November 26, 2014

Nordstrom Rack Finds

My commute to work requires a bus transfer in a neighborhood that has a TJ Maxx, a brand new Marshalls, a World Market, an H&M, a Sephora, and a MAC all within a block of each other. I suffer every day, straining not to spend $500 per commute on discounted housewares and designer lipstick. The siren call that comes from the Nordstrom Rack is worse than all of the others combined. Sometimes I lay in bed and fantasize about breaking in there in the dead of night and loading my arms up with as much stuff as I can carry. That is my real go to fantasy to help me fall asleep. I don't even fantasize about an actual Nordstrom in this scenario, that's the kind of number the Rack has done on me.

As for things I actually have purchased and not fantasy stolen,
The ubiquitous House of Harlow 1960 leather station necklace. I'm about three years late on this trend.
Clearance rack tortoise shell earrings
This Tory Burch cosmetic bag might be my favorite birthday gift. Burgundy is almost a sleeper favorite color of mine. My best friend refers to it as my "power color" which I can see since it's a darker, moodier cousin of pink. The burgundy and butterfly combination on this bag made it love at first sight for me. Nordstrom Rack also had a navy blue flowered version which was prettier but I cannot choose against butterflies, ever. The main selling point is that this cosmetic case is enormous. It's big enough to take on a week long trip where I can fill it with not only my essentials, but some nail polish and palettes as well. Bigger items like Urban Decay setting sprays and MAC Fix+ can get dumped in there pretty easily as well. My old makeup bag was hard to zip up with only my daily face products in it so this roomier case is an upgrade. I'm going to test drive it this weekend when I go up to Jersey and see how much of my beauty regimen can actually be shoved in there.

I was so excited to find this candle. I recognized the hobnail jar was similar to a really fantastic candle I had impulse bought over the summer. There was no tag on either so I had to sleuth around the internet to figure out the brand was Simpatico. These are easily my favorite candles because the scents are always so rich and girly and the throw is great. I grab them whenever Nordstrom Rack has them for $14 or so but they're available at places like Anthropologie for $28. You know a candle is legitimate if Anthropologie sells it - Anthropologies always smell like what your home smells like in your fantasies of a totally put together, adorable life.

I don't know if you could tell but the lavender hobnail jar holding my brushes was one of these guys. The scent was "butterfly orchid" and I'm so mad that that descriptor is so vague because the smell was so god damn amazing that I want to live in a greenhouse of whatever butterfly orchids it was. This silver mercury jarred one is a vanilla/snowberry scent. The wax is also super creamy so it smells good even when the wick isn't lit. The jars are really easy to clean out and repurpose, like I did with the lavender one, too.

Peach suede crisscross slingback heels from Chinese Laundry. I wore these with jeans and a gray top to my birthday dinner at Founding Farmers which was one of the most gluttonous experiences of my entire life. I made multiple reservations for dinner at a few different places in case I had a last minute change of mind. I initially chose another place but ending up running late and defaulting to my later reservation at Founding Farmers. Completely serendipitous because my meal there was so good. People were also celebrating their birthday on either side of my table so I was eyeballing their desserts during my meal but ended up being too stuffed once my meal was over. They had fucking red velvet cake with cream cheese icing, the only kind of cake I actually love, and I couldn't stand to order it. I had THE best crab cakes I ever had in my life for dinner with a side of green beans and mashed potatoes. I was expecting the food there to be a bit overrated but I was practically Hoovering the scraps off the plate.

I also got a gorgeous, striped sweater dress from French Connection which I can't photograph because it literally no longer fits after eating like that for my birthday. I sized down because my actual size was a bit long so the dress just looks a lot like sausage casing right now.

Take note that none of these purchases are makeup. I'm on a 6 month makeup no buy which started at the beginning of October. The Lorac Mega Pro released then and the whole ordeal was just too much for me. For those who might not know, the Mega Pro was a limited edition, highly sought after eyeshadow palette that sold out online in a matter of hours. I set alarms so I could wake up in time to purchase it and spent a few hours just refreshing the website and frantically inputting my credit card information once it became available. That's behavior I indulged in when I was 16 and buying concert tickets. I should not be a grown woman doing that over eyeshadow, especially when I already have more eyeshadow than I can feasibly use. I bet I could never purchase eyeshadow again in my life and still have colorful eyelids until I'm a senior citizen. So, I've banned myself from purchasing makeup until March of 2015 unless I a. run out of something I wear everyday, like concealer, and there is absolutely no concealer of any kind whatsoever in my stash/collection/hoard or b. it's fake eyelashes or brushes. It just has to stop. I'm at the point where I go to Zara or pretty much any clothing store that isn't Forever 21 and balking at the idea of paying $60 for a pair of pants. I will easily drop $60 on an eyeshadow palette but $60 for one pair of pants is obscene to me. Be a grown woman, Vanessa, and stop paying $15 for pants at stores that are selling sweatshirts with "BAE" printed on them. I'm exasperating.

