Everything you’ve wanted to know about a Brazilian wax (but were too nervous to ask)

Let’s get it out of the way right off the bat—yes, it does hurt. But its bearable (and worth it).

LET’S GO TO BRAZIL

I decided on a whim to get a Brazilian wax because, why not? If I’m being honest, my interest in Brazilian waxing was piqued when I saw Carrie Bradshaw do it on Sex and the City back in the early aughts (okay, fine when I finally saw it, it was solidly in the 2010s). I’ve been cooped up at home for a year—it was time to try something new and spontaneous.

If you’re reading this, you likely are considering getting a Brazilian wax for the first time and wondering what to expect. Read on for my first time experience.

WHAT IS A BRAZILIAN WAX?

During a bikini wax, the hair on the sides and top area along the bikini line are removed. During a Brazilian, your entire pubic area is waxed bare (!). A Brazilian wax removes all the hair from your bikini area (top, sides, and front), and those hard-to-reach areas in the back. Let’s think of waxing in terms of the retailer Bed, Bath and Beyond. If a bikini wax is Bed & Bath, a Brazilian is definitely the Beyond. In a Brazilian wax, all hair below the belt is removed. From seam to seam, for lack of a better phrase. However, if you want to leave something I’m sure you can. Just talk to your waxer about what you want and be sure to have clear expectations.

DOES IT HURT?

I’m not going to sugar coat it—it does hurt. Certain areas hurt worse than others. At some points, I would say it was a solid 8. Other times, it was more like a 2 or 3. I’ve been told the first wax is the most painful and they become progressively more tolerable as you go back consistently. I’ll keep you posted when I go back in four weeks.

“Have you had a Brazilian before?” she asked me.

“No, but I’ve had bikini waxes,” I replied.

“Oh, okay. This is…nothing like that,” she joked.

WHAT’S THE PROCESS LIKE?

I’m no waxing virgin. I’ve been waxing my own eyebrows and upper lip for an entire decade. I’ve waxed my own legs, my own armpits and even had the privilege of waxing other people on occasion (I waxed my friends brothers leg in high school, much to his chagrin, and it was some of the most fun I ever had). I had never been to Brazil, though.

I arrived at my waxing appointment and had to fill out some paperwork before we got down to business. My waxer, Carrie, explained the process to me and made sure that I understood what was going to happen and felt prepared. Before she stepped out of the room so I could undress, she handed me a feminine wipe to clean myself off with and a towel to put on my lap before she came back into the room. I appreciated the 60 seconds of modesty before she examined every inch of my anatomy LOL.

Full disclosure: if you’re a super modest person or embarrass easily, this probably is not gonna be your thing. Within 10 minutes of meeting Carrie I was laying on my back with my knees to my chest so she could wax my butthole. So yeah, things escalated pretty quickly. I was probably most nervous about waxing the back, since having hot wax applied to my a-hole seemed like it would be excruciatingly painful, but somehow…it wasn’t? As soon as I knew it wasn’t painful, my concern immediately switched to the amount of wax that seemed to be pooling between my buttcheeks. “Can your ass accidentally get waxed together?” I wondered to myself. The answer could possibly be yes, but thankfully I didn’t find out that day.

I transitioned to butterfly position (laying on my back with the soles of my feet touching each other) and Carrie slowly worked her way to the front (top?), applying wax in sections, letting it dry, holding the skin taut and then pulling it off. The wax pulls the hair out by the root. She actually showed me some of the strips and I was both amazed and horrified to see all the little white bulbs that form the base of the follicle. No wonder it hurt so much.

The most painful areas for me were the lips and the FUPA (I imagine this eloquent piece of writing will win me a Pulitzer one day). There were times when it was so painful, I would actually just start laughing. I felt very much like Steve Carrell in 40 Year Old Virgin. Thankfully, if you apply pressure to the area as soon as the wax if pulled off, you feel the sweet, sweet sensation of relief.

Once all the hair has been waxed off, your waxer will likely go back in and tweeze any hairs that were left behind. Some hairs aren’t caught by the wax because if you’re accustomed to shaving, your hairs aren’t all in the same phase of growth. Carrie warned me that some people find this extremely painful and ask to stop, but I honestly barely felt it.

We wrapped up the wax by applying some cortisone cream to calm the skin down and viola! We were all done.

HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

Carrie said that most people can go 4-6 weeks between waxes, with 5 weeks being the sweet spot. Like most things in life, everyone will be slightly different and the time needed in between waxes will vary from person to person.

