Category: Favorites

Five Things I Loved In July

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” 
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Another month gone, another batch of good things to celebrate and share. Beauty, books, and a particularly satisfying piece of art follow–tell me what you discovered and loved this past month in the comments!

Sun Project Water Cream SPF50 by Thank You Farmer
I’m fairly fanatical about sunscreen, but it can be hard to find a face SPF product to love. Texture, weight, and smell are not all created equal so when I find products that I genuinely enjoy using, I shout it from the rooftops. Such a product is this South Korean brand (and South Korean beauty junkies take their sun protection pretty seriously) and I cannot recommend it enough. It goes on smooth, moisturizes, has no white cast on my paler skin, and does not smell like a beach bag you forgot to clean out for six months. Win!

 


The Fernet Branca Alligator
I stumbled across a heritage poster of this old drink brand in a restaurant, and fell in love hard and fast with the sassy alligator mascot. So naturally I found a quality repro company that produces the poster because my new spirit animal needs a home on my walls. It took all my fun money for the month, and I regret nothing.

 

Cold Brew Coffee
Best friend and keeper of all things wise X. turned us on to this on a summer visit last year and Jeff contributed to a crowd funded project to purchase our own cold brew pitcher which arrived this month. As usual, we’re late to the party on so many things, but we’re definitely enjoying this cold brew life…and now we have no excuse to pay for it!

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
This novel was fantastic and absolutely devastating to read. Inspiring, shaming, educational, disheartening, and hopeful all at once.

 

Gap dress
I haven’t shopped at Gap in years, but I recently hit up their seasonal sale and came away with a handful of £5 tank tops, a pair of white jeans for £10 (that I would never have bought if not for the price tag as I’m death to all things pristine in spite of loving white clothing), and this dress in two shades for a substantial in store discount. Since then, I’ve been living in them during the work week. It’s the first non-second hand or non-vintage purchase I’ve made in a long, long time but the low price tag and commitment to maximize cost per wear allowed me to justify it.

Five Things I Loved In June

“Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”
― Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Another month down, another batch of things to love! Here are some of the things that made me happy this past June, tell me what brought you some joy in the comments.

Wood Sage and Sea Salt, by Jo Malone. Jeff bought me a long coveted bottle of this scent for my birthday and I’ve been wearing it nonstop ever since. With notes of citrus, wood, herbs, and salt, it’s the furthest thing in the world from a sweet floral. Perfect.

 

American Gods, on Starz/Amazon. This series is weird, uncomfortable, fascinating, and beautifully designed. The concept is theoretically simple: gods are real and engendered by human belief. As subsequent waves of people have come to the Americas, they have brought their gods with them, but as times have changed and different belief systems waxed and waned, the influence of these gods has also shifted dramatically. So what happens when different groups of people have brought different interpretations of the same gods with them, or when new “gods” come along to claim human time and attention? What good is being immortal when you have nothing to do? What if other gods existence come at the expense of yours? A mixed conversation on religion, immigration, faith, death, and flawed people, I’ve been lapping this show up with a spoon.

 

All the Single Ladies, by Rebecca Traister. This book (which I took in audio form) explores the history of unmarried women in American life, starting in the colonial period and taking things straight up into the 21st century. Through research and public history, Traister synthesizes (and rarely judges) how religious, secular, and cultural mores have always found ways to include, exclude, ignore, encompass, puzzle over, cow, fear, and generally fret about un-partnered women. Meanwhile, single women have always been a major force in American life, though their contributions haven’t always been sung from the rooftops,

Ellis Faas lip gloss. The idea behind this line is that the best and purest red lip is the color of…human blood. Weird, yes, but the pigmentation? Ace.

 

Vintage shopping in Paris. I keep promising a post on it and I will get this up soon (though first I need to repair damages from the Photobucket debacle) but in the meantime, let me just say that discovering a half dozen new vintage shops and coming home with some genuine treasure was a highlight of the trip. And provided some much needed beauty therapy!

