Dear NYFW: I Don't Want to Be a Coat Hanger

A long time ago I read an article about fashion models getting slimmer and slimmer. The general idea was this - the thinner the model, the less her body gets in the way of the clothes. Moving coat hangars. Having never been anything resembling a coat hangar, having all clothes stretch and distort on my body, this meant that fashion felt inaccessible to me.

As I aged, I began to appreciate fashion in a different way - as an art form, a craft. I began to covet the gateway drugs of the fashion world, shoes and purses. I learned that cut, fabric, construction are of a high value, that they feel great on your skin and in the part of your body that floats somewhere above your sternum. It's root lock of your ego. The biological impetus for gathering the shiniest pebble. The covet gene.

During that same time the world of fashion became more accessible literally. Fashion shows  began to be captured by furtive, and then omnipresent, cell phones. Those devices in turn got better.

What remains inaccessible to me (beyond the hefty price tags which The Real Real only dimly assuages) is the body-as-coat-hangar. I watched the stunning, monochromatic parade of liquidy silks at Tibi broadcast across several insta stories and feeds, and all I could think was damn those girls are thin.

Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my favorite people in the world are thin. I'm far from hating on thin people. What gets me every single time is just that I know that some of these girls are hurting themselves to look like this. We know this because they tell us this, the models. They worry about themselves, their friends, the dangerous measures they go to to shave inches from their bellies and hips.

We pat ourselves on the back because Lena Dunham is on the cover of Glamour (looking haute as hell) and then we watch a parade of human coat hangars sashay down lane after lane wearing sumptuous and drool worthy clothing.

I crave the moment when runways are filled with people of all sizes and colors. I long for it. I feel it in the empty hollow sack of skin over my right breast, where I had the fat ripped away from me. It aches. That fat belonged there, at least until it tried to kill me. The skin and bone where they touch feels like licking dry bread, but inside my body. It rubs me wrong.

In the beautifully written article in this month's Vogue about intersex model Hanne Gaby Odiele she says something so simple but it really struck a cord with me, because it touches on something that I want so badly to be true.

“Being a model is like a big compliment, but it can be so one-sided. I knew I wanted to use it at some point as a platform to give back, to do something, to tell people: You can be accepted however you happen to be! The ‘norm’ is not what you think it is.”

So read the letter (FULL TEXT HERE)  while I breathe deeply and send my healing energy out to the world of people who are hurting themselves. I too would like a little bit more control of my body, but beauty is a concept as soft and malleable as air - we have so much more power over it then we realize.





fake clear aviator glasses (because why not)
makeup by glossier (shop my link)
Iron Lagerfeld by Bleached Goods (please tell me you understand the symbolism)

How to Contour with Gloss: The Secret to Daytime Festive Make-Up




Step 1: Prep your lips with a scrub. I love French Girl Organics Rose Lip Polish.
Step 2: Use a flattering nude to line and then fill in your whole lips. I think Glossier Cake looks amazing on everyone.
Step 3: Add a pop of color to your inner mouth. This is big in Korean beauty, and creates a pretty flushed candy-eating pout. For this look I used Zip, a cherry red.
Step 4: Apply a clear gloss to blend the color and add an appealing glossy finish. I like to use my fingers for this so I have a little more control of the blending, and so my applicator doesn't get gross.

That's it! I've been playing around with lots of color combos - a nice brown Leo with a pop of purple Jam in the center. Cake with Cherry Balm Dot Com. The possibilities are endless, and it's so fun to experiment. I came across this beautiful combo by just grabbing the first two that I could find in my makeup bag. For a matte finish, use a coat of balm.com instead of the gloss.

GRWM: Getting that Glossier Glow

 Glossier is so cool in so many ways. The minimalist, photogenic packaging. The fact that it legit works better when you apply it with your fingers. The quality of the ingredients. The results.  But as the line has grown, it can be confusing on what to use and how to use it. There are def insider tricks. So I decided to make a video showing you how I would use my stash on a normal, average Tuesday. Nothing fancy, totally office approp. There is something fun and playful about a brand specifically designed just for application with fingers. Wash them first. Obvi.

