trend whore

Face oils, double-cleansing, cushion compacts, contouring, contouring and highlighting, strobing, Korean skincare, brows on fleek (shudder – I’m sorry). It used to take a solid year or two for trends to work their way from the coasts inward to middle America. It’s quite incredible how this has changed. (Get off my lawn!) We could blame the internet, but I think it’s her bratty little sister, social media, that’s truly responsible. It would suck to be a skincare and/or makeup manufacturer today. Not only do you have to watch emerging trends with an eagle eye, you’ve got to have the resources to concoct and shit out a competitive product in the blink of an eye. Then, you’ve got to make sure your production and ingredients can stand up to the inevitable dissection that will take place across multiple platforms by self-important, otherwise uneducated individuals with loud voices. Seriously, this sucks. But I digress.

This frantic pace has led to a lot of what I find really silly products and services. Take eyelash extensions. You have to go something like every two weeks, at $75 a pop. As extravagant and superfluous as I can be, even I say really? Nail art? Same deal — pricey, time consuming, will need to be redone before you get your next period. No. I realize this is probably a function of me being a) a busy professional who b) has very little tolerance for going out in public. But still! That’s crazy money and time for something that is so temporary and insignificant.

So you can imagine how I feel about face masks. Not regular old, smear-on-allow-to-dry-wash-off masks, but those sheet masks, the ones that make you look like a serial killer, require at least twenty minutes of princess style inactivity, and are sold by the individual mask for upwards of four bucks apiece. I think they’re silly. Plus, most of the ones I’ve seen lean more towards the “moisturizing” end of the spectrum, which is horrifying to someone like me who naturally generates tidal waves of grease. So when I received a Dr Jart hydrating sheet mask in this month’s Birchbox, I sort of tucked it behind a bunch of sunscreen samples in the bathroom, not being real stoked about it. However, I must admit, there’s been some recent photos of me looking more on the haggard side, and the common denominator is that my skin looked sort of flat and dull, even in areas where I didn’t diligently apply my Becca mattifying primer. So when my SO ran out to do a couple errands this weekend (read: when I could be alone for half an hour to look stupid in peace and quiet), I thought, what the hell, Dr. Jart. Let’s give you a whirl.

I hated the way it felt, in my hands and on my face, slimy and goopy. The sheet was heavy and sticky and slid all over whenever I made a facial expression or talked. The product was everywhere, getting into my hair which I had just washed, virtually seeping out of the sheet, everywhere. The eye and mouth cutouts nowhere near matched my according anatomic features, making me wonder if my face was super fucked up or something. It was claustrophobic and cold, and that’s in a marginally well air conditioned house when the outdoor ambient temperature was at least 105 degrees. It basically drove me batty and when I saw my SO pull in the driveway ten or fifteen minutes later, I was happy to yank it off even though my time wasn’t up. I gladly dropped it in the trash can, where it landed with a wet plop, and I got to business rubbing the rest of the slimy shit into my face, neck, chest, and hands. Then my SO started making margaritas, so I forgot about it and went about my business.

  
When I looked in the mirror a few hours later, though, I got served a giant steaming plate of crow. My skin looked AH-mazing. Luminous, glowing, but not greasy. I couldn’t believe it. The few fine lines I have were practically unnoticeable. I almost hated to put my nighttime crap on top of it, lest I ruin the luminescence. This morning, I did my usual a.m. wash followed by P50, and somehow, through all that, my skin still looked better than usual. Unreal!

So, just what I needed — another step to add to my already convoluted and high-maintenance skin routine. What products/services have you poo-pooed and begrudgingly tried, only to end up surprised at how much you love it? 

how it all began

My bathroom looks like a Sephora sample refugee camp. There is just no way around this. If I don’t put a sample out where I can see it, I forget about it and it languishes for all perpetuity, a wasted existence. Needless to say, the samples tend to accumulate faster than I can go through them, and like dust bunnies or cockroaches, they appear to multiply. My SO has wisely learned to just shut his mouth and look the other way, but the other day he just stopped and looked and said, “How exactly did you get so obsessed with your skin? I don’t remember you being this way [when we first dated back in college]”.

