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For as long as I can remember, my father has worn striped indigo workwear—Wabash stripes, engineer stripes, hickory stripes, ticking stripes. Along with low-top Converse All Stars, denim blue jeans, chambray shirts, and a specific type of wire-framed glasses, those stripes are what I most associate with my father’s personal style. The man loves a stripe. Last Hanukkah, I gave him a hickory-striped Workwear Tote from Wood & Faulk.

He particularly likes to wear a certain style of striped shirt when he paints. He paints a lot, which means wearing—and washing—theses shirts a lot, which means the shirts get worn out after a few years and need to be replaced.

The shirt pictured above is the one he’s currently wearing in the studio. It came from the now-defunct company Smith & Hawken, and was marketed as a “gardening smock.” Sometimes I see them called “chore coats,” too. Aside from the stripes, the key features are really the fit (structured, but loose enough to wear over another shirt) and the lower pockets. It wasn’t specifically pointed out to me by him, but I imagine the straight/square hemline is important.

Internet friends, I need help finding a new painting shirt for my dad. Can you help?

There are a ton of striped shirts with pockets out there, but most of them seem like they’re probably too heavyweight, more like a coat. Or they’re overly-fussy, with rivets and snaps everywhere. Or they’re too fitted. Or they’ve been discontinued (oh man, SO NICE). Or they cost $500 and are only sold in Japan. There are so many gorgeous, expensive, “American-style” work clothes available in Japan.

Here are a few contenders I’ve found that I’m planning to send along to him. I’d love to know about any other options that could fit the bill! The closer they come to his Smith & Hawken shirt (above), the better. And if by some miracle you have a warehouse full of of Smith & Hawken deadstock…I’ll take three, please, size large.

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1. Hudson Hill Wabash Chore Coat
2. Pointer Brand Hickory Stripe Chore Coat (Banded Collar)
3. Levi’s Skateboarding Hickory Stripe Chore Jacket
4. Pointer Brand Hickory Stripe Chore Coat

Yes, it’s a shirt. And yes, this is a subject I’ve delved into a few times on the blog in the past in the context of my approach to home renovation and my own self-image (side note: I need to re-read that post today), but James Victore—designer, artist, teacher, truth-speaker, all-around hero—nails it on a regular basis:

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Feck Perfuction

“Designers are too concerned with the idea of ‘perfection.’

“Perfection is the death of creativity. Perfection lacks spontaneity and surprise, instead it assumes ‘knowing’ and certainty. Creativity is about being OPEN and curious but perfection is closed tight in its search for an answer. ONE ‘right’ answer—but creativity is not math. Perfection also assumes that you are smarter than your audience because you know the ‘right way’ and the ‘rules.’ But this attitude leaves no room for your audience to be involved in your process. Creativity, like a good joke, slowly pieces together in your audience’s brain until it explodes with ‘A-HA!.’

“Perfection stops you from starting projects or even relationships because you are not ready or perfect. And it stops you from finishing or shipping projects because they are not ready or perfect. The weather, the economy, the atmosphere will never be perfect, your timing will never be right, you will never be perfect. But you know what’s better than perfect? Done. Done is better than prefect.”

#DesignLikeYouGiveADamn

Boom.

I’m currently taking James Victore’s Bold & Fearless Poster Design course at CreativeLive, and it’s FANTASTIC. I don’t care what you do for a living, what you wish you did for a living, or how much experience you have in whatever it is that you do: This course is for everyone. Highly, highly recommended!

UPDATE: I just got an email alert letting me know that Bold & Fearless Poster Design is now 25% off! Use the code Victore2015 before 2/1/16 to get the discount. Nice!!

I took his Radical Typography course on Skillshare last year, too—also incredible. Sometimes you just need that push toward fearless imperfuction!

Image via James Victore’s Instagram

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About four months ago, I spotted the perfect doormat: TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF, ANIMALS. OK, almost perfect. That missing comma is bothersome, but I can look past it for the time being. If I find myself losing sleep over it, I can always paint one in.

I waited a day or two before ordering the doormat, and the next thing I knew, it was on back order. So I procrastinated some more, and then I missed the in-stock window, and then it was on back order again—yadda, yadda, yadda, the doormat was finally delivered today. Yay!