But I also want to dig a little deeper into the cult of glossier, which comes from more than just the products themselves. It's a vibe. It's hard to articulate. There is an element of being a part of a cool and exclusive club, that somehow can include everyone. There is no you can't sit with us - there is only, sit with us and let's talk for 45 minutes about pink cashmere and the scientific properties of hyaluronic acid molecules. Then I will teach you about this cool indie artist.

That may just be what happens when a company blossoms through the sweat, vibes and energy of a particularly rad and brilliant woman. She is tiny, delicate, gorgeous but also funny. She has built a team of interesting, brilliant women and men with resume items like prada campaigns, ballerina and ivy league business school. Each and everyone is united by a desire to  change the beauty industry. Not just the playful packaging and hardcore science of K-beauty, but a uniquely feminist almost hippy beating hear of self love and self care. They make products out of real crystals. They show pores in their pictures, and they make you loathe any product that would dare suggest that human skin should be otherwise.

I  screenshot this image from Emily Weiss awhile back because I think it marks the moment in time when I truly felt like I wanted to be an ambassador for this brand.


And if you don't believe me that Glossier is changing the world, check out Fast Company which just ranked them amongst the top 50 most innovative companies in the world.

I aspire to be proud of who I am today. That doesn't make me love beauty products any less - it just makes me want to spend my hard earned money on the ones that don't try to make me feel shitty to get me to buy things.

Sad news - there is no eye shadow palette that is really going to turn things around for you.

You know what might though?

Looking at yourself in the fabled mirror at the new Glossier location. The one that simply says....


YOU LOOK GOOD

You Look Good 

Like already, just the way you are.

Shop my link for 20% off your first purchase, and free shipping over $30.  I'm always here and thrilled to answer questions you might have, and if you want to read more about the products I mention and use here the collection of all of them for your easy perusal.

Haloscope | Super Serums | Boy Brow Clear  and also here| Priming Moisturizer Rich | Phase 1 & 2












Nuface versus Ziip REVIEW

Microcurrent was buzzing on my radar (pun intended) since I got my first ever microcurrent facial at the Perricone MD store on Fourth street in Berkeley. There was a metallic ting in my mouth and then I emerged a mere 30 minutes later with my whole face lifted, flushed with health and glowing. I became an addict, begging packages as presents for any and all occasions. What was this magic voodoo that would instantly give me cheekbones, de-puff my eyes and light me up from within.

I soon learned that the first at home device had been approved, and endorsed by none other than her majesty Bobbi Brown, I set out to make the Nuface my own. I started with the baby one, the mini, which definitely worked but began to whimper into the silent night which is when I splurged on the trinity - the holy grail (pun intended again ba dum cha) of the Nuface ouevre which has a more powerful engine, a more complicated charger, a longer batter life and detachable heads. Including my favorite, the ELE which is specifically for my most problematic of facial woes, under eyes and marionette lines. 

But then a hot new chick came on the scene. The Ziip. She was sleek. She had programs I could access from my smart phone including ONE THAT TREATED ACNE, and a secret off the menu feature that plumps lips like crazy for about 8 hours. It used nanocurrents, which is something entirely different from microcurrents in ways I would later learn to understand. So for the last month I have diligently been using both, making detailed notes on the differences, to come to you with this, the definitive guide to which device to invest in,  because it is in fact an investment. 
But first, a little bit of science explaining how it works form my gurus at Into the Gloss:
Two wands, negative and positive, and electrical current running between—exponentially less than could even power a light bulb. Put both wands on your face, and electrical current flows through the skin and facial muscle, causing not so much a contraction as a tightening.

I think of it as nothing so much as pilates for the face - tightening the underlying muscles through repetitive exercise to tone and tighten. Microcurrent also helps the absorption of skincare ingredients, as a bonus, and can increase blood flow which is what leaves behind that glow. Over time and with consistent use you build up perky muscles (think lunges and those other cheeks) while also stimulating collagen production, flushing out toxins through improved circulation. An important thing to note, microcurrent master Joanna Vargas told ITG, "“The point of microcurrent isn't to erase lines in the same way fillers and Botox do. Microcurrent is awesome for lifting the muscle and de-puffing the face,”she explains, along with fluid-draining and contour-enhancing side effects.


