Waking the Beast: Look Less Hideous in the Morning

Not to brag, but I have a reputation among friends as being the worlds ugliest morning person. JEALOUS?? When I wake up in the morning I look almost uniquely horrible, malfunctioning on many levels. My hair can never survive the night and turns into an akimbo rats nest of knots and frizz, my entire face puffs up and my lips, nose, and cheeks swell until I look like the Michelin Man on a steroid pack, and my eyes get puffy and swollen until they recede into my chipmunkish little face. This didn’t use to be such a problem for me; my unemployment schedule allowed me hours to shuffle around the house, drinking coffee as my face depuffed and my soul deflated. By the time I was done sad-watching (hate-watching’s less tweeted about cousin) Kelly and Michael, I looked like a decent and unbloated human being for whatever sad errand I had to run for the day, whether it be walking to the Subway to get a Diet Coke or walking to the CVS to get a Diet Coke. But now that I have a HOT NEW JOB that requires me to wake up at 6:30 in the morning, I don’t have the luxury of letting time work it’s skin-perfecting magic. I have to take care of that shit on my own, like a modern woman! Here is my step-to-step guide to taking your skin from “dull, subterranean bloated Montauk Monster” to “regular human being ready to not scare other human beings.”

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Sleeping like an Angel

STEP 1: SHOWER AND COOL OFF

Showering obviously takes the edge off in the morning, wakes you up, and for me, totally fixes my horrible hair situation. I also think it kick-starts the depuffing process, but since the water is warm, it won’t take care of the job entirely. I read somewhere that Victoria Beckham finishes off every shower by standing in icy cold water, which shocks your system and constricts blood vessels to tighten your skin, but Jesus Christ. That’s probably the reason right there why the woman never smiles, British teeth be damned. Have you ever tried that shit? It is like being viciously crushed by an avalance of York Peppermint Patties. You feel like Leo being pushed off that raft into the icy Canadian waters for NO REASON. Victoria Beckham may be willing to shower like a Spartan Murder Wife but I want a gentler solution! Recently I invented an awesome combo for my puffiest early mornings. After I leave the shower, I apply a thin layer of Fresh Rose Face Mask all over my face. I read about this mask in an interview about beauty with chiseled strawberry humanoid Jessica Chastain, who always looks like the absurdly flawless Queen of the Uncanny Valley. The mask is like a pink gel with little rose petals floating in it; when you apply it your face it immediately begins to cool, ramping up all-over depuffing action. If you remember 4th grade science, you know that cooling temperatures makes things contract, so after using this my face always looks a little tighter and more flawless. Downsides: When I heard “rose mask” I immediately thought this was going to smell like whatever special powder Marie Antoinette used to blot her boob sweat, but in actuality it smells like cucumbers bordering on pickles.  This mask is also ludicrously expensive, so I am just going to constantly re-up on Sephora samples like the enterprising little hobo I am.

Mask applied, I then ramp up my results TENFOLD (estimation) with this simple tip. Run a paper towel under FREEZING cold water and then gently drape it over your face on top of the mask. If you don’t have the mask, try this step alone! Then you just need to chillllllll for a few minutes as your face deflates. I lie on my back and listen to Frank Ocean, or walk around the house practicing being blind, but you do what you like! There is no wrong answer besides taking the paper towel off too early, and also murder.

STEP 2: MAKEUP

After 5 minutes, wipe your facemask off with your paper towel. Now is the time for makeup! On days when you’re exhausted, keep your makeup light, because tired skin makes your makeup looked equally fatigued. Make sure that you use a bright and sparkly (not glittery, Lizzy McGuire) eyeshadow, and plenty of brightening blush. A little bronzer also never hurt! Don’t skimp on under eye concealer, and possibly just reread this entire post for tips. When everything is applied, swirl a little Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder on a brush and apply all over your face. This stuff is powdered MAGIC. When you put it on it might not seem like it makes much difference but throughout the day you will notice yourself looking suspiciously perfect in mirrors. “What is going on?” you will ask. “Am I ovulating or something?” No, it’s the powder! It blends your makeup perfectly and then lights you from within like you swallowed a designer candle.

STEP 3: SURPRISE! BLOW DRY

Blow drying has NOTHING to do with your morning face buttttt it has added beautifying benefits! I blowdry my hair most mornings since it takes like 6 hours to air dry on its own, but over time I noticed that blowdrying was affecting my makeup! The heat from the blowdryer was causing my makeup to melt in a subtle way; all my different layers of potions and powders were kind of melding together to look like one layer of solid FACE instead of a bunch of shit I patted on in different steps. The indirect heat makes for subtle but awesome blending no ordinary brush can accomplish! It takes down powderiness and the dreaded “cake face.” Even if you don’t have to blow dry your hair, maybe a couple of seconds of a straight blast on the lowest heat and speed setting would do you some good! If you don’t have access to a hair dryer, try just gently pressing the palms of your hands all over your face. It’s an old makeup artists trick since the combination of the warmth of your hands and the small amount of oils on them (not gross, I promise) meld your makeup together!

There you have it! Hopefully you look a little more restful and perfect on your way to greet the day! Maybe you just think I’m insane for draping myself in wet paper towels and blow drying my face. Whatevs.

Old-ish and Wise-ish: Skin Care Lessons from a Reformed Idiot

Guys, I am finally getting old. Not old, old, as old as God or older like Maya Angelou, but old enough that I should know a few things, or at very least, know better than I actually do. I realized this the other day when I was helping my mom out at her school, and kept admiring the skin of all the teenage girls. HOLY SHIT! I thought. THIS IS WHAT OLD LADIES WHINE ABOUT WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT TEENAGERS’ SKIN. Now, don’t get me wrong, 23 is very, very young in the scheme of things, and if Chelsea Handler or Madonna or Kyle Richards saw me sleeping on a couch they would certainly still try to steal my youth essence, but I can no longer get away with treating my face like a piece of shit. Disrespect my skin and it will disrespect me! I even have two emerging frown lines on my forehead, from my unfortunate habit of hating literally everything on earth and throwing people a furrowed stank face approximately 8,000 times a day. Changing that habit would take about 30 years of therapy or maybe a lobotomy, so it’s a good thing I’ve learned so much about skincare to compensate. The other day I popped on a pore strip and made the mistake of looking at it when I peeled it off. I feel like I have been in a Civil War battle and cannot unsee what I saw on that pore strip! It’s haunting me like it’s somebody I murdered in a Japanese horror movie. Take a shower and that pore strip crawls out of the back of my head; whenever you photograph me, I’ve got two pore strips glowering on my shoulders; the pore strip has been secretly keeping me alive in a burlap sack in her apartment. You get it.

The Grudge 3: Grudges

The Grudge 3: Grudges

That wouldn’t have happened a few years ago! My teenage skin was as dewy and pure as Beyonce’s bottom. But with age comes experience, and although I’m slightly worse for wear, I am much, much wiser. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned about skincare from years of fooling around and making mistakes.

IF IT BURNS, TAKE IT OFF YOUR FACE.

I used to ONLY trust products if they made me feel like I had red ants crawling all over my face after application. “If it burns like hot fire, it must be working!” I would reason. Wrong!! Your face isn’t Dresden, so don’t treat it that way! If a product burns on your face, it’s not working for you, and it’s going to cause inflammation, which is going to cause redness and acne and ruin your skin. Same for anything that makes your face tingle or get cold, anything minty, or anything that dries you out like a corn husk. They might take care of immediate problems like oiliness but in the long run your skin is going to overcompensate for the dryness by just producing even more oil, and you’ll constantly look like you’re in a Lauryn Hill post-insanity flop sweat.

I still worship this woman as a God and wish I could pay her taxes for her.

