One In, Five Out

After a self-imposed block on buying this year, I have been pushing away the need to shop as an emotional crutch, which is healthier (I think) for my soul and bank account. When I found myself needing something – and by need, I’m being honest! One does sometimes need new underwear or a replacement white t-shirt! – I would follow a ‘one in, five out’ rule. So for every new item, I would need to toss/donate/sell five existing items of any kind. I wasn’t so strict as to say for every new black t-shirt, I had to throw five black t-shirts but any five clothing items.

This has saved money in some cases, and made money in others. ThredUp, The RealReal, and Tradesy have been great for donating, consigning and selling, respectively. Sometimes I think I hold onto items that have emotional or sentimental value, and that can make something harder to toss even when I know it doesn’t fit or suit me. I know I’ve put on weight, and objectively this should be a good thing as when I moved to LA I was about 90lbs (I’m 5ft 8ins) and wore a 0 or 00, so from a “health and medical” perspective then it should be good I’ve put on about 20lbs. However, as much as it’s not ‘politically correct’ (or whatever) to say this, but honestly I was happier when I was thinner. Clothes look better on me when I’m skinny, and I had less breakdowns when getting dressed in the morning. So there is part of me that cannot bring myself to throw my skinny jeans (I guess I am holding out hope I’ll be that skinny again one day?) because it’s like admitting I’m not thin anymore. It sounds so trivial and petty, I am well aware of this, but that doesn’t stop it being true.

I’ve also been trying to buy secondhand where possible, to further reduce my footprint. There are so many great online shops that sell secondhand goods, and since I’m selling my own things through them, it’s often better value to use store credit than to cash out.

I’ve not been perfect. I found myself perhaps buying more beauty items than usual, especially in an effort to combat my skin which decided to regress 15 years even though I had pretty fucking nice skin in my teens. I went down the /skincareaddiction rabbit hole on reddit, but have since come to the conclusion that the water in LA is just too hard and horrible to combat. I had no reason to try our new mascaras since I’ve already found my holy grail one, and nobody needs as many perfumes as I have. I’m thinking of setting up a beauty product swap at work, where people can bring in the products they tried and didn’t like to switch or share with others, so this might help alleviate some of that backlog too!

That said, I’m glad I’m doing this and I think it’s going pretty well. I’m saving more and not filling my house or emotional holes with unnecessary things. Downsizing is not something I plan on stopping once 2018 ends.

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My Teens Did Not Equip Me For This

I had relatively easy teens in regards of appearance: I didn’t have skin problems and didn’t need braces. While my teeth have thankfully continued being low maintenance (no fillings yet!), my skin has continued to give me a spot (haha) of bother from time to time. Thankfully, this has mostly just been a zit or two on my chin or three if it happened to be my time of the month. However, a few weeks ago I woke up to skin I did not recognize and it really threw me off. Near the corners of my mouth were dry, red and flaky, and my jaw line had a blotchy unevenness of acne that I had never seen on my skin before.

What consumed me was working out why this had happened – I hadn’t changed any soap or diet or habits, so it seemed to make no sense why it suddenly happened. Was it the result of going off birth control NINE MONTHS AGO?! Was this some odd acne baby I was birthing on my face? Was it a belated reaction to medication? It could be stress, but why was it manifesting this way now? I had no idea.

The dryness was flaky and impossible to hide under makeup, and I had to apply moisturizer (and then I started using vaseline – yep, the stuff out the blue tin you use on your lips – to avoid the white streaks and pilling that moisturizer gives you) almost hourly during the day. The red blotches on my jaw stood out against my pale skin, and there was even some unevenness and bumps on my forehead and by my nose. The dryness meant coverup wasn’t really an option, so I just had to ride it out all the while diligently washing my face every morning and evening, praying it went away, and hiding  in my office out of embarrassment.

I would never judge or make fun of someone for their skin, but I felt that’s what other people were doing, especially since it appeared overnight to someone who didn’t usually look this way. It was painful, physically and emotionally, and I still didn’t know why it happened. I started taking some supplements that were supposed to help, and continued with the vaseline and washing routine all the while trying to destress when I could.

This was two weeks ago and only now is my skin finally returning to the clearness it had before. The crop of acne on my jaw has disappeared, and the bumps have gone down or away, with only a few remaining that get nuked with creams morning and evening. I can finally look in the mirror without wanting to cry, or driving myself crazy with working out wtf happened. Even now I have no idea, and I’m sure my dramatics over having acne for 2 weeks is laughable to someone who has struggled with it for years, but when your teens didn’t equip you for it you have no idea how to deal with it.

Getting older is really lame, you guys. Fingers crossed I don’t have this crop up out of nowhere again.

