This is the top that keeps giving. After summer is over I’m going to slap a crisp white shirt or a t-shirt under this and call it a continuum.
We were walking all over Paris a few weeks back, knowing fully well that the subway was probably faster but choosing instead to take a slower way around so we could stop at any cafe, bar, or shop that piqued our interest. I kept my wardrobe for this trip pretty chill—I overpacked in my last trip and have this painful memory of Nick carrying around my oversized suitcase around the old cobblestone Czech Republic and Amsterdam streets where elevators are not a thing.
After a lot of time road testing some of my favorite items in my closet I have a few things to say. Here goes:
The Boyy Bag Karl 24cm is my favorite bag on earth to travel with. It is impossible to get into so you know your things like passports and loose change are safe in it. You can wear it cross body, or on your shoulder, or carry it on the top handle like a chic modern lady bag. It’s roomy enough to fit more than you think, but small enough to still be appropriate for most dressy occasions. I use it for work, I use it for travel, and it is starting to show some wear so I think I’ve decided to get a new one when this one finally wears out completely. I bought mine for $700 when the bag just launched a few years back, using a heavy promo code strategy on Farfetch. Now, they are hard to get on a promo code so they will run around $1,000, but the benefit is that now Boyy has some new colors and configurations that are exciting updates to the Karl style.
Okay, so the Everlane glove flats just came out a few months ago, but they are worthy of a spot on my list of things to say because they live up to their comfortable claims — as long as you break them in. They are like ballet slippers; they require work, lots of delicate pre-work to get them to a place where they become the most comfortable sock-slipper thing you want to put on your feet when you’re walking a bunch. Style-wise, they' are less like ballet slippers and more like the animated shoes they drew on Cinderella back in the day. They’re truly simple, and that is all you want sometimes when the rest of the outfit does most of the talking. I got mine in nude, which for me makes me look like I’m walking around barefoot — I love that. To break them in, stretch them out by hand a few days before to avoid the leather straining the life out of the tops of your feet. You really have to look after your pedicure with these shoes because even the shortest toeneails will begin to eat at the lining on the inside of the shoe as you walk. This is probably half my fault for having an aggressive gait (I guess?), but I also lay half the blame on the shoe and it’s too-soft liining. But thinking of the alternative — tougher shoe lining — would kind of defeat the point of a buttery soft leather glove shoe, so this whole argument nets to zero. Just remember this: to avoid your big toe nail from eating through the leather I suggest you reinforce the toe beds of the shoe with some sort of strong medical tape. I got a strong gauze from the pharmacy and lined the toe tips a few times. It takes a bit of time to get it to look seamless, but it works. Boom, solved.
The shoe runs true to size, although it is on the narrow side. You'll want to break them in before they get comfortable and reinforce the toe beds.
I’ve got a new job lined up for 2019 and I’m excited for the change. When I say excited just know it’s excited mixed in with that stomach-turning anxiety that comes with upending your normal routine, the one that you’ve been accustomed to for years, and you’re switching it for a new challenge, new people, and a great opportunity. I’m ready! But, before I start I’m taking some time for myself to recharge and take care of some business. Part of that business? Overhauling my entire closet.
I mean it: if I haven’t worn anything in more than 6 months it is literally going to Goodwill or being sold. I’ve said this before, sure, but I am pretty impressed with the follow through this time. It was borderline heartless: goodbye stuff, nice knowing you.
Speaking of stuff: I have a ton of designer items in excellent condition listed on Depop right now* . My goal is to make room for nothing in my closet. That’s right, nothing. I want to open my closet and see spaces between the hangers. The kind of spaces you see when you’re in a fancy boutique like The Row and everything is spaced out and looks so relaxing and pleasing. I want that but for a closet. Same goes for shoes, accessories, and socks.
I want to open my closet in the morning and gaze into a minimal closet of 100% amazing things that go together no matter what. I am sick of the cognitive load of what to wear and am finally taking the time to build my ideal closet.