HOW TO PREPARE BEFORE AN APPOINTMENT

I honestly did not do a single thing to prepare for my appointment. My friend Andrea advised me to take some ibuprofen about an hour beforehand, which probably would have been smart, but I forgot. The most important thing is to not shave! Your hair should be at least as long as a grain of rice. Too short and the wax won’t be able to grip it, too long and I think it becomes more painful. It’s like Goldie Locks for pubes — it has to be juuust right.

POST-BRAZILIAN AFTER CARE

Immediately following a wax, Carrie told me to avoid hot showers and/or baths, vigorous exercise, tight fitting clothes (like my beloved Align leggings) and sex. She instructed me to make sure that I moisturized the area with normal lotion (something I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done?) and also make sure that I’m regularly exfoliating—but not too soon since the wax itself is exfoliating.

TL;DR

I’m not sure what it says about me that when I wanted to try something new, my brain went to a Brazilian wax. It was painful and a little bit awkward, but the results are worth it. I will definitely be doing it again! Do you get waxed? I’d love to hear your experience!

Is Dossier Perfume legit? I tried it to find out.

If you use social media, chances are you’ve seen ads for Dossier Perfume. The brand makes fragrance affordable by creating dupes of expensive designer scents in vegan, cruelty free formulas without the costly mark-up. The brand has some seriously lofty claims (I mean, a Le Labo dupe for $29?!) but does it live up to the hype? I tested it out to we could know for sure.

THE SCIENCE OF SMELL

I love fragrance. In my opinion, there are few compliments greater than being told you smell good. I’m not alone in this. In fact, wanting to smell good or enjoying nice smelling things is more than just vanity — it’s actually neuroscience.

If you (like me!) are curious about how scent works, wonder no more: Your ability to smell comes from specialized sensory cells, called olfactory sensory neurons, which are found in a small patch of tissue high inside the nose. Olfactory neurons in your nose have evolved some 400 odor receptors and these cells connect directly to the brain. Microscopic molecules released by substances around us—whether it’s coffee brewing or pine trees in a forest—stimulate these receptors. Once the neurons detect the molecules, they send messages to your brain, which identifies the smell. There are more smells in the environment than there are receptors, and any given molecule may stimulate a combination of receptors, creating a unique representation in the brain. These representations are registered by the brain as a particular smell. To organize all this information, your olfactory neurons wire into an “olfactory map” on your brain’s olfactory bulb. Olfactory neurons are one of the few types of neurons that are born throughout your life, and each of the roughly 10,000 such neurons born each day in your nose subsequently wires into the olfactory map in your brain.

How much does the nose know? Well, physical attraction itself may literally be based on smell.

CHOOSING A FRAGRANCE

Fragrance is deeply personal, both because smell and memory seem to be closely linked because of the brain’s anatomy—and because fragrance will smell different on each person due to a variety of reasons, ranging from the pH balance of the skin to hormones and even differences in diet.

For that reason, finding a scent that works for you can be difficult. Buying something without trying it makes it even more so. One thing I love about Dossier is that they have risk-free system that allows customers to try perfumes before committing to it. Every bottle comes with a small sample that you can can try and wear, before unsealing the 50ml bottle. If you do decide to return the scent, they offer a standard 30 day return period, in which customers can return any unsealed 50ml Dossier perfume and get a FULL refund, no questions asked. How cool is that?

I’ve been experimenting with fragrance for nearly a decade at this point, and feel like I have a pretty distinct idea of what I like and what I don’t. If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the pool that is perfumery, here are some basic things you should know:

There are four main olfactive families (or basic scent categories) that exist in all fragrances: fresh, floral, spice and woody.

Fresh
Characterized by citrus notes, like lemon and grapefruit, fresh fragrances have refreshing, zesty and vibrant smells. this category can also have aromatic notes, like rosemary, basil or lavender (referred to as aromatic fougère fragrances). Think: your grandma’s clean laundry hanging on a line in the backyard.

Floral
Floral fragrances are one of the most popular and iconic families, and one of the broadest. Any fragrance that has a sweet and flowery scent will belong under this family, using notes such as roses, jasmine, lilies and peonies—think anything romantic and feminine. Floral fragrances can range from being light and delicate, to more complex and intense (like violet and berries).