But most of all, I miss coats

I feel personally betrayed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not only did I never get Chosen, but I now believe the amount of beautiful coats she had for living in Southern California was just not realistic.

It’s absolutely cliche to complain about the lack of seasons in Southern California, so I won’t waste too much time on the nostalgic dreams I have for woodsmoke, chilly evenings and the hope of a snow day. However much I miss the change of seasons, I really don’t miss deep winter where I had to wear leggings under jeans, navigate those slush pools of indeterminate depth, and biting wind. It’s a trade off, and one day I shall live in a place that has a happy medium (which is where? Please tell me!) but until then, I shall side-eye Buffy and her peacoats, leather trousers, and boots.

I mean, sidebar, but her dedication to her fashion game during night patrols was impressive. Of course, she didn’t know who she might bump into so it was a good call to not scrub it up, but why didn’t girlfriend wear sneakers and leggings? I suppose leather was practical in terms of protection from enemy weapons, but was it practical for the supposed heat of SoCal? I hope the reboot addresses this. 

Anyway, as a person who adores coats and boots I feel a bit adrift at this time of year. Sure, New York was still warm at the start of September and during Fashion Week but there was still the hint of autumn in the air. It’s always easier to deal with when the trends aren’t to my taste, but the coats this year on Revolve are fabulous. (I’m lazy and do the majority of my clothes shopping on Revolve because the selection is wonderful, delivery is fast, and it’s all my fave brands under one roof!)

Too Old-2

I guess I’ll have to go on vacation to wear a coat, which is a pain in the arse because have you tried packing coats into a suitcase? Nightmare.

Arrested Development

There are some unwritten rules for when you’re due to ‘age out’ of something. When you stop and think about these ‘rules’, they almost all exclusively apply to women. Think about the policing on how acceptable it is to wear a denim skirt, glitter makeup, or shop at certain stores. I’m trying to think of the male version of these ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ thought processes and coming up blank.

Once you become aware that these rules are just a construct of the patriarchy, hell bent on policing the bodies of women, you can be at peace knowing you are never too old or young to wear something. Your hair is acceptable however you want to wear it, your makeup is up to you, and you can use all the emojis you damn well please.

While I may not buy the sweatpants with PINK written on the arse, I will still continue to shop at Victoria’s Secret Pink despite being long past my college years. Sure, I probably should be shopping at a more sophisticated and expensive store, but those 5 for $28 deals are pretty good and I like brands I can buy online knowing my size. The same can be said for other ‘juniors’ stores like Aerie, Brandy Melville, or DollsKill that I am not in their target audience for but will still shop at. Whether it’s the prices or style or comfort in the familiar, you should never feel ‘too old’ to shop somewhere. Similarly, if a young teen wants to shop at Chico’s then more power to them.

Beyond shopping, I still refuse to have ‘guilty pleasures’ because having guilt over your pleasures is just silly. If you want to watch Disney movies, collect Lego or listen to pop music then that shouldn’t have an age limit. Of course, some of those things can have their appeal lessened in older age as you question more (plot holes in Disney, exploitation of pop singers) but if you like it then nobody should try to make you feel that something as trivial as age would be a reason not to.

Too Old

I’m don’t agree with an arrested development approach to life where you remain in a stasis of the same clothes and music, but you don’t have to bow to pressures to rid yourself of things you enjoy because of an arbitrary social construct. I won’t feel guilty over the pleasure I take in wearing Uggs and shorts, but I do acknowledge that it is not appropriate to wear to work. That’s growth! Find that balance is the all important part of holding past habits dear and still growing up. You can still read Buzzfeed, but maybe read some other outlets too.

I have had the same favourite song for over 25 years, but I won’t stop listening to new music. I won’t feel guilty about certain things I wear, but I know when it’s appropriate to wear them. Since my generation is fucked out of owning houses or relinquishing themselves from debt, why should we ‘grow up’ if the next stage of our life (home ownership, tenure, whatever) is closed off to us due to an economy determined to screw us over? Shopping at juniors stores is financially sensible, toys are better to collect than diamonds, and maybe I’m still wearing these 10 year old jeans because I can’t afford new ones.

 

 

Content Overload

There is just too much content online. As someone who works in producing digital  content, I know I am part of the problem. I’m talking more specifically about the sheer volume of television shows and movies online, and my daunting list of what to watch.

Thanks to Netflix, Hulu, HBOGO, Amazon Prime, and even some ongoing/new shows, I have no shortage of things to watch when the mood strikes. Whether it’s movies or television, there is always something just a tap away from entertaining me. But is anyone else finding it difficult to keep up? My list keeps growing, and I’m now seasons behind on some shows so much that it feels I’ll never catch up. An awards season passes and I’ve only seen a handful of the hyped movies (even though I work in entertainment!), and sometimes a movie can feel like something you should see rather than want to see.