Five Things I Loved In May

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

Kittens, I am neglecting you lately, but the world of work has rather consumed life over the last couple of weeks and free time has been taken up by getting outdoors into the increasingly nice weather whenever possible. I enjoy the parade of seasons most years, with their respective fashions, celebrations, and foods, but I have been craving summer in an unusual way this year and am ready for the accompanying heat and holidays. This is pretty clear in this month’s batch of favorites!

 

Nars x Charlotte Gainsbourg eyeshadow in Old Church Street. I had every intention of being good and not buying any more makeup for the rest of the year, truly I did. But when this collection dropped I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. The combination of slate and champagne shadows was too gorgeous to be believed, and I could actually justify it to myself as I didn’t have any existing shades in these colors. Clearly my upcoming Paris trip inspired me! I’m now sitting penitently on my hands and eschewing temptation for a good long while to make up for it.

 

Neom candle in Complete Bliss. Most floral scents, whether for perfumes or home fragrances, simply do not do it for me but this is the rare exception and I currently have three of these suckers scattered throughout the apartment. It’s rose scent would be overpowering, but it’s got some citrus and black pepper thrown in to balance things out. So not only do we have fancy antique chairs now, and a regular cleaning schedule, but our house always smells nice too. We begin to feel quite grown up!

 

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season Three. This absurd delight of a show continues to bring me joy, mixing light and dark equitably and shot through with ridiculousness. I inhaled the whole season in one weekend and firmly believe that Titus’ “Lemonading” episode needs to win some kind of award.

 

Sunglasses. I seriously didn’t start wearing these regularly until my late 20s, for no good reason whatsoever. I have since reformed.

 

Hermes, Un Jardin sur la Nil. I’ve owned this bottle of perfume for years now and I’ve finally come to the end of it. It’s done good service and though I don’t think I’ll ever repurchase it, it is a wonderful summer fragrance with green notes. Inspired by the garden islands at Assouan on the Nile, it’s one of a series of “travelogue” style scents that Hermes has done, and are well worth a look in. As the weather has warmed up, I’ve enjoyed spritzing this on liberally as a prelude to summer.

Five Things I Loved in April

“We don’t need to have just one favorite. We keep adding favorites.”
― Lloyd Alexander

Samurai Jack, Season 5. This is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, and a wonderfully stylish one at that. The series went off the air several years ago, but the creators have revived it and injected some new life into the series while still remaining very faithful to the aesthetic and style of their original series. I’m loving it. The network punked viewers on April 1 by dropping a new episode of Rick and Morty instead of the anticipated Jack episode, for which I magnanimously forgive the creators as I love Dan Harmon’s wacky romp through cosmic nihilism deeply, but I’ve been eating all the other episodes up with a spoon.

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It Cosmetics CC Cream. I’ve been road testing this formula all month and I’ve been highly impressed with the coverage and the fact that it lasts on my face all day where many foundations wear off (particularly around my jawline). It doesn’t have as wide color a range as any modern line should, but in terms of payoff, it’s beats far more expensive products I’ve tried.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Hardly a new favorite, but I’ve been rewatching old episodes this month and reliving the genius that is David Suchet. Sometimes it can be a real pleasure to rediscover and indulge in trusted pop culture stand bys.

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Bite Prismatic Pearl Creme Lip Gloss. I picked up these this past month and while I could wear them as casual toppers on more temperate lipstick shades, I confess that I prefer to wear them at the weekends in full metallic force. Inspiration: Mad Max.

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The Ordinary by Deciem. I’m currently testing this current media darling of a skincare brand and I have to say, I get some of the hype! I want to finish my full test period before reviewing all the products I picked up (most of them for under £10 each), but thus far I have some very good things to say. Deciem also recently announced a serum-style foundation that immediately incurred a massive waitlist so it will be a while before I can test that myself, but I fully intent to. A brick and mortar store appears to be coming to the Covent Garden area in the near future as well, so keep an eye out for more talk about this brand in the future from me.

