The Luckiest

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Every day, I feel lucky.

This isn’t to say that I believe in luck, because I don’t. Like I don’t believe in fate, or destiny, or horoscopes, or The Secret, or any of the magical thinking malarkey that sells us on the idea that it’s the Universe that is controlling our lives, rather than us.

But still. I feel lucky.

Five years ago, I was trying to be a writer. Actually, I WAS a writer; I was just trying to get people to pay me to do it. I had to ghostwrite blogs for popular internet personalities, hide behind male pen names on science and tech blogs because readers wouldn’t respect a woman, and write truly awful copy for businesses that would then turn around and refuse to pay me.

It was a hard time. But I chipped away and it got easier. Then things changed, and I changed, and was glad for the stability that a non-freelance life could provide.

But I’ve always been a writer, even when I do different things.

Common wisdom is that everyone is an asshole on the internet, and sometimes that’s really true. There were times when I was younger that I’d pick fights in chatrooms or message boards, just to show that I was smarter or could shout louder than they could. I usually stay out of comment sections because they are full of people doing exactly this–trying to get attention, trying to get a rise out of someone else, trying to look cool or smart or better than someone else.

But sometimes it’s worth it to wade in. Sometimes something clicks and you can consider a point of view that maybe you never would have come across before. Sometimes you can make friends.

And sometimes you can get a job.

I remember reading a comment thread on xoVain one day and seeing a woman asking how to pick out a bold lipcolour. I wrote a quick response while I shoved a sandwich in my mouth at my desk at lunch. I don’t think I said anything special–just what I’d say to a friend who asked me, or what I’d want someone to say to me if I asked. I didn’t know that the woman I was talking to was a contributor to the site (Hi Beth!), or that she’d email my now-boss to tell her about this girl who was killing it in the comments.

Some of this was luck. I was in the right place at the right time with the right knowledge base. But being nice to someone–that’s not luck. That’s being decent, and it should be it’s own reward. But sometimes it carries additional benefits.

A few days later, when I saw that xoVain was looking for new writers, I sent four or five short article pitches. They were really conversational, and at least one was about my dog. I didn’t think I’d hear back. But I did. My first article on making a custom lipstick shade went up the next week, and it did really well. I got awesome feedback from the other writers and the commenters. Nothing I’ve written has EVER gotten such an overwhelmingly positive response, and right away I felt like I’d found my home.

But I can’t say that was luck, because I busted my ass to make it amazing. I wrote and re-wrote 1300 words for an entire weekend. I took photos in front of a clothing rack with fabric pinned to it for three hours. I picked and edited photos while still learning how to use the software (looking back with a critical eye, you can REALLY TELL that my image editing game was weak). It was fun, but it was hard work. To have that hard work validated was incredible. And it continues to be incredible–getting to know the xo staff and other writers, interacting with the amazing commenters, learning new things, being inspired every day. I love it. This is my dream job.

Last week, Marci and Anne-Marie announced my promotion to contributing editor. I’m still riding high on that. For several days now I’ve been submerged in a sea of congratulations from all over the world, and I am so honoured to be a part of a community that is so passionate and loving. I really think that joy shared is joy doubled, and I feel so lucky to be able to share my exciting life milestones with millions of people that I love. Thank you, everyone reading this, for being so unfailingly awesome to me. None of this would have been possible without you. Seriously.

I remember years ago, in college, idly writing in my Myspace blog that my dream job was “my life.” And now so much of it is. So much of it still might be. It’s amazing.

I don’t know what’s going to happen from here. A new title means new responsibilities and challenges, and change is pretty scary to me. Anything could happen, and hell, IT MIGHT. But I’m excited rather than anxious, because I am actually watching my dreams come true.

None of this was luck. It doesn’t have anything to do with luck. I worked hard and I kept going–and I’ll KEEP going–and because of that I am the luckiest.

Thank you all. You are all amazing, and I hope I make you proud.

No BS Beauty! Episode 5: RED LIPS SINK SHIPS

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This weeks question–which I have totally misplaced, by the way–is from Farrah, who wants to know about red lipstick. Her question was, if memory serves, about a few things:

  • How can I pull off red lipstick?
  • Can I wear it during the day?
  • Is lipliner still a thing? Do I need it all the time?
  • I want to do a dramatic Old Hollywood look, but I don’t know how.

I am the right person to ask about this stuff, because I have always and forever been a red lipstick kind of girl. For example, yours truly at 20, having nothing on her agenda except going to class:

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My look at the time could not be described as has low maintenance. I probably spent forty minutes putting my face on, only to spend all day sitting in a lecture hall, taking notes. I could have used that time for sleeping. College students, take note!

Anyway. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been around the red lipstick block.

Red is easier to pull off that a lot of people realise. Before I talk about gloss vs matte, I’m going to talk about finding the right shade of red for you. This is also a lot easier than most people realise.

First things first: When figuring out what colour ANYTHING looks best on you, wear the right stuff. Wear a light or neutral coloured shirt and minimal, basic makeup. This is your prepared, blank canvas that will give you the best idea of how the product will look in your real life.

And I’m not saying you HAVE to wear a gigantic Mongolian lamb vest…but it doesn’t hurt.

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You may also notice that I’ve cut my hair and dyed it a bit darker. I feel like a new woman!

For me, basic makeup is concealer (MAC Mineralise, YSL Touche Eclat for under my eyes), blush (NARS Desire), eyeshadow to fill in my eyebrows (Sable, by Studio Graphics I think?), grey eyeliner under my eyes and mascara (both discussed here). Your mileage may vary. DO YOU.

Obviously, red is never just RED the way black is black or white is white. Though red is a primary colour, other colours go into making the different shades–which is how you get this, this, this and this–and they’re all still red. When it comes to choosing a lipstick, the dimensions you’re going to want to consider are warm vs cool and dark vs bright. These may have technical names, but I have no idea what they are, so whatever.

Warm reds are red lipsticks that have a lot of yellow or orange in them. If you go to a makeup counter, you’ll probably hear them described as “true red,” “tomato red” or “brick red.” Cool reds–these are my jam–have more blue or purple in them. These might be described as “natural red” or “raspberry red” but I always call them the pinky-reds, ’cause that’s what they are.

I don’t think there are particular skintones or hair colours that look best in warm vs cool reds, because there are too many variables for that. So no shortcuts: you just have to try both and see which one you like the best.

How dark or bright is another factor to consider. Do your want your red deeper, like a crimson, or brighter, like a poppy?

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That’s MAC Red on the left and So Scarlet (discontinued) on the right–two cool toned reds, one bright and one dark. Totally different.

So now you know what colour red you like. Now let’s talk about attitude.

