mack on you and instantly liquify!
    Let me know what you think when you try it out!
    Later bitches,
    Chinae

     


  6. Be Better at…Meeting People.

    I am very aware that I am about to get a lot of panties in a bunch with this post. But, ladies and gentleman, stay with me. Unclench. Breathe. 

    At one time I was mystified, when seemingly hot, normal, fun friends of mine would never get approached by the gentleman kind…and then why some who were less-hot, significantly less funny, and kind of a bore, would be beating men off with sticks.  I think I have some ideas of why this can happen.

    Now, so I don’t get virtually put in the naughty corner for this post a couple of disclaimers:

    1. These are not ways to engage in a long lasting relationship
    2. This is totally about being approached, I can’t do anything about your awkwardness, or inability to communicate after the initial ”hello”
    3. Again, these are not long term dating tips, and no I am not stuck in the 1950’s or in some weird anti-feminist movement…I’m speaking from experience. That’s it. 
    4. If you want to say these don’t work, that’s fair. But get used to buying your own drinks. 
    5. There are ALWAYS exceptions to every rule. You might find that some guys aren’t like this…but I’m speaking in generalities here, and if you are looking to dedicate your entire lifestyle to something you read on an idiot girl’s blog, you have larger issues. These are general guidelines, take them that way.

    OK..let’s get down to business.

    5 Small Reasons You Aren’t Being Approached By The Male Species:

    -Red Lipstick: Let’s start small here ladies. I am with you on the red lipstick bandwagon. I love it and think it makes you look striking, classic, and fashion forward. But guess what? No guy wants that shit near them. It’s scary..like tampons, crying fits, and drop-crotch pants. Even if you just met, they are still thinking that if they kissed you, they would end up looking like Heath Ledger as the Joker (RIP). You might warn them it’s the color stay kind, or that it’s a lip stain…they DO. NOT. CARE. (and do not understand what lip stain is, thank God) They might think you look beautiful, but it’s a hurdle that most are a little wary of. Save the red lipstick for girl’s night or when you aren’t looking to have male interaction. No one wants the Scarlett Letter on their face at da’ club. 

    -Clothes That Girl’s Like: You’re getting ready, you’ve got your floral shirt on, buttoned all the way up, shredded denim vest rocking, striped skinny pants looking fly…heavy on the jewels…hair in some braided coiffe. You feel amazing. If you were in Soho, surely the Sartorialist would ask you for a photo and millions would be inspired. Your girlfriends can’t stop talking about how “chic” you look tonight. And then what…you go out and NO ONE TALKS TO YOU. Except maybe that girl in the bathroom, who asks you which Opening Ceremony location you got your shoes from, because they were totally out of those platform wedges at the LA store. So what’s your problem? YOU ARE WEARING CLOTHES THAT GIRLS LIKE. I mean, don’t get me wrong…I know lots of guys who appreciate cutting-edge style and daring fashion, but even the most apprecitave guy will be intimidated by all of “that” at first. Also, there are a lot of dudes who just won’t get it (they might still be awesome). I am all for being an individual and dressing outlandishly, trust me, but if I was going somewhere in the hopes that someone was going to chat me up, I certainly wouldn’t be trying to channel Tokyo street style in that moment. As crass and shallow as this sounds, men probably want to see you in something simple, showing off your best assets, so they can really see YOU, not just spend 10 minutes trying to understand if that’s a shirt or pants or some siamese shirt-pant. Show some leg, wear colors that flatter you, and be stylish, not ridiculous. After you snag the man, wear whatever you want…by that time, he’ll be warmed up!

    -Gaggle of Girls: Who doesn’t like girls night, right? Well, that’s all great, but if a man has to tuck and roll to penetrate a wall of 15 of your “besties” singing “We Are Young” at the top of their lungs…he’ll probably just pass. You have created a Berlin wall of estrogen. No man wants to traverse that. The easiest way to meet people is when you are in groups of 3-4…not your entire adult sorority/book club/AA group.

