Category: Favorites

Five Things I Loved in September

“O love, turn from the changing sea and gaze,
Down these grey slopes, upon the year grown old,
A-dying ‘mid the autumn-scented haze…
― October, by William Morris

It’s October! Time to break out the cashmere and boots!

Okay, it may be my favorite time of year, but we still need to salute the good things of the month just gone, so here’s a short list of things that brought me joy in September.

MakeupRehab Reddit
I discovered this subreddit a while ago, but have only really got involved in in over the past couple of months. It’s a community for people who love all things beauty but may have lost control of their spending habits, fallen for the marketing hype on sub par products, and generally want to be smarter consumers. It’s a fun platform for talking about budgeting and critical consumerism, all through the lens of blush and eye shadow, and all based on mutual information and encouragement. Of course I loved it! A real focus is not shopping for shopping’s sake, which I gravitated to immediately. As a self described beauty junkie (you know how many lipsticks I own…) I’ve been thinking a lot about my beauty consumer ever since my Style Month project–which as you may remember, included a week dedicated to makeup and my bathroom shelf. Well, I’m still a beauty junkie, but reading and participating this subreddit has helped inspire a number of style goals and personal challenges, and encouraged me to use what I own in smarter and more proactive ways. My use-it-up challenge was inspired by a post I read here and I’m on track to deliver a positive report come Halloween! My year of “less but better” rolls on.


Looks basic in the pan, looks unbelievably natural and pretty on the skin.

Cargo Blush, in Tonga
Speaking of makeup! After using my Cargo blush in Tonga exclusively for weeks, I got the thrill of hitting pan on it–something I haven’t done on a powder makeup product in a long time. So satisfying.


So smug. So unapologetic.

Vintage shopping
An evergreen topic, but this month I finally found something I’ve been looking for for nearly two years: a vintage military style jacket that made me look like I was on a campaign to invade Russia in the 19th century. I found it, and I found it in a deep green. My Cossack Pirate came through yet again!


The First White President, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This already made it into a weekly favorites, but I’m signal boosting again because this longform essay has had me in its grip ever since I read it. As mentioned, I’m one of those ignorant fools who honestly believed we as a country had made more progress on race than it’s being revealed we have. This POV was utterly down to privilege I didn’t understand or realize I possessed and ignorance of the lives and lived realities of my countrymen. Shame on me, and shame on lots of us.


Jeff and I have been married for the better part of a decade, but have taken almost no holidays that involve just the two of us. Normally we travel with or to see family, occasionally we travel (with great pleasure!) with friends, but almost never alone. Seeing family is of course wonderful, but family can come with unique stresses that mean that visits aren’t always relaxing, and we live very far away from our mutual clans which means that’s seeing them usually involves an exhausting, multi-timezone slog that also diminishes rest and recharging. When we are with friends, we tend to want to milk enjoyment out of everything and so throw ourselves into food, fun, and exploration. Traveling alone meant that we were able to do only what we enjoyed and wanted to do, at the pace we wished. It was glorious. We’re already planning our next trip.


Five Things I Loved in August

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” 
― Sylvia Plath

August was supposed to be a quiet month for me, a relatively more relaxed pace at work, other people on holiday, a chance to catch up and get things done, possibly more blogging…

Nope. Hilariously nope. This month has been ridiculous and stressful in the extreme. A few projects at work exploded spectacularly and took over my and my team’s lives, there has been some silly personal drama in the background, and I still don’t feel as if we’ve recovered our flow after our weeks of houseguests this summer (which were not at all a burden, but did a number on the schedules and habits which help keep me balanced). That being said, I’m still urging both X and Katarina to come visit before the year is out because both would obviously be necessary to my happiness

However, we got there in the end. The projects have been righted and we’ve even had a few a few major victories, I’ve got some interesting side hustle opportunities that I’m exploring, and we’re finally going to have some time off next week. Everything’s coming up Milhouse! To celebrate, here is the list of things I loved this month and helped get me through.

It’s My Cushion Compact Case
I saw this product on YouTube and immediately thought it was a genius invention. I was searching for ways to apply sunscreen throughout the day (something I and my pale skin take seriously but still haven’t perfected after years of research) and came across this DIY option that riveted me. One short scouring later and I’ve embraced the tutorial in its entirety and my sunscreen cushion is now a tool I use daily–just before I leave work and head home. This same YouTuber also has another tutorial on how to create your own cushion foundation using the compact which I might be trying next.


Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square
I had a bad week when, in the midst of the work shenanigans, my favorite red lip product went missing. Turns out it had been having a vacation in a coat pocket, and I may have danced a little jig when I found it again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: for me, lipstick is armor; when mine goes missing I feel less able to kick ass and take names. I have a plethora of lipstick, but this one reigns supreme in the red category and it was nice to rediscover my love for it, even if it was under emotional distress.


The Art of the English Murder, by Lucy Worsley
This is not a new book by my academic girl crush, but for someone who loves a good murder, it was a great read. Pretty sure I’ll be getting this for my father-in-law (who shares my love of Poirot) for Christmas!


“A Conversation With a Former White Nationalist,” by The Daily
The Daily, the podcast of the New York Times has been a great news podcast for my commutes, but this particular episode with a former white nationalist who had to unmake his own racism was exceptionally good. More importantly, he explains the vision of white supremacy he was raised with, how the movement has changed in recent years in an attempt to rebrand itself, and how members of the movement view the current political moment. It’s complex, challenging, disheartening, and hopeful all at the same time.


Lisa Macario sweatshirt
I purchased this sucker way back in May and (due to overwhelming demand for this and her other work) only got it this month. It was worth the wait. When she’s finally caught up on her workload–and I wish her all the success–I fully intend to buy something else for myself.

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.