November 25, 2014

Spot Treatment with Hydrocolloid Bandages

hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit
I feel like every 20 something likes to complain about having trust issues. Mine don't come from a two timing ex or anything like that. They come from adult acne, exclusively. I do not have good skin. I have gaping pores and dry flaky patches and always, always at least one active breakout. It's absolute bullshit. Sorry, I was under the impression I wouldn't wake up with active breakouts the day after my 20th birthday and I feel like I'm entitled to some kind of refund. Preferably cash.

hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit
Since that's not going to happen, I'm constantly trolling the internet in an effort to rid myself of my acne. Surprisingly, the all time best resource for this has been Reddit's skincareaddiction community. Reddit has a very active beauty community, semi tucked away from all the conspiracy theorists and holier than though fedoras with vendettas against women. Skincareaddiction is one of such subreddits that kind of allows you to soak up their helpful information without really participating in typical Reddit things, like uploading photos or commenting on posts. They have a sidebar with a real wealth of knowledge and you can easily read through the information, pick up recommendations and troubleshoot and customize your own skincare routine. Plus, it's very no nonsense, science minded advice rather than women's magazine "Mash up ingredients in your fridge and smear them on your face!" bullshit. Dermatologists and representatives of popular skincare lines have had a presence in some of the threads and praised the advice the users dole out. It's pretty reliable stuff, as far as taking advice from strangers on the internet goes. I've almost entirely changed my skincare routine based on what I've read there but there's one product that is light years above the rest.

It's hydrocolloid bandages and they are amazing.

Hydrocolloid bandages are making those "zit on an important day" plot lines in movies unravel for me. I recently took the kids I nanny for to see Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. One of the crises that unfolded in the movie was that the teenage son of Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell had a giant forehead zit on the day of his junior prom. LIFE RUINING! Steve Carell was disgusted and told him to put a Band Aid on it. I almost threw the illegal gummy worms I had smuggled into the theater via my purse at the screen. "YOU IDIOT, A HYDROCOLLOID BANDAGE! NOT JUST A REGULAR ONE! YOU'RE SO STUPID!! NOW YOU'LL NEVER MAKE PROM COURT!!" I'm sure all my blog readers see movies marketed to children on a daily basis so you'll definitely know what I'm talking about here.
hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit
They're breaking up in this scene because the girl only cares about being popular and not about being true to herself. Note the regular bandage on the forehead of the guy in the Dumb & Dumber tux.
Hydrocolloid bandages are the kind of bandages you use for blisters if you're not a sick fuck who just pops them with a safety pin (like I am). They're these thick, gel dressings that are designed to suck moisture out of wounds. They work exactly the same way on zits but with sucking out pus and oil. It's ridiculously easy - you lance your breakout (and even that is an optional step) and then slap the bandage on top and leave it on while you sleep. Voila, you wake up and your breakout is inside the bandage rather than on your face! It makes complete sense and you'll wonder why you never thought to use them before. Like, obviously the bandages designed to trap moisture are going to do the same thing for a gross zit that they would for a blister. The bandage doesn't know to play favorites.

I don't know about you, but I'm obsessed with extrapolating disgusting things from my face. Magnifying mirrors are dangerous for me because I could spend plural hours squeezing out my pores and popping zits. I need the satisfaction. Obviously this is pretty awful for your face but at the same time you don't want to be the person walking around with a pussy whitehead. I promise, people on the bus or in line with you at the grocery store are staring at it and wishing you would just pop it already. I know people who are like, "DOCTORS" or "DERMATOLOGISTS" or whatever will urge you to leave it alone but like, to put it eloquently: gross.

Medical professionals do know what they're talking about though because it's rarely as easy as just popping the zit and moving on with your life. I always try and end up making the thing red, inflamed and swollen and 70% more noticeable than it was before. Hydrocolloid bandages allow you to both "pop" the breakout and be gentle to your skin. It just sucks out all the oil and pus into the bandage and deflates the zit for you (the point of popping) without any redness (the side effect of popping). As a bonus, they also create a safety seal so you don't feel tempted to poke and prod at the zit at all.

