Monday, July 6, 2020

Monday Mood: I Need An Office.

I've been working from home since mid-March and feel very lucky to be able to do so, but I have been operating under the assumption that it's temporary. Temporary. For nearly four months. At some point last week I realized that it wasn't as temporary as I'd assumed and it was clear that we'd not be going back any time soon. I've been working at my dining room table, which is a pleasant spot in the house:


(Isn't my new rug cute? It's this one from Wayfair.) However, it's not actually a pleasant place to sit all day - those chairs kinda suck (despite the butt pillow I bought which is beloved by cats) and the table is too high for comfortable typing. There's also the big issue about trying to work in the middle of everything in a fairly open-plan house. It was not ideal and I also got really sick of seeing all my work stuff on the dining room table 24/7. I mean:


Ugh, that is a mess. Something had to change! With encouragement from Marianne I set a budget and bought a cheap-ass desk:


It's tiny, but sturdy enough for what I need and it folds up, so when I don't need it anymore I can stash it under a bed or whatever. Now, you're probably wondering where this cheap-ass desk is going! Our house has a little den with a fireplace that we'd envisioned being a cozy little TV room but we just hadn't found the right furniture for it yet. For, like, two years. It happens. It's such a cute room but had become the dumping ground for empty boxes and future thrift store donations.


Look at this mess. I decided to take the wall we'd earmarked for a future sofa and make that my office space:


I took a bunch of junk to the thrift store, found better places for some other stuff and actually hung some artwork like a GD adult person. Wanna see what it looks like now? 


It's not fancy, but it's such an improvement. I liberated my office chair from work and brought it home for better butt comfort! I also bought a good stand for my laptop so I could stop using a stack of dusty books. Here's my desktop so you can see what fits:



The cute hanging calendar was handmade by my talented younger sister, so you can't have it, sorry! However, I also bought a few cute office supplies from Target (the fun Yoobi notebook and a gold wire letter tray) and I am kicking myself for not getting some pretty new file folders too! I also need a desk pad to replace my sad old mouse pad. 

So, with a budget of $150, I managed to create a tiny little workspace that is pleasant and functional. Obviously I borrowed a bunch of stuff from around the house but it surprised me how little I needed to feel comfortable and productive. PS. Please don't tell me you did all this two months ago because I KNOW. I just didn't really think it'd still be working from home for this long! Please remind me in October that I said that, okay? 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Weekend Window Shopping: Long Weekend!

It's for-real summer and we've got a long holiday weekend coming up. Are you ready? I AM MOST DEFINITELY READY. Here are some suggestions to make sure you're prepared (and PS. everything is either on sale or discounted!):

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

We Discuss: Our Day Gown Cult.

M: I'm wearing one of my very favorite floaty H&M dresses. Behold, I am your leader. I mean, I would be a good cult leader

A: I'm pretty sure I'm already in your cult, honey. It's not so bad and the dresses are really pretty.

M: I think the key with a cult is you get, like, minions to deal with the riffraff then you have your core group.  I told my friend K how to find flowy dresses on H&M and she was like, I WILL be in your cult! So we already have a member! It's so exciting.

A: That is exciting! We can be a small cult. We should recruit maybe a few more people but that's a solid start.

M: I feel like it's antithetical to a cult to have it be small but I just want to hang out with people I like and wear comfortable clothes and maybe sit in the sun. That sounds nice, right?

A: What you're describing just sounds like hanging out with friends? We need some structure - a mission statement! Some kind of monetary gain? Plus, a little bit of cult worship for us. Just the basics.

M: Well, I think what you're describing is just being an Instagram influencer, so maybe we just make money by telling people what to buy.

A: Um.

M: You need a dress. I am going to send you Marianne’s Cult Leader Picks.

A: Yay!

M: Starting with this:


M: In white but that leopard print is fun as shit

A: I have that saved! I love the leopard but it’s nearly sold out

M: A few more:




M: You’ve already shown this one I think but I still love it


A: Yes yes, it deserves a repeat

A: This one is pretty and has lots of cult-wear potential:


M: THATS MY DRESS! It was sold out before.