No disrespect! I still worship this woman as a God and wish I could pay her taxes for her. Lauryn, if you are reading this, for the love of Christ, stop speeding up the tempo of your songs! That’s not what people paid to hear. NO ONE’S HURT ME MORE THAN YOU AND NO ONE EVER WILL.

JAR PACKAGING IS FOR ANIMALS

One time, my friend got excessively day time drunk on a hideous college holiday we referred to as “Wine Day,” an occasion that was eventually cancelled after its debauchery lead to a hospitalization. One Wine Day, a normally buttoned up friend got so messed up that she claimed to have met God and been alive during the time of the dinosaurs, and called a stranger over for the purposes of making direct eye contact and gently twisting his chin piercing. By the end of the evening we had dragged her into the dining hall and tried to ply her with fluids. She sat wordlessly at the table, dunking her hand over and over and over into a glass of ice tea. Finally, her boyfriend asked, “Are you going to drink that?” She shot him a look of disgust, like he was the stupidest person who ever lived. “No! My filthy fucking hands have been in there!”

That glass of iced tea is every product packaged in a jar at Sephora, and every tub package of skincare that you own. DON’T get any samples from jar packages at Sephora. Every twelve year old with a cystic pimple and every meth head looking for a morning after smoky eye has put their fingers in that jar. People have picked their noses and touched their children and eaten Wetzel’s Pretzels and put their fingers in that jar. Amanda Bynes might have taken a scoop out of that jar and put the skin cream right in her mouth like it was Queso Dip! Just. Say. No. As for your own products, you aren’t so perfect yourself and no matter how much hand sanitizer you own, you are going to get your germs into your shit. This is more acceptable, but try to use a Q-tip to take product out of containers whenever you can as to not spread your germs! Also, jar packaging makes products really unstable, so they go bad faster and lose their effectiveness. Anti-oxidants and Vitamin C do not stand a chance in hell against jar packaging because they allow too much air and oxygen in! Look for skincare and makeup in tubes and bottles to be safe and germ free.

SUPER GOOD IDEA

SUPER GOOD IDEA

WEAR SUNSCREEN

I used to think that I was immune to skin cancer because I was Armenian and could get an awesome tan just by whispering the word “Australia” three times in a locked room. Then Khloe Kardashian got skin cancer, which to me just affirmed to me that she had a different father, because Armenians don’t get skin cancer! Then, my aunt, who is so Armenian she is basically anthropomorphized yalangi, got skin cancer on her face and I was forced to accept that I was susceptible. Besides the whole cancer thing, sun exposure is the first thing that’s going to make you look old. Everybody needs sunscreen! I think people have the wrong idea about it, in that everyone thinks it’s really unpleasant and thick and gloppy and is going to break them out. Yes, if you schmere a bunch of goo from a bottle with a baby’s naked ass all over your face, the results might not be so refined, but a quality sunscreen is going to feel luxurious just like any other quality skin care. You don’t even have to pay a lot of money! I love the L’Oreal Sublime Sun Face Lotion, which comes in a slim bottle that you have to shake. The consistency is very thin and when you spread it on your face the finish is super velvety and adds a certain glow to your skin. A high quality sun screen will actually illuminate your face and make your skin look better and lit from within. J. Lo says this is her favorite sun screen! Her word is bond regarding tanning!

These are the lessons that years in the vanity trenches will teach you. Learn from my mistakes! Who knows what further maturity will teach me? Maybe I’ll figure out that being horrendously vain is actually really bad for your skin! THAT will be the right time for the lobotomy.

I Hate the 90’s: Nostalgia Irks Me, Plus Cool Lipstick

I am the millennium-est millennial you will ever meet. I have a blog. I watch “Girls” (I’m a Hannah with a touch of Shoshanna with Marnie’s anxiety and Jessa’s probable attitude towards body hair, FYI.) I am being crushed to death by my student loans as if they are boulders and I am denying that I’m a witch. I spend like 2/3 of my time Instagramming cats. And I will defend my generation TO THE DEATH. One of things that pisses me off the most is Baby Boomers complaining about our generation’s perceived laziness and lack of motivation. “They all move home to their parents!” they complain. “They all work in coffee shops!” Umm, hi. Remember when you guys took out all those sub prime mortgages that caused that enormous bubble pop that destroyed the economy? THAT’S why I’m living at home with my parents, not because I don’t feel like figuring out how to hook up my Xbox to the back of a new TV. Pretty sure I wasn’t the 13 year old who was giving out bargain basement loans on condos, that seems like the fault of somebody older than me. I would love to be like you guys when you were my age, crossing the country in a cool psychadelic school bus or living in a giant Harvard Square loft full of hemp blankets or whatever, but I’m actually just going to go dip to my temp job. I’m pretty sure in 10 years when we’re in a giant Social Security and Medicare benefits crisis they’ll all be whining about why Tom Brokaw isn’t releasing more photo books of people fornicating in Woodstock mud pits, while their millennial children literally wipe their butts. Why can’t more boomers be like my dad, who as a favor to his children is carefully and purposely orchestrating his own death at the age of 65 by taking a myriad of fool hardy and uneducated health risks? That is not a joke.

But one irksome habit I can see my generation cultivating is the love of the throoowwwwwbackkkkkk. Baby Boomers invented it but we are trying to perfect it!

So many Facebook groups (is that still a thing?) dedicated to “Do You Remember ‘AHHH! Real Monsters’” or “Like This If You Loved ‘All That’” or “Favorite If Jonathan Taylor Thomas Was Your First Crush!!!!” Do I remember that stuff? Of course I do, it was less than 15 years ago. I would have to be brain damaged to forget. I’m sure quite imminent is a remake of Memento where the weird instructions come in the form of different Nick Toons characters tattooed all over the protagonists body. In the stunning conclusion he realizes that Heffer was totally adopted by those wolves! We don’t need to be gazing so hard at our own navels (BUT OMG IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO SEE THEM IF WE WERE WEARING BELLY SHIRTS REMEMBER THOSE!) I understand that everybody approaches the culture and media of their childhoods with rose colored glasses (or like, AC Slater’s white Ray Bans for the purpose of this piece) but has anyone considered that maybe those times were so awesome because we only possessed a childlike perspective of the world with absolutely no nuance or cultural awareness whatsoever? Like, not to get too real with you, but at the end of My Girl, Macaulay Culkin is stung to death by BEES! Nobody ever talks about that!

MILA WHERE'S THE EPI PEN???

MILA WHERE’S THE EPI PEN???

Fashion’s been reviving the nineties recently, too. Another thing I don’t get! How can we have a revival when we’ve barely moved past it in the first place? Here is the progression of fashion since the 90’s:

Stage 1: Everybody wears low rise bootcut jeans that basically expose your pubic bone, we self-tan like crazy while worrying about Bennifer, and Paris Hilton falls off a low-riding motorbike thing, exposing her crotch to peels of laughter while we secretly admit to ourselves that the girl has star quality. Linday Lohan’s breasts are firm and high, and we all admire her for her healthy body image and refreshing attitude.

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Valderamma Era

Stage 2: Kate Moss wears skinny jeans and we all realize that we looked like idiots before. Rachel Zoe gets Nicole Richie to throw out her post-rehab sweat suits and take horse drugs (umm, why do horses need to lose weight anyways?) but everyone gets amazing bangs and wears big boho dresses and cowboy boots. Lindsay Lohan’s breasts remain remarkably similar in size while her limbs shrink to the circumference of coffee stirrers, but we all admire her performance in “A Prairie Home Companion”

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Ronson Era

Stage 3: Alexa Chung wears high rise jeans and we all realize that cowboy boots make us look like idiots, except for certain girls I still see in the airport who inexplicably wear them with Lilly Pulitzer dresses. We as a society make a collective agreement to dress like NYU students that have been cut off by our parents, favoring olive green parkas and weird leather brogues that make us look like we robbed Kiebler Elves. Lindsay Lohan wakes up every day looking like she was scraped off a shoe but was at least lucid in those Funny or Die videos.

