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. 


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.



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.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Weekend Window Shopping: Your Summer Wardrobe.

Today I was chatting with Marianne about how frustrating it is to find affordable summer clothes for actual grown people. She reminded me that H&M always has some unexpected treasures if you're willing to look (and also still has Fanta-branded t-shirt dresses if that's your thing.) Anyway, I took a look and was pleasantly surprised:

Thursday, June 11, 2020

BUY THIS (So We Don't Have To): Athleta New Arrivals and Sale Picks

Today was supposed to be an outfit post but I woke up with a migraine and it's really cloudy and grey out so...that ain't happening. Instead, I will show you the new stuff at Athleta that's sorely tempting me and a few sale picks to keep things reasonable. As I've written about before, Athleta has been my quarantine go-to for pieces that are super comfortable but don't make me look like a dirtbag. Here's what I love from the new arrivals:

They had this dress in a print last year and I regret not buying it. so light and easy to wear. 
This is a dress you could live in all summer! It comes in a few colors but the black one is my jam. 

I have an older version of these swim shorts and they are incredibly flattering. A great option when you want to wear a two-piece but also want a bit more coverage. They also comes in solid colors

This is the new version of the Zephyr tank (the old one is here) and it looks so breezy. I love all three prints but surprised myself for liking this pale snakeskin print the best (though I'll probably buy it in camo, because that's how I roll.) Y'all. I love it.

How cool are these! I love a dreamy galaxy print and these are done right. Plus, side stash pockets! Athleta really does make the best leggings. 

Ugh, you guys. This dark blue snakeprint on a comfy jogger? These will be mine at some point. 
(The tank I posted above also comes in this print/color!)

And now, the sale picks, with an apology because a lot of it is marked final sale. I don't usually try to include final sale items, but some of this is really well-priced:

These are just a cute, inexpensive pair of board shorts to wear over a swimsuit when you want some coverage or just as a pair of running around shorts. $25! 

I'm pretty sure this is meant to be a yoga bra but I'd wear it as a casual around-the-house bra. It's flattering and looks really soft. 

I'm mad that I missed out on this tank in black! It's organic cotton with bungies on the hem to customize the fit. It's the kind of tank you didn't know you needed until you have it, you know? 

These are great, right? They come in three colors and are marked down to $50. Definitely worth a look. (Reading the reviews, they run large - just something to keep in mind if you order!)

I'm pretty sure I've posted this one before but it comes in three colors (I love this beige for summer) and is marked down to $65. I adore my little short rain jacket and I am sorely tempted by this one. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Shopping Report: A Few Things I've Bought Lately That Are Good.

Retail therapy is so, so real with me lately. Sometimes getting a package is just the thing to bring a little joy into a not-so-great day. I've bought a few things lately that I'm pleased with and I thought I'd tell you about them.

Okay, these shorts:

They're from the Gap and they don't have a ton of sizes left but they are solid. They're not, like, life-changing but that's asking a lot from denim cut-offs. They're cute, fit well, they have a long enough inseam so I don't have to keep tugging them down (the WORST.) They best part: they're not very expensive. Also, they're true to size.

Out of sheer desperation I also bought this pair full-price (though a similar style is on sale here and make sure you click on 'see all sizes' because they hide them!) This goes against everything I believe in but I was mad that everything I liked had sold out in my size:

These are Joe's Jeans Bermuda shorts and they're also good! But so expensive for what they are. I mean, yes, I'd spend that much on a pair of jeans and I live in cut-offs during the summer but I don't know. I haven't taken the tags off and will probably send them back. Maybe. We'll see. PS. I sized up on these. Zappos also has them.

Remember my post about Outdoor Voices? I caved and bought the Apex bra:

Ugh. Y'all. I am actually mad that I like this so much. I don't want to like it so much but it's GOOD. The fabric is very high quality, it's got a thick, supportive band, and it's comfortable! I love the higher neckline too - great for yoga, especially when you're upside down, because you might think things are where they should be, but they probably aren't. I'm just saying.

Finally, when I'm feeling crummy, I've found that buying something from a friend is the best:

My friend Maryellen makes beautiful jewelry and posted this necklace up on her Instagram. I am a sucker for labradorite so I bought one (which I'll wear soon in an outfit post!) She also has a great Etsy shop full of similar designs. The longer necklaces are the best because you can double them up and wear short or long and the button fastener becomes part of the design. Best.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Monday Mood: Every Seven Days, Like It Or Not.

It felt right to take a step back last week but I definitely miss you all, my blog friends, so I'm hoping that it's okay to slide gently into the week with some recommendations? Here are some things that are not totally bumming me out:

This movie that won't make you feel bad.
Troop Zero on Amazon Prime is delightful. It’s got Viola Davis, Allison Janey and Jim Gaffigan, along with a bunch of kid actors who actually look like normal kids. It's the best kind of funny, endearing underdog story, full of excellent 1970s raised-by-wolves childhood nostalgia (holla Gen-X!)) and lots of David Bowie references (which you know I love.)

These Masks That My Friend Makes. 
My friend Nicole of Nicole Lee Designs has been making beautifully crafted purses and totes for years and now she's making masks! They sell out fast, so snap one up if you see a print you like. I personally think the strawberries are SO cute.

This Podcast That's Worth a Re-Mention.
We mentioned this one briefly last month, but I think it deserves it's own billing. Staying In with Emily and Kumail is the podcast I listen to when I need a break from the heavy newsy podcasts I tend to listen to every day. It's Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani in quarantine together, chatting about living under quarantine, making some fun recommendations and interviewing cool people like Issa Rae and Tan France. Their profits go to charities helping those affected by Coronavirus.

This serum that maybe does something?
I recently added The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics to an order so I could get free shipping. It was definitely an impulse purchase, one made because it sounded more interesting than plain ole hyaluronic acid. Luckily, it's good! It's got a watery texture (so more like a hydrating toner, I guess) and I have to move fast, applying it to my still-damp face immediate after cleansing. It makes my dehydrated/reactive skin feel better and more moisturized and doesn't irritate at all. It also seems to help my other products absorb better, which is a nice bonus. It's not a life-changing product but I've been pleasantly surprised by it. Plus, it's under $7!