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A Singer's Essentials: Accessories

For the New Year I wanted to offer you all some of my 'essential' products for a singer's life, so I've made a list of some things that I simply cannot live without. And no, in case you were wondering, I'm not being paid or compensated in any way to endorse these products. I merely like them enough to want to share their awesomeness with the world, and with you, dear Reader. Although I wouldn't mind having a lifetime supply of some of these things...and neither will you, once you try them! So, happy reading and happy finding new favorite go-to products for yourself or the singer who is dear to you.

1.) Burt's Bees Lozenges (http://www.burtsbees.com/product/natural-throat-drops%3A-honey/01441-00.html)

Especially when Winter is in full force and we are plagued by dry air from indoor heating on full blast, having a lozenge in my purse or coat pocket at all times is essential. I especially like these because they don't have any high fructose corn syrup in them nor do they have any artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives- it's truly the best lozenge that I've found on the market today.

2.) Eucalyptus Essential Oil (https://www.instacart.com/whole-foods/products/136645-365-eucalyptus-essential-oil-2-fl-oz)

This picture illustrates a bottle that I purchased here in Germany (hence the German writing on the label) but it doesn't matter what brand or where you purchase this stuff- the link above shows that they have it at Whole Foods, for example- just that it's 100% pure essential oil. The reason this is one of my go-to products at all times of year is because Eucalyptus Essential Oil is excellent for getting rid of any nasal congestion that you may have. I just sprinkle a generous amount of it on the wall of the shower and then once you've created some steam the oil will evaporate slowly with the steam and you've essentially created your own gigantic vaporizer in your bathroom. It's truly the one remedy that I have used time and time again with fabulous results every time- stuffy noses beware!!

3.) Humidiflyer  (http://humidiflyer.com/)

The Humidiflyer is a nifty and useful little gadget that combats jet lag. Not seeing the direct relevancy to singing yet? Well, what if I told you that one of the main reasons that we get jet lagged is because the air on the airplane is so dry and you get slightly dehydrated because of it? Thus, enter the Humidiflyer! It was designed by a member of Air New Zeland's cabin crew, who wanted to combat the dryness he was constantly exposed to from flying, so he invented this amazing contraption. It has definitely changed my flying experience and bonus- I don't get jet lagged anymore either! Definitely a must for busy singers' schedules who don't want to worry about flying a few days early to combat jet lag. Now you just wear your Humidiflyer for the flight and Voila!-you're singing the same day or the next day without any dryness or residual flight-related vocal issues.

4.) Hollywood Fashion Secrets Stylette (found this on ulta's website, on target's website and on the hollywood website too- so check all 3 if you're having trouble finding it)

This small cosmetic bag is great because it's filled with a ton of useful fashion-emergency items so you can just throw it in your luggage or purse and you know that you are ready for any disaster! What it actually includes is: fashion tape (to hold your clothing in place or do a last-minute hemline), bra converting clips (to make your regular bra into a halterback for a spontaneous workout class), a deodorant removing sponge (because we've all forgotten to let it dry before putting on that little black dress..whoops!), garment shields (since we don't want to dryclean our blazer every time just because the armpits stink), and nipple concealers (for those shirts that are tight or those extra cold days where you don't want to wear a bra that feels like armor), lint removing sheets (because they're so much more compact than a lint roller!), a leather wipe (since that stain will set if it's not gotten rid of pronto!), 2 makeup removing cotton swabs (to remedy the effects of those times when you're on the subway applying your eyeliner and the driver hits the brakes extra hard), and a stain-removing wipe (because when you spilled the coffee on your leather bag you also got it on your pants leg too-oops!). I've also added my own emergency things to this bag too (because they fit in, so why not!?) and they are: bobbypins (in case my hair takes a vacation day), safety pins (you never know when a button will fall off or a zipper will break), a few extra black hair elastics (since I seem to always lose them), bandaids (you never know how terribly a papercut will bleed until you don't have a band-aid on hand), and an emery board (because your nails will always break or chip just when you least want it).