Oriential

This is one of my favorite categories of fragrance. This scent family is associated with incense, smoke, warm spices and leather. It is very luxurious, rich and sensual often made with interesting notes of cardamom and cinnamon alongside the likes of jasmine, orchid and orange blossom. In addition, fragrances classified as “oriental” can have notes of vanilla, but not the vanilla you’re used to at say, Bath and Body works (aka sugary sweet)—a true vanilla is really earthy, like tobacco.

Woody

Woody fragrances are another warm family (and my other favorite!). With a mysterious and captivating scent that is often considered as more “masculine,” these notes are chock-full of smells associated with nature, like cedar wood, sandalwood, vetiver and amber. Another sexy scent family, it’s a great choice for wearing in the evening. Woody fragrances are split into mossy woods which has an earthy, sweet undertone, and dry woods which often have a smoky, leathery smell to them (think either hot guy or leather bound books).

Give It A College Try
I would recommend testing out 2-3 perfumes at a time. Wear one for a full day, let it marinate on your skin and see what you think. With perfume, you can only really know if you like something by actually wearing it (spraying it on those little strips or sniffing it just won’t do any justice to what the scent will smell like on you). In my opinion, Dossier is great for test driving scents because of their great return policy and because they offer bulk deals on their website— up to 25% discount and free shipping for 3+ bottles.

ABOUT DOSSIER

Like I previously mentioned, I know what I like. With that in mind, I got two perfumes from Dossier, Woody Sandalwood (inspired by Le Labo Santal 33) and Floriental Almond (inspired by Carolina Hererra’s Good Girl). Both smell absolutely amazing and, at a fraction of the cost of regular retail, I feel like you can’t go wrong. The most expensive bottle of Dossier perfume is $49 (the most expensive bottle of perfume I have ever purchased is nearly 3x that).

TL;DR

I have been loving my Dossier perfumes. I put them on every single morning even though I just sit around at home all day. After all, fragrance is deeply personal and I like to smell nice for myself, anyway. 🙂 Would you ever purchase something from Dossier, or have you? Let me know!

An Honest Review of AURIC by Samantha Ravndahl

Most recent makeup launches have been lackluster at best and, as a result, it takes a lot to get me really excited about something. AURIC, the new beauty brand created by YouTuber Samantha Ravndahl actually did that for me—and I say that as someone who isn’t even a big fan of hers. (For the record, I don’t dislike her, I just don’t watch her videos or consume her content on a regular basis.)

For the first launch, AURIC debuted two products: Glow Lust Radiant Luminizer and Smoke Reflect Eyeshadow Duos. Keep reading for my honest review of both.

THE BRAND

As I previously admitted, I don’t watch Samantha Ravndahl’s videos on a regular basis so I’m not super familiar with her. When I very first heard about this brand I kind of rolled my eyes because I felt like “do we really need another influencer coming out with a brand (or a Morphe collaboration parading as a brand?)?” I will happily admit that I was wrong and go ahead and rightfully eat my slice of humble pie.

AURIC is not an influencer brand. It’s a brand created by an influencer and, yes, that’s an important distinction.

You can tell that an immense amount of thought and detail went into the creation of this brand. I personally appreciate that Samantha didn’t just slap her name on something and call it a day. The name AURIC, which means of, relating to, or derived from gold, is an homage to the fact that gold is something that always has values, and according to Samantha, the most valuable things are people.

I also very much appreciate how inclusive the brand is, from the shade range to the marketing campaign—which features both men and women of various skin tones. The one thing I would appreciate seeing in the future would be more diverse body types in marketing campaigns.

THE PACKAGING

When I said that you could tell a lot of thought and effort went into this, I meant it. Not only is the packaging of the actual products gorgeous (I am a sucker for matte black and shiny gold), the unit carton that it comes in is arguably the most beautiful piece of cardboard I have ever seen. It’s a stunning marbled blend of dark green, black, white and gray, with gold veining and embossed with gold letters that spell AURIC.

The packaging of the products themselves is lovely, too. It’s heavy—which is something I expect of a luxury product. The lids to the Glow Lust Radiant Luminizer are very difficult to get off, which I learned, was by design. In the video that she made announcing her brand, Samantha said that she wanted the lids to fit snugly so that they wouldn’t come off in your makeup bag, which I appreciate.

