All posts by Lar

The Perfect Lip Color

When it comes to lips, I’m low maintenance — just a frequent application of lip balm (this Hurraw one is my absolute favorite).

I don’t usually wear lip color because 1) I end up eating it off right away — not intentionally, I just must bite my lips a lot, or 2) if I remember to not bite my lips, they go dryer than the Sahara and the color clumps up in a really attractive way.

I also think I look really odd in a  lot of lip colors. It doesn’t make sense because I think Cath looks great when she wears lipstick of any hue, but I just can’t pull it off.

Until recently! I’ve finally made an exception to the rule of no-lip-color-wearing because I found two colors that look great together and are fairly moisturizing.

Here’s the trifecta:
Wild Child by Ila (this is more orange and less magenta than it looks on their site)
Diabolique by RMS Beauty
• a bit of lip balm on top

I do the Jeanne Damas thing and try to really pat the colors in really well with my fingers — making it a bit messy. It makes it look less like you have a painted lip color sitting on top of your lip.

I’m still not an expert at wearing lip color — my lips still go really dry (how do you effortless lipcolor-wearers do it?), but it does make me feel like a French It-girl and look like one too … well if I squint really hard in the mirror after a few glasses of red.

Clean With Me Videos — and Kittens!

Are you guys pulling your hair out too every time you check the news?

It puts me in a perpetual state of disbelief, despair and discouragement. I will still continue to protest, call my representatives and give to organizations that need our help — but I do think it’s important to balance out activism with sanity breaks.

That break might be different things for different people, but I really like to watch cleaning videos on YouTube. Yes, videos where people wander around their homes and dust, and put things in the dishwasher, and fold their laundry. It’s calming and soothing. And even when my own house is messy, watching these videos still (inexplicably) feels calming. My personal favorite is How Jen Does it. Outwardly, I have very little in common with a stay-at-home-mom in suburban Michigan who has two teenage boys, but I love how clutter-free yet homey her house is. I think she embodies “living with less” but still having her own style really well.

I know watching someone clean doesn’t do it for everyone (the videos made Matt want to run for the hills — houses that are too clean give him the heebie jeebies), but I encourage you to find or rediscover your guilty pleasure. And then, let your brain focus on that, instead of the news, for at least 15 minutes a day. The world may be blowing up around you, but somewhere near Detroit there are gleaming, clutter-free granite countertops and cookies baking in the oven.

And if that doesn’t work, try this. If you are a Chrome user, install this widget (Make America Kittens Again). It turns all photos of Trump to pictures of kittens. If that doesn’t lower your blood pressure just a wee bit, I don’t know what will. Oh. Baby sloths. Those work too.

Lar’s Skincare Routine

So that you can decide if you want to incorporate any of these steps into your routine, I’ll give you a wee background on my skin and what we’re working with:

• I’m 33, so some fine lines are starting to become permanent (I’m totally okay with that. I’m totally okay with that. I’m totally okay with that. Ha! Aging is hard.)

• My skin is very reactive — or what is usually termed “sensitive.” It doesn’t like to be scrubbed hard, touched with harsh chemicals (benzol peroxide makes it mean and red), it doesn’t like sun, wind, air, cold, heat … life basically. If I eat lots of refined sugar, I break out and/or my pores look bigger. If I don’t drink enough water, it looks dull. On the upside, my pores do shrink if I eat cleaner, but where’s the fun in not eating chocolate cake once in a while?

• On top of being hyper-sensitive, my skin is also lazy. It won’t look bright and happy on it’s own. I need to exfoliate (difficult with sensitive skin) and it needs more than all-natural products to do the heavy lifting. I so wanted to be the girl that can just slather on coconut oil and just glow, but instead I break out and my skin looks dull, dull, dull without a few meanie chemicals thrown in. (But again not too “mean” because then my skin will go red — quite high maintenance, this skin of mine).