I’ve done the majority of heavily lifting now, which mostly entailed cleaning, donating, and listing items. In short, i’ve made room! My closet is looking pretty empty and what remains are things that I feel confident are awesome. I would be lying if I didn’t’ admit that I am folding my clothes a la Marie Kondo now, and yes it does help me see my clothes better when they’re all stacked all nicely like books. This means I’m ready for the next step: finding outfits that make me great and still feel like me. There’s nothing worse than chasing trends and finding they don’t work at all on your body, or worse you feel so uncomfortable that you can’t focus on anything but peeling off the stupid outfit as soon as you get the chance.
Which brings me to this photo above: Aside from the fact that this pretty woman in the photo is probably close to 6-feet tall, I’m going to go ahead and say that I still think this outfit would look pretty bomb on someone, say, 5’3” like me. With the right tailor** and a hot iron I think this is pretty achievable.
I remember I posted about these types of outfits before, so I’m going to go through my entire blog archive (including the Blogspot days) and really zero in on what my style is like before committing to a new purchase.
**Depop: People, make me offers! I am motivated to sell! I want to see people wear stuff they are excited about, so feel free to make a solid offer and I’ll likely accept it.
*San Francisco Tailors! Sally is fantastic and can literally tailor a swimsuit to your body. I know because I’ve asked her to do this.
One of the nicest things about having a blog for over 10 years is being able to look way back into what my style has been over the years. I get to see in actual words and pictures what I looked like, what I liked, and what I didn't. After taking a look at my history I know two things with certainty.
1. Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.
One: I can tell you that I've simplified my style enormously. This fact pleases me. My style habits have simplified too. For example, I used to be so concerned about trends, what was "in," and who was cool. Now I don't think I really have a clue, and this is by choice. I like some things, but mostly don't care too much about who is wearing what or what the hell any publication talks about. This is because I worked in advertising since forever and worked at Condé Nast, so that insider knowledge of what marketers and editors deem important is what gives me confidence that my personal opinions about what I choose is cool is just as credible as what any editorial, ad, or otherwise says so. Another way I've simplified is that I have also unfollowed mostly everyone that I don't consider a source of positive inspiration. That means my Instagram (my only means of social media these days, and even that's on it's way out) hovers just under following 99 people. No offense! I feel confident that the combination of these two things help keep my style feeling like me.
I like to keep things pretty simple, basic even, but with one unconventional, quirky, or masculine touch. Take the skirt above for example. It's one of my favorite items from Louis Vuitton S/S 2015. When I saw it on the runway I knew that instant while scrolling the slideshow that I wished I could have one of the skirts from the collection. I also know that A-line skirts are very flattering for my body type because I have big hips and a butt. So I was tickled when I found a skirt from the collection on TheRealReal in my size and in excellent condition for a good price. Ever since then it's a quick outfit for me — I pop a sweater over it, a men's basic t-shirt, wear it with tights, flats, pretty much whatever — and I know I'll feel pretty great. This skirt is quirky enough for me to keep the rest of the look simple. It also has a nice resale value for when I feel like I'm over it enough to banish it from my (now) pretty small closet.
2. Give less fucks.
The second thing I know for sure is that I've physically changed. My weight has fluctuated — think of a line chart crawling slowly upwards as a line for my metabolism goes the other way. Also, my skin is getting older, wrinklier, with more acne (ughh). And, to top it off, my hair is going gray, and the texture is going wiry. In short, I'm getting older.
I used to worry so much about losing weight. I'd constantly spend my days wanting to shed a "couple more pounds" because I'd tell myself that I'd be happy and have it all after that. I can see now how that was such a waste of time.
My skin hasn't exactly turned on me either. I've taken care of it since I was younger with sunscreen and proper care routines so I guess the wrinkles appearing around my face are unavoidable. The acne was a real curve ball though — more on that one another time. In general, I throw my skin conditions in the same bucket as my weight — I just don't want to be too concerned about the natural course and physical consequences of me living my life. I have a good life. I worked hard for it. No, it's not perfect, but I choose to be happy.