A: Yay! It's so perfect.

M: Just ask yourself: Could I fit everyone in my family underneath it?

M: Also is this touching my body in more than two places? If the answer is no, then yes, you have scored.

A: I love this color:



M: Yes, I love that.

A: I thought this one was really pretty too:


M: I love that too!

M: For when you want to dress as an actual circus tent:


A: That one has a real cool-cult flair

M: I am sad this one is sold out because I think it’s stunning


A: That is a night gown.

M: Girl

A: OR IS IT

M: These are all nightgowns. That's the point.

A: THEY ARE DAY GOWNS

M: Into it!

M: H&M is hilarious though. Like a gorgeous gown and then this


A: That is not cult-appropriate

M: A different cult

A: Ours is the prettiest

M: And comfy

A: Above all. And we have good snacks

M: Aways

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Mood: Baby Steps.

Why are quarantine Mondays so VERY MONDAY. You'd think it would get easier somehow but it's still just kind of awful. Here are some things that aren't awful:



These Tacos Marianne Made
Y'all. I don't make my own tortillas and I certainly don't deep-fry (out of fear, not health) but I WANT these tacos Marianne made last week. I quote, "I know I'm the most extra making my own tortillas but they are legit one of the most delicious things I've ever made." UGH. My plan is to make them for dinner this week sans puffy shells but at some point I need to find some freshly-made corn tortillas and give them a try because I want the puffy part too. I want all the tacos, puffy or otherwise, if we're being honest.



This Movie I Thoroughly Enjoyed
I know I've mentioned Kumail Najiani's podcast before but he's also got a new movie out co-starring Issa Rae. The Lovebirds (trailer is here) is such a perfect date night (or solo date night!) movie. Funny, sweet, kind of ridiculous...just don't think too hard about the plot holes because this is really just about watching Kumail and Issa be hilarious together. Highly recommend! I've also just started watching Insecure, the HBO series by Issa Rae, and so far I'm really enjoying it so far. (I'm literally one episode in so I'll write more about it when I've watched more.)



This Benefit Product I Rediscovered
I haven't bought any beauty stuff lately but I have rediscovered a product that I bought a while ago. Benefit High Brow is one of those products you don't really need but it's so excellent! I realized I was looking a little haggard in Zoom meetings* so I started putting this under my brows, on the inside corners of my eyes and a little along the top of my cheekbone - basically anywhere you'd put a highlighter. The difference is that High Brow isn't glowy (though they do make a glowy version), so it just enhances without making you look like a human disco ball. Also! Since the color is by no means "universal" like they claim, I was happy to see this similar product comes in three colors.




Those Joe's Shorts I Love?
Okay, I undoubtedly spent too much money on my Joe's denim bermuda shorts but I've been wearing them near-daily and they are so good. I love them, full stop. The pair I have still isn't on sale, but a very similar pair of Joe's bermuda cut-offs are - check them out at Nordstrom Rack! A darker wash and 5" inseam rather than 7" but hey, that price. I would buy them in a heartbeat if I needed another pair.



These Athleta Pants That I Am Mad About

Since we're talking about clothes, I am always checking to see what Athleta has marked down because there are a few items I have my eye on, like this tee and these shorts. Also, they have a newer version of my very favorite cargo pants that's more of a jogger style and those ARE on sale and I want them, you guys. I WANT THEM. I already have three pairs of Athleta pants and DO NOT NEED MORE so I am telling you about them because I am rude but also because I want you to have nice things.


*There's a Zoom feature you can check (preferences ->video) that touches up your appearance but I find it looks unnatural. I still use it sometimes though. Let's not get crazy.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Weekend Window Shopping: Madewell, Anyone?

Oh Madewell, my kryptonite. I've been trying to avoid it lately because I don't need a damn thing but they keep putting things on sale! Some of these picks are on sale, some are not. It's just the stuff I really like right now along with a few things I've bought recently:

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Outfit Of The Day: Marianne Made Me Wear a Dress.

