Beauty picks

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What better time than Valentine’s Day to talk beauty?  Whether you’re getting ready for a night out with a special someone or staying in and pampering yourself (or both!), here are some of my very favorite tried-and-trues.  I am rather picky when it comes to beauty products, so hopefully you’ll find these as excellent as I do.  Trust.

Skin Care

Glow Butter

I have to credit the excellent Andrea Linett with this find.  Kimberly Howell created this amazing skin balm that I love love love.  It is deeply moisturizing, healing, and revivifying for both face and body.  Did I mention it is handmade and all natural?  Jojoba, avocado, and coconut oils along with tupelo beeswax make for a luxurious, glow-inducing, well… Glow Butter!

Elta MD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30 Plus

This is the ONLY sunscreen I have managed to use on a regular basis.  It feels more like a moisturizer and has none of that terrible sunscreen-y smell I loathe.  10/10 will buy repeatedly.

Fresh Rose Face Mask

My favorite face mask, this rosy gel is soothing, moisturizing, brightening, and all-around lovely.  My skin always feels supple and refreshed afterwards, which I love.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

Even my husband loves Fresh’s cushy lip balm — he says it is the only balm that makes his chapped lips feel more comfortable right away, which I agree with wholeheartedly.  I’ve tried a few of the tinted options, but I always come back to the original clear formula.  Why mess with perfection?

Clinique Self-Heating Blackhead Extractor

My skin tends towards blackheads on my nose and chin, but I have never had much luck with products to combat them.  Enter the Self-Heating Blackhead Extractor by Clinique.  It is a little creamy, a little scrub-y, and heats up like magic when you get it wet.  It even has a funny bumpy scrubby little massage tool built right into the cap.  All of these things together somehow have combined to create a product that miraculously cleans out my pores like none other.

Fur Oil

Thank you, Emma Watson, for spreading the news of Fur Oil far and wide.  This spherical bottle of smoothing, soothing, quick-drying oil is a truly wonderful thing if you ever deal with ingrown hairs.  Buy a bottle now and thank me (and Emma Watson) later.

Makeup

I am pretty minimal when it comes to makeup these days, but there are a handful of items I reach for every day without fail.

Rimmel Provocalips in Kiss Me You Fool

This 16-hour lip color really delivers, and is a great price to boot.  I hate applying lipstick throughout the day but also feel like a ghost without any lip color, so this liquid lipstick/balm combo is the answer to my flutist prayers.  It really doesn’t budge — food-proof, kiss-proof, holding-an-instrument-to-my-lips proof — and it comes in the perfect red.  Sold.

Glossier Boy Brow and Lash Slick

Most days I don’t use much eye makeup, opting for a strong lip instead.  I swipe on Boy Brow and Lash Slick daily, though, for the perfect wide-awake eye.  Mandatory feature:  Lash Slick never ever clumps.

Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek in Rally

If I go the extra mile (or minute) and opt for blush, my favorite go-to is Milk Makeup’s Lip + Cheek.  Rally is the perfect bright fuchsia pink to brighten my face a bit, and the creamy stick couldn’t be easier to use.  It is also super natural-looking — their formula just melts into skin like a dream.

There you have it!  My most favorite, tried-and-true beauty products.  Go slather on that delightful Rose Mask, kick up your heels in your fuzziest slippers, and enjoy.

 

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(Art) gallery

Recently my mom bit the bullet and ordered a Frame TV, and she couldn’t be more thrilled with having interchangeable art on the wall instead of a large black rectangle hogging space in her living room.  We talked about doing a gallery wall to give that space even more visual interest, so a couple weeks ago I spent an evening shopping and installing it for her.  It was so much fun!

I can’t pop by and visit often since we live a couple hours apart, so rather than waiting for art from various places to arrive, we headed to Target.  Although I know they have really stepped up their home decor in recent years, she and I were both surprised we found everything we’d need.

travel photos  line portrait  neutral abstract

She’s been loving pinks, peaches, and warm neutrals lately.  I was smitten with this line drawing portrait as soon as I saw it months ago, so that was a top pick for sure.  My mom is thrilled to be traveling to Europe soon for the first time in years, so some travel photography was an obvious choice, and the graceful curves of this abstract gave a nice variety of mediums as well as a serene spot for the eye to rest.  I peppered in a lovely rose-colored African woven basket and a pair of 3-D printed planters she had found on Etsy, too, for even more texture and visual interest.

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We managed to leave an item behind in our cart (ooops!), so while she went back to get it I had the apartment to myself to hang her gallery wall and surprise her.  And *spoiler alert* — she LOVED it!

The addictive quality of new throw pillows is a constant joke between us, so that was another fun little living room update.  We picked a couple new pillow covers to mix with a few older favorites, and now she has this delightful combo on her couch.  Super pretty AND so lounge-y soft.  And voilà!  An easy January living room refresh.

metallic blocks  tufted half-circles  linear velvet circle  Mongolian lamb  velvet archways

 

You have my heart

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You have my heart.
I’m not sure you wanted it,
but it sits on your desk
(in the corner)
where sometimes it catches your eye
and you remember (me) for a while.
It beats (for you)
but mostly
you don’t notice.
So easy to take
(for granted)
sitting there on the shelf,
gathering dust
over the years.
I can’t seem to ask for it back,
as much as its absence pains me,
because one day
(I hope)
you’ll realize what a
treasure
it is,
how rare and precious
a gift
it is that you have,
(there)
on your shelf,
that you mostly
can’t help but
ignore.