Finally, my hair. I've never really had beautiful hair. I know this with confidence. I just don't think I've ever come to terms that it was never going to be long and healthy at the same time. I can't seem to grow it past my shoulders and when I cut it to that length it seems to split despite my best efforts. My hair is dark ash brown, dense, Mexican, and coarse, with flyaways and baby hairs galore. If I'm stressed, my hair shows it because it begins to thin. Sigh. These three things plus my style have occupied plenty of mental space and time on this blog, and being able to read about it recap-style all and see it over the years makes me see that what I thought was a big deal at the time is not really a deal at all.
Here's to more simplified living in 2018 and beyond.
What I'm wearing
Hanes Men's black t-shirt, $20. Medium.
Purchased at Target in a pack of 2.
Louis Vuitton S/S 2015 skirt, $450. Size 40 FR.
Found in excellent condition on The RealReal last year, normally $2,000.
Repossi silver ring, $700.
Via Barneys as an engagement ring alternative for casual days (no longer available as Repossi doesn't make silver jewelry anymore)
Kathleen Whitaker Gold Foil Studs. $60
KathleenWhitaker.com, my go to earrings.
Repossi ear silver cuff, $900.
Via TheRealReal. Purchased as a gift from me to me when I turned 30 because Repossi no longer makes silver jewelry and I'm not about to spend $10,000 on their gold/diamond pieces.
This is Suitcase in the foreground looking out of his favorite window in our house. It's the largest one in the living room that doesn't get opened quite often because it's so big and faces the neighbor's house side directly and looks into any open windows they may have open. Lately though, I've noticed our new neighbors have a new little cat that is seems to only get one window to peer outside from, so this little cat stares out all day with the widest, concerned blue eyes I've ever seen. This little cat is terrified of any movement, probably because it's still getting used to the new house smells and sounds and people outside. Now, I've been trying to get Suitcase to notice this little cat for a while now just because I know Suitcase will probably think this new cat is for him. My Suitcase is an alpha, he believes that anything inside the house is his, and anything outside the house is infringing on his territory. His favorite thing to do is sit in one of the half a dozen windows open for him at a time and just observe his quiet neighborhood with occasional people walking. Finally, after weeks of trying to make him see this new cat, he saw it yesterday and it was this beautiful little cat moment where these two kitties who are never going to meet finally saw each other.
Why am I telling you this instead of talking about something about clothes and sales and shoes? Because these private moments at home are more valuable to me these days than what used to be the thrill of the sale hunt. We're gearing up for another Black Friday and Cyber Monday shit show and I can see the promos pile up in my Inbox, all calling for my attention with discounts and the promise of a stylish me. All I feel now when I see promos like that is just a pit of nervousness in my stomach because it makes me remember the 15 years of debt that I got myself into with credit cards. I was in deep, about five figures, which in some parts of the U.S. almost buys you a house. It took sweat, blood, and so many tears to get out of it and now I just couldn't give a fuck about shopping like I used to.
I want young people growing up and starting their careers to know that you don't have to have the most designer-y pieces ever to be a confident up-and-comer in your workplace. You shop smart for specific things and know your style. Recycle your clothes, sell what you can, donate what you can. Instead of paying attention to promos and sales, focus on your people skills. Your life isn't going to change with that new top/jacket/purse/pair of boots, so just unplug.
If you read this far and are rolling your eyes, well let me tell you there is a literal sea of other blogs you can go to for gift guides, the same "candid" pose down the street with the blogger adjusting their glasses in such a way, and a real tone-deaf recommendation to "invest' in clothing and shoes. Thanks for stopping by!
