Wednesday, May 9, 2012

You E-Mailed the Wrong Girl, Son

I hope what you're about to read bothers you as much as it bothered me as I read and re-read the dialogue to make sure I understood the implications. I'm going on year 3 of my YouTube "career" this summer and the beauty community is ever-evolving. But this, yes, this is a new low.

Many bloggers/vloggers get numerous business propositions weekly, sometimes daily. Everyone decides differently what they want to try, what doesn't fit their needs or what is just outright ridiculous. There's no written law on how we conduct ourselves in these situations. To some it's a hobby, to some a business and to others, somewhere in between.

Personally, I don't say yes to everything just to accumulate free beauty products. If I say yes to a product, I'm making an unwritten commitment to try it and give an honest opinion. Furthermore, I really do my best to put my money where my mouth is. That means, if and when it's reasonable, if I like something, I'll re-purchase it myself or buy it for a friend. For me, there isn't a truer testament to what I think about a product than spending my own money on it. Know full and well that I do this for you just as much as I do it for me. I say thank you for what you all have given me by honoring your wishes about what it is that you want to see. This is the crux of my relationship with my viewers: I create honest videos with pertinent content while making outrageous commentary; you masochists continue to watch.

So here goes. This is an interaction with an agency that represents a company interested in marketing through the YouTube beauty community, as well as beauty bloggers. Please note that the product discussed here is a skincare product. SKINCARE. Can you think of a beauty product people are more fickle about than skincare products? It's not a lipstick, a blush, an eyeshadow; it's skincare. Notes will follow.

Have me on board you will not. You see what I wrote there? I write that to all companies whom I decide to work with to make my intentions blatantly clear. And most will happily agree with me. Yes, Nur, please only speak positively of the product if that's what you truly feel about it; no obligation to make a video. I say no to 95% of free things offered and of the things I do say yes to, maybe one or two products (if that) make it in my videos a year . I'm tough. I do it for you, I do it for me. Capisce?

"We understand and appreciate your commitment to honesty, but we're specifically looking for a video of you trying out the product and describing your experience" is really just a nice way of saying "Hey, this is what we want, your honest opinion is somewhat irrelevant." Somehow, I imagine a video of me saying "Wow, this feels like utter crap on my face" isn't going to make the cut. The approach is manipulative and in poor taste.

The contract is below. I decided to censor the company name and product because this is an agency acting on behalf of the company. I would like to assume that the company knows what the agency is demanding, but I can't be certain. And if they don't know, they are going to find out from me. Furthermore, I haven't tried the product and I don't want to tarnish its reputation circumstantially.

The rest of the contract is the signatures portion. Yes, you're bound to make the video. I suppose I could sign the contract, try the product, like it and make a video. Or I may hate it and make a ridiculous video (because I have to) and it wouldn't be approved by the client and I wouldn't get my $150 gift basket. Poor me. If the latter were true, as funny as it is to think about making a satirical video, I have zero desire in wasting my time doing so. I have a tough time committing to one video a week (sorry, back soon!), let alone making a video I have little interest in, but doing so JUST to fulfill a contract. Yeah.........NO.

I know what some may be thinking. This is just a way for the company to guarantee that they're not going to send free products without a return on their investment. I understand, as it is business, after all. However, the cost to send free items to vloggers and bloggers who have an incredibly targeted audience is PENNIES compared to what it would cost to pay a celebrity to endorse your product. They would easily pay a few million to a famous face, but can't swallow the cost to send maybe a hundred products to bloggers and vloggers and let us decide if we'll do the video? And don't look at the retail price you mathematicians, we're talking unit cost...a fraction of retail price. The guarantee justification doesn't appease me. This is just the risk you take in this marketing platform. Trust me, it's not that high stakes. This right here is the same reason I don't have a problem with beauty vloggers and bloggers accepting money for videos or posts. "Sponsored video" has become such a revolting phrase, but if you stop to look at the whole forest as opposed to just the tree, it's not that criminal. If anything, the amount of money companies offer is rather comical (in an insulting way) compared to, again, what they'd pay for a celebrity endorsement. Beyonce Knowles in 2004 for L'Oreal Paris? A cool $4.7 million. Because she's worth it -_- By no means am I implying that I, or anyone else in social media, has the reach that a celebrity does, BUT again, we have a prodigiously targeted audience with whom we build an intimate relationship. The numbers are just not proportionate. An actress in a makeup commercial is just that. She's fed lines (and little else), digitally enhanced to perfection and written a handsome check. She doesn't tell you what kind of skin she has, what else she's tried, how this compares to everything else, etc. Guess what....she's s-p-o-n-s-o-r-e-d. How ironic. She has the best doctors and skin care experts at her disposal. And if you're still not sure, no, she doesn't use the product she pitches. That's for us commoners. What we do is valuable and you remind us all the time. And we're only growing. These companies are heavily capitalizing on the relationship we build with you and their bottom line is reaping the benefits. Now, with that said, where it gets ambiguous is with the trust issue (just like trust with everything in life....funny thing trust is). Are you reviewing it because you actually like it or because there's a monetary incentive? And if you do like it, do you like it more because of the paycheck? Obviously, we could dissect this endlessly. Some people dabble in it, some do not. What's important isn't the final decision, it's the decision-making process. And because we're not mind-readers, we won't ever really know. Sometimes, I'm not entirely sure I know what's going on inside my own head. [Insert joke about crazy Nur here. K, thanks.]

