Ten.

Happy anniversary, love. I didn’t think it was possible to like you more now than I did then…but you’ve taught me more about the capacity of the human heart than I ever thought possible. One decade down, and more to come.

Five Things I Loved in June

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” 
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

Happy summer, my treasures. June was another work-heavy month with distressingly little time for merriment, but the tide is turning. Evening sun and good weather is slowly resulting in more after work get togethers, weekend pleasure jaunts in the city, and all around seasonal mood elevation. I’ve not had as much time for pop culture and literature as I would wish, so most of what’s made me happy this month is in the realm of the frivolous. So here’s to June, the month of Aperol Spritz and bronzer.

Share your monthly favorites in the comments and let me know what I should be watching or reading in July. I badly need to catch up on the state of society through something besides the lens of the news.

 

Pure and Applied Framing

I did a whole post on my love for this wonderful place but it deserves a special shout out again for being such a fun place to shop from. While we’re still not sure if we’ll be in our current apartment in a few months, at least some of my precious prints are protected for hanging or a potential move.

 

New Glasses

After nearly a decade with the same cheap pair I got for the lowest possible price when living in Utah, I finally got around to replacing my glasses. Heavens, what a difference! I knew I wanted chunky, tortoiseshell frames in the highest nerd-chic style and found several options, but a great trade off between cost and style was Cubbitts. This is British brand very much in the style of Warby Parker in the states, or other artisan brands that have sprung up in recent years. The selection is limited to a few styles in a range of colors, but within that spectrum are some very good options for several kinds of aesthetics. You bring your prescription (or they also offer vision tests if needed), pick your model and color and less than a week later, voila! Highly recommended.

 

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in 1975 Red

I am on a serious Charlotte Tilbury kick of late, last month I was fixed on one of her nudes, this past month I’ve switched in one of her reds. 1975 Red is another limited edition shade of a few years ago that was actually a birthday present from some lovely former coworkers once upon a time. Lipstick being perishable, it’s the next shade I’m trying to use up rather than allow it to go bad over time and what better season to wear a particularly vibrant orange-red than the high days of summer! I continue to highly recommend the Matte Revolution formula for full coverage pigmentation and comfort. If you’re in the market for a present to yourself, she has some fabulous shades.

 

Laura Mercier Sun Kissed Veil

This was a birthday present to myself early in the month and has gotten wonderful wear already. A balm style product, it leaves a golden glow with a shimmer that’s frankly a bit too light to be called a bronzer, but produces a beautiful effect. I’ll be the first to stay this is not an ideal product, I think a powder version would be preferable for color and a shimmery balm is a bit difficult to use…but I love it. Every single time I’ve worn it I’ve been asked if I’ve been away on holiday for the weekend or got a bit of sun. In other words, mission accomplished! I will probably not buy something similar again in the future, but I’ve decided to lean into a more glam than usual aesthetic for the summer and so am enjoying this golden glow.

 

Thank You Farmer SPF

The perennial summer favorite! While we have had a few weird weather days this month (what would the Great British Summer be without the threat of a mini-winter storm?), we’re also in the midst of a heat wave as I type up the final notes on this list. We are in the season when we should be at our most fanatical about suncare, though we should be fanatical about it constantly, and for those who want an elegant solution to SPF that moisturizes and doesn’t leave your face looking or feeling chalky, I once again offer up this brilliant tube for your delectation. I’m on my third so far this year and have no intention of straying, though I also recommend the cult favorite Anthelios line which I also use regularly.

Weekend Links

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

Happy Friday, kittens! The sun is shining and I’ve got a lot of stuff to get through so we’re dropping the links early and hoping neither of my governments do anything particularly horrific before close of play. I’m not sure if this is too hopeful…

Last week we nearly went to war, the US president was credibly accused of rape, and the scale of our horrific treatment towards immigrants and asylum seekers as a nation was on fully display. And in about 48 hours it was all GONE. Barely a blip. We live in the upside down.