The trick to pulling off red lips is confidence. It’s a bold look, and you have to be bold YOURSELF to carry it off. Luckily, confidence isn’t hard to fake–just tell yourself how fantastic you look and go about your business like nothing is different on your face. A lot of people tell me they think other people will think they look stupid with a bright lip. In general, people don’t really spend much time thinking about others because they’re too busy thinking about themselves, so don’t worry. Nobody will throw rotten fruit at you on the street because you did something different.

That said, there are a lot of ways to ease your way into a red lip. The first is with a red gloss.

My favourite red gloss is Starlit by Smashbox. You get really great colour without having to go as heavy as lipstick, and you get some shimmer but not like you ate a mouthful of glitter. This particular red is warmer (more yellow) than I usually wear, but it looks so good that I don’t even care.

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Because this is a gloss, it’s going to come off pretty quickly. That’s the price you pay for shine. Though you’ll need a mirror to reapply, it’s got a wand applicator and is basically unfuckupable. This particular gloss really earned a place in my heart for not being too sticky or having a gross smell or taste. CRUCIAL.

If you’re nervous about looking “too much” for daytime but still want to look like you’re wearing makeup, I’d recommend a red gloss like this one. It’s light, reapplication is easy, it doesn’t get on your teeth, you don’t have to think about it too much.

And now let’s talk about the big guns.

My favourite red lipsticks–and now I’m talking actual lipstick, the kind of things you think about when someone says the word–are two from Mac and one from Dior. They all have pretty decent wear and decent shine, but because they are high pigment they come off on literally everything. Don’t kiss anyone unless you want to leave evidence behind, is all I’m saying, and check your teeth frequently.

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MAC red has been my go-to for years. So Scarlet was discontinued a few years ago, which is a mega bummer, so look for any deep reds described as having a burgundy base to copy it. Fireworks (sorry, there’s an ‘s’ on the end there) is a replacement for my deeply beloved Flamenco Red, which Dior also discontinued and was my ultimate forever favourite. Fireworks is lightweight, shiny and lasts well–it feels almost like a gloss, but looks like a lipstick. Plus it doesn’t smell, which is AMAZING in my book. (Still, RIP Flamenco Red)

Now a word about lipliner: Don’t wear it with a gloss. You don’t have to. If you’re wearing a thicker, more colour-heavy lipstick like the three above, you will need it. Putting on lipstick straight from the tube is not really an exact science and it can look really messy if you aren’t careful. I know a lot of people tell you to do the liner FIRST, but I always apply the lipstick first, THEN neaten up the borders with my liner. You don’t need a seperate liner for each shade of stick, either. I only have four colours of lipliner, all of them from the drugstore, and that’s basically all I need: A bright red, a dark red/burgundy, a bright coral/pink and a colour pretty close to my natural lipcolour. If you get a selection similar, they will serve you well.

If you don’t want to mess around with liner and lipstick, and you want something that is going to stay on your mouth for ages, why not combine the two into one? And why not make it the closest thing possible to a universally flattering red? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to NARS Dragon Girl.

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It has the best name in history. It comes in a chubby pencil and it’s really easy to use. It stays on forever and doesn’t dry out your lips (even though it’s a very matte finish and sometimes that’s the price you have to pay). This colour looks good on so many skin tones and hair colours, it’s insane. It also doesn’t kiss off all that easily, which my boyfriend appreciates. And it is my absolute favourite ever ever EVER.

Because it’s so bright and so matte, I usually save this for nighttime outings. But it also looks spectacular on the beach, with a plain white tshirt, while walking your dog, etc. The sky is the limit when you’re a Dragon Girl.

I also wanted to write about lip stains and how there’s only one awesome kind, but the one I wanted to write about got stolen a few weeks ago and I haven’t gotten around to replacing it yet. ANOTHER TIME.

As for a glamourous Old Hollywood Look, I’d pair a bright red lip (Dragon Girl or MAC red) with some cateye liner (review the technique here), and either loosely wave my hair, Veronica Lake style, or pull it back and tease it into a big ol’ beehive. If I was feeling more Silent Movie Vixen, I’d use the deep red (So Scarlet) on my lips, then do a super smoky eye by smudging some black eyeshadow into my lashline (top and bottom). I’d straighen my hair and wear lots of long, ropelike necklaces.

And it would be fabulous.

Do you guys do the red lips thing on the regular? What are your favourite reds? Should I bring back the spiky black bob? Tell me everything in the comments or on Twitter.

lovesyou

No BS Beauty! Episode 4: SKINCARE

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Today’s question comes from Mandi, who says:

i have a question for you! i am unfortunately getting older, and i feel like i need to really kick it into gear with my anti-wrinkle regimen. any products that i should be using for fine lines around/under my eyes and laugh lines?

Okay! This is a fantastic question, and one for which I have a long answer. The first thing I am going to say is that everyone should take care of their skin. It’s the largest organ in (or rather on) your body, and obvs you want your organs to be as healthy and functional as possible for a long, long time.

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THAT SAID, there is so much bullshit out there about skincare, it is ridiculous. It’s like cosmetic companies are competing to see which can tell us the biggest lies and still have people fall for it. This product will reverse the aging process! This product will erase your wrinkles! This one will make you invisible! This one will allow you to fly! This one is actual magic that we distilled from the tears of a unicorn!

Cosmetics companies will promise you anything in order to get you to buy the skincare stuff they are selling, and literally nothing they are saying is true. Here are the only legit claims any kind of cream, gel or potion can make:

  • That it moisturises your skin.
  • That it has sunscreen in it.
  • That it has certain ingredients in it that have been shown to help with acne.
  • That it has an ingredient that will exfoliate your skin.

If a product says anything other than that–like that it will fade acne marks, or get rid of sunspots, or shrink your pores, or get rid of wrinkles, or banish your undereye circles–it is lying to you. If that shit could be done by something you buy at Sephora, plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists would be out of business.

So let’s talk a little bit about skin and how it works so that everyone understands what a massive, massive crock of crap 99% of skincare advertising is.

There are very strict rules about what cosmetic companies are and are not allowed to say about their products. This is why you’ll hear ads say things like “Reduces THE LOOK of fine lines and wrinkles” instead of “Reduces fine lines and wrinkles.” The former is doing some selective truth-telling whereas the latter is straight up lying, and there are penalties for that. Lancome was smacked down by the FDA in 2012 after advertising that one of it’s expensive magical potions would “Boost the activity of genes” and “Stimulate stem cell regeneration.” Those are the kind of claims that only drugs can make, because drugs are tested like crazy to be sure that they work. Face creams don’t have to meet those kind of standards, so they can claim they do anything, even if what they’re claiming is impossible. And changing the composition of your skin–ie, getting rid of wrinkles, making you look younger, getting rid of dark circles–are all impossible claims.