Whichever Hundred Thousandaire is Holding Era

Whichever Hundred Thousandaire is Holding Era

AND HERE WE ARE! 2013 and all of a sudden Rihanna has a terrible River Island collection of “10 Things I Hate About You” prom dresses and everything has giant Elizabeth Hurley safety pins on it and we’re all wearing brown lipstick and piercing our cartilage. It’s just too soon! Can’t we invent a few more trends before we start recycling shit? Ombre seems ok! We could expand on that! Maybe we should be the generation that lobbies to make yoga pants acceptable formalwear? I know that seems like wishful thinking but adults tell me all the time that when they were our age they never thought they’d see gay marriage legalized? The reason 90’s grunge was so appropriate at the time was that despite the fact that everyone wore flannel and lip rings, the economy was really good and Bill Clinton was president and all the moms could stay at home and chilllllllll. If we bring that reactionary depressive dressing back to this actually depressing era, I’m afraid we might all get so bummed that we kill ourselves! “Fight Club” and “Office Space” are 90’s movies about what a bummer it is to own a bunch of Ikea furniture and listen to fax machine noises, but when you’re paying Wells Fargo off with your birthday checks a condo with central air conditioning doesn’t sound like something you’d want to blow up! You don’t have to take a stand against quiet desperation by tying your sweatshirt around your waist when there’s a line of people who would gladly claw the smirk right of Jennifer Aniston’s face for a job at TGI Friday’s.

But there IS one 90s comeback I am enjoying (and a point to this post, for that matter.) I love, love, love this Jesse’s Girl Mood Lipstick, which is enjoying a nice drugstore comeback. It starts out a shocking, Kermit green in the tube but when you apply it to your lips it turns into a rather wearable red-magenta. The texture is balmy and waxy, so you don’t have to worry about the creamy-unwieldiness of a lipstick; it’s also staining and long lasting without the wateriness and messiness of a lipstain. It comes in a bunch of colors which in no way correspond on the lips to their color in the tube (yellow becomes orange! Blue becomes dark red!) and they’re like, $3 each. I don’t know if they really change corresponding to my mood, but that’s probably because everytime I’ve worn them my emotional level is at “fucking around at my vanity because I’m bored now.” Obviously these aren’t status items and you probably want to apply them in privacy, but this stuff works! Sample Life endorsed nostalgia! Now go back to shopping for the best pair of Cherry Red Doc Martens. Your hat makes you look like Meg Griffin.

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Jesse’s Girl in full effect! Helpfully Instragrammed to downplay my forehead breakout.

Her HighneZZZZZZ: How Not To Look Like Kate Middleton

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I’m sorry, but is there anything more boring on earth than Kate Middleton? I honestly would rather watch paint dry than read one more freaking news story about the Duchess of Beige Farts; I would rather listen to the Moth Radio Hour as hosted by Jessica Biel; I would rather enter data while blasting whale sounds on my headphones; I would rather attend a Daughter’s of the American Revolution Luncheon with a special presentation on Victorian Baptism gowns; I would rather deodorize Kristen Stewart’s Converse collection while she reads aloud from the Obamacare decision. I’m sorry, but this girl is just not interesting BY DESIGN so maybe we should give all the media coverage and “emancipation of Kate” articles a rest.

Kate is not supposed to exhibit character quirks or say anything remotely thought provoking; she is supposed to remain a blank slate of proper etiquette onto which we can project our hopes and dreams. AND I GET THAT. But we need to stop acting like there is anything more to say about her than the piece of flimsy cardboard that comes with her nude panty hose. I know everybody talks about the “Waity Katie” angle, how she waited forever for Will to propose to her and that somehow shows her fortitude, but Jesus. She waited 8 years for a guaranteed lifetime of power, attention, influence and untold riches? I’ve been waiting like 2 years for my boyfriend to agree to fetch me a goddamn glass of water, where’s my award? Maybe she has a rich inner life that we don’t know about; maybe while she stares blankly at the latest ship she’s been called to Christen she contemplates her issues with that latest Schopenhauer critique in the Journal of Aesthetics, but more likely she’s just trying to hold in a sneeze until her next bathroom break. The point is, even if she’s thinking some interesting shit, she certainly isn’t saying it. The best she can muster is a polite smile as children of various world origins hand her the respective orbs their society’s use as soccer balls as gifts of well-being and peace.

 

Bosnian Soccer Ball

Bosnian Futbal

This is a woman who could have picked ANYBODY on earth to sing at her wedding and she picked Ellie Goulding? Seriously? If you don’t the immense, unknowable powers that come from being the figurehead of the worlds most enduring monarchy to rehabilitate Lauryn Hill so she can sing a wedding duet of “Countdown” with Sam Cooke’s ghost and backing from the Daft Punk robots, THEN WHAT ARE YOU GOOD FOR?

So, if a person says nothing of interest and remains professionally tight lipped about topics ranging from her pregnancy to William’s hairline to the continuous barrage of drunken text messages she receives from Camilla Parker Bowles, I am going to have to base my impression of her purely on her appearance.

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Listen, I don’t think that Kate Middleton looks like particular shit, I just think she looks pretty boring and that her clothes always look kind of common. Maybe that’s on purpose! Michelle Obama wears Talbots and J. Crew and Hilary Clinton matches her scrunchie to her pantsuit and Sarah Palin wears running camoflage from her new K. Mart line; these are highly engineered political decisions made to appeal to regular people, and I get that. What I do not get, at all, is Kate’s makeup. She looks harsh and old, and not the type of old you begin to look from acting young, like Prince Harry’s slaggy, hungover girlfriends. I remember on her wedding day everyone talking about how Kate did her own makeup and when I saw her pictures I was like, “Obviously.” Again, when you have all the resources on earth can you at least pay someone good to do your makeup? Like, ship Bobbi Brown in or the magnificent British angel Lisa Eldridge or whoever shades Kim Kardashian’s nose every morning or even the lady at the nail salon that once waxed Keira Knightley’s eyebrows? What’s worse is that despite how awful Kate’s makeup looks, the internet is still filled with tutorials and product roundups on how to achieve her look, simply because she is a princess. Why would you want to look that awful on purpose? I am going to counteract with a tutorial on How NOT to Look Like a Middleton.

DON’T Wear Black Eyeliner During Daylight Hours

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A little on the upper lid is fine during the day but all around the eye is super harsh and stark looking! This actually closes off the eyes and makes them look smaller and less pretty. A worse offender than Kate is Pippa, who not only wears black eyeliner during the day but uses it on her water line as well. Like Pippa, I have smaller, long eyes and I avoid wearing my liner like this at all costs; it makes your eyes look like sharp razor clams! Dark eyeliner makes your eyes recede into your face! During the day wear a lighter brown shade instead of black, if you must wear it on the lower lashes, and make sure you smudge and blend your line for a softer effect that defines your eyes instead of making them look harsh or disappear!

DON’T Fill Your Eyebrows in You Stuck Two Stickers on Your Face

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Remember the first time you got glasses and you realized regular people could see the individual leaves on trees instead of one big, green puffy cloud? Remember how you wanted to cry, both with sadness because the beauty you had already missed and with joy at the opportunity in front of you to fully experience the world? Yeah, eyebrows are like that too. They should never look like two brown shapes on your face; they should always look full and healthy, but as if they were constructed of individual hairs that are visible up close. Kate’s eyebrows are too harsh and graphic for her features, and like her liner, too dark. Always fill in your brows a shade lighter than your actual hair, and apply in small, light strokes to emulate the look of individual hairs. I promise it won’t look weird and you’ll save yourself from crazy stares.