Speaking from my own results though, I would liken them to something spectacular. I notice my cheeks more chiseled and defined and plumper when I use the Nuface. Since I added the ElE attachment into the mix the lines around my mouth are much less defined than even when I tried out fillers. The bags under my eyes are slowly receding to an acceptable human level. 

Nuface with ELE attachment
And when I use the Ziip my skin radiates plump, sexy healthy. My lips become two delicious lusty pillows. I glow with an internal radiance that no amount of highlighter could ever mimic. 
So behold, an indepth comparison of the two products.

Ziip


So for me, spoiled as  I am, I will probably keep using both. But how do you know which one is right for you? Fear not I have created a chart. 


Nuface vs. Ziip








 But we all know the proof is in the pudding, and all that, so I've also included  pictures of my face after using both of them. Not too bad if I do say so myself. 




The New Glossier Heavy Duty Priming Moisturizer in Rich

 



GLOSSIER PRIMING MOISTURIZER IN RICH is finally here. Rejoice! For those of us who love the oxygenating, smoothing, magic potion that is the regular priming moisturizer but need more hydration (like layer is with Super Bounce, and maybe the Moon Mask, and then mist once an hour) this product is everything you've been waiting for.

It feels dense in the (adorable) package, which is actually rad because it allows you to take just the tiniest bit which is all you need. This super rich cream melts into skin, leaving behind bouncy, glowing hydrated skin without a greasy feel - and without the need for 14  other products to layer on top of it.

I've been using it on the top half of my face (too heavy for my chin - see my ITG article) but I noticed a decrease in tightness and an increase in radiance after the first use. After several days I noticed lasting hydration and softness, less of a need to constantly mist, and my ridiculous bounce bit decreasing dramatically. One day I even forgot to use it and I was fine.

Also, I can't emphasize enough how little you need. It's remarkable, and helps ease the price tag ($35) since unlike some lotions it doesn't feel like I'm eating it for breakfast it's disappearing so quickly.

My one caveat is that it does have a strong herbal smell. It's not unpleasant, but it is present. It fades quickly but it's different from the so subtle whiff of rose/no scent at all I'm used to from Glossier products. It smells like the naturally based product it is.

A little bit more on the science behind the ingredients:

Red Algae Complex: Sponges up water, acting as a reservoir to deliver moisture to skin hour after hour.

Ceramides 3 & 6: Oily waxes that naturally occur in skin. They help bind skin cells together,
bolstering the skin barrier.

Five Key Fatty Acids: Non-greasy Kukui Oil provides palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids which help lock in moisture like a waterproof coating.

Power Primers: Our Anti-Redness Complex calms while the Oxygenating Agent boosts stressed skin cells, improving tone and texture—even before you put on makeup.

Murumuru Butter: A hard, dense, butter that we combined with shea for a decadent texture that melts into skin without any heavy feeling.

I wouldn't recommend all these oils for anyone acne prone (stick with the original!) but for those of us who need more hydration (freeze dried strawberries FTW) I suggest stocking up because I am pretty sure this product is going to sell out. It's that good.

Get your own GLOSSIER PRIMING MOISTURIZER IN RICH (and use my link!) for 20% off and free shipping.

Why I Hate Valentine's Day


You would think I would be all about Valentine's day. It hits on so many of my favorites: pink things, red things, floral print, hearts, lips on things, presents, gratuitous expressions of love, etc. etc. Logically you would be right - I love all of those things. I  love them all smushed together in a sparkly collage with some puppies and chocolate. I should by all rights be deeply enamored of this holiday. I was a cupid-soaked superfan in my youth. I went all out for it, in all my late-blooming boyfriend-less, never-been kissed glory. I would be the first one perusing the racks of cards at Walgreens every year, looking for the perfect boxed set for my class - and the last one to finish the candy hearts, hoarding them in all their pastel, chalky tasting glory until they were too stale to chew. I was the one delivering the secret-admirer cards for my friends, the purveyor of the "check yes or no" notes. The tomboy who safely traversed the boy/girl segregation of middle school to spread love and joy. It was my moment to shine. And then, my freshman year of high school, Valentine's Day became my least favorite day of the entire year.