I was originally thinking I’d put it on the porch at the house, but that door is ginormous, and this doormat would look too dinky there. At the new apartment, though, it’s just right.

And yes, it’s now on back order again until next month, but if you like it, learn from my mistake and just order it now.

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Perfecto.

I made that cute draft python five years ago, and it’s still going strong. I don’t know what it is about New York City apartment doors, but they all seem to have massive gaps under them. Without this draft python, the dogs would spend their entire lives peering under the door waiting for the guy down the hall to walk out of his apartment with a plate of sausages, so it’s essential.

I still really love that fabric. It was designed by Maria Vinka for IKEA’s 2007 PS collection, and I’ve been hoarding a bunch of it since then.

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As long as I’m out in the hallway, I might as well take a picture of the common stairwell. This is a newly-renovated, late-1800s, three-story building, and I really like what they did out here. They refinished the original wood floors, stripped the banister, painted everything pale gray and white, and generally did a very nice job with the whole thing. I especially like the steel treads they put down on the stairs.

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Fritz would like you all to know that he is an animal and that he doesn’t even wear shoes, so he doesn’t understand this doormat at all. Especially since it’s missing a comma.

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Medicine Cabinet from Habitables

This sweet medicine cabinet reminds me of the one I painted for my own bathroom years ago—only much nicer. The size is perfect, and I love that the cross is a cutout. Perfect for small bathrooms! (Madrid-based Habitables makes all kinds of other great stuff, too.)

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White Plus tea towel from Cotton & Flax

Oh Cotton & Flax, how I love thee. I received this lovely tea towel in gray as part of a limited edition collaboration Erin Dollar did with AHeirloom last fall. Both the tea towel and the cutting board are very gorgeous.

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First Aid utility pouch from Apple White

I have a zippered pouch obsession, and this guy is next on my list. How perfect would this be for stashing bandages, hand wipes, and a little sewing kit in your bag? So perfect.

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Cement cross ornaments from LaNique Home

I have no idea what I would do with these, but I want them anyway. I keep picturing them turned into some kind of mobile. I really like the soft pink paint, but they’re also available unpainted or dipped in black if that’s more your thing.

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Safety First earrings from Melanie Favreau

I couldn’t wear these earrings because my ears are lame and I can only wear gold-filled jewelry these days, but I really wish I could. I have a whole bunch of ear-holes, and I love the idea of a whole line of these in black or brass running up my lobes.

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Muslin Swaddle Blanket/Scarf from Modern Burlap

Fritz and Bruno aren’t really into being swaddled, but this sucker is huge (47″ square!), and in my estimation, it would make an awesome scarf. If course, if you have babies or swaddle-loving pets, I’m sure it’s great for that, too…

EDIT: Sometime between last night and now, this item disappeared from Modern Burlap’s Etsy shop. Weird! It’s still available directly from their website, though.

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Cross wood bangle from Voz Collective

I’m not a chunky bracelet person. I’ve tried to be, but as much as I love how they look, they get in my way any time I try to use my hands for anything—which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is not an infrequent occurrence. That said, if I were a chunky bracelet person, these would be first on my list!

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Swiss Cross quilt from Sazerac Stitches

Ooooooh. I don’t know anything about quilting other than that it looks like a lot of work. This pretty quilt is available in six sizes, from lap all the way up to king. Something for the Chihuahuas, something for the Great Danes.

What’s on your Etsy wishlist right now?

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@omgliterallydead: #ootd frolicking through the forest, feeling like an Autumn-Winter princess in my DIY flower crown and faux-vegan-fur cape! #furcape #cape #fallfashion #winterfashion #instacute #flowercrown #diy

This is one of those times where I feel like I’m going to post about something that EVERYONE BUT ME already knows about, but I’ll just go ahead and do it anyway.

So, you know I love the Instagram. Instagram has robbed this blog—and many others—of its spontaneity, but it’s also given me a much better photographic eye than I use to have. Also, selfies.

And of course I love skulls.

Let me introduce you to my latest favorite Instagrammer, Skellie! She posts under the handle @omgliterallydead, and according to her bio, she “cannot literally even,” so she’s “literally dead.”

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@omgliterallydead: OMG sweater weather!

Yes, the captions are pretty excellent. Skellie speaks for all of us. We are all Skellie.

