Finding My Voice

I woke up today at 4am. Not because I had to, but because my brain has decided 4am is the perfect time for problem solving. The obnoxiously early wake-up calls these past eight months have netted nothing but apocalyptic fantasies of burning it down or spectacularly dramatic retreats that lose all their power with any bit of daylight shining on them. 

But today, my 4am brain was emphatic in its clarity: “You’ve lost your voice.”

Instead of fighting to go back to sleep, I felt compelled to see where this was going. 

I have always been a talker. I’m the oldest kid–I grew up with the adults–so words are important tools to get attention. It was uniformly recorded year after year in report cards with checkboxes in front of “Does not disturb others” and “Listens when others talk” an archaic grading system to say you’re an annoying and rude child who talks too much. None of it untrue.

And I’ve sang. I sang in cars until I was hoarse. I sang in choirs and concerts. Not well–but always singing regardless. Singing was nothing but pure joy.

I wrote. I’ve always valued writing and writers over nearly all else. To get to participate–even a little bit–in putting words on a page feels like the highest honor, the greatest accomplishment, my proudest moments. I had a dance show we were readying for audiences in March. All these dance pieces we spent months rehearsing but the part of the show I thought about the most was a monologue I wrote. I was excited for it to be heard. 

But it wasn’t. Not the way it was planned. And the eight months since has resulted in my slowly and then rapidly losing my voice. No more writing officially started in July, not even morning pages. No more singing–not even in the car or shower–in August. Inability to reach out to friends in September. No concept of a Facebook post or a response to one or processing others-so the app went off my phone in October. No phone banking for the election. No calling my parents. Not a lack of something to say, but a choking grip on any words that dared to get out. 

Sometimes I had so much to say and no way to say it, it came out in panic attacks. Episodes with so many questions–What is wrong with you? How can I help you? What’s going on?–and no words to answer. Now I’m seeing a therapist every two weeks instead of monthly. Mostly she says–it’s hard for everyone–and she’s right. What else is there to say. 

I try to give myself a pass. Not just because it’s pandemic time. I’m from a collection of people who have historically struggled to use their words. A generation that felt words had so much meaning it was best left to professionals. Gen X expressed our feelings in mix tapes filled with other people’s words because ours were certainly inadequate. Our generation’s enduring cinematic image of self-expression is holding a boombox playing someone else’s song high enough so it could be heard. And from a movie aptly titled Say Anything.

Recently, Jess and I have been talking about a movie we were obsessed with in high school that is completely forgotten–including by us--Pump Up the Volume. It’s not streaming anywhere. Jess had to dig deep on the internet to get a DVD of it during quarantine.

Since it’s been a while–or mostly likely–it’s new to you, it’s a typical high school romance. The protagonist–Christian Slater–is a rebellious teen (per usual) but his crime is having an underground radio show where he disguises his identity and speaks the truth about the school and the pressures of being a teenager. And he plays music that only cool kids like him would know to his sheltered peers. He is radical. He has an opinion. He has technology. He has taste. He has a voice.

And that’s what I always wanted–a voice. It always felt like it was something that was earned. Only special people got to have one. You had to say things that mattered even if it was just to a small group of people like you. With this blog, I felt like I could write about things that interested me–to other people who may be interested too. It was for friends who told us that they had lost their connection to makeup trends and music and entertainment. Usually it was friends with kids–I could fill a void because I had the time they lost–even though their interest remained. I had permission to write and to share it. My request for a voice was granted under special circumstances. 

But even with more time than I could’ve imagined to write, I have less ability than ever to do it. Now I feel disconnected. Losing my voice has been a symptom of something larger. Who am I and who am I becoming? And realizing this change was happening before March 15th. It’s just now I’ve had nothing but space to face it.

We are not the generation who wanted to be defined. As a whole, we actively didn’t want to stand out. Our fashion was flannel. Our generation’s theme song is “oh well, whatever, nevermind.” We were awkward misfits who wallowed in our loneliness never noticing we all felt alone. We were afraid. Unless you could be clever or biting or irreverent, there was nothing for you–at least that’s the excuse we gave ourselves. To care was uncool. It was too painful. So instead we are defined by our silence–we are the generation that took our voice and actively threw it away. 

Without the few things we tried to use to give meaning, even transiently, like our fashion and makeup–or lack of, the company we keep, the concerts we go to, our favorite restaurant, who are we? Who am I? Who cares?

But while my voice has been muted, I have been listening. The BLM protests overwhelmed me. It wasn’t the “you should do this” I was accustomed to, it was “this is who we are.” It was a revolution. Not because they choose to speak–because their lives depend on it.

In amplifying their voices, I was faced with how little I know about my own.

And that’s where I am today. Unprepared for these times like a lot of my generation. 

I did the one thing I could do this election–I voted. I’m listening and I’m trying to sort out what I value and what I need to let go of. I’m watching this generation and trying to learn from them. Regardless of how the election goes, they are right in telling us the fight is just beginning. And I’d like to join them. I’m learning how not to be afraid, how to speak. If we all do have a voice, what do we say? What do I say? 

Right now, I just want to say anything. And hopefully, this is a start. 

Lyn’s Favorite Songs of 2019

What a way to end a decade! This year’s list is basically a representation of all the types of music I gravitated to the most in the past ten years. Slow jams? Check. Dance tracks? Check. Indie veterans? Check. Burial? Check.

Usually I spend tons of time crafting–what I believe to be–the best presentation of the songs, the perfect playlist.

But in pulling my notes together this year, I started to feel like shuffling the list might actually be the most representative way to experience the songs. A true 2019 way of listening to music. It’s such a mix of styles and genres, voices and experiences that mixing them up makes songs hit even harder coming out of nowhere or take on surprising new meaning.

And it’s also fairly consistent with my relationship with this collection of songs. Like all music, it’s a soundtrack. Songs I played on repeat when I was happy and songs that speak to specific feelings I had while working things out. Sometimes just minutes apart.