I currently have three Everlane cashmere sweaters in my cart. Two of them are black — laugh out loud, amirite? I already own one Everlane cashmere sweater —the black crewneck cashmere crop sweater in a size Medium, and I swear it's the best sweater in my closet. I've put this in the washing machine by accident and it's still amazing. I use the Laundress's cashmere brush on it to de-pile it and it holds up so well. But I'm thinking it's time to invest in more than one sweater I wear two to three times a week.
Now that Everlane cashmere sweaters are $100 I'm hoping that the quality is still good enough to warrant me ordering three this week. (Please be the same quality, please, please!)
Also, seeing this editorial from The Line with Saskia de Brauw just makes this all make so much sense right now. I want to be this gamine minimalist, with the quirky attitude and the tailored clothing for frigid office environments.
What's holding me back from pulling the trigger on said sweater? Money.
I'm debt free, but that doesn't mean I don't budget still. Next week they are mine!
I shall report back on quality.
Anyone who knows the pain of fickle acne-prone skin knows that a hyper-regimented routine is one of the keys to keeping nonsense under control. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I have all the answers, but what I will do is tell you what is working for me as I work to meticulously scrub all of my makeup (gently).
First of all just know this is my night routine (aka, as soon as I get home from work and don't have to spend another second in my makeup because my skin hates makeup). I come home from work, which sometimes is very late, I say hello to Nick so he can appreciate the last glance of me with makeup on, then I go straight to the bathroom to wash it all off.
Step 1: Remove the makeup. All of it.
I start with the Tatcha Camelia Oil, hot water, and a clean white washcloth towel. You know those 12-packs from Target? Those. I use one every time I wash my face because my face is a delicate flower that appreciates clean towels. I love the Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil because I've tried just about freaking everything to remove waterproof makeup and this is the most gentle and effective. Fair warning: it is oily AF, but it's meant to be. It says so on the dang label: OIL. So, I gently work the oil into my skin, around my eyes, and let it dissolve the makeup. You're going to look like a raccoon before you wash it all off, but enjoy it because it does come off with water. I use the washcloth with a dip in hot water and start scrubbing away pretty forcefully around my acne-prone cheeks and get everything off, including any dead skin. I try to use one side of the towel to wipe off the makeup removing oil, wring it out, and I can keep the other side ready for step 2.
Step 2: Counterbalance the Oil. Get Squeaky Clean.
The Tatcha Camelia Oil works best when it's used in tandem with the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder. I prefer the Indigo one because it claims to be "calming" and it seems to work well for my skin. The rice powder smells like the bottom of a Rice Krispies cereal bag, which is delightful. It's wonderful as a step 2 because it soaks up all of the excess oil from Step 1 and leaves my skin literally squeaky clean. You pour a little bit of rice powder on your hand, put a couple drops of water in it and massage it on your face. Then, simply wash it right off. I like to use the clean side of my towel to pat it dry at this point.
Step 3: Reapply Moisture. The First of Many Serums
I like this Pura D'Or Vitamin C serum a lot as the first thing right after I wash my face. It's light but potent and soaks into my skin immediately. Also, it's a much cheaper option than other more prettier packaged products — hey Glossier, hey girl. I pat a couple drops on this all around my face (avoiding my eyes) and let it dry. I like the idea that vitamin C is against free radicals, and the concept of anti-aging firmness and such. Mostly, I like the way this serum soaks into my face and immediately feels happy, less dry, less, itchy.
Step 4: La Mer Treatment Lotion. Spoiler alert, It ain't no lotion.
I know what you think, OMG La Mer, how annoyingly expensive, you're just another braggy sonofabitch like the rest of 'em.