But I digress. Suffice it to say that the company represented here is not a neophyte company trying to find a niche audience through social media. It's an international entity whose annual report for fiscal year 2011 shows the profit at $132 million. Marketing expenses for 2011 at $108 million. Well damn.

The FTC does not require something of this nature to be disclosed. All we have to say is if we received the product for free and if we were paid. And good God, have you seen the ways bloggers and vloggers articulate their disclaimers these days? It's either misleading, full of fancy jargon (much unlike the accompanying video) or a brazen lie. But don't get mad at the FTC. If they don't protect consumers, we get angry. If they don't let content producers do as they wish, they feel constricted and yell 'police state'. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am a firm believer in educated consumerism. Don't depend on someone else to protect your interests. And by "someone else" I mean the government. Read: FDA and the state of the meat and poultry slaughter houses in this country, anyone?

For me, this is a first. I have dealt with the less-than pleasant company that wants only a positive review. Or the one that incessantly hounds me for a video. Or one that even tried to bribe a positive review out of me after I've decided I don't like a product. But those are things that have ceased to amaze me. This 'sign a contract and to hell with your opinion' ploy is new and, well, unnerving. I'm going to ask for something almost unfeasible here and hope that companies do not start a trend with these binding contracts. Although, you and I both know that any sensible business person is going to see that contract and think it's genius, for it serves to protect their interests. And if you're reading this from the perspective of the company, I implore you, please look at this from the consumer's perspective. Companies don't need the protection, the consumers do. You companies can go ahead and get yourself into a financial black hole. The government has billions of dollars of our money they'd LOVE to give you! ZOMG, buy the jet even if you can't afford it mister CEO!

I'd like to think that my making this information public will guarantee that no company will ever send something like this to me in the future. But then again, the original message from the agency said "Hi Karina!".... while referencing my blog. Plenty of brain cells and no synapse. -_- So, template text and mass emails promise there will be much more where this came from. YAY! More fun for you and I. Lawd help us all.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Have We Met Previously? No? Have a nice life.

So my sister and I spent hours on iChat last night looking at old Facebook posts and reminiscing about our "craziness". We were looking through messages and we were having a riot laughing at our old, uptight selves. Here are some of my favorite messages, edited for privacy:
Ahem. Next:
And one more:
Zing cubed. The end.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Twilight Wedding

Let's cover the obvious: I'm not getting married, I'm not engaged, I'm not _____ (fill in the blank with whatever).

I just happened to have one of those 'just woke up in the middle of the night' moments, where I'm having a nightmare because my dog is digging her deadly talons into my back.

It's scientifically proven that in the first few moments when you wake up and your conscious mind hasn't kicked in, you have moments of clarity (read: truth). I get the oddest thoughts and most remarkable solutions during these times.