As always, I’ve lovingly curated a batch of weekend reading to help you make sense of the world in the year Our Lady Beyonce 2019. I’m not touching the first debates or the uneven Supreme Court rulings because one, it’s far too early to let a circus consume us and two, because I need to do a lot more reading on the latter to fully understand the process and implications of the rulings.

Someday, possibly quite soon, this planet is going to shake us off like a bad case of the fleas.

NO ONE is good enough to work for Beyoncé.

Hyperbolic, generational warfare title aside…the underling premise one I find very compelling and probably correct… “Not all of these problems were first caused by the Boomers, but they each worsened on their watch.” (Note, individuals and systems are not the same thing.)

Reader, I cackled. (h/t to Jeff for this one)

My feelings towards The Intercept are not un-nuanced, shall we say, but this personal piece by a journalist crossing the border is scary and worth a read. Stop law enforcement from acting like a military, 2020.

I’m glad I don’t have to make editorial decisions day to day, but whew do I think some major outlets and platforms are making some bad ones.

In related ranting… After two and half years, we need to stop treating Mr. Trump as if he’s a “normal” politician, working with and through the same old media rules. Misdirection and a scattershot approach to claims are his strength. Stop letting him get away with it: hold the line at the first lie and don’t move past it.

Glad this is happening to the long put upon US Women’s Soccer team, annoyed it took them to utterly dominate their playoffs so far to make it happen.

More money = higher taxes. I don’t understand why this is controversial, and I don’t understand ultrawealthy people being catered to and coddled to avoid this. If, heaven forbid, I ever end up superwealthy, I will absolutely be giving most of it away in my lifetime and at my death. You can’t take it with you.

If you want to help immigrants at the border (THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF WHOM ARE LEGAL ASYLUM SEEKERS), consider donating to Raices who provide legal support and assistance to the most venerable.

My love for dandies is a well established part of my brand.

I think a lot about how being a non-Brit in Britain lends me as many unusual advantages as disadvantages. I toy with trying to write about it, but am not sure how to best address it… While I dabble, of course Hasan Minaj has a brilliant and more thoughtful take on outsider status overall: how it informs his work, uses his perspective, and more.

Trigger warning. The global migration crisis has been put front and center in new ways over recent years, and most effectively in photography. The horrible image of a drowned refugee child in Europe was a galvanizing moment, I’m hopeful that the image captured on the US/Mexico border this week is as well…but I’m afraid hearts have been hardened too much…

This longread piece on Essex and its role in British culture is fascinating reading! I can confirm that Essex Man as a stereotype is alive and well.

Thoughts and prayers.

This story is 100% as bad as it sounds.

Kimberly Clark, drag queen and anti consumerism YouTuber is back online and just in time to drop a timely reminder that corporate pride is not the same thing as truly supporting LGBT+ people and communities.

This is so wholesome.

Weekend Links

“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

Gruntlings, it’s been another long week, but happy solstice. We made it to the halfway point!

At time of writing I’m unsure if we’re head towards another war in the Middle East, Boris Johnson is probably going to be Prime Minister, and another assault allegation has been made against my president. You’ll find out more as soon as I do…

Enjoy the weekend, and if you’re feeling dispirited by the general state of things, don’t. Turn it into action. Fuel something you are passionate about this weekend, even if it’s hard. Especially if it’s hard.

I worked for a police department for five years, and I am not at all surprised to read this reporting at all. My memory of the attitudes towards my then coworkers is much more around gun culture, hyper social conservatism, and militia group interest than overt racism but if the last decade has taught me anything, it’s that racism and misogyny are inherent to these other forms of extreme views, as do certain attitudes towards how they should be able to do their jobs. And worth noting that my old department is embroiled in a scandal about unethical or unlawful dissemination of records. I don’t think all cops are bad, not by a long shot! But I do think we need to look at their systemic power when it leads inevitably to abuse, admit what’s broken, and fix it.

Some people have way too much money.

I’m pretty sure he cheated on her, but nice to hear things are back on track (or at least their PR teams are excellent at their jobs).

