If all the world’s a stage at a town fair, it is the job of the townsladies to pas de deux all about the grounds and be the décor. And like the redwhiteandblue bunting that the town fair wears like skirts around its raffle sign-up tables and whitewashed gazebos and chili cook-off tents, a scalloped edge rounding the wheel of a skirt hem, or introducing a bust-line, is just about the prettiest thing a gal could wear.
There is a certain paper doll-ness to this trim, or perhaps something cake-like, or perhaps something paper-cupcake-liner-like. It is feminine and fun and decorative and new and old at the same time, and you all should buy at least one scalloped-edge garment this summer and use it (or them) to replace the crass raw-edged denim shorts you’ve been seeing in the windows of the clubwear shops post-haste.
Last summer in my gastroenterologist’s waiting room there was a woman too pretty to even need a gastroenterologist—because she was so pretty I doubt at all that she even has intestines—and she was wearing a bleached-neon-green-colored shift with scalloped arm openings, neckline and hemline. Her hair was long and colorless, her shoes were the Marc Jacob’s mouse-face flats, and from the moment I saw her I knew I needed that dress. I also knew it was J. Crew just by looking at it. I also knew that, because it was J. Crew, I could not have it. But then I found its lookalike in peach at TJ Maxx for $16 a few weeks ago and have been sleeping soundly.
Here are some other scalloped options if your TJMaxx hunt isn’t as fruitful.
Seafoam green and delightfully layered, this dress will make your hips look like they’re connected to your torso by a ball-and-socket joint, a la a dashboard hula girl, which is basically the epitome of summer sexy sex appeal. I may buy this and wear it to a wedding with a big fat plastic necklace.
It’s pink and white seersucker. It’s got a delightfully wide scalloped hemline. It’s Lily Pulitzer. This thing is so cute and sweet it might as well be lickable. It can be the strawberry candy bulb atop your lollipop-stick legs.
Well if it isn’t the dress of the hour. I mean year, because it’s the same dress I saw that girl wearing an entire year ago that I haven’t forgotten yet. Made from a luscious textured stretch that closely resembles neoprene and featuring four soft darts drifting up from the waistline to the bust and down from the waistline to the thighs, this frock has to be seen to be believed. It is like a scoop of sorbet. It is like a veil of dainty Styrofoam. Oh and here are those cat flats, by the way.
4. Scalloped Crepe Boxy Top, Topshop, $68
If you think scallops are “too girly” and you don’t want people to misinterpret your choice of clothing as a signifier of your femininity and thereby as a signifier of your stupidity, well, that’s really sad, but at least you could try this sturdy crepe tee, which can be taken very seriously, especially if paired with some sleek black matchstick pants (front crease required) and some of those severe mid-heeled ankle-strap shoes with the conical toes that are everywhere right now, preferably in black with pastel blue.
Yabba Dabba Don’t: Beware of the styling of your scalloped edge. If the scallop’s arcs are too acute or too narrow or too long, you run the risk of looking like Betty Rubble or Wilma Flintstone. Not terribly timely look, especially if paired with a topknot. Yikes.
Princesses of springtime, is there anything more beautiful than a shock of marigold against the new blooms and fresh leaves at their brightest?
No, which is why I’ve kept this Gap canvas rain jacket since 2006, when my mom got it for me. Year after year it remains crisp, pure, bright and perfect. Year after year it unfurls from my storage chest like a somersault.
It got lost at the laundromat last week and days later Joe came home victorious, a heap of butter yellow in his arms. I knew it would come back. It always does, like the first warm day you crack your windows after a long winter, and the frame creaks like a tired old spine and the screen quivers and the house smells new.
Jacket, Gap, $?, gift from mom, 2006. Bandeau, Forever21, $6, Printed skirt, Forever 21, $11.
Lauren, you said you liked the Dr. Jart BB cream. I wanna buy it but, like, how can it only come in one shade? Did you try it on before buying? Or is part of the BB magic that it works on many skin colors? Plz Advise.
Hi you elegant and complex delicacy of the universe!
I too was super confused when I found out Dr. Jart Water Fuse was only one shade. I asked for it for Christmas (my mom MAKES me make a list, I swear I’m not a weird adult-child who makes santa lists every year I swear) after receiving it in my Birchbox and LOVING it, so I already knew the mystery shade—whaddever the fuck it was—would work on me.
I can’t speak to whether it would work for all plants and animals, but I can tell you this:
It’s super, duuuuper, poooper sheer. Very sheer. Like basically translucent. The tint is more an tone-evener than it is a mask of color.
I HATE the yellow-y, pasty look of foundation, and I love my own skin (most days), so I’d HATE wearing this BB cream every day if it wasn’t so delicate and subtle
This is the best beauty product I’ve possessed in a long, long time. I feel very happy to have it.
It’s really important to wear sunscreen every day and this stuff gives you that protection without you even having to think about it
The bottom line: It’s a pretty versatile tint! And it’s a fuckin’ SICK product that makes me feel like a beautiful skin ninja every day with perfect tulip petal flesh. And a little goes a long way. And the price point is decent considering it’s made by a DOCTOR! And it’s really just all-around a great goop, especially if you have super-dry Death Valley skin AND are rather beauty-lazy like yours truly.
If you’re still unsure—which, SMART, because this internet is full of vicious lies—pop into your local Sephora to try a sample. But do not, I repeat DO NOT buy it from Sephora if you decide to buy it—it’s $2 cheaper at Birchbox!
STOP the Proliferation of Cotton Mary-Janes at Mass Trend Retailers
U know what I’m sick of? Wearable items that exist to make people look LESS good. Living is so difficult, so riddled with tragedy and disappointment, and one constant we can all depend on—that we can at least try to look alright during our 85-some-odd-year descent into the brothels of hell—is so easy to do right. Wear a nice pair of jeans that don’t stretch too tensely in the areas between zipper and pockets. Wear a good t-shirt that has some drape to it. Eat some spinach every other day, call your mother, tell a good joke. Put a little tinted chapstick on you face. It’s really that fucking simple!
But no, it isn’t even, you know? There are uglifying land mines everywhere just beckoning you to them, with their siren songs of “comfort” and “practicality” and, ugh “vegan leather.”
Case in point: These flippery cotton maryjanes that somehow, somehow!!, like a stinking bilious joke vomited forth through the city’s manholes by satan, remain stalwarts in the Urban Outfitters shoe collection.
Ugh! What a stupid thing! How have we let these slip through the cracks all this time? We’ve eradicated the use of lead paint and done away with gaucho pants but these malevolent freaks still flop around our streets unchecked? Who is buying these and why are they not starring in a show about serial killing on Investigation Discovery?
It’s not even a different strokes for different folks thing. I hate a lot of things for personal taste reasons that i don’t even understand, like strapless bras, for example, or when millennial women eat apples on the subway, or stonewashed denim. But these shoes? They just offer us nothing. Nothing. We don’t need them. We’re the Western world, for fuck’s sake. We have SNEAKERS. We have those ADIDAS slip-ons with the velcro strap.
I hate these shoes. I hate their weird orange-y rubber soles. I hate their cotton uppers and the way the vamp looks all wrinkly when it stretches over toes. I hate the weird tipping around every edge. Especially the part that goes through the buckle. It looks so…IDK…unfortunate country girl from a Grimm story? Like what she wears to romp through the cattails before she gets cursed by a whatever?
