This Denver Boutique that Made me Stop Missing SF so Much 

A boutique is a reflection of the energy and style of the owner. A successful boutique also reflects the gestalt of an entire neighborhood, even city. Which is why finding one filled with sartorial and home delights are such a beacon. It means "yes, your people are here."
Such was how I felt when, during my first foray into the foodie and rainbow-colored street art haven that is five points, I stumbled into Shea. The boutique, located at 2605 Larimer St in Denver, is a little slice of everything I love.

The bottom floor boasts soaring ceilings and chic decor, while also housing racks of light as air bohemian frocks, beautiful objects, and perfectly curated gift accessories. There are handmade sweatshirts, block-printed with rap lyrics, nestled side by side with familiar brands like Amuse Society. The owner is from LA and it shows.

The second floor is home to a pop-up shop of perfectly potted plants in gorgeous planters ranging from brass and copper pots to minimalist white ceramic. All topped with an impressive collection of gorgeous crystal chunks, wands of the pearliest selenite, and just plain old good energy.

The owner Megan is just about the cutest pregnant person you will ever meet (well I guess not for long, that's how these things work.)

Come by for the decor, leave behind half your wallet. Prob see you there!

Beatrix, the cactus, in her new home... 

My super rad wands... 
Mother in law's" tongue, in her new home

Pre and Post Workout Skincare Tips from a Spin Instructor

Watch the video for the full breakdown (it's short I promise!) and read on for the TL:DR

Pre workout: wash face right before
apply a mask, use the heat to give it an extra boost

Post workout: wash face asap
apply actives while pores are still open
top with moisture and sunscreen

featuring: Renee Rouleau Rapid Response Detox Mask + Glossier Serums
crop top and high waisted pants both from Outdoor Voices
shot at the gorgeous bass space at Rhythym Revolution 4970 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220

Vintner's Daughter Serum Lives Up to ALL the Hype

shown actual size... 

In my dreams the bottle is this big, sorry, I couldn't help myself lol 

So. Much. Hype. This oil has been heralded as the ultimate solution for every single beauty product - from acne, hyperpigmentation, and sagging to fine lines/wrinkles. It's been said to work overnight. It's been lauded by Vogue, R29, Violet Grey,

It's exempt from all promotions, on every site.  Because they cannot keep it in stock. And because it's worth it.

Trust me, as someone who has great skin, I was ready to be like "Don't worry guys, you don't need this." Now instead I'm like, "well, maybe I shouldn't tell anyone in case they run out and there's not enough for me."

"Maybe I can give up all my other products to justify just purchasing this one."

"What the heck am I going to write about on the blog after this? I might need a new oeuvre?"

Yes, it's that good. My first morning after I woke up expecting not to see anything but my complexion had this lit from within glow. Some spots I had when I went to bed were gone, the largest faded to a tiny, pink divot. My face was plump, healthy, moist but not greasy.

By day two I couldn't stop selfying.

Now, a week in it's taking all my willpower not to order 14 bottles and hide them in a special, temperature-controlled safe so I always have them when they inevitably sell out. Nothing has ever, ever made my skin look this good before. It's radiant, glowing, oozing with health, smooth, plump, luscious, divine. It looks good up close, or from far away. In bad light, good light, shadows. It feels good. It smells good.

So get the Vintner's Daughter Botanical Serum. Or don't, more for me...

How to Use White Makeup to Make You Look Tan & Dewy

Sounds like a total gimme - everyone knows a white whatever makes you look tan. But that's IRL. In pictures, white can wash you out. For the same reason - white reflects light. So when it bounces onto you in the wrong way it can wash you out, flatten your features, turn your complexion sallow. But when used correctly, in the right places, under the right circumstances, the result can be incredibly bright-eyed, dewy, plump-lipped, and radiant.

Behold my look, complete with a prediction for this season's must-have hat - the denim bucket hat. What I think is awesome about this look is how easy it is, as well as melt-proof and quick. The lipgloss lasts for crazy long, without getting sticky. Even with a little smudging it still looks great. And they tiny adorable containers fit in just about any bag.

I also made this handy video to show you where to apply for maximum brightening and impact.

Glossier Haloscope in Moonstone and Lip Gloss | JD Lid Tint in Peach | White Eyeliner | Acne Concealer

Weekend Lewk

Sometimes it's hard to write a long description of something, but I have these great pics. So I'm going to spare you the anecdote and just say this:

Play with eyeshadow. It's fun. To create a look like this put the lighter color(s) on the inner part of the eye and the darker color(s) on the outside. Apply copious highlighter. Leave. Have an amazing weekend!

shadow palette | Glossier  | Milk Face Gloss | Lid Tint | Foundation } Greasy Hair, models own

Review of The New Reformation Swim

There's nothing quite like starting a post on the internet about swimsuits by disclosing your weight. The truth is it took me years and years to get to the point where I realized I was incredibly happy being 5'10 and 153 pounds. It wasn't really until I got sick and all the medicines made it hard for me to exercise, eat healthy, maintain a normal metabolism, and the scale (which I am subjected to almost weekly at the doctor) crept up and up that I realized just how happy I was to be right where I was.