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All photos via @omgliterallydead

And finally, in honor of the fact that I’ll be having gum surgery tomorrow and will most likely wind up Instagramming atrocious selfies skelfies of my stitches that nobody wants to see…

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@omgliterallydead: Skelfie at the dentist! Zero cavities as per usual – my floss game is on point! #dentistoffice #skelfie #organicfitlife #pearlywhites #perfectsmile #livelaughlove

Thanks SO MUCH to Paul Z. for introducing me to Skellie!!

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Well, you’ve heard about the mattress (queen size MYRBACKA from IKEA, and it is awesome—feel free to ask any mattress-specific questions you might have), you’ve seen the cute, cheap sheets, and now…the bed frame!

Yes, it’s the MANDAL bed, also from IKEA. You know I was saying the last week about how sometimes IKEA just nails it? This bed is a perfect example.

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Nearly all of the components of the MANDAL bed are solid birch that’s been finished with a clear lacquer. I was a little concerned about how such a light wood would look in combination with the very warm, oak floors in the apartment, but it turns out to be a perfectly happy mix. The birch will darken a bit in time, anyway, so I’d imagine that in a year or two they’ll be almost the same tone. That inset white “floating” platform helps prevent the whole thing from looking like a continuous block of wood, too.

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The best thing about this bed is the storage. There are four nice, big drawers underneath, perfect for storing extra linens, pajamas, or, as seen here, a bazillion tote bags. I’ve even thought about turning one of them into a little trundle bed for the dogs…

I never could get into under-bed storage boxes, but this? Amazing. The amount of stuff you can fit into these drawers essentially clears out an entire closet.

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Here’s a closer look at the construction. On the left, you can see the mitered corners (one of the many nice details IKEA has been incorporating in their solid wood pieces lately) where the sides and top of the frame meet. The picture on the right is a little weirdly angled because I was hefting the mattress up with my left hand while shooting with my right, but I wanted to show how the wood slats (which support the mattress in lieu of a box spring) sit flush with the top of the frame. The whole thing is just so well put-together.

Speaking of being put-together, I’d estimate it took about three hours for me and Evan to assemble the bed. No biggie. Of course, I don’t really understand when people say they hate putting together IKEA furniture. Personally, I find it very relaxing and satisfying. It’s like adult Tinker Toys.

Oh, ALSO. For the first time ever, we sprung for IKEA’s delivery service. The price varies depending on location/distance, but in Brooklyn, it’s $59 no matter how much stuff you’re having delivered. Yeah. At that price you still have to load up your cart in the warehouse yourself and go through the whole checkout process, but if you pay $99, they’ll do everything for you, including pulling the items…but only if they have more than 10 of each thing in stock. And that’s the kicker, of course, because if you’ve ever been to the Brooklyn IKEA, you know that stock counts tend to hover around 0–3 at all times. So we went with the $59 option. SO WORTH IT, OMG. Our apartment is on the 3rd & 4th floors of our building (and of course there’s no legal street parking out in front), and this stuff is heavy. Having a couple of dudes drive it over and carry it upstairs made life so much easier.

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I haven’t done much serious decorating in the apartment yet since I’ve been so focused on just getting large pieces of furniture into place and organizing all of our stuff, but I did order two of the “Bigmouth Strikes Again”-themed prints (Sweetness and Joan of Arc) from my K IS FOR BLACK shop and put them into frames. I’m not sure this will be their final destination, but I do like them leaning against the wall side-by-side.

For reference, these are the X-LARGE size (28″ x 38″) prints in the largest size RIBBA frames (27 ½” x 39 ¼”) from IKEA. This is the birch frame, which they’ve inexplicably discontinued. Weird. At least you can still get them in black and white, though, and the aluminum STRÖMBY frames are an even more affordable alternative that looks great. But I digress.

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Yeah, still using my faux-Aaltos (aka hacked FROSTA stools) as bedside tables. Love ’em.

If you’re wondering what happened to our former bed, the discontinued (all together now: of course) green wool-upholstered GRIMEN, it went to live with my friend Tiesha, who is awesome. I really loved that bed, and we’d definitely have kept it if it were queen-sized. Two people and two dogs in a full size bed is…tight. Anyway, I’m happy it went to a good home.

