a week of outfits.

lately i’ve been feeling like vintage is where it’s at and staring into my closet at the designer items i have that remain on their hangers for fear of chocolate smudges and sweat stains and the messiness of chasing around a 3 year old. i’ve also been burned this year by some purchases, for example the jacquemus dress pictured above that i have been hunting for months, lost out on 3 different times, finally found, paid too much for and then tore at the hip button while trying it on (guess i’m not returning that one). lately i’ve felt like online shopping is more trouble than it’s worth. also i have a lot more fun mining for gold in thrift stores & flea markets and putting together outfits i can actually wear. so my designer discount days may be done, for now anyway. otherwise i’m surprised to find that shorts are back, as are overalls & jumpsuits (three things i have always bought incessantly & also things i thought i’d sworn off). also yellow really is the new black. yellow, orange yellow, yellow on yellow, yellow and gold. yellow, yellow, yellow.

the end.

the big guns.

the big guns.
so i recently took on an entirely new beauty routine, due to the fact that i had a sort of come to jesus moment. one bare-faced morning after a spin class on my way to sephora i was stopped by a woman standing in the doorway of a shop with tea samples. she quickly whisked me inside, sat me down in a plush white leather chair and took out a syringe like plastic tube which she held up under my left eye. she asked me what fillers or botox i had tried (in a way that implied that i was old enough to have been using them for years), and told me she could sell me a product that would do the same thing for a mere $700 (but she’d give it to me for $500– winking face emoji). i walked out of the store feeling stunned and covered in a particular kind of shame, the kind where someone talks to you about flaws that you have that weren’t exactly obvious to you as if they are the most common of knowledge.
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i took a look at the one eye that she had squirted pricey goop on, all strangely perky and bright and showcasing how dark and droopy the other eye-area was and i vowed then to do something about my skin. just not what she was suggesting, because eff her! right about that time i discovered the wonderful caroline hirons. in my skincare come to jesus moment, this video served as the holy grail. multiple light bulbs went off above my head until it all culminated in my mind exploding. i proceeded to buy pretty much everything she suggested. i tried new things and ventured into some new territories, and i’ll break it down for you in a bit.
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to preface this i’ll say that i’m approaching 39 years old, i have a child, and after turning 35 and having a baby my skin took a maje turn into scary town. i have fair, very sensitive skin that is acne prone, and on the oily side instead of the dry side. because i was so prone to breakouts i believed daily exfoliation was necessary, and i had no idea what using a cleanser with beads in it and a clarisonic was doing to my sensitive, thin skin. my skin was red, irritated, and also dull, ruddy and pretty darn saggy. i switched out just about everything, got rid of the harsh stuff and after about a month, my skin is pretty much transformed. the play by play is below:
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  1. firstly i started washing my face in the morning with sunday riley’s ceramic slip cleanser. as caroline suggests, i do this after the shower, i apply the cleanser and remove it with a warm wash cloth (avoiding water on my face has actually made it way less dried out, by the by). this cleanser is gentle, it’s tightening and awesome for pores but it doesn’t dry out my skin at all. it smells lovely too.
  2. next i use the amazing biologique recherche lotion p50. believe the hype on this stuff because it will change your skin. it’s an acid ‘”toner” that exfoliates and balances the skin, sort of like a mini chemical peel without the peeling. it will make your skin glow, and it tears down years of roughness. it also pretty much takes care of any hormonal acne or frozen yogurt pimples that come up for me. i put it on a cotton pad and apply it to my face in little flicks (like so). the cons are that it stinks (like listerine), and it burns a little after putting it on. it is expensive, and it goes quick when you use it twice a day, but it is worth it. i buy it from rescue spa and they’re great. you can log in with your amazon account and pay that way, and shipping is free & fast. highly, highly recommended.
  3. i have been using may coop’s raw sauce as a toner/essence for a few months and i plan to keep it in my routine. it’s hydrating and a little firming, and super gentle. it’s good at calming post p50, and it’s also a good skin-prepper for the magic stuff.
  4. next up is eye cream, aka the bane of my existence. caroline suggested indeed laboratories eyesilix, and i would agree that for a drug store level eye cream, it’s better than the rest. i think it’d be good for someone with minor eye aging issues like fine lines and light puffiness/dark circles. if however you are like me and have zombie eyes, it’s just not enough. i also tried the drug store brand roc retinol eye cream, and it was pretty effective on fine lines and worked okay on puffiness, but didn’t do much for my dark circles. i bought peter thomas roth’s laser-free eye serum because i saw a difference immediately. it took care of fine lines, crows feet, and made a big dent in my dark circles. i also tried kate somerville’s retinol firming eye cream and feel like it might be the best one out there (and i’ve tried everything). it is super pricey, but i immediately saw drastic improvements in dark circles, fine lines and firmness and it is incredibly brightening.
  5. for a face serum i bought peter thomas roth’s laser-free resurfacer. i saw an immediate difference in my skin tone and texture with this serum, it’s also very smoothing, and makes my skin look super bright. the laser-free line is also red and contains something called “dragon’s blood” which is obvs cool. i have also been using chanel’s hydra beauty serum for about a year and totally recommend it as well. it has hyaluronic acid and feels like a moisture shield, and i definitely notice a glow when i use it.
  6. for a moisturizer i bought la roche-posay’s toleraine double repair uv moisturizer. it soothes any redness that the p50 lotion and the laser-free resurfacer cause and makes my skin subtly dewey and smooth. it also has spf 30. i love this product.
  7. i’ve been using la mer’s reparative skin tint for a few months now and i’m totes in love with it. it’s a little plumping and silky smooth and the tint looks amazingly natural. hands down my favorite tinted moisturizer ever, even if it is tre pricey.
  8. for night-time i am still using bioderma’s sensibio as a makeup remover, although i must admit mostly because it’s french and pink. i do like that it’s gentle enough to use on eye makeup.
  9. for a night cleanser i finally got my hands on emma hardie’s moringa cleansing balm after being on a backorder waitlist for over a month (another charming side-effect of venus retrograde), and wow, was it ever worth the wait. this shit is bananas. it has a texture almost like petroleum jelly, and you mix just a little bit with warm water in your hand and spread over your face, then remove with the super soft cleansing cloth that comes with. i cannot believe how well it cleans, it pulls out every last ounce of makeup and grime and leaves your face feeling freaky smooth and creamy. it also smells wonderful.
  10. after cleansing i do the p50 lotion again, then eye serum, and then i bust out the retinol. i’ve been using dermologica’s overnight retinol repair. i would say this is a good intro to retinol, it comes with a buffer cream that you can mix with the retinol cream (they recommend 3 parts buffer cream to 1 part retinol) to ease your skin into it. that only lasted about a week for me, and i use just the retinol cream now with no irritation. i’ve seen a big difference in elasticity, firmness and in dark spots and discoloration with this stuff.
  11. i finish with clarin’s extra-firming night cream. i’ve been using this cream for a couple of years and it’s never irritated my skin (night creams typically make me break out like a tween). it’s super creamy and leaves my skin feeling baby soft.
  12. lastly i added a neck cream, because whoa. i started getting weird lines in my neck that showed up big time in photos. first i tried tarte’s maracuja neck cream, mostly based on the price. i like this cream for smoothing, it definitely improves the texture of the neck and gets rid of any chicken skin action. i didn’t find it to be very firming or to help much with lines, so i tried the incredibly expensive strivectin tl advanced tightening neck cream. this one does all the smoothing stuff that the tarte cream does, but it also firms and tightens. although very pricey, it really does make a difference in firmness around the jaw.