• Breakouts: these still happen, but are controlled by birth control (which I take non-stop for my endometriosis). On most days, my skin is clear of acne, which is still unbelievable to me because as a teenager I had terrible acne (3 doses of accutane that I wish I never took, worked temporarily) and I was still fighting with flare-ups in my mid-twenties. My skin is still oily though — especially my t-zone and eyelids (nothing keeps eyeshadow on!). That said, my skin can still feel flakey and dry at times. Combination it is!

So now that that’s out of the way, here’s how I get my skin looking the best it possible can without genetically engineering it to be better skin (wait, can we do that yet?):

Daytime
I don’t actually wash my face in the morning — is that weird?
1) I give it a good rinse in the shower and then
2) before I put my make-up on, I prep it with this cheap, but mostly natural serum from The Dollar Shave Club. Yup, this is the stuff that gents use to prevent razor burn on their face. It’s not a miracle serum, but it does give my skin an extra dose of moisture and does seem to keep a little bit of my redness down. And for a $12 serum, that’s worthy in my book.
3) On top of the serum, I put on whatever natural-ish lotion I have going at the time. I’m currently using Pacifica Dreamy Youth, but I use whatever I find at Whole Foods that’s on sale. This is nice and light-weight and sinks in quickly without being too oily. Come to think of it, I might buy this one again even if it’s not on sale.

Nighttime
1) I use two-three drops of organic, cold-pressed jojoba oil mainly to take my eye make-up off pre-washing. I’ve been doing this for years instead of using a proper make-up remover — works just as well as anything more chemical-laden and I swear my eyelashes seem healthier giving them a good dose of jojoba every night.
2) Cleansing time! Again, I use whatever natural-ish cleanser I can find on sale at Whole Foods. I really haven’t found one I’m willing to be monogamous with, but I do think a cleanser is one skin product you can be a little less particular about because it doesn’t sit on your skin and get absorbed like a serum or lotion.
3) About twice a week I’ll use this Aesop exfoliator instead of a cleanser (I suppose I could do it after cleansing, but I’m lazy). Now, this is by far the spendiest thing in my whole routine, but it really does clear away any dullness without rubbing my skin raw like a lot of exfoliators do. I’m careful to just gently rub it on my damp face even if a good scrub seems like it will work better (It won’t. At least not on my skin.).
4) After either cleansing or exfoliating, I’ll follow up with this toner from Kiehls. Okay, this is also more spendy — so I lied about that Aesop exfoliator, but I swear this is another product that totally makes a difference. It’s also not totally natural and organic. And I can’t describe exactly what it does, but my skin looks brighter and less red in the mornings when I use this at night. What is this magic? Chemicals of some sort! I’ll just pretend I can’t read the ingredient list because I got some jojoba in my eye!
5) And finally! Moisture! I’ve been using this almond oil from Weleda for a few months. I think I would prefer a heavier night cream, but I like using a more natural oil for the time being. If you guys do have any magic potions for slowing down the aging process, do let me know.
6) There isn’t actually a number 6, but there needs to be. Eye cream. That’s where my pesky wrinkles are most pernicious. I dream about purchasing the SK-II eye cream because the guru-est of all make-up gurus Lisa Eldridge says its a miracle, but I’m balking at the price a bit. I tried this eye cream from Kiehl’s but I didn’t notice much except that it burned my skin a little. If it burned away my wrinkles, I would have kept at it — but no such luck!

And there you have it! Let me know if you guys use any of these products and have holy grail items. I’m also thinking I’ll try getting regular facials (if I can afford them!) — and seeing if that makes my skin any happier. I feel so grown up saying that. Spending money on skincare instead of lipstick colors does that to a girl, I suppose!

The Women’s March

Oh, you guys! I still have such warm fuzzies over yesterday that I had to post just one more pic here on the blog. Hope you aren’t sick off looking at a sea of pink fuzzy hats!

Cath marched in Atlanta and I marched it Seattle (pic above). Joining 4 million amazing people around the world in peaceful protest against hate and fear, felt so good.