5.) Hollywood Fashion Secrets Fashion Tape (http://www.hollywoodfashionsecrets.com/index.php/shop/apparel-body-tape/fashion-tape-keychain.html)

There's not much to say about this tape- it's your basic double-sided tape which helps to hold your clothing in place when you accidentally lose a button and your blouse would be popping open otherwise, or if you want to keep those bra straps in place when you're wearing a boatneck dress or things like that. You know, fashion emergencies. Hope that you'll find it as useful as I have. Oh, and this one even comes with a cute keychain so you can take it whereever you go- how cool is that!?

6.) Decibullz Custom Moldable Earplugs (here on their website)

My brilliant Husband got these for me after I complained extensively about a flight we took upon which there were 3 screaming babies for 9+ hours. Not to mention we were seated in the part of the plane right behind the engines (AND in 2 of the middle seats of a 2-4-2 seat configuration-Oy vey!) so that noise was crazy too and added to my ears' purgatory for the duration of said flight. Needless to say, after testing these babies out at a noisy club on New Year's Eve, I say bring on your crying toddlers and jet engine noise and anything else you can throw at me- I'm ready--these things work fabulously!!! And they're not nearly as expensive as noise-canceling headphones from Bose (which were the other option I was considering) and they actually work just as well. Because the downside about the ones from Bose were that they only worked fully to cancel the noise if you were playing music, and let's face it, as a musician I don't want to be forced to listen to music for a 9+ hour flight just simply to cancel noise. I don't know how you might feel, but I seem to find that because I work with music on a daily basis and have to listen so intently so very often, I normally just want silence when I'm relaxing. Of course the Bose headphones also had active noise canceling which you could turn on without playing music, but after trying them out at several of their stores, I found honestly that I could still hear things pretty well through despite the active noise-canceling system, and that it wasn't worth it to me to pay over $300 bucks for a product that didn't 100% noise cancel. So, back to the Decibullz. Of course they're not 100% noise-canceling either (but at $20-some bucks on amazon I wouldn't expect them to be) but they do drastically reduce the noise you hear, plus they come with the neat feature that you can mold them to your ear so that their effectiveness is improved through a good seal. Again, they're not perfect, but for my money and for my sensitive ears they block out a good bit of sound. They're also made in the USA, so that's cool too! :)

7.) NYX HD Concealer (found here at Ulta)

This particular product I found by chance when I was looking for some concealer that was in a wand form and was also for HD use. I actually ended up going back to the store and buying another one once I had completely used the first one I had purchased for a few shows last summer. And I am not exaggerating when I say that in the dressing room for those shows all of my female colleagues were asking to use my concealer after the first dress rehearsal had ended and they saw how my makeup looked. So, it's a win-win. The product works superbly, it's cruelty-free because their products are certified by PETA (aka never are any of them tested on animals) and it's not going to cost you a bunch of money (I paid $4.99 at Ulta last time I bought it) though since it's such a good buy you may have to go to a few stores before you find it because it's often sold-out. (First world problems,  people. Truly.)

8.) Zoom Recorder, Model # H5 (found here on amazon.com and here on their website)


 So I know that everyone has their preference when it comes to recording devices for singing, but besides all the technical stuff that this thing can do (it can actually record 4 tracks at once, for example) it's also just really amazingly easy to use, requires only 2 AA Batteries to work, and is really the best recording quality I've gotten yet by using a do-it-myself device. I'll let you read the website to find out about the technical specs, but trust me, it's amazing and you won't be worry. Plus, it's under $300 on Amazon. What's to think about? That's less than a studio session right there! And is there really any reason to go into the studio for those YAP applications? I think not, especially when you can make studio-quality recordings whenever and whereever you like with this Zoom. :)

9.) Fast Scanner App (in the Google Play Store website here)

This handy app is built for both iPhone and Android (yay!) and is FREE (who doesn't like that!?) and is literally super-easy to use. It has cropping functions and allows you to change the darkness of the scan as well as scan multiple pages to be saved in a single pdf document. It's a life-saver when you need music quickly (or any other document, for that matter) and want to transport it without all the hassle of photocopying it. I've definitely saved quite a bit of time and money using this app.


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