However, my favorite song of the year is from one of my favorite experiences of the year. While it was only a few months, I participated in a Tuesday night dance class that brought me so much joy and connected me to the outlet that always grounds me and makes me feel like the best version of myself. It was an Afro-Peruvian/Latin/Hip Hop/Zumba/you name it class and 100% happiness. From the instructor, Francis to all the lovely people in the class living their best, sweaty life in that hour–just like me–it was a really important moment and reminded me how impactful dance has been on my past 10 years and will continue to be in the future.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Latin Pop and this class introduced me to all the chart topping hits–most can be found on the Spotify playlist called Viva Latino–but dancing to them fuses their energy directly into your body.

While I obviously love all the songs on my favorite songs of 2019 list, my most favorite, bestest song of the year is Baila, Baila, Baila, Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Anuel AA. After one listen–I was hooked–and I don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t played it multiple times.

Below is the full list. You’ll find all the top personalities of the year–Lizzo, Billie Eilish, BTS, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Rosalia, Post Malone and Sturgill Simpson– represented. I also agree with many of the already posted tops of the year (my list is soooo late and therefore didn’t follow a pre-October 31 release date rule) with nods to FKA Twigs, Clairo, Solange, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten and Tyler, the Creator. And then old favorites like Jenny Lewis, Local Natives, Future, Kehlani, Bon Iver, Haim, and Beyonce. It’s great to have Missy Elliot back and she shows up twice as does Lykke Li. Whitney Houston sings us higher in a surprise posthumous release and I finally get to put one of my favorite songs of ALL-TIME, Murder on the Dancefloor on a year-end list with an orchestral re-imagining of the early 2000s, pre-Lyn’s favorites playlists Sophie Ellis-Bextor classic.

It’s been quite a year and this list reminds me that music remains my most treasured and reliable memory book through it all.

Enjoy this playlist on Spotify–and why not follow it and me!–on the platform! What did I miss? What did you love? What fell flat? I wanna hear it all from you! Thank you, 2019 for all the great moments and music!

Lyn’s Favorite Songs and Albums of the Decade: 2010s

Earlier this fall, a friend posted on his Instagram story his responses to Pitchfork’s survey of readers’ favorite songs and albums. It was the first time it even dawned on me the decade was ending. Wow. What a decade it has been!

Then the questions kicked in: Where did I think I would be at the start of the decade and where am I now? How quickly did time pass but how far away somethings seems to be. 10 years. Over. When you try and process it, it gets overwhelming pretty quick.

So instead I redirected and focused on the more important questions–what are MY favorite songs and albums of the 2010s?

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Of course, this became an all-consuming project for me. Coming up with my favorite albums was fairly easy. I just stuck to the albums I’ve come back to year after year. I didn’t try to overthink it.

When it came to songs–that got much more difficult. Luckily, I had a starting point. I took all my “favorite songs of the year” lists and put them into one big playlist (which you can check out here) and started listening to them again. Some of the songs I’ve continued to have on repeat, others had fallen off my radar.

But here’s the magic of music–it brings you back to a particular moment in time. As much as I wanted to avoid reflection, there it was. All the memories–some I would relive again and again if I could–but some I’d give anything to forget. Songs that fire up those pangs of regret I’ve worked hard to cool, all the work undone by two notes in an intro. People I don’t talk to anymore. People who I still love despite how they hurt me. People I’ve hurt. Disappointments that still feel fresh. Pain that lingers. Dreams dashed. Things that are over or never began.

What do you do with songs that you loved once but can’t listen to anymore? Get rid of them? Pretend they never existed? If you erase the song, can you erase the memory that’s tied to them?

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I wrestled hard. So I did a list of just 50 songs that I could confidently listen to on repeat and feel good about how I spent my last decade. But then a few friends checked out the first draft and said it felt incomplete. It felt like songs were missing. It was the social media representation of my life through music but not the real thing.

And they were right. So I dug deeper. Found the songs that didn’t make my year-end lists for whatever reason and got them counted. I re-listened to music I had actively avoided and looked for ways to make peace with them and appreciate them for all they gave me.

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Ten years is a long time. That’s thousands of songs for me. It’s all the people I’ve met and all the moments I’ve made–and I make moments, y’all!–organized into one playlist.

But I did it! Here’s my list of my 200 favorite songs of the 2010s–all the good times and bad times that have made me who I am today and will help me become the person I’m going to be tomorrow.

The rules were simple–the song had to come out 2010-2019. And as hard as it was, I basically limited the list to one song per artist (you can check out my “favorites” playlist to get a sense of how many Drake, Kanye, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Florence + the Machine, Bon Iver, James Blake, Future and Lana del Rey, etc. songs could’ve been included!)

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The list starts in order with my favorite songs of the decade up until 50 and then I couldn’t manage it anymore so I went alphabetical. Hahaha!

Which means my favorite song of the decade is Robyn, Dancing on My Own. The song is universally agreed upon perfection–as is Robyn, in general–but it’s the balance of hope and sadness in the chorus’ last line “I keep dancing on my own” that makes it so special.

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Thank you, 2010s. You taught me a lot about myself and others. You introduced me to amazing people and experiences. You showed my strength and made me come to terms with my weaknesses. I’m not the person I was when I started this decade and that’s ok.

And to the 2020s–bring it on. Because whatever you’ve got for me, I’m gonna keep dancing.

Lyn’s Favorite Songs of 2019–and Albums–so far!

Happy 4th, everyone!! Here’s a playlist of my favorite songs for you to throw on shuffle during your holiday weekend!

While definitely not as tricky as creating my year-end list–it was hard to keep it to 50–this has been a really strong year and there are a bunch of big releases still coming.

But I narrowed it down as best as I could–and as quickly as I could–to get this to you for the 4th.

Additionally–here are 15 albums I’ve had on repeat all year. I keep a playlist on Spotify called “2019 Favorite Albums.” Are you on Spotify? Why not follow that playlist and check in on it throughout the year? Do it…

Helado Negro: This is How You Smile

James Blake: Assume Form

Tyler, The Creator: Igor

Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow

Girlpool: What Chaos is Imaginary

Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Anderson.Paak: Oxnard and Venutra (a bit of a cheat but i listen to them together a lot)

Angelo de Augustine: Tomb

Better Oblivion Community Center: self-titled

Jenny Lewis: On the Line

Nilüfer Yanya: Miss Universe

Local Natives: Violet Street

Solange: When I Get Home

Carly Rae Jepsen: Dedicated

Kehlani: While We Wait

Speaking of playlists–did you read Jess’ ghost story last week? Damn. Still thinking about it–why does everyone have that one person who makes random appearances at random times? Crazy.

