Monday, December 5, 2022

Beauty Advice I Can Get Behind

I did not say this. I have a beauty routine. My routine is getting sucked into Instagram ads and their ridiculous promises, which then floods my feed with even more ads, and buying whatever "no more wrinkles ever" face lotion catches my eye at Costco.

The entire quote is "I do not have a beauty routine. My life is too inconsistent and I have authority issues. Life changes. We change. That's OK. We don't have to be so strict about things."

Who said it? Can you guess?

Jared Leto. 

Bet you didn't guess that. 

To be honest I think he's a bit of a weirdo (See: accent he used in House of Gucci and also every red carpet appearance since then). But I do agree with this sentiment. We don't have to be so strict about any kind of routine thing.

Last March I decided, after going to an Anne Lamott reading, where she extolled the virtues of pen and paper over writing on a computer, to start a daily journal. I've always thought those that journaled daily for a lifetime were sooooo cool. Consistency when establishing a habit is tough for me, so this would be a good challenge on a couple fronts. I've been pretty good, but lately it has been more of an every-three-days habit of journalling. Gah! 

This goofy quote was a great reminder to not be so strict sometimes. I am still writing more days than I am not. Giving myself a little leeway is a good idea, especially because being strict is the best way to abandon things altogether. 

Side note - did you know Jared Leto played Jordan Catalano on "My So Called Life?" Mind. Blown.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

How to Do All the Things


I was searching through the stock photos on this app using the term "balance" - and this is one of the images that came up. 


Obviously some kind of photoshop trickery, yet I can't stop looking at it trying to figure it out. I bet if you look closely at the cat print hanging on the wall, it's rolling its eyes - ha!

After finding this picture, I wrote a sigh-filled post about the ephemeral attainment of balance. But I didn't hit publish. What gave me pause?

Partly it was not wanting to post something whiney.  Because "in the world we live in" (not a phrase I like to use to be honest), whining about how to get all the things done is a problem of someone privileged to not have to fight daily for basic survival.

But also because, the more I thought about it, f*#k balance. Really. There is always more work, more tasks, more needs, more wants and more desires than a human can accomplish at any one time. Trying to strike a balance means you are doing a couple things ok-ish when maybe something truly deserves 100% of your attention. Like maybe following up on a gift card for your mom's birthday on or near her birthday, so you don't forget, and then she doesn't end up paying for a meal months later that she thought had already been gifted. For example (whoops).

So here is my challenge: push stuff off of your mental kitchen counter like a cat left alone for the day, leaving only what needs your attention most, or what you need most. You can pick up the other pieces later. Maybe some of them will even go away. This is your official permission slip.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Re-Watch: What Not to Wear


There are 1,000,000 different shows to watch - across all the apps. But I feel like so many of the "hot" shows are dark, deep and cerebral. What I need now is light brain candy. I have already re-watched Ted Lasso many times, also all of Top Chefs and Great British Bake Offs. Then I discovered all 12 seasons of What Not To Wear on Discovery+.

My friend Stella asked me what I learned by rewatching, so here goes:

1. EVERY SINGLE WOMAN - of all ages and sizes, in every season of life, has some aspect of their body that they dislike and are convinced makes it impossible to find well fitting clothes. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Why are we all unhappy? That's a question for another post.

2. A good bra is worth its weight in gold. Your body changes, elastic doesn't last forever, so a refresh at a store that does bra fittings is a good idea. I've been digging Soma lately, Stella prefers Third Love.

3. If you do have a body that is tough to fit, buy something that fits the biggest part of you and then have it tailored. This is less expensive than you might think - fashion icon Tan France also preaches this.

3.a. My personal tweak on this - when you find a brand/size that fits you, lean in. For me Old Navy curvy fit (now called pop icon) skinny jeans in size 12 fit me really well and are often on sale - I have bought them all...

4. Buy clothes to fit the body you have, not the body you were, or want to have. Clothes that fit well always look more put together, even your work from home outfits. 

5. A good haircut is also worth its weight in gold and make-up for a non-celebrity can be done in 5 minutes. Just trust me on both of these.

