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Vanity + Wearables

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I probably don’t even need to write anything after that photo, right? I don’t think it’s possible to look at a pair of bright green clogs and not immediately want to put a pair on your own feet. At least that’s how I felt when I saw first these shoes at Lily, a very sweet little clothing store near my apartment in Brooklyn. It was insanely hot and humid out and the last thing I felt like doing was trying anything on any part of my body, but these green clogs beckoned like only green clogs can. And so they were on my feet, and then they were mine. The end!

For the last few years, I’ve been making an effort to only buy shoes that will last for many years. To that end, the shoes must be not only well-constructed and made of good-quality materials, but they also need to be repairable (I ♥ my cobbler) and relatively timeless style-wise. To gauge the latter criteria, I usually ask myself whether I would have worn the shoes I’m interested in 20 years ago. Would I have worn bright green clogs when I was 18? HELL YES! That’s a pretty good indicator that I’m still going to want to wear bright green clogs 20 years from now, when I’m 58. Orthopedic shoes FTW!

(The other thing I do when I’m looking at shoes is ask myself WWMD? What would Mommy do? If my mother would wear them, they’re probably a good choice.)

Two years ago, I bought this exact same style clog in natural leather, and I wear them all the time. That pair was made by the relatively new Swedish company Hasbeens. They took a while to break in because the leather is very thick and hard, but eventually they became very comfortable. I got mine on sale, but Hasbeens are on the pricey side normally. This new Herringbone Green pair was made by another Swedish company, Cape Clogs, who have been hand-making clogs in Småland for 150 years. They are much cheaper than Hasbeens ($89 vs $179 for virtually the same shoe), and they are super-comfy right out of the box. Seriously — I could have walked in these for hours on the first day with no issues. Plus, they’re GREEN!!!

In short, there are several Swedish clog makers who are all making their own versions of classic clogs, ’70s-style clogs and contemporary designs, and, at least as far as I can tell, they’re all more or less the same. I’m sure there are differences in the type of wood used and the grades of leather and so forth, but I honestly can’t tell them apart upon visual inspection, not to mention actually wearing them on my feet (podiatric inspection?).

And did I mention they’re green??

p.s. As of last week, Lily still has a few pairs in stock in you’re in the area! Otherwise, they can be ordered from Cape Clogs.

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I struggled to find an appropriate photo to accompany this post, but I couldn’t. Instagrams of feet are always a good fallback, so here are four of them. This post has nothing to do with feet or shoes or tiles or anything like that, though. It’s about weight — gaining weight, losing weight, weighty weight.

About three years ago, I wrote a post called I’m OK. Sometimes I go back to read it so I can remind myself of exactly how I felt that day, because it’s how I strive to feel all the time — that is, I strive to not have to think about how I feel; to not have to think about constant physical self-improvement.

I’m going to quote myself:

I’m 5′6″, I weigh 150 pounds, and I usually wear a size 8 or 10. This is the size that I am when I am eating healthy, well-balanced foods in normal quantities. I have weighed as much as 40 pounds more when I was eating enormous portions of unhealthy, prepared foods, and I have weighed as little as 30 pounds less when I was meticulously measuring every morsel of food that entered my body and obsessing over calories and fat grams and fiber content to the point that I wound up not really getting much pleasure out of what I was eating. Neither option was healthy, but not because of my weight at either end of the spectrum — it was unhealthy because my body wasn’t getting the things it needs in the right amounts to function properly.

Yeah. That was me three years ago, which suddenly feels like a long, long time. I still believe in everything I wrote, but I’m not at that place anymore, physically or mentally. I’ve hung out in the ~145 pound area for most of the last 6 years without really thinking about it. I’d go up a few pounds when I was overworking and stressed, and I’d go down a few pounds when I was taking extra-good care of myself.

Last October, though, things started to get out of control. I know it sounds TOTALLY RIDICULOUS to blame Hurricane Sandy (because seriously, among all the things that were affected by that storm, my weight does not deserve to be mentioned), but that was kind of the turning point. I wanted comfort foods, I wanted to bake, I wanted takeout food, I wanted to feel safe and I wanted something to do while I waited for my apartment building to have electricity and for the subways to start running again. Unfortunately, my default activity when my regular routine is interrupted is EATING. Snacking. Eating. More snacking. Not much moving around. More eating.

