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This is What 33 Looks Like

I confess to always being bad at gauging adult ages. Give me a person under the age of 5 and I can hit their age with an alarming sense of accuracy - regardless of their size and based more on their fine motor function, language skills and ability to interact with the world around them. Clearly it's not something to do with height or physical appearance, thereby rendering it a useless task in a world where 14 is the new 23 and 40 is the new 25.

People have jokingly asked me what 33 feels like - as those of us with cheeky senses of humor tend to do on birthdays. I've been know to do it also. It's a hilarious question because a) you've basically only been that age for a handful of hours, how would you know? and b) what does age really feel like? I'm passed the major milestones - driving, voting, drinking, renting a car - that illicit any kind of behavioral change or ease that might evoke an instant feeling. 33 feels like 32 did two days ago. It feels like a strange combination of every other year I've lived and also all the years hopefully stretching out before me. Age is a concept we tightly regulate with dates on a calendar because if it was something we picked for ourselves it would be completely without meaning, a forced concept.

Physically we are supposed to be able to judge age, but it too comes with challenges. For example, the husband is horrible at it because height plays into it so often with young people and it's impossible with his eyesight and great height to differentiate anybody that close to the ground in a meaningful way. Alternately we are supposed to be able to tell because of the aging process - the softening of flesh and limbs - but that's something that most people work aggressively to combat, myself included, thereby negating it as an effective tool for rendering age.

The day before my birthday I sent my husband to the bar next door while I got a manicure. I did not have my wallet (he treated me for my birthday) and when I went to look for him the doorman barred me at the door.  He wouldn't let me in without ID. I said to him "Look sir, I am flattered beyond words that you think I look young but look at me - there is no way I am under 21." And he said, "You look about 18." To which I pulled up my Facebook and showed him my birthday (no I do not have the year hidden) to which he then replied "Well, you can write anything you want there." Geez, this guy should've been a lawyer. "But why would I say I was 32?" I asked him, "Wouldn't I pick, I don't know, a number in my 20s instead?" At which point this deep philosophical conversation was ended by the emergence of the wayward husband who finally noticed my texts.

Age is an ephemeral concept in this day and age. Aging is hotly contested - something I think we might be on the verge of slowing dramatically, if not halting entirely. I strongly feel like I am a member of one of the last generations who will actually have no choice but to age. This is some serious sci-fi is real stuff happening. It's basically the movie Timer (which I thought was hugely underrated.) Nevertheless, a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are a few of them, and here is me, being 33.


The Tiger Anti-Wrinkle Mask

This Anti-wrinkle sheet mask keeps me feeling young. I can't decide if it's because of the ingredients or because of the novelty of what is essentially easy on and off face paint. I tend to prowl around the house growling when I wear it. Beauty should be, above all else, fun. A treat!

At $16 for 10 it also makes a great party favor/party activity.  I definitely did one with my best friend while playing video games and also being ridiculously fun and silly when she came to visit me. I could see this being awesome for a bachelorette sleepover, or even a wine/spa night. I bet even men could be talked into being tigers.

How to Do the One Shoulder Tied Shirt Cool Girl Thing with How to Video

If you're like me and you spend all your time on the internet, then you may have noticed this thing that started happening recently. It began with the Manrepeller - as these kind of cool girl avante garde normcore things tend to do, but has since trickled into more mainstream media ala Refinery29. By the end of this global climate change enduced heat wave riddled summer I predict you will be seeing more and more of this. You can even buy this look, but like, pre-made and sewn up and tailored and on purpose - like this $965 blouse from Johanna Ortiz currently for sale on Net-A-Porter.

It combines a lot of elements that have been getting heavy play by the fashion-ey types - normcore (from the use of something mundane like a collared, button down shirt)  + IDGAF (I'm gonna tie it all weird judge me if you want)  + Oversized bell sleeves + shoulder baring + let's be honest it's kind of flattering in a weird way. It's something Carrie Bradshaw would do with Big's shirt, which is basically where fashion is headed as we swing dramatically towards the millenium from the current 90s fever.

So, I read this Man Repeller article and she was like "You just put this here and then do this and voila!" and I tried it. I failed. I tried it a bunch. I did not get it. Then finally I tried it again and I got it but my shirt was too small (let's be honest - Leandra is teeny tiny) and so I took one of Steve's shirts... And I did it! And then I did it a few more times and decided to make a video so you can do it, too.  Not everyone has a few hours to comb the internet to learn how to insouciantly tie an oversized shirt. And that is the key here, the shirt must be oversized. If it fits your arm, it's probably not going to fit around your waist, with a few exceptions.