All that aside, this church I studied about in a college architecture class popped into my head. I made the connection between that church and Twilight about a year ago, but just never shared it with you. I wanted to tweet it, but Twitter is about brevity and I'm long-winded. Why share this you ask? See diagram below:
This church is a glass church in the middle of the forest in Arkansas. And seeing as Bella and Edward have a running theme of meeting in the forest, breaking up in the forest, doing the hokey pokey and turning themselves around in the forest, wouldn't this be the perfect place for them to be wed? Aside from my childish imagination, it's a stunningly beautiful church and architecturally impressive. It's the Thorncrown Chapel and I just can't choose ONE picture to share because you really have to see every angle, at all hours of the day, through all the seasons of the year, so visit the site and view the photo gallery here: Thorncrown Chapel

And if you want to imagine you and Robert Pattinson standing at the altar while you flip through the pictures, I won't judge. Of course, I didn't do that, but I'm team Jacob...woof!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Things I ♥

Finding a good pen to me is like finding a perfect new shade of lipstick. I shared my writing utensil obsession with you and many of you confessed you have the same obsession. So here you go....1, 2, 3, drool.
Bic 537R, 0.7, Blue

I picked up these pens at Staples (a pack of 4 on sale for $5.00). I love my gel pens, but even my ballpoint friends like this gel pen. Yes, I identify my friends by their pen preference. While most people enjoy discussing politics or sports or current events, I'd rather figure out why on earth you prefer ballpoint to gel. Is there a ballpoint pen I HAVEN'T tried and I'm missing something here? No? OK, we need to re-evaluate this friendship.
I've also been loving Jason Derrulo's song "Don't Wanna Go Home". Took a decent 90's song and turned into something fun. Albeit, the song would be more fitting for me if it was titled "Don't Wanna Leave My Home." Homebody to the extreme here. You can listen to it at Grooveshark:

I have been crazy about Carousel Lollipops lately. They used to sell these at school for fundraisers and I re-discovered them after leaving hell island (the deserted island I went camping on because I'm stupid). I've only been able to find them at K-Mart, CVS and Staples, but I buy up the entire stock and eat way too many everyday. Looks of curiosity/sympathy/disgust from other customers and sales associates always ensue. Meh. I love Cotton Candy and Banana Split.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Crown Rings

All ring sizes are back in stock! Please email me directly at for an invoice. I've found this is the best way to manage inventory. Rings are still available. If and when they are no longer available, I will let you know here! Thank you so much to everyone for the overwhelming support. Lots of love to you all ♥

Details: Ring is rhodium-plated bronze with CZ. Nickel free and lead free.
Sizes available: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

$38.00 + Free Shipping Worldwide!

A portion of proceeds will go to charity. Help pick a charity at or and leave your thoughts below

Friday, May 27, 2011

Beginner's guide to being a beauty guru

Welcome grasshopper. I see you've taken on the daunting challenge of wanting to be a beauty guru? Frankly, I think I suck at it, but at least I can tell you what I know WORKS. That's what you're here for, right? Right. Read on:

1. Create a trademark opening for alllll your videos. It has to be the same thing and you must always say it FIRST. Mine is 'Hey Everyone' and I wiggle my fingers. Yes, I feel like an idiot when I do this IN EVERY SINGLE VIDEO, but I've skipped it occasionally AND the crowd always has an uprising. "What's wrong Nur, why didn't you wiggle your fingers and say "Hey Everyone"? What's going on? Did you and your boyfriend break up? Did you have a bad hair day? Is the world coming to an end?" -_- Consistency is key; pick something and stick to it.

2. Swear up and down that you'll never do sponsored videos THEN change your tune and swear you'll always tell the truth no matter how many thousands of dollars they're paying you. Honesty is priceless? NO, honesty costs the company $1,000 a video! And when you put affiliate links in your description box, you don't have to say it's an affiliate link. Dissect the FTC guidleines and find ALL the loopholes. Your scheming of everyone depends on it!

3. End all your statements with an upward inflection. Otherwise, no one will believe you when you say for the 1,835th "It's the most amazing product I've ever tried!" Of course, say this about every product, but just make sure you fake the enthusiasm adequately. Everything is "Soooo good" and "Soooo cute" and "Soooo pretty". EVERYTHING.

4. Don't admit that you're flawed. If ANYTHING looks bad: lipstick, blush, spidery lashes, blemished or yellow, orange, blue, purple skin....just remember the most important reply you'll learn: It's the lighting. Type it out a thousand times, chant it in your sleep, tattoo it into your side. You're perfect and IT'S THE DAMN LIGHTING THAT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE THAT.

5. Don't let the lemmings defy you. If anyone has an opinion that differs from yours, delete the comment, block them and then send them a message so you can have the last word. You're a guru damn it and NO ONE defies you. "THIS IS YOUTUBE". Say it like Leonidas says "THIS IS SPARTA" in 300 and then kick someone smaller than you into the pool.