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Five Things I Loved in March

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Another month down, a fistful of good things to love and share! Here are the things I used and abused this March, let me know what pop culture, entertainment, food, beauty, writing, or memes struck your fancy in the comments.

 

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Kimberly Clark Anti-Haul Videos. I found this Youtuber through another Youtuber and have really been enjoying her content. Kimberly Clark is the creator’s drag persona and in it, she makes content that discusses social issues and consumerism in a fun and interestingly POVed way. She’s most notable for her “anti-haul” videos where, instead of hyping beauty products, she lists out products that she’s “not gonna buy,” and more importantly, why not. Jokes, smarter consumerism goals, and fierce af eyeliner. What is not to love?

 

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The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling. This book has been out for years but I only just got around to reading it. I recall it got mixed reviews but I strongly suspect that’s down to this being the opposite of her famous Harry Potter books in every way. Far from fantastical, it’s about a country community facing internal strife and external pressures; it’s gritty, realistic, and there is no magic to save you, much less add a note of levity. Local politics, poverty, and the small heroics and failures of everyday people are the engine of the drama, and the results of

 

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Sawbones podcast. A work pal introduced me to this “marital tour through misguided medicine,” which goes down all the dark alleyways of medical history to showcase where we humans have gotten things spectacularly and hilariously wrong.

 

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Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Pepper, by Bite Beauty. Now that spring has well and truly sprung (thanks, Daylight Savings Time!), I’m back to the bright lipstick after a lengthy sojourn in neutrals-ville. But this switch is recent and of late my go-to has been this shade from Bite, which is the quintessential “your lips but better” for me, a concept I didn’t properly understand before this particular stick came into my life. I’m back on that orange-y red hustle full time, but I still keep this one in my bag. Just in case.

 

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Modern Mercury highlighter, by Estee Lauder x Victoria Beckham. This was my cheat item from my shopping ban, which actually managed to justify. More on that coming soon, but in the meantime, I have been wearing this almost every day since I bought it and remain hopelessly in love with this stupidly expensive item. This won’t be for everyone, and it’s far from a necessity, but I’ve found this rosy sheen about as resistible as a magpie would a pile of diamonds. It is, to put it succinctly, a beaut.

Five Things I Loved in February

“February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March.” 
– J.R. Stockton

It may be a short month but I found a wide range of things to go giddy over this February. Here’s my list of top five pleasures, what are yours?

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Images via Amazon.com

Pretty Iconic, by Sali Hughes. One of Britain’s best beauty writers strikes again with her latest book. Her first was a friendly guide to navigating the world of products, services, and options available to the enthusiastic but perhaps baffled customer. This books is a retrospective of the (mostly 20th century) products that changed the beauty industry and how women (and men) make themselves up today.

 

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Image via Amazon.com

The Road to Little Dribbling, audiobook by Bill Bryson. I’m hideously late to the game with this well-beloved writer, but I’ve been inhaling his work ever since reading his In a Sunburned Country, which is basically a love letter to Australia in the form of a travelogue. His ditto on the UK, which itself is a follow up to a similar book he wrote twenty years previously, was a joy to listen to. By turns grumpy and delighted with his adopted country (Bryson is an American by birth), his insights to some of the less well traveled parts of Britain are hilarious and perceptive.

 

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Image via Glossier.com

Glossier serums. This fairly recently created but very quickly beloved brand doesn’t ship to the UK, but I’ve been lucky (or wily) in getting my hands on it. Either kind friends have been willing to help a girl out, or I’ve timed deliveries to coincide with our visits to the States last year. I picked the 3-pack of their serums up on our visit to my family over Christmas, but have waited to give them a proper test drive until this month. Consider me converted. Each of the formulas are designed to address different skin needs and by far the most useful to me is the Super Glow serum, which I will find a way to repurchase, so help me god.