Now let’s get to why.

Your skin, as I mentioned, is the biggest organ you have. The top layer of it is designed to protect you from infection and stop you from losing too much water. That’s it. It does not care what it looks like, just like your heart doesn’t care if it’s a perfect size six with flowing golden hair and blue-green eyes like a Wakefield twin. Not having wrinkles is not your skin’s job. If you told it that it is, it would be all “Come the fuck on, I’m making sure you don’t get avian flu from the ATM at Target. You think I’m going to change how I work so that you can be prettier? I HAVE OTHER PRIORITIES.”

Skin is not very permeable, which means that most things can’t get past it. It’s whole reason for existing is to be a roadblock, not a fishing net. So all those cool graphics you see of magical creams penetrating to the deepest layers of your skin? Bullshit. At best, those creams moisturise the very top layer of your epidermis, which is made of dead skin cells and sloughs off in about 27 days. If there truly was a cream that could penetrate allllllll the way down to your dermis and change the way your skin works–like to “increase collagen production” or “undo sun damage”–it would be considered a drug by the FDA. You would need a prescription to get it and it would probably cost a million dollars. You would not be able to buy it at Walgreens.

You can’t magically reverse most of the damage that you do to your organs, you can only do things to prevent it. The only way you can fix them once they’re fucked up is with surgery. There is no miracle cream you can rub on your liver that will undo 30 years of alcohol abuse, there’s only a liver transplant. Likewise, you can’t lie in tanning booths and then slather on a nightcream and undo all the sunspots and wrinkles those choices have gotten you. You can only go to a cosmetic surgeon for resurfacing or lasers or whatever that terrifying scar removal procedure was in The Craft. (You’ll probably have to pray to some weird god to make that last one work, though)

Of course, we’re all going to die eventually, and when we do it’ll matter very little whether we had laugh lines or not. If you treat your body (and your skin) well, you’ll look and feel better at 80 than someone who eats pizza every night and washes their face in the cheese grease. But eventually both of those people will be dead. All the sunscreen in the world won’t change the fact that humans are mortal.

Mandi’s question deals specifically with wrinkles, specifically, what can we as ladies who are no longer teenagers but not yet middle aged do about them? As you’ve probably guessed, the Official No BS Beauty answer is: not a lot. Your skin really doesn’t give a shit if it gets wrinkled or scarred; it has a JOB to do. All you can do is be kind to your skin and trust that in 40 years, you–the person who has taken care of themself–will look better than the person who washes their face in cheese grease.

No matter what you do, at some point in your life you’re gonna get wrinkles. But let’s be proactive about it. If you don’t have lines yet, let’s work on delaying the ones you will eventually get. If you have a couple, let’s work on not getting more. And there’s no such thing as too late; the best time to start doing this stuff is today!

Here is how you can be kind to your skin at any age:

  • Don’t sleep in your makeup. Human skin is home to millions of bacteria from thousands of species. Most of them are friendly, but some of them are not, and tipping that balance can contribute to acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Bacteria likes to grow in a warm, dark, moist environment where there’s lots of stuff for it to eat, ie: your face at night covered in makeup. Yuck. Doctors wash their hands; you gotta wash your face. Take that shit off.
  • Wash your face. Use something gentle. I really like this stuff Burt’s Bees makes, but I also use CeraVe and that’s awesome. Don’t waste your money on stuff that promises to anti-age or de-scar you or whatever, because that is lie-telling. I wash my face in the morning and again in the evening after I work out. Toner isn’t necessary, so don’t waste your money on it unless you really like the smell.
  • Don’t get too wacky with acne products. Repeat after me: spot treat, don’t scorch the earth. I get zits to this day and the only thing that gets rid of them is time and a little dab of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide cream. Put it on the spot, don’t rub it all over your face; it will irritate the shit out of the rest of your skin. And unless a dermatologist tells you to, don’t buy the 10% benzoyl stuff. It won’t heal things any faster, it will only make you drier and flakier.
  • Exfoliate. You can buy exfoliation creams, or you can get one of those crazy expensive Clairsonic things if you want. I put a bit of cleanser on a washcloth and exfoliate it GRANDMA STYLE twice a week. Be gentle with this. If you get too crazy with it–by this I mean attacking your skin with a pumice stone or something–you’ll end up looking like Samantha Jones: Beekeeper.samantha_chemical_peel
  • Use sunscreen. Yes, even if it’s cloudy. Yes, even if it’s cold. Just do it. I come from Australia and we know that skin cancer is no joke. Plus, ultraviolet rays cause wrinkles and other signs of premature aging. The Mayo Clinic says so.
  • Don’t go tanning. And also, Don’t bleach your skin. Whatever colour your skin is naturally, it’s perfect. Don’t fuck around and burn/bleach it it so that it’s a different shade. It is TERRIBLE FOR YOU.
  • Moisturise. When you’re done taking off your makeup and washing your face, pat it dry with a clean towel and put on some moisturiser. I like this from Burt’s Bees and this from Say Yes to Carrots, which also has SPF in it. Lately my skin has been really irritated and bitchy because of the weather, so I put a few drops of Argan oil on my face at night and it’s THE BEST. I wake up and my skin looks happy, feels really nice and doesn’t get dry & flaky OR too oily. Right now I’m using the Josie Maran stuff because it doesn’t smell (I hate smells), but that is expensive. You can get Argan oil for cheaper at Whole Foods or by looking around on Amazon, though. Read the reviews and make sure it’s not a smelly brand, though.
  • Don’t eat too much shit. I know science disproved the whole chocolate-gives-you-zits thing in the 90s. But when I eat tonnes of crappy food, my skin starts looking really crappy too. Eat more fruits, veggies and protein, don’t be scared of fats (you need them!) and stay away from too much processed stuff.
  • Get enough sleep. I need eight hours, maybe you need less (or more). Get the amount that you need. When I get less, my skin is waaaaay dull looking, as well as more prone to breakouts. Sleep is good for your skin and good for the rest of your life.
  • Don’t smoke. It’s bad for your insides and bad for your outsides.
  • Stay away from meth. Self-explanatory.

This is just a rough guide for skincare, not a sure thing. Hormones can change how your skin looks (especially when it comes to acne) and genetics play a giant role in how you look as you age. Which means you could do all this stuff and still get a whole tonne of wrinkles. You’re gonna end up with wrinkles no matter what happens–that’s just what happens to skin as it ages–and so you can either say “Fuck it, these are the badges of a life well lived” or spend your dollars on plastic surgery (or cosmetic dermatology, or whatever it’s called). I am all for plastic surgery if it makes you happy and you can afford it, but probably don’t take out a bunch of loans to “fix” your laugh lines when you’re 30, you know? And honestly, I’d rather spend a few thousand dollars to get guaranteed results in a doctor’s office than waste my money on creams that promise miracles and don’t deliver.