There you go! Lots of new music for you to enjoy! What have you been into this year? Are you on Spotify? Do you want these playlist on other platforms like YouTube? Let me know below!


Sephora 20% off–spring edition

I haven’t bought much at Sephora lately. It’s not that I haven’t been picking up new products–let’s be real–but I’ve been really digging a lot of drugstore makeup or cheaper lines like Essence, Flower Beauty and Wet N Wild. I’ve actually returned quite things at Sephora (which I’ll mention below.)

Additionally–I haven’t had much time to watch YouTubers to even see what’s good out there. So there’s been little product FOMO in my life.

But with the 20% off discount code in my inbox–that was all about to change.

Here’s what I got in three categories: Restock, Give a Shot, Legit Wishlist with recommendations built-in. At the end, I included two bonus sections: Things I Returned and Things I Recommend:

Restock: I am obsessed with Drunk Elephant products. My skin just has never looked better and I’m using primarily this line, especially with my nighttime routine. Since DE products are on the pricey side, getting a discount seems like a good idea. Unfortunately, some of the items have a short shelf-life, so it’s not ideal to let them sit in a drawer. Without being able to see inside the packaging to know how much I have left–I had to just make a guess based on the weight of the bottle to see if it felt full or empty. Using that scientific determination, I decided to get a few items I think I’ll need in the next month or so. (sadly–i had JUST repurchased the Protini cream two weeks ago without the discount and it feels weird to return it and repurchase it on sale. but i still might…)

I credit my skin turnaround to the T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum. I love it completely. So I grabbed one of those since mine feels light. I mix it with the A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream, but I’ve purchased that fairly recently and I will definitely have enough to get me to November’s sale. But if you’re looking for a really gentle, but high performing Retinol cream–this is for you! I’m also completely in the tank for the Lala Retro™ Whipped Moisturizer and cannot go without it. So I grabbed one. I use the La La and Protini together often–or when I’m lazy–I’ll grab whichever is handiest. But they are very different creams, the La La being heavy and Protini is a serum/moisturizer hybrid. However, with summer coming (it is coming, right?) I decided to try the B-Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Serum again as my day cream moving into warmer months. I’ve tried it before and didn’t LOVE it, but I’ve been having such success with DE lately, I’m going give it another shot. I’ll just return it if it’s not what I really want.

If you haven’t tried Drunk Elephant before, they have a new trial box out called Get Even™ Kit with pretty good sized samples of the Night Serum, Retinol, Protini, the C-Firma™ Day Serum–which I use and like enough for something I do because I feel I should but not really sure I notice a difference because of it–and their sunscreen which I haven’t tried. These are some heavy hitters and you’ll definitely get enough uses to know if it’s for you or not. There’s also still The Littles™ Set which gives you more products to try but no Retinol. Neither of these sets have the La La cream and it’s seriously my favorite–but these are nice ways to try the line–especially with the discount on top of it. I would also strongly recommend the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ Mask Mini which is a very impactful mask and a quantity that is realistic and more reasonably priced.

i got to use this photo again–i repurchased during the summer 20% off sale last year!

The other restocks I grabbed were my Milk Makeup Matcha Toner and Watermelon Brightening Serum which are both a couple weeks away from being cashed out. So the sale was good timing. I thought about not getting the Brightening Serum–but I really like it–so I’m keeping it as part of my morning routine.

Finally–and I can’t believe I’m admitting this–I’m obsessed with the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk. I have spent a stupid amount of time trying to find the right dupe for it and I just can’t. I love it so much. It’s just perfect for me so I got the full size one. UGH.

me using all the new products including the pillow talk pencil and sugar sugar marc jacobs beauty gloss that is my go-to combo and my new giannis mean mug t-shirt!

Give a shot: I have no problem returning products I don’t like, so I use the sale as an opportunity to try out products I’m curious about–they could be amazing or terrible–and I’m for finding out.

When it comes to high end products, my favorite line recently has been Marc Jacobs Beauty. The Enamored Hydrating Lip Gloss Stick was one of my top finds of 2018 and I now have them in several colors although Sugar Sugar is my favorite. I got a Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner during the November 20% off sale and have already picked up a few more in matte, shimmer and glitter finishes. I love them all and they have replaced UD as my favorite eyeliners. I got a couple of the Le Marc Liquid Lip Crème liquid lipsticks during a Wow sale but the colors I grabbed are sold out online–they were available at the West Towne Sephora when I was there over the weekend. These are very nice liquid lipsticks–not drying at all. And then on a Facebook recommendation during the November 20% off sale–from Rachel I think–I got the Shameless Youthful-Look 24H Foundation SPF 25 in Light R250 and I’ve really liked it a lot! It’s been my go-to non-drugstore foundation option ever since.

Thanks to a Kathleen Lights video on what to grab during the sale, I got the Velvet Primer – Epic Lash Primer and the See-quins Glam Glitter Eyeshadow in COPPERAZI 86. I’m wearing both for the first time today. I don’t have an eyelash primer at the moment and I like this. I’m going to try it a little longer. But I can already tell the shadow is going back. It’s toooooo glittery for me but also doesn’t really pack much more punch than some of my more shimmery copper shadows I already have. So nope.

Legit Wishlist: These are items I’ve had in my “Loves” and have been waiting for an excuse to purchase. I have a friend who is desperately searching for a good pore filler and I really haven’t been much help in finding something I like. The Tatcha, The Silk Canvas Protective Primer Mini always comes up–including in that Kathleen Lights video–so I decided to get it. I’m wearing it today and I think it may be a winner! My skin is looking pretty legit so fingers crossed this might we the one!

I love face oils and tinted moisturizers so I noticed the KOSAS, Tinted Face Oil Foundation in Tone 3 the second it showed on on the “Just Arrived” page. Tati did a review of it that was positive but it’s expensive so it’s just been waiting. I got it and tried today. It’s HELLA watery. So much so it may be a deal breaker. BUT! My skin looks really good. I think I’ll give it a week and see how I feel. I’ll keep you updated on Instagram if it goes or stays.