No. I've done the La Mer creams and what not and they aren't for me. But this? This is wholly worthy of inclusion into a post. Do I know how expensive it is? Fuck yeah. But it's my face I'm talking about here, not my elbow, not my hands, not my legs. My over 30-year-old, acne prone, business wheeling and dealing face. And all I know is this lotion feels more like a toner but it's amazing nonetheless. I use my clean hands and dab a couple drops to let it soak into my skin. Letting it dry is key here. I'm layering product number two on my newly cleaned skin so I let the first layer take a minute to absorb before introducing the La Mer Treatment Lotion. What's so fabulous about it? It claims to moisturize (it does) and help balance your skin texture (it does), but what I love about it is how dewy my skin feels immediately after using it. I feel expensive, but with acne, which is I guess middle-class fancy — and that's still pretty fucking cool. It makes a nice primer for the next step, which could honestly be nothing, but I do like to add one more thing.
Step 5: Moisturize, Anti-Age All-In-One Serum Lotion.
Listen, I don't know what exactly makes this Clarins Double Serum special besides the fact that the bottle seems to contain one serum within another one, but I do know is that it is one of the most agreeable anti-aging serums my face has ever experienced. My skin tends to get very fickle after applying products, much less three in a row, so it's a dang miracle that Clarins manages to be one of the few day time and night time moisture solutions that work with a bunch of other stuff or by itself.
After I let the La Mer lotion fully absorb I use the lowest setting on this double serum's fancy bottle (it gives you the option for one drop or two, but a little goes a long way with this one). I dab this on my face and pat it evenly around my cheeks, forehead, around my eyes, and finally a little on my oily ass chin because apparently if I deprive this needy section of skin with the moisture it retaliates with its own pore-clogging oil. I let this final layer of product dry and admire my dewy skin in the mirror.
This combination works for me right now, so I love it and want to share. I dermaplane my skin every two weeks with a face razor, I use other products during that time, and during high-noon pimpled times my routine changes a lot. Which I will share once I figure out how to leave work with more time to do things like eat, shower, relax, etc.
Let's talk cost:
TOTAL cost = $395.42
That's like $400 dollars. WTF.
First of all: I KNOW. It's expensive. BUT these products will last a good 6+ months so there's that.
You do the math on that cost per use and you start getting into some rational territory:
6 months = 180 days , so $400 dollars ÷ 180 days is roughly $2.22 a night.
Suggestion? Build up the products slowly.
FFS don't go out and put these on a credit card. There are many lessons to be had there!
Everyone's skin is different, so go to Sephora and Nordstrom (two very samples-friendly places) and ask for hella samples for all of these before you commit. Especially the pricey items like Clarins and La Mer. Test them out! See how they make your skin feel. If you like them, incorporate them one at a time to your routine. While you do that, I think the Vitamin C and washcloths are no brainers due to their nominal costs.
Update 11:41pm | Thanks to @animalnecklaces for the note on Instagram about forgetting to include La Mer cost. Love the eagle eyes, girl!
I'm in the middle of a considerable stretch of time off from work. It's been relaxing so far in that I get to clean my house to the level I want, I get to reorganize most of everything in my office that has been shoved into numerous "ugh I'll get to this later" boxes, and I've even started about half a dozen paintings. Riveting stuff, but this is what I've been looking forward to for months.
Yep, there's a certain level of self reflection going on, but for the most part I have to say that not going to work, not wearing make up, not really having to worry about anything has been the most luxurious experience that I've never been able to schedule for myself. Sure, I'm spending through a savings buffer that allows me to keep up with my bills and home stuff and even the occasional fun item, but all in all I'd say this is the best vacation ever because I didn't realize how much I needed it; Just me at home with Suitcase, working out in my garage, watching the same old movies I've seen a million times while I work on personal projects that no one cares about or even asked for but me. If you're ever between jobs (and you can afford it) do yourself a favor and negotiate a hefty amount of time for yourself before starting your next gig. Take the time to power down the old job, shutter lingering freelance whatevers, and make time to figure out what the hell you look and behave like without a 9-5.
"Wear SPF every day."