Well, no, in college I drove a Jeep with its top off for most of the year and mastered the art of driving a stick shift, maneuvering a beverage, and smoking at the same time. I had grown up rather isolated where my sole feminine role model was my mother, whose idea of skincare was a good tan, O.G. Oil of Olay, and regular enthusiastic use of a Buf Puf. She never wore much makeup to speak of and believed all hair issues could be solved with braids and/or a bandana. (Okay, I still subscribe to this.) I didn’t have sisters or cousins or girlfriends to teach me the art of makeup growing up, so I had catching up to do in college. (The catching up extended into medical school, wherein I had an extended phase of turquoise glitter eyeliner, something most women outgrow at age 17, not 27.) I learned a good deal of makeup skills in college from a girl from Texas, who espoused “the higher the hair, the closer to God” as she teased her ash-blond bob into frothy perfection. I could never tell if she was kidding about the God part. We would throw things (bras, eggs) off her 7th floor balcony at passersby and then go do our makeup. We even did one of our guy friends, just half his face, all blue eyeshadow and glossy red lips, and then took a ton of shitty pictures with a disposable camera after he agreed to the clip on earrings and feathered hat, making kissy duck faces 20 years before we had a name for it. Ah, the 90s.

The fun and games continued into medical school and even slightly beyond. The glitter eyeliner, the rockabilly red lips, the swinging pendulum of hair color from blonde to red, red to blonde. It literally never occurred to me that these sorts of shenanigans might be not entirely appropriate for the professional workplace, OR that they might look silly on someone pushing 30. Hashtag arrested development, okay? I know. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I continued tanning through the first part of medical school. I KNOW! My first inkling that Father Time was not on my side was in a MAC store somewhere in LA, when I was an intern, so age 28, 29? I needed face wash, and asked for my usual green gel cleanser, which was supposed to be best for my oily, shiny, acne-prone skin. The salesgirl looked me up and down and said, maybe you’d be better off with something a little less drying and handed me a bottle of some creme cleanser. Of course this happened in LA, right? I was a little put off and a little offended, and remotely, a little concerned.

Around this time, my BFF and I were going to do an autopsy, and had the morgue camera out in case anything significant needed documentation. Mind you, this was before cell phones had cameras, and so it seemed perfectly novel and kitschy to take a morgue selfie all gowned and gloved before we got started. It looked really cute on the tiny digital camera screen and it made a super cute MySpace (!) profile pic. That is, until I saw it blown up on my computer screen. Warning!

M&C autopsy

PUMP. THE. BRAKES. What in the hell was going on? And I’m not even talking about the utterly tragic eyebrow situation that was happening*. The little swath of exposed skin that I had was…. spotty. Mottled. Wrinkles!? Dare I say… leathery. Seeing the forehead situation on my big computer screen was a giant slap across that hyperpigmented face. I was mortified. It was the first time when I realized all the total lack of concern for my skin was beginning to catch up to me.

Soon thereafter, I came across some ad for a Botox special in the freebie weekly newspaper where they advertise happy ending massages on the back page. It was something like $125, an unfathomable sum at that time. Seeing as I was still thoroughly traumatized by the morgue selfie (and outcome of a rudimentary photoshopping attempt), I was D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E. I was scared shitless, but I did it. The doctor was a bit of a jerk and didn’t have the best grasp of the English language, but I did it. The results with Botox, as we know, are impressive and quick. And so it began. Somewhere during this time, my dermatologist first tag teamed me with prescription retinol and hydroquinone. Knowing that the dermatology residents virtually slathered their entire bodies in retinol kept me using it, even though its results were less than dramatic.

I piddled around with that for a few years when the new, friendly, normal provider I’d began seeing for injections started raving about this crazy cream made of foreskins. She wouldn’t shut up about it. I think I eventually bought it hoping she would stop talking about it, even though it was stupidly, horrifyingly expensive. I wasn’t even through my first tube of it before shit got real. My skin changed. People I knew and people I didn’t know would comment on my skin and demand to know what products I used. (Wanting to just have a link to give people, as opposed to having to think and write shit down, was the main reason I wanted to have a TopShelfie on ITG: pure laziness.)

And then before I knew it, my bathroom looked like Sephora’s and Barney’s stockroom just vomited all over it.

And now it’s your turn: what was your gateway drug?

*Life lessons: any eyebrow worth Instagramming now is going to look STUPID in five years, and laughable in ten. So don’t. Just don’t.

