Category: Favorites

Five Things I Loved in November

“The house was very quiet, and the fog—we are in November now—pressed against the windows like an excluded ghost.” 
― E.M. Forster, Howards End

What a month, darlings. My life has been consumed with work again, but mostly pleasantly, I’m happy to say. I’ve been incredibly busy, but I am enjoying the work a great deal. But goodness, that means this month has gone by fast! We’re looking down the barrel of a two week holiday to the States to see family and I feel woefully unprepared for it in every way. The first half of December is going to be spent frantically preparing for the second half which will be spent frantically trying to cram in as many visits as possible before frantically trying to get back home in time for the new year. The holidays may be my favorite time of year but they are far from restful!

And with all that said, here are the things that have kept me going this month.

Christmas shopping

I LOVE Christmas shopping. I love finding the perfect presents for people, wrapping them, the process of gifting them. I may be behind on my holiday shopping for friends and family, but I am throwing myself into it with gusto now that Jeff’s birthday and Thanksgiving are behind us.

 

Netflix comedy specials

Netflix has picked up the mantle of Comedy Central, and I for one am loving it. As the news had felt progressively worse and worse over the past two years, I’ve been turning to comedy and lighthearted media more than ever. Yes I may have mainlined Sharp Objects, but I also never miss an episode of The Good Place and evangelize hard for media that injects kindness, thoughtfulness, humor, and levity into the world. This month I enjoyed a bunch of stand up specials, especially ones by Trevor Noah (recommended by Jeff) and was reminded of the vital and delightful role wit and satire should play in our lives. Comedy specials also fit my life right now, when I don’t have the time or attention to really enjoy a series the way I want to, but probably have an hour or two to spare here and there. If you’ve been enjoying, share your recommendations to me in the comments! I’ve been enjoying specials by Trevor Noah, Hasan Minhaj, Donald Glover, Allie Wong…huh. While I in no way intended this to be lacking in white dudes, that is definitely an unexpected bonus.

 

My new precious…

LK Bennett boucle jacket

This was a hell of a second hand find this month! Long on my list of items to buy was a boxy style, boucle tweed jacket–the nearer to Chanel the better. I found one at a beloved designer consignment store and, as I had in-store credit to use, the new with tags jacket that retails over £300 cost me just £28. I felt no shame breaking my no buy for this one at all. It’s a beautiful piece of clothing and if I take good care of it, it should last me for years and years to come.

 

Mac lipstick in Chili

I’ve favorited this item before but I have a goal to use up the bullet before the end of the year and have been wearing it most days in aid of that–with only the rare flirtations with darker, berry tones in honor of the season. This warm, brownish red is absolutely perfect for the fall and someday I will absolutely buy this shade again. However, I first have to get through the other items in my collection. In the meantime, it is only right and proper to salute those who have done good service in the lipstick wars!

 

Lip balm

Tis the season to moisturize everything. I used up two two tubes this month, not start to finish but it’s still a notable consumption pattern for me. One was the Glossier balmdotcom in coconut, which may be the first coconut scented or flavored item I’ve ever not actively hated. While this stuff is basically glorified Vaseline, it gets the job done in the season of wind chap. The other was DHC Lip Cream, which bears the strange honor of being the fastest I’ve ever used up in my life while I’m still not sure I like it. X. recommended it to me and because it came in a two pack, I’m going to continue to use it and see if my opinion on it forms more fully. Meanwhile, the comments are open to your best balm recommendations. Help a girl winterize her face!

Five Things I Loved in October

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Happy Halloween!

Another month has flown by and 2019 is barreling down on us fast, my piglets! The weather has turned cold recently so I’m adding extra layers to (my side of) the bed, pulling the jumpers out of storage, and suddenly gripped with the all-consuming desire to make soup for two meals a day. This is the best time of year.

That being said, it’s been a rough month for a lot of people I know and the world in general so I wasn’t surprised that in tallying up the things that brought me joy in October, items or pop culture that soothed and comforted kept cropping up. As the winter holidays creep closer with all their attendant joys and stresses, take a moment to do something comforting. It’s good for resilience and good for the soul.

Tell me what you’ve been drawn to this month in the comments!

Salt Fat Acid Heat, on Netflix

Another month, another love affair with a smart food show. In a oversaturated market, Netflix still manages to make some really delightful programming and I continue to eat it up with a spoon–pun intended. The host of Salt Fat Acid Heat, writer and cook Samin Nosrat, takes so much JOY in food and it’s wonderful to watch and participate in that joy with her. I now want to run out and buy her cookbook simply to make some of her recipes while rewatching this show…that’s how much I liked it. (Also, shout out to Tom and Lorenzo for this observation which is 100% correct!)