GLOW LUST RADIANT LUMINIZER

This was the product that I was most excited about.  This illuminating cream product can be worn on its own, mixed with a foundation, or used as a liquid highlight. I have used it all three ways and cannot stress enough just how impressive it is. This product comes in an impressive seven shades and also contains skin-loving ingredients like squalane, glycerin, and propanediol.

SHADES

  • MORGANITE: Light cool beige
  • SELENITE: Light warm/neutral beige
  • PYRITE: Medium olive
  • CITRINE: Medium warm
  • GOLDSTONE: Medium/deep warm
  • AXINITE: Deep neutral
  • TOURMALINE: Deep neutral/cool

PRICE

$45 USD

As someone with oily skin, luminous products are typically difficult for me to use. This product exceeded all of my expectations. I got the two fairest shades, Selenite and Morganite. It provides a very natural, lit-from-within glow. I have been mixing it in with my foundation every day for the prettiest, luminous glow. It does not emphasize texture, break up throughout the day, crease around the eyes, or look glittery or shimmery; it’s never sticky or tacky. Just beautiful luminosity. I also add some of this to the high points of my face at the end as a highlighter and looks so beautiful. It builds up so nicely and doesn’t disturb the makeup underneath at all.

If I had to compare this to something, it would be the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. Even that isn’t really a fair comparison as this is just so much better. CT is definitely more shimmery, glittery and reflective. This is just so much more natural looking.

I think this product would work well for any skin type or tone. If you’re considering trying this, I honestly can’t say enough good things about it.

SMOKE REFLECT EYESHADOW DUO

AURIC released three cream eyeshadow duos. Each duo comes potted with one creamy matte and one reflective micro-glitter shadow infused with high-shine pearls. According to the brand, you can “create creamy-matte, or metallic-glitter looks with two luxe formulas (in a single gorgeous package).”

SHADES

  • DEFIANCE: Bronze
  • EGO: Silver
  • TEMPER: Rose gold

PRICE

$39 USD

Let me preface this by saying that while I appreciate a good one and done cream eyeshadow (like Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize or Tom Ford), I much prefer to throw a basic bronze shadow in my crease and call it a day.

I really enjoyed the cream portion of these eyeshadows. They are easy to apply (you can use your finger or a brush) and they blend our super easily. You have time to play with them before they dry down, but once you do they are set for the day and not going anywhere. As someone with both oily and hooded eyelids, I was super impressed by how well these performed.

Admittedly, I did find the topper portion to be a little more difficult to work with and kind of hit or miss on the shadows. The shade Defiance was great for me, but Temper seemed to be packed more tightly and I had to work harder at getting any pigment out of the pan onto my brush/finger. It did seem a little better on the second and third use. Could just be a fluke thing? That also doesn’t negate the fact that I think these are very high quality, high performing shadows. I would put these up against any high-end shadows any day of the week.

Overall, I really loved these. They are a great one-and-done shadow and are nearly impossible to mess up.

TL;DR

I tried both of the products that AURIC launched and love them both. I have used both products every single day since getting them in the mail and highly recommend them both—however, if you were going to buy ONE product, I would definitely recommend the illuminator over the eyeshadow.

Have you tried any of these products yet or will you? I’m really excited and curious to see what AURIC will be launching next.

Tips for Starting a New Job Remotely During COVID

Starting a new job is always a little nerve-racking—but doing it entirely remotely makes it even more so. Despite record breaking unemployment, the job market is not totally stagnant. If you find yourself interviewing for new jobs, or are lucky enough to find yourself starting a new position, and are nervous about what the hiring process looks like in the era of COVID, I have some tips.

PREPARE YOURSELF/MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

I really think that the best advice you can get in life is to manage your expectations. Like, for everything. It is sage advice that works across time, space and nearly every situation.

Nothing is “normal” right now—the hiring process included. When I started my new position I went through the hiring process entirely virtually: from interviewing to on-boarding. Go into the experience knowing that there are going to be hiccups. Whether you’re internet is being glitchy, you can’t log into WebEx for some reason (that happened to me!), the landscapers come to mow directly outside your window while you do the final round of interviews with the COO (that also happened to me!), or your laptop hasn’t arrived by the first day on the job, just know that something will inevitably come up.

The good thing about COVID is that it has revealed how human we all are: we all have crying babies, barking dogs, upstairs neighbors that sing–that’s just life. Hopefully you’re interviewing with or working for an organization that will understand that.

FIND A WORK BUDDY

It’s my personal belief that the best thing that you can do anytime you start a new job is to find a work buddy. It’s harder to do that when you’re onboarding virtually, but not impossible.