    -Hair Up: Wear your hair down and add some volume. If that sounds shallow, it totally is. Again, this is just a tip for the first meeting, not for the rest of your life. It’s just plain pretty when it’s down and flowy, and if you have short hair, do something with it that doesn’t involve attaching birds or headbands or scarfs. PLEASE. 

    -I Can Do Everything: Change your attitude. If you give off the vibe that you know everything about everything and you can get your own drink, and move your own furniture…that’s great. Just get used to doing that for the rest of your life. You aren’t being helpless, but you are creating space for men to be men and help you out once in a while. I bet that “We Can Do It” girl is still out there, single and wearing that damn headscarf. 

    NOTE: If you are a pissed off woman or man after reading this, please see my disclaimers above and take things on the internet a little less seriously. Oh, and send all hate mail to bebetterblogger@gmail.com!

    Happy Thursday Nugs!

    xo Chinae

     


  7. Be a Better…Dresser.

    About a month ago, I was pissing and moaning about how I didn’t go to Coachella, and blah blah blah. Then comes the torture of perusing all the “Top Ten Best Looks at Cochella” blog posts that make me want to hang myself with a sueded-fringy bag’s strap. Soon after, I swore to bestie Becky that I would bring my own Coachella to NYC via flower head piece. This may or may not have also been inspired by pro-drudgery musician Lana Del Rey who I hate/love the shit out of.  

    So about a week ago…I crafted. A lot.

    I was gonna make like…1-2 head pieces. I think total I created 8 looks…and my fingers felt like I had played guitar like Hendrix for two hours. Worth it. 

    Here’s What To Do:

    Step 1: Buy crafty crap. I did it in one foul swoop at the flower market, but I am sure if you live in a suburb you can head over to your local Michael’s/Joanne’s/or another store with the first name of a person. Here’s the shopping list:

    • Bark-Covered Wire
    • Floral Tape
    • Paper Flowers with wire base

    Step 2: Measure your big head. OK…maybe I just have a big head, but take your bark-covered wire and measure it around the crown of your head, where you want your headband to sit. Now add 2 inches. 

    Step 3: Twist ends to form a circle. Why did I make you add 2 inches? So you have extra room for twisting, dummy. Twist the ends together and then wrap with a 6 inch length of floral tape, around the twisted part so you don’t pierce your head on accident. 

    Step 4: Wire on your flowers. Twist the wire part of the flower base around your circular crown in a random assortment. I suggest switching up direction and distance, so you don’t end up looking like a tacky flower girl. 

    Step 5: Cover your mess. After all the flowers are attached, wrap floral wire around the portions that you can visablly see the wrapped wire. It’s weird stuff and sticks to itself…I was amazed for way too long at this. 

    Tips to Sporting Your Flower Crown:

    • Do not wear to a business casual work environment. You’ll probably get fired.
    • Wear it with your hair down. If you match this with a bun…you might look like you work at the local renaissance fair or you may be mistaken for 
    • When you are making this, remember that you are a normal person, not a famous person, or a model. So no, you can’t pull off a Carrie/Bird in the Hair Moment when you are just on your way to get a bagel. Tone it down ladycat.
    • Keep it simple…too many colors, textures, and shapes are just going to make you  look like you work down at the Tropicana with Ricky Ricardo. 
    • Try to use as many natural materials as possible…plastic flowers and satin ribbon can go tacky tacky tacky REAL quick. Think Sienna Miller not Selena. (RIP) 

    Send me photos of your flower crowns!!!!!

    xo Chinae

     


  8. Be a Better…Beauty.

    Attention Eyebrows Edition:

    I am half-asian so this means I pretty much have half the eyebrows of anyone else in the damn world. Literally. They stop right smack in the middle of my brown bone and make me look constantly surprised. There’s nothing better than that, except everything else.

    I shouldn’t complain though, I know some of you are dealing with a Frieda Khalo situation…and for that, I’m really sorry. 