Here's a tutorial on how to use these things. It's stupid easy.
  1. Buy a package of hydrocolloid bandages. Some are marketed specifically for acne use and come in pre-sized circles or shapes, like stars or hearts. In my opinion, these are a cutesy ripoff. They were more expensive, all for the privilege of being pre-cut. These things aren't like a pizza or something where I would flip a shit in a hangry rage if they were delivered to me without being properly sliced. I can take care of myself, thanks, and I buy the actual hydrocolloid blister bandages from the drugstore and cut them to size myself with a regular pair of scissors like God intended. I actually prefer it that way because I can cut a larger strip for a particularly problematic area of my face or teeny, less wasteful pieces for a small breakout. 
hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit
Nexcare, the brand that markets these bandages for acne specifically. These didn't adhere to my face nearly as well as the regular bandages. I don't even have oily skin. These guys were just sleeping on the job.

hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit
What the bandages will look like, just cut to size and then peel off the adhesive backing.
Ask the pharmacist if you need help and they'll direct you to the bandages you want. Pro tip: Don't ask anyone who works in the drugstore but a pharmacist. I won't say where I used to work, but there is a C a V and an S in the name and I got yelled at once for telling a customer Crest White Strips worked well for me after she asked. You're supposed to save these questions for a pharmacist so the idiots up front don't give you faulty medical advice and cause you to sue the entire company when Crest White Strips make all your teeth fall out and use your credit card behind your back. So don't ask the cashier or the person stocking the candy aisle about your zit band aids.

2. Lance your breakout with a sterilized object. This step is optional but delivers the best results. I won't take off from your final grade if you don't do it.

3. Take your preshaped or newly cut bandage, remove the adhesive backing and place it directly over the breakout.

4. Sleep. Do something productive for 8 hours. Just leave the bandage on for awhile. I find the whole sleep method works best for me because it allows me to leave the bandage on for about half the day without even noticing its there.

5. Peel off the bandage and marvel over how much disgusting shit is living in your face. Weigh yourself because surely you just lost 3lbs, all in pus.

I am a benevolent blogger and have taken pictures of these bandages after they've been on my face for a night. These are the action shots, right here. Just posting photos of my breakout juice on the internet. I really want to drive home how effective these bandages are, though, and a picture is going to do the job a lot better than words. The photos you are about to see may disturb you.

November 24, 2014

Exciting Things in the Weekend Forecast

Thanksgiving in Atlantic City
I'm the biggest Thanksgiving grinch. I hate Thanksgiving food. Just the smell of turkey cooking in the oven brings vomit up into my throat. I'm actually nauseated right now just thinking about it. It's like I have some pregnant lady gene regarding the smell of roasting turkey. I hate gravy and cranberry sauce and stuffing. I like pumpkin pie and that's literally it. Pumpkin pie and a day off from work are the only good traditional Thanksgiving things. Thanksgiving doesn't even have a good Peanuts special for fuck's sake. I get extra bitter over Thanksgiving because it's fallen on my birthday literally 5 times in my almost 24 years of life, including my actual day of birth. I hate when everywhere is closed on my birthday almost more than I hate being forced to smell roasting turkey on my birthday.

Luckily, for the past couple of years, my family has been meeting in Atlantic City for Thanksgiving. We go to the Palm for Thanksgiving dinner which is the most win, win, win situation. Everyone eats traditional Thanksgiving food while I order steak or crab cakes and no one, aside from the unfortunate workers scheduled to work the holiday, has to clean up or put away dishes. The prospect of filet mignon and French onion soup with my pumpkin pie actually makes me exciting for Thanksgiving dinner.

Atlantic City is pretty much completely underwater now but I still love it and love being there. Atlantic City was my family's go to down the shore location when I was little so the boardwalk feels really familiar and homey to me. I have such good memories of the arcades there and staying at the Tropicana (before the renovations, even) and eating at the buffets. Riding the pier rides and winning stuffed animals and eating the boardwalk food and just doing Jersey Shore shit. Fall and winter activities there in your mid twenties are more "shopping at the outlets" and "drinking too much at Harrah's pool" and "still eating the boardwalk food, but also gaining 2 lbs overnight" but those are fun in their own way. I much prefer gambling in Atlantic City, too. I've only ever played slots and blackjack in Atlantic City and in Las Vegas. I'm really bitter about my whole Las Vegas gambling experience because I lost more money than I won and also lost one of my favorite bracelets in the casino.

Me, down the shore in Atlantic City, 1996ish. 95% sure I'm wearing plastic shoes with that pink plastic jacket.

Following Thanksgiving and Black Friday outlet shopping in Atlantic City, I'm stopping in New York on Saturday because of the following exhibitions.