Another week, another report that would paralyze or end an administration in normal times. This week the New York Times reported that cyber warfare with Russia is ramping up…and that Pentagon officials aren’t necessarily briefing the President about it. Because they’re afraid he would countermand the work, or divulge it. Cool…. If they’re wrong, this is a horrific breach of the chain of command and if they are right, he probably should have that command in the first place.

I am excited for this exhibit coming to the British Museum!

On The Media has done a new series, about the issue of home eviction in America. Should be a good, and powerful listen.

We’re going to run out of planet.

Let us all be chastened for our snark. All hail Boaty.

In recent years, there has been enormous concern about the time we spend on our web-connected devices and what that might be doing to our brains. But a related psychological shift has gone largely unremarked: the way that, for a certain segment of the population, the news has come to fill up more and more time – and, more subtly, to occupy centre stage in our subjective sense of reality, so that the world of national politics and international crises can feel more important, even more truly real, than the concrete immediacy of our families, neighbourhoods and workplaces. It’s not simply that we spend too many hours glued to screens. It’s that for some of us, at least, they have altered our way of being in the world such that the news is no longer one aspect of the backdrop to our lives, but the main drama.”

The short video on egg yolks you didn’t know you needed. I now want to make all of these recipes.

…have we all been doing this wrong for centuries? The New Yorker was immediately on the case.

Are straight men ok? (Trick question, we know the answer is “no.”)

Wait…is anybody okay?!

Let’s line up a little summer pleasure reading, shall we? This list of delightfully diverse romance novels is a good place to start and includes the line “Agatha Christie but make it gay!” So you know it’s good.

Speaking of book’s Hannah’s next novel FOUL IS FAIR is coming, and she’s currently hosting an ARC giveaway content on her social media.

Another week in America, another mass shooting. A local photographer managed to photograph the shooter before the attack started and honestly, as much as I don’t want to elevate this man’s profile, it’s such a simple example of what extremism actually looks like in American that I think it needs to be shared. It’s not an brown person of indeterminate origins, it’s typically a white guy in glasses with a horrifying arsenal that no civilian needs. (Continuous developing story at NPR.)

I’m with the swan.

All the bad faith handwringing about whether “detention centers” are “concentration camps” or not, when THIS is happening, “A 14-year-old girl from Guatemala said she had been holding two little girls in her lap. ‘I need comfort, too. I am bigger than they are, but I am a child, too,’ she said.”

We are not safer as a country without a confirmed Secretary of Defense–and a competent one at that. My family and its military members is less safe. The political is personal as well as vice versa.

“Two months into his detention, an immigration officer came to Mr. Mutu with an offer. As he understood it, if he gave up his claim for asylum, he would be deported back to Romania with Constantin. He agreed, and on June 3, 2018, he was released from his cell and loaded into a van. He looked everywhere for Constantin and asked the officers where his son was, but was not given a clear answer. At the airport, he refused to board without the baby. The immigration officers, he said, told him that Constantin would be handed to him once he had taken his seat. But the plane lifted off and the baby never came.” THIS. SHOULD. NOT. BE. POSSIBLE.

This is a parody. Cool cool cool…

I spend a lot of time thinking about how America seems to have squandered a half century of goodwill and leadership in what feels like record time (by historical standards).

Start that podcast.

The longform read that gripped me this week was about the loss of Malaysian Airlines flight 370. It’s riveting: “The disappearance of the airplane has provoked a host of theories. Many are preposterous. All are given life by the fact that, in this age, commercial airplanes don’t just vanish.”

The last link is a really hard hit, so here: have a cheerful dive into the wackiest hats of Ascot this week first.

Famed advice columnist E. Jean Carroll published a gut punch of a piece about her list of “hideous” men. Yes, it includes the president, but that’s not necessarily the most powerful part of the piece–I’m deeply angry to type–it’s that he was is just one of many men who continues to get away with it all. “And many women my age just “get on with it” too. It is how we handle things: Chin up! Stop griping! We do not cast ourselves as victims because we do not see ourselves as victims. While the strategy has worked for me, I wish I hadn’t waited so long to say something about two of my Hideous Men.”

