Category Archives: Bloggin’

Mirrors

No, this isn’t about Justin Timberlake’s new single.

Have you ever noticed when you look in the mirror that you only see what’s “wrong” with what you see? Our internal dialogue says,

My face looks fatter

My jaw is weird

This part of my hair is doing that thing again

I look tired

I wish I looked more like So-and-So

We do facial gymnastics, practicing our smiles to be better, we pose, prod, and adjust our bodies so they’ll look more this way or that.

But have you ever thought of what it might do if, when you look in the mirror, you see what’s good?

My skin is vibrant

That zit I had is gone

My eyes are nice

I like the shape of my jaw

I look happier

Whatever it is, use the mirror as a way to recognize the good instead of check up on and exacerbate what you see as negative in yourself. It’s a looking glass. Not a problem finder.

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On Being Pretty

I would like to speak completely openly about something right now, and I don’t feel it’s something a lot of women are comfortable talking about. I am here to talk to you about being pretty.

My history of body image has been less tumultuous than average, I’d say. In high school, I thought I was slightly heavier than I really was, but other than that, I haven’t had complaints, and I first began owning the thought that I’m beautiful around 2010 when I was in my early 20’s. I saw room for improvement, of course, but I still saw my reflection and thought, “I am a beautiful person, and I am comfortable with who I am.”

My dating life, for what it’s worth, has been nonexistent my whole life. That is not what this post is about. My point is that, whether I was putting off a vibe, or whether they just didn’t exist, I rarely had men or women expressing to me in whatever way that they were interested in me. I can think of exactly two people. Except for occasionally being honked at on the street.

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Flash forward to my life in Los Angeles. I moved here in 2011, nearly two years ago. The life of an artist, in my experience, is always bringing new and unexpected opportunities. I got involved with a company of hair professionals in January of 2012. They cut my hair a few times, but it wasn’t until November of last year that they put a look on me that was drastically different. They dyed my hair light blonde, gave me purple tips, and slapped on some asymmetry. I love anything this team has ever done for me, but this look required something extra. I looked at myself and said, “I can’t just wear a t-shirt and jeans anymore.” I had a stylish cut, and I began to dress and make up myself stylishly, too. I wore makeup consistently for the first time in my life, and I learned to accessorize. It’s been a lot of fun exploring my feminine side. Most importantly, I do it for me and no one else. Dressing up is just one of the many art forms I enjoy.

But people started to notice.

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Individuals at work began to treat me differently, and it makes me uncomfortable. I feel I get away with things in my department that my coworkers wouldn’t. I’m not talking about murder, here, but I do feel I get different treatment.

Total strangers started doing nice things for me: letting me park in a closer garage that’s only supposed to be for visitors instead of employees, for instance. People on the street, men, usually, stare at me now as I walk by. Many talk to me.

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I know very well how I was treated when it was just for my personality. With my dull blonde hair and pretty but wholly unremarkable face, I knew exactly where I stood with people, and that is how I was raised. I am from the South/Midwest, and we are not raised to be superficial. We are raised to be wholesome individuals who contribute to society. The difference between how I was treated then and how I’m treated now are worlds apart. And it’s all because of how I look. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. And this is why I’ve decided to go back to how I was before.

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I still like dressing up. I still like wearing some makeup most days. I will dress up when I like and dress how I like. But I do not want to represent the pretty people. It is not for me. When everything started happening effortlessly for me, I felt I lost something. I worried I’d lose my drive and passion and start relying on others doing things for me based on my looks. That is not how I want to earn my future. I want to earn it because I am a decent person, fun to be around, and a hard worker. I don’t want to be handed my life on a silver platter.

Here is a related post called, “On Being Ugly:”

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I watched a recent vlogbrothers video today, and a “passage” really jumped out at me. I have seen John Green speak a few times in person, and he is a great speaker with a lot of brilliant ideas. These are truly words to live by.


“Don’t make stuff because you want to make money–it will never make you enough money–and don’t make stuff because you want to get famous because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts. Maybe they will notice how hard you worked and maybe they won’t. If they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating, but ultimately that doesn’t change anything because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.

How to cure a hoarse voice

Here’s the situation:

I’m narrating an online course. I’m leaving town tomorrow, so I need to finish narrating before I leave. I thought I’d be able to get through it yesterday, but after narrating for nearly ten hours, I realized I had over-used my voice and was damaging it so I stopped.

Six hours later I felt like I had strep throat. I woke up this morning hoping for an amazing recovery. I was not satisfied. I still have several more hours of narrating to do and I can barely talk.
Say hello to the internet! Someone has got to know how to cure a hoarse or lost voice, right?
WRONG. SO, SO WRONG. I was horrified by the answers people were giving to “fix” this problem!

just whisper!

cough drops!

ice cream!

No, you guys. Oh my god, I can’t believe people actually think this is the answer.

I think I need to admit this to myself now so I can teach you all a lesson: there isn’t a whole lot you can do to cure a hoarse voice besides wait. There isn’t an easy fix. I know I wish there were, but think about it: when you cut your finger, there isn’t fairygodmothersome magic serum Madam Pomfrey gives you to make it heal in three seconds. Sure there are things you can do to help the healing along, but chiefly, you gotta wait!

Let me tell you why these “fixes” don’t work:

Cough drops:

This reminds me of a commercial I saw the other day. The target audience was people who own elderly pets. The pets slowly stop being able to have fun like when they were young pups because of joint pain and whatnot. Product to the rescue! The commercial was selling a medicine that would make the pain go away! Oooohhh, the pet owners were so happy! Rover loves running in the park again!