I also hate HATE that these come in many colors and patterns. Normally, I’m a patternaholic. Like, pls put patterns everywhere, is what I’m like. Bandaids, hairties, tissue boxes, you name it. Gimmie a repeating iconographic pattern and we’re good. But these mary janes in a printed fabric? IT’S LIKE OMG JUST USE THE FABRIC FOR BALLET FLATS INSTEAD THIS WOULD LOOK GREAT AS A BALLET FLAT.
It’s like they’re going OUT of their way to make the ugliest thing ever so that YOU look worse. Are you like? So good looking that you buy these in bulk because it’s fun for you to look worse? I WANT TO UNDERSTAND.
Not to mention, these shits go for like, $10 a pair. Like why can’t a simple sandal or canvas flat go for $10? Because they’re actually desirable, that’s why. But these fuckers? Fuck, give ‘em away, for all Urban Outfitters cares! THEY ONLY EXIST TO MAKE PPL UPSET. Therefore we should make it AS EASY AS POSSIBLE TO OBTAIN THEM. Health insurance? No let’s keep that really impossible to afford. Cotton buckle pointless foot coverings? PRACTICALLY FREEEEEE.
You may ask yourself, is there precedent for something like this? Some horrible venmous clothing item that is NEVER attractive or useful but just keeps existing? Yes. I’ve done my research. My eyes are wide open. Yes. Precedent:
Oh the humanity. Let’s take a window screen and spray paint it the color of sadness and then stitch some goddamn sparkles onto it because why not and staple it to a foam fin. Basically the chill summer-girl version of the cotton Mary Jane.
The difference is AT LEAST, at LEAST the mesh slip-ons aren’t available overflowing in friendly little baskets at mass retailers like the mary janes are. At least the mesh slip-ons have been relatively quarantined to the furthest corners of eBay. Cotton mary janes are still out there, alongside crop tops and denim cut-offs with nailheads adorning the pockets. Like they can HANG with them. it’s fucked up and gross and I’m ashamed.
I’m ashamed of us. I will not rest until these fuckers are a dark shudder-inducing memory, like… world wars. Or whatever.
My good friend and moon sister Carolyn recently had me over to try on some clothes a friend who broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of the apartment they shared gave her but which didn’t fit Carolyn or her roommate my other friend Kendall.
Does this make sense to you? It’s awful hard to write the logistics out.
Anyway, said friend is clearly size the of Lauren circa the golden days of high school, so most of it barely fit over my birthing hips. But the above simple navy shift was a miraculous size Medium and was of the New Englander-J. Crew-when-it-was-just-J. Crew-nice-normal-young-mom proclivity look I’ve been trying to nail since I gave up on trying to be the best-dressed young dummy in New York. Where I once tried to pull off an oversized sheer blouse over nothing but boyshorts and a bra, these days things around here (gesturing at female form at large) are decidedly less Teen Choice Awards and decidedly more… idunno… TJ Maxx commercial? Ah, being 25.
Anyway, it’s a great dress. It displays a high tolerance for color-pops and statement jewelry. I thought it was going to have dumb gathered fabric at the shoulders, but it does not after all. It was not too short for work. I can wear it in wintertime, with tights, or in summertime.
What is not as simple as the good dress is the concept of wearing someone else’s dress. I know people thrift and buy consignment and all that—so do I—but there is something weirder about wearing a dress that belongs to someone that is definitely two degrees from knowing you in this universe. It is like you are a shade of her. A parallel her. A tree that grew from an eyelash she lost. A her with a bigger nose and an entirely different life, except, of course, for the part where you’re friends with Carolyn.
Second from feeling like an astral do-si-do partner to this unknown woman while a dress that she purchased and wore rubbed against my skin all day, I also fear that this dress might bring some of her unluck into my life. I mean, she and live-in boyfriend break up, she moves out, she gives excess stuff to Carolyn, Carolyn gives navy shift dress to me… sisterhood of the traveling NOTHANKS, anyone? Sisterhood of the traveling I FINALLY FOUND ONE MAN WHO HAS NEVER CALLED ME CRAZY PLS DON’T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME, anyone?
But then again, it fits very well; it drapes nicely. The former flesh-tone-leotard wearer in me likes its stretchlessness, and the way it hikes up the thigh a little when I move my legs a certain way.
I’m going to take my chances. It’s going to be like Jumanji in that way.
If in a year or two I offer you this dress during a post-break-up fit of downsizing… well, consider the drape, is all I’m saying.
Dress, MNG Basics, whatever that is. Necklace, gift from Joe, J. Crew Outlet.
Twenty-five year old ladies of the world: Do you have an incredible mama who understands your personal style on a deep, personal, almost freakishly accurate level? And does that mama snap things up for you during shopping trips and then send it to you in packages along with cleaning products and dish sponges she knows are really expensive in NYC?
If not, sorry. But over here, I’ve got 99 (billionjillion) reasons to love my mom, and her sending me the best just-because packages ever is one of them.
When I unfurled this polka-dotted blouse from its package at work today, after receiving a particularly hurtful bout of bad feedback from a client, the perfect colors and gently rounded collar made my heart sing and my soul float. I pictured it with the flippy floral mini I scooped up on store credit over the weekend, and truly, I was whole again. Have you heard about that painfully stupid “Happify" app that was released recently?* Yeah, forget about that nonsense, get yourself some spring prints instead, and call your mom.
All that’s missing from this look is the warm weather in which I can finally permit myself to wear it. I haven’t done a bare leg yet in 2014, believe it or not. It just still doesn’t feel like the right time But when I do, this is what you can expect to see from mid-thigh on up.
I’m baaaaack. I was gone too long and it sucked. Bad blog mom. These days, I’m gonna try to fit in at least two posts/week no matter what! You stuck with me through my absence, now let me know what you’d like to see in an upcoming post.
Hello! Bonjour! Greetings from a young woman who has worked late approximately 12/15ths of the past three weeks of work! Few things depress me as much as cooking dinner on a weeknight, especially if I don’t get home till 8 or 9. An 11-12 hour workday? Slicing vegetables? Defrosting proteins? Cooking pasta? Eating it without even tasting it (which is prob ok because I don’t cook great tasting things)? Washing all the dishes afterward and tidying up the kitchen?
That’s a one-way ticket to PISSY-MAD-GIRL TOWN.
But I have a secret, and the secret is soppressata and 15-500 consecutive episodes of Flip or Flop on HGTV. I make sure I have lunch covered for the next day (usually by forcing myself to meal-prep on Sunday afternoons), then settle in with a tasty antipasto spread POR UNA. Behold my salty edible posse:
It’s tasty, diverse, comforting, actually pretty fancy, and relatively cheap. Oh and plus, not that this matters to me or makes me feel like a cool New Yorker or legitimizes basically every food choice I’ve made since I first stuffed a wad of Wonder Bread into my face at age 3, but Bon Appetit just covered the meat-cheese-baguette spread in their April 2014 Have a Better Desk Lunch feature. TURNT ON? Here’s how to make my favorite dinner for yourself:
1. Get meated: I am a lover of all things salty. I am the kind of person who, at the sushi place, when everyone’s ordering mochi, casually requests a California roll for dessert. Listen, I’ll be dead by 30. And when they perform the autopsy, they’ll find logs of artisanal salumi strung up in my ribcage to dry. I dig a cured meat. It is so satisfying—the texture, the bite, the rush of flavors, the ampules of fat bursting in your mouth, omg, make it a lipgloss flavor like yesterday, Clinique. I opt for hot soppressata from Citterio, because it is the cheapest at the Fairway Market near my office and I feel not-terrible spending $7 on it after a particularly long workday. Also great but not for the dainty of tastes: Boar’s Head Peppered Salami. Such grit, so taste.