Home is Where the Art Is

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” 
― Pablo Picasso

Tucked away discreetly on Bermondsey is an absolute gem of a find if. Step with me into Pure and Applied: a workshop, antiques shop, print sellers, and gallery combined.

We first discovered this place during an annual street festival, which Bermondsey throws every year and in which all the shops and sellers throw open their doors and plenty of others join in to hawk wares ranging from homemade to high design artisan. Bermondesy Street is home to several restaurants and stores and is delightfully free of brand franchises–although this may change as its popularity has risen and development works near London Bridge have made it more accessible. But nevertheless, it remains downright charming and fun to visit and we look forward to the summer shindig every year.

 

 

Because Pure and Applied is so unassuming, we nearly missed the door opening to its wonders, and what a loss that would have been! Step inside and you are instantly bundled in an eccentric cocoon of old paper and wood, with the glorious attendant scents. Piles of historic prints are stacked everywhere with a mix of antique frames crowded on every wall. Print drawers and glass cases house some treasures, but most are free to rifle through as you, the happy wanderer, deem fit. A few walls serve as an artist gallery where you can purchase current art, and all the way in the back sits a huge, iron hand printer that’s worth a peek if you ever stop by.

While the shop look may be bohemian, they service all kinds of clients from humble household jobs all the way up to world class museums and galleries. I fell in love with it and return to it whenever I’m on Bermondsey Street, but it’s taken me years to finally get around to my own framing projects.

Naturally there was nowhere else I wanted to go when I was ready to bite the bullet. One of my long term goals was to begin framing all our pieces, not least of all because some of them have literally be carted around the world at this point and it was starting to feel like I was risking danger by not having them properly mounted. After major leaks damaged every single ceiling in the flat and resulted in gallons of water pouring through it, I decided it was time to begin putting things under glass.

I’ve been collecting antique prints for years. My goal is to have a gallery wall in my someday house that’s a perfect jumble of all the random things I’ve found over the years. This includes several old maps (I want to eventually own an antique map of everywhere I or Jeff have lived or traveled), a sheet of early modern parchment with marginalia art, hand-colored prints cut out of 18th century books, and magazine covers from the 1920s. On our recent trip to Portugal we chanced upon the most incredible bookstore I’ve ever seen in my life, and walked away with a Portuguese automobile advert from the 1930s, and after spotting an original print in a bar in Athens, I tracked down a reproduction of an aperitif advert that I fell in love with. Some are big, some are small, and none of them match one another–I love each one dearly.

Jeff and I always wanted to own proper art someday, sourced from artists local to our cities or neighborhood, and got our first piece from a London artist last year for our anniversary after seeing her work at an East London market. Charlotte Gerrard’s inspiration is animals and she did a wonderfully charming series based on cows…which you would not think would stop either Jeff or I in our tracks but managed to halt both of us at once, which was a pretty good sign we should buy from her. It was the first “art” we purchased and the first piece I had framed, followed recently by a reproduction printed map of Dublin in the early 20th century made by temperance workers trying to name and shame every pub in the city. Needless to say, there are a LOT and Dublin is no dryer for their efforts.

Both of these projects were custom frame jobs, where the Pure and Applied team made recommendations to help make each piece look unique and fun. I’d love to purchase one of their antique frames someday, but I’m pretty sure these would be massively out of my pricepoint, and of course you need the serendipitous match of a similar sized piece of art. In any case, the prices were on par with what you would pay a quality framer anywhere else I looked, with the benefit of proprietary frame designs. I’m very much a snob in that I like things that not anyone could just find or pick up (see also my love of vintage clothing, irritatingly niche perfume, or custom anything), so this place suits me down to the ground.