In case you think this is a story about romance, let me stop you right now. In elementary school I bought a giant raspberry-cream heart and left it on the desk of my crush. I probably signed it "your secret admirer" or some other Sweet Valley High-inspired nonsense. I watched him take one bite of it on the playground, spit it out in disgust and then lob it aggressively into the trash can. I felt my little heart break, and still it was barely a ripple in the pool of my love for this, the pinkest and most loving of days. This is not about some boy.

In February of 1999, I was half way through my freshman year of high school. A late bloomer, I had barely been kissed. I wasn't even sure I wanted to be. I had a desperate, pining crush on a boy who barely knew I was alive. I would watch him across the grass during lunch period. I stared endlessly at his symmetrical face, a brunette Devon Sawa in the flesh. I'm not even sure what I would've done if he had noticed me. Most of my fantasies just involved him knowing my name and saying hi to me in the hallway in front of my friends.

I had two other friends, equally intrenched in long distance pining over older boys, and the three of us made Valentine's Day plans to have a sleepover at my house.

Two days before Valentine's Day my dad went into the hospital. He was always doing that. He'd already had several major surgeries (including the implantation of a defibrillator device) and the last time he went out in public without an oxygen tank was my Bat Mitzvah. He was so smart, so kind and generous and funny and full of life,  that I never thought of him as being sick. He was just my dad.

I knew he was different than the other dads. He was older, and he was the one who picked me up from school while my mom worked. There was nothing he wouldn't do for me. We bartered for kisses on the cheek - I could get him to do almost anything for about 14 kisses, including ice cream for lunch. He always tricked me into extra by saying his other cheek was jealous. Even when he had his oxygen tank we would race to the car, neither one of us pulling our punches. He was my best friend.

This year, my first year of high school, my dad had started needing regular trips to the hospital to drain the fluid from his lungs. He would always come back from these trips energized, pink-cheeked and feeling much better. How was I to know this one would be different?

On Saturday morning, I pestered my mom into buying a giant red mylar balloon from the hospital gift shop. It was exorbitantly over priced, but I felt guilty for wanting to spend the night with my friends instead of at the hospital with my Dad. I asked him to be my Valentine. He said yes. I went home to my friends and we ate pizza and watched a movie and ate too much candy while gossiping on my canopy bed.

The next morning my friends left and my mom went to visit my dad. I didn't go - I was tired from staying up all night. I just wanted to lay around in the house by myself. Then my mom called. I was coming to the hospital, someone was fetching me. Something had happened. I didn't understand. When I got there he was not conscious. He looked like he was sleeping, but he was pale, so so pale. I kissed him a thousand times and then I left the room. I asked to go home. I couldn't see this.

My mom told me later that right after I left he was gone. He waited for me, to hear my voice one more time before he let go.

I got home to a ringing phone and the worst news I've ever heard in my life.

I punched a wall.

----

One of the biggest problems my mom and I share is our discomfort with sadness. Happy we do really well. Anger we embrace. Sadness is very far outside our emotional wheelhouse. We don't like it, we don't know what to do with it. We spent years trying not to be sad around each other because we spark off of each other like the best friends we've become - spiraling down into tear soaked puddles. I feel bad that my feeling bad makes her feel bad so I feel worse. So. Many. Feels.

On Thursday when my mom washed my hair she asked me why I don't get more excited about this amazing weekend my husband has planned. She told me that thinking about Daddy (yes, Daddy, always Daddy) makes me sad. I told her that it doesn't. I love talking about my dad. I write about him, I mention him in speeches, I share stories and memories about him all the time.