2. Cheese yourself: Duh, no brainer, obvi wifey, tap that Cracker Barrel X-tra sharp cheddar like you somebody. Do you like weird goaty stuff? Fine, do you, I think it tastes like death, but then, I’d worship at the First Universal Church of Land-o-Lakes Yellow American if I could.
3. Bread-up: Crackers are whatever. If you live in a food desert and only have a bodega handy, get crackers. But a fresh crusty baguette can elevate your mood like a 50mg tablet of whatever your beta blocker of choice is. They aren’t expensive and get better with age, and are just so satisfying to rip apart like an elegant caveperson. Or, for a special treat, hold baguette over head and pull apart into two pieces so the cornmeal and crust rains down upon you and you feel like the Life Bride you truly are.
4. Greenify: The salad element is of the utmost importance. It will ensure that your body digests any of this meal instead of just shutting down and going on strike because you treat it like it’s a sometimes-boo instead of a longtime girlfriend. I use bb arugula because it has this masochistic peppery appeal? Tossed with olive oil, tons of salt, tons of pepper, a sprinkle of parmesan and a squeeze of lemon and served in a modest bowl, it serves as the humble gatorade to the douche-food marathon you’re about to run.
5. Go condi-mental: My lubricant of choice is olive hummus, because, SALT! OIL!, but the simple ham-and-cheddar sammy at Bryant Park’s ‘Wichcraft taught me that butter also makes a fine compliment to cured meat and soft bread. Dip the baguette chunks in it, or spread it with a butter knife before you pop on a slice of meat and a chunk of cheese. There’s also grainy mustard, or you can whip up an “aioli” out of mayo and sriracha if you’re a teen and want to make this hip so your friends don’t cyberbully you for eating nerd food.
And that’s all. If life were a Cosmopolitan magazine or an episode of The Good Wife, you’d wash this all down with red wine. But since that stuff gives me an instant migraines, I opt for a light, crisp cerveza because my IPA phase is long gone and my last name is one letter off from being “Rodriguez.”
That’s all! That’s it! Deal with the health effects of guzzling 10 lbs of nitrates and cholesterol every day another time. Make it your children’s problem. Get a life insurance policy. Right now you’re 25 and it’s high time you Carpe DIY Salumi board! Ole, or whatever!
Some people, when they find out I work in the creative department at an ad agency in NYC, ask me how much like Mad Men my life is. My stock response is a sardonic smile and some sad joke like, “Not at all—my hair and wardrobe never look that good and I don’t have my own office to cry in.”
For the most part, my office is super-casual, which is OK by me, because blazers make me look like a cubist-scarecrow-postman. There are some days though, when I really just want to look nice! And I find myself being like, woah, this is weird, but like, I kinda wish our office was formal so I could look fancy every day and maybe get a promotion based on looks. And on those days, I’ll wear, say, a sleek high-waisted mini with a collared blouse tucked in and black patent lace-ups, and there’s a girl who will come up to me and be like “OMG, why are you all dressed up!!!!???”
This weekend I spent [redacted, leave me alone] hours swirling around in a Forever21 fitting room in this sheath sending selfies to friends asking their opinions even though I knew I couldn’t buy it because our universe is a sad broken place and $30 is over-budget for a woman who works a full time professional job:
Ugh, so cute on that bitch. She’s a professional babe for a living, though. Here’s what it looked like on a total Average Person, me:
Ahhh, sweet, sweet stand-up collar, if only I was alive in an age where you’d be respected for what you truly are: a really nice serving platter for the wonderful dessert that is my FACE. If only you could be there to make me look regal and infallible in a time where my lack of civil rights rendered me a literal slave to the patriarchy. If only I could wear you today, in 2014, without being pegged as one of those Retro Girls who loves the cat-eye glasses and the gingham and the whatever. If only I was wearing you instead of this Gap Outlet sleeveless shell and too-small Uniqlo slacks.
Anyway, I left the dress behind, in the interest of financial responsibility (read: by the time I was shopping at Forever21 this weekend, I had already consumed and paid for a total of six bloody marys and my weekend allowance was totally tap’t) but I will think of it often. And will probably buy it in a week. And will probably spill bloody mary on it. Which would be ok because it’d be a total Peggy move.
The T-shirts on this Japanese Fast Fashion Wholesale Site are Just Crazy Enough to Be The Best
(Ignoring the past billion weeks of inactivity on this blog/pretending it didn’t happen/la dee daa meow meow)
Frankly I feel sad for people who don’t know that Japanese fast fashion websites exist. I feel sad for myself ages 0-23 because during those years I didn’t know they exist. The whole concept of life and living and crawling out of bed every morning to ride the subway with a ton of misogynists and work a grueling job for like, 11 hours straight to get paid not-a-million-bucks in exchange for original, organic creative output is completely allayed by the fact that Japanese fast fashion wholesale websites exist. Sourdough cheese sticks are great too.
On Japanese fast fashion websites, you can find a lot of truly adorable items, most of them faux-silk with girlish collars, most of them available in “onesize” (which = ?), many of them emblazoned with absolutely insane blips of mismatched English words and phrases that make my world go round. I mean really this is one of my favorite things in the cosmos, right after reality shows about house-flipping. Below are some of my favorite mysterious, thought-provoking, language-busting garment messages found a website called SammyDress. It helps if you read them like they’re ripped from the pages of the Tao te Ching and/or on the inside of a Dove chocolate foil wrapper.
It’s that thing where you don’t really snap at someone that’s pissing you off? But you also don’t like, exude nice-and-chillness either? It’s like, when you jut your lower lip out in exasperation, and kind of, like, whole-head gesture at them while you roll your eyes, and you’re like, “Honestly just finish this fucking story about your nephew before I literally eat you and your entire social circle.”
Every day, more and more teen children fall victim to the dangerous allure of illicit notdrigs. Teens of America: choose pugs. Choose pugs. Pugs will love you and nurture your delicate psyche with their weird non-judgey marble eyes and ugly-cute flesh wrinkles, while notdrigs? Notdrigs will… do… whatever it is… they do… to young people.
Fashion adventurers, why stop at pattern mixing when you could mix a pattern with a common kitchen item and really shake up your street style? Try pairing this long-sleeved neon-leopard-printed Coffee Cup top with a pinstriped skirt that says Santoku Knife along the hem, your favorite Egg Separator-embroidered madras plaid blazer, and hey, fuck it, wear a traffic cone on your head and carry a hacksaw as a purse—nothing matters!!
I too am WORID ABOUT FOUR SEVEN. FOUR SEVEN barely eats at lunch, often smells like cigarettes when she comes out of the girls’ bathroom, has barely contributed to our group project about the state bird, and didn’t wear a sports bra to gym class the day we were practicing cartwheels. FOUR SEVEN FOUR SEVEN I AM WORID ABOUT U PLS TEXT BAC
So many questions for the gifted bard that penned this extraordinary graphic tee. Like, did you forget a comma? Is this supposed to say, “STOP KILLING, WHALE,” and if so, do you know that killer whales actually aren’t all that deadly? And that they’re not even whales, they’re actually dolphins? And, if you didn’t forget a comma and you actually meant to say “STOP KILLING WHALES,” who actually is this directed at? Why didn’t you just throw that “s” in? You were so much closer to making sense than ol’ Worid About Four Seven up there. And why is this your highly specific flavor of advocacy? What about other people? What about giant pandas? What about white tigers? What’s so great about whales? Why is this on a t-shirt? Why are any of us here? Why anything? Why not nothing? I feel dead.