Each piece framed is very much a project, however, and I budget for them one at a time without rushing. Our cow print was my Christmas present and the Dublin map was my birthday treat, six months later. So far they are sitting under our kitchen bar awaiting their fate. I don’t want to hang any of them up and put holes in our walls when there is a likelihood of us moving in a couple of months, so at the moment they are carefully wrapped up. But whether we sign another lease or move to a new apartment this fall, I know they are not rolled up in our spare room somewhere and will be properly displayed very soon.

It’s going to take me a long, long time to frame our collection, but it’s been so fun to start the process. To have found such a cool place to do it through is the icing on an already decadent cake. Seriously, check them out if you’re ever in Bermondsey and want to revel in some shameless artistically, expert eccentricity. You won’t regret it.

Three Money Habits to Cultivate That Make a Big Difference

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” 
― Epictetus

Writing publicly about my relationship to money for several years now has been fascinating and helpful. Money is still such a taboo topic for people but I’m convinced that more transparency about all its facets can be extremely beneficial, whether it’s benchmarking your salary more accurately or forming better habits. I’ve benefited from talking more openly about money with friends, colleagues and coworkers, and family members, and trying to turn some behaviors from projects to habits.

There are three in particular that have fundamentally changed my relationship to money, and which I think summarize most good advice out there. Because it’s Monday and you may be looking for some motivation, here they are, in no particular order:

Check your bank account(s) everyday. It’s 2019 and while we live with risks of data breaches everyday, it’s also never been easier to keep track of your money. I still remember my dad teaching me how to physically balance my checkbook when I got my first basic account at 12 years old and while it seems pretty quaint now, the same principle applies: know the exact amount of what you have made available to yourself and proceed through life accordingly. Checking my cash budget is part of my daily routine as much as brushing my teeth: it helps set me for the day and helps me make micro-decisions for the rest of the day. Can I treat myself to a lunch out today? Why yes, because I haven’t bought lunch all week and have a nice little bit extra for a fancy soup. Huh, that number seems lower than it should–ah yes, I have to process some work expenses, let’s do that as soon as I get into the office.

Use your bank for more than just cashflow. Because I was military dependent, I have access to some banks or credit unions that were primarily designed for servicemen and women or their families, often with attendant information and services (especially if you live abroad). I opened my first account with one of these banks at 12 and I will never close my membership. This bank is not the flashiest thing in the world, but their customer service is second to none and they make processes very user friendly. When I took out auto insurance for the first time as an adult, one of the agents went out of their way to educate me when I had “dumb” questions. They also have partnerships with other organisations to include services that I would otherwise have to pay for, such as  I have frequently called them to discuss queries about my accounts and how I can make different services work better for my family, or just to get some general knowledge. Reputable and trusted banks and credit unions are gatekeepers to some pretty important aspects of our lives, often managing both our wealth and risk, so build a relationship with yours and take advantage of the services and expertise they offer you. If you haven’t talked to your bank in a hot minute, make it a priority.

Admit ignorance. If you don’t know how a process works, ask. Ask parents, ask successful friends, ask experts, read a book. Do your research, and fact check the sources of the information you find to ensure it’s sound and from a trustworthy source. Make financial education part of your rolling task list and don’t neglect it. Factor financial reading into your daily or weekly intake, or check out or download a book about a topic that either interests or intimidates you. Ignorance will cost you, in bad decisions, delayed good decisions, or lost benefits or opportunities.

In short: be proactive not passive.

A New 101/1001 List

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” 
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I hadn’t done an update in far too long but my most recent 101/1001 goal list recently came to a close. My official reckoning ended at the end May and while I nearly had my list ready to go, I had a few more goals to add that I hadn’t quite decided on. The full list is now live and I’m excited about it–I’ve already put a couple of ticks against some of them to get me started!

Comparing my successes and failures of the last list (47 goal items achieved) I realized that many of them were probably always unachievable. There is no way, for instance, that I’m ever going to go skydiving. I have examined the innermost workings of my soul, and NOPE. It’s never going to happen. Meanwhile a lot of the challenge based goals really helped me jumpstart new habits or undertake long projects that had a measurable improvement on my life (my Year of Health included).