Binging television and movies is not always easy to fit in with a full time job and other non-couch-based activities, and then it’s sometimes hard to be in the right mood to watch something heavy. If I’ve had a long day at work, I’m not really in the mood for a heavy trauma-filled or emotional rollercoaster, but something light. Then something prestige-y can sit on a list for so long, that it feels more like a chore to watch.

I’m finding the video speed plugin a pretty handy tool to get through some shows that I want to see but have a tendency to drag (cough NETFLIX cough) and honestly the only thing that looks a bit funny are fight scenes or sex scenes. You’d be surprised how slowly people must talk in shows, because speeding them up sometimes has very little effect on how their voice sounds. I also will turn back to regular speed during the finale episodes, just to do them justice, and even if I’m usually doing something else (multitasking y’all) when watching the series, I haven’t found things impacted negatively to my recall events or be less emotionally impacted. I’ve not tried it with movies yet, but I’ll let you know if it worth trying there too.

If I didn’t work in entertainment, maybe I’d feel less pressure to get through all these shows. It’s not just important to be up to date when meeting with clients, but for my own reference when brainstorming or if I need to work on a franchise or series.

This isn’t even considering how I feel I lag behind on staying up to date with podcasts, music or reading books too. I like turning things off and silence, which isn’t conducive to the always-on lifestyle that is important to churning through all this info, so reading isn’t too difficult to slot in although listening is easier to do at work.

Sometimes I feel like I’m doing the shows or myself a disservice with this hurried approach, but I don’t know any alternative given the pressing need. Despite the list, I also sometimes feel the need to rewatch an old favourite (do you have comfort-watches too?) because not only is it guaranteed to be great but you can notice things you might have missed before or you benefit from an older perspective. I suppose there is naught else to do but continue to plug away at the list and hope my rate of watching is faster than the rate the new shows debut.

Random Thoughts: Not Enough To Be Their Own Post

  1. Those DNA-what’s-my-heritage companies probably have just preset results to send out to tell people their descendants of a Cherokee Princess, Queen Victoria, or a President, depending on a quick Google search of what the applicant would like best.
  2. Watching streaming shows at 1.7x speed (via plug in) is honestly the only way I can have time to actually watch all the shows out there. There is too much content. I am still so far behind. How else do you find the time?
    1. Fight scenes and sex scenes are the most hilarious sped up.
    2. It’s no surprise that even at speed, those Netflix Marvel shows can still drag. Except Jessica Jones. Season 1 of JJ and the Cottonmouth arc in Luke Cage are the best, IMHO.
    3. No, it doesn’t speed things up and make the voices all squeaky. It’s just faster.
  3. Whenever I’m driving and I see another driver do something foolish, it’s always in a Honda. (Sorry not sorry if you drive a Honda but damn it’s always a Honda).
  4. I blame Industrialization for so much wrong with the world. Actually, I probably could write a whole post about this.
  5. Once I got out of the habit of shopping, I’m now kind of averse to shopping. I’ve even begun selling my stuff. I hardly recognize this person, but she seems cool so I’ll roll with it.
  6. Eating yogurt/apple sauce/ice cream/etc with a child/baby spoon is the best. Extra points if the spoon is plastic. I have a secret Hello Kitty spoon for such things.
  7. When it’s really hot and I’m running the AC, I have intense guilt because I feel like the harder the AC runs, the more it will affect the environment and thus contribute to global warming. It’s a vicious circle and it makes me have a knot of guilt in my stomach all summer.
  8. That said, I love the heat and have an odd tolerance to it. Even humidity. I’m always cold so I imagine myself as a lizard sitting on a rock to soak up heat. Warm me!
  9. Am I the only person who doesn’t like wrap dresses because they never seem to sit right? I’m always put on pause when I see a pretty dress that’s a wrap style instead of a ‘hidden zipper’. The same with skirts.
  10. I have very strong opinions about Middle Earth.

Hair Recovery

Can we talk about hair tutorials and how-tos for a second? As someone who isn’t blessed with the skill to do up their hurr I am grateful that there are videos online explaining slowly how to do fishtail braids or get beachy waves. That said, why do all tutorials and guides assume the reader has thick, long, healthy hair?
Of course a messy bun or plait is going to look fab when you’ve got long thick hair! Have you ever seen a top knot made from mid-length fine hair? It’s a sad little golf ball that is flattering nobody.