My dalliance with May lindstrom (round two)

 

So, as discussed recently, May Lindstrom’s much hyped powder-to-mousse-just-add-water the Clean Dirt cleanser and the Problem Solver mask will basically wreak havoc on your diet, if you are on one. They smell divine, like baking cinnamon rolls*, and I guarantee any basic bitch worth her salt would go pumpkin-spice-latte nuts over them. They literally made me crave anything combining the holy trinity of sugar, fat, and carbs. The fragrance is so potent, you are very cognizant of it the whole time the product is on your face, which means the entire time you will be mentally rifling your kitchen cabinets for anything that might scratch the itch. It’s basically torture.** Thankfully (?), I found them irritating as well as grossly and exorbitantly overpriced, in addition to being eerily similar to one another, so I feel no compulsion to purchase either one. Once these samples are gone, no más.

Enter the next co-conspirator: the Honey Mud Cleansing Silk, $80. Have you ever had Mexican hot chocolate? It’s a rich blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne against a creamy chocolate base, and it’s basically crack cocaine in a mug. The Honey Mud looks AND smells like Mexican hot chocolate pudding (if there is such a thing) made with sugar and gluten and full-fat dairy products as God would want it. It feels like smearing it on your face is wrong, and maybe there’s something to that. This is a very thick formula that is very aptly named; it’s densely creamy and only slightly sticky — it vaguely reminds me of Eve Lom cleanser in texture.

I have oily skin that is slathered both day and night with an array of layers of product, some of which are also oily and/or occlusive. When I wash my face, I need that shit to come off in one round. I know some people advocate a two-step cleansing process, but SIGH. I just cannot commit to that twice a day, every day. I like to use the Eve Lom cleanser as an adjunct when my skin is irritated, but never as a standalone cleanser — it feels lovely but doesn’t leave one particularly clean feeling. The Honey Mud is, again, similar. It’s luxurious and decadent and may be lovely as a mask in winter when you’re dry, but as an everyday item, it doesn’t meet my needs. Those with dry skin may find it delightful, but Exxon Valdez over here needs something with a little more oomph.

Voilà! I just saved $80 more. Woot, woot!

*I worked at Cinnabon for three months in college. No, I never got sick of the smell. Yes, I got fat. Yes, I still love them. Constantly having to clean mold out of the Mochalatta Chill dispenser weaned me off those pretty quick though.

**I don’t know if I’m PMSing or something because I am hungry enough to gnaw off my own foot today, hence the near panic-level obsession with food. Somehow, I have made it the entire day so far without lying to myfitnesspal, go me! Probably not a good time to discuss products that smell like baked goods and make me drool.

lust :: covet :: desire

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I don’t mean bugs or flying or public speaking or any of that trite stuff. I mean more like I don’t want to go to the animal shelter because I am afraid I will come home with six kittens, or I don’t want to pick up fast food because I’m afraid I will consume an entire large order of fries in the car before I get home. We all have weaknesses. I wish my weakness was something useful, like an exercise addiction or an obsession with cleaning. Instead, my natural inclination is to eat Oreos while looking at cat pictures on Instagram, which, sadly, ends up being the case more often than not. My self-control leaves something to be desired.

The first battle is recognizing the problem: know thyself. There’s lots of temptations in this world, which upon sampling, could potentially lead to an unwanted effect, like, oh, a 15-pound weight gain or a $15,000 credit card bill, if you have poor self-control. For many, the only solution is complete abstinence: no junk food in the house, no credit cards, no Facebook, period. Today I want to go there. Let’s talk about stuff you want to try, but don’t, for fear of losing control. And let’s get rad and branch out from skincare and makeup, although we’ll certainly start there. I’ll go first.

Tata Harper skincare – people literally rave about this brand. I fully admit that I deliberately don’t know anything about it except it’s expensive. I’ve avoided reading anything about on purpose. I do not need to get intimately involved with another high end skincare line.

May Lindstrom skincare – this line is what sparked the idea for this post. People rave about this brand too, but ouch! These are crazy prices. Note: while perusing the linked website, it appears they sell sample sizes of ML products for two bucks a pop. Aw, shit. Game on.

High end lip balms (like Rodin, Chantecaille, Sisley, Tatcha, and so forth) – I am such a lip balm whore, I can see myself getting totally hooked on a $75 lip balm. Yes, SEVENTY-FIVE US DOLLARS. For ONE unit, not a pack of twelve. So I’ve never tried any of them, in fear I would fall hopelessly in love and feel compelled to spend $500 to ensure I had one in each purse plus a backup. (I have a serious lip balm problem. I get anxious if I am without. I thank the sweet baby Jesus every day for Cococare lip balm, because at $1.50 a pop I can order them in bulk. Which I do. Which means each purse gets at least two, along with every nook and cranny in my house and office so I am never without. Which means this is basically the most exciting thing ever. I even put it on my Amazon wish list.) My dabbling in the high end lip balm arena started and ended with La Mer. It is so glorious, you want to smear it all over every fifteen minutes. It’s also embarrassingly expensive, so I feel compelled to limit its use to before bed only. And that sort of takes the fun out of it.