So this time, in considering what I wanted to achieve in 1001 days, I leaned hard into smaller, trackable goals and experiences. Travel features heavily, as there are still so many places I want to see. Learning also ended up taking quite a few slots, whether this means trying new classes, foods, or skills. And clearly I’m in the mood to prioritize experiences like concerts and comedy shows, things that I’ve not always carved out time for in the past.

In some ways this list is a bit less grandly ambitious than my last one, but reading through it, I think a lot of items on it are likely to help make me feel happier and more evenly spread as a person. As I’ve written before, work has really consumed a lot of both Jeff’s and my identities and time over the last six years and while I have no intention of scaling back on career goals, I recognize a need to “divide [my] energies,” as my brilliant friend Hannah once put it. I want to make time and space for creativity and pleasure much more than I have done.

Check it out and let me know your thoughts! And as always, tell me what your Big Ideas and Goals are. I love it when we cheer one another on!

Weekend Links

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” 
― Dalai Lama XIV

Happy weekend, ducklings!

Whew, we made it. This has been a rough week for me, with spiking anxiety and attendant issues that (as usual) have little grounding in reality and (as usual) I am unable to control. Brains are weird, troublesome things. I’ve had to break down a few pride barriers and ask for help for things left and right…and the unexpected result has been that I’ve ended up on the receiving end of some staggering pieces of kindness and generosity. I’m still reeling from it and frankly a bit weepy…as I have been for most of the week.

More on that later, perhaps, I’m still processing the feelings and mostly just trying to express gratitude.

I hope you’ve received some kindness or generosity this week too; if you have, tell me about them in the comments. And then kick back and avoid your weekend chores with this batch of reading I’ve lovingly put together for you.

 

No, I’m still not satiated with think pieces on the Fleabag jumpsuit.

Here, have an interview with the costume designer too!

How to radicalize a young person in a few easy clicks.

Dolly Parton is perfect. She always has been.

Standing ovation bloody well deserved, but it’s horrible that he is still having to lead this fight 18 years on.

This is not a feel good story! Nine year olds going into debt for food is a sign that ours, the wealthiest society on earth, is horrifically broken!

Are we allowed to call them concentration camps yet?!

Once again the President just admitted on camera and without coercion that, hey foes, he’s up for crimes if you wanna hang! And once again,  no consequences. It’s incredible. This man should not be running a bowling alley, much less a country.

Mitch McConnell is bad, everybody. Then again, over here in the UK, the race for the next leader of the Tory party (and therefore premiership) is underway and Boris Johnson is in the lead. So truly, who am I to judge.

In Utah/Mormon news…stahp.

In more productive Mormon news, a thoughtful interview on what a patriarchal culture looks like to younger generations in the LDS Church and why they may be troubled by it, while still believing in and actively participating in the truth claims and culture. More nuanced discussions of faith and culture, please.

This is a couple of weeks old now, but I’ve just seen this article and now feel extremely dumb for not having noticed it before.

No, I’m also not done talking about the brilliance of Chernobyl. Have a lovely interview with the woman responsible for the haunting and perfect score. (Also, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?)

As a beauty addict and a marketer, this piece from The Atlantic was fascinating.

Relatedly, this piece on how brand logos have changed over the years was also very interesting!

Good riddance, useless woman.

One of the victims of a homophobic attack which went viral speaks up and shames everyone. Good. Hate crimes towards the LGBT community are on the rise and must be confronted.

We do not deserve Keanu.

This thread is quite the emotional rollercoaster, but keep going with it.

Weekend Links

“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

Happy weekend, kittens! Jeff is at a friend’s birthday abroad this weekend, and I’m cheerfully scheming of what I can get away with in his absence. In the midst of all that, I’m also getting a lot of adult tasks done like the usual household maintenance and laundry because adulthood is a never ending list of monotonous chores. Weekend Links

Procrastinate with me by enjoying this nice batch of weekend reading I’ve put together for you. I’m obviously biased, but I think this is a rather nice assemblage of pop culture, feminism, PRIDE celebration, fashion, politics, and archaeology. Why else do you people come to this dinky little site?