Seven months post-Sandy (three weeks ago, to be precise), I forced myself to get on a scale. It wasn’t like I couldn’t see that I’d gained weight or that I didn’t notice having to buy bigger jeans, but I wasn’t prepared to discover that I’d managed to put on FORTY (40!) pounds. In seven months! Whoa. 5′6″, 180 pounds. That’s only 10 pounds shy of my highest weight ever, a place I never thought I’d be again in my life.

Side note: I’ve never really understood why so many people (women AND men) don’t like to reveal their ages or weights and that kind of stuff. Why is it such a big deal? Your age is what it is — who cares! The older I get, the less that makes sense to me. If I started telling people I’m 27 instead of 37, what would I accomplish? I get that those of us who are or have been overweight often (not always) have some degree of shame or embarrassment associated with scale numbers, but at the end of the day, what does being open about your weight change? How is it different than telling someone your height? Anyone looking at me can see that I’m overweight — being coy about numbers and sizes doesn’t suddenly make me look like I’m thinner. I’m all about dropping the shame and other internal weirdness and just putting it out there.

Just so it’s clear, I really don’t think that height/weight-based metrics are particularly good indicators of a person’s health. That said, I have a pretty good sense of where my weight naturally settles when I’m eating healthy, nutritious foods and taking good care of myself. I didn’t go from 140 to 180 pounds in seven months by taking good care of myself. My health and well-being matters to me, and as I creep closer to 40, I know I really can’t mess around with this stuff.

Also, vanity. Self-image. That stuff. It’s real, and I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t affect me. The week before I weighed myself, I was at my friends’ wedding in San Francisco, and I spent a whole lot of time avoiding having my picture taken (and feeling ridiculously self-conscious when I couldn’t avoid it). Who wants to feel that way? Not me.

So today marks three weeks since my first “scale moment,” and as of this morning, I’m down to 170 pounds. Ten pounds might sound like too much to lose in a short period of time, but that’s just because I went from eating like a teenage boy in a growth spurt (takeout food every night, chips every afternoon, multiple daily bagels on the weekend, etc.) to eating like a reasonable human being overnight — so the initial drop in calories consumed was pretty massive. I have no expectation of continuing to lose at that rate! Having lost a large amount of weight once before (I went from 190 to 130 in 2006), I know that about two pounds per week is normal for me. My goal weight (hey, I have some goals) is 145-ish, because I know that’s comfortable and healthy for me.

I’m using Weight Watchers (online only, no meetings) to track what I eat. I am not an advocate of Weight Watchers’ packaged/processed foods, and I really don’t care about their meal suggestions or any of that stuff, but I do love their tracker tools (YAY for the iPhone app!) and the point system is very handy. It’s worth the $15/month to me because I’m the kind of person who likes order and accountability and having a system. I also really like that Weight Watchers isn’t about going “on a diet,” it’s about reinforcing health eating habits (hello, I sound like a commercial) through making smart choices every day. It’s sustainable.

I just want to feel well, be healthy and not spend so much time thinking about my size. I want to feel like the person who wrote this post again. I’m not comparing myself to anyone else, I’m comparing myself to what I know I’m capable of. I can’t be passive about this stuff any longer. Onward!

Mary Meyer clothing

I’ve been on a perpetual hunt for summer-appropriate clothing for my entire adult life. I am forever the one wearing a cardigan, jeans and boots in 90° weather. I don’t have seasonal wardrobe changes — my only concessions to outdoor temperature are sandals in summer and heavier scarves in winter. I own “summer scarves.” I don’t like to show much skin, and I just don’t think I’m ever going to feel like myself in a dress or skirt (and believe me, I have tried). Wearing a regular t-shirt without anything over it is WAY too risqué for me. So. Many. Issues. I embrace them. Why fight your anxieties?

Enter Mary Meyer clothing, handmade in Brooklyn! I love, love, LOVE Mary’s stuff. So far I’ve only bought one dress, but her summer 2013 collection is so fantastic that I’m going to have to pick out a couple of things to add to my (tiny) wardrobe. I’m having a hard time narrowing down my wishlist, but my top contenders are the Beach Biggie, this Cap Dress and Sahara Pants (probably the closest I’ll ever get to wearing shorts). The dresses are actually the length I like my shirts to be, so I can pair them with skinny jeans and ankle boots, oxfords or sandals and feel totally comfortable. In the fall and winter, I can just put a cardigan on top! See? There’s no such thing as seasonal clothing in my world. Layers ahoy!

p.s. Yes, there are Mary Meyer clothes for boys, too! I’ll sneak a tee shirt for Evan into my order, too. I have a feeling he’d like this Black Ascent one.