Never once did they mention anything about making the problem go away. Just the pain.

Pain, though painful, is actually a very helpful tool. It is your brain’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m hurt. Please stop doing that and I’ll feel better. Take it easy.” Now that the dog’s brain isn’t receiving that message, Rover is going to be doing the same damage as before, but ten-fold because he has no idea it’s hurting him. The product it actually just going to make the situation worse.

Now apply this to cough drops. Cough drops these days are created to numb your throat, relieve the pain. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to speak anymore, but that doesn’t mean you’re cured. When you were in pain, at least the pain was reminding you to rest your voice. I know we’re taught not to listen to our bodies these days, but trust me: they’re right.

Now think about this name: cough drops.

Rule to remember: only take cough drops when you’ve got a cough.

Whispering:

Whispering is actually quite harmful to your voice (regardless of if you’re sick or hoarse or healthy). It sends copious amounts of air across your vocal folds and dries them out. It also puts a lot of stress on them. When your voice is hoarse, stay on-voice, but speak quietly. There’s a difference between whispering and speaking quietly.

Ice cream:

I have nothing against ice cream. But this is the same principal as cough drops: numbing so you can pretend the problem is gone. No one likes to be in pain–if you want to eat ice cream and cough drops, that’s totally fine! Just as long as you’re aware it doesn’t entitle you to speak.

As a general statement, anything you try with your voice that makes you cough afterward is not helping.

Now, here’s something that actually might help you:

Humming. Yes, humming. A gentle hum can actually do wonders for the voice. Just don’t hum all day.

And I’ve heard good things about gargling warm salt water a couple times a day (just don’t swallow!).

Also, inhale steam a couple times a day. Two sessions of five minutes is better than one session of ten. You can do this over a boiling pot on the stove or buy a steam machine–Vick’s makes them, and they aren’t too expensive.

This is why people drink tea (though they don’t realize this is the reason): the actual tea–the honey, the lemon, all that stuff people tell you is good for your voice–doesn’t do a whole lot. It’s really the steam you’re inhaling from the tea. Let me explain something: when you swallow, your vocal folds are moved out of the way. Nothing you eat or drink is going to make contact with your vocal folds. The only way to get to them directly is by inhaling. This is why smokers have those gritty voices; smoking is all an act of inhaling, so all the gross stuff in the smoke is passing over their vocal cords. When you inhale steam, the water plumps up your vocal cords!

I’m gonna be real though. In the end, the best thing you can do–the quickest fix you can get–is rest your voice. If you want to see results fast, you have got to commit to not talking. Also, I know this seems like one of those catch-alls like drink lots of water–which, by the way you should do (and notice I didn’t say “fluids”, I mean water)–get lots of sleep. Sleep does wonders for vocal cords.

One last thing: clearing your throat. Not good! It is not a pretty sound. You know why? You’re grinding your vocal cords together. That doesn’t sound very good for them, does it? Our brain prompts us to clear our throats when mucus is getting too close to our vocal cords, so this might be something you’ll be doing a lot because, even if you’re not sick, our body’s natural response to all this damage is mucus. Drinking a lot of water will help to thin out the mucus, but if you must do something about it, try doing a “young lady cough”. No voice is involved in this one, just a short puff of air. It sounds a little like “eh eh eh eh”. These little puffs of air hopefully will be enough to dislodge all that yummy stuff in your throat.

Well, I hope this was beneficial! If you don’t need the advice now, maybe it’ll help in the future!

Stay healthy!

4/24/2013 Update: Thanks so much, everyone for your feedback. I look forward to providing more tips in the future. I recently lost my voice, and would like to share my experience and what I learned from it HERE! Includes helpful sound clips.

Tracks!

I’m a little apprehensive about posting this because this will be the first major intersection of two of my lives. This isn’t even a big event, but it feels like it. People who watch me on YouTube (or “watched”, since I don’t ever get around to posting anymore) have never actually seen me act. They haven’t seen me onstage. As I spoke about in a recent entry, all of my different lives are beginning to converge in one place; it’s impossible to keep them separate. Where I was once able to keep a partition around my personal life (e.g., facebook), my family (email and a blog), my internet life (e.g., YouTube and this blog), and my professional life (pretty much anything non-internet), the Venn diagram that represented all that has become a single circle. On facebook, I’m now friends with my mom, my mentor, potential employers, YouTube people I don’t really know…

All I’m trying to say is that I went to Detroit last weekend for a voice-over workshop on accents and dialects, and this is what came out of it:

‘Bye, Y’all! – Southern accent sketch: Hobart “Bob” Reynolds, Mary Kay Florek, Morgan Bailey

Our instructor! Look him up! Chances are, you've heard him hundreds of times
Our instructor, Pat Fraley! Look him up! Chances are, you've heard him hundreds of times

New Yorkers – New York accent sketch: Jody Zink, Michelle Falzon, Morgan Bailey

That's Mark Boyd on my right, then Mary Kay Florek, then Michelle Falzon
That's Mark Boyd on my right, then Mary Kay Florek, then Michelle Falzon

Medic! – English accent sketch: Jody Zink, Kevin Scollin, Morgan Bailey

Recording Russian Ebonics
Recording Russian Ebonics

Russian Ebonics Class – Mark Boyd, Matt Adams, Morgan Bailey (this one’s my favorite)

Group Shot

This is my life now. Welcome to it.