The uncomfortable State Visit is over, and here in the UK we’re using some pageantry in the form of Trooping the Colour as a palate cleanser, whilst my president is awkwardly stepping on his own NASA message and conflating the Moon and Mars on Twitter. Totally on par examples of the symbolic role of the state.

I never get over these stories. How do people just misplace this stuff!?

Kimberly Clark–drag queen and YouTube legend of anti-beauty-consumerism–is back!

There is a great interview with Stephen Colbert in the New York Times this week, and it will not surprise you at all to hear that I loved his thoughtful answer to why he loves Tolkien so much. He is a noted fan and, as all the best fans are (regardless of what their fandom is centered on), his reasons for his love are deep and personal. Speaking of, he also gives an excellent answer to what he sees the differences are between good and bad for you faith, interverweaving his own religious faith and life history.

I need this tattooed somewhere.

My interest in J. Crew think pieces is inexhaustible but this Vanity Fair article is pretty darn good despite the plethora of options from which to choose. “The narrowness of the world the company first opened a window to is now, thankfully, a thing of the past. There is no one way to look or dress “American.” So how do you resuscitate a brand built on this definition? And is there still room for it?”

Ooh, our next bonnet and corset drama is coming!

I agree.

Anne Helen Petersen drops her latest deep dive.

Some commentator made the point that at most other points in human history, the inability to plant or harvest an estimated 70% of ones crop might be considered something of a setback…

Step aside, Florida Man!

An excellent piece from Tom and Lorenzo about some of the history and mythology around the Stonewall Riots. Fascinating, PRIDE Month appropriate, and important.

Of wifehood and wifery.

While I’m not at all a fan of those who try to claim Shakespeare was not Shakespeare…I have to admit I liked this article at The Atlantic!

There is an unsubtle connection between misogyny and terrorism. “In 2018, a few months before Beierle stood in that studio, the Southern Poverty Law Center added a new category to its tracking list of hate movements around the country: male supremacy….While old-guard white supremacists revered women as the mothers of the race, younger bigots despise them as just one more group responsible for eroding their status.”

It’s summer. Wear sunscreen.

Rhianna is getting her money, in the literal definition of goals.

There was a fun experience going around social media and specifically Instagram this week, where some simple instructions showed users how to access the information that is used to control the ads that they see on the platform. The joke was, that almost everyone was baffled by what their data showed as their interests…it was almost always weird or wrong (if you believe people on the internet talking about themselves…but mine certainly made little sense!). The consensus opinion being that people are liars or the algorithms are not as strong or correct as we are often led to believe. I lean towards the latter. Algorithms, for all they control our world, are man-made things. Popular science YouTuber Veritasium happened to make a video about this from the YouTube perspective this week, which is worth a view if you want to understand the fraught relationship between platforms, creators, and views–as well as how sensationalism has overtaken…everything. This is true of our politics, media, and publishing worlds as well.

INDEED.

Babies and young children are dying in facilities in which they should not be being held in the first godamn place. If you have extra cash to spare this week, throw it at RAICES who is doing important work on the border. Our president may not be able to make up his mind whether he’s pro or against tariffs (and trying to avoid a fight with his own senate) but children are still dying.

Like everyone else in the world, I am debating whether or not I could pull off THAT Fleabag jumpsuit. I suspect not. I suspect I may buy it anyway….

Straight Pride…I can’t even. What a basket of WTFery.

Exhibit 1,403,582 why PRIDE matters (read the story):

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Makeup No Buy

“Treat your makeup like jewelry for the face. Play with colors, shapes, structure – it can transform you.”
– Francois Nars

At the start of the year I gave myself a goal to not buy any new beauty or makeup products until my birthday in early June. This was partially to reset my buying habits for this, my favorite category of guilty pleasure purchases, and partially to help carve out a little extra savings by reducing or eliminating some necessary spending.

Time for some accountability reporting!