That is the official recommendation from dermatologists and doctors that even cloudy days have skin-damaging UV potential, so use sun protection. Since my teens I have been using SPF in some form or another on a daily basis — a hat, lotion, sunglasses, long sleeves during peak summer hours. Plus, it's in my makeup, my face lotion, and even my lip colors. I think it's safe to say SPF is a good and established part of my skin routine right now and I have trusty list of products I use to help me stay UV protected.
So enter Glossier's new Invisible Shield. Two weeks ago I was sent a sample of their new face sunscreen that arrived in their famous pink Glossier packaging. Cute! Ok, open the box, see a pink plastic ziplock bag and a postcard of clever sounding copywriting about the convenience Glossier's sunblock for people who don't have time, hate the texture, hate the traditional white finish of other sunblocks, excuses, etc. Hmm, ok. I was intrigued. They claim a gel like water texture that doesn't leave any residue or tackiness so makeup loves and SPF haters can equally practice "safe sun." Cool, I can be in to that!
So I dig past the stickers that I still will never use and get to the plastic box that contains the even smaller plastic bottle of Invisible Shield. My first impression is: This is small, how much is this again?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, SPF is for everyone, it should be water resistant, above a 30 SPF, and reapplied to exposed skin every 2 hours. For a Glossier 30 ml tube you'll pay about $1.06 per ml for just one ounce.
There are no recommendations on the quantity to use on the Invisible Shield bottle or on the Glossier site, except for "apply over your entire face." Makes sense to me as I would like me entire face to be sun protected, but given watery consistency of the product I'm guessing that the one ounce in this plastic bottle will not go very far since it's clear, comes with pump that spits out fixed quantities.
I begin to slather it on my pre-moisturized face and feel like a cooling watery gel on my face. There's no real smell that offends me here and it goes on my face very easily. It dries very quickly and I'm finished applying all over my entire face in a matter of seconds. Yay.
Now what? Am I ready for the sun? According to the label, you should apply it 15 minutes before sun exposure, so I guess the answer is yes. Problem is, I just don't feel it on my skin, which may be the entire point of it. So ok! I'm super into that, but as an avid lifelong user of more lotioney or creamy sunscreens, which can be applied evenly more easily and with confidence that I covered my entire face truly, I can't really tell If I did a good job with the Invisible Shield. I do appreciate how thin Glossier Invisible Shield feels on my face, but how do I know it's going to work?
I start looking at the ingredients.
Hmm, I don't know what any of this is, and the one ingredient that I know is in sunblock (zinc) is nowhere to be found here. Aye. I have no idea what I'm looking at. I'm no chemist! Which is normally not a problem in my daily life. I'm just a normal well-intentioned citizen looking for a sunblock that is efficient and works well in my daily routine of light use of makeup and sometimes no makeup (#feminism #YouDoYou). Having no training or background in chemistry or a solid understanding of what chemicals differentiate a good SPF with a bad one, I'm left wondering if the Glossier Invisible Shield will require sheer blind trust that it will work.
I look to their site and I find very little in terms of details. I like that they offer a list of the entire ingredients in the bottle, but again, I'm just not qualified to understand what I'm looking at. As a person who has chosen marketing as their career profession, I also can't really understand why Glossier chose to market it so willy nilly, instead of using facts from dermatologists and more compelling selling points than "leaves no residue" and that your makeup will be rad. I would have talked more about why they chose the chemicals they chose and why they avoided others. Why watery texture? What does it do? Why is this so expensive? Why not just buy Khiels or Neutrogena? Did I just get the dumbed down PR introduction to the product?
I'm a fan of the gumption behind Glossier, but there is a difference between makeup and sunscreen. Makeup is optional. Sunscreen is legit doctor recommended stuff that includes products that you rub on your skin to avoid skin cancer, wrinkles, and harmful UV rays.
Is it great to start getting more people wearing SPF? Absolutely. Is this really the best SPF to do that? I don't know. I just don't know. And my skin is too important to me to place that hope in a blind trust that it will work as promised and not react with my skin. I just need more info.