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Vanity + Wearables

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?

Yeah, that’s right, I’m wearing sneakers. Craziness, yes? I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? Everyone wears sneakers all the time. YAWN.” Well, not me. The last time I wore sneakers with any regularity was more than 20 years ago, when I had a nice little collection of high-top Converse (“Chucks” as the kids today call them). Sure, I’ve had a few pairs of gym-appropriate sneakers in the interim, but considering the amount of designated exercise I get on a regular basis—somewhere between none and none—I can still accurately say that sneakers are not something I’m seen wearing. Ever. Until now.

OK, OK, OK. Yes, my sneakers have a 3″ wedge heel. No, I’m not going to run a marathon in these things (or any things). But they are seriously comfy. Despite my undying devotion to not going to the gym ever, I actually do—like most New Yorkers—get an awful lot of walking in on a daily basis, usually on concrete and at a rapid pace, so it’s not like I’m just wearing these to sit around in my office or anything like that. I can wear them for a full day of being out and about/running errands and not give my feet a second thought. Weirdly, I just started wearing them regularly during the past couple of weeks even though I bought them at least 6 months ago. Maybe it’s the fall weather? They look good with tight jeans and giant parka, which is pretty much all I wear between late September and early December.

Because of my aforementioned parsnip legs, I always think I look a little better with a heel. I dress like a sloppy tomboy, though, and I never wear “pumps” (or whatever it is you call high heels that aren’t wedges or clogs). They make me feel like I’m a drag queen with weak ankles. Regular sneakers make me feel stumpy and like I’m trying to trick someone into thinking I might be going jogging later or something. A wedge sneaker, though? Perfect.

I became obsessed with this type of sneaker when French designer Isabel Marant introduced her own wedges, including the impossible-to-find (and impossible for me to afford even if I could find them) Bekket model. Mine are the much more affordable and more accessible Bowie wedges from Ash. They owe a heavy debt to Marant’s design, as do the countless other variations she inspired that have come out at various price points over the past year. Here’s a little round-up of my favorites…

1. Ash “Bowie” (these are the ones I have)
2. Jeffrey Campbell “Teramo Spike”
3. Ash “Cool Ter”
4. Isabel Marant “Betty”
5. Ash “Brooklyn”

Ash also makes wedge sneakers in dozens of style and color options in addition to the ones I mentioned here. I like to think of myself as being the kind of person who would wear these, but we all know I’m just wearing black and that’s it.

Say it, Jerry Lee…

OK, disclaimer: I wouldn’t actually wear these necklaces myself because they veer into religious icon territory, but as design objects (and as jewelry for other people!) I think they are gorgeous. When the photos of Swedish designer Pia Wallén wearing the black version appeared in my Instagram feed, I gasped…and then immediately emailed Pia to ask if she had product photos I could share here. The necklaces are part of her new “Bless You” line of jewelry, and will be available through her soon-to-be-relaunched website.

I definitely would wear the colorful pieces from Pia’s “Chains” line! Don’t you love that bright orange bracelet worn with a gray sweater? Orange + gray is one of my favorite color combinations, especially when we’re talking more blood orange than pumpkin. I’m not sure I’m bold enough to pull off piles of multicolored chains at once, but maybe when I’m a bit older and more fabulous.

Side note: Funny, as I was writing this I suddenly realized what these chain necklaces remind me of. Remember those plastic charm necklaces girls wore in the ’80s? I’d forgotten all about them! I was obsessive about collecting and trading those charms. I remember going to a store at the Kingston mall called Fluff N Stuff to buy them. Huh. I wonder if I still have them in a box somewhere…

All photos courtesy of Pia Wallén

Yes, my little obsession with Calgel nails is still in effect! First there was orangey-red, then super-shiny black…and now I’ve gotten a little bit flashier with black ombré tips and with my current set, a glittery gold gradation over black. I form loyalties to businesses very quickly if they do good work and have happy employees, so I’m still going to Sakura on the Lower East Side.

The ombré tips are the work of Selina. I think I spent close to three hours (!!!) having them done, which I can’t really see ever doing again no matter how cool my nails looked when I was done. After applying the nude gel, Selina carefully mixed black and clear gel in various ratios, then meticulously applied the range of black/gray shades with a tiny brush, layering as she went. I was mesmerized. That manicure stayed intact for close to a month, but by the time it was removed the new nail growth was crazy. It feels weird to have (natural) nails this long for the first time in my life.