Valentine's Day makes me sad because it doesn't remind me of him. It reminds me of losing him. It reminds me what it feels like to have your world burst open like rotten fruit. To have your guts ripped out. It makes me feel guilty for being with my friends and not spending that last night with him. Now, after my own experiences with hospitals, it reminds me that it sucks to be in a hospital alone, without the people who love you to keep you from being scared, to demand that the nurses do something RIGHT now about the pain. It sticks it's little chubby cupid finger in the little hole inside of me that has never fully healed over.

I love my stepfather more than I have the words to explain. I don't think my mom and I would've survived without him. He's amazing. I feel so blessed and lucky to have him in our lives, and he's been my dad for longer now than my Daddy ever was.

I say that here because I miss my Daddy. I wish he could've met my husband. They would've loved each other so much, even as they shouted in their big loud voices about politics over the dinner table. Even as they fought over who would get to sit next to me and hold my hand.

I hate this love holiday because for me it will always be about the day I lost my Daddy, and learned that loving someone is painful.

----

On our honeymoon my husband and I invented a silly game. It was like the newlywed game - we would challenge each other with questions about ourselves. The trick was to pick something you could also answer about the other person. It started innocuously - "How do I take my coffee?" and "What foods do I hate?" but as the trip (and the wine) flowed it became more serious. "What am I the most afraid of?" I asked my husband. "That I will stop loving you." He said, deadpan and rapid fire. It was the baldly honest truth.

Self awareness is a bitch.

If there is any lesson in this Valentine's Day massacre of my heart it is this. I have learned that love doesn't die.  I still love my Daddy as much now, 17 years later, as I did on the day he died. I still believe that he loves me, still feel his love in the lessons he taught me, in the person I grew up to be, in the parent I will be someday (hopefully) and in the people who still love and remember him.

My first real experience with love on Valentine's Day was "losing it." The feeling of loving someone so much you can't imagine your life without them... and then they die. That's some irony right there stupid Cupid.

But now, with the clarity of vision only hindsight can give you, I know that he's still a part of my life. He didn't go away. Dying didn't make him stop loving me, or me stop loving him.

So yes, I am afraid that my husband will stop loving me. Not because I think he is anything other than head over heels for me, because I've learned that love doesn't die. So I needed to find something else to be scared of. Duh, obvi.

----

If pain and sadness have a lesson, it is one of gratitude. To think about the things we have, not the ones we don't. I may not still have my Daddy in all the literal, earthly senses of the word "have" but it would be false to say he could ever be gone from my life. If there is anything in this world that could be immortal, it must be love.


originally published 2/15/16 

I love this lip mask

I'm a mouth breather living in weather in the teens. I wake up every morning to painful, peeling lips. Despite regular scrubbing and slathering myself in salve, I kept hoping for something more. Something that would smooth and plump enough that I could actually wear lipstick.

And behold, on an impulse, I got this one from Sephora. It's a sheet mask, but just for your lips. After wearing it my lips felt moisturized from the inside, kind of like my skin feels. They felt soft, plump, soothed. The were flush with healthy color - I didn't even need lip gloss.

Strongly recommend: Sephora Lip Sheet Mask in Rose


BROW WOW WOW

I got my brows tinter and very lightly tweezed yesterday. She taught me to use my brow pomade to brush up.  I made a quick video below, you can watch it in action, but I think the photos speak louder than words on the impact of brushing up instead of over. That's it. That is the whole difference. I was brushing my brows out and over, then scrunching them all together. By instead brushing them all up, then gently using my finger to fix any spots (something you can only do with clear!) I ended up with ridiculously feathery and lush brows. Mind blow. Full face pictured below (all from Glossier this am.)

today's brows  


And before....






What #PerfectNever Means to Me

For any of you who have read this blog, you know I am a cheerful, bubbly, positive, cartoon character of joy. I am basically the smiley face sent with the confetti explosion followed by the laughing so hard I'm crying emoji. But I am also the sad lion.

