June 1, 2016

The List: May 2016

Shoe Essential
Steve Madden Metallic Sandals
I think these are called "Briiaa" or something. There are probably 2-7 extra vowels that I'm leaving out. Steve Madden always names their shoes like someone fell asleep on top of their computer keyboard.

Artist I Adore
Harry Sternberg
Whose fantastically creepy drawings and lithographs were on view at the San Diego art museum in April.

Juice Fix
Cranberry juice mixed with grapefruit juice. 
And some vodka. Wait, that's a Sea Breeze.

My Lip Pick
NYX Lip Lingerie
Run, do not walk, to pick up select colors from this line if you have olive skin. I need to do a more in depth post about these liquid lipsticks because a good 3/4 or so are solid hits with my skin tone.

Go To Work Out Look
lululemon high waisted Wunder Unders
(+whatever top I've found from H&M/Target/TJ Maxx for <$20, frizzy hair, dejected facial expression, Pure Barre sticky socks)

I've been doing barre for about 3 full months now. I KNOW. Me, exercising. I've always side eyed people who are like, "Just wait, I ended up CRAVING exercise, it makes me feel good and I'm disappointed if I can't go to the gym." Like, those have always been people who I've put on this mental list like, "Hmm, yup, Allison is definitely fucking weird and crazy, she has lost it." That is me now. I am addicted to going to barre. 

For anyone who doesn't know, barre classes are essentially Pilates classes, sans any machines and plus a ballet barre. I was kind of like the last hold out of my friends to do Pure Barre (some of whom are instructors or have been doing it for years and years). I finally succumbed to peer pressure and started a trial membership in March. Now I'm under a contract membership and go a minimum of 3-4 times a week. I am constantly the worst person in my classes, the sole person who cannot get their legs straight enough or do a tricep push up, but I don't even care.

I told myself when I started that I was NOT going to sink any money into it beyond the price of the classes (brutal) and that I was fully capable of doing everything in my cheap American Apparel leggings and non grippy socks, thank you very much. Like, "NO, I will not end up as a cog in this corporate scheme where I wear ludicrously overpriced leggings pulled down over my conformist black sticky socks like every other girl in this barre class, I will be the only girl here without an engagement ring or a OPI Bubble Bath gel manicure OR lululemon leggings, that is for damn sure!!" I'm really this insufferable in my head.

I think I lasted a single class without the socks and two weeks being that stubborn about the leggings which is impressive in retrospect. You're constantly bending over and having your instructor inspect your butt to see if you're squeezing the right muscles. Who wants to do that in potentially see through cotton leggings? I can almost guarantee that anyone who was standing behind me in my first two weeks of classes has intimate knowledge of what colors and styles my underpants are. lululemon's Wunder Unders are completely opaque and cover your whole leg. They are the sole brand of leggings that does this (and this comes not from me but from a friend who used to teach). AND - I've never understood the concept of push up bras because I'm chesty enough as is but I feel like I "get it" with these leggings. They're like a butt push up bra. Pro tip: buy the high waisted ones. My sole pair of non high waisted ones that I bought when I was not in the know are constantly rejected because they don't hold my stomach in as well, let's be blunt.

I have four pairs of these leggings and don't even casually wear cotton leggings any more. They're incredible and I understand why every woman in DC seemingly just exists in lululemon now.

Get Glowing Trick
My Beauty Diary sheet masks

Happy Place
On my balcony with an iced coffee 
I’m obsessedddddd with having a balcony. I’ve never had one in my entire life and I can tell I’m really uncool about my balcony in the context of the rest of my building. All of these people are OVER balconies. Balconies are not a new thing to them, I assume, because none of them ever use theirs. My window faces about 30 other balconies and out of those I see maybe 5 people who ever use their balcony, tops. One of those is just someone who probably has bad cell reception indoors because she’s only ever on the phone which I don’t feel counts as leisurely balcony time. There are people who aren’t even trying and just have those foldable sporting goods chairs instead of actual patio furniture, because that’s just how over the concept of balconies they are at this point in their lives. 

I really can’t believe that kind of cavalier attitude re: a balcony because this is something I have been wanting for so long. The closest I had ever gotten was a first floor fire escape in Boston which you couldn’t even use because it was in this shady alley way and people from the club next door (same one where Aaron Hernandez discussed murder details!) would stand out there and get into fights. Meth heads set up camp there literally a foot underneath my bedroom window one day and the police department was just like, “Eh, your dog should bark loudly if anyone tries to break in so that’s good at least.” So, not exactly a place to decorate with string lights and plants. 