I was doing my usual 4pm workday chi-aligning routine—popping barely unwrapped Dove chocolates and some dry-eyed unblinking browsing of cheap fast fashion websites while 5,000 different work-related gchats glimmered in the background—and I came across the most delightful curio:
A so-called “Foam Party Skirt” for $35 at Necessary Clothing that looks a lot like those gathered-waist crepe minis I’ve been seeing everywhere that I can’t stop thinking about (I don’t know what attracts me to the way a paper-bag waist looks on a lady but I fuckin’ love it, like on a borderline sexual level. An a-line skirt that comes in tight across the tiniest part of the waist and then flares back out under the ribcage a little oh my lord someone get me my smelling salts).
I also can’t stop thinking about how it’s called specifically a “Foam Party Skirt.” It says it’s made of cotton in the garment description (not that I’d be at all surprised/confused if it said it was made of 100% foam, because in this beautiful universe that is a complete, tantalizing possibility) so I guess here, “foam” is used as like, an illustrative adjective? The way there is a “Danger Zone” Romper and a “Space Cadet Bandage” Skirt (lol x2). In which case there’s some copywriter out there who, whilst, no doubt, sucking on a dick-shaped popsicle made of MD 20/20 in their lawn chair-cum-home office somewhere in Paramus, New Jersey, saw this skirt and said, “Why, this skirt shall be called “Foam Party!” Why not, why not? There must have been a Google search for “Closed-Cell Resin Celebration Jumper” and “Polybicarbonate Lazy Day Private-Part Covering Unit,” and, upon finding both of these clothing names already licensed to Express, the writer must have just simply taken a shot in the dark and gone with “Foam Party Skirt.” Why not? Why not.
I don’t know what a Foam Party is, even, but I sure hope I’m invited to one before I turn 30. And I hope the Foam Party someday takes Congress. And I hope someone throws me a surprise Foam Party for my birthday this coming year, which means probably that my entire birthday goes largely forgotten except that someone halfheartedly tosses a balled-up one of these skirts onto my doorstep with a note that reads simply, “Here.”
Is that photo shoot of Kate Upton boobing around in a zero-gravity simulator plane a Foam Party? Probably most definitely, yes.
I love this skirt. I want to wear it with a metallic spray-painted baseball helmet, a utility vest and a dream. It’s my Foam Party and I’ll whatever if I whatever.
Whoever named this skirt, thank you, thank you for your beautiful mind. Yes, I’m RSVPing. I’m here. I’m outside the door. I’ve got $35 and a zillion charmeuse blouses to shove into the waistband of this thing. Is this where I go for the Foam Party?
In Which I Take a Break from Dressing Myself and Try Dressing an Apartment Instead
I’m not gonna do that bloggery thing where i’m like “sorry for my absence, guys, I’ve been so busy traveling across many Asian nations sampling local fare, shopping for new condos in desirable metropolitan neighborhoods, attending various fashion weeks, getting engaged and married, having 100 babies and working working working just totally hustling!” Because tbh—yes, I moved into a new place, yes, work has been busy, but also, mostly, I’ve been lazy, watching TV because I now have cable, and feeling general uninspired and malaise-y as this frigid winter crawls on and on and on like and endless snails’-pace flow of post-nasal drip.
What have I actually accomplished in my leave? I’ve gone to fuckin’ cute-ass apartment-envy toon-town with my Joe, that’s what! NSFW to follow, that is, if your work forbids cozy abodes that reek of love and IKEA an hand-me-downs!
The bones were there already—because we hit the fuckin’ jackpot with our new place and its renovated kitchenette, original clawfoot tub, stained glass-accented windows, cool SLIDE-OPEN WALL THAT DOUBLES AS A BEDROOM DOOR, and small “office” that we decided to dedicate to a life of walk-in-closetship. We spent a nauseating amount of money at target and ikea, which is so not ME (read: i never have nauseating amounts of money to begin with?) but it was 1) worth it because I haven’t felt this at-home in a home I’ve had since i lived with my parents and 2) good to get all the spend out of the way in the beginning, so now it’s over and done and I can focus on little fun things like, fuckin, trefoil-printed coasters.
At the risk of sounding like the narrator of a Canadian-based house hunting show, I have to say our apartment just has so much character, which is not totally uncommon in Brooklyn, but USUALLY comes at the expense of modern updates. Our place has both. The fireplace, prescribing to that golden rule of NYC lodging that ALL FIREPLACES MUST NEVER EVER BE FUNCTIONAL AT ALL, isn’t functional at all. So we shoved Joe’s little flatscreen into the fire part, and I went buckwild on the mantle.
The Fernet-Branca tin was a gift from a bartender friend, the flowers are plastic placeholders for the real flowers I keep forgetting to buy, and I solved the “are photographs from our real life tacky or endearing?” by blending in Joe’s and my favorite family pics with these letterpress postcards I got at IKEA years ago. Candles, for the first time in like, 7 years of my life, are used only for decoration and ambiance, rather than to mask an ever-present atmospheric haze of mad dank weed. The horse poster was only $12 at IKEA but I know will look way more luxe when framed and hung properly.
Finding good decor that isn’t too femme or masc is something I was kind of stressed about. I didn’t want Joe to feel like he was living inside a tampon garden, but I also wanted to flex the design muscle I’ve been pumping full of juice since I watched my first episode of Trading Spaces at age, like, 10. Horse print was the first thing we both were like ~yes!!~ and every time I look at it, I feel inspired to find more good-lookin’ stuff that toes the line between gally and boy-ey.
Another first for me—a room where the bed is the centerpiece, not smooshed against a corner in an effort to max-out every possible unused square inch of hang-out floorspace. Now we have a living room that is OURS, so the bedroom can be for the bed, and a few dressers. Symmetry is mine! The quilt was a housewarming gift from my mom, and I think that, like the horse poster, it’s stylish and unique without being ultra-girly (although Joe shocked me and earned like 10 bonus love points when he said he’d be cool with a paisley print here and there).
Quilts are flatter than comforters and duvets—an observation that you don’t think will be that noticeable until it, like, is. And I’m someone who’s all about over-the-top texturey fluff-ness when it comes to beds. To add some dimension to the bed in where the quilt FELL FLAT GET IT, I’m mainlining throw pillows in competing patterns. This is another way I’ve reached a compromise between feminine and masculine design—for every flowery pillow, there’s a BOAT ONE.
The Ladies Home Journal print is actually the cover of a 1956 issue I scored at an antiques market in Maine over the holidays. I bought two for $5 each, sliced off the covers and framed ‘em in $15 Home Goods frames. This one fell off the wall and its frame broke, so it’s posing here for now. My plan is to scour etsy or whatever for some mid-century dude magazine covers, and do something collage-y on a living room wall.
Our dining corner is moonlighting as a bookshelf for now as we 1) lock down a new bookshelf since we ~couldn’t carry home the one we wanted from IKEA~ and since we ~don’t have dining chairs~. The photos are Joe’s. They’re of Naperville, Illinois, which is important to him for I don’t know why, but I love they way they vibe with our old-timey-witch-doctor-sketches-of-flora-and-fauna curtain panels. The table looks like it has all this rubbed-off-white vintage charm but surprise, it’s just filthy and was very poorly spray-painted by URZ TRULY in 2011. Someday soon, I’d like to have four mismatched chairs around this sucker, and I’d like to re-paint it, and I’d like to eat real food at it. For now, it’s Seamlessing tikka masala on the couch, and tossing all my whatevers on the half-table.