Anna + Mary Meyer dress

And on a more personal (and highly tangential) note…

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, the only thing I could think about was that the Supreme Court was going to be ruling on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure. It’s no secret where I stand politically, socially and ethically when it comes to equal rights, and I wanted to dress for the occasion — one I hoped would be a celebration. And so, this Mary Meyer dress covered with pink triangles was IT! (This particular print isn’t available anymore, but it’s the “Biggie” style for fit reference.)

Kind of a funny segue from a post about clothing, I suppose, but that’s alright. Whatever gets you there.

It’s been two years since I wrote this post about the New York Senate legalizing gay marriage in my state, and it feels SO good to know that my friends in California are now afforded the same rights. The death of DOMA has set the stage for the remaining 31 37 states in the US to follow us down a path of greater humanity. Let’s do this.

HELLO THERE! I just got back from a trip to San Francisco (more about that in my next post!), and while I was there, I became weirdly self-conscious about how my makeup was stored. Even though I don’t do a lot of long-distance traveling, I am constantly making trips back and forth between our house in Newburgh and our apartment in Brooklyn. I guess it would make sense to buy two of everything and not have to take anything with me, but realistically that’s not going to happen — cosmetics are expensive, and I’m super-fickle about which products I like to use on a daily basis…not to mention the life-span of products once they’ve been opened. Two coffee makers? Yes. Two tubes of $32 mascara? Not so much. As a result, I wind up throwing everything in various drawers and boxes when I’m at the apartment, and living out of Ziploc freezer bags when I’m traveling or at the house. Not cute. And much as I like the idea of keeping all of my stuff in clear lucite boxes like Nubby Twiglet, I know I’m just not tidy enough to keep everything looking pristine all the time. (Also, not everything I like to use comes in pretty packaging. Alas.)

Nomess Copenhagen Balsabox

Nomess Copenhagen / Balsabox Personal
Earlier today I came across this cool neon pink and balsa wood storage box by the Danish company Nomess Copenhagen, and it immediately went on my wishlist. It’s actually made up of three boxes, two of which nest inside the largest one. The lid lifts off completely and becomes a standing mirror! Such a great design. It’s not good for traveling, but it’s simple enough to toss stuff in without having to worry about fitting everything into tiny, specialized compartments (I’ve never been able to make those fancy professional train cases work for me). I still need to measure to see if it can fit on the shelves in my bathroom, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be perfect.

Coriumi pouch

Coriumi / Geometric Pattern Pouch
I own another, smaller pouch from the Lithuanian brand Coriumi, and I keep it in my bag at all times to hold tissues, sunglasses, a comb, band-aids and all of the other stuff that would otherwise be floating around loose and getting lost/dirty. It’s really nicely made. I’d like to add this one to my collection to stash all of my makeup when I’m in transit. It’s big enough to hold everything I need without being stuffed to the gills — it’s basically the size of a big Ziploc. Aaaaaaand it doubles as a very pretty fold-over clutch! I usually transport my makeup brushes by rolling them up in a paper towel, which would be easy to nestle at the bottom of the pouch.

IKEA Pallra box

IKEA / Pallra Box + Pokal Tumbler
IKEA has been nailing it lately with their small storage boxes (let us not forget the best box) and this happy yellow round guy is no exception. I haven’t seen the Pallra box in person yet so I’m not sure if the levels are fully separate or if there’s a swivel-hinge on one side (update: no hinges!), but I like that it’s not just one big open space. It’s only $10 and the yellow covering is paper fabric, so it really lends itself to being decorated (I’m picturing potato-stamped white triangles). Round boxes aren’t great for storing brushes, but how cute would that yellow box look paired with this pale pink stoneware cup? Yup.