High end body oils (like Rodin, Nars, Tom Ford, and so forth) – I’m sure these smell decadent and make your skin radiant. However, if you’re truly using something like this as a body oil, you’ve got a lot of acreage to cover. Well. At least I do. Think how fast you could crank through a $100 bottle of this stuff. As much as I want to smell them all, I won’t, and will stick with my trusty almond oil.

High end lingerie (like Agent Provocateur, La Perla, and the like) – you’ve heard women say that their entire attitude changes when they have beautiful underwear on under their everyday clothes. Is this true? Am I such a cranky bitch solely because of the $4 Coobie knockoffs that I get at the trashiest mall in the city? This fear is two-fold; first, not unlike lip balm, with underwear, one needs multiples. How many $300 bras and $100 panties can one person really purchase? Second, underwear is not like an expensive cashmere sweater. You can’t coax multiple wearings out of it followed by a light hand washing in the sink. Yet, pricey underwear is a delicate flower. The idea of washing underwear by hand is, to me, at once amusing and horrifying, yet the idea of discovering that your boyfriend ruined $500 worth of underwear with one well-meaning load of laundry is even worse.

Designer furniture (like this Eames lounge chair ) – Okay. This would basically look amazing in my midcentury modern house. However, it would have cat hair stuck in its crevices and little nail marks in the leather faster than you can utter the words “investment piece”. That I could (almost) live with. The problem with this sexy beast of a chair is that it would instantly create waaaaaay too much obvious contrast between it and the rest of my furnishings*, which were pieced together hodgepodge from junk shops, salvage yards, and eBay. It could go from “modern industrial rustic chic” to “dorm room” real fast.

And, since we’re crazy today, let’s go for it. The most notably feared item I lust after is this completely absurd Mercedes SUV. I have a bit of a car fetish. I like fast cars, and I like cars that are big enough to haul steel cabinets purchased at flea markets (see above). I do not want more than one car, so finding one that meets both criteria is challenging. The Jeep Cherokee SRT could have potential, but it is just butt ugly. I love Jeeps — my first car was a CJ5 — but I can’t. I suppose I could upgrade from my current X3 to a M-series X5, but do I really want to continue the close relationship I’ve developed with my service advisor over the past 4 years of BMW ownership? What I need to do is just go take the Mercedes for a test drive and get it out of my system, because I suspect it drives like a squishy couch, which I despise. (One online review even said that it was “terrifying” to drive, which could be an amazing or horrible thing, right?) BUT…. what if it’s stiff and tight and fast? Oh, I’d be screwed, because then I would fall in love with it and be obsessed with it, and then I would have to move to a tiny apartment and eat Ramen just so I could afford it. Or maybe I could just live out of the back of it. Hmmm…….

So tell me! What are you intrigued by, but afraid to try?

*my swank-o-rama couch is excluded from this blanket statement, because it is amazing. Yeah, I’m crazy.

involuntary manslaughter / repentance


Drew Barrymore was my first real girl crush. Half I wanna look just like her and half I wanna make out with her. She was the original DGAF free spirit. I was the opposite, seeing as I had carefully cultivated the same perfectly grown out shade of blond, the same perpetually messy choppy short haircut, the same shade of brown lipstick, and the same tortured little 90s brows, in a concerted effort to look as if I gave as few fucks as Drew. (The irony is not lost on me.) I retained a shred of dignity and bypassed the daisies in the hair, but this was probably just because cut flowers bummed me out. Eventually, my hair grew out and the brown lipstick (Aveda’s lip gloss in Cinder, actually) was relegated to the “retired” section of my makeup stash. What failed to return to baseline, however, were my brows. It had only taken a few years of overzealous plucking to ensure their permanent demise.

