Wow, No Thank You.

via samanthairby.com

Somewhere between two days and two months ago (time has basically ceased to have meaning or proper flow these days, amirite?), I had the privilege of enjoying a conversation between Samantha Irby and Jia Tolentino. My Jia fangirl status was cemented a while ago (as exhibited here and here), so it was extra fun to hear her interview an author live. And someone as hilarious as Samantha Irby? Thank you, Free Library of Philadelphia! Razor-sharp wit combined with the intimacy of a chat between friends made for a delightful listen. I hit “purchase” on Irby’s most recent book before the chat was even finished.

Wow, No Thank You is one of those books that manages to deal with racism, classism, sexism, sexual orientation, body issues, and and number of other -isms with such a deft and humorous touch that you don’t even realize it isn’t pure brain candy until after you’ve put it down for a bit. Irby is hilariously blunt, occasionally raunchy, and always painfully, amazingly observant. Why do we women feel pressured to buy cream specifically for our necks? If your family never had the privilege of owning a house, does gutter maintenance magically find it’s way into your conscience when you sign a mortgage? Are Hot Pockets and self-care really mutually exclusive? Why waste energy on that person who hates you, when they realistically would add nothing of value to your life even if they did like you? Can anyone utter the phrase, “are you familiar with my work?” without feeling painfully awkward about it? Questions and answers to laugh at and ponder and nod along with abound in this collection of laugh-out-loud essays. Irby also provides an excellent annotated playlist, for those of you hungry for late 1900s nostalgia mixed with a heretofore unmatched level of hilarity.

In a nutshell, Samantha Irby is one funny lady, and you should buy her book immediately. “Because we live in a fiery hellscape,” to quote her directly, and we need all the clever hilarity we can get. And this hilarity even comes with a dose or three of contemporary awareness, so you can feel virtuous while you indulge. You’re welcome, and enjoy.

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Everything I Never Told You

ng_everything_coverIn Celeste Ng’s debut novel Everything I Never Told You, the story of the Lee family unfolds like the petals of a flower.  Lydia is dead, that we know, and the story of her family, their grief, and their undoing unfurls slowly, with pathos and grit alike.  Chapters from Lydia’s own childhood, her parents as young people, her siblings and their own lives — all of these are twined inexorably together, as all families’ are.  Ng pulls together the experience of being an outsider deftly with a multi-layered coming-of-age story that resonated with me deeply.  There was not a single character I wasn’t rooting for by the end.

We all have inner lives, and we all carry wounds that make us fragile, even if they are invisible to the naked eye.  The saga of the Lee family brings that home with quiet power, drawing us through a gripping page-turner of a story that sears, comforts, and ultimately shows how even the darkest hours can led us to a semblance of redemption.  Highly recommend.

 

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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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