My work from home "outfits" have gone the way of true summer garbage person - wonderfully ratty cut-offs and comfy soft t-shirts worn with the most excellent non-bra in existence. I'm comfortable but it's, like, Saturday comfortable and it's not particularly cute. Marianne, on the other hand, has been wearing a pretty floaty dress every day (mini reviews below!) and challenged me to wear a dress and, like, try a little. FINE. COOL. I pulled out one of my favorites from last year:

 

Hi! I got my hair done and feel like a new human. My dress is Maeve from last year and it's a lovely, forgiving dress. Anthro has a cute version of it this year and also this Maeve dress has a similar pattern. But, maybe consider some other options while Anthro gets it shit together? This black tiered dress from BR is awfully cute and I also dig the longer leopard version. Loft is also a good choice for a cute tiered dress and the print on this midi version is really cute. 


Obviously I am wearing my silver Arizona Birkenstocks and despite having a reputation for being man-repellers, the last two compliments I got on them were from men. Not that I give a shit what men think of my shoes, but still, the power of metallics! I might need a pair in copper too. 


My black and white dress was desperate for some red, so I finally changed out my bag for my red Longchamp Le Pliage Cuir. I know I've sung it's praises more than a few times but it's just so easy - you can shove a lot in it and don't have to baby it. The top handles keep it cute but it's also got a good crossbody strap. Just a workhorse! NR has one like mine in a neutral color and in pink. I also love this red nylon version. Rue La La also has a very cute Longchamp leather backpack in red. 


A close-up of my crazy hair. I was so excited to get my hair cut and I told my awesome stylist to go crazy with the color. It fades quickly but I'm enjoying it. More details:


I'm wearing my tiny compass necklace that came in a Rachel Zoe box years ago. This one is nearly identical and this one by Gorjana is a bit more interesting. My labradorite tassel is Dean Davidson and the newer version is marked down! It's one of my favorite pieces and definitely worth the money. 

NOW, as promised, a few of Marianne's favorite floaty dresses for summer. 

Marianne:

Most of my faves are no longer for sale (like this one from Draper James), but I have a few cheap Amazon dresses that I love. Starting with this one--full disclosure, the finishing on this is cheap. The hem is a mess and has all kind of threads sticking out. But it’s so comfy, has pockets, and it’s cute on Zoom:


I have a couple of these flowy maxi dresses and they are as comfortable as a night gown. The yellow is especially good, but I also have the beige/yellow print and it’s beautiful:


Lastly, I think it’s illegal to talk about cheap Amazon dresses and not link to the ubiquitous “Amazon Nightgown”. There are several iterations of these dresses, but this one is my current fave. The yellow floral is so pretty and slightly less insane than some of the other prints. The sizing on these can be a bit all over the place, in this one I got the 8/10 and I’m more of a 12/14 right now, so this brand runs big. Others run small! Read those reviews.


That's it for today! Let's all wear floaty dresses and pretend everything isn't awful, shall we? 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

We Discuss: The Long Con.


Def won't make you go blind.

A: I think you've finally convinced me that I can't go another day without GrandeLash

M: I am extremely excited to have you on board

A: I guess I'll start with the travel size?

M: Ulta has an even mini-er version along with the mascara which I know nothing about

A: Since you finally convinced me, can you give me a mini review for the blog? 

A: Related: It’s really hard to take eye lash pics

M: Yeah it’s hard! Try looking down or up and to the side

M: Why I love GrandeLash: I have tried other, more expensive lash serums like Latisse (SO EXPENSIVE WHY) and Rodan and Fields (works, but still pricey and an MLM), and for me GrandeLash was the clear winner. I like the skinny brush applicator, it makes it easy to apply to the lash line only. A tube lasts for months and the stuff just works. It’s less irritating than the other serums I’ve tried as well (but will sting if you get it in your eyes, just like...anything). And it works! Get you some.

A: ALSO, IT WON’T MAKE YOU GO BLIND

A: ...OR WILL IT

M: This is an elaborate trap

A: I figured this was your endgame

M: Finally, Adrien will be blind

A: I knew it

M: It was a really long con

A: Well played

M: I mean my god, the better part of 20 years

A: You really do have it out for my eyesight

A: That takes commitment

M: Everyone has their hobbies

A: You just made me snort-laugh in the grocery store

M: My work here is done

A: But, like, thanks for making me your hobby!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Monday Mood: Let's Look At Cute Shoes Instead.