Right now you are thinking - what. the. hell. Who needs added pressure to look nice when we are still figuring out how to live in this post-pandemic world? I hear you. 

But when I went to pack for a trip this summer and looked through a stuffed closet with clothes that don't fit, or no longer make me happy, or I will never need to wear again (I'm looking at you office attire) it stressed me out. So I plowed through it all, donating anything that I couldn't see myself wearing ever again. It felt great.

For inspiration on de-cluttering, check out The Home Edit on Netflix. Capsule wardrobe creator Outfit Formulas ("shop your closet first") is also great. 

If you are looking to do some shopping after decluttering your closet, Costco Casual is so awesome. I mean, you are there already, right? Also did you know you can thrift shop from the comfort of you own home? Check out Salvation Army and ThreadUp. Hot tip on ThreadUp from my friend Angela: click the "new with tags" filter - she finds awesome shoes that way.

Monday, July 25, 2022

You Do You

If you look for book recommendations amongst my blog posts, you will see I recommend Jennifer Weiner again and again. I have read all her books and would consider myself a HUGE fan. I dream of becoming a published author and if I could become a writer with 1% of her gift and success I would exceed my wildest dreams.

She is a guest columnist for the New York Times and normally I enjoy what she has to say. But her latest column, J-Lo Is Now Jennifer Affleck. Why That Matters, kind of pissed me off. She takes issue with J.Lo referring to her self by her new husband's surname: 

"Ms. Affleck may be surrendering to the power of love with this, her fourth marriage. But given the cringe-y history behind the practice, a woman taking her husband’s last name feels to me like a submission — a gesture that doesn’t say “I belong with him” so much as “I belong to him.” And at this fraught moment for feminism in America, a woman like the former Jennifer Lopez deciding to change her name feels especially dispiriting."

UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH (also, note the dig "this, her fourth marriage")

I thought fighting for everyone to have choices, to be able to make their own decisions without fear of retribution or punishment, is what progressiveness is all about.  

Jennifer Weiner writes: "Maybe the question of whether or not a pop star-slash-global-brand changes her last name feels unimportant...But these gestures matter. Names confer identity. And married women continue to give theirs up, while married men rarely reciprocate."

I really don't care what name anyone goes by - keep your name, change your name, hyphenate your name, use a symbol -- do whatever makes you happy. My choice doesn't mean your choice is wrong -- it's just a different choice. 

But this constant requirement to navigate the "right" choice among all the potential choices, of all the very many things we need to worry about, in a way that doesn't upset others or worst case, "cancel" you, is exhausting. 

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Travel Diet Advice

I love to "collect" quotes, especially ones that I agree with :-) This one from Jon Acuff perfectly articulates a great way to approach two kinds of travel. When you travel for work, you may end up going on lots of group meals, have conference buffets, and find candy bowls on everyone's desk. It's easy to over indulge, so you should aim for the opposite. 

But on vacation, when you (might) have total control over where, when and how much you eat, you might have a tendency to worry over all the calories. Umbrella drinks, dessert with every meal, and lots of treats you don't normally eat at home, yummmm. But oh, the diet. 

As Jon says, "You don’t have to go crazy on your vacation and undo all the good work you’ve done at home, but you also don’t need to ruin your vacation by counting each calorie in the DisneyWorld ice cream cone."  It's no fun for you, and kinda puts a damper on spontaneous donut shop and other local gem stops for others. 

Emma Bombeck has another favorite quote of mine: "Sieze the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic that waved off the dessert cart." 

It's all about keeping perspective and balance, right?

Note: I'm not a donut connoisseur, just travel with donut lovers (apparently). Here are two spontaneous donut shop stops in very different locations that are SO WORTH IT: Jellyfish Donuts in Ketchikan, Alaska and Punalu'u Bake Shop on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Second Note: If you would like to get Jon Acuff's "5 Ideas to Shout About" Friday newsletter (it's free) sign up here.


Sunday, June 26, 2022

What to Say?