And this is just the beginning of our peaceful activism. I just signed up to get weekly updates about ways we can remain active on this site: Wall of Us. I know it can feel overwhelming — like nothing you do can make a difference — but after yesterday, we know that’s not true! As this little guy knows, we like naps, but we’re woke!

Political Clothing

Confession: I have been buying more stuff lately. But it’s okay, guys! Not only do I truly love this stuff, I truly love what they stand for. All of these clothing items and buttons support Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Hillary’s campaign (pre-Novemember).

I know wearing politically-messaged clothing isn’t for everyone, but I love cozying up in my Femme sweatshirt at home or walking down the street and getting high fives from other “nasty” women. It brings me no end of joy and I hope, in some small way, helps keep the world a safer place for us all by supporting causes that help those who feel most vulnerable under the Trump administration.

If you guys feel the same way, here are a few of the sites I’ve been perusing and buying from:

The Pin Cause
The Outrage
Dynasty
Democrats/Hillary Clinton

I’ll be peacefully walking in solidarity at the Women’s March in Seattle (pussy hat at the ready!) and Cath will be marching in Atlanta. Let us know if you guys will be in DC or other cities around the country!

Snow, Snow, Snowwww

Just a few snowy pics from my Christmas in Montana. We didn’t exchange very many gifts this year, but getting to take a sleeper train through the snowy Rockies made me feel very Poirot-meets-the Polar Express. So pretty much a dream come true.

Experience over things. Wins every time, doesn’t it?

Feeling fancy, not guilty

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I found myself roaming around downtown Seattle with a belly full of french fries and wine (the result of an early happy hour with a friend), heading in the direction of Nordstrom’s flagship store.

Fortified by my dutch courage, I confidently sidled up to the glowing beauty counters and demanded serious answers to one of life’s greatest questions: how do you prevent your make-up from sliding off your face and looking like an oil slick by the end of the day? Life-shaking stuff. Truly.

But the nice beauty-counter lady seemed to understand the gravitas of the situation and told me my “shinies” could be blotted away with this wondrous powder by La Prairie.

Brilliant! Hand it over!

My “confidence” didn’t let me blanch when she revealed the price tag. Of course getting rid of my shinies makes any price worth it. But by the time I walked away from the comforting warmth of lipstick tubes and La Mer lotion, my pinot glow had deserted me and I was beginning to feel those tiny needles of guilt just where my french-fry-wine-laissez-faire had been a moment ago.

Readers, I had just spent $100 on a jar of fairy dust powder.

I have never spent anything close to that on one beauty product. I still remember my very first purchase with my own money at the Clinique counter: pastel eyeshadow that cost $20 back in 1998. Twenty dollars! That was big money to this teenager.

But here’s the funny thing with this La Prairie purchase. The guilt didn’t grow, it dwindled.

I use this fabulous fairy powder every day. And not only does it 100% prevent my afternoon shinies, I feel like a goddess when I sprinkle it on my face.

The powder is a lighter, fluffier consistency than any powders I’ve used before — and it has this beautiful light scent that makes me feel like I belong in the pages of a glossy magazine.

I’m now convinced that sometimes a bit of luxury (even if purchased after a glass of wine) is totally necessary.

Talk about “sparks joy,” this powder does the trick. I’ve also noticed that since November, I haven’t once caved when browsing the drugstore make-up aisles when I feel I need a pick-me-up.

Buying better, but less wins again!

Ethical Finery?

Finding ethically sourced, affordable clothes is tricky. And when I say “affordable” I honestly don’t mean cheap. I know clothing companies that actually pay their workers a living wage can’t sell a jacket for $20 and a t-shirt for $3.

london-finery-3

So I was pleased as bees to stumble on this UK brand (that ships to the States!) called London Finery. Their whole raison d’etre is they were uninspired by the fast fashion trends in high street shops and saw a niche for women who want beautiful, quality clothes that last.