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Yesterday I took a peek at all of the new things coming to IKEA next month (some of these things have been available in Europe for a while, but we’re slow to get new stuff here in the US sometimes), and I am so blown away that I almost don’t even know where to start. I’m sure lots of other blogs will, of course, be showcasing the new lines in their entirety, so I’m just pulling a bunch of my favorites. There’s so much good stuff. Sometimes IKEA just really nails it, you know?

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✚ DALSHULT/SLÄHULT table, $189 Solid birch with white laminate top
✚ KRUSNING lamp shade, $9.99 Paper / design by Sigga Heimis

I adore this dining table. The trestle base is so quintessentially Scandinavian, and immediately brings to mind Hans Wegner’s classic X-leg design. The shape of the top makes me think of Piet Hein’s Superelipse tables. It’s a gorgeous combination. I really wish I had somewhere to put this table to use.

The lamp is the work of Malmö-based designer Sigga Heimis, and it’s made of paper. It can be shaped however you like!

Because I know it will come up, let’s talk about the much-beloved FROSTA stools pictured here. They’re clearly heavily inspired by Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 (years ago, I modified a pair to make them even more Aalto-esque), but they’ve also managed to become an IKEA classic over the years. Sadly (some might say traumatically), IKEA discontinued FROSTA in the North American market a couple of years ago. They made a comeback of sorts in 2014, but only with tops painted yellow and red. It’s really a shame, because the banded-ply edge of the unpainted version is really what made it so nice! It’s still available in the European market, though, so if you had to cram a couple in a suitcase…

IKEA, if you’re listening, bring the original FROSTA stools back to North America!

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✚ REBBESTAD/RYGGESTAD table, $179 Black-stained solid pine
✚ RISATORP kitchen cart, $59.99 Steel & solid birch handle / design by Wiebke Braasch
✚ RISATORP basket, $12.99 Steel & bent birch veneer / design by Wiebke Braasch

Another great dining table with nice legs! I’m really happy to see IKEA incorporating more true black-stained pieces like this and the OLOFSTORP cabinet I hung in my dining room. It’s a very nice change from that weird brown-black color that’s been prevalent on their darker furniture for so long.

I’m really digging the whole RISATORP line. That combination of birch and powder-coated white steel gets an A+ from me. I can see using that cart in any number of rooms, from kitchens to bathrooms to art studios to entryways.

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Another look at the RISATORP kitchen cart. Those wheels are beautiful!

Side note: Mmmmm, Brussels sprouts. I’m going to have to make my mapled Brussels sprouts recipe this weekend!

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✚ NORNÄS queen bed frame, $299 Lacquered solid pine
✚ NORNÄS nightstand, $89 Untreated solid pine

First of all, hats off to the stylists who put this room together. The combination of bare plywood walls and a painted floor (that blue!) is perfection.

The solid pine pieces in the NORNÄS collection (seen here and and the next two photos) are the work of brother and sister design team Marianne Hagberg and Knut Hagberg. All of the wood used to manufacture this line is sourced in the far north of Sweden, cut in a waste-minimizing manner from well-managed forests. IKEA has received a lot of criticism in the past for deforestation practices, and I am glad to see them taking some steps in the right direction. It may not be everything, but it’s something. (I’m also pleased to see even more solid wood in IKEA’s collection, since those are the pieces that can absolutely last for generations!)

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✚ TNORNÄS table, $199 Untreated solid pine
✚ NORNÄS bench, $89 Untreated solid pine

Like many of the pieces in the NORNÄS line, both the bench and table seen here arrive unpainted, made of untreated wood—the legs of the bench have been painted black for this shoot. Yes, that means you’d have to treat the top of the table with something (wax, poly, whatever works best for your purposes), but it’s so nice to have the option to easily paint or stain this type of furniture. I personally love the look of pine, but imagine that table with the legs painted white, or the bench painted entirely yellow. They’d take on a whole new feel.

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✚ NORNÄS wall cabinet, $79 Untreated solid pine & tempered glass

Man, how I love a good wall cabinet. There are several good glass-front pieces in the NORNÄS line, three of them wall-mounted and one with legs. All have really nice beveled, mitered corners, and again, the untreated wood allows you to paint them however you wish.