Speaking of makeup storage and that kind of stuff, someone asked me how I care for my brushes. Nothing to it, really! Once a week or so, I wash them in tepid water and Dr. Bronner’s mild/baby liquid castile soap. I press out most of the water with a dry washcloth, then leave them flat to dry completely overnight — near an open window if possible. I’ve had some of my brushes for more than a decade now, so it must be working out!

OK, now tell me how you store your makeup so I can feel inadequate and disorganized.

Summerland giveaway

I’m sure I’m not speaking just for myself here when I ask why spring has been sooooo sloooooow to start this year! A couple of days ago I was bundled up in a winter coat in near-freezing temperatures, and today the thermometer is hovering just below 80°F. New York City is gorgeous in the springtime, but it never lasts long enough — before you know it, we’ll all be complaining about how hot it is.

In celebration of these precious few weeks of beautiful weather, though, I thought it might be nice to do a giveaway from one of my favorite Portland-based boutiques — and one of D16’s earliest sponsors! — Summerland. One lucky person will win a $100 gift certificate to spend on anything in the shop!

Here’s how to enter:
Visit Summerland and pick out a few of your favorite things.
Leave a comment here letting me know what they are!

Here’s how to get two extra entries:
Like Summerland and Door Sixteen on Facebook.*
Follow Summerland and Door Sixteen on Instagram.*

* If you already liked/followed either of us, that’s fine. Just let me know in your comment so I can count your extra entries!

The deadline for entries is April 16th at 11:00 PM, EST. THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. I’ll announce the winner here and on Twitter tomorrow. The winner will also be notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered!

UPDATE: The winner of the Summerland giveaway is Shawnna! Congratulations, Shawnna.

Small print: This giveaway is open to international entries, but Summerland is not responsible for customs fees and duties if they should occur.

Bonus discount!
Summerland is offering a 10% discount for ALL Door Sixteen readers between now and the end of the giveaway (April 16th at 11:00 PM, EST). Use the code DOORSIXTEEN at checkout!

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My favorites! Clockwise-ish, from top left:
Mila dress, Eskell / Number One sunglasses in Vanilla Wood, Karen Walker / Dark Wave fragrance oil, OLO (I wear this every day!) / Girls Just Wanna Have Fun nail polish, Deborah Lippmamm / Blixen boots, Wolverine x Samantha Pleet / “Everyday Is Like Sunday” banner, Banter Banner / Pink Cross bow tie, Twenty-Seven Names / Rose + Vanilla tinted lip blush, Fig + Yarrow

It’s been a while since I wrote about my daily cosmetics routine, and now that I have my skin under control (or at least as much as it’s ever going to be), I feel like it’s much less of a struggle to figure out what products I like and what I don’t. I doubt I’ll ever be the kind of person who goes out bare-faced (I don’t even stay in bare-faced), but I also don’t like to look really made-up…at least not when it comes to my skin. I save the color/drama for my eyes and lips, and I’ll get into those products in another post. This is really just about what works to make my overall complexion look a little brighter and fresher.

daily face

Presented in order of application…

1. Too Faced / Tinted Beauty Balm (Vanilla Glow)
Judging by the reviews I’ve read, this is one of those products that people either love or hate, and I think it all comes down to expectation. Here’s what it’s not: A true beauty balm or a foundation. Here’s what it is: A very sheer tinted moisturizer containing broad-spectrum SPF and miniscule light-reflecting particles. If you want a full-coverage foundation, this is not the product for you. I used Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer for years, and while I still think it’s a great product, I found myself wanting something even lighter weight. This Too Faced cream is perfect. It evens out my complexion while still letting my skin show, and the color it provides is very forgiving. My skin tone is very difficult to match, but this goes on imperceptibly. I apply it with my fingers.

2. Make Up For Ever / Lift Concealer (Pink Beige 1)
I recently ran out of my holy grail undereye concealer, Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer Kit (which I previously reviewed at length), and since I’ve been making an effort to use up leftover products I already own before buying anything new, I pulled out this tube of MUFE concealer to give it a go. I can’t remember why I’d rejected it initially, but now I love it. The key is to pat it on under your eyes very lightly with your ring finger — I find that works much better than using a brush, which tends to move the product around too much. I also use it to cover up any minor blemishes and dark areas around my nose.