That said - it's pretty hard to find a great fitting swimsuit. I want something flattering, comfortable and stylish. I want it to say "I'm truly happy with my body" but not "look at me! look at me!" The quiet confidence of wearing something that looks good on you - that feels good.

And Reformation just gets my body. It really does. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the suit fits me so darn well. Not gonna lie, the tiny side straps dig into my waist a little bit, but only if I don't slide them up high enough. Sometimes I forget it's not actually the early aughts and that hip huggers aren't really my fave look anyways.

I was also asked by a friend to answer some questions about why I choose (and pay more for) ethical/sustainable fashion. That is how I got into #refbabe status in the first place. I wanted to share what I wrote in response to her thoughtful questions, because my own answers were revelatory to me as well.

I was first introduced to the concept of ethical/sustainable brands almost a decade ago. I was working at a non-profit and we did a fashion show with a labor-rights watch group. The picture they painted of the working conditions really stuck with me, as did their description of the wastefulness of fast fashion. So many resources go into the production of clothing - water, shipping costs, pesticides and plastics used to make materials - and yet so many clothes end up in the dumpster every year. 

But of course, the price point is a problem. You get what you pay for! Supporting a living wage, using sustainable fabrics, all of that costs more money than traditional production methods. The way I justify actively seeking out and paying more for these kinds of clothes is the added benefit of buying less, better things. That in and of itself is sustainable. 

I really started my movement towards sustainable clothing by thrifting - that's an affordable first step, recycling clothes. Later it became about just trying to consume less, because buying something that you wear once before it falls apart is hugely wasteful, both for the environment and for my bank account. It feels like, as someone who's been trying for a long time to make good choices, that it's becoming easier and easier to find great things. There are brands I stand by, wear all the time, feauture on blog, and know I can trust to deliver me great looking pieces. I remember when the options just weren't there, and the style tended to be a certain kind of hippy chic that wasn't me. Ha. 

Now you have the Reformation, Everlane (with their transparent working conditions), Cuyana, Amour Vert. Big brands are noticing and trying to compete - just look at H&M conscious. Enough people are choosing to make this kind of purchasing decision, and willing to pay more for it, that the industry as a whole has been forced to start moving in this direction. Real change is happening. Someday history will look back on these practices as so barberic, it will be like we think about serfdom, or makeup made from lead. 

The more people actively make this kind of choice, the easier it becomes for everyone. You don't have to work so hard to find great looking pieces, things you'll actually wear. They last longer, they tend to be designed as more classic, staple pieces that don't go out of style quickly. They are investments. I love emerging luxury brands like Re/Done, which sources all their denim from vintage jeans and reworks them in a downtown LA factory. The whole industry has just elevated the options available for people who want to recycle fabric, buy clothes made by people paid a fair living wage, and cut down the carbon footprint of producing internationally and then shipping clothes across the globe. There's all this beautiful, deadstock fabric, just waiting to be given new life in your closet. 

And of course, demand breeds innovation - look at what Stella McCarthy has done in terms of developing new material development practices. Her "leather" feels just as luxurious, lasts just as long. There are just so many beautiful pieces out there now to choose from. 

Looking back, I think the real turning point for me came when I read a statistic about the proliferation of trace amounts of formaldehyde in fast fashion. That's terrifying. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer, at the age of 29, and I remember thinking that it was both gross and scary. To have those kinds of poison on your skin, being absorbed into your body through your pores? That made it worth the investment for me. I've even joked that those chemicals were associated with my early cancer diagnosis, even though I know that hasn't been scientifically proven as a thing. 

There are very few things more personal than the clothes we wear on our bodies. Transperancy in production, ethical and sustainable practices, even just buying things that are made to last, I just feel better when I wear things like that on my skin. 

Anyways, I think I'll let these unedited pictures speak for themselves.

Get your own Reformation Swim  (or at least get on the waitlist!)

Spring/Summer 2017 How to Be Cool Edition

I think other people would refer to this as "Needs" or "Trends" but I hate the word "need" in this context. It's a want. You need food and shelter. You want that pair of white sneakers, which is a trend that shows no sign of going anywhere.

The word "trend" also has a negative connotation that implies a short duration of usability - something that has yet to happen to other trends like thick eyebrows, mom/dad jeans, k-beauty, and taking pictures of your pretty makeup. Maybe a better title would be developments? Because this feels more like an evolution, or progression than a sweeping dismissal of old things. If the return of the choker has taught us anything, it's that some trends don't die.