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✚ SPRUTT cabinet, $89.99 Powder-coated steel / Design by Marcus Arvonen
✚ SPRUTT knob rack, $24.99 Powder-coated steel
✚ SPRUTT cart, $39.99 Powder-coated steel & plastic

The SPRUTT collection is so much fun, and fits right in with other great powder-coated steel IKEA stuff like their ubiquitous PS locker and the cork-topped KVISSLE office storage series, a personal favorite of mine.

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The SPRUTT cabinet is particularly cool. What is it about things that resemble card files?? I guess it’s the promise of being SO organized that you require not just one or two separate drawers, but nine. And labels. To be honest, labels kind of stress me out, so I like that they’ve just used colors and shapes in this styling shot. I can get behind that. Where do you think you could use a cabinet like this? It’s pretty substantial at 12″ deep, so it could even work in the kitchen for storing extra flatware, napkins, jars of spices…it’s a great piece. So many possibilities!

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And finally, the SPRUTT knob rack. How can you not love this?! Ahhhh, that bright yellow. So good!! Keys, necklaces, dog leashes, scarves…this thing would be great in an entryway where you don’t have much clearance since it’s less than 3″ deep—but at 63″ wide, it’ll still add visual interest. I could even see just mounting it on the wall as a decorative object, honestly.

Also, I now need white Swedish headphones.

All images courtesy of IKEA

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Interior by Antonio Martins / Via Remodelista

HELLO! It’s 2015. How about some nice kitchens with vintage rugs in them to start off the new year? I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect rug for the kitchen at the house for quite a while now, and I keep coming back to these photos—this is exactly what I want. I love the way that worn-in, vintage rugs take the edge off of black and white.

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From Hither & Thither

Yeah, technically this rug is in a sitting area next to the kitchen, but the effect is the same. So soft and warm. (That row of Tom Dixon-esque pendants the homeowners bought in Bali ain’t too shabby, either. And yeah, I still need a light fixture for the kitchen.)

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Home of Edin & Lena from Dusty Deco / Photos by Martin Löf for Elle Decoration.

Mmmmhmmm. The glossy white floor, the Smeg fridge, the whitewashed GROLAND island…pretty perfect. That rug makes the room, though.

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Photos by Karin Foberg for Hus & Hem

I don’t know if it’s because of the black floor, but I feel like this rug right here would be perfect in my kitchen. The problem is that finding a rug like the ones in this post seems like an exercise in futility, unless you have bucks to spend on a kitchen rug…which is not in the budget right now. Doesn’t it seem like you should be able to walk into any junk shop and find an old, beautiful rug that nobody wants just lying around? I keep thinking that’s going to happen, but it’s not happening.

Until very recently, I had a rule about what kind of shirts I’d wear and wouldn’t wear outside of the house. In the “wouldn’t” category, I had (mentally) listed t-shirts with things printed on them, especially slogans. Much like my issues with “affirmation” posters and the like (though there are some that don’t make me want to puke), I’ve always kind of seen message t-shirts as being attention-seeking and obnoxious. And maybe they are, but maybe I’ve also kind of started to love them a little. Maybe I’m an obnoxious attention-seeker, and I need a uniform.

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I think what triggered my recent obsession was purchasing two DON’T BE BASIC t-shirts from the clearance rack in the teen girls department at Target (I can’t find them on their website, sorry) for me and Daniel. We were getting ready for our trip to Wisconsin in October (somehow I never blogged about that—oops), and we thought matching shirts would be a good idea. Because really, what’s more obnoxious than one person wearing a DON’T BE BASIC t-shirt? That’s right, two people wearing DON’T BE BASIC t-shirts.

And yeah, Daniel looks way better in teen girl clothing than I do, which is unfair.

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1. My Spirit Animal Is a Goth Teenager
Heather Gabel’s awesome, truth-speaking t-shirt is perpetually out of stock (I was on a wait list for months before I snagged one!), but she has a tank top version in her shop right now.

2. Sad Dude Fan Club
Stay Home Club basically has the best t-shirts ever and I want to buy EVERYTHING THEY SELL. I also love sad dudes, and I’m not ashamed to let the world know.

3. Be Kind to Animals or I’ll Kill You
Oh, Morrissey. You fight with your right hand, and caress with your left hand…and I wouldn’t want it any other way. (This shirt is a nod to one worn by Doris Day.)