6. Find something to sell! Like jewelry.....EVERYONE IS DOING IT. Pimp it out for a company, make it yourself, or make something really popular then offer it to your subscribers (have you guys seen my crown rings?! OMGEEE I finally found them and I'm making them available to you guysss! They're soooo preeety and soooo cute and soooo good! :::squeal:::)

7. Reply to your viewers' comments on your videos. Not all of them, just one comment that you want everyone to see! Anything that says you're pretty is perfect! That comment then stays at the top for everyone to see AND gives the illusion that you actually care. Aww.

8. Disappear for a really, really long time then come back and apologize profusely for being so busy with school, work, family, attaining world peace etc. Say you'll never do it again. it again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! And it makes you seem soooooooooo important. #you'recoollikethat

9. Speaking of Twitter, always, always, always tell people to follow you and make it seem like they're missing something monumental by NOT following you ie. "Last week I solved E=mc², but you would know if you followed me on Twitterrrrr! Like all my tweople. Tweeps! Tweet me! Tweeeeeeeeet!" Then tweet an endless barrage of pictures of food so people will wonder how you eat like a pig but look like a bean pole and they will just HAVE TO KNOW how you do it. Oh wait.... what a great idea for a video, OMGLEMMEGOWRITETHATDOWNRIGHTNOW!

10. Ask your viewers to subscribe, comment and like every. single. video. Add annotations to remind them (sometimes they forget you know). A good annotation: "Haha, cute puppy, PRESS LIKE OR YOUR COMPUTER WILL SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST" Always say it's not at all about the subscribers, but then do giveaways when you hit the big numbers and always say things like "Omg, I remember when I had like 2 subscribers and it was my mom and my dog and I never thought SOOO many people would care about what I have to say. So here's to my 50 subs! Eeek!" Also, ask really weird questions at the end of your video so people will reply with a comment. "So guys, tell me in the comments when the last time you picked your nose was! Yeah, can't wait to read your responses....I just LOVE to read your responses....I even hired a response reader to read them to me while my OTHER assistants massage my feet."

Oh yeah, write a small dissertation in your description box detailing every single thing discussed with all of them linked. If this doesn't take at least 3 hours, you're doing it wrong. Make sure the words that show without expanding the box are: READ ME or CLICK FOR MORE INFO or YOUR MOM WAS HERE.


Just remember, you are a goddess! You are always right, always perfect and always worshiped! Just whip your beautiful volumous hair around and fake your confidence!.....What do you mean volumous isn't a word? Oh. it's voluminous? But I'm a beauty guru and I can make things up and no one will ever know because I'm deleting your comment and blocking you because THIS IS YOUTUBE AND THE LIGHTING MADE THAT WORD UP, NOT ME.

***Suffice it to say, this is all in good fun. I have a twisted sense of humor and for those of you who have watched me for a long time, you know I'm poking fun at myself here. Yes, someone's going to get mad because not everyone thinks everything I say is funny. But whatever. I'll just delete your comment. Just kidding....kind of. Hehe, I'm NOT insecure damn it.

And P.S.- The comment up there wasn't actually a reply to anyone. I just used a little cut and paste in good ole' Paint (circa 1991) with an actual comment someone left. #bored

See you guys soon! *wink* *finger wave*

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If the shoe fits.... doesn't matter if it's not the right shade of gold. I went c-r-a-z-y looking for the perfect shade of gold shoes to match the dress I wore last weekend to a holiday party. Not true gold or soft gold or sparkly gold. More like burnished gold or old gold. I even considered desperate measures to make things match: paint the zipper detailing silver with nail polish? Spray paint a pair of strappy sandals gold? No and no. But almost.

Lucky for me, my boyfriend wandered into the shoe sale racks at Macy's and found me the perfect pair of Chinese Laundry gold shoes! That grants him immunity from my wrath for about.........oh who's already expired. Tada:

This is the one head to toe body shot we captured. We're plagued with red eye, Jess is on my foot and a camera man is doing Idunnowhat in the back? Fail shot.

A better look at the dress. That's 'Hey Everyone' Katie!

If I don't have to shoe shop for the rest of my life, I 'll be the happiest woman on earth. Maybe I'll just wear a simple black dress next year...