 

 

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Image via Uniqlo website

Uniqlo cowlneck cashmere sweaters. A quick scroll through my Instagram feed confirmed my worst suspicions: I’ve been practically living in these jumpers all season. Uniqlo does some decent affordable cashmere options and, though they don’t last as long as a quality cashmere buy, at a fraction of the price, they are worth picking up and wearing out. We’re moving towards Spring fashions but that means it’s time to do a scan of the sale sections of stores to see if you can find a bargain. This image is of a v-neck rather than a cowl neck, but I’ve found the quality to hold up regardless of neckline.

The Tory 2.0 dress, by MM LaFleur. This dress is my workhorse work piece and, as I’ve been working at a corporate client’s office since the start of the year, I’ve been reaching for it again and again this month when I need to look sharp. I own three dresses from this line and it’s a long term goal for me to buy at least a couple more to have a go-to capsule work wardrobe. They aren’t the cheapest options available, but treating them like investment buys and throwing in some professional tailoring has been a very good decision for me personally.

 

Five Things I Loved in January

“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.”
― Oscar Wilde

2017 is off to a rocky political start but there are small pleasures still to be enjoyed and we at SDS believe in signal boosting the good things in life, no matter how small. Here’s a rundown of the media, beauty, and little luxuries that kept me healthy and functional this month. Share yours in the comments!

 

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Hot water bottle. Our new apartment is lovely but the insulation is not the best, plus we tend to keep the temperature lower for both money and environmental factors. Why else were lovely jumpers invented? At any rate, I tend to get cold at night partially because Jeff claims he overheats when he cuddles me too long (side eye) and partially because I have poor circulation in my feet. In looking for some kind of seasonal solution to this most wintery of problems, I noted that retro looking hot water bottles are everywhere in Britain in a way that I don’t remember seeing in the States. I always thought that hot water bottle were old school and a bit silly but eventually I decided to spring for one on Amazon (in late December, so it doesn’t violate my shopping ban). Kittens, I repent. I grovel. I abase myself for my ignorance. This thing is incredible.

 

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Pestle & Mortar. I have been test driving this beauty brand since December and it has been a good decision. A small company and based in Ireland, they ship worldwide and meticulously detail what goes into their small but impactful line. I’ve been using this serum and their nighttime retinol oil everyday this month and to say that it has been doing good things for my face would be an understatement! I gave the sample of their moisturizer included in my order a go and liked it so I will likely make that my next test drive when my current moisturizer runs out.

 

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Everlasting Mini Liquid Lipstick Set, by Kat Von D. This was a Black Friday indulgence that I’ve been testing out ever since and it gets rave reviews from me. Very uncharacteristically I’ve been reaching for non-red lips this winter so far and this mostly cool toned set of colors has been scratching some kind of beauty itch. Excellent staying power and opaque pigmentation, with modern vamp colors–what more could a girl want?

 

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tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, in Seduce. Yep, another beauty pick, sue me. I’ve been having a bit of a neutrals moment lately (very out of character again, what is happening?!) and this blush is another of my Black Friday buys that I’ve been wearing almost exclusively ever since. The screenshot doesn’t really capture its tone accurately; I might have to throw another pic up on Instagram to show how it looks in the pan so keep an eye out there. tarte expanded their line of blushes last year to include more neutral tones–previously they were known for the pigmented, bright colors of their blush so this was a bit of a departure for them–and the formula is just ace.

 

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To Walk Invisible, by the BBC. This period drama about the lives of the Brontes is not entirely unlike their works in some ways: quiet in places, slow, and intense in spite of (or perhaps because of) both. This film encompasses the last few years of their brother Bramwell’s life, when his descent into alcoholism and their father’s illness put their prospects for support as Victorian women into sharp relief. Their resolve is to try and publish their work, and the rest is well documented history. The moment that hit me most was when their manuscripts are returned from yet another publisher, and they immediately pull out their list of targets for the next one to contact. There’s a lesson in that.