Friday, March 27, 2020

Weekend Window Shopping: Let's All Just Be Comfortable.

I don't know about you but 100% of what I've been wearing at home is comfortable and easily 90% of it is Athleta. Since they are giving an extra 25% off everything (code GOODVIBES), I dug through the sale section to find some good, comfy options. My apologies - I try really hard to pick things that still have good size availability but I don't always succeed. Here's what I like:

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Beauty In The Time of Quarantine.

So, here we are, stuck in the house and realizing a lot of our daily routine is kind of irrelevant. I am definitely ignoring most of my wardrobe and wearing the same two or three comfy pieces and I can't tell you when I last wore a bra with underwire. Heh.

One thing I have kept up with, and even taken more time with, is my skincare/beauty routine. I am wearing MUCH less makeup (mostly just enough to look decent in Zoom meetings) but it makes me feel SO much more human to keep up a routine. Every morning I take a shower, change into "work" clothes, do my hair and put on a little bit of makeup. Mainly just some tinted moisturizer, concealer, a dab of Cloud Paint on my cheeks and mascara. I also usually put on my new Kosas lipstick because it feels like lip balm and makes me happy. 

Is this necessary? Not really. Does it make it easier to face another day working alone at my dining room table? Absolutely, it does. Also, now is a GREAT time to test out all those samples you've been hoarding! I have a little tub full of all kinds of products that I want to start working my way through. Most recent discovery:

I'd tried It Cosmetics CC Cream before and wasn't that impressed because it seemed SO thick and never set on my skin. The trick, I've discovered, is to use about half of what you normally would and blend it with a slightly damp makeup sponge. (This method makes the SPD 50 protection in this product irrelevant, but you shouldn't really be depending on your tinted moisturizer for sunscreen anyway.) When I do that my skin looks glowy and even but not made up. I use a bit of my favorite not-fucking-around concealer where needed and I'm good to go for the day. 

Now, someone had asked in the comments about creating a skincare routine in your 40s. My routine (which is here, with some changes I'll mention below) is kind of insane but I actually enjoy the ritual of it and it makes me feel like I'm doing something nice for myself. If you don't have the time or the bandwidth for all that? No worries, just do this: wash your face (not with a wipe) add ONE serum or active that best addresses your needs and moisturize. And, as always, SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY. I wish I could go back in time and say that to my 20 year old self. 

Now, if you don't know where to even start with a serum/active, I have a few suggestions. A vitamin C serum is usually the first recommendation from skincare experts but my skin doesn't love l-ascorbic acid (the form of Vitamin C in most serums) so I have lately been using this:

It contains a vitamin C derivative (the same one in my beloved but expensive Sunday Riley serum) that might not be as crazy effective as l-ascorbic acid  but will still give you benefits. This serum also contains Bakuchiol, a retinol alternative! I have only been using it a few weeks but so far I like it and it's not outrageously expensive.

Other serum options to consider: peptides (I use The Buffet currently), exfoliating acid (I love Good Genes), Hyaluronic acid (I prefer an overnight mask) and/or a retinol. I am currently using Murad Youth Renewal for retinol (Skinstore currently has 20% off Murad plus a free Retinol Youth Renewal Duo when you spend $75) but The Ordinary also has some very good, and basic retinol options.

And, like I said, you can just pick one or two! It's easy to get bogged down and feel like you have to use everything. Some of mine I use daily, some only once or twice a week. Sometimes, if my skin is being reactive, I just moisturize and leave it alone. Don't over-think it.

This got really long so I'm going to stop now, but has anyone been going through their sample hoard? What are you loving?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

WFH Outfit of the Day: About What You'd Expect.

Okay, before I start can I just say how great y'all are? The comments yesterday completely made my day. Every single one of you is my favorite right now, so THANK YOU. We shall continue on with a focus on where we are right now. For example: here's what I'm wearing at home:

Yeaahhhh. I didn't promise it would be exciting so this is what it is. I am wearing my sad old David Bowie sweatshirt that I will wear until it falls off me. It's by Daydreamer who makes lots of cool (and overpriced) band tees. This Bowie tee by Lucky Brand has a very similar vibe (oops, bought it) and this amazing Athleta sweatshirt is not Daydreamer or Bowie but I own it and it's SO soft and is 25% off. I wore it in a Zoom meeting yesterday so it's also totally work-appropriate. Heh. Now, my pants:

These are the Headland Hybrid Moto Tights from Athleta (25% off everything right now!) and I've been switching back and forth between these and the cargo version pretty much every day. They have more substantial material on the front and the back is stretchy yoga-tights action. I LOVE THEM. So comfy but also cute and look like real pants, kinda? Highly recommend for a WFH situation in which you want to feel like you're wearing real clothes but also want to be comfortable. My sneakers are by York Athletics and they're pretty cool but I still look like a dork in sneakers. I don't know how people do it. 