Before I started my new position, I sent each of my coworkers a gift card to a Michigan-based coffee chain with a note that said, “If things were normal, I would ask to grab coffee with you so I could introduce myself and get to know you. Since we can’t do that right now, have a cup on me.” It was a fun way to break the ice and let my coworkers know that I was a) nice and b) looking forward to joining the team and getting to know them.

If you’re not into that or don’t have the money to spend (thankfully my team isn’t that big so it didn’t cost me too much), a great way to introduce yourself is to send emails to the people you know you’ll be working with. It never hurts to say hi and be friendly.

Once you start working, a great way to get to know people is through Slack or Teams. It’s like a virtual water cooler. It’s not a formal meeting, there’s no posturing needed—just a great place to chat and get to know each other. I really liked using Teams for this purpose because I felt like I could be myself, have a few witty quips and use GIFS to let my personality shine through.

ASK FOR HELP

Seriously, just do it!

If you’re somebody that hates asking for help, join the club. Should we get jackets?

In all seriousness, I hate asking for help. I’m too proud and too stubborn most of the time, but in this case it’s best to let someone know that you need a little bit of help with something. No one is going to think you’re lazy or that you’re a dummy (unless of course, it’s something you can Google. In which case you are a dummy). They’ll appreciate that you’re invested in doing something the right way and that you’re willing to ask for help when you need it.

With everything being virtual you have to be much more explicit about things. You might have people check in on you to see how you’re doing, but not as frequently as if you were in an office and someone could pop by your desk to check on you. That means you’re going to have to speak up. If you don’t understand something, need better or more clear direction, or need further explanation on something—say so!

LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU’RE NEW

I’ve been in my current position for 9 months now. I still routinely let people know that I’m (relatively) new. I work for a large company and interact with lots of people on any given day and lots of them have no idea that I haven’t been there for my whole life. In my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Hopefully, at least at first, someone from your team will introduce you to others and announce your arrival. During normal times (or as I like to call it, the Before Times) people would see a new face around and realize that you’re new, introduce themselves and probably even offer to help you! If that doesn’t happen right now, don’t get discouraged. It isn’t yout—the reality is that most people are swamped, whether with work or the fact that we’re 11 months into a pandemic, and don’t have an abundance of mental bandwidth to process that there’s a new face in the organization.

Instead, advocate for yourself! Be explicit about the fact that you’re a new hire. Let people know that you’re new to the company and what your role is—and you would appreciate some help getting settled in or need help understanding the nuances of the organization. Speak up for yourself, even if it makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable.

Even 9 months in, at least once a week I find myself saying, “I’m still relatively new here and I’m still learning the ropes. Could you give me some more background on XYZ?” And every time I do so, the people I’m meeting with appreciate it. It shows that I’m trying and making an effort.

ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES & PROCESSES

What is your role going to look like? How are you going to communicate with the rest of your team? Your manager? How can you ensure that you’re successful in your role?

Since your manager and your colleagues aren’t going to be the same building as you, you can’t just pop into someones office to ask a quick question or try to better understand what’s expected of you. Be proactive. Make sure that you understand your role and responsibilities. Have a clear and open line of communication with your manager and your colleagues. For instance, when assigned a new project or task, make sure that you understand the deadlines and deliverables that are being asked of you. Be direct. It’s better to ask for clarification than to drop the ball.

Another important thing to keep in mind is if there are any tools, platforms or processes that you need to familiarize yourself with. In my case,

TL;DR

Interviewing for and starting a new position is nerve-racking no matter the situation. If you’re hired, just know that they chose you for a reason and they’re excited to have you there. Nervous jitters are okay and totally normal, but be confident and remember that you have this!

Have you started a new job during the pandemic? If so, what has your remote on-boarding experience been like? I’d love to hear it!

January 2021 Favorites

The first month of the new year is over! Now that that’s over, we can hopefully begin processing the collective trauma that we all experienced.

MAC LIP LINER

I haven’t used MAC lip liners in a looong time, but I revisited these in January and was immediately reminded why I loved them so much. My favorites are the shades Whirl and Stripdown. Oldies but goodies!