There is literally NO REASON to spend hundreds of dollars on a tiny jar of La Mer or similar. It’s not magic. It’s not actual Polyjuice Potion. It will make no difference to your face or your life, except to eventually make you feel like a dummy for wasting your money.

How about you guys? What’s your skincare routine? Do you have any products that you love/hate? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

lovesyou

Perfect Eyeliner in 8 Minutes or Less: A No BS Beauty VIDEO!

NobsheaderGuys. This is an exciting day. Today I’m getting my feet wet in the exciting world of MAKEUP TUTORIAL VIDEOS.

Do you know what this means?!

  • I get to teach you things! Makeup things! THE BEST KINDS OF THINGS!
  • You get to learn stuff from videos, which are easier to follow than pictures sometimes.
  • I get to indulge my perfectionist tendencies with the precision clip trimmer in iMovie.
  • You get to hear my confused accent! If you can come up with a better description than “You sound like a CNN correspondent,” you win a prize.
  • I get to play with makeup AND make storyboards. Post-it notes everywhere!
  • You get a Video Alle in your house whenever you want, teaching you how to do your makeup. Pour a glass of wine and it’s basically like we’re hanging out.

Plus, you can observe the range of totally insane faces that I make all the time for no reason.

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I know the makeup video market is pretty saturated. I’m not a professional make up artist, an eighteen year old supermodel or an incredibly gorgeous drag queen. But I know how to make the most of my features. I know how to use makeup to ENHANCE, rather than CHANGE. And I know how to make my face look awesome with maximum efficiency and minimal fuss. No BS Beauty means makeup for the real world, not just for Instagram photos or the dark lights of Da Club.

So, as I learn to navigate this medium, this is my first video. It is actually three mini tutorials in one–Basic (“The dotted line”), Intermediate (“the push and wiggle”) & Advanced (“Dramatic cat-eye”). So let’s all learn How To Get Perfect Eyeliner in 8 Minutes or Less. The other 49 seconds is just me dancing around. Literally.

Just in case you can’t see my shining face in the video above, you can also watch it here.

I was going to include a full list of all the products I used, but I forgot. So here it is!

And now, a few other things I wanted to mention…

  • I use grey eyeliner under my eyes a lot because I’m pale as a vampire’s ass, and black can look too harsh on me during the day. If grey doesn’t work on you and you want to use black or brown or neon green–do it! Substitute away! (But if you’ve never tried grey liner before, you might like it.)
  • Eyelash curlers are something you might want to spend some dollaz on if you’re going to use it every day. I used to have a really cheap Revlon one and before it broke, it would pull out my lashes on the regular. OW. I’ve had the same Japonesque one for about seven years now and it continues to serve me well. You don’t have to buy a hundred dollar gold-plated model, but you don’t want something that’s going to hurt you or snap in half after three weeks.
  • DON’T DO YOUR MAKEUP WITH A WEBCAM, IT IS WAY TOO HARD. Now I understand why so many people spend their tutorial videos looking slightly to one side (there’s a mirror there!). Next week I buy a mirror on a stand like an adult.
  • Seriously, put your contacts in first. Best advice I can give you.

I hope you liked my first attempt at a video. I’m only gonna get better at these! What should I talk about next week? Getting perfect eyebrows? Trimming your own bangs? Would you like to hear a rant about bears? I’m open to anything. Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

lovesyou

No BS Beauty! Episode 2: MASCARA

Hello everyone! It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another edition of…

NobsheaderLast week we talked about liquid eyeliner, and we crowned the undisputed winner of Greatest Liner Alive. I feel like the rest of the products we talk about are going to be a little more subjective. Everyone in the world wants liquid eyeliner to do the same things, whereas other makeup is more complicated because there’s more variation in both what the product DOES and what people WANT IT TO DO.

Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to mascara, which is what we’re going to be talking about today.

Mascara is my magic product. When my lashes are dark and ready for battin’, I feel like the best, foxiest version of myself. But I’m an especially harsh critic of this product because my eyelashes are super light and require some drama to look the way I like.

There are sixty billion types of mascara. And despite what commercials tell you, they all do the EXACT same thing: paint your eyelashes darker. But this is also a product that suffers severely from a case of Magical Advertising, because every ad for mascara promises magic that it straight up cannot deliver. All mascara ads feature fake lashes or lash extensions, because the reality isn’t that dramatic. No mascara ever in the world is going to make it look like you’re wearing multiple pairs of extra-long fake eyelashes. Por exemplo:

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These are all fake lashes. In fact, the Natalie Portman ad at the end (for Dior mascara) was banned in the UK for being misleading, ie: for using falsies. So then Dior said, Oh no, we just PHOTOSHOPPED her eyelashes. Which is not much better. So don’t believe the hype.

Here are some things that mascara won’t do:

  • Make your eyelashes thicker, except in the sense that certain types of paint are thicker than others. It won’t change the thickness of your actual lashes or “promote growth,” because then it would be a drug and you’d need a prescription for it.
  • Make them longer. I’ve tried six of the mascaras that have those little “microfibers” or “microtubes” for length, and none of them have made my lashes noticeably longer. They have made them clumpier, though. Regardless of who makes the product or how expensive it is, the microfibers always flake off and fall on your face like tiny black scabs. So skip it.
  • Make them super-curly. Just use an eyelash curler. It’s more reliable. Plus if you wear glasses, curling your lashes will stop them from brushing up against your lenses. I hate that.

So. If you want crazy long Telenovela lashes but your natural ones are short, or thin, or really straight, buy a really good pair of fake eyelashes. Mascara is only going to enhance what you already have, not drastically change it.

So! Mascara is one of the things that you don’t have to spend a tonne of money on to get a good product. The one that I like the best in the bargain category is Maybelline Full N Soft.

fullnsoftThe last time I was travelling & forgot to take any, I picked up a tube of this at a Walgreens and it was just like I remembered from college. It comes in your basic colours but I only ever buy it in black, and the brush is big and puffy.

A lot of people want a lot of things from their mascara. This is a good all-rounder. It’s dark right away, stays on well and takes multiple coats without getting gross looking. It doesn’t go on clumpy, dries fairly quickly and seldom makes you look like you have spiderlegs for lashes. Plus it’s under $7.

It does have some cons, though. “Drying fairly quickly” doesn’t mean “immediately,” so if you blink while it’s still wet you’ll end up with little black blobs on your face. The waterproof version doesn’t seem any more waterproof than the normal kind, but does seem to have a weird smell. I hate weird smells. It also wears a bit unevenly. It stays on just fine on my top lashes, but after a day’s wear the bottom lashes have almost no product left on them.