I’ve never tried the Beauty Blender, liquid blendercleanser® so I grabbed one to see how it fairs compared to the solid–or just soap TBH. We’ll see.

And then I use the world’s smallest mirror at my desk at work, so I ordered a small but WAY bigger than what I’ve been using mirror which I already love! Sephora Collection, Seeing Double Compact Mirror is perfect!

Things I Returned: Perhaps you need to be talked out of some items or minimizing your order a bit. Here are some things I tried recently but returned.

Sol De Janeiro, Coco Cabana Cream made me understand the people who couldn’t get over the scent of the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream which I love. This scent was an immediate NO! for me. And I also started to feel a little icky about spending $45 on lotion, so I bought a lotion from The Body Shop at Ulta during a discount and it was less than $20 and I really like it.

Milk Makeup, Lip Color in OG Red is messy and slides easily and just no. Way too many fantastic and cheap lipsticks out there–and I’m not hurting for red lipsticks. It went back.

Nudestix, Nude Gloss Balm Founder Set: Ugh. This was a in-line impulse purchase I immediately regretted. These glosses are nudes and are basically all the same color and all too light for me. This wasn’t event close.

Tata Harper, Volumizing Lip & Cheek Tint: Please don’t even look at the price. My lips were super chapped. I was feeling low and made a bad decision. Luckily, Sephora has a generous return policy when I came to my senses.

Things I Recommend: I bought an RMS Beauty Wild With Desire Lipstick sampler during the November sale and really love the formula and would recommend the set. I’m crazy about Temptation in particular and got the full size this winter. It’s AMAZING!

I still really miss my Laneige Sleep Mask, but I got this Farmacy, Honey Butter Beeswax Lip Balm at some point and it’s very nice. And at $10, it’s more than a drugstore lip balm but nicer by a lot with really good ingredients.

My love for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna is well documented. I picked up two more Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in Thicc – sultry mauve and
Ma’Damn – royal red and my only regret is I can’t find my red!

So yeah–that’s a lot! But I hope it gives you some ideas before the sale ends on May 6th. What’s on your list? We’ve all got a few days to do a little more damage! What do you recommend? What do should be avoided? Let us know in the comments below!

All my money. Which makes that stupid Tatcha Harper even more embarrassing.

Flower Beauty vs. Glossier: battle of the blushes

I really like cream products. I like the easy application–you just dab a bit and go. No brushes or blenders or other tools necessary. It also feels like playing–and really–isn’t the joy of makeup getting to play with color and textures?

We’ve been big fans of the Glossier Cloud Paint since Pamela introduced them to us in spring of 2017. I know she’s still a Cloud Paint stan and I’ve been converted, too. They have been a go-to blush option since they launched and part of my basic makeup routine.

So I was super intrigued when Flower Beauty launched a VERY similar product in the fall of 2018. Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drops are based on the same premise as the Cloud Paints–cream blushes in a tube.

my four from each line: Glossier Cloud Paint and Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drop

Over the past few months–and a few Ulta sales here and there–I’ve grabbed a range of Flower Beauty blushes to compare with my Cloud Paints. I tried to get different colors because I actually want to use them and definitely don’t need anymore redundancy in my makeup collection. I mostly wanted to see how they compare in application, color and wear time.

My basic takeaway: they are both amazing!

Each line has six shades in the range. While it seems like there is overlap–Bubbly and Puff, for example, are both a light cotton candy pink–of the four I have from each line, I find the colors quite different. A lot of my recommendation is based on the colors you want instead of the products themselves. (ftr–i have puff and never use it. too pink for me.)

There are really only two drawbacks to the Glossier Cloud Paints: 1) you can only order them online (unless you wade through the CRAZY that is the NYC flagship store) which means you have to meet minimums for shipping, etc. 2) they are SO pigmented a little really goes a long way so you do have to be a little careful when using them. Their tube has a wider opening where the Color Drop releases less product per squeeze–which is nice.

the glossier store in nyc was probably the busiest store i’ve ever been in

But the benefits of Cloud Paint are mighty: amazing color payoff, super long lasting–both on your cheeks and in the tube–it will take me forever to work through one of them–and the color selection has everything you need.

With Flower Beauty, you can get them at Ulta or anywhere Flower Beauty is sold including Walmart, which makes it very convenient to give them a try. (and remember–you can always return it if you don’t like something, including through glossier!) And they are $10 instead of $18 with Glossier, and you can often get them on a discount.

Color Drops are also less pigmented so I find them a little easier to use. I’m not as concerned about the possibility of clown cheeks with their formula. Their wear time is slightly less than the Cloud Paint, but comparable.

There really aren’t downsides to the Color Drops aside from a few missing colors. My favorite Glossier Cloud Paints is Storm. It looks really intimidating because it seems like its dark red, but it leaves a gorgeous rosy finish. I love it. I don’t see there is a similar option through Flower Beauty.

I also have Haze from Glossier and Bitten from Flower Beauty–a purple berry color–and between the two, I prefer Haze. It has a softer hue and doesn’t read as harsh considering how pale I am. They aren’t exactly the same, but I’m likely to return Bitten because I don’t see myself using both.

And while the Cloud Paint Beam seems to be the same as Color Drop’s Nectar, Beam is a lot peachier. Nectar is more coral and has more brown to it. I like them both. I don’t have the Cloud Paint coral option, Dawn so I wonder if it’s closer to Nectar. But I would just stick to Nectar for a coral cheek. I have used Beam a lot though–especially in the summer–and love it.

Of the Cloud Paints, as I mentioned, I don’t have Dawn and I also don’t have Dusk. But my favorite of the Color Drops is Pinched, which I think is the perfect everyday blush color. I’m not sure how to describe it exactly. It’s not a bronzer but it does warm up your cheeks. It’s also not very pink or peach or berry–it just reads like a perfect nude lipstick–but for your cheeks. I’m obsessed. Dusk might be closest to it for Cloud Paints, but I don’t have it to confirm. I find it’s an especially great compliment on red lip kinda days.