DON’T Go Matte!

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SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIHHMUUUUUND, GIRL! Kate very rarely looks glowing; at the very most she looks tan. There’s a fine line between matte skin and dull skin, and I think Kate always looks a little cakey or that she could do with some sprucing up. I think for the most part matte skin is for alternative porn stars who draw little hearts on their faces; the rest of us could do with some well placed shimmer and highlighter. The majority of the time Kate is photographed outside, and the light should be bouncing off her face like a sparkle vampire! Mostly she looks like she needs a nap. I don’t blame her, I’m pretty certain Queen Elizabeth’s corgis stay up all night barking and Harry is constantly barraging her with requests to be his designated driver/post bail at a Thai prison. Oh, and the texts from Camilla, of course.

That’s enough advice for now. Maybe another day I’ll tackle the indignation I feel towards Pippa Middleton’s “butt.” Is that the best you have to offer, Britain? Come to America. This is our Pippa.

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Mistakes Were Made: Blush for When You Act Like an Idiot

This will come as a surprise to no one, but on many occasions, my vanity and love of beauty have lead me to do stupid things. Probably the first really dumb thing I ever did in the name of my appearance was in the seventh grade, when I let two girls “wax” my newly hairy legs with strips of Scotch tape while we watched the Joe Millionaire finale in a finished basement. Since then, I’ve cut my bangs in a middle school bathroom, given myself a giraffe-like drippy spray tan the day before a job interview, stained a brand new pair of Sperry’s with permanent hair dye, and given my friend Josh a “fade” with a pair of safety scissors, because I thought it might make him look cooler. I’ve been on the receiving end of TWO eyebrow interventions, the first to stop shaping them into weird little Amy Fisher sperm brows, and the second a few years later to please, for the love of God, start plucking them again. The point is, you never learn lessons. You think everything is a good idea and you charge boldly forward with the hopes that this drastic measure you are undertaking is going to make you look fresh to death. Why hasn’t Malcolm Gladwell written an op-ed on the failure rate of beauty risks? Call me!

telephone time

But anyways, I’m afraid I’ve done something really stupid again. About a week ago, I noticed a patch of really nasty zits on both of my cheeks. I decided the best option would be to kill them with fire. BAD IDEA. Taking care of acne is a lot like parenting. You have to be careful! If you are too gentle in your style, your kids will end up majoring in weaving baskets from their own hair at Hampshire College, but if you are too harsh you are going to end up a pregnant teenager and a son-in-law who looks like Justin Theroux if he were addicted to meth. One way or another, feathers are going to wind up in your daughter’s hair.

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Much the same way with skin! Be too gentle with it, baby it with Cetaphil, and try to let it just breathe and you are going to end up a splotchy oil slick. If you are too harsh with it, washing it three times a day and treating it with a “vintage” Stridex pad you found at the bottom of your gym locker, your face is going to look like a sunburned corn husk. I am guilty of the latter offense. When I noticed the onslaught of acne, I began an immediate and proactive offense, treating it every few hours with a dose of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, purported by many beauty bloggers to be the holy grail of acne products. Don’t get me wrong! This stuff works like a charm. But with great power comes great responsibility. The active ingredient in the Effaclar is 5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide, a strong acne combatant that will bleach you sheets, your hair, and even your skin if you aren’t careful with it. Normally I take a lot of precautions when I used benzoyl peroxide: I only apply it after I put on my pajamas so I don’t accidentally get it on my clothes when changing, I don’t use it with wash clothes, and I wash my hands immediately after using it, all so that I won’t inadvertently bleach my belongings, or my worst nightmare, my cats. I’m also careful to use it with a strong moisturizer and only once a day as to not dry my skin out. But this time, I got too cocky. I was so desperate to eradicate this breakout that I started applying it willy-nilly, basically every time I used the bathroom sink. In a few days, my breakout was gone, and I rejoiced! In another few days, my face was peeling like a lizard and I had only myself to blame.

Both of my cheeks had become dry, flaky, scaly, and gross. I applied all the moisturizer I could but I was afraid of exfoliating off the flakes worrying that it would be too harsh on my delicate skin. I used a combination of my old staple jojoba oil, Embryolisse Lait Cream Concentrate as my moisturizer, and a sample of First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask, which is quite soothing and made my face smell like an oatmeal cookie, to attack the problem. All of these guys were great contributing players to the cause of getting my face back in shape, but there was one surprising All Star, in that what saved my skin was a blush instead of a skincare product. Behold: Tarte Cheek Stain in Flush:

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I received a mini-size of this product in a Sephora variety box. It comes in a pushup stick kind of like a deodorant, and you are supposed to apply it to the cheeks either directly from the stick or with your fingers. At first the texture kind of wigged me out: it’s rather wet and slippery, and the sensation of putting it on your face is kind of like rubbing your cheeks in popsicle juice (it doesn’t help that it’s strawberry lemonade scented). I declared it a dud, and moved on.

However, for some reason during my dry cheek debacle I found myself reaching for this product, as I felt like any powder product I put on my cheeks was going to dry them out. To my surprise, this was better at keeping my cheeks moist than any moisturizer or oil I had been using! Its greasy feel makes it so that it only partially sinks into the skin; some of the product sits on the top of the skin until the end of the day, creating a barrier between you and the harsh winter air. I was surprised by how supple my face began to feel, even after the color had mostly faded. This isn’t a product that I’d use every day, especially in the summer, but it’s unique formula makes it the perfect blush for parched skin, living you with a rosy glow and surprisingly nourishing the skin more than a regular moisturizer! I would definitely recommend it for your next round of skin related stupidity!

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Blushing thanks to Tarte and Mr. Glenn Danzig

Valentine’s Day Withdrawal: How to Endure the Harsh Light of Day

Happy Day after Valentine’s Day! How is the cold light of the morning treating you? Did you have a good night? If you just thought, “No, Emalie, because it’s a Hallmark Holiday,” let me just say that I am so excited that a 26 year-old Janine Garofalo has discovered a portal to the future! Seriously, lighten up. Are you so stupid that you are willing to refuse a holiday that is seriously just an excuse to get free and upscale candy? Do you think people don’t notice when you say shit like that? Do you think they don’t worry their inner groan was so loud that others might actually hear it? Do you think that they don’t play a brief montage in their minds of you not enjoying the Freedom Trail and Disney world, sitting on a couch at a party surrounded by dancing people with your arms folded, and listening to a Henry Rollins album on your headphones angrily in your bedroom on a Saturday night? Get off my damn blog! Go rinse out your Nalgene bottle or something.

Ranting aside, there are a number of ways to spend your Valentines Day! My Valentine lives 4 hours away, so I spent the evening bingeing on candy with my parents before calling Dom for a duet of “Somewhere Out There” while we both stared out the window at the same moon.

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Two Jews Covered in Fur, Spot On.

Jealous? Regardless of whether or not you topped my amazing night, this morning has probably left you with a few beauty quandaries. I’m laying out a few scenarios that could have gone down, and some product suggestions that will help take the edge off!

YOU LAID THE MACK

Congratulations, lucky one! You are the envy of the world today. Try to keep from beaming and gloating in the office this morning; people will hold that against you a lot longer than they will esteem you for your luckiness in love. You probably don’t need any help to get that special glow, but maybe you have a little something to cover up? As Rose Castorini would say in Moonstruck, a love bite on your neck? Let me introduce you to your new best friend, Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer. You can buy this stuff at Wal-Mart for six bucks and it is better than any other concealer out there, basically industrial spackle for your face. I save it for very rare and horrible pimples, because it is just that intense, but for this humiliating task it fits the bill perfectly. Paint on a very thin layer and make sure to diffuse the outer edges into the neck with a concealer brush instead of covering just the offending spot itself. Repeat, repeat, repeat, and then wear your hair down for the day if it’s long enough, or put on a scarf if you are the type of person who can wear a scarf without making people mad at you.  Set it with powder so it doesn’t move around during the day, make sure to carry the concealer around for touch ups, and try not to wear white in case some of it rubs off. Not that you should be wearing white anyways, you lucky bastard!