the end.

my best human face.

i think a lot about generations, and lately there is much discussion about the baby boomers and the millennials. i see in the millennial generation such parallels with the baby boomers: the narcissism, the entitlement, the lack of empathy, the desire for bigger better more without a sense of consequence. with all of the drama surrounding the last election much was said about the contrast between the two generations, with baby boomers on one end too absorbed in their version of the past & millennials “too busy posting selfies.” on the other. in the middle of this is my generation: generation x.  we are a generation that clearly remembers life before computers, smart phones, and social media, but we also got in on all of it as it came to be. as the era of selfies sank in i felt the sort of millennial burn out that baby boomers complain about, but i also have an understanding of it that my parents don’t have.

the baby boomers are a generation raised by stay-at-home mothers. apart from the occasional babysitter, they were rarely left alone. they were also raised in the “american dream” era: the leave it to beaver, tv dinner, tract-home, suburbia era. everyone strived to be as cookie-cutter as possible, individuality was discouraged, and if you were different you were interrogated, humiliated, and sometimes even assassinated. even their rebellion from the older generation was about the collective: they had group protests, they formed communes. they were all together all the time. they looked alike and dressed alike and sang the same songs and recited the same mantras, over and over. they grew up and invented starbucks and turned mom & pop discount stores into mega stores, shopping centers into malls and founded big businesses. they never understood the “selfie” because they were never allowed to declare their vanity or show their vulnerability or their individuality. these things were deep, dark secrets to them.