I’m pretty light haired, so the four surviving brow hairs on each side really didn’t have a chance in hell in making up a remotely normal looking brow. Since high school, I’ve relied on pencils, powders, gels, waxes, and tints in every permutation, formulation, and shade (to match the revolving door of hair colors) in an attempt to humanize the swath of hairless skin on my face. Sweating and face wiping were red-security-level risks. God forbid if I was in a hurry or having a bad makeup day; I couldn’t get them to be remotely the same shape, much less symmetrical. When you’re drawing them on from scratch every day, you never know what you’re going to end up with. How many times did I get so pissed off I just wiped it all off and started from scratch? What a tremendous fucking waste of time.

A few years ago, the very chic and sexy woman who does my extensions one day just casually mentioned she’d had her brows tattooed way back when she was in cosmetology school. Pump the brakes. What!? I associated permanent makeup with old ladies and Google search images of “scary eyebrows”. The wheels started turning, and before I knew it I was in a dentist-style reclining chair trying not to have a full-blown panic attack while a woman ran a humming tattoo machine over and over the same tiny area on my brow bone until it felt like it was raw. What if they were too dark? Too thick? Too chola? Too red? At that point, I really didn’t know how I’d gotten there and felt like I was viewing a horrifying lapse in judgment from above, a total out-of-body experience likely fueled by the panic- and pain-induced endorphins frantically squirting from my adrenals. The permanent makeup artist had a billion years experience, had a full face of tattooed makeup and was a fair-skinned redhead also to boot. She didn’t look like a drag queen or a grandma. Of all people, she could be trusted. She’d warned me the brows would be thicker and way darker at first, but would lighten once they’d healed. I did not find this reassuring as I held a little hand mirror up after, still supine in the dentist chair. We’d edged past mere panic mode and had reached full on WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE. I’ve only reached this level of self-induced horror a few times in my life, like those times involving platinum blonde and an inadvertent mullet. (Not at the same time, mercifully.) In the car afterward, I sat, dazed, my brow throbbing.

WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MYSELF

Thankfully, like all tattoos, the brows lightened dramatically upon healing, which was uneventful despite my defying orders to “not put anything on besides Aquaphor”. Their shape became far softer. They needed virtually nothing in the morning. The experience made the full circle from totally horrifying to why didn’t I do this years ago. All was well and my brows and I lived in harmony… for a little while.

THEN, big defined brows had to come back with a vengeance.

I admit it, I got sucked in. Reflexing back to my arsenal of products, I tried. I made them thicker, I arched them higher, I tried. I indulged in many of the new generation of brow products — from glorified felt-tip pens to pigmented waxes. The end result ranged from “okay, not bad” to “frankly bad”. You never know how something works — or doesn’t work — until you scroll through photographic evidence of it randomly while looking for that one picture of the cat sitting in the bathroom sink. (I have to laugh at what Benefit’s Brow Genie wanted to do to me. At least I did better than this on my own.)

  

The universe sends messages in mysterious ways, though, and in regards to forcing my brows to overachieve it came in the form of a kitschy work event where staff were to dress as their favorite decade. I put on a flannel over a Nirvana shirt and layered rolled up jean shorts over black tights (which is really, horribly uncomfortable, or maybe it just sucks to wear sitting at a desk all day) and topped it off with some nice Converse. I made a deep side part, flipped the hair over, and applied a thick coat of my whitest sunscreen (to recapitulate the truly unfortunate foundation scene of the era) along with some raisin-brown Revlon Longwear lip color (purchased when Bill Clinton was in office, yay for hoarding!). The piece de resistance was the brows. One dark brown Revlon Longwear eyeliner; one uniform line curving in a gentle comma. No sharp arches, no defining with concealer — the diametric opposite of on fleek. It was an epic rebirth and a total what-the-fuck moment, as in what-the-fuck have I been doing to my poor brows, forcing them into some unnatural cookie-cutter arch. The thinner, gradual curve was far more flattering for my prominent brow bone and bore a similar emotional effect as putting on ancient and perfectly worn in sneakers. With that, I happily gave Instagram brows two middle fingers pointed high.

It’s one of the unexpected benefits of getting older, having the experience and awareness and lack of give-a-shit that allows one to overtly reject a look that is universally touted as contemporary or youthful or slimming or whatever other horseshit they say. Because we know that while thicker brows (or dewy skin, or lots of highlighter, or whatever shitty advice you’d like to insert here) may make one appear younger, nothing is as aging as unnatural or contrived, and nothing will ever, ever make you 25 again. So let that shit go, do what you like, and be the best (insert your age here)-year-old you want to be. (Because if you want to be haggard, I totally support that too.)