3. Urban Decay / Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Original)
Yeah, everyone uses this stuff, including me. It’s great. I’ve always had a problem with eyeshadow sliding around and creasing in the past, and this primer does an excellent job of keeping lid oils at bay and helping my eye makeup stay put all day long. I can’t put it under my lower lash line so I still get some little smudges there from my mascara, but that’s really not a huge deal. I highly recommend this stuff if you have problems with your eye makeup wearing off or looking cruddy after a few hours!

4. the Balm Stainiac / Tinted Gel Blush (Prom Queen)
I bought this with the intention of using it as a lip stain, but the color didn’t work well for me. Rather than toss it I tried dabbing a bit on the apples of my cheeks. Perfect! It doesn’t give a deep stain or anything, just a little bit of a flush. I like to layer a light stain under my powder blush — that helps the pinkyness last all day.

5. Too Faced / Primed & Poreless Powder (Translucent)
This is the best face powder I’ve ever tried! I has NO color whatsoever and provides no coverage, but it does an amaaaaaaazing job of keeping other makeup in place and of stopping any oiliness without drying out my skin or accentuating tiny flakes. I use a small brush to apply it in under my eyes (no creasing or crepe-y skin!) and around my nose, and a big fluffy brush to dust it lightly all over my face. The package says you can also use it under your makeup as a primer, but I’ve never tried that. I find that a very light layer on top of everything is enough, and I don’t have to touch it up unless I’m going out at night. The finish is silky-smooth and very, very natural-looking.

6. NARS / Blush (Deep Throat)
Oh, NARS and your stupid color names…sigh. I used Orgasm for years, but switched to Deep Throat on a whim last time I needed a refill. It’s very similar, but with less sparkle and a tone that leans just slightly more pink than coral. NARS blushes are all very highly-pigmented and long-lasting, so you do need to use a light hand. I lightly swipe my blush brush in the pan, tap off the excess on my back of my hand, and ever so gently stipple it onto my cheeks. Very natural, very pretty.

Does that sound like a lot of stuff? I guess it does, but it doesn’t seem like it when I’m putting it all on! After all of this comes eye makeup and lips, so there’s still more to come. Stay tuned!

It’s been a month since my last outfit post, which seems about right when considering how frequently I change my clothes! I kid, I kid. OK, not really—I know I like to joke about only having three outfits, but it’s kind of true. I have a small handful of staples that are all interchangeable. I like casual, comfortable, modest and somewhat masculine (boyish?) clothes.

weekend outfit

1. Surplus Parka, BDG
2. Cube Scarf, Micaela Greg
3. Veronica Slouch Boots, Frye
4. Letter Bag, Moop
5. Sofia Skinny Jeans (Dark Faye), Lucky
6. Arcos Earrings, Stone & Honey
7. Super Duper Strength Sunglasses, Karen Walker

This is more or less what I’ve been wearing every weekend these days. I love parkas—I have a black one with a very warm, detachable lining, and an army-green one that’s a lighter weight (mine came from the clearance rack at the Gap, but I’ve tried on this one from UO and it’s good stuff—it does run large, though, and if it’s -10°F where you live it’s probably better for fall/spring). The nice thing about loose-fitting parkas is that you can wear lots of layers underneath without feeling like a bulky sausage. Also: POCKETS. I love big pockets. Tissues, iPhone, lip balm, sunglasses, hair elastics, gloves…they all go in the pockets. (Still loving Lucky’s Sofia skinny jeans, too—more about them in my last outfit post!)

I don’t actually own that Micaela Greg scarf, but I’m thinking it might be a good present for myself as a reward for all of the tiling I did in the kitchen. (Hello, justification!) I have their triangle neck cozy, and it’s so soft (not a speck of itchiness!) and nicely made. I can never bring myself to squish a hat down on my head, so in the winter months I rely on giant scarves to wrap around my head and over my ears when it gets really chilly out.

I’ve expressed my love for Frye boots before, but I don’t think I’ve ever specifically mentioned their Veronica slouch boots. Truth: I own three pairs of these boots. Dark brown (pictured here), cracked white leather (yes, really), and these gray stone-washed ombré ones. Frye have been making this style of boot for a long time, and I’ve bought one pair every two years. Unlike most Frye boots (which have leather soles that can be slippery on ice), they have a thick, rubber lug sole that wears really well when the sidewalks and streets are icy, so they’re great in winter. Once a year I get them waterproofed by my cobbler and have him put a new piece of rubber on the heel, and that’s enough to keep them in excellent shape.