I have nothing pithy or interesting to say this Monday but there is a good shoe sale going on at Nordstrom Rack*, so how about we do that instead? Cool? Cool. I am just looking at sandals today because who wants to buy boots in June? Here we go:

These pretty slides are by Botkier and they come in several colors but I love this deep red. 


Leave it to Cole Haan to come up with a really wearable dress sandal in the best on-trend neutral color.  I am such a fan of a block heel, too. 


This Mia pair is your cheap 'n cheerful option. I love the sporty white sole. (And obviously the snakeprint because of course.) 


This cute espadrille slide is Eileen Fisher and it's nearly sold out in this amazing mustard yellow, but also comes in some other decent colors. (I love the yellow best.) 



These are Frye! They're 60% off and look incredibly well made. They also come in a weird mauve color but the black is really where it's at. 


Kate Spade always has the cutest prints and I've never seen anything like this. Compliments galore. 


These are Kork-Ease so you know they're comfortable as well as being cute. They come in black too! 


Sigh. These are Madewell and I adore this bright poppy red color. And such a wearable wedge! 


Where my clog girls at? These are by Spendid and the olive green/dark wood combo is everything. 


Another cheap/cheerful option from TOMS! These will probably last one summer, tops, but so cute.

*The extra discount disappeared just as I was finishing this blog entry which is SO VERY MONDAY OF YOU, NORDSTROM RACK. Ugh. I still think these are good prices but not as good as when I started. Sigh.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Weekend Window Shopping: Let's Keep This Going.

Hey, it's Friday which means a Weekend Window Shopping post but today is also Juneteenth so I thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight some items from Black-owned fashion and beauty brands in today's post. But hey, guess what? This is stupidly, frustratingly, hard to do and it shouldn't be. (Like a lot of companies, Shopstyle is scrambling to be more inclusive and add more Black-owned businesses to it's network but they're definitely not there yet.) I'm also learning and will keep striving to do better. Here's what I found:

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Outfit of the Day: Still With The Shorts.

Hello! Here's an actual outfit that I photographed despite the disgusting endless rain. Why you gotta be like that, June? Anyway, this is very much a Zoom outfit:
  

I mean, hahaha, look how cute I am from the waist up. I guess I'll start from with the top which is a thrifted Dolan blouse I originally wore here. (Wow wow wow. Who is that lady?) Dolan makes all manner of cute peasanty tops, like this one and ooh, this one both from Nordstrom Rack. For something in a similar print, this Topshop blouse is awfully pretty and how great is this leopard blouse from LOFT? 


Alright, down to business. I'm wearing the Gap shorts from last week (why did nobody tell me the link was wrong? I fixed it) and they only have a few sizes right now, but they have restocked a few times. They're good shorts  - mid rise with a grown-person 5" inseam and they're nicely slouchy. Also, they are true to size. NOW. I also mentioned a pair of Joe's Bermuda shorts that I was waffling about keeping: 


They live with me now. I did that thing where I wore them around the house and an hour later I just casually reached back and pulled off the tag. I mean, they are SO GOOD. These shorts are soft and comfy and just the right amount of slouchy. (PS. I went up a size in these.) I wanted a Bermuda length that wasn't tight or aggressive and I apparently just needed to spend a stupid amount of money to get them. Fine. FINE. I'm supposed to be in Prague right now but instead I buy shorts. Everything is fine. Details: 


I'm wearing my labradorite and Onyx necklace made by my friend Maryellen and I love it's boho vibe for summer, while still being black and grey just for me. I'm also wearing my Lulu Frost evil eye earrings that I bought a few months ago and then completely forgot about. You can still find them on Posh and the like, but there are tons of good evil eye stud earrings out there. I love this pair for it's fancy bling, this pair for being coolly understated and this pair for being outright creepy in the best way. EYE BALL LOOKING AT YOU. 