Because of bad planning on my part, Daniel actually wound up sitting in the salon through the entire glitter manicure. I’d gone in intending to just go back to simple, solid black, but the stylist, Sandy, managed to convince me that what I really wanted was a whole bunch of glitter. And who am I to argue? After the gold micro-glitter went on, Sandy applied the larger, holographic pieces of glitter one at a time. I’m not sure how long the whole thing took, but I’ll bet Daniel could tell you.

This is one SPARKLY manicure, guys. It’s like having a disco ball on each finger. After I was finished, we went out to dinner at Milon—a.k.a. The Most Sparkly Restaurant in New York/”upper left”—and the Indian disco music pretty much kicked in as soon as I walked in the door. Truth be told, after almost three weeks I’m kind of tired of having this much glitter on me at all times. I’m thinking next time I’ll go for something nice and subtle

p.s. Several people have asked on Instagram about how I keep my cuticles looking decent. I guess the biggest contributor is always wearing rubber gloves when I do dishes and clean. I don’t understand how anyone can stand to wash dishes without gloves on! I always push my cuticles back a little bit with the towel when I dry my hands after washing them. If my hands are really feeling dried out and scaly (which is often this time of year) I use Weleda Skin Food—Evan swears by it as well. It seems expensive, but you only need a tiny dab so a small tube lasts a long time. At night, I do my best to remember to rub some oil into my cuticles. I just use sweet almond oil mixed with jojoba oil. It’s easy to make your own and store it in a little dropper bottle on your bedside table.

I sound like a girl.

I freaked out the other day when I got an email announcing that pre-orders are now being accepted for the new line of Morrissey sweaters from VIVA MOZ. I want them all. The gray Smiths sweater with the daffodils even made me want to put together one of those “outfit montage” things that Real Bloggers® are always posting:

1. The Smiths daffodils sweater, VIVA MOZ
2. Curvy Skinny jeans, Gap*
3. Long striped scarf, Madewell
4. Thatcher glasses, Warby Parker
5. Carson oxfords, Frye

*Side note about the Gap Curvy Skinny jeans: If you follow me on Twitter, then you know how enamored I am with these jeans. I wear skinny jeans about 360 days a year, so the fit really matters to me. I know everyone’s body is different, but if you’ve got a large hip/waist ratio and tend to have that problem with jeans gapping at the back and requiring a belt, these are for you. I recommend going down a size (or two!), though, because that “vanity sizing” thing Gap does is totally out of control.

I have a weird thing where I don’t like to wear shoes that don’t come up over my ankles unless the top of my foot is exposed—I’m convinced my legs look like parsnips unless I’m either wearing boots or sandals—so I keep hesitating and not buying a pair. Jen was wearing these Frye oxfords when she was here last week, though, and I kept eying them with envy. I feel like my inner nerd (who, coincidentally, is also my outer nerd) really wants to wear oxfords…parsnip legs and all.

But enough about my parsnip legs! LOOK AT THESE SWEATERS! (By the way, if you think you want one of these sweaters for yourself or a loved one, I suggest you pre-order before the sale date. They always sell out fast once they’re knitted and stocked.)

Evan has owned the original green one for a few years, and I have the football scarf. They’re both pretty rad, as evidenced by my mother and Evan, who are making their second joint modeling appearance on D16 this week (here’s the first). I’ve posted these photos before, but how could I leave them out? Fashion plates, those two.

Oh, just some weekend Instagram snaps I’ve been meaning to share here! Top to bottom, left to right…

✖ How cool is this black West Elm skull candle? I pretty much only buy stuff at West Elm when it’s on clearance, and I got this nearly-life-sized guy for $7 (!) at the DUMBO location. They only had one left, or else I would’ve bought a bunch. The best thing about Halloween being around the corner is SKULLS EVERYWHERE.

✖ I couldn’t resist this SHOPLIFTERS tote bag that was for sale at the merch counter at the Morrissey shows. I guess I’ll have to turn it around if I’m shopping in a store with employees who might not get the reference (or who might not have a sense of humor), but otherwise I shall carry it with pride.