The <400 square foot studio I lived in for two years in DC before moving to my current building was even worse. That studio apartment was like some kind of Groundhog Day bunker where every season ended up being virtually indistinguishable from the others. What kind of seasonal, celebratory things can you really do in that kind of space with zero dollars? The only way you could really tell it was summer was when my building would turn off the air conditioning units right at the beginning of September which was completely ludicrous. If you live in the DMV, you know that the city is a sweltering, humid mess all summer long and that the 80 degree days don’t end until mid October, if we’re lucky. THEY WOULD TURN OFF THE AIR CONDITIONING WITH AT LEAST A FULL MONTH OF SUMMER TEMPERATURES LEFT. It was unbearable. My boyfriend and I would literally not be able to cook for the entire month because the apartment was so hot and so tiny that the extra heat from the stove or oven would make it 10x worse. We would have to come home from work every night with Chipotle, keep all of the lights turned off and set up bowls of ice cubes in front of 4 different fans to try and cool down the apartment enough that it was comfortable enough to sleep in. That was summer in that apartment building. That was literally the defining aspect of summer in that building - not that it was time to go shopping for plants for the balcony or that you could walk 10 feet from your kitchen to the outside to sip your morning coffee. Just that it got grotesquely hot and that you had to dread the day that the building would send maintenance up to turn off your air conditioning. The end.

I cherish my balcony in May, truly. My happy place for sure.

Hair Color Hero
Elisha Barnett at Ian McCabe Studio in Foggy Bottom

Favorite Yoga Position
Child's pose
Because I essentially sleep in it.

Jeanius Denim Brand
Citizens of Humanity

Skincare Secret
It's key, fam. You can read up on product recommendations and buy shit until you're unable to pay your rent and that void in your heart has been filled with all the products you can possibly need. But at the end of the day, you know your skin knows the difference between sticking to a routine and when you're really drunk on Friday and Saturday and fall into bed without taking your makeup off and then you feel really lazy Monday and you skip the exfoliating step and yadda yadda. 

Designer That Inspires Me
Alessandro Michele for Gucci

Jewelry Splurge
I bought this Marchesa hand jewelry for <$20 at Nordstrom Rack but it still counts as a splurge in my eyes because Marchesa.

Sunglasses I Practically Collect
Variations on the oversized, rounded, cat eye.
If you can't see your eyebrows, they're too big. My current favorite is Quay Australia's About Last Night (front) for adding a mirrored lens into the mix so I can stare haughtily at strangers without them knowing.
Side note: I bought these cake stands at Anthropologie and the medium size made for a perfect sunglasses tray.

Chic Housewarming Gift
Anthropologie Succulent Candles
I feel like candles are the perfect housewarming gift because they're a little fancy, thoughtful and low commitment for the recipient since they'll get used up in a month or so. Anthropologie has a handful of variations on these succulent candles, all with little removable lids and light, fresh scents. Think of how adorable they'd be for storage once the wax is all gone, too - always a bonus when buying candles with quirky containers.

Best Makeup Remover
Clinique Take the Day Off
The price tag for this is a bit jarring at $28 a tub (or bottle for the oil version) but I've timed each container I've purchased and I always get a solid six months use out of it. A drugstore option - say, the Neutrogena face wipes that come in a 25 count pack - ends up being just as much (a little more even) when you're throwing $5 at it every single month. I feel that this is way gentler on my skin anyway. The only downside is that it's a bit messy to use and leaves a weird film on your eyelashes in the minutes immediately after use.

Beauty Item I Buy In Bulk
Hair ties
Or, prime hunting targets to steal from their dish and hide under the living room rug if you're my cat.

On My Nightstand
I always have a little bowl of water on my nightstand because my cat sleeps all mushed up next to me with her butt in my face (as if she doesn't have a whole queen sized bed to lay on) right next to my nightstand. I like for her to be able to stand up in the middle of the night, get a little water for some refreshment and flop back down next to my head. This is the month that I broke down and went to Anthropologie (always with the Anthropologie) and bought specialized bowls for this purpose that match my bedroom.