 

Leather jacket, by & Other Stories

A confession, I got my leather moto style jacket from & Other Stories at least three years ago and loved it, but was so intimidated by it as a piece of clothing that I rarely wore it. I honestly didn’t feel “cool” enough to wear it, such is the power of psychology of fashion and clothing. But over the past couple of years, as I’ve learned not only accept but lean into the styles and clothing I like and not act as though I had to meet some sort of achievement (be it thin-ness, grown up-ness, or wealthiness) to wear them, I have become so much happier. And a result, probably more stylish. I have been wearing the heck out of this leather jacket this year and loving it more and more every time I do. I will be a bit sad when I have to set it aside for a proper winter coat, but at the moment, the weather continues to be perfect for jackets and I continue to be a happy bunny about this fact.

 

Botanics Organic Hydrating Eye Cream

In my quest to discover drugstore or cheaper equivalents to higher end products, I’ve picked up a few bits and pieces from trusty Boots this past month including this eye cream. It’s been a joy. The weather turned chilly this past month and during the colder months my skin requires an extra boost of hydration and I’ve already been layering up additional moisturizing products. Eye cream is a product that incites a lot of feelings in the beauty world, some people swear by it and others consider it so much wasted money. Me personally, I feel that an extra layer of moisture in that area is beneficial and this is a delightful, lightweight cream that absorbs quickly without feeling greasy or disrupting other skincare or makeup items. Highly recommended!

 

 

Chillhop, YouTube

This is such a strange one but work this month has been very busy with a lot of curveballs through I’ve had huge stretches of time where I’ve been in a situation where I needed to do a lot of writing in very loud, crowded, and busy spaces. I needed unfussy, mellow, and pleasant background noise. Jeff has teased me about it all month but this channel has been a lifesaver! There are a million and a half channels like this but so far Chillhop is my favorite, which you can also find on Spotify.

 

Luminous Silk Foundation, by Giorgio Armani

A proper update in my 13 by Halloween challenge is coming shortly, but as a preview–yes! I did finish this foundation to the last drop! What a gorgeous product it is too, I do not remember the last foundation that I finished before it went off, caused skin issues, or was otherwise aggravating. This was (yet another spot on) recommendation from X. who has yet to lead me astray in such matters. The only reason I have not repurchased it is because it is 1) expensive as hell and, 2) I have another foundation I intend to use up before pushing the boat out on another. Per my shopping restrictions I am going to try and find a temporary replacement in the drugstore, but if I give myself any outs at all when it comes to my ban it may be for something as foundational as…well… you get it. That day is a long way off, so in the meantime let me salute a bottle that’s done good service in the wars and which I can heartily recommend for a variety of facial textures and tones.

Five Things I Loved in September

“[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.” 
― Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

This month was a bit rough, ducklings. Between the news, our apartment deciding to reenact the Great Flood, and basically doing nothing but work all month, I’m frankly running behind on things that made me actively joyful. And that’s not good.

Like most, when I don’t balance my life and lifestyle well, it tends to have ripple effects that reverberate in my brain and body in unhealthy ways. I’ve become much more attune to my health this past year and am overall in a much better and healthier place in almost every aspect of my life. The downside of this is that I’m also now much more aware when things get off track. I had an uptick in anxiety this month was was CERTAINLY related to the…well…*waves hands generally at the world* but I also didn’t eat as healthy as I normally do, worked long hours when I didn’t need to, and didn’t keep to a sleep schedule. Surprise! All of these things compounded for a few weeks and I had to do the work required to get back on track to feel better.

My pleasure and frivolous fun also took a backseat this month, which probably contributed to an overall malaise. I haven’t read a novel or good nonfiction book in weeks–shame on me! I also have only seen one film, and have mostly be rewatching favorite TV shows as easy watching and self-soothing mechanisms rather than making myself focus on new series or specials. No new music, no new podcasts, and not nearly enough fun.

Basically, I’m slacking. Help me out with your recommendations for pop culture, podcasts, places to eat, or general nonsense on the internet.

That being said, here are a few of the things that did make me smile, helped me towards my goal targets, and generally made me feel good in the month of September!

 

Warehouse shirtdress

This was a cheap buy that feels more expensive than it really is…and I love it. It’s delightfully wacky and colorful and bold. For a girl who doesn’t own or wear a lot of prints, it was an out of character purchase (one I actually made a couple of months ago), but I have been delighted with it in a way that more expensive or simple pieces have not moved me in a long time. My favorite way to wear it at the moment is with a leather jacket and prim jewelry, just to keep people on their toes.