generation x, on the other hand, was the latch-key kid generation. we are a generation left mostly to our own devices. large numbers of us were raised by single mothers, and we had to fend for ourselves and many of us took on the role of taking care of our siblings (and at times our parents) as well. we didn’t have the internet or on-demand or reality television. the limited amount of information that we had, coupled with the lack of supervision left us with wide open fields to fill in with our imaginations. we are a generation of investigators and inventors, with boundless curiosity. we took what information we had and created something of our own with it. we are self-taught and self-disciplined. we took pictures of ourselves because we wanted to figure out how to use a camera. we took pictures because we were lonely, or bored, or felt invisible to our parents and to the world. we took pictures because it felt like a magic trick to set the camera up, turn on the self timer, hear that “click” and not know what it would look like. seeing the result when you opened that envelope and looked through the photographs was like getting an issue of sassy magazine in the mail or being lucky enough to catch your favorite band’s video being played when you turned on the television. there was mystery involved, and enough space to process it and digest it and create something out of it. there was also no photoshop and there weren’t a million eyes on you, authenticity was more important than perfection.

in high school my friends and i would take pictures with film cameras, have the pictures developed and then write little captions for them on paper which we would cut out and scotch tape to the borders of the pictures, and mail them to each other. a sort of pre-historic instagram. from pre-digital days i have film and polaroid self-portraits that i took of myself, and when digital cameras came out i took more than my fair share of self-portraits with them. hundreds, to be honest. i took them with crappy point and shoot cameras, plastic toy film cameras that allowed light leaks and had colored strips of plastic that you could put over the lens (the original “filters”). i took them with my mother’s cannon a-e1 film camera, with a bulky cannon digital slr, and by the time the iphone came around, i felt like i’d taken enough (ok, ok, i still take the occasional selfie).

looking back through all of the pictures that i took over my formative years, i see a lot of questions that are specific to my generation. generation x wonders, “do i exist to my parents? am i unique and creative? do i exist cosmically (because space)?” millennials instead wonder, “am i famous?” and, “am i pretty enough, skinny enough, rich enough, do i look enough like celebrity a b or c? do i have enough likes and followers?”  i feel like self-portraits are about self-discovery, and perhaps selfies are about self-promotion. and maybe that’s the core difference between generation x and the millennials. certainly you can’t call an entire generation shallow, but when i look at millennials on social media, there is a competitiveness and a drive to publicize everything that just doesn’t appeal to me. i’ll take my mediocre self-portraits and all of the flaws that they show. because i see myself in them, my own unique self.

a week of outfits.

clearly still drinking all the demna gvasalia ironic kool-aid. also breaking down and buying a little fast fashion when it includes jacquemus-esque puff sleeve tops and celine-esque net skirts. but mostly doing my best to look like james spader’s bitch girlfriend in pretty in pink.

on getting dressed.

there’s something about getting dressed. i never realized how much time i put into the process of outfit selection until i had a baby. suddenly not only the amount of time that i had each morning but the amount of time i had alone became non-existent. the pressure of having someone in the room while getting dressed, asking for your attention can make putting together an outfit feel impossible. i believe this to be the culprit behind moms in sweatpants everywhere. getting dressed is a luxury that many women don’t have. the thing is that i always felt that it was a luxury, and one that i enjoyed even when i drove myself crazy with indecision or self-loathing over what i saw in the mirror.

giving up getting dressed was part of a loss of identity that came with motherhood for me, and looking back it’s interesting how much is involved in losing and re-finding yourself after giving birth. postpartum bodies are soft and stretched and re-arranged and things are out of place. some of them (okay most of them) never go back. pre-pregnancy clothes rarely fit after birth and you spend so much time nursing and dealing with baby fluids and insomnia that it feels pointless to get dressed anyway. the newborn phase, the first year even, is this sort of liminal period between your pre-baby self and your new self. emotionally and physically. it’s only within the last year or so that i’ve started to feel not like my old self again but like my new self. i have always thought a lot about clothes, but having a baby made me realize how much i identify through clothes.

there was a period where i didn’t know what to wear, where i reached for things that i could hide in. this is something that i have always done, at times where i felt particularly bloated or depressed or even when i had to be in business meetings or work situations where i felt i needed to be…shielded or protected in some way. my son having autism has made it really clear when i do this. having to deal with different therapists, case workers and doctors on a daily basis has made me stop to think about what i am wearing. days where i deal with a difficult person or where i feel particularly vulnerable i dress in those ways: ways where i can hide or appear blank. days where my son has no therapy or days where i get a break, i dress differently.

what women wear when they feel like shit is something that interests me a lot. as does what women buy or consume when they feel like shit. there are periods where i buy things that i don’t even particularly like, because i feel some need to disappear: to disappear into a uniform of blankness. of baggy tent dresses made of crappy stretchy synthetic non-fabrics and elastic waists and cheap acrylic sweaters that are shapeless. or something incredibly trendy that has no practical use in my life because i want to feel present or relevant or cool again.