So here goes, my predictions for the things about to seem ubiquitous by the time summer is over. Hop on board, reap the early adopter benefits, and prepare to hear me say I told you so a few times.

an evolution of the soft sided bucket bag

Right, when my beloved soft-sided, glossy thick leather bucket bag fell apart (thanks, Ouai!) I got a solid year of wear out of that GWP) in comes the answer to all my black bag needs. The hard sides of this architectural wonder make it so I can place, or hang, with ease. Like it's soft-sided predecessor, it's basically Mary Poppins purse in terms of carrying around cosmetics, phone, charger, wallet, and like, a puppy. It's that big. Also, it basically looks like art when you don't wear it. Oh, and Alexa Chung and Jeanne Damas both have one. The problem is that when everyone has the same shiny, thick, minimalist bucket bag - which is in a sense, the perfect bag for so many reasons - fashion girls always want to stand out a little. This one is just so irresistible because it still has all the minimalist, IDGAF attitude, this is kind of classic but not really gestalt, without the risk of taking someone else's purse home.

Staud Bissette Bag, or try the J.W. Anderson, Creatures of Comfort, or the Simon Miller Bonsai if you really don't need a cross body strap option, in which case you live my dream life, can we be friends?

an evolution of the rapidly growing amount of money people are willing to spend on skincare these days and the proliferation of information on carcinogens in cosmetics

I'm pretty sure I spoiled the plot with that intro, so I'm just gonna drop my current favorites on here and walk away. This post is long enough as it is.

Glossier Mist (yes, it's super green! The worst ingredient is a 3, a preservative called Potassium Sorbate, which I am grateful for because spoilage sucks) |  Vintner's Daughter  | Sunday Riley Tidal | Tata Harper Mist | Herbivore Lapis Oil

an evolution of chandelier earrings and all the highlighter, all the time

Listen to your elders, after dewiness, the second sacrifice to aging is a healthy flush in cheeks and lips (unless you have Rosacea, a story for another day.) A little sweep of color on the cheeks goes a long way in terms of going from, "are you wearing any makeup?" to "WOW, you look amazing, are you even wearing any makeup?"

And once those cheekbones are flexed out, don't sleep on this seasons' danglers. Put the chandeliers away for a few seasons, when they will inevitably return in force. For now, it's all about round shapes.
Look for big, thick, sexy hoops (literally winning at Instagram are these ones which are light as air and showing up on everyone.) Also hot are dangling spheres on spheres (in either metallic with rods like these, or wrapped in embroidery, or beaded, or these bone ones shown here.) Despite their total lack of subtlety when it comes to size, color, and attention drawn to cheekbones, the sleek and minimal circle shape feels fresher and more modern than the heavy chandelier shape. If you must chandelier, a monochrome pick, like these gold ones my super cool friend brought me from Mexico) are glorious additions to any ear stack. I like to pair them with a slightly shorter dangler in my second hole for a sexy, exotic vibe.

an evolution of beauty science

Vit C imparts a lit from within glow, speeds healing, undoes sun damage and over-pigmentation, increases the efficacy of your sunscreen, and about 14 other things I can't even list here. The problem? It's super unstable and basically spoils the second you open the bottle and expose it to light or oxygen. Love, chemistry. Fear not though - the expensive predecessors fueled a scientific cattle-run to deliver more affordable, more potent, cuter packaged Vitamin C. How? By either combining it with other ingredients, like Super Glow, which pairs with it with skin fortifying magnesium, or my beloved Joanna Vargas Daily Serum, or by creating a super fun to use air and light proof container, like the  Drunk Elephant C-Firma.

Pro-tip: Speaking of chemistry, be careful when mixing C with Niacinamide (skincare's current acne healing wunderkind, like that found in Super Pure) because the two mixed together create Niacin, which produces a very red flush in skin. Called Niacin flush, it will fade, but avoid it all together by waiting at least five minutes between applying the actives.

an evolution of Man Repelling, and all beach bags, ever

Two (maybe three?) years ago, Man Repeller did a story on buying vintage picnic baskets and turning them into purses. Now, those are basically all sold out, or just way overpriced, and the beach bag du jour is a fair-trade basket. Bright colors, space for a towel/water bottle, and a small dog, plus complete immunity to sand/pool dirt? Who could resist?

The colorful one shown here is sold out, but I have a little shoppers remorse because I so deeply love this straw/black fringe, or this neutral one with pompoms!  You can also just lean all the way into the picnic basket thing. Plus when the summer is over you can repurpose them for home decor. #totesboho

an evolution of dad jeans, normcore,  athleisure and the fact that if you're spending a fortune on skincare you better wear a damn hat

I went all in on this trend last summer because it was too windy for my cute boater hat. In case you're left behind, your favorite brand probably makes one right now - like Outdoor Voices, or just wait for your favorite brand to give one away as a gift-with-purchase like the Ouai and Parcel did. Urban Outfitters also has great stock, as does, probably, your husband or dad.

an evolution of the earthy, luxuriously-priced candle phenomenon

You buy one expensive $65 candle (like my beloved Feu de Bois pictured below) and then just augment it with the earthy, spicy, similar scent of $20 aka 4 months worth of daily burning incense. Or just burn straight up Palo Santo  ($9 for a bunch) to augment the much lusted after $75 candle version.

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