    When I used to do make-up sort of professionally, (as professional as a sometimes tipsy high school senior can be), I used to preach the gospel of brows to all my clients. As an avid advocate for  brow maintenance and management, I still get pretty pushy about the right and wrong way to wear your brows.

    I’m gonna make a bold statement…I think eyebrows are THE most important thing on your face. If you only have time to tend to one thing, it should be them. Why you say? They frame your eyes, make your makeup look finished, and the right or wrong shape can make you go from bridge troll to Evita.

    Some bad eyebrow decisions:

    • Chola brows: Heavy pencil or tattooed eyebrows are just so…90’s people. Unless you are actually a chola (I want to be your friend), leave your sharpie behind and get some real brow filler and normal lip liner, k?
    • Tweezerwoman: Put. the. tweezers. down. You’re the compulsive type and someone mistakenly gave you a diamond edge set of tweezers and a light-up magnifying mirror. I get it. But lady, you have actually removed facial features and you now look like Whoopi Goldberg. Give your brows a break and take a vacation from plucking.
    • Bushwoman: You like things natural huh? Well, you look like you are smuggling caterpillars via your face (I’m talking to you Lourdes). It’s not cute nor is it good for your vision…I know you can’t see much behind those things. If this is what you let your eyebrows do, I don’t even want to think about the amount of care you give your nether regions. SICK.
    • Over-Shaper: Your brows go in a natural shape and contour that was pretty well designed by the big guy upstairs. DO NOT FUCK WITH IT. If your eyebrows were supposed to be rectangles, they would have been made that way. Other than a minor shaping and clean up, you are just messing with fire at this point.

    So what DO you need to do?

    Here are a couple tips:

    1. Use a brow filler. Yes, you. EVERYONE. And no, you won’t look like a chola if you use a light touch and some restraint. I like a good brow powder, like Lorac’s Take a brow. Pick a filler that also has a wax to tame those renegade hairs. I suggest using a filler that is a little lighter than your natural hair color to ensure a natural look.
    2. Find a waxer you trust: Start with just a clean up and see how she does, then move into a full shaping if that goes well the next time you go in. Also, feel free to take a photo of the shape you want so you don’t end up with Geisha brows.
    3. Slow and steady: It takes a while to get your brows to the perfect shape. Don’t rush it and god forbid don’t have one too many mojitos and spend hours at that magnified mirror, you’ll only be sorry in the morning.
    4. Check out this eyebrow shaping guide that you’ve seen 108738 times in chick magazines:

    Happy Plucking!

    xo Chinae

     


  9. Be a Better…Dresser.

    Neon + Neutrals Edition:

    We’ve all heard that neon is the “thing” currently…or now some fashion gals are starting to say neon is so “over”…this pretty much means that stores we can actually afford, are starting to carry our fluorescent friends. Here’s my thing…I love neon, mostly because it makes me feel tan, and feeling tan means feeling skinner. There, I said it…again, hate mail can be sent to bebetterblogger@gmail.com. I’m just the internet truth teller, alright?

    There’s one problem with neon though, if you wear it the right way, you look fucking awesome. You wear it the wrong way, you WILL look like a crossing guard or the cover star of a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper minus one unicorn (If you were not a kid of the 90’s you will not get this reference). 

    So, how do we make neon work, in places other than some blacklit gay dance club where people are doing interpretive dance moves to Ke$ha with mini glowsticks in their mouths?

    Tips, ahead!

    +Keep Your Face Classy: If you mix fluorescent colors with equally offensive makeup, you will look trampy. Unless slutty crossing guard is your thing, keep your makeup clean, fresh, and classic. Pull your hair back in a sock bun (my favorite thing ever) or wear it loose and down…Just watch combining all the Pinterest tricks you’ve ever learned into this look. Neon speaks for itself so keep the rest of your face/body simple and pretty.