The sad lion is my crux to bear, the physical reminders of the things I can't do, the aches and pains, the body of a 75 year old I have wrapped in expensive skincare and good vibes until the crone transforms into the young woman like a magic eye poster.

This is a choice I make every single day. It doesn't come to me without effort, without support, and without a almost daily infusion of inspiration.  Every single day I reminded of things I cannot do, physically, because of the medicines I take regularly to keep me alive.

My very wise friend once told me that the body doesn't have a brain or an understanding. So while my mind knows this fact to be true, my body doesn't care. It creaks, protests, aches, strains, rumbles, and groans. I am constantly made aware of my limitations (chemotherapy anemia, fatigue, nausea, mental disorientation, muscle pain - the list goes on and on.) These things hobble me, and it takes a constant focus on gratitude to sustain this positivity I am so known for.

The idea is simple: I do every single thing I can do to focus on what I can do, instead of what I can't. I don't compare myself to other people. I carve into my intentions the ability to be gentle with myself, to feel the burn in my muscles when I can, and the softness of my sheets in my bed when I cannot. On the days when I cannot keep up in a class I remind myself of the days when I cannot get out of bed. On those days I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to stay in bed, when there are people who feel much worse than me who have no choice but to work.

The Reebok perfect never campaign speaks to something deep inside of me. I will never be perfect. I am a frankenstein of gorgeous scars under my sports bra, knitting myself slowly back together only to be torn apart again. I have the metabolism of a 95 year old woman, and a deep and abiding love of candy. But I am alive, I am doing awesome. I have so many more blessings than my scary diagnosis would bely. I don't aspire to be perfect - I just aspire to be as good as I can be, as grateful for whatever level I find myself at that day, as healthy and gentle and challenged as my circumstances will allow, and as happy as I can be while staying true to the burdens of my body.

Perfect Never - because perfect never gets better.









So about the leggings, for those of you who want to know:

I like my leggings like I like everything else in my life - soft, flattering, thin as possible (just kidding!) But really, I like me a legging that keeps me warm but doesn't feel like my legs are encased in sausage casing that leaves seam marks on my inner thighs when I take them off. I want pants I can wear to walk two blocks to yoga in a Chicago winter, but also wear around the house without sweating. Also, normally I am kind of not into patterns, but these ones are soooo flattering I kind of love them. I'm also way into the waistband, which holds them up without squeezing my stomach uncomfortably out the top. I threw it on with my favorite sports bra and my cutest workout sneakers, and then played around in my living room with some pilates and yoga poses that tend to challenge the most comfortable of athletic gear and was so so pleasantly surprised by the results.
These leggings were gifted to me for testing purposes - but I wouldn't write about them here if I wasn't totally into them. They run large like most Reebok stuff (I'm a medium in Reebok, large in Outdoor Voices, 8-12 in Lululemon depending on the cut) so size down for a good fit.

Reebok Cardio Spike Leggings


Walgreens Blush Haul

Watch the video for full reviews, or just skip them and go get these ASAP because they are rad, cheap, and pretty darn gorgeous. Below enjoy some after pictures, as well as some dramatic unboxing of my haul.

Or just trust me and buy them:

WNW Blush Brush $3 (limited stock!)
Milani Blush in Luminoso & Dolce Pink
WNW Contour Cushion (also limited edition and hard to find because it's pretty awesome)





Glossier Boy Brow is now in clear and 20% off

Two words: Get. It.  And use my link pretty please. I was not expecting to love this as much as I do. I am so obsessed with black I couldn't imagine loving boring clear just as much. But this stuff is good. Like I want a giant bottle to thicken and shape my head hair good. It goes on white (don't be scared) but then dries super clear and flake free. It holds all day, even through a nap. Also, no streaks or fear of hot yoga, and no worries about color matching. Same tiny, perfect brush and minimalist package we all love. That thickening, fluff up consistency. No smell. Awesome for days when your brows need some control but you're not wearing anything else except PM rich. Or when you just want two spiky, gorgeous mohawks on your face.

Boy Brow Clear
20% off your first order, free shipping over $30