ANASTASIA BROW FREEZE

I’ve tried just about every brow product on the market (or at least it feels that way.) From the OG Anastasia Pencil, to Dip Brow, Boy Brow and soap brows, I have done the leg work in search of brows that look both fluffy and polished, defined but not overdone. If you like the laminated brow look and want to test it out without having to commit to it (or pay for it!), this is a great place to start. It keeps brows locked in place all day without getting crunchy or adding a weird gray cast to the hair.

SHISEIDO SYNCHRO SKIN SELF-REFRESHING LIQUID FOUNDATION

I bought this because of Katie Jane Hughes and I do not regret it one bit (although I do think I chose a shade that is slightly too light for me). I am obsessed with this foundation. It’s medium coverage (yes, I am using a medium coverage foundation. People do change) and truly feels weightless on your skin. It lasts all day—even under a mask—and looks natural. By the end of the day, my natural oils are coming through, but in a wonderful way. I can’t say enough good things about this foundation and now I need to try the concealer (but in March when #NoBuyFebruary is over).

KOSAS REVEALER SUPER CREAMY + BRIGHTENING CONCEALER AND DAYTIME EYE CREAM

I’ve had this concealer for quite awhile, but kept it stashed away in a drawer because I didn’t love it the first time I used it (calm down, I checked the shelf life and it isn’t expired). As I mentioned above, I’ve kind of shifted away from being such a Full Coverage Queen™ and now prefer a more subtle, natural (natural adjacent?) look. This is a medium coverage, radiant finish concealer. It’s creamy, pigmented and hydrating that visibly brightens but doesn’t leave you looking cakey or overdone. I think that the shade that I got is slightly too yellow for my skin, but I plan on using it up before repurchasing (damn No Buy February).

KOSAS WET OIL LIP GLOSS IN JELLYFISH

Another Kosas product—am I becoming a clean beauty girl? If you’ve been here for awhile, you’ll know that I am a sucker for a good lip gloss. This is a hybrid between a lip treatment and gloss. It’s packed with peptides that visibly plumps and hydrates. It’s not sticky, in fact it feels very moisturizing on the lips. I got the clear color, so can’t speak to the pigmentation but I love how this makes my lips look and feel. Pair this with one of my MAC lip liners and its a match made in heaven.

MAKEUP FOREVER MATTE VELVET SKIN BLURRING POWDER FOUNDATION

This is another KJH recommendation. This has quickly become a Swiss army knife of sorts in my makeup collection. I don’t really use this as a foundation. I use it more as a setting powder, but I really love it for that purpose. My favorite way to use this is on the eyes! I pack this onto my lids before applying eyeshadow because it helps them blend out better. If there are still harsh lines or areas that I want to fix, I tap a fluffy brush into the powder foundation and buff them out. I love this!

NARS SOFT MATTE COMPLETE CONCEALER

Two concealers in one monthly favorite post. I recently shared in my Instagram story that I completely emptied a pot of this stuff, as in there was not a drop left. Because of my penchant for buying copious amounts of makeup, it’s rare that I actually finish something, so this is a big deal. I love this. If you have something that you want to hide, this is the concealer you’re looking for. Acne scars, hyper-pigmentation, dark circles, you name it—this will hide it. I use this every single time I put makeup on. It’s extremely pigmented, so you only need a small amount. It took me about a year to polish off my first jar, but I will never be without this stuff.

BECCA LIGHT GLEAM PRIMER AND TOPPER LIQUID EYESHADOW

If you’re someone who likes a one-and-done eyeshadow, then you’ll love this new product from Becca. It takes all of the guess work out of applying eyeshadow—you literally just use the doe foot applicator to swipe color onto your eyes, top it off with the sparkly side and call it a day. I did find that it creased on me a little bit, but that’s pretty much par for the course with cream eyeshadow and oily eyelids. I was sent this product by Becca and Fohr to test it out, but my review is still honest and in my own words.

TL;DR

Some of these products are new, but most of them I found by shopping my own stash! I mean, when is the last time someone said MAC lip liners were cool? It’s been a minute. What products are you loving right now?

Week One: No Buy February

We all have our vices—mine just happens to be shopping. This has always been true for me, but I think that the pandemic only intensified how much I enjoy it (and how much of it I do). I have been alone for 11 months now—good mail days are really the only thing I have to look forward to at this point.

The problem is that mindless shopping is costing me quite a bit of money. As I begin house hunting in earnest, I’m realizing that I would rather squirrel money away for a downpayment than buy stupid shit on Amazon because it gives me a little boost in serotonin that my brain doesn’t seem capable of producing itself.