YOU ARE HUNGOVER

Perhaps you were out celebrating Galentine’s day at a Mexican restaurant with your main girls, or drank too much Carlo with your romantic spaghetti dinner, or lost track of your shots during the Watch What Happens Live drinking game? Andy’s Valentine’s guest was Patti Stanger and you had to take a shot every time she inadvertently quoted Phyllis Schlafly.

Accidentally Google Imaged Phyllis Nefler, not taking it back

Accidentally Google Imaged Phyllis Nefler, not taking it back

Listen, I’m not a magician, there is nothing I can do to restore you to normalcy. Even if you get yourself looking alright, your constant wincing and bottle of Gatorade Cool Blue are going to betray exactly what you were up to last night. My advice would be to avoid any place where you’d need to look hot, because it’s just not going to happen. But you can at the least look like, as Dr. Phil would say, you are living instead of existing. First of all, remove your damn eye makeup! I know you slept in it! Don’t think morning after smoky eyes give you “a cool, worn in rocker look”. They make you look like exactly what you are: a girl who accidentally got wasted because she ate 14 frozen margarita limes, and slept on the floor in front of her toilet wrapped in a bath mat. You might have never smoked in your life, but if you show up with day old mascara people are going to wager that you smell like an ashtray. Just wash it all off! Then, after applying your foundation (a non-negotiable today, sorry) take your favorite illuminating concealer pen (I would recommend both the drugstore Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Concealer and L’Oreal Magic Lumi Concealer, which both cost about $10, though the L’Oreal has much luxer packaging) and commit to the Kardashian-eque “triangle of light” undereye technique. I will demonstrate:

Draw concealer on in the red lines, blend in the direction of the arrows

Draw concealer on in the red lines, blend in the direction of the arrows

Draw a triangle under each eye but do not fill it in with the pen! Instead, blend the concealer to fill them as to not go overboard/get cakey and then blend the outer edges and out towards your eyes along the cheekbones, as well as down onto the top of your cheeks into a point. These under eye triangles are going to make you look a lot more well rested and alive. Next, apply a WARM toned blush; anything cool toned is going to wash you out and make you appear more like the captain of a ghost ship. Nars Orgasm and Torrid are two of my absolutely favorite blushes, but for a drugstore alternative Milani Baked Blush in Rose D’Oro is a great brightening shade. Voila! Probably everyone can tell you were drunk last night, but maybe they won’t know you puked this morning after your roommate used the phrase “warm gin.”

YOU CRIED ALL NIGHT

Let me be real with you. There is one reason to cry on Valentine’s Day, and that is because of a very recent breakup. It’s just not that serious you guys. Maybe you don’t have a significant other but there are literally BILLIONS of people in your position today, and they are not crying, so neither should you. I dismiss you, go feel bad about yourselves. If you DID just get broken up with, I’m sorry! Valentine’s Day can act as salt, but it has to be rubbed into an open wound, versus, say, a faint pockmark caused by a guy who broke up with you 4 years ago because he wanted to focus on his dog. I can see the slippery slope of turning on the TV to the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice and then 20 minutes later sloppily tweeting encouragement at Brandi Glanville as you sit in your bathtub, gently sob-singing “Hide and Seek” without it actually playing in the background. It’s ok! The five stages of a breakup are as follows: Crying Alone, Spilling Your Heart to Acquaintances, Reckless but Enjoyable Drinking, Regrettable Flirting with Other Acquaintances, and Acceptance. V-Day can send you from stage 4 back to 1 if you aren’t careful! A few pieces of advice to keep you from entering a tailspin: Don’t listen to “Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill, you crazy person. That’s just asking for it. Don’t cut your hair! Everyone will see through it. Keep off his Facebook but don’t change your relationship status to “single.” Just leave it blank! Perhaps this advice is too late, but in general, NEVER go through with plans you had with your ex alone to be sporting, especially ones you set out for Valentine’s Day. Making the enchiladas you were going to surprise him with just for you because “you don’t need him for special enchiladas!” escalates your sadness level from Bridget Jones to Renee Zellweiger. Do not allow this to happen.

All the best tips for dealing with the aftermath of last nights sob-fest are addressed in this video, created by the beautiful makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. Lisa is Bambi’s mother come down from a woodland heaven to teach us mortals how to soothe our puffy eyes in her posh British accent. Beyond looking better I’m going to wager this video is going to make you feel better; Lisa’s voice is so soothing and she just really seems like she knows what she’s talking about. Like a hug through a computer screen! Ladies, gays, straight guys who will watch stuff that doesn’t pertain to their interests because they have a beautiful woman in them (I’m looking at you, Michael,) this video has something for everyone to the point that I consider it an essential beauty tool. I am world famous for taking breakups really badly and I wish to God I had it when I needed it!

There. Now go shampoo your hair and change out of your flannel pants! Call a friend and go to Ulta. That’s the best medicine! Listen to “Digital Love” by Daft Punk over and over and over again to recapture a sense of possibility until you actually believe in it! Then go forth and conquer. Next Valentine’s Day is gonna be awesome!

Retreat to Move Forward: The Best in Regressive Beauty

Just as with sweatpants, there is an unspoken hierarchy in the world of beauty. The bottom tier of the makeup pyramid contains drugstore makeup, your Revlons and L’Oreals. The middle tier contains your Sephora/Ulta “prestige” brands, like MAC and Urban Decay and Benefit. At the very top of the pyramid are extreme luxury brands like Chanel and Chantecaille, super, duper fancy makeup reserved for Vogue editors and those hot Monaco princesses. My sister had a friend growing up who lived in a huge and beautiful mansion; her kitchen had a special spigot that dispensed boiling water for tea on demand. ON DEMAND. Upstairs in the master bathroom, the girl’s mother had a special glass case, which displayed dozens of Chanel lipsticks as if they were Elizabeth Taylor’s diamonds or Demi Moore’s creepy child-surrogate dolls. THAT woman had her priorities right. Maybe during Bane’s inevitable takeover of Chestnut Hill we will spare her and her magnificent lipstick collection. Even the League of Shadows gotta respeck.

So you think the dark lip is your ally?

So you think the dark lip is your ally?

But anyways! There is a little discussed basement to that glorious pyramid of beauty products, a category that is just for rubes. Intro to Makeup, if you will. The products and brands in this category are reserved to giggling teenage girls desirous of lining their eyes into dark panda circles, or 30 year-old schlumpy lady-scientists trying to spruce up for an industry awards ceremony. You try these products, you get your feet wet, and eventually you get wise and move up the ladder to more expensive (the term is relative here, we are talking like, more than five dollars expensive) products. You might be a top tier luxury cosmetics type gal and still dip down to sea level every once and a while to buy a Maybelline mascara, but no one tends to look back once they’ve moved on from the Rubes category, perhaps from fear of turning into a pillar of salt RIGHT in the CVS aisle. These cosmetics are known for being dirt cheap, bad quality, and housed in horrible packaging. The kind of cosmetics that would wind up on this girl’s teeth:

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Well guys, I am here to tell you it’s okay to turn back! Maybe the checkout girl will judge you for being a 22 year old with a basket full of sub-basics, but not me! There are hidden gems in this bargain basement, and I intend to expose them.