i find the cycles that we go through of cleaning out our closets and then not just re-filling but over-filling them again really interesting. this year i have been trying to pay closer attention to those cycles. because i certainly have cycles of cleaning out my closet, vowing a life of minimal conscious dressing and then i have times where i just want to hit the mall. lose myself in 3 floors of tightly packed brightly colored items. times where i feel a real need to have more stuff, and times where that “gotta have it” feeling overcomes me. and that is a feeling that i enjoy. i’m trying not to beat myself up so much over those times, the times where i want to get rid of everything and the times where i want to buy everything. and to realize that those times are tied to moods which are most certainly fleeting. they come and they go.

part of connecting to myself as the woman that i am now: 3 years after having a baby, after leaving my career and committing to a life of caregiving, has been spending some time in my closet. being at a point where i can take a little time to get dressed has felt like getting something back that was lost. taking the time to stand in my little closet and dig around and pull things out and try them on does feel luxurious, and fun and exciting, even when it’s disappointing.

a week of outfits.

here are seven outfits from this month, most of them worn under a thick wool coat and shoes swapped for rubber rain boots. the end.

 

vanity.

vanity.
it’s been an actual while since i talked about anything other than fashion around here, so i thought i’d talk about skin shtuff for a change. since turning 35 (uh, 3 years ago) and having a baby (uh, 3 years ago) my skin has changed a lot. over the last couple of years i started trying literally anything that i got my hands on to see what might make me look less worn out. i think i’m finally at the point where i have a routine that i really like, so i thought i’d blog it out.
  1. i started using bioderma’s micelle water because i wanted something that removed makeup at night without leaving weird oily residue or just smearing it around like those makeup removing wipe things. i absolutely love this stuff. it’s light and awesome at removing makeup, and it leaves my skin feeling honestly clean after using it. if i was stuck somewhere and could only use one thing to clean my face, this would be it.
  2. i have super sensitive, acne prone skin. i started using olay regenerist luminous cleanser because i wanted something to gently exfoliate. i’ve tried a bunch of exfoliating cleansers, from super pricey to medium pricey and this is the best one that i’ve found. it’s gentle but gets the job done. i use this every day with a pro-x cleansing brush and i haven’t had a full blown pimple since i started using them.
  3. the other cleanser that i use is by bionova. i read a review that called this cleanser “the benjamin button cleanser” because it “removes years” from skin and i had to try it. i have to agree, it’s changed my skin for the better. i use the cleanser and cream acitvator (which is sort of like a toner) and my skin is a lot softer, smoother and less leathery/pore-y.
  4. after cleansing i use may coop raw sauce. i started using another korean essence last year and wasn’t terribly impressed, but i tried some of this stuff at sephora and was sold. essences are sort of like toners in that they prep skin for other products, but they are super hydrating which god knows i need. i like raw sauce because it has made my skin more firm and brighter.
  5. i got a sample of chanel’s hydra beauty micro gel out of a magazine and squeezed every last drop out of that little packet. i am big on serums, but this is my current favorite. it’s crazy hydrating and makes my skin feel silky. really worth the money.
  6. eye creams are sort of the bain of my existence because i’m pretty convinced that none of them actually do the job. i have dark circles and typically bags under my eyes (compliments of motherhood), and i feel like i’ve tried just about every eye cream known to womankind. i got a sample of prescription youth instant erase eye serum and i was pretty knocked out by it. as soon as you put it on you feel it working, it’s a pretty much instant de-puffer and it fills fine lines and brightens. it does pretty well on dark circles, but mostly fills and evens. my favorite eye cream is ysl’s or rouge for it’s overall magicalness, but prescription youth is a pretty good alternative for about 1/6th the price.
  7. i use clarin’s extra firming night cream and i love it. it makes my skin feel creamy and super soft. usually night creams make me break out but this one is top notch,it’s rich but not heavy.
  8. i have always been a big sweater. i run hot, maybe because i am a fire sign. finding deodorant has always been hard because deodorant is typically the worst, but fat and the moon deodorant cream is the best thing that ever happened to me. it’s not scented and doesn’t feel like you have anything on, but it honestly works at keeping me from being sweaty and stinky.
  9. i’ve never been a big foundation girl, i prefer a more natural look. i have used perricone md’s no foundation foundation and i loved how my skin looked, but the color was off for my skin tone. i recently tried their face finishing moisturizer tint and i couldn’t believe how much my skin glowed. the tint is sort of like a light tanner, it doesn’t provide much coverage but it’s like spending a few days relaxing in a tropical climate (without the sun damage). i am totally sold on the glow, it’s amazing.
  10. speaking of glow, my other favorite non-makeup is charlotte tilbury’s wonderglow. it has little light reflectors in it that are sort of like a very mild highlighter. it gives a little shine and makes skin look a little dewy. i love this stuff.

the end.