Long story short is that I put myself on a shopping hiatus for the month of February (it is only 28 days, after all). Obviously, I still have to pay all my bills, buy groceries, etc., but everything else is off limits. That’s right: no makeup, no clothing, no shoes, no home decor. Nada. *que sad violin music*. Here’s how the first week is going:

MONDAY

Monday was Max’s birthday and, obviously, birthday expenses are excluded from No Buy February. I purchased the majority of his birthday things in January (that included a yard sign from Fiesta Yard Signs, a shirt with his cat’s face all over it, three sweaters from H&M and the complete Magic Tree House book set). I did, however, have to get him fresh scallops from Fresh Thyme which cost me $15 and a unicorn Happy Nappy that I was able to find at Walmart.While I was there, I realized that Real Good Foods were on sale and since I eat a meal from RGF at least once a day, I decided to get a few and save myself a couple bucks.

I also added a bunch of things to my Ulta cart with every intention of doing a curbside pickup until I realized that it was officially Feb. 1 and I couldn’t do that. I did, unfortnately have to pay for gas.

FRESH THYME: $30.60
WALMART: $42.27
SHELL OIL: $42.00

GRAND TOTAL FOR FEB. 1: $114.87

TUESDAY

Day 2/28. As I scroll social media, there are so many things that I want to buy but cannot due to my stupid self-imposed spending hiatus. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. I’m hoping that the first few days are the hardest to adjust to. Despite wanting to impulsively buy something, anything, I control myself and my impulsive urges. I’m sure the Target pickup people are wondering if I’m okay.

GRAND TOTAL FOR FEB. 2: $0

WEDNESDAY

I did leave my house today to go to Safe Med Spa to pick up some skincare. While I am technically purchasing this in February, I intended to pick it up in January and just had trouble coordinating a time to do so. While I was there, I also picked up something for my mom for her birthday, so it’s really only half cheating—plus, I make the rules anyway.

Upon checking my bank statement, I see that I also had the pleasure of paying for my Comcast bill and my Apple Care this day.

SAFE MED SPA: $193.98
COMCAST: $74.67
APPLE: $5.00

GRAND TOTAL: $273.65

THURSDAY

I was really busy at work on Thursday, so decided to order myself a salad from Panera for lunch (or maybe I just miss buying things?). The salad, plus delivery and tip, ends up being a gigantic waste of money since I eat maybe 1/2 of it before I toss it in the trash.

Looking at my bank statment, I see yet another lovely charge — this time for my HBO subscription.

I also purchased some groceries from Meijer on this day, my first time doing a curbside pickup there and my first time buying anything from them since before the pandemic. Since they messed up my order and didn’t ask me what substitutions I wanted for items that were unavailable, I probably won’t be doing another order with them anytime soon.

PANERA: $15.66
AMAZON: $14.99
MEIJER: $27.93

GRAND TOTAL: $58.58

FRIDAY

I realized late on Thursday that I didn’t have a single meeting scheduled for Friday so I promptly decided to take a PTO day. I set my OOO message on Outlook and truly took the day off. I didn’t do any work whatsoever and it was glorious.

As I basked in the glory that was paid time off, I thought that it would be a wonderful day to drive to a real mall, maybe somewhere on the east side of the state. Then I remembered by stupid no buy month and realized that that was not in my best financial interest. I stayed home, cleaned (including deep cleaning my cats litter boxes, which they bother supervised closely), and took some product photos of my new Glow by Auric products (which I bought in January, thank you very much!).

I ended up returning some jeans to American Eagle, which meant I actually got $126 back in my pocket and I left the store without purchasing anything else. Honestly, I think I deserve a medal.

AMERICAN EAGLE: +$125.93

GRAND TOTAL: $0

SATURDAY

Because I took yesterday off, I had a hard time keeping track of what day it was. My H&M order arrived so I had fun trying all my new clothes on (they were having a sale and I placed this order in January, thank you very much).

I helped my friend Celeste do a Facebook Live sale for her store Retail Therapy and ended up buying my mom two sweaters because she mentioned that she would like some for her birthday.

When I got home, I laid in bed and watched movies. I also painted my toenails which I had planned on doing last weekend, before my kidneys tried to murder me. To end the night, I ordered myself butter chicken from Sree Saffron, my favorite Indian restaurant. Yes, it cost me money but I was supporting a local business so basically I am a hometown hero and I will not hear anything to the contrary.