HAIR

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I have the number one combo for curly hair lazy days down PAT. On any normal day I’ll go through a whole regimen of expensive potions that make me smell like an irresistible Skittle and look like Medusa’s more approachable sister, but these products don’t come cheap, so if I have no one to impress I try to conserve them. If I’m having an errands running day or figure I might put my hair up or into a braid, I hit it with this duo. I use any of the Vo5 99-cent conditioners, in whichever flavor I find most alluring at the store, as my leave in, and then scrunch toxic blue L.A. Looks Sport Gel through my hair. I get that this gel is intimidating, and I admit that at first I thought it was just for a 4th grade boy’s awesome Sun In’d ski jump, but it actually provides a moderate amount of hold that’s great for keeping a curl. It definitely makes my hair look more relaxed than normal, great for a leggings type of day. These products are so cheap and are awesome to drop off at any place where you occasionally spend the night; no matter where you go on earth you’ll be able to pick them up from the drugstore without spending more than $3. I find it easier to pick these up when traveling than to decant my regular products into little 3 ounce bottles. I keep bottles of these two at my grandma’s and my boyfriend’s, so I never have to suffer a bad hair day!

SKIN

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Basically no difference!

The other day I was cleaning my room for the first time in a million years, and in the process I found literally 6 bottles of CVS brand Cocoa Butter Moisturizer. My sister is OBSESSED with this stuff! She swears it is the best moisturizer and it smells of cocoa in a faint and lovely way. I think body lotions are more or less universally the same, with degrees of better or worse scent and packaging. For me, there is very little nuance to the effectiveness of body lotions: they either do or don’t do the trick. This definitely does the trick! Don’t waste your money on anything more! If you can deal with the fact that there isn’t a miniature Jeff Koon’s sculpture serving as this lotion’s cap (this is a thing that exists) or that it doesn’t smell like a ghost orchid or a macaroon or Gayle King’s living room, this is the cheapest and most effective option out there.

MAKEUP

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Worn out from love

In terms of dirt-cheap makeup right now, Wet n’ Wild is killin’ it! No longer the sole province of early blooming middle schoolers, the entire line has been revamped to the point of total awesomeness and drugstore domination. The jewel of the Wet n’ Wild crown is most definitely the Comfort Zone Eyeshadow palette, which contains 8 amazing, soft, and pigmented eyeshadows for $5 total. This stuff is ridiculously underground popular; after I bought it, my sister told me she wanted one, and it took me 3 months to find another, since they sell out so quickly. The palette has two columns for two looks; the first makes for a soft neutral eye, the second for a green eye like a sexy lizard person.

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Not this sexy lizard person…

Especially cool is the brown/blue/green shape-shifting color on the bottom right! An eye shadow formula like this would normally go for $20 or more, but here you can get it at prestige quality for about 80 cents. For a major wow factor use this as an eyeliner; the color changes so much that people will be scratching their heads wondering what the hell is going on your lids in the most awesome way possible. Make people dizzy! Confuse the world! Be an enigma! BUY THIS PALETTE.

Don’t be a snob! Awesome products are right under your upturned nose and there is no shame in the low-low end product game! By the by, all the products I featured in this post come in COMBINED at about $10. Pinch your pennies now and eventually YOU might be drinking insta-tea while admiring your pristine lipstick cabinet.

Makeup for Meatballs: A Little Snooki and Jwoww to Bronzen Up Your Life

Has everyone heard the very exciting news that my editor at the Homo Life (that’s what I am calling Alex now rather than his actual title, my little sister’s friend) interviewed Snooki and Jwoww? What a coup for us overeducated, trash worshipping liberal artists! I love, love, love Snooki and JWoww (or as a friend calls her, Jessica Wowwerstein) and always have since the inception of Jersey Shore. Ever since this, really.

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Jersey Shore is dead but Snooki and Jwoww live on. This is great personality editing on the part off MTV, cutting the Sammy and Rahhn chaff from the wheat (the soil is watered with Red Bull) and ridding us from the scourge of Deena’s tragic butt cheek tan. I just want to see Snooki ponder changing out her breast milk for Gatorade and Jenni scheme her way to a pink diamond the size of her left implant. THE SIMPLE THINGS  IN LIFE. In going to a musty and expensive college constructed entirely of 200 year old bricks in a town that BRAGGED about being home port for Kunta Kinte’s slave ship, I made the tacit agreement that I would not enjoy a life of fist pumping or hard partying. The closest thing I ever got to beating back the beat was probably drinking off brand Russian vodka that tasted like it was strained through a gym sock while watching a small group of straight people “dance” haplessly to Of Montreal. Therefore, I watch Snooki and JWoww not to judge, but to get a peek at the things I could be doing if I wasn’t so concerned about being judged by an older generation of Armenians. TO REALLY FEEL, YOU KNOW? I probably wouldn’t be delivering a beat down to some girl in an Ed Hardy mini-dress outside of a fried pickle stand but I need that fuckery at extra strength in order to get my bad-behavior contact high. I know some people think that Snooki’s cultural ubiquity represents the downfall of American society and the decay of Western civilization as we know it, but I would tend to disagree with that. In our current cultural landscape we have congressmen that call rape a “blessing,” Tea Partiers that recommend arming classroom teachers with handguns, and the entire state of Florida. Let’s address those issues before pointing the finger at a couple of Italian girls who are loyal to their friends and enjoy day time drinking.
New School Look; Better Blending

New School Look; Better Blending

I decided to try out a Snooki/Jwoww combo look based on their more new-school iterations. I could have done the whole hog retro-Snooki look, but even in Snook’s opinion the pouf is as dead as Sasha Fierce. Jwoww’s scraggly vanilla under-weave and dedication to rolled sweatpants have also gone out the door. I wouldn’t say the girls’ current look is neccesarily much more sophisticated, but it is a lot better executed. Their hair is actually styled and doesn’t look like it could make a safe home for baby birds, their false tans tend to be more uniform, and their fake eyelashes don’t dangle off the edge of their eyes like so many child molesters Elliott Stabler nervously ponders letting fall off of buildings. Unlike the Guidices of the world they do not attempt taste and class and fail; instead they shoot for shock and awe and succeed with flying colors. Reach for the moon and you’ll land amongst the stars; reach to become a human bronzer leopard and you’ll end up looking something like Snooki in her birthing suite.

To start, I coated my face in about 6 layers and varieties of blush and bronzer. This is the boring part, but neccessary. No matter what I did I couldn’t get myself to look tan in photos, and eventually I resorted to rubbing instant body bronzer on my face. In the end I think I photographed pretty much like I had gotten a little sun, but in person I looked like a clown or Lindsay Lohan trying to get gussied up for a court date. The girls tend to prefer orange shades of blush, so I added Nars Torrid to my cheeks, a blush that can be beautiful and subtle when applied with a light touch, but when slapped on the cheeks without care is the color of a traffic cone. No one really needs advice on how to do this, or even wants to emulate it much for that matter; just be indiscreet.

Here is where the fun began. Snooki is never seen without her EXTREME, like, Barbie extreme, false eyelashes and I wanted to rock something extra special for this look. Falsies make me nervous but I found these beauties on sale at Sephora for $3. When I was checking out, the girl behind the counter could not stifle her laughter or side eye. I thought it was rude but then I realized if I was in her position and didn’t know that I had a blog where I did very poor imitations of famous people, I would probably laugh at the idea of this nebbish librarian chick buying a set of austentacious false eyeliner too.