 

Mac Lipstick, in Chili

This warm, orange-y brown-y red is pitch perfect for autumn and in my quest to finish as many beauty products as I can this year, I’ve been wearing it pretty much nonstop this month to get my money’s worth. Switching up clothes and makeup for a new season can be a lot of fun, but I’ve not yet started wearing the darker berry and purple shades that I normally gravitate to in colder months and have been staying faithful to red of late. I’ve finished all the lip products in my 13 By Halloween Challenge, and so am hoping to use this sucker up by Christmas.

 

Killing Eve

Once again I’m late to the party with this, but I had to wait for the BBC to upload the whole series to finally see what all the hype was about. Two women, an intelligence officer and a psychotic assassin, become mutually obsessed with one another in an intricate game of chase. It’s a dark comedy mixed with thriller, mixed with noir and the results are so mixed that you often end up laughing at horrible things and can be a bit unsure who you’re rooting for. Sandra Oh gives a great performance, but so does Jodie Comer as the villain of the piece. I’m clearly in the headspace for strange and oddly-likeable-whilst-being-unlikeable female characters, so do throw any similar media recommendations my way in the comments.

 

Shopping Without Buying

I’ve been upfront about my past retail therapy habits, but I’ve also written extensively about how those habits are changing in positive ways. I had a hankering to go check out a bunch of seasonal beauty and makeup launches and so, on an evening where Jeff had a poker night planned with the guys, I hied myself to Selfridges’ magnificent beauty hall to look at the colors, smell the scents, and even test a few products. It was fun! And I didn’t come home with anything because while it would have been great to pick up some stuff, I didn’t need anything and didn’t justify needless purchasing. Learning to love things and enjoy them in new ways, especially ones that don’t have permanent affect on things like budgets or habits, has been a big theme this year. Speaking broadly, it’s an important life skill.

 

Hannah Louise Potton

On that note, I’ve discovered a wonderful beauty channel on YouTube where the creator is documenting a year long project in not spending. I still miss Kimberly Clark, but this thoughtful take on anti-consumerism has helped scratch an itch and keep me mindful about my own goals.

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

Another month down and it’s time to share a few things I loved this month. This August was heavy on the video front when it comes to pop culture, from stand along shows to absolutely brilliant series, to thoughtful content creators. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not reading as much as previous months, but I am nearly caught up on podcasts, which is truly saying something!

I’m surprised at the mix of dark and light topics this month, and also at the overtly feminine and female topics that have grabbed my attention. From pop culture to personal stories, I was clearly all over the place, but there are a few narrative similarities if one wants to dig into my psyche a bit.

What have you loved or discovered this month? Share your favorite stuff in the comments; I’m curious as always.

 

Nanette, by Hannah Gadsby

I finally got around to watching this Netflix “comedy” special, and it’s just as powerful as people said it was. It’s less comedy than it is a cry for help and a battle cry at the same time by a brilliant woman who Has Had Enough. In her monologue, Hannah Gadsby debates breaking up with comedy for her own growth and mental health and takes an unexpected turn about halfway through her set, choosing to tell her truth with radical honesty. It’s not a happy story, but it feels deeply, deeply important in the current cultural moment as we grapple with identity and divisions and what knits us all together. And she’s also very funny! Definitely give this one an hour of your time if you haven’t yet, you will be moved.

 

Old school, cheap market bag

It’s a bit embarrassing how much of a good £5 well spent this was, but I picked up a French style, woven string market bag at a vintage shop simply because I thought it would be an easier thing to carry around in my work bag and use to do smaller shopping trips several times a week. And do you know what? I was right! Because both Jeff and I have had rougher work schedules lately, we have only been able to do big shopping trips at the weekend. This means we are likely to run out of stuff mid week and resort to other, less frugal eating choices when laziness rears its ugly head. Having something relatively small and weightless, and more expandable than your average mass marketed tote, has been ridiculously useful. It’s such a weird pick for something to love for the month, but I really do.

 

Sharp Objects, HBO

Guys, this show is dark. Unbelievably dark. It’s also incredibly well-crafted, superbly acted, gorgeously shot, and almost ridiculously well-edited. It’s almost absurd how good it is. This is a limited series from HBO, adapted from Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name. She’s the dark and twisty mind that brought us Gone Girl and her preferred themes of toxic relationships, the dark side of the female experience, and the damage people can do to one another and themselves are on full display. I imagine watching this may be a gendered experience because there are certain lines and shots that absolutely knock me sideways and don’t quite land on Jeff in the same way, but he’s equally obsessed. This is a show about female rage, female generational violence, female evil–it leans into tropes and stereotypes and then twists them, or takes them to dark conclusions. Mother love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, the societal pressures to look pretty and not be a bother can be lethal, and pristine packaging can hide some pretty devastating rot.