So if you need a mascara for under $10, this is the one to choose. It’s not perfect, but it’s quality. You can buy it here, or basically anywhere else.

Now we’re going to get into the products that I use, and the ones I recommend most often. Yes, productS plural. You’ll see why in a second.

This is MAC Plushlash. I use this on my top lashes. Pricewise it’s a middleweight–$16–but even the really expensive ones I’ve tried haven’t been as good. A $32 mascara is not twice as amazing as a $16 one–it’s basically the same. Diorshow & Lancome, you overrated bastards, I’m looking at YOU.

plushlashThis mascara has the best brush. It’s big and fat, but the tip is quite thin which lets you get the little lashes in the corner of your eyes. One coat of this is like two coats of any other product I’ve tried, which is awesome if you’re a multiple-layer girl or if you want to just do one swipe and run out the door. It dries really fast; I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gotten blinkmarks on my face from sneezing or something before it dried. It isn’t gunky or flaky. And it stays on all day.

As for cons, you need to clean the brush on occasion or else your lashes will start looking a little spidery. Wipe it with a dry tissue and it’s fine. A lot of reviews I’ve read talk about this mascara “curling” your lashes–I have long but very straight eyelashes and it doesn’t curl them at all, so I call wishful thinking on that one. It’s also not waterproof, so if you’re having an allergy day or a sad movie date, this isn’t what you want to wear.

I also use another MAC product, Splashproof Lash, on my bottom lashes. I love this guy, but for a very different reason than his partner above.

splashprooflash

I know what you’re probably thinking: Two separate mascaras? WHY?

Well, because I need these two products to do very different things. My top lashes I want to look long and thick and luscious, so I use a product with a thick formula and chubby brush. For my lower lashes, I want a product that will stay PUT. And “Splashlash” as I’ve abbreviated it, STAYS FUCKING PUT. It doesn’t rub of, smear off or migrate south and make my dark circles look even darker. It just makes me look like I have impossibly long, naturally dark lower lashes.

I am so serious. This has staying power. I’ve worn it to the beach, to pools, to Lake Michigan, in the shower, while having sex, while having sex IN the shower, onstage, while suffering with a cold, at weddings in outrageous heat–it will not melt off. The skinny brush and thinner formula makes it a more “natural” looking mascara than the Plushlash, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And there is no better waterproof mascara on the market, period.

However. That staying power is also a con, because it’s hard to take off. You really need a gentle oil-based remover, and even then you may need to rub. Honestly I don’t wear this on my top lashes all that often for this exact reason, and also because I have a heavy hand with mascara which makes it exponentially harder to get off. So that’s partially my problem, not Splashlash’s.

Anyway, here’s proof that the system works. Here’s what my peepers look like without mascara (and what my face looks like without any makeup at all because I forgot to take pictures until ten o’clock at night):

lashes1

Fine, but not all that impressive. You can hardly tell that I have any eyelashes, let alone that they are super long and pretty.

This is with two coats of Plushlash on top and one of Splashlash on the bottom:

lashes2

BAM. This is why it’s my magic product.

In conclusion, mascara is a product that is sold based on magical thinking and outright lies, but I love it anyway. Maybelline Full n Soft is the best mascara under $10, MAC Plushlash is Best In Show and MAC Splashproof Lash is the best waterproof. You shouldn’t waste your money on anything more expensive than those two products, because after the $16 mark mascara is just diminishing returns.

And maybe in the future we’ll talk about eyelash curlers and combs and all THAT fun stuff! What do you think? Do you have a mascara I should try? Am I totally crazy for hating on “lengthening fibers”? Do you have OPINIONS? Let me know here or on Twitter!

lovesyou

Introducing…No BS Beauty! (Episode 1: LIQUID EYELINER)

YOU GUYS. It has come to my attention via certain ladyblogs that there’s a lot of Stuff floating around about makeup, specifically: Why You Need To Buy These (Probably Really Expensive) Products.

The method for delivering this message seems to vary. Sometimes a cosmetics company partners with a specific blogger, and suddenly all you’re reading is how amazing everything from this brand is. Sometimes beauty writers will straight up regurgitate product advertising, framing it as editorial. To me, that’s the worst. There’s no shame in wanting free stuff, but there IS shame in using your platform (whatever it is) to lie to your readers in order to GET free stuff.

So here’s what’s going to happen. Every week I’m going to talk about some cosmetic stuff that I’ve tried and really like, or stuff that I’ve tried and isn’t worth the money. I’ve bought all of it with my own dollaz and am not taking one single tiny cent from any company in any way to talk about their wares. IF THAT CHANGES, I WILL TELL YOU STRAIGHT UP WITH WORDS (but I’m pretty sure it won’t change, because I like being able to write whatever I want here. I am beholden to no-one!).

I am really picky about cosmetics. I want them to do what they say they’re going to do without fucking around or lie-telling. I want them not to have any weird smells, or dry out my skin/make it break out/give me a rash. I don’t want sticky or greasy or cakey. I don’t think that’s a lot to expect. I also don’t want to waste time and money on products that don’t meet my standards, and I don’t want YOU to do that either! So I will tell you the truth about everything I try and together we will have awesome faces.

So I’m calling this No BS Beauty, starring me as your very own non-lying beauty editor! Let’s get to talking about MAKEUP.

Liquid eyeliner isn’t something I use every day anymore–ain’t nobody got time for that–but a fabulous cat-eye is absolutely part of my “look.” So of course one of the things my friends ask me about the most is what kind of liquid eyeliner is the best.

Now, many of you will say “Well, it depends on what you’re looking for, blah blah blah,” but you are wrong. There is only one answer to this question, and that answer is Lorac Front of the Line PRO.

loracpic

BUT FIRST, let’s talk about the Big Man On Campus: Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Liner. This is apparently the liquid liner to beat.

Simply put, NO.

More longly put, I have tried this liner and it’s not worth it (on it’s own merits, not just in comparison with the Lorac). I have no idea why people like this so much. To begin with, you have to buy a brush that costs more than the eyeliner itself, which then gets stained by the gel and cannot be used for anything else no matter how much you clean it. Then you have to fiddle around with getting the right amount of product and freehanding your liner, which sucks if you’re doing anything other than jamming the brush into the base of your lashes. I am a freehand liner expert, and getting my favourite cateye was a challenge with this setup, even for me. It takes ages to dry & claims to be longwear but isn’t; it washes off pretty easily with water, or if you sweat a little and rub your eyes.