What you do with hair tutorials I do with makeup tutorials.. "Just prime your eyes with something from MAC which costs more than my rent" yeah sure I have $50 to spend on thing I put on my eyes before the $60 eyeshadow...eat a dick.
Been a fan for a long time, I really love the blog! I figured you'd be the one to ask for cool leather jackets that won't be 100% plastic & won't require that I sell a kidney. Are they even a thing??? Thanks and congrats again, you're great!
Hello my dear little fawn! Thank you infinitely for reading.
You’re touching upon one of my ~~Fashion Pressure Points~~ with this question, so that’s great! I’m a huge advocate for holding out for leather at all times, even though faux is cheaper. There are a zillion reasons I feel this way, one of which is that I think I’m genetically coded to be phobic to all things leatherette. My mom made me this way—her credo has always been, never skimp on shoes and jackets. Namaste, mama. Other main reasons to go leather include:
1. Lasts forever. Leather jackets as a style are totally timeless—you’ll never find a time in your life when you’re like, ugh, time to throw this thing in the trash, what a waste of money! NEVER! I’ve had the same leather moto jacket since 2007, and it’s only gotten better looking over time.
2. Warmer and more breathable. Besides looking way too glossy to be natural, PU is super unbreathable. That’s why Payless-brand ballet flats make your feet smell like wet death. Faux leather jackets are useless in all weather—too cold for fall, and way too hot for spring/summer. You might as well be wearing a plastic bag.
3. Wears better. As I mentioned, I’ve had the same jacket for 7 years strong—by now, it’s super buttery, worn out in all the right places, nicely creased and still a compliment magnet. Ever seen a pair of year-old faux-leather shoes? Yeah, they tend to like, molt. And flake apart. Yuck.
The biggest sin of faux leather, though, is that brands nowadays somehow get away with charging over $100 for pleather jackets—AND IDIOTS LIKE, GO FOR THAT. Looking @ you, Free People, which somehow has turned the oxymoron “vegan leather” into an expensive and sought-after textile. It gets my goatskin gloves, it really does.
So good on you for seeking out the real deal. Now let me help.
Damn this is nice. It’s 100% genuine leather, has that great ribbed detailing on the arms and back panel, and is under $200. I love the asymmetrical zip, and that it seems to be a perfect length—one gripe about my moto jacket is it’s slightly cropped, and depending on what I wear with it, I risk looking like a punk rock jellyfish or something if I zip it up, with my shirttails flapping all about. I kinda want this??? Also—black. You know what faux-leather is good for? Trendy colored pieces you’ll only wear for a season or two. If you’re getting a leather jacket, get black. MOREOVER, a friend of mine has an ASOS-brand leather jacket, and it’s great quality. Check here every season—they’re always upping their leather collection.
Dunno who the F Billy Austins is, but he knows how to make a nice leather jackie for cheap! Billy Austins for president! Billy2016! This jacket has a lot of character—some really cool seaming around the shoulders and bust, a cut-out collar that would look great layered under your wool coat for a super-textury blast of xtra warmth, and a clever little snap at the neck (IT’S DA LIDDLE TINGS!!!!). Shopping brands that sell exclusively leather is a good bet for when you’re looking for leather deals—they have sales too, after all, and when they do, THE SALE IS ON LEATHER JACKETS.
This jacket? Is fucking? Cool as shit? Buying your leather vintage can get you a REAL slick deal, and if you’re the type of person who gets sad about slaughtering animals to wear their skin as your own, buying a jacket that was pre-owned and has existed on this planet long after the soul of its murdered animal counterpart has wafted into heaven is a feel-good way to circumvent pleather. You also get authenticity—A REAL 80S BIKER JACKET RATHER THAN WHAT SOME 26 YR OLD BUYER AT URBAN OUTFITTERS THINKS A REAL 80S BIKER JACKET SHOULD LOOK LIKE!!!—and the perfect degree of worn-inness. I’d suggest shopping IRL at thrift shops, consignment stores and flea markets rather than buying online, though. Vintage items can fit differently than modern-day stuff (read: bulky as shit) and vintage leather tends to smell totally INSANE, so it’s best to see it, try it on and sniff it before you buy.
Helpful? Hope so! All I want for this world is for every young woman to have one really cool, super rock-n-roll yet totally wearable 100% genuine leather moto jacket. Is that so much to ask? Oh and also no more street harassment. But if you get street harassed while wearing a leather jacket, well, that motherfucker better prepare to die.
Silk blouse, Joe Fresh Spring 2013, $20. Printed jeans, Gap Summer 2013, $40, Pink plastic necklace, Forever 21, $6. Green plastic necklace, JCrew Factory, gift from boyfrand, Booties, H&M Fall 2011, $40. Bag, Michael Kors Winter 2012, gift from mama.
Have I told you my thoughts on this winter? It’s ruining me. But I think I’ve conveyed this already. A writer knows when she’s gone too far.
The great thing about living in New York, though, is that seasons are a suggestion when it comes to dressing. I mean, every fuckin’ Februrary, they show the fall collections. WHERE’S THE LOGIC IN THAT AM I RIGHT (I’M A MIDWESTERN DAD). I saw a woman trudging in beige stilettos through today’s weather (someone put God’s slushie machine into a microwave and then threw a titanic spit ball on top and then put it in a nuclear reactor and then gave that whole thing to NYC). No stockings! Women wear crop tops to work here. There are no rules. There is one rule: if you don’t walk outside and immediately burst into flames, what you’re wearing is fine.
This means that I’m allowed to channel some of my spring things a little early, right? It’s that or I become a cutter. Your call, universe.
When I got these pants this summer (mom had them and I copied her—this is my struggle) I couldn’t stop imagining them with printed tops. There’s something so ice-creamy-good-yummy about putting print on top of print, especially with the colors of this crisp-nod-to-Lisa Frank silk blouse. It’s very I don’t care I love it crashed my car whatever. And I give myself extra points for pairing something with these pants that my mama would never do. #teens
To the Reader who Asked what Lipstick I'm Wearing in my GIF from this Morning:
None! Prob best compliment I’ve ever received tho, even though I owe it all to lighting, weird low-quality tumblr gif color distortion and the natural flush of a gal who was, moments earlier, sloshing her way to work through an NYC ice storm after a 7:30 am appointment with her gastroenterologist.
Help I Put a Deposit Down on a New Apartment and Now I'm Drowning in a Sea of Accent Chair Options
My mother warned me this would happen someday. She said, if you think being obsessed with clothes is bad, just wait till you have your own place. You’re done for, she’d say, mourning whatever insidious strain of materialism DNA she passed along to me. And now the day has arrived.
Joe and I put a deposit down on a thrillingly perfect little love nest in Clinton Hill yesterday, and the moment I signed the check I started decorating. Just kidding, the moment I walked into the charming vintage-touches-with-modern-renovations one-bedroom, I started decorating. Just kidding, the moment I realized Joe was a good-smelling dude with no sociopathic proclivities, I started decorating.
Gloriously, we have a couch, which simply needs a new slip cover. And we have a bed, mine, which is the best thing on earth, so naturally my next move is what anyone’s would be: Upholstered Accent Chair. The living room is small-ish and sweet, so furniture must be tiny but mighty. Thank GOD we live in a retail era where clever chairs generously padded and covered in delightful geometric-patterned fabrics can be purchased for under $200 at the same places we buy our fresh produce, batteries and period underwear. Thank you Bangladesh. Thank you China. And thank you Jonathan Adler-of-10-years-ago, without whom Target wouldn’t have the quatrefoil club chairs they have today.