Weekend? Ready!

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long, long time now. Skin—and, more specifically, adult acne—is something I’ve touched on briefly here and on my old blog, but never really in depth. It’s such a sensitive, personal subject, and it’s hard to talk about. The skin on our faces is so intimate, but we show it to the world every day. I’m constantly trying to reconcile that fact.

I don’t like having my photo taken. I’m OK taking my own photo (which is why most pictures of me also contain a camera and are in reverse), but the second someone else aims a camera at me I feel extremely anxious. I imagine the photographer at home, hours later, zooming in on my skin and discovering all of the many things that are wrong with it. It feels naked; it feels bad. When I take a photo of myself, though, it’s more about the act of taking the picture than it is an examination of my face. It’s safe, and if it looks bad, I can delete it and no one else ever has to know.

It really all comes down to skin. Forget the shape of my nose or the color of my eyes or anything at all about my face, because the only thing I’m seeing when I look in the mirror is whether my skin is flaky or red or if I have a pimple or two or seven. The condition of my skin plays a huge role in defining my confidence, my overall mood and even my productivity on any given day. My rational mind tells me this is ridiculous, but my irrational mind has used personal days to stay home from work because of breakouts. So.

My skin was fine when I was teenager, OK in my early 20s…and then it just got progressively worse. I never used to wear foundation, but my the time I was in my early 30s it was a daily operation. Ridiculous amounts of time spent every morning dotting on teensy amounts of concealer over red marks with a tiny brush, all so no one would have to know my terrible secret. It’s hard to explain this stuff with anyone who doesn’t know what it’s like to deal with adult acne, so if you fall into that camp, please try to cut those of us who have some slack. To be 37 years old and battling breakouts and wrinkles at the same time sucks. It makes you feel like you’re perpetually trapped in a delayed adolescence while simultaneously running out of the years when you’re supposed to look your best. It’s embarrassing. It makes you feel inept and unprofessional and dirty. And you will try anything to make it all better.

So here’s where I’m at right now, and I can say this with confidence: My skin has never looked better. Well, maybe it looked better when I was 15, but this is as good as it’s been in the 22 years since. Every now and then I have a minor breakout, but it’s generally just one small blemish that goes away pretty quickly and doesn’t make my life too horrible while it’s around.

Here’s the rundown:

1. Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser
This is the least-glamorous face wash I’ve used in my adult life, and I admit I was really skeptical when my dermatologist recommended it to me. I like to use things in pretty packages that are only sold at tiny drugstores or fancy department stores. Again, I know it’s ridiculous, but I’m biased against a cleanser that’s available everywhere for $5. But yeah, my dermatologist was right, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever washed my face with. I actually use it twice at night: Once to do a quick makeup removal, and then again right after to deep-cleanse with my Clarisonic. Speaking of my Clarisonic…

2. Clarisonic Mia
I LOVE MY CLARISONIC. So much. I’ve had it for a couple of years now (it was a Hanukkah present from Daniel, who understands my quest for pore perfection), and we’ve been on a journey together. At first I loved it, and then I hated it, and then I really wanted to like it again, and now I love it and can’t imagine being without it. The trick is finding the right cleanser to use it with. There’s a lot of debate over whether it’s better to use it with a foaming or non-foaming face wash, and I really think it comes down to your skin type. For me, a gentle, foaming, soap-free cleanser works best. I use it every single night.

A couple of notes: I use the replacement brushes made for delicate skin. I can’t see why the new Mia 2 is worth the extra money, so my recommendation is to just go with the original Mia. It’s the cheapest model Clarisonic sells, and it does everything you need it to. I don’t know anything about the cheaper facial brushes that Olay and Neutrogena make, so I can’t advise you there—but I can say that my dermatologist was adamant that I only use a genuine Clarisonic. I already owned one, so fine by me!

✚ EDIT: Reader Tallin commented that SkinStore.com is having a 20% off sale right now that includes the whole Clarisonic line.

3. Ziana Gel
I realize this might be a controversial inclusion since it’s a prescription product that combines a topical antibiotic (clindamycin) with a retinoid (tretinoin), and I hesitated to mention it at all. I’m not big on using antibiotics, and I was initially hesitant to start applying them to my face. I’ve also had bad experiences with prescription retinoids in the past. I think I just got to a point of desperation, though—I weighed my emotional well-being against the potential risks, and I decided to fill the prescription.