So basically, Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner: REJECTED.

bbgeleyeliner

Now that this is out of the way, let’s talk about why exactly the Lorac is so great.

lorac

I’ve tried this liner in both black and charcoal (grey) and it is GLORIOUS. It’s a thin silver pen with a cap that doesn’t fall off in your makeup bag. The silver metal body is easy to hold. The applicator is a long, delicate, marker-style brush that makes it easy to do a delicate fine line close to the lash OR thick Winehouse-style wings. Whatever you want!

You can see an example of what I’m talking about in the first two pictures below:

loraccollage

I’m a sucker for a good applicator, but the formula is where this liner really shines. It dries immediately, so it won’t end up all over your eyelid if you blink. It’s a little shiny, but not overly so, and it’s not shimmery or glittery. The black is also super, mega, absolutely black with one application, so you won’t ever have to go over it (and over it) to make it darker like you have to with a lot of liners (Penultimate Liner by Mac, I AM LOOKING AT YOU).

It’s also waterproof, as you can see in the pictures above. The last photo was taken after running my hand under warm water for 30 seconds, then rubbing it with my thumb for another 30 seconds straight (I timed it). As you can see, it’s faded a little but hasn’t smudged, run or vanished.

I’ve worn this liner while working out, and after an hour of sweating and wiping my face, it still looked like I’d just put it on. I’ve also worn it onstage at a show where I was dancing under hot lights, then to a club where my friends and I danced until 5am. It stayed put. Observe; these pictures were taken at 2am & 5am respectively.

linercollage

Also pictured: Purple hair, Charles, Lorelei & sweaty bangs.

So obviously, you need eye makeup removed to take this stuff off–but again, this is where the formula delivers perfection. I just use the L’oreal stuff in the blue bottle (ie: nothing special), and with very little rubbing, it’s gone. I don’t have to scour my face to remove it, nor is my undereye area tinted grey with the ghosts of eyeliner past.

I’ve also recommended this liner to two of my fussiest, most perfection-oriented friends. Cait and Emily are just as obsessed with beauty products as I am, especially eyeliner which is a crucial part of our respective looks. Both of them absolutely RAVED about this liner. I’m pretty sure that if it turned out Lorac was grinding up fairies and kittens to make it, we’d all do mental backflips to justify our continued use of it.

The cons: Minimal, but they exist. This liner is kind of pricey. $23 bucks is quite a bit to spend on eyeliner, even if it is The Most Magical Liner In The World. Also, I’ve found that sometimes the packaging is marked incorrectly. The first time I bought it, I picked up the box that said “black” but the pen inside was the charcoal. Be sure to open it up and make sure you’ve got the right shade.

In conclusion: Lorac Front of the Line PRO is the greatest liquid liner in the entire world, and you should absolutely spend your money on it. ACCEPTED. You can buy it here or at Sephora.

loracaccepted

Have you used this liner? Do you have another favourite? Do you have OPINIONS about Bobbi Brown’s stuff? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

lovesyou

Things to make and do: Braid Crown!

A few weeks ago, I went to the Renegade Craft Fair and posted this picture of my hair to Instagram.

And lo, the heavens did open up with THAT IS SO COOL and HOW DID YOU DO IT. Nobody would believe me that this style is actually super easy, so I’ve decided to force you to believe it.

OKAY. Braid crowns–or Heidi braids, they have a lot of names–are AWESOME. They’re good for the dickhead days of summer when you’re too sweaty to do another ponytail, or in the fall when your scalp hurts from one too many fashion topknots. Braid crowns can be fancy or casual, and once you know how to do them you can fuck around with the details as much as you want. Fishtail braid crown? Awesome! Teased and braided crown? Go for it! But for now we’ll keep it basic, and this is what you’ll need:

1. Hairspray. It was rainy out when I did this so I should have gone for something with more hold, but oh well.
2. Two small hairties. I like the clear ones, but whatever floats your boat.
3. Bobby pins. The thickness and length of your hair will determine how many/what size of these you need.

Not pictured: nosy dog who kept trying to eat the hairties. You really don’t need one of those.

Let’s talk raw materials. This is how long my hair is.

Your hair doesn’t have to be boob length (and you also don’t have to make this face). It’ll work on any length of hair past the shoulders. There is a limit for how long it can be to work, and honestly my hair is probably right at that limit now, but if you’re sneaky with the braiding there are workarounds.

Now. Let’s prep.

a. Brush your hair. I’m not happy about this because brushing my hair makes it fluffy. If your hair is curly and you want to see that in the braid, skip this and move on to…
b. Part your hair loosely down the middle starting at the crown and going all the way to your back hairline, so that…
c. Your hair is now in two equal sections. How perfectly equal the part is will depend on how obsessed with straight lines you are.

Then you want to deal with flyaways. Just give any rogue baby curls around your ears or the nape of your neck a quick blast of hairspray and then comb them into the rest of the hair.

This ultimately proves fruitless for me 98% of the time, but I wanted to show you how to do it in case your hair is more obedient.

Next we start the braids. I assume you already know how to plait, but if not, please go find the nearest five year old girl obsessed with ponies and get her to teach you, I guarantee she will be delighted.

Split the first half into three equal sections and braid loosely. Make sure that the top of the braid is really tight and that the back is also tight and smooth. You don’t want big lumps later.

Secure the bottom (heh) with one of your little ties, and then do it all over again on the other side.

Bonus points for haughty 50’s model bitchface.

Anyway, you should end up with two perfect plaits and a selection of cartoon stars about your head.*

* = not required.

A programming note: The flat front of the braid should face out sideways, like it’s pointing away from your ears. It should not be twisted so that the flat part faces forward like Wednesday Addams. This is because we want the pretty braid part to be visible when we pin it over our heads, so think out, not forward.

Woohoo! You’re like halfway done! Now all you have to do is grab, flip and pin which is exactly what it sounds like.

Grab your braid. Flip it across your head, making sure to keep one hand at the base to make sure there aren’t any lumps (lumps are your enemy). Finally, grab your bobby pins and start pinning it to your head. Start from the center and work back to your ear, putting a pin every couple of inches (alternating from the back to the front so that the braid is pinned on both sides) until it’s secure.

IMPORTANT FOR GIRLS WHO WEAR GLASSES: Don’t put too many pins near your ears! The arms of your glasses will press on them and you will get the mother of all headaches. Measure two fingers above the tip of your ear, and that is seriously as close as bobby pins should get.

Trust me on this.

Now you do the other side. Second verse, same as the first: grab, flip, pin. The second braid always goes behind the first, so make sure they are really close together. When you pin this time, you’ll only be pinning the back side of the braid because the other side is lying right next to braid #1.

Now grab the ends and tuck them under the chubby body of the opposite braid. Pin ’em under.

And you’re basically done. Now shake your head like crazy to make sure everything is really secure.