Guys, I thought the embellished sweatshirt trend was overwhelmingly fruitful. I had no idea what was waiting for me in the cosmic realm of accent chairs. Just look.
So this is a liiiiiiittttttle more baroque-ish than the casual, threadbare, sorta-seaside-but-also-sorta-fashion-barn-esque vibe I have already decided the entire apartment will have, but I also love it more than I love most ankle boots. Also I feel like the beige linen makes it less of a contender for Lady Edith’s imminent hip German tryst loft that she will be buying herself in no time at all, and more of a contender for me to buy, love, eat sloppy joes upon, and throw a real sweet pillow just-so upon.
2. “Hudson Swoop” red geometric chair, Target, $200
I’ve already told Joe no bright red. He told me no florals (too bad so sad there will be some florals I HAVE CHRONIC MIGRAINES AND $60K IN STUDENT LOANS PLEASE GIVE ME THIS 1 THING) and when I thought what Joe might try to do that was tantamount to florals in no-no territory, I thought, he will want to paint a wall bright red, or he will want cartoon sheets. I am not as scared of red now that I’ve met Chair, here. Look how kind and gentle Chair looks. Look at Chair’s elegant arms and great pattern. I love Chair? And what was I thinking—a pop of red is like, the PIZZA of furniture. Always great to have. Especially when Perfect Little Coffee Table is around. Which he will be. He. Will be.
Woke up on the Walmart furniture website sayin how the hell did this ambitious chunk of furniture happen oh babe, because wow, Wal-Mart, you punched in and you worked. This is a thoroughly pleasant chair from the people who, mere weeks ago, had dedicated roughly 60% of their Auburn, Maine location to various vintages of Duck Dynasty wares. I would curl up on this chair and read, for fuck’s sake! I’d call my mom from this chair! I’d also use this chair to cry endlessly over Joe leaving me, which he would do, because this chair is so girly I half expect to find a set of fallopian tubes under its dainty cushion. Anyway, I’m ordering 7.
Lauren vs. Hair Tutorials: Volume 1--Milkmaid Braids
Every young woman in our generation has had an evening like this. It’s a Wednesday. You are alone. No one will give you their HBO Go password, you’ve eaten your evening DIY salumi board, you’re drinking the boxed wine that’s probably past its prime but says it’s good for a month after opening so you’re running with it, and you’re in your bedroom, staring open-mouthed and unblinking into your 18th consecutive YouTube hair tutorial.
Every woman. Has had an evening like this.
And yet we all go about our normal lives, carrying out daily business, acting toooootttallly normal, as if all of the hair tutorials on YouTube weren’t TOTAL AND COMPLETE PIECES OF BOLDFACE ASS CRAP LIES.
Because WHEN DO THEY EVER WORK. WHEN? DO THEY WORK FOR YOU? If they work for you I want you to email me at email@example.com and tell me the exact MERMAID-COWGIRL-MOTORCYCLE BABE TRIBE YOUR MOTHER WAS A PART OF WHEN SHE MET YOUR FATHER, ZEUS, AND MADE YOU, A GIRL BABY WITH ANGELIC PLAYDOUGH HAIR THAT DOES WHATEVER THE FUCK YOUR COMPUTER TELLS YOU TO DO WITH IT.
Because I am a daughter of two French-Canadians. My hair is made of polyester. Like you know when you buy a blouse at H&M and the hem unravels and it starts fraying and the individual fibers reveal themselves? That’s my hair. Also I have, like, 24 hairs in total. So, no, I do not have great fucking hair.
But I figure, every now and then, I’ve gotta be able to do the milkmaid braids by now. “It’s been, what, six months since you last tried it?" I ask myself, running my green scaly witch hands through my grimy headnest, removing juicy maggots as I go and popping them into my mouth. "Give it a try again, girl, you’re older and wiser now, it’ll work." And I chug the last of my crocodile-human umbilical cord blood cocktail and try it again.
This time I used the first video that popped up—this one. Looked harmless enough. Posted by an account called “BeautyDept” and clocking in at a cool 2:31, it seemed p chill. P chill. Of course right off the bat there are those HAIR TUTORIAL VID STAR PLAYERS—the cheerful banjo improv soundtrack, the waify French-soap-complexion model, the hair that just floats there as if each strand is being held at the perfect level in the universe by its own goddamn marionette string.
I will kill this bitch. Look at her dumb perfect everything.
And then she goes along and just does THIS.
hahaha look at me I’m a milkmaid just kidding I’m a junior at Barnard and can you believe they’re paying me for this hhaaaa look how the light just seems to find all the best parts of my face and just soak into it hahah
OH BUT WAIT BUT WAIT then they go:
YES OK LET ME JUST FIND MY CROCHET NEEDLE AND JUST PICK AT MY HEAD WITH IT BITCH I HAVEN’T EVEN GOT THE DAMN BRAIDS DONE YET
Who has a crochet needle RESERVED SPECIFICALLY FOR HAIR anyway, you ask? Prob the same girl who has ARTISANAL RIBBONS of textiles just laying around in her Kaboodle waiting to be SEWN INTO HER HAIRSTYLE WITH A SECOND, DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT NEEDLE.
I don’t want to be fancy. I just want to live.
So at this point I’m basically having a meltdown and I have two pathetic braids that are like, pencil-thin and miserable, and the banjoman is still GOIN’ IN THE BACKGROUND while our girl in Ängelholm is just sewing away at her thick, shining, unshakeable, rope-like braids.
And here’s what I get. The same thing I aways get.
I don’t. Get it. We are all WOMEN. WE ARE ALL HUMAN. HOW CAN ONE WOMAN do the milkmaid braids before MY VERY EYES, with no apparent VOODOO, and look like that blonde dairy goddess, but when I do the exact same series of steps, I turn out like a weird strawberry-head wearing a bad Olivia Benson-doing-the-cropped-hair-thing toupee.
The inequities of our world are vast and nebulous and churning like a fiery vitriolic stew. All I can ever do is ponytails and we’re all gonna die anyway.
Sunglasses, $16, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Cocoa Beach, FL
Has there ever been a winter so bone-splintering? So skin-flakening? So eyeball-shattering? So hair-crisping? I grew up in Maine, which, yaaaa, northernmost state in the continental union, and like, no—never has there been a winter like this in my life. Not in my life. It’s like the entire city of New York is a bathtub full of ice water. No one is happy, everyone is miserable, toddlers are rolling around all over the place in their crazy parkas and snowsuits, like Nerf footballs—no agency, no autonomy, nothing, no one.
Joe and I escaped to Florida this past weekend for a minute. We were only there two full days and only one of those days did the weather really bleed Florida. Saturday was sunny and 70 and breezy and we spent it lolling through a parallel universe called Islands of Adventure. It’s incredible to me that some people live in Florida and California and places like that, and winters aren’t a reality for them. As we waited for 50 minutes in the coiling queue for The Whateverthefuck Harry Potter Ride, and the sun streamed all over everything, and I was in my brand new Jurassic Park t-shirt and it smelled like warm light, I thought about how only a few hundred miles away, NYC was being brutally fisted by another glass-cracking cold front. It was laughable. Joe and I laughed. We slurped on our ice creams and laughed. This is why we all laugh about Florida.