Okay. Enough of that namaste stuff. I saw a blacked out Rolls-Royce parked at the trendy brunch place by my house this weekend and it had an enormous, lumpy bird turd running down its otherwise gleaming and spotless side. This (along with the orange-sized vanilla bean scone I’d just inhaled) completely made my day.

you’ll shoot your eye out, kid

I rarely go to the mall anymore. I don’t have time, and let’s be honest: it’s annoying. It’s crowded and loud and it’s virtually impossible to walk past one of those pretzel places without stopping and inhaling 800 calories’ worth of buttery, warm, soft bread and gooey faux cheese. But, desperate times call for desperate measures: my inability to locate satisfactory gray jeans online made me do it. (I don’t care how many points they’ll give you at Nordies, I am physically unable to pay $200 for jeans. JEANS, people. Who wears jeans anymore anyway? I only have them because I need an intermediary for casual Fridays, because leggings won’t fly.)

Like moths to a flame, my estrogen-powered GPS delivers me to Sephora with nary a conscious thought. Naturally, they don’t have the one single item I want to swatch, Nars blush in Dolce Vita. There is a sad empty spot where the tester was, and no product in stock. Bastards! Derailed, I find myself swatching $35 tinted lip balm and getting flustered over which shade to get because every single one is so perfect. I am also juggling two bottles of nail polish and am on the precipice of needing a basket, which I try to avoid because that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Because I’ve scrubbed my dirty little hand with makeup remover to get rid of all traces of blush, foundation, and other shit I’d slapped on it, I need to find a sunscreen tester to reapply before the drive home. (Yes, I am THAT obsessed.) I stumble across some testers on a lonely end cap at the very back of the store, but am immediately distracted by this magic spray, Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50. Sets your makeup? Matte finish? SPF-motherfucking-50?? I basically drop everything, shake the hell out of the bottle, and spray. Perhaps I am mislead by the word “mist”, but it feels like someone nailed me in the forehead with a spray bottle of water on full blast, like you’d do to reprimand a cat who’s trying to eat your houseplant. Flustered, my hand-eye coordination, whose baseline is special-needs 12-year old, goes all to hell as I deliver the next blast with my eyes half open. Holy SHIT!!! Who needs pepper spray when you have this!? Now I am blind and unable to examine the effects of what felt like a 6-inch soaking wet patch right on my forehead. This, of course, is the precise time a Sephora employee first approaches me, even though I’ve already been fucking around for twenty minutes in the store. NO-I-DON’T-NEED-ANY-HELP-THANK-YOU. I stumble to a mirror and am surprised that I look (relatively) normal. A little greasy dewy maybe, but that’s not unexpected by noon. Certainly not matte.

I take this minor trauma as a sign that my time in public is up for the day and get the eff out without further incident (impressive, considering the checkout line and general state of confusion of the lone employee behind the counter). (Side note, am I the only one that gets all judgy about other people’s points? I hear said confused employee go to the customer ahead of me, Well, look at that! You’ve got THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY POINTS! What sample would you like today? and I’m mentally scoffing Three sixty? Pfffft. Okay, lightweight, outta the way already.) (I was really, really thirsty, like hangry but thirsty, and my eyes were all burnt up, so cut me some slack.)

By the time I get home, I am all tuckered out from road rage, so I have some soup and take a nap. Many hours later it occurs to me that I should check on the status of the Supergoop. Look at this! The little makeup I’d put on this morning is still there (except for the brows, but they’re usually the first casualties) and somehow I look really dewy, and NOT greasy! Hashtag no filter/nap hair, ya’ll! Maybe I need to get this death spray after all.

  

we get (high)

  

Once we hit May 1, I give up blowing out my hair and aggressive air conditioning mandates bringing a hoodie or cardigan everywhere despite the 115 degree foolishness. My beloved coffeemaker gets drained and cleaned before it goes into hibernation because hot coffee in the summertime is just no. However, coffee itself is nonnegotiable. I would rather give up alcohol than caffeine; truth. 

Summertime iced coffee is great because it’s just so easy. You take one large mason jar or thermos, and put maybe 3/4 cup of hot water in. Throw in however much instant coffee or espresso and some Leaner Creamer and mix it all up. Now fill it maybe halfway up with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and toss in a tablespoon or so of vanilla Quest protein powder. Top off with water (leaving room for ice) and give the container a good violent shake. This makes a rich, creamy caffeine delivery system that is filling enough to serve as breakfast for little calories. Or, you can add a donut and not feel awful about it.