Amy Adams does some of her best acting in the role of a journalist who returns to her hometown to cover the murder of two young girls. As she investigates, her backstory is revealed through masterful editing cuts that flit back and forth from the present to the past and weaves the narrative together and a deliberately haunting way. I personally find many aspects of the story deeply triggering and difficult to watch, but it’s so amazingly done that I can’t stop watching. I wish that limited series were more popular in the US as a medium; when they are well done, they can be film masterpieces in their own right. Hopefully this project inspires more in the future.

 

Rosehip, Bite Beauty

I’m still working on using up my goal lipsticks this summer, so this month Rosehip by Bite got a lot of love in aid of that target. But it’s also a beautiful, bright coral shade that’s perfect for hot weather and wears beautifully on the lips. At time of writing this is set to be the third Bite lipstick I finish off this year and were it not for the fact that I need to use up even more before I’m allowed repurchase (plus the fact that I’m now on austerity shopping measures), I’d buy another one of this shade in a heartbeat. [ETA, I finished it!]

 

Audrey a la Mode

I’m not sure how I discovered this YouTuber but I have really been enjoying her video and blog content. While we don’t have exactly the same style, she has such a lovely aesthetic and is clearly so thoughtful about the kind of writing and filming she does in her own instantly recognizable way. She blogs on overlapping style interests of mine, including second hand and vintage shopping, slow fashion, and thoughtful consumerism.

Five Things I Loved in July

It’s a cruel season that makes you get ready for bed while it’s light out.
– Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson

It’s been another hectic month, but here is a list of the things that I discovered or enjoyed in July that might just be worth your time or attention!

 

Explained, by Vox and Netflix

I enjoy a lot of the Vox Media podcasts, including Today Explained where each weekday the hosts spend about half an hour diving into a particular topic or issue. It’s miles better than the short sound bites most TV news is based around these days. In partnership with Netflix, they launched a new film series called Explained which takes the same premise but via video. It’s well worth a watch! Topics include the sport of Cricket, the interbang punctuation mark, and K-pop. Go on, get educated.

 

Caliphate, by the New York Times

Rukmini Callimachi is an extrodinary journalist and it’s largely due to her and the sources she has cultivated over many years that the West has been able to learn as much as it has about the inner workings of ISIS. The New York Times launched a podcast earlier this year called Caliphate in which Callimachi takes listeners into not just the Islamic State, but also the process of her journalism and how she reports on the stories she covers. Each episode is utterly gripping. I made this time to listen to the whole series on catch up and ended up binging it in a single go.

 

Bite Verbenna

Yes, I may have a goal to pan this lipstick by Halloween, but I could only have worn it down to a nub already if I loved it. And I do. It’s fantastic. A significant part of the lipsticks I own are Bite Beauty for a reason, but this one has been getting a lot of extra love this month.

 

 

Trousers, by Boden

I found these emerald green trousers by Boden earlier in the year and bought them on sale, but didn’t get them properly tailored until a few weeks later. Worth every penny. I’ve worn them regularly this month and have gotten compliments every time I whipped them out of the closet. What minimalism? I don’t know her!

 

Prague

I owe you guys a whole series of posts on our trip to this city, but it was a joy to discover a new-to-me country and city this month. Whether you need a passport or not, I think a bit of summer travel or exploration does a body a world of good.

Five Things I Loved in June

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”
– Russel Baker

London is currently experiencing the first of a series of projected heatwaves and it’s blazing hot outside. In other words, it’s a perfect time to talk about the things that kept me feeling and looking good in the month of June! Roll on summer!

Clinique Take the Day Off Balm Cleanser
As the weather warms up and I layer more products on my face (multiple layers of SPF throughout the day, makeup, waterproof mascara, and goodness knows sweat), I need to take a lot more off when I get home in the evening. This is a fantastic cleanser that I used for a long time, and then just never got around to replacing it as I was trying to use up other items in my bathroom cabinet. I only got around to repurchasing it at the start of the month and have been using it practically every day to take my face off. It’s a lovely cleanser that melts makeup and other products

 

Queer Eye Season Two
Everything I loved about season one, double it. Supportive, lovely, encouraging friendships are often portrayed along gender lines–women experiencing the “sisterhood” of emotional support while men are portrayed bucking one another up with toughness and stiff upper lips. Of course the spectrum of lived experience is vast, but in media and culture I think that while it has become more acceptable and even attractive for women to take on certain “masculine” traits and roles, it still isn’t nearly common enough to see men take on more traditionally “feminine” aspects (such as being nurturing and gentle). I unabashedly love the portrayal of male emotional support and friendships on this show for this reason. If more men and boys got the hype squad treatment that I experience with my female friends, we’d have a lot fewer problems in the world.