Anyway, later I bought these sunglasses at Ron Jon Surf Shop, which, idk, is another Florida thing that we norths don’t understand. My goal is to make them last till summer—like, not break the fucking shit out of them like I have every other pair of sunglasses I’ve ever owned or even looked sidelong at—and they’ll serve as some ritual relic of 2013-2014, The Winter that Murdered Souls.
The only thing keeping me clinging to the grille here is that while winter in New York is a dark, howling nightmare, summer in New York is practically paradise. And it’s gonna happen. We’re gonna get there. To all my girlfriends who have been corrupted by totally unexpected bouts of weeping this winter, it’s gonna happen. To my hairdryer, back for a second year as a secondary source of warmth when my heat just doesn’t feel like doin’ its thing, it’s gonna happen. To my romper collection, feeling lonely and forgotten and destitute at the bottom of my storage trunk, it’s gonna happen. I’ll see you there.
And in the meantime, these idiot sunglasses are coming with me every day for the rest of this fuckin’ winter. We’re gonna fake it.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big spender but a segmented one. I spend wildly on clothes, shoes and going out, but err on the side of stinginess when it comes to all things beauty. I get haircuts like, once a year, usually buy drugstore makeup, and only get manicures when my chewed-up cuticles don’t look horrific enough to scare a nail technician into a solemn life of nunhood. It’s not that I’m not a shallow, self-absorbed, high-maintenance gal, because I so so am, I just hate spending money on that crap.
But now that Christmas has passed, my makeup collection has finally rounded out quite nicely, for the first time in forever (a brief high school-era obsession with the entire line of Benefit cosmetics notwithstanding). Maybe I’m finally that mythical age of woman defined in women’s magazines as one who uses a few quality products rather than a zillion shitty ones. Or maybe my Birchbox just has had more influence on my life these past couple months than most authority figures have ever had. Who knows? Who cares? Buy all this shit!
I haven’t worn a foundation-type thing on my face in probably 10 years. Not-humble-brag: my skin is pretty fuckin’ great (before you go hate-inboxing me, take a look at the epic schnoz in the middle of my face that no amount of cream will ever make minimize). But in my old age (25), my skin is also drier than ever, prone to redness/blotchiness/general irritation, and basically poster-face for BB cream. Water Fuse has a sheer, one-size-fits-all tint that is probably more psychosomatically skin tone-evening than anything, but also gloriously not orange or cakey, and the stuff feels light and nourishing, has SPF in it so I don’t get wrankles, and is the right kind of moisture for everyday (those who complain about oil—I feel you, but also your skin doesn’t flake off like a damn tree frog’s every winter either, so like…). It makes my skin velvety and airbrushed-looking, and at $34, it’s expensive enough to seem like it’ll treat your face nice, but affordable enough to justify wearing every day, even lazy laundry Sundays. I like to think that Kate Middleton wears Dr. Jart Water Fuse BB. I like to think that.
Despite my self-proclaimed makeup stupidity, I am at least somewhat competent with a cream eyeliner. Since around 2008, my main makeup goal in life is to make my eyes seem bigger so the aforementioned epic schnoz seems smaller (lady magazine logic!!!), and thus, I forced myself to get mad good at a fierce upper-lashline. Sometimes I even cat-eye it out, whatever! I used to use the Maybelline brand (a shocking, like, $12!!?), but it would dry up considerably after a few weeks and go on like crap after that. The Clinique brand was better, but it was almost too gelatinous, and a single tiny wrist spasm would destroy my entire eye-look and I’d have to start all over—also it didn’t wash off well, so I looked like a corpse every morning. Buxom lashliner is way easier to control than the Clinique stuff, but goes on smoother than the drugstore brands and has a truer color. Also apparently this stuff is infused with lash-feeding goodness?? So far I have only one gripe: it smudges a shitton on my left eye only. The hell is that about? P.s. I am a hunchback.
I believe there can be high-quality BB creams and a low-quality ones. I’m not so sure about cream blushes though. After all, I use like, a thumbprint-sized amount of blush on each cheek, and who cares how long it lasts? By 4 pm everyday I care about almost nothing. That’s why I have no problem using this fun, sorta goofy blush. Did I buy it mostly based on the way it looks in the package and the package design? Yass, I did. Do I genuinely like the non-80s-rock-and-roll-girl flush it provides, its slight sheen, its gentle buildability? Yes, I do. Do I think it looks best patted on just under the cheekbones, about an inch and a half down in from where earlobes meet head? Yes. Yes. On a boring day sometime very soon will I put a shitload of it on both cheek-apples and pretend to be an anime heroine? Maybe!
You know those beauty items you see like, constantly, in every magazine, for like, the past 10 years? Like Maybelline Great Lash mascara? This is one of ‘em. Stainiac has been haunting my mags since I was a tween. Finally I tried it. It’s worth trying. It’s so so worth trying! I used to be a Benefit Benetint devotee, but that stuff dried wayyy too quickly and looked clownish if you didn’t have lightning fast blending reflexes (surprise I don’t I’m a hunchback!). Staininac is water-based and jelly-like, so 1) you don’t feel like you’re literally painting your face with blood and 2) you can work it almost like a cream or gloss. I layer it like crazy on my lips as an after-work face-rescue, and it looks really modern, fresh, and J Crew catalogue-y. Basically, a panacea.
“Women are less likely to live to age 50 if they’re born in the United States than other high income countries,” he says. “I have a chart where we show this pattern going back to 1980. Back then if you looked at the survival of women to age 50, the U.S. was in the middle of the pack. Over time, not only has the U.S. fallen down in the ranking, they’ve fallen off the chart. That’s something we’re trying to understand.”—
Lauren Spends Money on Others Gift Guide V3: JK THIS IS A LIST OF THINGS I WANT
My brother is 28 or something, and we love each other quite a bit. We have a good system of reaching out on Facebook when we’re having our respective monthly mental breakdowns. The other day he sent me a message like, “What do I get you for Christmas, Laur?” and I, a person who could probably find a way to want literally everything that’s ever been manufactured in the history of the planet, responded, “Matt, I have a blog that is made up of 98% shit I want.” He was relieved. But I have no idea what to get him, still — flavored popcorn tin? Smartwool socks.
Let’s say I was soulless and actually DID make a Things I Want List for my family and friends —which, no, I would never do. But in the spirit of the Gift List, let’s say I did. Here’s what would be on it (can’t wait for the anonymous comments to roll in on this one! I left “taxidermied baby” off the list so no one would think I was a bad person, but, it’s technically on the list because I adore dead baby decor).
1. Intimidatingly Chic Weekend Bag, Found Object, $160, Fab.com
The funny thing about me is I made a sarcastic dead baby joke up there in the intro but there is nothing facetious about how badly I want to own this fur-and-leather weekend bag, which is essentially a take-anywhere DIY taxidermy kit. This is a dead animal with handles. I travel a little more often every year, as my salary gently eeks its way up the ladder, and my usual go-to weekend bag (a tinfoil-silver Betseyville roller scored by Mama at TJMaxx while I was still in college) is falling apart at the faux-leather seams. I blame most of the damage on O’Hare — they let you just walk around with alcoholic beverages all you want there. Also this bag is shockingly affordable, all fabrications considered.