    +Mix in Some Neutrals:This is the key to wearing neon and not looking like a crazy person eating their own underwear on 6th avenue. Pair your pops of neon with lots of neutrals. Try a camel colored jacket, or a black and white outfit instead of their colorful companions. Even while color blocking (as you do), utilize a subdued piece to balance out the Rainbow Connection vibe you are throwing out. 

    +Accessories Are Less Scary: Let’s say you’re that girl who isn’t exactly a fashion maven, but you stick with what’s being styled on the Ann Taylor LOFT mannequins. Sound like you? Well, this is your lucky day. I’m never going to get you into a pair of highlighter pants, but can I suggest a hot pink belt over that grey cardi? Use accessories to dabble in trends, injecting an otherwise un-trendy outfit with a little va-va-voom. Some great options to neoncceserize (that is a horrible made-up word) are: a piece of jewlery (preferably a necklace), a skinny belt, a bright shoe, or a neon purse. Muy excellante. 

    +Get a tan: Well, I threw this in there because in my opinion, when pale people wear neon they look sick, but you don’t need to be all tan ala Dog the Bounty Hunter…just maybe wait until you gotten a little Spring/Summer sunkissing done, and then layer on those brights!

    Love you all, and please don’t make fun of the photos of me, I’m aware that it looks like I am doing a self photo shoot for my Myspace page. 

    xo Chinae

     


  10. Be Better at…Shopping.

    I’m from Texas, and once a year, the state offers a weekend of tax-free purchases on clothing, school supplies etc. I have seen parking-related brawls, have witnessed a near eye-gouging over a pair of BCBG white jeans, and have since vowed to never step foot into a retail establishment when this time rolls around. Think…NYC on any culturally significant parade day (I love you Puerto Ricans, but your parade makes me want to move to the suburbs).

    Well once again, New York has trumped Texas and therefore validated me making the trek across this fair country to the land of impossibly high rent and hot dogs with toppings like kimchi, coleslaw, and organic placenta (OK, maybe not placenta). 

    NY state goes back and forth regarding sales tax on clothing items, and finally, once again, they’ve removed sales tax on clothing and shoes costing less than $110 bucks. This is good news people. 

    The state officially says, “Sales of eligible clothing and footwear costing less than $110 per item or pair are exempt from the state’s 4% sales tax and local tax in those localities that enacted the exemption.” This also includes the 4.5% city, 4% state and .0375% Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District tax (whatever that is).

    Sunday is the first day of the exemption people, so go forth and shop. And if you need some help finding the right places to buy some new duds for under $110 bucks, I’ve included a short list of some Park Slope gems below:

    Mommies: BUMP; 464 Bergen St.
    Dudes: PRIVATE STOCK; 458 Bergen St. 
    Gal’s Shoes: SOULA, 184 5th Ave.
     Kiddos: LULU’S THEN AND NOW; 75A 5th Ave.
    Rich People: BIRD316 5th Ave 
     Thrift: PONY; 69 5th Ave.
    Happy Shopping Lovies,
    Chinae
     


  11. I’ve been spreading the Be Better love to a couple of other blogs lately. I thought you should know.

    Here’s a new project I’m collaborating on with Ernest Alexander, a men’s fashion and accessory brand here in the Ol’ NYC. They make impeccable things and have so graciously allowed me to spread my sarcasm and sass over on their new lifestyle blog, the Ernest Alexander Journal. If you like it, you should share the love!

    ernestalexander:

    When we began conceptualizing this Journal, we set on a mission statement to showcase the world of Ernest Alexander. While most brands keep that world within the walls of their studios, our goal is to expand outside those walls and into our day-to-day lives.

    We’re lucky enough to live in the…

     


  12. Be a Better…Traveller.

    Pack It Up Edition:


    I went home to Texas for Christmas and must’ve really packed in a hurry OR there may/may not have been vodka involved with the process. That’s not the point. The point IS, is that when I arrived and opened my suitcase, I realized that I had made some grave packing errors.