Speaking of bronzers, I also have Color Drop in Cinnamon which I use as a bronzer, not a blush, and really like it. I think it pairs perfectly with Pinched and I can see myself putting these two together often.

me wearing pinched and cinnamon today–although not super easy to see

Overall, I think they are both great! I love the concept, application and finish. I would decide based on the colors you want and if you want to just pick it up or have other Glossier orders to make. I’ve liked a lot of Flower Beauty products including these and they are often discounted at Ulta. Glossier has a discount on buying two Cloud Paints at once which also gives you free shipping, if you were thinking of trying them out.

You really can’t go wrong with either option if cream blush is your jam.

Have you tried these products? What do you think? Please comment below!

And yes–paid for by me.


Wet N Wild–a full face review

Like Target, Walgreens has become my new top stop to randomly purchase things I don’t need–and by things–I mean makeup. A recent Walgreens pop- in (for nails, obvs) lead to a Wet N Wild haul.

In my defense–there was a 3/$10 deal and some other markdowns–AND they had a bunch of new products to try.

My love for the MegaCushion Foundation is well documented–it is now my every day foundation. As the color drains on the daily from my face (thanks, winter) I thought I’d try a lighter shade from my normal Creamy Ivory to Light Ivory. And since it was $3 off, why not?

I also love stick foundations, so I decided I’d give the Foundation Stick in Porcelain a whirl.

Part of Wet N Wild’s new products are face primers and sprays. I tend to like products that feature coconut water, so I grabbed two sprays: one coconut water based and one for a natural finish, and a coconut primer.

We are big fans of Wet N Wild’s lip products, so naturally I needed to try the new MegaLast Liquid Catsuit High-Shine Lipstick (as opposed to the MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Lipstick which Jess turned us on to) in Cedar Later.

And they’ve expanded the Liquid Catsuit line with eye shadows, so I got two muted tones to use as primers in Camel Back and Sand Castles. I was nervous about the more metallic ones and didn’t try any of those.

In the end, I got two sprays, a primer, two eye shadows, a lip stick, a foundation stick and a cushion foundation for $24–not too bad!

I did a look on Instagram with drugstore makeup with some of the new products, especially the lipstick and decided since I was so close to having a full face of Wet n Wild makeup, I should do one more Walgreens run to do a full face review.

be kind–i’ve been hella tired lately! (and notice, i never actually put those nails on.)

I had the Ultimate Brow Retractable Pencil off Jess’ recommendation, a highlighter (a gift from Jess back in the day) and a few eyeshadow palettes. I only needed lip and eye liners, bronzer, blush and mascara (which in retrospect was actually more things than i anticipated to buy.)

So back to Walgreens. Sadly, the sale was over, but these are still very reasonably priced products and I had points to use! Yay, Beauty Enthusiast program!

Armed with all the products, I’ve done a few days of looks to give them a try and let you know my thoughts. Here are just some of the ones I used:

ugh–i forgot to take pictures of the blush and bronzer.


Great:

The MegaCushion is so great! The Creamy Ivory is too light so Creamy Beige is still my best match. But it’s okay–I just use the new one as a concealer! LOVE.

Liquid Catsuit lipsticks are fab. If you hate the drying effects of a liquid lipstick–which is totally fair especially in winter–grab the High Shine options instead. (white top vs. black top)

Perfect Pout Gel Liners are a steal at $3! Seriously, these are so pigmented and creamy without slipping. I’ll definitely be laying this down with my favorite Marc Jacobs glosses over it. I got Bare to Comment which is a really universal nude shade.

Retractable Brow Pencil is one of the greatest finds around. Thanks, Jess!

MegaGlo Highlighter is really the only powder highlighter I use. Again–JESS WINS! (i didn’t actually wear it in my look though–see below.)

Good:

Color Icon Eyeshadow Quads gets the job done. They change their colors very frequently so the one I used isn’t available anymore, but there are lots of great ones out there. These are also very nice to pack when traveling.

Liquid Catsuit eyeshadows are surprisingly good! The colors I got function exactly how I wanted–as primers. They stay on, don’t create and work as a nice base. And you could totally wear them without putting shadow on top. I could’ve put these in the “Great” category, but I haven’t tried the more adventurous ones to verify that for sure.

Stick Foundation was magic one day and just okay another. I don’t love a fuller coverage foundation, which this one definitely is, so I liked it better the day I wore a heavier moisturizer under it to give it a little more dewiness. With just a basic primer, it was a little patchier, but that’s more because my skin is wicked dry right now than the product. I still really liked it and will use it on days where I am looking for more coverage. And the color is a better match than even the MegaCushion right now.

Color Icon Blush in Apri-Cot in the Middle is a very nice peach blush. If you need a peach blush at a very cheap price point–this is a good one. It’s not my favorite and I doubt I’ll reach for it much, but it works.

Coconut 3-in-1 Primer Water is fine. I put it in the “Good” pile because of its price and it did seem to set my makeup and save it from looking too cakey which was an issue at one point. But I do like the Milani ones better for drugstore and I’m currently obsessed with Morphe’s setting spray available at Ulta. Both are double the price of this one. For the money–it works.

No:

Color Icon Bronzer in Palm Beach Ready is one of the new products and it’s a pass for me. Here’s the thing–I just really, really love my Butter Bronzer. I felt like my look was good until I put this on and then it looked like too much makeup. The shimmer doesn’t help–so I didn’t wear a highlighter–but I don’t think it would matter if it had it or not. I’m just faithful to the Physicians Formula. (it also dawned on me that i DID have a wet n wild bronzer–one of the megacushion contours–and i threw it out because i didn’t like it either. and i think i liked that one more than this one.)

Retractable Eyeliner in Dark Brown is a disappointment. It’s very dry and tugged on my eyelids to get it on. There are much better drugstore eyeliners you can get–like any of them–so pass on this one.

MegaLength Mascara is also a pass. It said it was reformulated but I wasn’t into it. My hope is it would be a cruelty-free alternative to the CoverGirl LashBlast which I haven’t replaced yet (although spoiler alert: looks like I won’t have to…) and it wasn’t. Essence has such good mascaras–go with theirs for a cheap but great drugstore mascara.

PhotoFocus™ Water Drop Primer in Coconut Dreamin’ is a NO! I actually had to quickly remove it–it was burning my skin. So no no no no no.

still. so. tired. and it’s weird to wear a flannel, but i’m trying it. also–i got my hair did and my brows tightened right after i took this which is major.