✖ Evan and Bruno enjoying their morning coffee. Aren’t they handsome? This photo reminds me that I really need to take more photos of the new apartment before it stops being “new.”

✖ I had nothing to do with this—Fritz tucks himself in all the time. I’m told that the smarter dog breeds like Chihuahuas all do this. Bruno is only half Chihuahua (the other half is Bichon Frisé, a breed high in sweetness but not known for intelligence), which explains why he can’t really even figure out how to crawl under a blanket most of the time while Fritz is off basically building forts and growing opposable thumbs.

✖ I’ve been wearing my fake glasses (they’re the “Thatcher” style in Revolver Black from Warby Parker) every now and then, and I’ve gotta be honest—they make me feel great. Wearing glasses gives me enough confidence to wear my hair back in a ponytail, something I NEVER do unless I’m at home. I am wayyyyy to self-conscious to leave the house with my face completely exposed, so it either has to be hair or glasses that I hide behind, and it’s fun to have this option. I feel like a different person when I wear them. It’s like a disguise. And hey, I figure my vision is probably going to tank within the next few years anyway, so at least I’ll be comfortable wearing glasses when the time comes!

✖ This VOTE LEFT mug was another cheapie West Elm clearance item. Unfortunately they’re sold out online, but stores probably still have them. And yeah, I know it’s not really possible to truly vote left in this country, but I can dream. For now, I’ll vote as far left as I possibly can.

Brooklyn Heights Cinema is on my old street (Henry Street pride!!), and I miss going there to see movies—it’s a great little theater. It’s actually not too far of a walk from DUMBO, though, so I should make the effort to walk up now and then. It’s near a great little natural-food restaurant called Siggy’s Good Food that does an amazing vegan brunch. Highly recommended!

✖ This is the original herringbone tile in the lobby of Daniel’s building. Tile like this is the reason I like hands-off landlords who don’t want to pay to renovate. Isn’t it pretty?

I don’t have a corresponding photo, but prior to taking that picture of the tile, Daniel and Max and I went to go see The Perks of Being a Wallflower at BAM. It was so, so, so great. Really. It’s based on what I consider to be one of the best books of the past 20 years, and certainly one of the greatest books ever written for young adults. The movie was directed and the screenplay was written by the author of the book, Stephen Chbosky, and he did a perfect job with the conversion. The trailer is pretty terrible, but don’t worry—it’s not a good representation of the actual movie (funny how that happens sometimes). I was pretty much either in tears or holding back tears for the duration, just like when I read the book the first time. The actors are all wonderful, the soundtrack is exactly as it should be, and it felt great to watch a movie that actually feels like teenage—and human—reality. Read the book. See the movie. Hold onto your Kleenex.

Last month, my lovely friend Ilenia told me about Huile Prodigieuse (literally “prodigious oil”) from the French brand Nuxe, and I figured that since she’s Italian she probably knows what she’s talking about because popular culture tells me European women know everything about skin care. Right? So I took the next step toward what we beauty product-obsessed types like to call “lemming” (yes, used as a verb—I hate myself too, don’t worry) something: Reading all of the 100+ reviews for it on Makeup Alley. 4.2 lippies and a 78% “would buy again” rating is high praise in that community. Commence lemming!

Completely positive that Huile Prodigieuse would, in fact, change my life, I committed myself to shelling out the $46 the large bottle sells for locally at Thompson Alchemists as soon as possible. Upon returning from London last Monday, I knew the time had come. Between the 12 hours spent on airplanes, a week of washing my face with hard water (which, by the way, made my hair look AMAZING…but my skin, not so much) and dropping temperatures, I looked like a floured potato roll. I made plans to have coffee with Ilenia the very next day, and after consuming four lattes between the two us, we headed over to the pharmacy.

Can I pause for a moment to recognize New York City’s small pharmacies? Yes, there may be a Duane Reade on every other corner, but we also have lots of old-school, independent apothecaries here that sell just about every brand imaginable of cosmetics, skin care and toiletries from all over the world. My favorites are Avignone Chemists and Bigelow Apothecary (both Avignone and Bigelow opened in the 1830s—each claims to be the oldest apothecary in the United States), but I also love ogling the goods at New London Pharmacy and Thompson Alchemists. Yes, it usually costs a few dollars more to buy something locally than to order it from Amazon, but I’m OK with that if it means supporting a small business that’s managed to survive for decades (or centuries!) in NYC.