Yeah, sorry, I couldn't take it and tried this outfit with my Cole Haan Chelsea boots and OMG IT IS SO MUCH BETTER. I'm also fake-carrying my new Madewell camera bag which barely got to see the light of day before the lockdown. Poor little bag, maybe I'll use it to carry around my secret work snacks*.  Details: 

Look how sad this sweatshirt is! Poor thing. My little wings necklace is by My Precious Studio and my long pendant is from Pyrrha Jewelry. I'm also wearing thin silver wire earrings that are hard to see, but they're similar to this pair. 

Look at that snack-holder! So cute. I am hoping it'll become my best summer bag. One day. 

*If you're not hiding your WFH snacks from your spouse or children you are doing it wrong, fam.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

State Of The Blog (and Quarantine Luxuries.)

Hi guys, Adrien here. I've been spinning my wheels the past few days trying to figure out what to do about the blog, so I thought I'd just ask: what would you like to see here? What would be helpful? Do you want an escape in the form of online shopping recs, or does that feel completely tone-deaf?

I understand I am one of the lucky ones - I have a full time job that I'm able to do from home and I don't have kids, so I am not having to juggle full-time parenting with a WFH set-up. I definitely understand that everything right now is bigger and more serious than a great sale at Nordstrom, you know?

But real talk - this blog supplements my (non-profit level) income. I am thankful for the incredible generosity from the readers who are kind enough to trust our recommendations and purchase through the links. This blog helped me through a divorce and supported me when I was very single and quite broke. That said, I wouldn't keep posting if it wasn't also fun and this blog certainly couldn't have survived ten years if we didn't have amazing and loyal readers. Thanks so much for coming back again and again. (Even if we're a hate-read! We'll take it.)

So, what feels right? Do you guys care about work-from-home outfits? Do you want to know how we are transitioning to working from home? Do you want products recs to make your at-home life more comfortable? Book recs? TV recs? Tell me what would be helpful. And hey, if you just want online shopping recommendations, y'all know we will always have those.

Now, a little distraction. My good friend Heather recently posted on Facebook asking what our biggest quarantine luxuries are. It turned into a really fun conversation and ended with me blowing a BlueMercury gift card on the following:

This Molton Brown hand soap was my friend's #1 quarantine luxury. If you have to wash your hands thirty times a day, might as well be fancy about it, right? I also bought a second Kosas lipstick (in Fringe) because I love the formulation and wearing a bit of lipstick around the house makes me feel less like a sloth: 

And, I re-purchased my current favorite moisturizer which is the only thing my face can handle when I have a bad reaction (often triggered by stress):

It's not crazy expensive and it feels amazing on my face - my skin just soaks it up. Fair warning: it contains mineral oil which some beauty experts say is the devil but even Caroline Hirons, who hates mineral oil, gave Avène a pass because so many people swear by it. If you have reactive skin, definitely consider trying this moisturizer. 

That doesn't really answer the question about what my quarantine luxuries might be, but it's a start: fancy, comforting products and maybe these leggings in blue which Athleta just put on sale. Oh, also, those Target Archer Farms snack mixes are LEGIT.

So, your turn! What do you want from the blog right now? Also, what are your stuck-at-home/quarantine luxuries, big or small?

Friday, March 20, 2020

Weekend Window Shopping: SO Many Sales!

Ugh, you guys. Everything is terrible and the urge to buy things is so strong. It doesn't help that everyone is having a, "So you're trapped in your house" sale. For example:

Madewell has an extra 40% off sale styles and 25% off everything else with code BRIGHTSPOT

Nordstrom Rack has 20% off everything (prices as marked) and free shipping

Anthropologie has 25% off everything (discount in cart) plus free shipping over $50

Here are a few picks from each site that I wouldn't mind having for myself during my weird working-from-home transition:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

BUY THIS: Breaking News! Nordstrom is 25% Off Sidewide.

Oh shit, you guys. I just saw that Nordstrom 25% off sitewide and it's the nicest/meanest thing to happen all week. I was all set to buy the Comme des Garçon Play sneakers I want so bad but OF COURSE they're excluded. However, so many good things are not. Like, you know that cute Madewell bag I just bought?

It's now 25% off! And my very favorite Ray-Bans are also included in the sale:

What about a red Longchamp bag? You have always wanted a red bag, right?

And oh no you guys. Birkenstocks are on sale and this is the pair I didn't buy last year but wish I had:

This is getting to be a problem. Let's move on to the makeup, shall we? Y'ALL. THE MAKEUP:

This Charlotte Tilbury lipstick is art, right? I can't handle the leopard print. And check out this palette:

They have some great beauty gifts with purchase as well, so don't forget to check them out. I don't have enough hair to justify it, but my stylist just bought this Dyson Supersonic hair dryer and it is AMAZING:

I was mad that I liked it so much. Finally, since a lot of us are stuck at home and trying to keep fit anyway, why not wear something cute while you're attempting to do lunges around the cat in your living room? I am digging these Sweaty Betty leopard leggings:

And ugh, this little jacket is so cute it's making me mad:

Ugh, thanks a lot, Nordstrom. 

Stuff We Like: Podcasts.

Hey, home-bound friends! We had a request for some podcast recs so here is a giant list of what we're listening to lately. Feel free to leave a rec for us in the comments! 