Overall–I think the Wet N Wild line is like any other line with some standout offerings, some really good options and ones that are not worth your attention. The benefit is the price. These products are cheap which makes the highs even higher and the lows not so bad.

Did I miss anything? Do you have Wet N Wild favorites I should try? Have you tried the MegaCushion yet? Let me know all your Wet N Wild comments below.

And thankfully, this line is both cheap and often on sale, so I could afford to do a full face using my own money.


The Tale of Two Yoga Challenges

I’ve been planning to write this resolutions post since the beginning of the year. Today is February 15th. But the delay on this post kinda serves as the perfect set up to talk about resolutions and why they seem fated to fail.

Allow me to illustrate it with my original intention for this post: “The Tale of Two Yoga Challenges.”

My relationship with yoga is complicated at best. I hate doing things I’m not good at—and I’m not good at yoga. Yet yoga at its core touches on things I need to work on in my life. There are the physical issues like strength, flexibility, alignment and the mental aspects like shutting down negative noise in my head, learning patience, and celebrating small successes. And of course—the big ones like saying “no”, time management and being realistic about how long life things actually take.

But even with a rocky run at yoga, I’ve been consistently doing it inconsistently for a long time. Over ten years, at least. And for someone who isn’t particularly loyal to any exercise, that’s a long time.

Due to a confluence of weird health and personal issues, when The Studio announced a 30-day yoga challenge in October 2014, it felt like the perfect opportunity to align (see what I did there) all the random challenges into one organized “challenge.” 30 classes in 31 days. I was in.

Spoiler alert: I finished. It was a completely bonkers experience that at some points required me to do three classes a day—which was totally unsafe and definitely not recommended—and it didn’t accomplish what I had hoped. But I learned three key lessons that made it worthwhile.

  1. No one cares. You know what people don’t care about—your yoga challenge (insert all other workouts, diets, personal journeys.) Unless it impacts them directly, it’s not a thing anyone is thinking about but you. I’d say “I can’t—I have yoga” and supportive friend who loves me and wants me to do and be great says “Oh that’s right. I forgot you’re doing that.” Not because they aren’t supportive—your thing and whether you succeed or not—literally has no impact on their relationship with you. Your friends are your friends. With or without a completed punch card.
  2. Everyone needs help. One of the yoga things I learned doing the challenge was how important it is to use props. A bunch of instructors did the challenge, so I’d see them in class. They all used them. It was visual confirmation that even people I admire need assistance. Maybe knowing enough to use the tools available is the exact thing that helps make them successful.
  3. Everyone has issues. There’s nothing like a yoga class to make me feel super self-conscious. Certainly, everyone’s looking at me and judging. But it turns out no one cares (see number one) and everyone has their own issues. They legit have no time for you. The biggest takeaway from the challenge came in the locker room. It was after class and I followed a woman–who seemed to take every single class because I was coming at all kinds of random times and she was always there, too—into the locker room. I don’t have nudity issues. It’s not that I’m volunteering to walk around naked in public on the daily but changing in a locker room in front of people isn’t something I lose sleep over. Even with a healthy dose of body image issues like everyone else, I just change and go. But this woman—who could be on the cover of Yoga Journal—promptly went into a privacy stall. I had seen this woman do things in class that I could only dream of attempting and even with a lifestyle calibrated with the optimum balance of exercise and nutrition, I’m certain my body could never look like hers. And she went into the privacy stall. We were the only two people there. Everyone has issues. Whether we understand them or not—they’re there. No one is adding extra time to their day thinking about yours.

So overall, the challenge was a success. It made me feel like—yeah, I can do that. The next year I hiked in the Himalayas and reflected on how since I did the challenge, I could do this.  And so can you.

But should we? And what do we give up in succeeding? In that one month, I know I turned down time to hang with friends, something that’s important to me. I hear from my mom friends that taking an hour to do [insert “good for you” thing] is an hour not spent with family. And life already takes time away.

Yet even with the already precarious balancing act we find ourselves in, there’s something so alluring about adding more challenges and expectations. Setting resolutions.

In December 2018, I signed up for another yoga challenge. This time, it was a 21-day deal. I didn’t even read it before I registered. Had I read it—and looked at a calendar—I’d have known I had no shot.

Instead, I was determined to get it done. I had done it before, of course I could do it again. I posted about it—which is funny because again NO ONE CARES—and not one person ever brought it up.

Spoiler alert: I did not finish. On a pivotal day that I thought I needed to get to a class to have a chance, I was sick. And I was sick because I was rundown. How do I know? Because after one day of sleep and rest, I felt way better. That doesn’t happen if you have a proper cold or flu. But instead of just honoring my body—a very yoga concept—I created a storm of anxiety about how not going to class that day was going to force me to fail at this totally irrelevant thing I was doing. I laid on the couch and created a comprehensive list of all the things I’m failing at and how 2019 had to be the year I do better.

Because I failed at a yoga challenge.

I didn’t think about how doing the yoga challenge got me back on my mat more times that month than I would ever regularly do. Or how good I felt because of the classes I did make. Or that results, even small ones, came quickly. Or that I was finding a decent balance to get to class while still wrapping up end-of-the-year work responsibilities, time with friends and dealing with family things.

There’s something sadly gratifying about creating situations you are deemed to fail at. It’s a clever way to prove those negative voices in your head have been right all along. Because if no one cares, and everyone needs help and everyone has issues, the only one who is putting this pressure on you—is you.

The reason sticking to resolutions or making changes is hard is because life is hard. We don’t give ourselves credit for all the things we manage to successfully cram into our 24/7/365. Instead, we focus on all that is missing. All the ways we are failing. All the expectations we aren’t meeting. Set by no one.

So my resolution for 2019 is to celebrate the small successes. To be patient with myself. To turn the negative noise down, even if it’s just a little bit quieter. And to be happy I get to class whenever life allows me to be there.  Because life is hard enough. I don’t need to make it harder.

New Year, New You?

We are half-way through January. Are you feeling yourself and your New Year’s resolve? Being visited by the ghost of failed resolutions: past, present and future? Or was this the year you bagged calendar driven proclamations completely?