My hair has been in a state of recovery for the last few years. After battling a rather nasty addiction, my hair and fingernails ended up showing the toll long after my skin and body had suffered the brunt of it. There wasn’t much I could do, except use strengthening nail polish from time to time but mostly avoid polish in general (so I could also avoid using remover) which was a bummer because my nails were a rather sickly yellow colour. My hair became very thin, and that delightful combination of dry ends and easy-to-grease roots. It was very tempting to cut it off and start for scratch, but as a person who finds comfort in hiding behind their long hair, I wasn’t in a place to cut it off.

Thanks to a wonderful, and I do mean WONDERFUL, hair dresser my hair has gradually started its encouraging recovery. Patiently we waiting for the most damaged bits to grow out, and trimmed regularly, so now the majority of my hair is the healthy stuff. It’s also looking and feeling more healthy, smoother and thicker, and even giving hints it might get its wave back. After having hair that looked like it had been flat ironed even if I air dried it, I am very happy to see a bit of life come back in the form of a wave!

In addition to my physical and mental recovery playing a [huge] role, I also decided to really pay attention to the products I used. It was initially galling to spend a lot on shampoo, but it turns out the good stuff needs only a small amount to be used and ends up lasting a really long time. After trying out a lot of different brands and products, I have a clear winner. Oribe is now my go-to for shampoo, conditioner, sprays, serums, and oils. It absolutely delivers on what it promises, and is worth every penny (which is good, because those are a lot of pennies!). Here are some of the products I own and use:

oribe

I legit wish this was an ad (hey, Oribe please send me anything!!) but it isn’t. I just really love these products. I even have the little rollerball of perfume because it smells so damn good.

So, the short story is: please don’t get hooked on pills because the detox process is brutal and you will show the signs of it for a long time. The long story is: as horrible as it all was (and is, for recovery is always ongoing), it has been good to focus on my health and seen progress in my hair becoming healthier again. It’s outward proof of the feeling of health I feel on the inside, and that’s encouraging.

I still probably can’t do a big messy bun tho. But that’s ok, because a wearing a hat is way easier anyway.

 

Sartorially Speaking: Summer 2018

Am I the only one who is quite unimpressed with the fashion trends of late? The hottest looks for the summer (according to the style blogs like Refinery29) involve those bucket bags made from netting, plastic shoes, prairie/smocked tops, tiny sunglasses, lockets, and pedal pushers. What the actual fuck. Apparently they all got bored with the good 90s trends and fancied reviving the terrible ones. 

I walk the line between staying trendy and clinging to pieces I adore despite them not being Vogue-approved. In other words, you cannot pry me from my floaty Stevie Nicks witchy wraps but please give me all the well cut jeans. I like knowing what’s trending, and clicking through the shows at Fashion Week (Paris is the best, obvs) is a pleasure so I’m not sure if my displeasure can be chalked up to ‘not getting what’s fashionable’. 

Fashion Fails 2018

I think nostalgic trends only work for you if you liked them the first time around. I was never a fan of bucket bags (they are super awkward and your stuff gets lost inside), plastic shoes (uncomfortable and make feet sweaty), tiny sunglasses (I actually want sunglasses to protect my wuss eyes from the sun), lockets (bulky, sentimental and ugly but acceptable in horror movies if they contain someones soul), and pedal pushers (who the fuck is this even flattering on?). As for the other trends like sculpted heels, gingham, polka dots, and raffia shoes… I’m neutral on them, and will not be rushing to add them to my cart. 

I’m not mad though, it’s really helped me to stick to my ‘don’t buy anything’ resolution and not every trend has to cater to my whims. Since the turnaround on trends seems to be pretty fast, I probably won’t have to wait long until something I fancy comes along. My main fashion dilemma these days has little to do with trends exactly, and is more ‘what the hell am I wearing to work today?’ -based. Is it too dressy or too casual? Am I too old or too young to wear this? Is there a client meeting today? Is the office going to be cold? Am I walking a lot? Ugh, I miss working at home sometimes. 

Put up with the rain

A wise woman once said ‘If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain’, and even if you live somewhere sunny and rainy days are scarce, you still need that rainbow from time to time.

Why yes, that is a clunky metaphor thank you for noticing. One of my personal rainbows is creating mood boards online. It’s like scrapbooking, or a more focused Pinterest page I guess, but even if I don’t share them there is a certain enjoyment to sourcing the images and bringing them all together under a theme.

It’s a window into your mind, and I love to see what others create too! As the trees and flowers are blooming here, I was inspired to make a colour wheel of petals and flowers.

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Do you have a favourite flower or season? I like dark reds and dark pink for flowers, but a well-mixed arrangement is always delightful. It’s the best way to have a rainbow nearby, and silk flowers have the bonus of never dying.