retail therapy, reward, procrastination

I bought a few things this week. I declare none of my purchases entirely superfluous; with one exception, I spent on a need-to-have-basis. Let’s start with my greatest online weakness: Everlane.

I feel like Everlane was a big secret I wasn’t in on until about six months ago, so let me enlighten you. You can read about this internet retailer’s philosophy for yourself or I can summarize: they believe in transparency in production and pricing. On the webpage of each item they sell, if you scroll to the bottom, you will see delineated the true cost of the materials, production, and transportation. They add up those figures for the math challenged to attain the true cost of the item versus the Everlane price versus what the average retailer would charge. (I typically use J. Crew as a comparison.) Everlane is where I now buy all my t-shirts. $15 for a short sleeve t-shirt is $5.00 less than full price for the same at the Gap. And these shirts wear well, wash well (no pilling, my biggest pet peeve) and they are not see through. I repeat, they are not see through. (Okay, maybe see through t-shirts = biggest pet peeve.) After a closet purge this week, I ordered a black long sleeve t-shirt (my first from them) and because my favorite season is almost upon us, the Fall Seed Stitch Raglan in navy. (Justified because I essentially shrank my J. Crew version of this sweater last winter.)

Before you click over to Everlane and go crazy stocking your closet, think of the starving artist who referred you. I get a reward if you found them through me, so help a writer out and email me for an invitation if you plan to make an Everlane purchase.

While I was doing the closet purge, I put to one side all my wool pencil skirts for a couple of reasons. One, it’s still too damn hot. Two, I’m not entirely convinced they fit, but I’ve had enough rejection this week and thus wasn’t in the mood to find out. I’ve been wanting a midi-length pleated skirt, but usually find them too voluminous to be flattering on me. Try, try again, I say, and this colorblock skirt was on sale at Nordstrom so if it works and I love it, I won’t be racked with fiscal guilt. I can wear it now and later. Dress it up or down, but let’s be honest, I’m mostly going to dress it down.

Rounding out my flurry of retail activity, after a particularly grueling day of researching, writing, and sending agent query letters, I splurged on a new lipstick, this Bobbi Brown beauty in Lady Ruba. I know, I need another lipstick like I need another agent rejection, but I’m a sucker for a bright lip color, and they had me at limited edition.

Whereas the internet often encourages impulse shopping, I was thoughtful in making my purchases and now I just can’t wait for the UPS guy to come. And not just because he’s easy on the eyes. Though there is that.


they’re here… knew the cool mornings and breezy evenings wouldn’t last forever, no matter how much we hoped that DC would miraculously find itself with weather less swampy and more typical of San Diego.

But I didn’t expect to walk outside this morning, after hearing it was a mere 68 degrees outside, and feel like I had stepped smack into a hot washcloth. While I know that 3 months from now, a day like today (mid-80s with moderate humidity) will be a relief, today it felt oppressive. The days of only wearing a dress once before it goes to the dry cleaners start now. Heat and humidity are officially here.

What’s a woman to do? I’m not prepared to embrace a shiny face for the next four months. But I also don’t like the look or feel of over-powdering. I mean, who are you kidding? No one is so perfectly composed, even if you were born and raised in the south and have humidity in your bones. And secondly, how much product can one’s pores take?

I’m not normally one to reveal all my secrets, but those of us who live in a steam-room four months out of the year need to stick together. Aside from my primary goal, which is to dodge from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned office to air-conditioned bar, and ignoring the obvious (like eschewing foundation) here are five things that I can’t live without in the summer. But the deal is you have to share back.

The number one thing that I reach for in my office drawer when I have a meeting or need to to freshen up is the Bobbi Brown Blotting Papers. Especially if you need to de-shine before noon (because, come on, it’s just wrong to have to reapply make-up when the clock still reads A.M.) one of these babies goes a long way.