In the past, I did a major cleanse starting Jan. 1 (or 2.) It was intense: vegan, gluten-free, no alcohol, no caffeine and no sugar. It was a lot. But I usually did it with a group of people including Jess and Pamela. There was something kinda fun about being on a journey–although a super frustrating, long and cranky one at that–with friends and sharing stories about things that were working or what we were learning about ourselves in the process. In fact–the idea for this blog was born out of that experience.

So it was successful. And I’m glad I did it. But I don’t do it anymore.

Over the holidays, I had breakfast with my cousin–the one I told you about–and we talked about resolutions and dreams and personal challenges that block us from accomplishing our goals. It was nice. I always find comfort in knowing I’m not alone, especially in ways that feel so personal. It’s freeing to know all the barriers I create for myself aren’t exclusively mine. It’s easier to see them in others, which make them seem less permanent structures in my own life.

So I want to dedicate a few posts to resolutions and what they say about us and how we can learn from them in ways that we maybe weren’t expecting. While I’m not doing the cleanse this year, 2018 ended with an experience that really impacted how I have prepared for 2019, including setting resolutions. More on that to come…

For today, I’m going to start this little series by going back to my cousin. Based on our conversation, she wrote this post and has since started her own blog. I’m proud of her and happy to know someone who has already said “yes” to 2019. She identified barriers and worked around them. Something I hope to do more of this year, too.

Fear Or F.E.A.R.

A 2019 Resolution

Occasionally I find myself thinking about if I was an animal (and yes , I realize people technically ARE animals but I mean animals as in “not human” animals) and what kind of animal I would be. Is there an animal that I relate to? Do I relate to more than one? I believe I do relate to more than one…maybe I relate to different things about different animals. Like some days I really understand what it means to be a sloth or a even an ordinary house cat hissing at something I don’t like. But as I’m getting older I find myself thinking about things on a different (maybe even bizarre) level. I think if I had to choose an animal that I tend to see myself as it would have to be a deer. And not just a regular deer….a deer in headlights that is second- guessing it’s own movements.

As I have been getting further into the decades of my life, I find myself contemplating my entire existence. I have not always been pleased with my choices and looking back, I see the common denominator of what was and has been holding me back in many areas. Or what has been the cause of my getting into situations that I don’t much care for. That one thing is fear. That’s how I feel that I relate to deer. They are born into a world that basically is out to get them….to eat them actually. Other animals and humans too. Deer need to be suspicious, cautious and well, basically scared in order to keep themselves safe. When I see deer, I watch how they are always on alert and quick to startle and run away. They need to do that for survival. That’s sort of how I feel that I have been living my own life. I did certain things and didn’t do other things out of fear.

As an overly sensitive child (and now, overly sensitive adult) I didn’t do certain things that I wanted to do because I was afraid of what might happen. I was always afraid of what someone might think, that it would be the wrong thing to do, that I wouldn’t be good at what I tried or just thinking I didn’t deserve to have what I really wanted. Most of the time I did things to just please everyone else. I felt it was expected of me so that’s what I did.

Deer also do have some “en-deer-ing” qualities (see what I did there?). Deer are quick on their feet and graceful. Sometimes I’m graceful. Other times I trip over air. Does also tend to be good mothers to their fawns. Instinct helps in regards to parenting, as does the fear. I was afraid of what might happen so I was sure to be highly cautious and on guard when it came to my kids. Hopefully, that is at least one good thing that came from my fear driven life. Fear can be a helpful thing and we can’t go through life totally fearless about everything. If we did, well, not many of us would even make it to adulthood. Fear does have it’s place. Until it’s crippling. I do believe that that’s where the second guessing comes in to play. I have always been a huge second guesser. On my drive home tonight, I came upon two deer and they did their normal panic and were unsure which way to go. One went one direction and the other went opposite. This time their decisions kept them alive. Other times they second guess and back track and a lot of times they wind up as road kill. I was thinking about the two deer and how they split and went two different directions. Fear sent the one deer back the way that it came. The other moved forward. I thought about that and about how many times I was afraid to move forward in my life. Or if I eventually did, it took me a long time. A lot of overanalyzing on my part. I, too, was afraid of becoming road kill.

It also made me realize that I am entirely sick of living this way. I was talking with my good friend (and cousin) recently and we discussed the second guessing that I have always been plagued with. She said she never second guesses herself because everyone else does it for her. I found that absolutely fascinating and a great way to look at it. One of the things that held me back was worrying about what other people think. How oddly liberating it is to think that if everyone else is judging my decisions and second guessing me….then I don’t have to. They’re doing it for me which frees me up to live and do what I want.

I recently read that fear has two meanings. One is to think like the deer – Forget Everything And Run. I’ve done that for far too long. I like the second meaning better – Face Everything And Rise. So one of my goals for the coming year and hopefully for the rest of my life is to follow the second definition of fear. I’m tired of hiding and playing it safe. As hard as it is for me to put myself out there and maybe even draw attention to myself, I’m going to do it. I have to.

Wanna share your experience with resolutions? We’d love to hear it. Either comment below or DM our Facebook page to submit a post!

My 51 Favorite Songs of 2018

It’s such a process to pull my list of favorite songs together. I had a ton of albums that I was super into (I’ll give you my favorite albums on a later post) so I thought my list would suffered or have a limited scope.  But luckily–it was nothing to worry about!—I had MORE than enough songs up for consideration. My list could’ve been over a 100 deep this year—but who wants to listen to all that!—so I knew I had to trim it down. So I did–to a reasonable 51–and I think my list is banging! (51 because drake. i wasn’t going to–but then i had to.)

To weed out songs and make the list slightly more manageable to put together—I put a hard stop on when a song had to be out to be considered for the list—no song out after October 31 was eligible. And I tried to only include songs that came out after November 1, 2017. (i did make one small exception for a song i LOVED but came out october 17, 2017. but it’s from a pretty unknown band so it’s getting some love.)

My rules mean that some songs that show up on lots of year end lists like “thank u, next” and “Love it if we made it”—Pitchfork’s top song of the year–came out a couple weeks ago so you won’t find them below.