4. I’m So Tired
I am. It’s true. That vertical apostrophe is giving me hives, but I want the shirt anyway.

5. I Just Want to Drink Coffee Save Animals and Sleep
Kind of puts everything important right there on one shirt, doesn’t it? If ever there were a message shirt for me, this is it. Thug Life has a number of cool shirts, and a number of lame ones as well. I’ll let you sort out which are which.

6. Feck Perfuction
Maybe it’s unfair for me to include this shirt since it’s no longer available, but it’s one of my favorite recent acquisitions…so I really had to. It was made by heroic designer James Victore and sold through Cotton Bureau, which means all sales were pre-orders. There’s always a chance that it could be re-listed, though, so if you really want one, put your email address on their notification list. UPDATE! Straight from the horse’s mouth: “‘Feck Perfuction’ will be available in January from Cotton Bureau” Excellent!

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Sweetness I Was Only Joking
I can’t not mention my own design from my K Is For Black shop! Modeled here by my handsome designer friend Richard Yoo, this fine shirt is available as a women’s fitted tee, men’s fitted tee, unisex v-neck, long-sleeve tee, tank top, biker tank, or onesie. I mean…that’s a lot of options. (And there’s even a sequel.)

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A couple of months ago, the nice people at Herbivore Botanicals contacted me asking if they could send me one of their soon-to-launched facial oils to try out. Uh…YES, that would be just fine. I fell in love with Herbivore’s products earlier this year when I bought their Coconut Bath Soak, which got me addicted to taking relaxation baths on a regular basis. Since then, I’ve ordered a number of other products from them, and all have been wonderful. Evan is a devotee of their Mens Face Elixer, and is currently on his third bottle (!).

My bottle of Orchid Facial Oil arrived on November 12 (about 5 ½ weeks ago), and I’ve been using nightly it ever since. My friends, this stuff is heaven.

My skin has not looked this good since…I don’t know, since I was a child? I’m not kidding. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve spent a long time trying to find a combination of products that works well for my sensitive, dry, adult acne-prone, and generally cranky skin, and while the prescription medications I use (Retin-A Micro and Aczone) have gone a long way toward keeping breakouts at bay and reducing clogged pores, I’ve still had issues with texture, discoloration, and dryness. I’ve had good results from Huile Prodigieuse and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Complex, so I wasn’t actively looking for anything else, but I am so glad that this stuff made its way into my life. I had no idea my skin was capable of improving so drastically, and in a relatively short period of time.

And, of course, the packaging is gorgeous. The square bottle is heavy and solid, and feels noticeably more luxe than their other products. It looks great on display in the bathroom, and yeah, that matters to me.

Herbivore’s full line of facial oils includes three different blends: Orchid (youth preserving/normal skin), Phoenix (cell regenerating/mature or sensitive skin), and Lapis (oil balancing/combination skin). I didn’t choose with variety to try, but Orchid seems to be the exact right choice for me. The directions say to use it twice daily, but I’ve only been using it at night—as nicely as it absorbs into my skin, I haven’t yet done a test drive to see if it would play well with my face makeup during the day. I apply it immediately after washing my face, before the Retin-A and Aczone. It provides a really nice buffering layer, preventing dryness while still allowing the medications to do their jobs. My skin feels so unbelievably soft and looks clear and luminous. I’m happy.

Since I was sent my bottle at no cost, I wasn’t sure of the price until I started writing this post. Turns out it’s a bit spendy—$80 for 1.7oz. Judging by how much I’ve used in 5 ½ weeks, though (I took the photo above about an hour ago), I estimate this bottle will last me the better part of a year. Taking that into account, it’s not so bad…and I will definitely be purchasing a second bottle when the time comes.

Oh, and! There are also miniature-sized, roller ball versions of Herbivore’s facial oils available—both singly and as a set with the larger bottle. Perfect if you want to do a trial run, or if you’re traveling and don’t want to deal with packing a large glass bottle of oil in your carry-on. So smart.

Disclaimer: Herbivore Botanicals sent me this product at no cost, but they did not ask for anything in return. This review was written entirely out of my own enthusiasm and remarkably positive experience with said product. Thumbs up.