And that’s what I want too! As much as I love to take a gander at Zara and H&M offerings, it’s obvious that the quality (and style) isn’t meant to take you past a season or two.

london-finery-5

I haven’t ordered from Finery yet, so I can’t attest to the quality first-hand, but their more sustainable approach intrigues me and I want to save up for a few items. I particularly like their “forever pieces: accessibly priced pieces that can be part of your wardrobe forever.”

Cath and I are always on the look-out for more ethically sourced, beautiful companies. So let us know where else you guys shop. I really hope the ready-to-wear fashion world follows these more sustainable models like Finery and Everlane. Maybe style will prevail over trends in the not-too-distant future!

london-finery-2

 

A tale of three wallets

Apart from the number of face products I use, I’ve also been a maximalist in regards to my purse. And by purse I mean tote bag. And by tote bag I mean my life!

I’m definitely one of those women who like to carry everything with her just in case. And just-in-casers can not carry small bags because where would you put that hand lotion, hand sanitizer, extra pads/tampons, pain killers, hair elastics, bobby pins, stamps, band-aids, lip gloss, lip stick, lip balm, powder, blotting papers, loyalty cards, credit cards, debit card, coins, insurance card, I.D., bus pass, old receipts, lucky cat talisman, single small googly-eye, mustache-shaped paperclip, 2 still-pertinent and positive fortunes from fortune cookies … Okay, maybe those last few aren’t universal. But you get what I mean.

I have tried to down-size before. And I was totally inspired by Cath doing it (read how she down-sized her purse here). But somehow (again, like my face products), the fewer things I tried to have, the more I acquired. Math isn’t my strong point, but when has 2 minus 1 equaled 65?!

So I realized just recently that things have gotten out of hand. Why? Do you see those two wallets to the left of the turquoise mini-wallet in the pic above? I was using both of those simultaneously. That’s how much stuff I was carrying. I mean who uses two full-sized wallets day-to-day?

It seemed sane at first. I bought the Michael Kors wallet because my office building has a number of security doors with card beepers. Forget your card and you’re stuck in the 4th floor cafeteria when you have a meeting in the conference room on the 22nd floor. This wallet has a handy wrist band and holds my phone, so I could always have my card and phone and be kinda hands-free too. There are slots for a few other cards so I thought great! No more bulky wallet, I just need a credit card, debit card and my office pass!

But then I had to go to the doctor’s one day and didn’t have my insurance card. And then I realized I needed to carry two credit cards because one of them offers me cash back on groceries (aren’t you so proud, Dad?!). I couldn’t fit everything into my spiffy Michael Kors wallet so I pulled out my much-loved and seven-year-old Marc wallet and added that to my ever expanding tote-that-wishes-it-were-a-purse.

wallet-2

But enough is enough! I’m sure, I have actually used the band-aids and the hand sanitizer in my stash of seemingly ultra-necessary things I carry — but not that often. Maybe once a year. So, I bought this cute little turquoise wallet and am going to see if I can handle at least a smaller wallet and then see if I can graduate to a smaller bag.

I mean, I don’t even own a small purse. All of my purses think they are purses because they are leather and not canvas, but cavernous totes they are. I figure this is safe though. I don’t get a bag unless I can live the lifestyle of the bag.

Something to work toward, but I’ll let you know if this just turns into me carrying three wallets instead!

 

It’s the little things

Literally. Tiniest lucky cat in the world. #Iheartyou

This is just distraction really. Cath and I are still trying to process the heart-breaking election here in the States.

I feel angry and sad and embarrassed — and absolutely devastated that so many people here (and around the world) will be afraid to live in or visit the United States because of fear-mongering and cruelty supported by a racist, sexist and bigoted president.

Yes, Cath and I both believe in continuing to fight the good fight, but I know we both feel like we need time to process this before we pick up the pieces and can move forward through this hostility toward a united humanity.

And hopefully in four years or less, love and inclusion will triumph over divisiveness, racism, and fear.

Much love to you all!