And quite honestly—there’s so much music out—it’s already hard to get to everything anyway. I legit didn’t listen to any of the songs that came out after my deadline—I sequester all new music which is hard but necessary—so I can really sort through the over 300 songs that were in my playlist for consideration. These songs are great—I’ve since listened to them a ton!—but I had to draw the line somewhere. So I will put some links below to other year end song lists that may be more comprehensive and give you more songs to check out.

For this year’s list—I will give you the song, artist and my favorite line along with a link to the video—if available–AND will link the genius.com lyrics. The newish Genius feature on Spotify is one of my favorite recent music developments. I get way too happy when a Genius is linked to a song I’m playing on Spotify. Plus some of these songs have interesting stories that are included on Genius with artist videos, so they are worth checking out. And if there’s a Song Exploder episode about a song–I’ll link that, too.

So without further ado—my favorite songs of the year—starting with my favorite song and then sequenced with your listening enjoyment in mind. (therefore—don’t shuffle!—at least not for the first listen.)

1. Missing U, Robyn: “all the love you gave, it still defines me.”

2. Why Didn’t You Stop Me, Mitski: “I know that I ended it, but why won’t you chase after me?”

3. High Horse, Kacey Musgraves:  “I bet you think you’re first place, yeah, someone should give you a ribbon and put you in the hall of fame for all the games you think that you’re winning”

4. Doesn’t matter, Christine and the Queens (Song Exploder): “And of lately the only people I can stare are the unraveled ones with their hands laying bare” 

5. Grooves on the Vinyl, Gorgon City: “we’re switching it up and making it right”

6. All Nerve, The Breeders: “you don’t know how much I miss you

7. Please Don’t Die, Father John Misty: “Oh god, you must have woken up to me saying that it’s all too much”

8. Thanks 4 Nothing, Nilüfer Yanya: “Will you and I waste this? I won’t even try in case it don’t work

9. Bite the Hand, boygenius: “Your hands are gravity while my hands are tied”

10. lovely, Billie Eilish, Khalid: “Need a place to hide, but I can’t find one near”

11. breathin, Ariana Grande: “All I need is to see your face

12. Pristine, Snail Mail: “I’ll still love you the same

13. Lemon Glow, Beach House: “This game I play, I do it every day, Then promise I’ll be fine, bear it every time”

14. Mariners Apartment Complex, Lana Del Rey: “And who I’ve been is with you on these beaches, Your Venice bitch, your die-hard, your weakness”

15. C’est La Vie No. 2, Phosphorescent: “I don’t stand out all night in empty fields and call your name no more”

16. How Deep is Your Love, PJ Morton featuring YEBBA: “We belong to you and me

17. Long As I Live, Toni Braxton: “I’ll never get over (you getting over me)

18. Only Love, Mary J. Blige: “I was so over love till you came right in and you brought me home”

19. I Do, Cardi B featuring SZA: “Pussy so good, I say my own name during sex

20. Remind Me to Forget, Kygo, Miguel: “You left your mark, reminding me to forget

21. Dissolve, Kllo: “Should we dissolve this?

22. Loose, Daniel Caesar: “See you walking out the door, Wonder why it took you so long”

23. Consequence, Camilla Cabello: “Loving you was sunshine, safe and sound, a steady place to let down my defenses, but loving you had consequences”

24. The End of Love, Florence + the Machine: “I’ve always been in love with you, could you tell it from the moment that I met you?”

25. Vincent, James Blake: “But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you”

26. Back to You, Selena Gomez: “You could break my heart in two but when it heals, it beats for you

27. Song for You, Rhye: “I saw that fear when you showed me that kiss, We fell in love”

28. ‘Til It’s Over, Anderson. Paak: “I really thought that I can handle it but the funny thing is, I was holding back tears”

29. Woman, Cat Power featuring Lana Del Rey (Song Exploder): “Doctor said I was not my past, He said I was finally free

30. Nameless, Faceless, Courtney Barnett: I wanna walk through the park in the dark, Men are scared that women will laugh at them ,I wanna walk through the park in the dark, Women are scared that men will kill them”

31. Chun-Li, Nicki Minaj: “He keep on dialin’ Nicki like the Prince song

32. One Kiss, Calvin Harris with Dua Lipa: “I just wanna feel your skin on mine, Feel your eyes do the exploring

33. Dancefloor, Tracey Thorn: “Someone singing and I realise it’s me”

34. Accelerate, Christina Aguilera featuring Ty Dolla $ign, 2 Chainz: “I’ll be with my ladies you can find me there, try to play us, we gon’ start a riot up in here”

35. My My My!, Troye Sivan: “Let’s stop running from us

36. 4Ever, Clairo: “Are you gonna be around for me to count on?

 

37. In My Feelings, Drake: “Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding?

38. Dancing, Kylie Minogue: “When I go out, I wanna go out dancing

39. Can’t Run But, Paul Simon: “I had a dream about us after that long goodnight”

40. Make Me Feel, Janelle Monae: “It’s like I’m powerful with a little bit of tender

41. When We, Tank: “Who came to make sweet love? Not me.”

42. International Lover, Prince: “Am I qualified?”

43. I Know You, Craig David and Bastille: “Falling together, arms round each other, I know you, know me too”

44. No Place, RÜFÜS DU SOL: “You run your fingers through the palm of my hand, pulling me closer, drawn by your command”

45. Made for Now, Janet Jackson featuring Daddy Yankee: “We’re made for now, not tomorrow”

46. Bodys, Car Seat Headrest: “Those are you got some nice shoulders, I’d like to put my hands around them”

47. San Luis, Gregory Alan Isakov: “Cutting through the avenues, I’d always find my way to you”

48. Addictions, Lucy Dacus: “Was I a risk without reward or did I make you proud?

49. Naked, Ella Mai: “But what if I told you there’s nothing I want more in this world than somebody who loves me naked”

50. symbol, Adrianne Lenker: “Do you not, do you not tell? That smile always makes me well”

51. Shallow, Lady Gaga and Bradley: “We’re far from the shallow now

There you have it! What a year it was!! Here’s a link to the playlist on Spotify:

 

And YouTube:

And here are some other lists worth checking out from Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, NPR, The Fader and Gorilla vs. Bear.

But most important–what’s on your list? I always create a new list of songs to check out based on other year-end lists, so add your submissions below!

Here’s to a heck of a year for music!!