    Here’s what my suitcase contained (other than Christmas presents for the family):

    • -Red Jeans
    • -Green Jeans
    • -Dress Shorts
    • -5 Sweaters
    • -2 Blouses
    • -Evening Gown
    • -Fur Cape
    • -Leather Jacket

    All sounds ok right? FALSE. My hometown averages a temperature of about 75-80 degrees in the winter, so that takes out the sweaters, jacket, fur, jeans, and the evening gown was for a wedding. So that leaves me with 2 blouses and a pair of shorts. Don’t worry, I brought 6 pairs of shoes, all short boots that made me look like a street walker when worn with shorts. PERFECT. Try figuring out what to wear to church without looking like Kit Deluca from Pretty Woman, short one mushy, hooker hat.

    I have no idea what the hell I was thinking last time…but as I embark on a vacay to see my California lover (well, not just a lover…well, boyfriend…lover just sounded cooler) this weekend, I NEED to be better than I was last time. Let’s figure this out together.

    Make a List: Over the course of a week before your trip, make a list of crap that you need to bring and especially those little things that you are probably going to forget. Also, make yourself write down everything you’re taking, so you have to come to terms with the number 9 in front of the words “pairs of shoes”. I can guarantee that this list will make you take a few things outta that bag. Also, it’s smart to make a few perfect outfits and take photos of them on your phone so when you are trying to look really low-maintenance in front of your travel partner, you can just say you threw that outfit together :)

    Mix-N-Match: You don’t want to look like a brown paper bag on vacation, but you also don’t need to bring that teal Indian caftan/wedding dress, complete with pointy shoes, that you’ve never been able to pair with anything. The likelihood that a location change is going to clear your style senses is just not going to happen. Here’s a rule: If an item can’t be part of 2-3 other outfits in your suitcase, ditch it. Also, if you haven’t worn it in a couple months, don’t pack it. Pick a slew of neutrals and then follow the next rule to make them sing!

    Pieces that Pop: So you are wearing different shades of poop because I told you to pack things that go with everything. I get it, you are pissed. To compliment your palette, pick bright punchy accessories that will transform “poop” into “pop”. Plus, bright jewels take up WAY less room than that giant furry orange Prada-rip off sweater that you were thinking about packing.

    Remember the Timeline: As I sat on my bed last night, putting things in my suitcase, I realized after the 12th shirt I put into that wheeled box, that I will be gone for a total of 4 days. 4. There is no possible way that I can wear 12 things, though sometimes I am like Mariah Carey with costume changes on her MTV Cribs episode. 

    Rolling is Bullshit: Just fold sh*t. Rolling your clothes into little couture pigs-in-a-blanket is just way too much work and doesn’t save any space…I tested it!

    The Power of the White T-Shirt: Bring one. You can dress it up, dress it down. Wear it with underwear to sleep or pop it on with a tutu and look like a J Crew ad. So simple, non-wrinkly, and is always good to go.

    Can we also just take a moment to celebrate the sheer joy I feel when I get to buy travel-sized EVERYTHING?

    Phew. Wish me luck!

    Cheers to forgetting something and having to pick up a new one,

    xo Chinae

     


  13. Be a Better…Cook.

    As most of you know by now…I don’t partake in the glory of carbs anymore. sigh. 


    Things I miss the most:

    -Chips and Salsa

    -Watermelon

    -Tortillas (the Lard-filled kind)

    -Free Restaraunt Bread 

    -Late Night Drunk Pizza by the slice

    -Biscuits (preferably gratis Cheddar Bay Biscuits a la Red Lobster) (yes, I am a tacky tacky person)

    Obviously it is good that I don’t eat that crap anymore because as you can see, I really had good taste in carbs. Which makes the ass SO much fatter. 

    Anyway. 

    Something I do now, is try to make simple, low carb food that doesn’t make you want to die a flavorless, flourless death. And pancakes are one of those things that may seem off limits, but actually you can whip up a pretty good substitute with a few simple ingredients.