Matisse Cut Outs at the MoMA
I haven't been to the MoMA in years. Plural years. I have no idea how that happened but here we are. Wow, I am kind of reeling from that revelation. No surprise that the Matisse Cut Outs exhibit is drawing me back there - I have a feeling that this show is going to be incredibly popular (and incredibly crowded). The exhibit looks so bright and inviting. The colored paper is so vibrant and the effect ends up being graphic, yet so serene

I'm actually not a huge fan of Matisse or fauvism in general. There was a Matisse/Picasso show all the way back when the MoMA was temporary relocated to Queens that I found incredibly boring, as well as a fauvism exhibit a few years back at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that I pretty much power walked my way through. Matisse feels like one of those untouchable artists nowadays, like Van Gogh or Picasso, but his heyday works are just a snoozefest for me. As a result, I'm pretty much excited just to be excited for a Matisse show. His process in creating the cut outs, as well as his motivations to switch to this kind of medium late in his life seem like they'll be interesting to learn about.

This exhibit runs until February 8th at the MoMA.

Egon Schiele Portraits at the Neue Galerie
The Neue is a gallery that I feel is incredibly underrated. It only opened in 2001 so it's still a fairly new museum, especially when you consider the lifespans of places like the Prado and the Louvre. It's right around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a few blocks away from the Guggenheim on Museum Mile. Very convenient location and makes it more than worth stopping in. Even just for the building itself, because it's beautiful:

I'm mostly obsessed with the Neue because my favorite art is easily a toss up between Austrian 20th century and German Expressionism. The Neue Galerie marries these two in a decadent yet intimate setting. Its permanent collection is entirely filled with the two and any exhibitions the museum houses fit the theme as well. It held one of my all time favorite art shows over the summer,  a full exhibition of what the Nazis deemed "degenerate" art. I loved the works they featured and I loved the presentation - there was even a room of art that the Third Reich supported and appreciated, all completely bland works. The exhibit was packed but that room was empty almost the whole time. Artists like Kirchner felt so rejected by Germany and so not up to that dull standard that they killed themselves - actual, gifted humans who committed suicide because Adolf Hitler didn't approve of them - so it was pretty poetic to see their works being fawned over while the approved Nazi art was ignored. I love when exhibits offer even more than the artwork.

Hitler approved German art, pretty hilariously void of anything expressive, especially when compared to the "degenerate" German art

The Neue's permanent collection boasts a ton of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works. The Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer is probably their crown jewel and is famous just for the fact that they bought it for $135 million, most expensive art purchase at the time, 5th most expensive now. The Neue's second floor is laid out like a very ornate, empty home and this Klimt is just hanging over a fireplace, almost casually, like a $135 million dollar artwork just above a mantel.

The show that I'm stopping into the Neue especially for is an exhibit on Egon Schiele's portraits, the first kind of comprehensive look at his portraiture in an United States museum. Egon Schiele is probably my favorite draftsman. His linework and use of color is pretty stunning to look at in person. The aesthetic I'm most drawn to in art is kind of an integration between disturbing and beautiful - creepy subject matter paired with soft techniques or jagged, harsh execution with serene subject matter. Egon Schiele's portraits fall under that category, with subjects whose limbs look like gnarled tree branches and combative expressions but in sensual poses. The exhibit runs until January 19 and would make a great reason to visit the Neue if you've never been.

And they still give out metal buttons, unlike SOME PEOPLE (THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NO I STILL DO NOT FORGIVE YOU.)

I'm so thrilled that these two shows are going on at once and that I'll be able to spend part of my weekend museum hopping. I also plan to return to DC with these Dolce and Gabbana filigre sunglasses so some shopping detours will happen as well.
Plus, I'm going to eat my weight in salt water taffy in Atlantic City but if you know me then you knew that already.

November 17, 2014

Gucci Bamboo Leather Backpack

I haven't worn a backpack since literally halfway through my sophomore year of high school. It was a pink Jansport with Something Corporate lyrics written all over it in Sharpie. This backpack seems a bit more stylish.

I honestly saw this backpack yesterday. It was the first add in my InStyle magazine. Like, I lifted the cover, saw this ad for this backpack front and center
and was like, "I need this backpack. I want this backpack. I desire and lust over this backpack." It was love at first sight. I love how unexpected a backpack would be to carry but how classic 70's Gucci the bamboo details are. The fucking buckle is even bamboo. Gucci has been all over their 70's heyday lately and I'm loving it. Look at that god damn ad! The model's natural hair and makeup, the python boots, the shape and stripes on her sweater are all so perfectly 70's. And that backpack is the star.

This backpack also comes in a sky blue, a lilac, a white, a black, a medium pink and a much more expensive python colorblock. I love this tan color best, though. The price is totally reasonable at $2590.00. Just kidding, that's more than my rent. I carry this backpack in my dreams, though and dream me looks incredible with it.