2. Tinned Candle with Impeccably Designed Label, Good Nature, $16, Anthropologie
I went kind of buckwild in the Anthropologie charming holiday gift curio department this year? Everyone I know: clear off a shelf on the credenza, you’re getting a big haul of real cute illustrated canape plates from yours truly. But see, what happens when you’re gift-shopping is you start getting all these crazy ideas for yourself like, shit, maybe I deserve a just-because candle or maybe I deserve decorative drawer pulls that look like old typewriter keys. And then before you realize it you’re swimming into Anthropologie MULTIPLE TIMES per week and then Bank of America is like JESUS H YOU HAVE TO STOP YOU MUST NOW STOP. These candles I have now sniffed like 4 times each. My favorites are the Olive Blossom and Mint Citrus ones. Joe and I will be moving into an apartment for grownups sometime in the spring, and I imagine one or two of these candles being there.
Frankly it makes me generally uncomfortable that I don’t own a single chelsea boot. I consider myself to be a pretty blindly committed trend-whore. Like if boots made out of dead babies were in, I would not really even think twice about buying them in at least two colors. As I type, I’m wearing my favorite-ever TopShop lace-up black ankle boots with a perfect low heel (I’ve mentioned them before— the life-changers?), and they’re FALLING. APART. Something has come loose on the hollow inside-part of BOTH heels, so it clacks like a baby rattle every time I walk, and part of the sole is separating from the foot. It’s all very bad. Such anxiety. I know that with these Doc’s, that would never. Ever. Happen. Doc’s were built to withstand some really dark shit — winter weather, punk-rock apocalypse, puddles of that mysterious liquid that drips from the ceilings of subway platforms. Also the leather that these are made of is described on the Docs website as “greasy, soft leather with an oily coating” which 1) sounds delectable and 2) brings me one step closer (pun intended) to my life goal of wearing murdered infant seals as accessories. (Readers: please take me seriously. I am serious.)
4. Conceptual Gift, Chelsea, New York City, $0
To not have to walk by, first, a LIVE GIRLS INSIDE peep-show-adult-entertainment shack (6th and 24th) with a single window behind which 3 headless mannequins boast holiday-appropriate lingerie year-round and perpetually erect nipples AND THEN a David’s Bridal (6th and 25th) every day, twice a day, on my way to and from my office, because it makes me feel really bummed about being a woman in America, because where’s the LIVE MEN INSIDE peep-show with the headless guy mannequins with forever-erections and where’s the men’s tuxedo shop with window decals that says TODAY’S YOUR DAY, because to have to see these two sad places side-by-side every day and know they’re looking back at me doesn’t make me feel very liberated as I walk to and from the career I built.
Here is a short list of stuff to buy those lovable paleo foodies in your life!
Food is great. Duh. And what better way to show your own CrossFitting paleo bud that you care about them than by buying them delicious Paleo foods?! (You do not have to eat paleo or CrossFit to enjoy the following…
My clean-eating bestie in Portland, ME made a gift guide for paleo foodies. Included: a machine that turns anything into pasta-like shapes. Sign me up. Except I would probably just shove like a slice of pizza into the thing and make pizza-pasta oh wow that just came to me
Santa baby, my behavior is none of your concern Santa baby, my goodness and the number of men I have or haven’t kissed have nothing to do with one another Santa what are the working conditions like for the miners in that platinum mine you gave me the deed for Santa I’m responsible for providing them with a living wage and guarding them from occupational hazards Santa baby, the occupational safety of the working poor is a feminist issue I’m concerned about asbestos-related heart and lung cancer rates among the employees of my platinum mine
— by the illustrious Mallory Ortberg. See many more over at The Toast
The fact that something most people do pisses you off so much says a lot more about you than it does about them. What it says is that you're a narcissist who thinks she's the be-all-end-all of snarky fashion, culture & goddamn near everything else. I'm going to take a wild guess & leave it at that: In the real world, nobody - and I mean nobody - likes you, no matter what they may say to your face.
The eggplant has turned disastrous. The three discs of it I allotted myself today are gelatinous on the bottom of my Tupperware, like recently shorn tongues. All day they’ve been in the office fridge, soaking up the water that creates itself when hot food cools and lies dormant for 12 hours. When I pulled them from the oven last night, they were gorgeously parched, bronzed, salted and springy. Today I eat them first, before the polenta rounds, the overpriced chicken sausage that reheats itself into hot dog pieces, the canned tomatoes – because the longer they sit there, the eggplant slices, the more unbearably wet they become.
When it is chicken, each piece has to be lubricated while being chewed – like how with a factory machine, there are special water jets designed just to keep metal-on-metal slick in its hot intimacy. When I eat reheated chicken it is just like that, because I always overcook it on my pink George Foreman, like this: 10 minutes on the grill (too many), withdraw from grill and slice into fattest part to check for pinkness (it is done), assume it is still too raw and therefore deadly, deposit back onto grill, cook until flesh looks like a stack of papers and the faux grill-lines on the exteriors are cat-black. When reheated in a microwave the stuff turns to desert bone, and it doesn’t swallow without gulps of water flooding all around it.
Salad collapses in a fridge if you dress it the night before, which I always do, or the morning of, if I have the time. Freshly dressed in the tall container I store it in it looks ravishing – piles of arugula, too much, it seems!!, shining with oil, spiked with sea salt, lemon seeds joyfully tucked in here and there, tomato halves like pursed but pleasant mouths. Such a glad melee, and far, far too much arugula, but why not? Until I open it again at lunchtime, and it all has shriveled, as if grimly cooked in a deep-forest cauldron, into a sogging ball in the corner of the container, like an ogre, and I eat it basically in one slurp, and it slinks down my throat slowly, like the opposite of birth.
What is this? What is this what is this? A sandwich! A sandwich meant to seem like it was bought. This will be wonderful – what is this? How nice to not have a plastic box to have to open and feel sad into – what is this, a sandwich? It is lunchtime, and I have this magnificent tube of food that lays on its side and that I know I know I know is filled with ribbons of other food – sheets of white meat, swaths of leaf lettuce, curves of tomato like bunting on a country porch, and a rolled-up carpet of yellow American in the center. This will be good – that’s what this is. A real food. But when I go to cut it in half at an angle like they do at delis, I notice that the tortilla skin has turned sweaty and rubbery. When I take a bite I notice that the sandwich tastes not like food at all anymore, but like the stale, arid space of the insides of two separate fridges. Well, here and there in some bites are food tastes, but they’re more like shadows, or memories, or bad jokes.
On a day following an adventurous night in the kitchen, the rice has turned translucent-black. The beans remain black but no longer shine and steam – they’re matte now, like looking into a backyard charcoal grill. The guacamole has turned grey, it tastes like cold nothing. The cheese disappears in its 45-second romp around the microwave turntable – it is only texture now, a thickening agent, stretching like long fangs from the plastic dish to the fork held higher up. The feel is oatmeal, the flavor is stomach acid, the temperature is inconsistent – cold bits survive somehow, tucked away like cockroaches. No one envies this.
Somedays there is nothing. There was no conviction to cook, maybe, or some miniature cause for a mild celebration has emerged. Come 1:30 I peel myself from my office and escape to the street where the options are – things that taste, things that are steaming for the first time, things that will be enjoyed by more people than just me, at the same time as me, like being at school again. Things that people wait in lines for. Things that come in colorful bags and are carried back with purpose, with challenge. Things that are so good they are advertising themselves just by existing. And as fast as the climax arrives – today I can eat anything I want! – it becomes a vacuum. There is too much. It costs too much. The line is too long. The portion is too small. What if I need more. What if this isn’t it. And so I do what I always do on these days, on these days full of devastating potential and impossible opportunity: I surrender, hollow, and wilt into Pret-A-Manger.