Something happens to me when I walk into one of these pretty little pharmacies that’s kind of trance-like. I realize it’s pure escapism, that glassy-eyed state of being that sets in when there’s a $30 bottle of French makeup remover at arm’s reach. The packaging, the scents, the foreign languages…I fall for all of it. Apart from a bar of eucalyptus soap for Evan and about a million samples (that’s the other benefit of shopping at these little stores—the salespeople love to give out samples), though, I managed to walk out with only a bottle Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse in my bag. Mission accomplished!

I’ve been using Huile Prodigieuse on my face and in my hair night and day for two weeks now, and it is SO GOOD. I have delicate skin that’s prone to dryness and scaliness while also being annoyingly acne-prone. The Nuxe oil is just the right formulation (borage, St. John’s wort, sweet almond, camellia, hazelnut and macadamia oils, plus vitamin E) for me, apparently, because my face feels softer and looks brighter than it has in years right now. I’ve tried using various combinations of oils (jojoba, olive, coconut, argan, etc.) on my face in the past, and I’ve never had results like this. I love that the oil goes on “dry,” leaving absolutely no residue. Any redness in my skin is almost immediately abated, and dry flakes are gone overnight. It’s also lovely to wear under makeup—I haven’t had any issues with it altering the color of my face powder at all, something I’ve experienced with other facial oils. At night I use two spritzes in my palm smoothed over my entire face and neck, and in the morning one spritz is sufficient (I avoid putting it on my forehead in the mornings since bangs + oil = ugh).

I also like to rub a little oil into my hair, mostly at the ends. I usually just use whatever is remaining on my palms after putting it on my face—it’s sufficient to smooth out any dryness or flyaways and to weigh down my hair a bit so it doesn’t look “fluffy.” If I’m wearing my hair wavy/natural, the oil provides a bit of separation and texture that I love. If there’s still any oil left on my hands, I rub it into my cuticles. A little goes a very long way.

Oh, and did I mention the scent of Huile Prodigieuse? It’s my dream fragrance. I don’t even know what it smells like—it’s somewhere between earthy and flowery; very very soft and warm. Every time I put it on I wish it would last all day and double as perfume, but the scent dissipates completely within a half hour or so. I did discover that Nuxe has just released Prodigieux le parfum—perfume based on the scent of the oil—in France, though, and that the fragrance will be available here by January. Wishlisted in advance! And I’m not even one of those people who really thinks about stuff like perfume.

What fancy European skin care products should I try next? Bioderma Crealine/Sensibio H2O and Caudalíe Beauty Elixer are on my short list…!

Just a quick note before the weekend…

I’ve been back in New York since Monday night (more London photos to come!), and since then I’ve been in the office and trying to get myself fully into work mode. I have to admit that I really do miss my daily London routine (basically drinking coffee and hanging out), but a week and a half away from my office means a TON of work upon returning. This was the longest stretch of time off I’ve had from working in the two decades that have passed since I graduated from high school!

Fortunately, I’ve had two things to take the edge off of my return to the daily grind:
MORRISSEY + MAMMA BISCUIT!

I went to see Morrissey on Wednesday night at Radio City Music Hall, and tonight and tomorrow night he’ll be at Terminal 5. These are my 27th, 28th and 29th times seeing Morrissey live (show #30 will happen in Decemeber!), and in all honesty it really never gets boring. Yes, it’s a different experience (for him and for me!) than it was when we were 20 years younger, but I’m so thankful that he’s still going and still amazing and still giving. I’ll post some photos when the three nights are over. VIVA MORRISSEY.

Today has been an extra-special work day with none other than Mamma Biscuit (if you’re not already reading her blog, you’re missing out) here in the office. Is there anything better than taking a break from staring at a computer screen and nuzzling your face into the neck-rolls of a glamorous, toothless, geriatric pug? Nope. I adore Mamma. VIVA MAMMA BISCUIT.

And no, I don’t need glasses to see, but hey…I like the look. SUE ME. I’m about to order these with non-prescription lenses!

p.s. I’ll announce the Frida Kahlo book giveaway winner tomorrow!