Ziana has been amazing. Aside from inflamed blemishes, I’m really prone to clogged pores and closed comedones. After using Ziana (just a tiny, pea-sized amount over my entire face at night) for a week, the improvement in my skin’s texture and clarity was noticeable. After three months, my face was completely clear—and I mean completely. I’ve been using Ziana for a total of six months now, and my skin just looks so much brighter and smoother and healthier. Some of the reviews I read complained of redness and drying, but I didn’t experience any of that. Maybe they were using too much or not using a moisturizer? I don’t know, I can just tell you that it’s been wonderful for my skin.

4. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado
I first wrote about this eye cream four years ago, and I’m still using it now. I usually only put it on at night since it’s a bit too emollient to wear under makeup, but it’s hydrating enough that the effects last even during the day. I’m careful when I wash my face in the morning to not get cleanser around my eyes, though, so maybe it’s just residual amounts that are doing the trick? Whatever it is, I love this stuff. No, it doesn’t cure me of my undereye circles, but it does keep the skin around my eyes soft and dewy-looking, and that’s good enough for me.

5. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
I wrote an entire blog post about how much I love this stuff a couple of months ago, so I won’t dwell on it again too long now. The love affair is still going strong! Much like my Clarisonic, this is something I can’t imagine ever not having as part of my skin care routine. I’m forever thankful to Ilenia for recommending it to me! No more dry patches, no more irritation…just soft, happy skin.

So that’s about the size of it. I do also use a sunscreen daily, of course (a spray from Paula’s Choice that was just discontinued, much to my chagrin), as well as Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant when I feel like I need exfoliation, and Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads if my skin seems dull at all. Nothing else—and yes, that means that my formerly-beloved Mario Badescu is no longer in my life. I have a much simpler routine now, and it’s all come down to finding the right products for me.

I still feel a bit hesitant to publish this post since I know very well that skin is an incredibly personal thing and that everyone will react differently to various products, but I also understand how reassuring it can be to know that someone else is dealing with the same issues. I may not be jumping in front of cameras anytime soon and I still have no plans to ever leave the house without makeup, but at least I can look at my face now and not just see the state of my skin—and when I do, I’m mostly OK with it. Happy, even.

I felt a little silly when I put together my first outfit post last month, I guess because I don’t think of myself as being a particularly “stylish” person when it comes to clothing. Most of what I wear comes from stores like H&M, Gap and Old Navy (I prefer to spend on accessories and shoes, since they’ll always fit!), and I don’t dress to stand out. I don’t work from home—I’m in a midtown office building every day—and while we don’t really have a dress code beyond “don’t come to work in a bikini” (not a problem), I try to not look like a complete mess. That said, I pretty much wear the same thing on my days off as I do when I’m at work, I just try to save the stuff with holes in it for the weekends.

1. Blazer, H&M
2. Small Gem Necklace, Lila Rice
3. Juniper Tank Top, Alternative Apparel
4. Sofia Skinny Jeans, Lucky
5. Hepcat Shades, Madewell
6. Leslie Zip Booties, Frye
7. Rain print pouch, Bookhou
8. Mustard cotton scarf, Scarf Shop*
*Martha from Scarf Shop was kind enough to offer 10% off anything in the shop with the code ILOVEANNA through Jan 1st!

This is a typical work outfit for me. I wear jeans almost every single day (I don’t even own a pair of non-denim pants!), so I try to keep four well-fitting pairs in rotation at any given time. Sadly, Gap seems to be discontinuing the Curvy Skinny jeans I love so much, but Lucky’s Sofia skinny jeans are my fallback. I’ve been wearing Lucky jeans for years, and while I can’t always rely on them to have the exact color/fit combo I like in their lineup, I do love these. They hit all the marks: A truly skinny leg, medium-rise, butt-covering, hip/thigh-accomodating. Flattering. The “resin” color is actually a really dark blue, not black. I love that they have absolutely no fading/distressing whatsoever, too. I find I can wear dark, unfaded jeans to just about any fancy event short of black tie (and I’ve never been invited to anything black tie!) as long as I wear the right shoes and a nice shirt/jacket. I love a good blazer.