When it comes to skincare, I’ve already blogged about how my habits here are a real source of satisfaction. At 33, my skin is probably the best its ever been and my main goal is to keep it that way as long as possible. Drink water, eat healthy, exfoliate, and don’t screw it up with ingredients that muck up the delicate balance–easy! …Right?

Hm, on to makeup then. In this category I did need to make some purchases that were within the limitations of the self-challenge as I had no backups already on my shelves when they ran out. In the past few months I used up my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and a Lancome stick foundation which doubled as a concealer for me due to the consistency of the product. I also used up a tube of Givenchy primer. All of these are excellent products that I’d easily recommend, but in the spirit of my financial challenges I wanted to see if I could find alternatives (at least for now) at lower pricepoints. With summer coming in and my skin in pretty good condition these days, I don’t need full coverage makeup and so picked up a Maybelline blurring primer from the drugstore, a skin tint from Glossier, and (the splurge) a Charlotte Tilbury concealer. All of this are working together really well so once again, I won’t be buying anything in this product category until I use them up.

So other than that, did I meet my goal of not buying new products? Well, no, I slipped up twice.

On a work trip that routed me through Heathrow Airport at an ungodly hour of the morning, the dutyfree beauty counters called to me and I wandered past Burberry in a moment of weakness. I’m not sure what’s happened to Burberry’s beauty brand, they were having a bit of a moment a few years ago under then-Creative Director Wendy Rowe, but that seems to have faded. This is too bad, because they had a lot of really good products and I wish they were easier to find these days. Alas for my self control at 4am, they ARE to be found at Heathrow and that’s how I came home with two additional lip products that I didn’t strictly need.

And then, because my brain really does exist in an all-or-nothing state, and because I had already broken my goal once, I found it easy to justify picking up a handful of beauty products whilst on holiday with X in Italy when we discovered a local brand shop and self indulged. I don’t even have the excuse of an early morning flight and sleep deprivation, it was just weak will. Beauty tourism is one of the pleasures of travelling with girlfriends and Italy is the home of many a global brand’s makeup manufacturing hub. It was always going to be a risk! In our case, we discovered the brand Wycon and I picked up a totally unnecessary highlighter, lipstick, and mascara. I also got a three-pan custom eyeshadow palette in the most shockingly basic shades…and I’m completely thrilled with it. It’s easily one of the most practical beauty purchases I’ve ever made. All of these items were at drugstore prices and, while a lapse, were not nearly on par with my infidelity with Burberry.

I atoned for both of these misdeeds by going through my arsenal to remove at least the same amount of items as I added. My sister is getting some more beauty products (that girl hasn’t had to shop for anything in years), and a few old or expired items went in the bin where they needed to be. My beauty shelves are still bigger than a lot of people’s but they are smaller than the last time I wrote about them. My love of beauty hasn’t changed but my tastes are shifting a bit, as is my knowledge as a consumer.

Most of all, my shopping habits in this area have shifted dramatically. As has been well-documented, I made the consumerist breakthrough with my clothing a long time ago that made me shop almost entirely second hand or through ethical brands with transparent production and labor information. Understanding my style preferences has also helped to shrink my wardrobe over time and shop less overall. The same is happening with my bathroom shelves.

Makeup and beauty is a bit different because they are perishable products, but the same basic premises of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” apply. This project has helped me focus on buying less, using what I already have in creative ways instead of justifying new products, and documenting what I use up (and how bloody long it takes!) before I recycle packaging. Where possible and reasonable I’ve also tried to shop from brands I’m happier to support with my dollars for their commitments to good practice, or just to support independent businesses.

Even though the project is officially ending, I think I’m going to try and keep the spirit of it going through the end of the year. While I may buy beauty items, I’ll continue to do so primarily to replace used up items and if I do buy something totally new, I will first get rid of something I already own that’s similar. I’ll also continue to do Empties blog posts (because I love them) a couple of times a year, so keep an eye out for the next one in August or so. In the meantime, watch this space for a few more posts on how my self has changed over the past couple of years, and why!