    Low-Carb Pancakes:

    -1 Cup of Almond Meal

    -2 Eggs

    -1/4 Cup of Water

    -2 T of Oil

    -1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

    -1 Tablespoon of Artificial Sweeter Equivalent

    Mix all those ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk. Heat your pan and spray with Pam or coat in butter to prevent sticking. Pour pancake batter into your pan and be f*cking patient. You’ll need to wait until you see bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look crispy-ish. Then flip those babies over and cook half the time on that side. Top with sugar-free syrup and butter. 

    ****Also, you should always serve this with copious amounts of bacon. 

    This should make about 4 pancakes, so enough for two people OR one lumberjack and his baby. 

    xoxo Chinae

     


  14. Be a Better…Dresser.

    Fall Fashion/Blazers Edition:

    When I hear the word blazer I think of three things.

    1) Chevy Blazer (Blame Texas)

    2) Designing Women and 90’s Style:

    3) Questionable Comedians such as Paula Pounstone:

    So naturally, when incorporating a blazer into my Fall wardrobe, I had some mental/emotional obstacles to navigate over (mostly the idea of being Paula Poundstone’s body double) before being able to commit to Blazerdom, once and for all. 

    Most times, I think women don’t know how to wear this piece correctly because 9 times out of 10..they look like a linebacker, like they sifted through their Aunt Diana’s (pronounced Dee-Anna) garage sale $1 bin, or that they will be proudly escorting me to my table and will be providing me with the Soup of the Day options. 

    Let’s look at the good and the ugly and figure out how to still visibly look like we own lady parts.

    The FUGLY:

    1) What you think…

    I look f*cking regal today. A Jackie-O doppleganger if you will. People are going to want me to give speeches and save schools wearing this blazer. I’m practically Michelle Obama. And to think…I only paid $20 at Charlotte Russe to look like I bought Chanel. It’s pretty much the same thing. 

    Reality Check: Look, I’m not trying to be a bitch, but when you buy a Chanel look alike, you will look like you bought a Chanel look alike. The only speech you will be giving is whether you prefer paper or plastic. Let’s be honest here, there are better blazer options than a Chanel ripoff…and unless you are a Grandmother to at least 3 children, stay away.

    2) What you think…

    I am totally doing that cozy, knitted blazer thing…it’s perfect, really. Like a sweater and a jacket had this super chic baby.

    Reality Check: You look f*cking homely. It’s not working sister friend. If you want to wear a sweater, wear one. If you want to wear a blazer, wear one. But we really don’t need to be wearing these strange hybrid clothing pieces that make you look like you make birch bark stools in some Amish encampment, by hand all day. 

    3) What you think…

    I get the look of a blazer, and then these ruffles totally hide my problem tummy issues and look super fashionable.

    Reality Check: You look like you have lady parts attached to the front of your jacket. STOP. 

    4) What you think…

    Corduroy makes me look so refined and equestrian.  I bet people think I escape to my country house in upstate New York and own at least one horse. Also, I feel totally smart…like I read Steinbeck and smoke my boyfriend’s pipe while thinking about my future “essays” that I’m going to write.  Who says cords can’t be sexy!

    Reality Check: You look fat. Corduroy just isn’t flattering for most women on top. Maybe try a skinny cord pant…but seriously, you’re probably going to look bulky and mushy, unless you’re Sienna Miller. 

    How to Wear a Blazer Well:

    1) Why this works: Structure and clean lines make a blazer flattering. Pick a bold color and have the jacket be the statement piece in your ensemble. That way, you don’t have a potentially boring piece..fading to the background. 

    2) Why this works: A shrunken blazer with some interesting details can turn stodgy into stunning. Pair a shrunken blazer with a great pair of structured pants and you’ll feel downtown cool but still professional.

    3) Why this works: I love the idea of a cocktail blazer. Throwing this on over a dress or to glam up a pants ensemble is just delightful. The detail of a belted waist also will keep you looking extra lady-like.