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This set was called “Seduction”

BUT LOOK HOW THEY SPARKLE! I applied a mixture of gunmetal and silver eyeshadows to my lids as a base and then I stuck these bad boys on. No glue neccesary, they have adhesive on the back like stickers, but disgustingly enough I dropped one of these on my furry carpet and had to peel it off and put it on my eye. These were, without a doubt, the most uncomfortable things that I have ever put on my face or body, and yet I loved them. I love them so much, too much. I don’t know if I’d EVER have an occasion to rock them, but Jesus Christ were they ever awesome. Here’s a close up before the big reveal:
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Next, for my hair. I’ve previously expressed my disdain and incompetance regarding heat tools but I struggled to think of a way to Jersey-fy my look. Snooki and Jenni are known for doing all sorts of weird dip-dyeing and fire engine red and vanilla exstensions to their hair so I figured I’d add a little bit of creative color to my strands. I bought Splat Hair Chalk in Midnight Blue at CVS; it’s a mass market version of more expensive (though not very high class) hair chalks that have been out for a while. Preferably I would have picked bright pink or magenta but the CVS was out so I went with the electric blue.

She was begging to get involved

She was begging to get involved

The principle of the product is that you spray a section of hair with hairspray, press the little bubble of chalk against your hair and drag it through, and set the entire thing with hairspray again. I had low, low expectations for this product but guys, it was awesome. The downside is that you get powdery blue chalk everywhere (including on my cat’s white front patch) but the upside is that It. Looks. Awesome. Not like you dragged some children’s drawing medium through your hair, but like you have actual, Katy Perry strips of vivid blue in your hair, as executed by a professional. I would recommened this product to middle schoolers who want to experiment with their identities, halloween party goers, and middle aged women trying to look youthful while they attempt to rediscover their sexuality (said in Jenna Maroney voice.) It even smells like blueberries!

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Blue hair//Don’t care

My hair was BLUE! I wanted to finish the look with an extra something-something, some kind of head wear. Remember when the gang went to Florence and all the girls wore stupid floppy hats like they were going to an Easter horse race? Where did that trend come from? Probably it arose from some ether I am not privy too, possibly created by Mystic tan particles. The point is that they wing it. Snooki also wears a lot of weird headbands, so I decided to go in that direction. I shopped around at CVS and even found an option that had a leopard print flower on it, but my mother deemed the size of the flower too discreet. “Shouldn’t the flower be this size?” she asked, holding up a loofah. In the end I winged it by just disco-style tying a piece of cat chewed gift ribbon around my head. I thought it might be a little janky or the whole look might skew a little Audrey from Girls (“Where do you buy your headbands?”) but my sister really liked it. “It shows that you can just put anything on your head and call it an accessory!”she decried, and I guess that’s the principle of the entire thing. Winging it with chutzpah, making up your own trends and not questioning whether or not you are ridiculous, and not being concerned if someone looks at you funny. To be honest I enjoyed this look the most of any one that I’ve done so far– I’d be terrified to wear it in public but at the same time, it was super fun and made me feel awesome instead of understated. The moral: let’s envy Snooki and Jwoww for more than their money and easily earned fame and gorilla juice head boyfriends. They look how they want and it makes them feel awesome! They are free as birds and we should all try to be as much!

Freezing Over Is Hell: How to Survive Coldpocalypse 2013

Baby, it’s cold outside! America’s favorite fireside date-rape anthem has never rung more true. I swear to God this is the coldest winter on record for the last 1000 years. Al Gore was right! It’s a new ice age! Winter is coming! I’ve been forced to wear all sorts of hideous winter accessories in order to keep warm, like a ridiculous pair of fur lined gloves gifted to me by boyfriend that look they belong to a very glamorous prescription pill addict. He either bought them for me at Macy’s, stole them from his mom, or found them on the ground in a Philadelphia train station (still investigating.) The other day I even considered buying a hat, even though they make my hair look like Ralph the Dog’s ears! I picked one up in a shop and showed it to my sister. “Do you think Dom would still be attracted to me if he saw me in this?” She paused, thinking. “I mean,” she mused, “He’s already seen you eat a whole pizza.”

 

Phresh Winter Gear

Phresh Winter Gear//Sad Snowstorm Dog

Anyways, I want to offer my readers some tips on getting by in this cold weather. NOT how to look hot in the cold, because that is basically a pipe dream about a total impossibility (snow pants, hair tie, chilling with no makeup on,) but how to survive life’s little uncomfortablenesses without feeling totally miserable.

 

TIP ONE: JOJOBA OIL

Winter chaps your face and makes your skin dry as shit, and for an acne sufferer this is the worst. The obvious answer is a nice, heavy moisturizer but too often they contain stuff that will break you out, like any ingredient with the word “butter” in it. Acne plus dry skin is a nightmare from hell, and I’d rather look like Chappity Jones than layer a bunch of zits on top of my already parched face. The answer to all this is JOJOBA OIL! Nothing makes you feel more luxurious and refined, like an Into the Gloss Top Shelf Girl instead of an unemployed turtle enthusiast, than gently patting amber colored oil onto your face, but the anxiety always is whether that oil is going to clog your pores. Well, jokes on you because jojoba oil isn’t actually oil at all! Technically it is a wax, with the same exact chemical makeup as the oil your hair and skin naturally produces, rendering it non-comedogenic. Your body processes it as your skin just being Miley, rather than using it as an excuse to throw a disgusting clogged pore under-the-skin rave like in that horrible Stridex commercial for the early ‘aughts. I pat a little on every morning after my shower and at night after I wash my face, as well as whenever my skin gets that tight feeling. It works beautifully under makeup and you can buy it for dirt dirt cheap at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

 

TIP TWO: DRY YOUR DAMN HAIR

Normally I never blow dry my hair because it is boring to stand in front of a mirror for so long, but I’m not about to leave the house at 5:30 in the morning with zero degree wind chill when my hair is sopping wet. Believe you me, I’ve done this before, and my hair has literally turned into separate curl icicles. Its funny and cool to look like Medusa but its also very, very uncomfortable. The solution is the blow dryer but the 15 or so minutes it takes to diffuse my hair are a bummer. SOLUTION! Instead of blowdrying your hair in front of a mirror, greeted by nothing but your sallow early morning reflection, with nothing to do but solemnly ponder the various indignities that will greet you throughout the day, use Photobooth as your mirror! This probably works best for curly hair as you just have to bunch it up in your diffuser and ~chill for a bit~, but I do this every day now. I turn on Photo Booth, get a good look at myself and make sure all my hair is in the right place, cruise the internet for 5 minutes, switch the diffuser to the other side of my hair and checking it in the camera, and repeat until my head is comfortably dry. This way I am suitably entertained and never miss out on Cory Booker saving a family of baby otters from a fire, even for a second! YOU’RE WELCOME YOU LAZY BITCHES.

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TIP 3: FIGHT DEHYDRATION WITH RIH-HYDRATION

For reasons that are two boring to get in to (hint: they involve pragmatic 19th century ventilation tricks) my room gets super, super hot in the winter while the other rooms in the house are freezing. Since one thermostat controls the entire house, and my mom blasts that shit at like 90 degrees on a constant basis, I just have to deal with it. The other night I slept with just a sheet! It was like 5 degrees outside! The dry heat leaves me in a constant state of dehydration, which leads to all sorts of stuff like lame looking skin, chapped lips, migraines, and general woogie-ness. I try to drink lots of water but by the time I start feeling bad it’s always too late to fix situation (was going to make an Irreversible joke but I stopped myself. Jesus, Emalie.)  No matter how much water I drink I never get to feeling better! That’s why you should drink coconut water, the preferred water of Rihanna, paragon of good choices and world-renowned beverage scientist.