If you need more pins, add em. Then spray it with the hairspray, just to keep everything in place…

And VOILA! Braid crown! Mug for the camera!

I like my crown to be a little messy, which is good because my hair is disobedient and I don’t have much choice. If you want yours sleeker, you can pin in the little escaping ends or use hairspray on each section of hair before you braid.

And that’s all she wrote. Go forth and wear your crown!

Bonus: a picture of Oliver, “helping” with some pictures. Do you know how scary it is to think your dog has eaten a plastic hairtie? EXTREMELY.

Wind It Up: Ten things getting me through this awesome heatwave

The end of another week. I can’t believe it’s only the beginning of July; it feels like it’s been summer FOR-EV-ER. Chicago is having it’s worst heatwave since 1911 and I’ve been dying by inches all over the place. It’s not so much how hot it is–I can do hot–it’s the humidity. You know, the kind of thing that makes you feel like you’re breathing in warm soup. Yikes.

So with this sweltering spirit in mind, I’ve made a list of my ten favourite things that are making this endless summer tolerable. I want to hear how you’re surviving, too–give me your top ten in the comments or on Twitter!

1. Butter London nail polish in Cheeky Chops. Basically the best summer yellow EVER, whether you wear in on your fingers or your toes. It’s like sunshine in a bottle; no matter how sweaty you get, you’ll be able to look down at your bright yellow nails and smile.

2. American Apparel jersey crossback bras. As you’ll eventually find out, in the summertime I like to wear shirts with low armholes and open backs, which means quite a bit of my bra is on display. These in bright colours and fun patterns make it look more like a deliberate fashion statement than outright laziness, although to be honest it’s a little of both.

3. Rose gold earrings. Rose gold is my jam this year. I don’t even know what my issue is, I just suddenly love it. I especially love the shape of these earrings; they’re fancy but not overpowering, so you can wear them with anything.

4. Jorts. I’ve professed my love of jean shorts many, many times on this here blog, but oh man, this summer that’s been taken to a new level. Three weeks ago I chopped up a really old pair of kind of boyfriend-y style jeans and they’re my new favourite thing. I like my jorts a little longer and kind of baggy, and I usually leave the hem frayed–though wide legged shorts rolled a couple of time is cute too.

5. Ballet flats. Since I don’t wear flip flops or sandals, ballet flats are my warm weather shoe of choice. I have only two criteria for them: They must be very soft and flexible at the heel, and they must be cheap. The former is to stop me from getting insane blisters, and the latter is because I will wear these things to death for about five months. There’s no point in investing a lot of money in something that’s going to be in tatters come September. I’ve had good luck with the fabric ones by Steve Madden and the leather ones from a brand called Mix no. 6. Just a hint from me to any other narrow footed, high-arched ladies out there.

6. Baby Lips lip balm. Maybe I mean gloss? I have no idea, but I love these things. They smell delicious and have a tiny hint of colour, which makes them perfect for days where you’re so sweaty that even thinking about lipstick is a chore. My favourite is probably Cherry Pie (red) for the gorgeous colour, but Pink Punch is pretty amazing too.

7. Pellegrino. Oh, I know, how bourgeois. I mostly have these listed for the green glass bottles, which you can refill and carry around in your purse on hot days. It’s important to keep hydrated!

8. Gentle Leader. If you have a four-legged friend, you need to get one of these. When Oliver was at his crazy worst and I was hating taking him on walks, this head collar saved me. It fits a little like a horse’s bridle; a loop goes around the nose, and then the second part clips at the base of the head behind the ears. Goodbye, pulling and lunging. Goodbye, aggressive behavior. Hello, peaceful, wonderful walking. GET ONE, I’m so serious, this thing is worth it’s weight in gold.

9. Neon sour gummi worms. I took a break from these guys, but I’ve got a taste for them again. I went to see Magic Mike with Wondertwin last week and ate a whole bunch of them. Something about the sour-sweet and the hot men just went so well together…

10. Drapey tank tops. Like I said, I like mine a little oversized and slutty-looking. I bought a whole bunch last year from Target, and they’re still my favourite thing for sweltering days. Bonus points if they have pockets. I love a good pocket.

And now I ask you: How are you surviving summer? Or, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, how are you surviving winter? And could you send a couple cool breezes our way? We’d appreciate it!

Wind It Up: Ten things I love about life (in the last-ish week of May)

It’s the end of a beautiful week, weather-wise, but I am feeling extremely sorry for myself so it may as well be storming. But there’s no better way to cheer myself up than with a happy list! Isn’t that what these are for?

Spending time with my best friends. Working long hours and being constantly stressed makes it feel like having a social life is totally impossible. At the end of the week, I’m tired and worn down and I just want to flop on my bed with my dog and watch tv. But this week I made some serious time to get together with Charlotte and Lorelei and catch up. It was so fantastic, and it’s reminded me of how much strength I draw from my friends.

Street art. Wander around Wicker Park for ten minutes and your eyeballs are spoiled by all the awesome stuff to look at. A couple favourites:

Birthday! Birthday! May 19th was my Mama’s birthday! We all went out for martinis and way too much delicious Italian food, and then had icecream cake for dessert.

Dairy Queen, man. It’s the best. I’d kill a man for the frozen whipped cream alone.

Material Girl #1. I ordered this awesome bracelet last week and basically could not wait for it to arrive. It’s a silver engraved cuff from House of Harlow (I KNOW, I was surprised too) with two curving claws and OH OH OH. I love it so much.

The best part about it is that even though it’s heavy and the metal is thick, you can still shape the cuff. I like to wear bracelets midway up my forearm–I HATE when they bang around my wrist–and so being able to custom fit it is amazing.

Material Girl #2. Apparently I’m the only one calling bandage dresses “slut dresses”? I mention this because when I got excited and told everybody that I got a really great slut dress, they were universally confused. Here is a picture so you can decide for yourselves; please pay no attention to the mess going on behind me.

Although this dress is great and fits like a dream, I really need to complain about vanity sizing for a minute because this shit is out of CONTROL. I know what my measurements are, and I am fine with them. Designers and stores don’t need to lie to me about what dress size I wear. This dress that I am wearing, for example, is a size zero. And okay I’m thin and I’m tall, but ON NO PLANET am I a legit size zero. I modeled; I know what that looks like. I think I speak for all women when I say GET SOME CONSISTENCY, PLEASE. All we want is to pick up a dress in a size we know will fit us, rather than having to consult a fucking oracle to discover what random number should be on the clothing we want to buy. Thanks!

Liquid luck. I was out looking for a good makeup primer (which I found) when I saw this…

I bought it without really knowing what it’s for, because it looks like a really chic vial of Felix Felicis. I’m pretty sure that when I put this on my face (as a highlighter, maybe?) I will win ALL the Quiddich matches!

