a sartorial farewell to 2017.

the year started off with a feeling of closet burnout, which inspired a solid month of trying on every garment that i owned and taking a photo of it. from there, i documented a week of outfits every month, which has left my phone with an embarrassing amount of outfit selfies on it. it does, however, allow me to really look back on the year and what i wore. yes, i have regrets, some relating to the way my hips look in tight pants, some over things i chose to part with in closet clean outs, but mostly i just love outfits.

this year i worked hard on my goal of having my wardrobe entirely populated by suspender skirts/jumpers/pinafores. it’s really the one item of clothing that i am in love with no matter what era it hails from. i can appreciate a 1940’s nursing pinafore as much as an 80’s power shoulder strap one. i equally adore a matronly laura ashley plaid jumper and a sassy 90’s grunge plaid jumper from the mall. i find a modern day urban outfitters pinafore about as irresistible as one from comme des garcons. i just can’t get enough.

all of these pictures display a few basic truths about my sartorial self: jeans are no friend of mine, plaid and pinafore are my king and queen, and the shoes really do make the man.

the end.


a week of outfits.

a crazy october filled with threats of phantom illnesses and wildfires, heavy air and moody weather, so many family visits and semi-fancy outings. doing my best not to shop and so digging into my closet for a remix. feeling fully inspired by this celine outfit shown for spring, and real glad that i happen to own a pink ultra suede dress (a vintage bill blass one, found at a thrift store with the actual 1970’s i. magnin tags still attached). going through my annual boot crisis (the one where i feel like i am racing the clock against crap weather to find the perfect pair of boots- which does not exist or at least can’t be selected from the blurring masses of beautiful pairs). enjoying cooler days that allow for turtlenecks (which do a lot for my manky old lady neck) but don’t yet require a coat, but secretly savoring the random heat wave before another winter. cashing in coupon codes and gift cards to buy this satin culotte jumpsuit (because i so can’t afford the real thing). wearing said jumpsuit to see the incredibly staggeringly gorgeous solange and trying not to cry when too many plastic cups of cheap champagne forced me to use the bathroom where puddles of manky sewer water soiled my pant leg. upon exiting the bathroom i exclaimed to my best friend and all the sympathetic ladies in line, “i got toilet water on my beautiful outfit!” overall, embracing the toilet water smudges and school visitor name tag stickers and recycled outfits and walkable shoes.

the end.

ode to self-care.

self care, a term i tend to be turned off by for its buzz-word-y-ness. a term lifted from the medical world and used in articles about sheet masks and bone broth cleanses and mini-meditations, by and for the luxury wellness/perfectly curated instagram mom legions that spawned from or shot up around shiny haired gwenyth and her solid gold juicer. a term that elicits eye rolls from most men, my husband included. a term that makes me cringe a bit when spoken out loud, but one that i find myself saying in my head, despite all of this.

technically, self-care is how one takes care of their own health, from how they manage chronic illnesses or physical maladies to their diet and exercise routines. over the last couple of years it’s been applied more to the latest wellness trends such as infrared saunas and sound baths and jade vagina eggs, but really it’s about how you keep yourself healthy. how you manage stress and hormonal fluctuations and balancing the million things you have to do each day for other people with the things you need to do to keep yourself afloat.

i remember back in the early aughts when the episode of sex & the city came out where carrie had let aidan move in with her, and she was complaining to her friends about having to share her space with him. she lamented over the lack of privacy and time to engage in what she called, “secret single behavior” or “SSB” if you’re nasty. carrie’s included eating grape jelly on saltine crackers while standing in her kitchen, reading fashion magazines. for charlotte it was examining her pores in a mirror. i think about this when i think about self-care, because to me it’s really the same thing. things we do to decompress, to take a damn minute for ourselves. sometimes they are things we were not allowed to do for some reason, sometimes they are things we do to numb ourselves, but mostly they are things that just feel comforting. i call that self-care.

for me, i get a lot of satisfaction and comfort from cleaning. particularly a clean refrigerator makes me feel like i have accomplished great things. tidiness is very soothing to me. creating order in a chaotic life feels so good. i have been known to clean out closets in times of stress, clearing out kitchen cabinets and laundry room drawers and my son’s toy baskets and hauling all of that stuff to the thrift store feels like a big relief. but i also enjoy eating peanut butter from the jar, putting on lady gaga really loud and trying on outfits, cutting out pictures from old fashion magazines and making collages, bedazzling old pairs of jeans and shoes, putting on a full face of all the makeups i can’t afford at sephora and then coming home to pull weeds (you can call me the fancy gardener). also weird gross stuff like peeling nail polish off of my toenails and trying on the trashiest body-con/slutty teenager clothes i can find at h&m with absolutely no intention of buying any of it.

these are all things that must be done in solitude. the presence of another person would take their power away, render them ridiculous and embarrassing and often impossible (where unruly toddlers are concerned). perhaps having such a limited amount of time to myself has made me more appreciative of these things, has made me recognize their value in a sometimes chaotic life. the world no longer revolves around me, but it’s lovely to take those moments where for a brief time, it does.

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.
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.
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:
  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.