Very Subtle product placement in the "Man Down" video, which actually managed to glamorize 3rd world poverty

Very Subtle product placement in the “Man Down” video, which actually managed to glamorize 3rd world poverty

I’m not really sure what’s in this stuff but I guess it’s more hydrating than water, has electrolytes, cures hangovers, lime in the coconut, etc. Now, I’d tried coconut water a few times and thought it was DISGUSTING. Don’t get me wrong, mostly it is. I saw my friend drinking a coconut water and asked her how she could even tolerate the taste of what is basically tropical-kissed fart juice. She explained that coconut water IS gross EXCEPT when you are dehydrated, when it turns magically delicious since your body craves electrolytes so badly. This actually makes sense! One of my friends became iron deficient after becoming a vegetarian, and she physically craved potatoes even though that is so gross because her body KNEW they were where all the dank iron was at. I tried her recommendation out the next time I was dehydrated and it actually was true! The coconut water tasted amazing and I schlurped it down. This is actually a great way to test your where your hydration levels are at. Coconut water tastes disgusting? Good to go! Tastes amazing? Drink that ish! You’re sick! I actually find that about half way through a bottle I start to hate the taste and want to barf, and that’s when I know it’s been effective and I’m totally rehydrated.

Bundle up and head my warnings! Don’t worry about looking like an idiot in these cold times, do what you have to do to stay warm and not have your ears fall off! Even this guy is doing it!

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Downward Blog: Fake the Face of a Yoga Instructor

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If there is one thing I am obsessed with on this earth, it is talking about energy. “Oh my god, my bosses energy is like, so toxic! I can just feel like from 15 feet away like its cologne” or “I’m going to need you to calm down right now, you’re energy is really red and it’s freaking me out” or “She just has really great energy, like a calm mother turtle.” These are all things I have said. One time, I dragged my boyfriend into a vintage store and started to peruse when he grabbed my arm and stopped me. “Emalie,” he said, “We need to leave right now. The energy here is too stressful for me.” We locked eyes and he looked at me defiantly. Obviously he was not having a Long Island Medium moment, he just didn’t want to spend 15 minutes watching me search for size 7 Frye boots. I knew this to be true, but I knew that he was also challenging me. If I called bullshit on this, it would be like calling bullshit on every time I had begged my way out of a party because everyone’s auras were getting “like, really sinister.” It was a game of spiritual chicken and I was going to lose. “Fine,” I sighed, “let’s get out of here.”

But despite being so into energy and relaxation strategies and even claiming to have been hugged by a ghost, I was never interested in yoga. Why? Because yoga is exercise, and I hate exercise. But Emalie! Exercise gives you endorphins! Endorphins make you happy! Happy people don’t just kill their husbands! I know, I know. We all hold this scientific tenet to be super true, it’s just that I hate any movement that isn’t in the direction of a refrigerator. Further, my friend Sara once told me about doing yoga for her school’s athletic requirement and how all the changing positions caused everyone around her to inadvertently fart. A hot room of sweaty red people accidentally farting? Don’t sign me up. I wasn’t just worried about other people farting, I was worried about myself farting!

The only familiarity and enthusiasm I had towards yoga at all was with its pants. I love yoga pants! I have created a hierarchy of what I call “soft pants,” the pants you put on the moment you start to feel even a little distressed. At the top of the soft pants food pyramid is your velour sweat suit; $90 Juicy Couture sweatpants preferred by mob wives and bedazzled by Kardashians as the ending touch of their weddings. New money soft pants meant to be worn with sunglasses on a wealthy cocaine dealer’s private plane. On the bottom of the soft pants pyramid, we have baggy, heather gray sweats, usually distributed for free and preferred by high school field hockey players on their way to early morning SAT practice and female prisoners that use mayonnaise for hair gel. Yoga pants lie neatly in between: they are fitted enough that you don’t look like you’ve spent the greater part of your day crying, and imply brisk errand running and a possible trip to the gym. MAYBE you’ll see me at the CVS in yoga pants and know the truth, that these are the pants that I slept in and I’m unwilling to change out of them just to buy allergy drops, but maybe you’ll think, that woman is just picking up a Smart Water on her way to the gym! She has important things to do and can’t waste her time making eye contact with me!

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Sweatpants Hierarchy Courtesy of Chris Johns

But where was I? A few weeks ago, I was feeling particularly shitty and grumpy, so my sister suggested we do a bit of yoga. Not leave the house and go to a yoga studio yoga, but simple, psychosomatically effective yet completely unchallenging On Demand yoga. I didn’t want to refuse her suggestion, and I was already wearing the appropriate pants, so I agreed. To my surprise, I really liked it! It wasn’t that challenging, but teacher was really calming and kept me believing that the poses I was doing were great for my energy, which is what I’m all about. “Even though you can’t touch your toes, you’re still doing really good!” she would encourage, and I was inclined to agree. Normally I think that Namaste and “light and love” are well wishes reserved for the use of passive aggressive strippers who are trying to appear nonchalant and remain “classy” in the face of their enemies, but this lady made them seem really genuine! The one thing I did not like about our television instructor, the effervescent Desi, was her look. She was a pretty Stacie Dash look alike but she had distracting, rock hard breast implants and was wearing a Kourtney Kardashian level amount of clown blush. Her appearance didn’t really mesh with the form of yoga instructor. But you see, I am like the Cake Boss. Everything I do, no matter how mundane, gives me a great idea, only instead of brainstorming a towering fondant monstrosity, I am struck by the muse of beauty blogging. Newly energized by my Sun Salute, I will show you how to fake the look of a yoga instructor. Maybe if you look like Namaste you’ll feel like Namaste!

Now, the key to this look is to be casual, kind of sweating, flushed and glowing from within like you’ve been drinking a cup of green tea whilst downward dogging for the past hour and a half. I thought recreating this look would require about 500 products and a bunch of sly trickery, but to my surprise doing yoga had actually given me that yoga glow!  It only took a few products and about 5 minutes to have me looking my natural bangingest.

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THE HAIR

I wanted my look to be bohemian and relaxed, but not sloppy bun simple. While my hair was still wet, I raked in leave in conditioner and the cheap blue Sportz hair gel you can get at the drugstore for $2 through my hair for a little hold. I let my hair airdry to about 80% and then I gathered it to one side and braided it into what I would call a very liberal fish tail. One of my few talents is that my hair can hold a braid without a hair tie, but if you aren’t as genetically blessed as I am I would suggest these Scunci Polybands as a subtle solution.

THE FACE

I started by concealing a few problem areas with Loreal True Match concealer. Normally I would conceal after applying my foundation so my concealer doesn’t get moved around, but because I wanted to make this a minimal makeup look I decided to cover my worst flaws first to see how much coverage I actually needed. I followed with Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream, which smells like an old lady’s vanity in a nice way! This product is a little bit sticky and dewy on the face, so normally I would avoid it, but since the goal here is a little sheen I felt it served me well and livened my face up. Then I blended Benefit’s Sunbeam Highlighter on the apples of my cheeks and cheek bones. The color is described as “golden bronze” but it is too sheer to really be used to make you look tan; rather, its good at making more yellow toned people look ~lit from within~. Finally, I mixed blushes: First I stippled Stila Convertible Color in Peony, a creme blush which I would describe as a dewey, amped up nude on my cheeks, nose, and chin, and I topped it with the world famous Nars Orgasm Blush applied on my cheeks, temples, and under my brows.

EYES and LIPS

Now that my skin was glowing, I focused on my eyes. I lined upper and lower lashes with NYX Jumbo Eye pencil in Yoghurt, a shimmering amber chubby grand that is just really beautiful in person. If you’re thinking about wearing this pencil out of the house, I’d wear it with a primer, because it creases like a bitch! I put a shimmery pink shadown on my lids and wanted to finish the look with a natural mascara, but since I generally only use mascaras with word “fake” or “false” in the title I just used Maybelline’s the Falsies with a very, very light hand. On my lips I put a quick pass of the Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain in Honey, another subtle nude. I doubt you would wear this look to yoga without sweating it all over the place, but afterwards or on a day you’re feeling lazy but want to look like you’ve been attaining Nirvana it would be perfect. Here’s my look, demonstrated with my hands at heart center. NAMASTE MOTHERFUCKERS!!

Fart Center

Fart Center