My second summer must-have is a relatively new product: the Trish McEvoy Instant Pick Me Up Lips. I’m normally more of a lipstick girl, but this time of year, lipstick can feel so heavy. This product, which adapts to your own body temperature for the perfectly glossy pink, gives you a healthy glow that looks pretty even if you feel like you are melting.

The third thing I can’t live without relates to something I can’t live with. I cannot and will not wear panty-hose, and since black opaque tights just don’t work in the summer, I must have a pedicure at all times. If I haven’t had time, I wear close-toed shoes. No exceptions.

If we are going to be hot and sweaty all summer, we might as well embrace the glow. I am newly fond of a fresh take on an old standby. The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer has long been part of my morning make-up ritual, but her new (to me) Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer really does provide the radiant glow it promises.

Last, but not least, summer calls for a cool and crisp rosé. Copain Wine Cellars produces a lovely one and if there were ever a reason to open a bottle of wine, the arrival of heat and humidity seems like as good a reason as any. After a glass or two, you may forget that you feel like a puddle of tepid water with perfectly groomed toes.

sun goddess

Meghann is finally getting her glow from bronzing products and not human microwaves.

Who doesn’t love that sun-kissed look that says you spent the day outside playing in the sun? People will go to great lengths to acquire that look. Some do it the old fashioned way. Who from high school remembers crawling out my bathroom window to lay out on the roof of my house?  Kim? Debbie? Jen? We used to spend our summers worshiping the sun (Debbie always had a gorgeous summer tan) and often lathering ourselves with canola oil to attract the sun because we were out of, um, baby oil. We also went to the beach and laid out at Sheila’s pool without using SPF-loaded products. (I always justified this by thinking the Maine sun was less harmful than the California sun.)

It was the 80s. Everyday products like body lotion and foundation didn’t have SPF. Or maybe it did and we didn’t pay attention. Maybe it was the invincibility of youth.

But really, I should have known better. When we were little, my mom was putting sunscreen on us (I can still envision the bottles of Sea & Ski) in the 70s before it was vogue to do such a thing. We even had our noses routinely painted with a healthy dose of zinc oxide before going to the pool. But that didn’t stop my teenage self from absorbing a sun that we did not acknowledge would give us the wrinkles we now curse.

While these days I’m more or less a direct sun-evader, there are many who embrace its deceiving glow. If you want or need to be in the sun, all your skin asks of you is to use sunscreen. And something better than SPF 4. For me, I’m a big fan, for everyday use, of the Bobbi Brown Brightening Protective Face Base. I use serious sunscreen if I am going to the pool, but for everyday under-the-make-up purposes, the Bobbi Brown provides SPF of 50, goes on lightly and doesn’t smell like Coppertone (after all, who needs an olfactory reminder that they’re going to work and not the beach?)

I have also been a devoted fan for many years of Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer. While it only has SPF 20, and thus is not sufficient by itself, the product is superb, and when combined with the aforementioned face base, I feel protected enough to sit outside at the Cafe Berlin and enjoy a seasonally appropriate Spaten after work.

What I am trying to say is: if you need to be in the sun, be smart about it. Take it from someone in her early 40s who still gets carded. While I have not but on a handful of occasions in my irresponsible youth visited a tanning salon, it seems that these beds of aging have a draw that is undeniable for the Millennials. I have to admit to watching a dreadful episode of a TLC show called My Strange Addiction in which a young woman was seriously addicted to tanning. Her need for a UV fix was so bad that she would travel to more than one salon a day, because no one place would not allow her to tan twice daily. She might have been 21 (if that) but her skin looked much older than mine does at 41. Long ago, I gave the anti-tanning bed advice to my 25-year old sister Meghann and it seems she has finally switched to self-tanners (or so she tells me). But on that note, if you are going to do liquid tan, take time to apply it evenly. Even super cute shoes can’t hide a streaky orange ankle.

With the money you save by not going to the tanning salon, you can save up to fund a trip to the Greek Isles. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.