–Charla M. DelaCuadra

Time to play

Current obsessions: irreverent, playful pieces for home that are a little bit Memphis-design wacky, a little bit modernist, and a whole lot of fun.  Curved lines, chubby shapes, and a healthy dose of quirk?  Yes and please!  Perhaps it is the post-holiday lull, or I’m wanting to capture the freshness of a new year?  Either way, here are some fun items I am craving:

A curvy bench-couch hybrid just begs to be lounged on.  And that nubby fabric!

Francois Halard: A Visual Diary is exactly what I want on my coffee table right now.  Bold, stunning, and personal.

This chubby round stacked vase always makes me smile.  It’s like a wink of fun every time I see it on my console, and I love the minty hue.

I simply must have this print.  So hilariously clever!

This Scalamandré-esque shower curtain had me at hello.  Perfection with some minimal brass bath accessories and an amber apothecary jar or two.

Target’s decor options keep getting better and better, and this artsy-cool pillow is no exception.  So chic and easy.

And finally, I am dying over Ayush Kasliwal’s notch wood chair — classic and architectural, and so fresh and fun at the same time!

All of these together would be beautiful in my imaginary little Parisian pied-à-terre, no?  Individually, though, they are just as amazing, and easy enough to incorporate with a variety of decor styles.  Which would you choose?  Any fun new home additions calling your name this January?

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Is there really a “right” answer?

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I am in life and where I am headed, and whether I am ready to make a leap into something new.  I’ve been agonizing over finding the right decision, over and over as is my wont.  All of sudden on my commute home the other day, though, I had a real moment of clarity: what if there isn’t actually a right answer?  Or, more importantly, what if there isn’t actually a wrong answer?  I immediately felt a weight lift off my shoulders at the thought.  Perhaps, after all is said and done, each path I might choose has potential.  Each path has its own validity.  And no matter what I choose, I will be okay.  I will be okay.

I think perhaps I have tried to “do what’s right” for so long that doing something I want ceased to be a consideration.  Or what I “want” became conflated with “wanting to make the right decision.”  Either way, what will actually make me feel happy and fulfilled has gotten lost in the shuffle.  I cannot explain how revolutionary it is to consider that perhaps there is no one right answer.  And now, armed with that insight, I finally feel like I have permission from myself to move forward in a way that will make me happy.  I don’t have to feel obligated to check the “right” boxes.  Of course, in the abstract I am aware that there isn’t a right or wrong answer for many things.  We exist in perpetual shades of grey, where things are often subjective.  For some reason, though, it has never really occurred to me that was the case for my life.

It occurs to me that the patriarchy has insidious finger-holds in so much of our societal consciousness.  As a woman, we have rarely had the luxury of asking ourselves what we want.  And even though, in theory, we have progressed to a point where that is an option, can we really make those choices freely?  So much of our self-worth and happiness is tied up in making others feel happy and cared-for.  A spouse, children, our aging parents… they have needs we are conditioned to want to meet, and our own needs be damned — or at least, swept under the rug into unobtrusive invisibility.  I’ve decided I don’t want my desires to be forced into invisibility any longer.

I am incredibly lucky to have good people around me — people I love and trust and can rely on.  Maybe it is time to release the vise-grip I feel like I have to maintain on my image, the way I want people to see me, and the way I feel like my narrative should unfold?  Part of my fear in choosing wrong is that I will be judged, or seen as wanting somehow.  That not choosing correctly equals failure.  But then, so what?  No matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise, I truly have no control over how people see me, feel about me, or whether they will judge me.  Nor can I possibly please everyone.

So, as we embark on a new year, I am thinking a lot.  I am beginning to plan ways I might like to move forward with me in mind.  Not what I feel I should do, not what I think I have to keep doing, but what will fulfill me.  It is a strange feeling, I have to admit.  I feel selfish (I’m not) and perhaps a little bit adrift.  I’m going to try to move through that discomfort to a place of discovery, though, and I’m looking forward to the ride.  See you on the other side.

New classics

Happy new year!  The start of a new year always feels fresh to me, and I’ve got classics on my mind for looks that are clean-clean-clean after all the excess of the holidays.

jcrew_parke_blazer_caramel

Leave it to J. Crew to make the perfect tan blazer.  I’m planning to wear this for years.  Paired with a chambray shirt and black denim?  Yes and please.  Jeans and a graphic tee?  Perfection.  Pencil skirt and blouse?  Of course!  I could go on and on.

universalstandard_v_rex_navy_dove_grey_stripe

Other items in my wardrobe may come and go, but my striped tees are forever staples.  Universal Standard’s Peruvian cotton has a wonderful drape, so I am thrilled to add this one to my rotation.

nordstrom_pave_huggie_hoops

I got a third hole pierced in each ear just before Christmas and I couldn’t be happier about it — I’ve been having tons of fun mixing and matching my earrings ever since.  Huggie-style hoops are having a huge moment right now, and these feel perfectly classic to me. These sweet pink ones are adorable as well.

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Speaking of perfection, this cardigan is it.  Super soft, lightweight yet plenty warm, flattering cut, and a beautiful navy hue so you can pair it with anything.

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This perhaps falls into the huge-organizational-nerd category, but because it isn’t the new year without some sort of attempt to streamline things, I picked up a pack of these translucent amber bottles for our shower.  Goodbye, loud mismash of brightly-colored labels.  Hello, calm apothecary shower experience.  *hearteyes*

I don’t feel like I need a new me for the new year per se, but fresh clean and classic?  I’m all in.

 

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