    4) Why this works: For you hip chicks…going the complete opposite of fitted can be a real gem. Just make sure the sleeves are the right length and that you keep the rest of the outfit close to the body. This is a great piece to pair with dressy shorts.

    Here’s to looking like this…

    And not so much this…

    xo Chinae

     


  15. Be Better at…Business.

    Warby Parker Edition:


    My brand crushes are usually related to a swoon-worthy product, sexy marketing, or a great customer service experience. Well. I think I’ve died and gone to brand heaven. And no, I didn’t get free glasses or money for this post. 

    I know that everyone underneath the sun has written about Warby Parker as the new, hot, sexy eyewear company on the block…and here I am, joining the masses. 

    Not only was my experience with Warby Parker simple and painless, but it was actually enjoyable. Imagine that…handing over my hard-earned money with a certain amount of joy in the process. 

    So why was it such a good experience? And how can more companies and personal brands follow suit? 


    5 Things Warby Parker Did Right:

    1) Clear Communication and Idea: Warby Parker is just about as transparent of a business structure as you can find. The ability to sum up what they are about, in one sentence, makes it easy for brand advocates (such as myself) to pass along their message, sucinctly and clearly. 

    Warby Parker sells well crafted, trend-driven eyewear at $95 and donates a pair of glasses each time a pair is sold. 

    Boom. 

    2) Sexy Marketing: They understand that a pair of $95 dollar glasses can still feel sexy and aspirational. And they don’t dumb down their marketing efforts, website, or advertising to feel inexpensive and affordable. The idea the buying process feeling luxurious, even if the product is cheap is of major importance in their strategy. 

    3) Focus: Warby Parker is not for everyone. And that’s ok. They get that not everyone is going to vibe their style, and the rest can go elsewhere. Broad but specific. It’s a beautiful thing in the world of massive product lines and splatter-effect marketing. A well curated brand and focused product mix is the key.

    4) Customer Relations: When I bought my first pair of Warby’s (about a 8-9 months ago), I had no trouble making an appt at their Union Square showroom, and was greeted personally by name at the door by a sales person, Mara. Yeah, I still remember her name (this matters). I probably spent a total of 15 minutes there, but left feeling taken care of and cared for as a client rather than just an order being process in a sea of customers. Then the next day, Mara personally called and told me that my invoice was being sent via email, and she complimented me on how wonderfully, the pair of glasses I picked out, suited me. It was that extra phone call that solidified for me, that great follow-up can really build great brand karma and will transform the most cynical, jaded consumer (me) into a brand ambassador for life.

    5) Well-Managed Expectations: I was told I’d be getting my new sexified glasses in about 10 business days. They showed up 3 days later. That may have been a fluke, an issue of having multiples on hand or another circumstance, but the fact that Warby Parker surpassed my expectations, made me feel like a precious part of their business.

    4 Things Companies Can Learn from Warby Parker:

    1) Admit When You’re Wrong: Use issues as an opportunity for proving the kind of business you run. It’s pretty easy to change an angry customer into a pleased one, so just act quickly and aggressively and they’ll repay you in spades with additional business and great word of mouth.

    2)Go the Extra Mile: When starting a company, pay attention to detail when interacting with the public. Think on a small scale and your company will grow large because of it.

    3) Do Good: Give back in some way to the community you serve. Not every company functions like TOMS and Warby Parker but every business can give back a portion of what they take in, for good. Not only are you helping your brand look “nice” but we as consumers always feel better about being charitable, especially when you do all the dirty work. 

    4) Build Brand Ambassadors, not a Client Base: I can honestly say, that I’ve probably spread Warby Parker’s story, products, and my personal experience with the company at least once or twice a week, since my initial buy with them. Being able to freely talk about a brand you had a great experience with, is the best advertising a company can’t buy. This is how Warby Parker continues to grow. They have thousands of influential brand ambassadors, doing their marketing FOR them. And all it takes is a little extra effort. 

    Visit Warby Parker HERE.

    To Seeing Clearly in Business,

    Chinae