 

Radiolab presents: Gonads
Radiolab is one of the great pioneers of radio and podcasting and each episode is worth a check in. However, I really love when they dive into topics for extended projects which they have done recently on the topic of human reproduction. What are gonads? How did they evolve? What is fertility, infertility, and how are people using science to have children? What are the ethics of all these questions? It’s good scientific fun!

Nars Velvet Lip Pencil in Red Square
This long standing favorite lip pencil has done service in the wars this month and is deserving of a shoutout. Look how much of this sucker I have used up! The goal is to finish it entirely and eventually replace it once I have also used up some similar but inferior items in my makeup stash.

 

That guy I’m married to
Jeff has been absolutely working his tail off recently and still managed to give me a gorgeous birthday dinner, help plan a much needed upcoming holiday, rant with me about the troubles we see in the world, watch comedy specials with me to make ourselves feel better, and generally be a good guy all around. Happy 9 year anniversary today, love. I’m still rather fond of you.

Five Things I Loved in May

It’s May, the lusty month of May
That darling month when everyone throws self-control away
It’s time to do a wretched thing or two
And try to make each precious day, one you’ll always rue
– Camelot

Another month has whizzed past us! Here are the things I loved and got me through May, share your own finds in the comments.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I confess that I have been sleeping on this show and I. Am. Sorry! It was on the long list I have of pop culture to be consumed but for various reasons I’d never gotten around to it until the minor Twitter saga this month when the show was cancelled before being optioned and picked up by another network–all within a couple of days. Obviously I had to make up for lost time by mainlining the series. It’s fantastic and the characters are a joy. Terry is a loving family man, who happens to be gorgeously jacked for both aesthetics AND humor. Charles is a nice guy whose weirdness is teased but also actively embraced, instead of being a venue of mocking and bullying. Gina is a rockstar. Amy is a type A control freak (whom I relate to on a level that left my husband howling with laughter) who is also really, really good at her job and whose ambitions are celebrated. Jake is immature but grows as a character–and also is fundamentally kind and decent in a way that most male lead characters on sitcoms are not written or allowed to be. Every character gets an arc, the running gags are legitimately hilarious, the side characters are as great as the main ones, the vibe is aggressively good willed. One of the things I absolutely adore about the show is the main romantic story between Jake and Amy which is both realistic in the sense that the characters have believable quirks and foibles, but also is healthy and loving. There is no back and forth drama about their relationship, both are supportive partners (extra shout out for how Jake’s character is written to genuinely rejoice in and encourage Amy’s success and ambitions in a way that is not in the least pandering but actually feels like how a good couple would behave), and their love story feels very…normal. We need more representations of healthy, sweet romance on TV. love this show and I will evangelize for it hard.

 

The High Low Podcast

Run by prolific British journalists (and gal pals) Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, this weekly news and pop culture podcast is a fresh and decidedly from the female perspective. The hosts review the news, recommend media–especially books and journalistic pieces, and talk about cultural happenings. According to Ms. Sykes, “Our founding mantra is that there is no shame in asking questions – but reading (a lot) can help inform you.” My kind of girl talk!

 

MM LaFleur Dresses

I’ve written about this line before, but I own four dresses from MM LaFleur and hope to get at least a couple more. I’ve been lusting after the Aditi dress in green, pictured above, but am being fiscally responsible. Damn it. Between this company and Everlane, I have built a classy and modern capsule work wardrobe that both makes me feel great and gets a lot of (work appropriate) compliments.

 

PBS Eons

If you were obsessed with dinosaurs as a child–I personally had a cardboard box time machine and a well-loved book on the subject that guided me on my time travels as a tot–this YouTube channel scratches an itch you might not have realized you had. Scientific, thorough, nerdy. Love it.

 

 

The Curated Closet, by Anuschka Rees

There are lot of books out there on personal style, many of which are unhelpful, lazy, full of tired language and phrases, and often a marketing ploy to sell more of the author’s products or services. This book is actually a thoughtful take on organization and strategic wardrobe building that I enjoyed and found helpful in reorganizing my closet. Again. Because I am Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Amy Santiago and things like organization and planning make me super excited.