Speaking of the right shoes, these are The Right Shoes. (After ogling Acne’s Pistol boots for a few months, I finally tried them on and they were…wrong for me. The opening around the ankle is too small to tuck jeans in unless you have stick legs, and I don’t have stick legs. They just looked bad on me.) By chance I came across Frye’s Leslie Zip booties right before I left for London in October, though, and they are perfect. Perfect! The opening is large enough that my jeans can tuck into the top and look a little scrunchy the way I like. The heel height is just right. Last weekend I wore them with tights and a dress…they can do anything. Like I said, perfect.

In a moment of true recklessness, I decided to make them the ONLY shoes I brought with me to London—yes, I committed myself to a full week of walking every day in a brand-new pair of shoes. And I was fine. I did get one small blister around day 5 from my toes rubbing against each other, but nothing from the shoes. They have been ultra-super-comfy from the moment I first put them on. Bootlove.

EDIT: I just realized I’m actually wearing this exact outfit today, only with a different Bookhou bag. Hah!

Last night I was sorting through one of the many “miscellaneous” folders on my hard drive (all of which are named with various numbers and shoved inside of another folder called “MAIN MISC” so as to create the illusion of being organized—I hate a messy desktop, but I’m a digital pack-rat) and I came across a folder called “jewelry 2.” Looking through the pictures inside, I realized they were supposed to have been used for a blog post about jewelry—Part Two in a series. You know when Part One was posted? April 2011. Sigh. I suck.

Happily, though, all of the jewelry designers I originally had in my post are still open for business! So I put together a new post with all of my favorites among their current work, plus a couple of shops I’ve discovered more recently.


Voz Collective
Black Stained Wood Bangle
Custom Set of Skinny Bangles

Vox Collective is one of those more recent discoveries. I first saw their wooden bangle bracelets when Lisa was visiting and wore one with neon pink (of course!) triangles. I still have a hard time wearing bracelets because I work at a computer all day and I can’t stand hearing them clunk on the desk, but I’m smitten with these. I especially like the way the skinny ones look in multiples.


(of)matter
Simple Triangle Studs
Brass Bar Ring

(of)matter were featured in Part One, and I’m still a fan. I just ordered a couple of sets of the triangle studs in black and brass. Perfect for me, yes?! I have a million (OK, ten) piercing holes in my ears, but I haven’t worn anything in eight of those holes for years. I want to wear a bunch of tiny triangles at once!


Stone & Honey
Arcos Earrings
Cannon Earrings

I follow Teresa from Stone & Honey on Instagram, and she shares lots of snapshots of her work in progress. Seeing how much tedious manual labor and skill goes into creating her jewelry is inspiring. I have a couple of her tiny triangle rings, and I think those black triangle earrings are next on my wish list…


Lila Rice
Deco Hoops
Pyramid Hoops

I only own four pairs of earrings (excluding the triangle studs I just ordered!), and three of them are from Lila Rice. My latest acquisition are the Deco Hoops above, which were a gift from Evan for my birthday. Lila’s work is incredible—large and striking and dramatic, but lightweight and comfortable to wear. I also love that she only uses gold-fill posts/hooks, since that seems to be the only metal composition that doesn’t cause an allergic reaction on me.


Aoko Su
Hammered Gold Hoops
Arrow Ring

I discovered designer Ashley Jerman’s shop Aøko Su when I saw her Bauhaus earrings in New York magazine a few months ago. I love that her jewelry looks a little rough around the edges—the imperfections show the process. Whenever I get around to buying a pair of plain gold hoops, these are the ones I want. (Gold-fill, yay!)


Betsy & Iya
Redundant Chevron Ring
Addition Mission Earrings

I had a STOP THE PRESSES! moment when I saw Betsy & Iya‘s Addition Mission earrings in Jen’s Holiday Faves list yesterday. SO GOOD. They’re Anna-earrings! I’m sure I’ll be allergic to the silver ear wires, but I think I have to get them anyway. I can add my own gold-fill wires. Worth it.

Speaking of metal allergies: To those of you who suffer the same sensitivity to non-gold metals, how do you deal with earrings? The “coat it with clear nail polish” trick doesn’t seem to work for me. I know these plastic covers exist for posts, but what about hooks and wires?