What's awesome about this look is that it is kind of versatile. Walk of shame? No problem, steal his shirt and you are brunch ready. Beach to bar? Same. Plus I love a good oversized shirt as a bathing suit cover up so you're just saving space in that bag for more sunscreen.

How to Shave Your Legs

Now granted, I have always been blessed with good legs. Long and shapely, but also skin wise. Growing as tall as fast as I did could've done terrible things to my skin but it didn't. For the most part**, I don't get stretch marks or cellulite, thank you genetics. I have a varicose vein or 4 but whatever - that's why someone invented lasers. TBH they are on the back of my legs where I can't see them and for the most part they don't bother me that much. Nobody has screamed on the street in horror when I walk by in shorts, so I think I'm good.

What it has taken me years, nay decades to master is the art of shaving my legs. I got the coarse body hair from my Dad's side of the family, and since he wasn't a big leg shaver he never felt the need to pass down any wisdom. I spent years fumbling along, slicing myself to ribbons, suffering razor burn, folliculitis and eczema, with nothing but the tricks I learned at Jewish summer camp in the communal showers from other hairy eastern european girls to get me through. I didn't get that there was a better way, or even a different way.

It was in college, from a boyfriend of Italian descent, that I learned to steam the pores open first. Watching him do it to his face, and to warm up the razor was a revelation. By the time I got to those communal showers the water was tepid at best, so the idea of the addition of heat was revelatory. That was the first big change, and it was a game changer in many ways but still I struggled.

I tried every fancy blade and strip, only learning later that those things were irritating me with whatever sticky, soapish substance they contained. I was told to use a fresh blade every time I shaved. With the exorbitant cost of razor blades that was a luxury out of my reach.

And then, I mastered it. It happened almost by accident. I was to a certain extent starting with a blank canvas because the hair on my legs also fell out during chemo - but since that caused me months of suffering wicked folliculitis it hardly felt like a blessing. But it was during that time I really started to understand hair follicles; how sensitive they are, how they behave, how I could work with them instead of against them towards my goals of smooth legs.

Armed with this and my growing knowledge of skin, and facing a shower without shaving cream I stumbled upon the answer. Coconut oil. Yes, I know - I love me some of that stuff. So of course I had it in the shower, and I thought to myself "Well, you know you're not allergic to it, and it's antibacterial and whatnot (re: folliculitis aka an infection of irritated hair follicles) so why the eff not?" And so I did it. It was a revelation. It changed my shaving game.

Right around the same time I signed me and the man up for Dollar Shave Club. Suddenly we had more razor heads than I knew what to do with. Not a new one every single time (how wasteful?!) but once a week for $6? I could do that. Lo and behold, the problems started to fade away. Moreover, I enjoyed the silky glide of the oil and the razor together. It felt good. It smelled good. My legs felt good afterwards. I had finally figured out how to do it.

So here it is in simple list form, from someone who has struggled but struggles no longer.


1. Apply heat. Warm up your pores (steam or warm water - not gonna lie sometimes I just use the sink) and then - and this is crucial - turn the water up super hot and heat up the blade. Continue to do this throughout so you're using a warm blade the whole time.

2. Apply oil. My oil of choice is coconut, but I will also sub in for olive or almond in a pinch. The trick is to dampen the skin you're shaving first and use enough oil to almost create a lather. This is not the time to be subtle, you really want to make sure the blade doesn't tug on your skin.

3. Use a fresh razor. I'm a Dollar Shave Club 4x girl, which is $6 a month and totes worth not getting razor burned or infected.

4. Shave with awareness. You are scraping a blade on your skin, now is not the time to be doing complicated math in your head or whatever. I shave up because that's what I do, but some people believe you should shave in the direction hair grows, so if you can do that I doubt it makes things worse.

5. Moisturize.  For me this means more coconut oil when I'm done.

6. Spot treat issues.  For infected follicles or ingrowns, a warm compress with vinegar works wonders for me. For bruises I am a diehard arnica gel fan.  The ones you can see in the pictures are a result of the torture bands they use at barre class.

That's it. I can't believe it took me so long to figure this out, but here it is. No fancy products needed, although I was sorely tempted by this one because it's so pretty.

**I did get stretch marks on my chest during my tissue expansion but I treated them with these and they went away...

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