Summer neons. It’s no surprise to anyone that I love me some superbright nail polish. I wear it year round, but the especially awesome colours come out in the summertime. Essie, who seriously makes most of my favourite polishes, has (mostly!) knocked it out of the park this season.

Lights is a neon fuschia. Camera is a super bright coral red-pink (I’m wearing it in the picture with the Felix Felicis). Action is a seriously, seriously bright yellow-orange. Bazooka is…fine. It’s a red-orange, not really anything special. But for real, get the first three. You’ll love them enough to rock them year round, I assure you.

Climbing trees. There are some things that you outgrow as you get older. Pigtails. Playing house. Dolls (I hope you outgrew dolls anyway, they are scary). But there’s one thing that I’ve never outgrown, and that is the desire to get as high up trees as possible. I’m a really good climber, which surprises a lot of people. They don’t know that it’s basically how I spent my entire childhood…and my teen years…

This tree wasn’t especially high–the branch I’m in is maybe seven feet off the ground?–but there weren’t any branches to hold onto, so I had to awkwardly pick my way up the trunk and hope I didn’t slip and knock out all my teeth. And speaking of things one probably should have grown out of, I got that tshirt all the way back in 1998 for a dance contest my school was entered in. Rock Eisteddfod, HAAAAAAY! Teenage dream steez!

All my shows are over. OH WAIT THIS DOESN’T MAKE ME HAPPY AT ALL. My only consolation during this difficult time is that Pretty Little Liars is coming back in like two weeks, and True Blood after that. And there’s still some Mad Men and Game of Thrones left. But ugh! Bereft! Mama needs her stories!

Guess who? Here is me trying to take a not-horrifying picture of myself…and here comes Oliver, who decides that it cannot POSSIBLY be a good picture without him.

And you know what? He wasn’t wrong. I love this little wiggle-butt.

So what’s been making you happy this week? Alternately, what’s made you want to hide under the covers and yell “LEAVE ME ALONE TO DIE”? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Wind It Up: Ten things I love about life (in the third week of February)

I’ve been lazy! I know! It’s time to MAKE WITH THE HAPPY! And I’m kind of using a funny definition of “week” but whatever!

  • Introducing King William. On February 11th, I became an Aunt. Three cheers for my wonderful Mama Bee, her stern husband James and extremely handsome puppy Sarge on the new addition to their family. He is tiny and pink and his hair goes into a cute little mohawk. It’s so exciting. I can’t wait to give him cuddles in real life!
  • Shopping. Because His Majesty MUST be dressed in only the finest attire, I went shopping. And if you’ve ever seen these shirts…
    …and wondered “Who is the A-hole who buys this stuff?” well, it’s me. I am that A-hole. I can’t help it, IT’S ADORABLE.
  • Doctor Who. The last thing that I needed was another nerdy obsession, but here I am with another nerdy obsession. Like all small children in Australia and the UK, I watched quite a lot of Doctor Who as a kid but hadn’t gotten into the newer edition. This is mostly because Billie Piper is in the first few seasons, and I couldn’t separate Rose Tyler from her teenage pop career. Observe:

    I’m pretty sure that if the Doctor had have seen that, he would have thought twice about taking her aboard the TARDIS.

  • I’ve got a brand new pair of rollerskates... Okay, not really. But I DO have a pair of supercute new shoes that I’ve worn basically nonstop, and they are THE BEST.
    I don’t know how to describe them…oxford meets saddle shoe with a heel? No idea. All I know is that they are adorable and comfy as hell, which is a heretofore unknown luxury. I mean, they’ve got a three inch heel. That’s practically a flat as far as I’m concerned.
  • Seeing red. I have a new favourite red nail polish: Deborah Lippmann’s Do you think I’m sexy? It’s giant chunks of bright red glitter (here worn over Essie’s Fishnet Stockings). It’s so sparkly. There’s no way to do it justice in a picture; it’s blindingly bright in real life.
    Swoon swoon swoon. And then swoon again. Well worth the $18 price tag.
  • This article.What Modelling Taught Me About Men, Money and Life. Absolutely PERFECT in all ways and totally worth a read, even if you are not considering a career in/have escaped the shackles of being professionally pretty. There is lots of very valuable advice, ie: There’s just no point at which someone shows up and gives you money for being pretty (or being talented in general). There’s no Jesus who reaches out of the sky to reward you, fairly, for being so special and better than everyone else. If someone does ever pay you for being pretty or talented, it is only so they can make even more money off of you. That’s it. That’s all there is. Be clear about that. Very clear. WRITERS, PAY ATTENTION.
  • Politics. I’ve written a little somethin’ somethin’ about US politics for my STM column next week. I didn’t think I’d like writing about the shrieking idiots running for the Republican nomination, but do you know what? IT WAS AWESOME. I’ll post links when it’s up, but in the meantime…
    CAN I GET AN AMEN?
  • Speaking of politics… Can we talk for a minute about Bill Maher? I don’t always love him–I find his schtick to be a little smug sometimes–but he has been straight up KILLING it lately. Here is a video of him talking about atheism and then “un-baptising” Mitt Romney’s atheist father in law, who was baptised into the Mormon faith after he had died. Dick move in a long line of dick moves there, Romney. If you can’t convince someone to subscribe to your newsletter while they are alive, you don’t get to sign them up when they’re dead. Watch, it’s great.

    I especially liked the wizard hat.

  • Getting over it. So a few weeks ago I won a contest by tweeting my best getting-over-a-dude story (which I’ll admit is pretty good, as it involves wine, brie, Taco Bell and breaking into a zoo). My prize? A copy of Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald, who you can–nay, SHOULD–follow on twitter.
    And the book is fantastic. It’s sharp and sweet and funny with a strong, relatable cast of characters. It’s part comprehensive checklist for getting over someone (without coming across as preachy or idealistic) and part fun summer finding-yourself YA romp (without pandering or being superficial). I loved it as an adult and I know I would have loved it as a teenager, too. You should buy it and enjoy it as much as I did.
  • Finally flowers. When the magazine I was in came out, some colleagues of mine paid out on me pretty hard. When the column came out, they made fun of me even more…and then they sent flowers, because they were secretly proud of me. Or I should say, they sent a basket of dirt and moss and unsprouted amaryllis bulbs. Fast forward to now, and almost six weeks later my flowers are finally starting to look like flowers.
    I smile every time I look at them. Who else would send a basket of dirt so that I could have longer to enjoy the flowers? THAT is thinking ahead.

And that’s the week! I hope you all had an awesome Valentine’s, Galentine’s or Palentine’s day and that you have some fun stuff planned for the weekend. I’m going to the Shedd Aquarium for the first time in a couple of years, and I’m really excited.