A close up of the Joe's shorts and my Birkenstock Gizeh sandals in copper. The Gizeh is a really pretty, summery style and they're the Birkenstocks you buy if the Arizona is too hippie-sandal for you. (But you will buy the Arizonas eventually. Sorry, you will.) That's it for today! Next week I've been challenged by Marianne to wear an outfit that doesn't include any denim or Athleta. Like, maybe a dress? We'll see.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Beauty Review: Differin Gel is Amazing.



I know we've mentioned Differin Adapalene Gel on the blog before but I recently had an epic skin INCIDENT and finally just decided to really give it a try instead of just using it as an occasion spot treatment (which is not how it's supposed to be used but whatever.)

Now, I don't know exactly what happened but last month I just started breaking out like crazy. Maybe it's the mask-wearing or stress hormones or a reaction to my CC cream or a combination of all three, but I started getting acne like I'd not experienced for years. It was...not great. I had been using my excellent Murad retinol products twice a week but had slowed down since I tend to spend more time outside in the summer.

However, this breakout required immediate action so after realizing my current tube of Differin Gel had expired (like, um, last year) I bought a new one and decided that no matter what, I was going to use it every night for a month and see what happened.

I am on week three and my skin hasn't been this clear in AGES. Marianne said this stuff is fantastic and y'all, she was not lying. You can get it at Target or Ulta and the small tube is under $15! I am so impressed. It immediately cleared up my initial breakout and now it's starting to fade the red spots and even seems to be helping with my brown spots! Differin Adapalene Gel is a retinoid and is specifically for acne but it's still a retinol product so it also fights the classic signs of aging: fine lines, dark spots and dull skin.

I generally have had issues with using retinol (sensitivity, peeling, etc) and I know you really have to stick with it, but so far Differin has been really gentle. I have otherwise taken a break from lot of the actives I'd been using, so right now I'm not using acids or my vitamin C serum because my face freaks out if I do too much at once. I am, however, still using my new favorite hydrating serum - The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics and I also use The Ordinary Buffet serum in the morning under my favorite Avene moisturizer.

Oh, and I use my Murad retinol eye serum every night as well. It's such a luxury and helps with the lines around my eyes (which is not a job for Differin.) Overall I'm really happy with the way things are going and I will report back again in another month. Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Monday Mood: And Now It's Raining.

After a weekend of absolute glorious weather its now cool and raining and I don't actually mind. It reflects my general mood and seems apropos. Anyway, here's a recent selection of things we've been listening to, reading and watching because why not.




This Podcast That Is My Current Fav.
Everything is Fine is continuing to be the podcast I most look forward to every (other) week and the  most recent guests have been so good - last week's episode had Danielle Henderson talking about current events (and why this time might be the time that real change happens.) Also, Samantha Irby was on recently talking about her new book. She is always a delight.



This Show I Would Binge If I Could.
Come ON HBO. This thing where you release one episode a week is not working for me. I'm talking about I May Destroy You, a new show starring Michaela Coel, who I was first introduced to in the show Chewing Gum (which is hilarious, btw.) It's the story of a woman in London rebuilding her existence after being drugged but also, "sheds light on consent, grey areas in dating culture and the importance of centering the narrative from a Black female perspective.”



These Summer Reading Recs from Marianne! 
Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper: Thinly veiled Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes/Scientology Fanfic. Need I say more? This was honestly more fun and better written than I expected. It’s definitely 100% made up, but felt dishy and gossipy in the most fun way.

Beach Read by Emily Henry: I mean, how could I not. Takes place on an upper Michigan lake and makes me want to take a vacation up there and roll around in all the wholesome midwestern-ness. The main characters are charming and sure, you know what’s going to happen, but it also kind of acknowledges that.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner: First of all, the main character is 1000% based on Katie Sturino. She’s a plus size fashion influencer with an insta-famous dog. That’s not acknowledged anywhere online but I’m saying it. Anyway, this quickly turned into a mystery of sorts, I don’t want to give anything away but it was unexpected and a super enjoyable read. Like Beach Read, made me want to go to the Cape and be all New England-y.