Adrien's Picks:

Some of my recs are new but most of these have been posted on Stuff I Like at some point. I just figured it would be nice to have them all in one place. (I left out a few that I previously recommended because I stopped listening for...reasons.) 

Were You Raised By Wolves?: This is an etiquette podcast and it's highly entertaining. The hosts discuss various etiquette topics and also answer listener questions. It's informative but also really fun.

Everything is Fine: I talked about this new podcast for women over 40 a few days ago but y'all, it's really good. This week's episode is about anger, which I think most of us can relate to, yes?

This Is Joy & Claire: I've been listening to this one for years! It was formerly called Girls Gone WOD but it's strayed so far from its Crossfit roots that they recently rebranded. It's two friends talking about all kinds of life topics - mental health, wellness, marriage, parenting, etc. A true girlfriend's conversation. I really like them both and tend to listen to this one immediately when it's released each week.

Love It or Leave It: I got real tired of the Pod Save The World bromance but Jon Lovett's spinoff is still a good time. He works hard to have a diverse panel each week and it's really funny.

Fat Mascara: Okay, this one has become a hate-listen for me. I loved it in the beginning but popularity and sponsorship has made it feel inauthentic. HOWEVER, they still have interesting guests so depending on who they're interviewing, I will tune in. I enjoyed the Caroline Hirons episode quite a bit and was joyfully enraged by the Barbara Sturm episode because SHE IS FULL OF SHIT. Okay, there. I said it. Serums should not cost hundreds of dollars and her "science" is suspect. As a counter-point, I started listening to the Beauty Brains but they're such incredible wonder-killers that I just gave up.

Up First: NPR's early morning news podcast. It covers "the biggest stories and ideas - from politics to pop culture - in 10 minutes." I usually listen to it while I'm getting ready for work because it's just enough information without being overwhelmed with commentary.

Shedunnit: This is a podcast by Caroline Crampton (of SRSLY, my favorite defunct pop culture podcast) and bills itself as, “the podcast that unravels the mysteries behind classic detective stories." I like class detective mysteries but it doesn't matter if you aren't! She tells great stories, often about real-life cases that inspired mystery writers and it's, as the title suggests, very women-centric. A well-researched and comforting listen that I highly recommend.

LeVar Burton Reads: This is literally a podcast in which LeVar Burton reads you short stories in his soothing LeVar Burton voice. It's good stuff and if you were a fan of Reading Rainbow you will definitely enjoy this podcast. My favorite story so far is Chivalry by Neil Gaiman (from his book Smoke and Mirrors), which I highly recommend. Feeling stressed? Let LeVar read to you. I promise you'll feel better.

Articles of Interest: The 99% Invisible podcast created Articles of Interest, a six part series about all the different aspects of clothing. My favorite episodes are Pockets (a feminist issue!) and Punk Style. Just a really good series about the history and meaning of clothing.

The Cut on Tuesdays: A podcast by women, about women. Unfortunately they stopped making new episodes but it's still relevant and I love their How ____ Gets It Done series. (I suggest the Amy Sherald episode!) Also, it never fails to crack me up when they close with, "See you next Tuesday!"

The Penguin Podcast: This one is so great, you guys. Really interesting interviews with writers and in the earlier ones the interviewer is Richard E. Grant who I adore. I highly recommend the Kate Atkinson episode and Neil Gaiman is always a good time. Oh! And definitely listen to the Emma Kennedy episode too. Hilarious.

Marianne's Picks: 

Thirst Aid Kit: At first glance this podcast is fairly silly, which is fine! Who doesn’t want to curl up with two hilariously smart women and talk about cute boys. But once you listen to a few, you realize that Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins are giving a cutting commentary on the power of the female gaze.

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend: This is hardly a little-known pick, but damn I just love it. Sometimes I find Conan to be a bit much, but his guests and staff are usually right there with me and reel things back in. Listen to the latest quarantine episode! It seriously made me LOL.

Armchair Expert: I know this is polarizing, I feel like people either love or hate this one. Once I stopped trying to listen to ALL of them, I got back into it. If you aren’t into Dax, check out the Monica and Jess Love Boys spin-off. It seems like a fluffy podcast between friends but quickly dives deep into topics like intimacy, addiction, and fear.

Bon Appetit Foodcast: I dip in and out of this one depending on the host and topic. I like that they are short and some of the BA folks are just so charming. It supports their magazine and YouTube channel, so if you like those and want more, check it out.

Mobituaries: This only gets a brief mention because I haven’t really started listening to it yet! I’ve only started the Audrey Hepburn episode. But the premise is great—Mo Rocca doing celebrity and historical obituaries in all his Mo Rocca-ness.

The Thing About Pam: I used to be more into True Crime but now there are SO MANY great podcasts that I decided I didn’t really want all that murder in my ears for a while. Maybe I’ll go back? However, I really loved this short, excellently produced story. Keith Morrison is so cheesy and really keep the story moving at a lively pace.

The Dream: Pretty sure we’ve talked about this one before, but it’s still great!