Since my last post has a March date on it, I clearly haven't figured out how to say what pops into my head lately. A lot about America right now is just too much it seems. But also, I don't feel like the world is coming to an end. Being sad about everything is exhausting, but being happy about everything sounds tone deaf. And since I am somewhere in the middle, I feel stuck. I caught even the Memoji on my laptop sighing or rolling its eyes -- I feel you buddy.

I feel like I've written this post or had these thoughts a zillion times (see here, here and a 2020 classic, "Is Dumpster Fire Too Kind a Term?"). 

So how to (continue to) navigate this newest iteration of weird times? I brush past 24/7 news channels and many social media posts and turn to critical thinkers, like Nadia Bola-Weber. She has a great post called "If you can't take it anymore, there is a reason." Can you guess the date? Almost a year ago. Newsletters from The Skimm, The Morning Brew and the New York Times Morning Briefing are also less shouty ways to consume the latest news.

My other anecdote for weird times (or traveling, or traveling during weird times - ha!) is some engrossing fiction. Something between literary fiction and Harlequin romances. Fun characters, happy-ish endings, but not air-headed. There is a new (or new to me) wave of fab books that have much more diverse characters and stories, without feeling like what I am reading is "work," i.e., The Scarlet Letter or any other English-teacher assigned tome (apologies to my friend Rosie, who I am sure makes high school English way more fun that when I was a student).

Here are recent faves:

Flying Solo by Linda Homes - the second novel from a fave member of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast team. Her first book is great too. A return-to-your-small-home-town story that is much better than a Hallmark movie.

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner (really anything by her, but this is her latest). This one is about the bumpy road to a family wedding, and all the secrets uncovered along the way.

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory (check out all her books too! This one is slightly different that her other novels -- a modern take on Beauty and the Beast.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown, Take a Hint, Dani Brown and Act Your Age, Eve Brown, a trilogy of books about three sisters, by Talia Hibbert. Love, love, love series of books on siblings, and this trilogy of books is amazing. Definitely something to check out if you love England but the Regency era Bridgertons are not your thing.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. What would happen if the Prince of Whales and the President's son had a fling? So interesting, and definitely appeals to those with DC knowledge and royal family curiosity (ok, that person is me :-)). Her other book One Last Stop involves time travel and found families - also excellent.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. The Maid of Honor and Best Man who hate each other end up taking the honeymoon the Bride and Groom don't take. 

Reading not escapist enough? Turns out the classic fashion show What Not To Wear, all TWELVE seasons, is on Discovery+. Even though the show started in 2003, it turns out their fashion advice is pretty timeless. Highly recommend!


Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Antidote to Doomscrolling

Here we are in March 2022. The last two years are why we now have the term "doom-scrolling." It doesn't feel like we should be joyful, not when there is so much suffering in the world. It feels wrong. But, ever so gently, I would like to disagree. It's when times seem dire that you should squeeze every awesome good thing out of life.

In an article from Wall Street Journal this week, You Can Feel Joy Even When the World Seems Bleak, Lynn Bufka, a clinical psychologist and associate chief, practice transformation at the American Psychological Association had this to say: 

“'It doesn’t diminish someone else’s pain for us to feel happy or good about something,' she says. Instead, feelings of joy and happiness make us feel more connected to other people and can give us the energy and perspective to help others, she says (emphasis added)."

Interesting isn't it? Joy builds our ability to help others. 

This CNN article on the World Happiness Report, a publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, agrees. 

"'The big surprise was that globally, in an uncoordinated way, there have been very large increases in all the three forms of benevolence that are asked about in the Gallup World Poll,' John Helliwell, one of the report's three founding editors, told CNN Travel.

"'Donating to charity, helping a stranger and volunteering are all up,' especially the help to strangers in 2021, relative to either before the pandemic or 2020, by a very large amount in all regions of the world,' said Helliwell, who is a professor emeritus at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia (emphasis added).

Joy is good!

If you need a jumpstart on feeling some joy, take a look at one of my all time favorite pictures of my kids :-)