RETAIL THERAPY $137.80
DELIVERY.COM $25.79

GRAND TOTAL: $163.59

SUNDAY

Ahh, the Sabbath. I am going snowshoeing (I had to double check the spelling of that word many, many times because it looks wrong to me) with my family today. Outdoors and socially distanced. It’s 13 degrees outside and God knows what with the windchill. I charged my Apple watch for this.

The only money I’ve spent so far today is getting donuts for one of my best friends to celebrate her birthday. I need to return some things to Target, which means I will still end up netting money today. I’ll update this post once my returns are done (if I remember to do so).

There are 21 days of this nonsense left, but who’s counting?

STRANGE MATTER: $9.50

GRAND TOTAL: $9.50

WEEKLY GRAND TOTAL: 620.19

TL;DR

I have implemented a self-imposed spending freeze so that I don’t end up like Carrie Bradshaw when she has to buy her apartment — with $40K worth of shoes and $900 in her checking account. So far it’s going okay but old habits die hard and I am certainly not enjoying myself. Does anyone know of any rich old men who are looking for a wife?

Weekend Reads & What to Watch

You may have noticed (I’m sure you didn’t) that there wasn’t a Weekend Reads and What to Watch last weekend. I intended for there to be, but then I got kidney stones instead. It was not a good time. Thankfully, I’m all better now and have a different appreciation for the saying “this too shall pass.”

Here’s the things I’m reading/watching these days.

WHAT I’M READING

Because I have the attention span of a goldfish and so many competing interests, I am really bad about reading multiple books at once. Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Atomic Habits

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m still chipping away at Atomic Habits. I haven’t been doing an abundance of reading because I have been so busy with work during the day that I haven’t had the mental bandwidth to read a non-fiction book at night.

Am I There Yet?

I’m not sure that this counts as a book, but I stumbled across it on my bookshelf the other day and have been spending some time each day thumbing through it. I love Mari Andrews. According to a WaPo review, her NYT Bestselling book is “achingly vulnerable and completely relatable watercolor illustrations about relationships, heartbreak and the struggles of urban life” Her illustrations are wonderful and her captions are poignant and relatable.

WHAT I’M WATCHING

The Little Things

Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon joins forces with Sgt. Jim Baxter to search for a serial killer who’s terrorizing Los Angeles. As they track the culprit, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.

I’m just going to cut to the chase—I hated this movie. I was really excited to watch this because it had an impressive cast (Denzel and Jared Leto!) and the plot seemed interesting. I was wrong. The most shocking this about this film was the fact that Jared Leto looks ugly and has a paunch.

1/10 do not recommend. Have you seen a movie about a serial killer that you enjoyed. Cherish that memory and skip this one instead.

Good Luck Chuck

Cursed since childhood, dentist Charlie Kagan (Dane Cook) cannot find the right woman. Even worse, he learns that each of his ex-girlfriends finds true love with the man she meets after her relationship with him ends. Hearing of Charlie’s reputation as a good-luck charm, women from all over line up for a quick tryst. But when Charlie meets the woman (Jessica Alba) of his dreams, he must find a way to break the curse or risk losing her to the next man she meets.

This movie came out in 2007 at the peak of my Dane Cook obsession. (If you knew me in middle school, I’m sure you are acutely aware of how much I loved him). Is this a thought-provoking, life changing movie? No. It’s a crude, knee-slapping kind of movie with loads of gratuitous nudity (including a woman with three boobs!). However, it’s funny and entertaining and does have a sweet ending.

8/10. I love terrible movies and will always have a sweet spot for Dane Cook.

Americans In Bed

Have I mentioned before that I love documentaries? This one is older, but I found it on HBO Max. Released in 2013, this film highlights ten American couples–captured in the comfort of their own beds–as they openly discuss romance, sex, trust and love in candid interviews. From young New Yorkers who have split up 26 times to spouses in their 90s who have been married 71 years, this touching, funny and often surprising film offers intimate insights into what makes or breaks a relationship.

I really loved this film and found that it invoked a lot more emotion than I was anticipating, ranging from feeling lonely seeing other people talk about intimacy on screen to being reminded why I’m not interested in dating, as coupled talked about how their partners have cheated on them.

I really loved the representation and diversity in the film and appreciated that there were straight and gay couples, as well as white couples, a black couple and a Hispanic couple.

10/10. I am nosey so I liked seeing peoples bedrooms and lives. In spite of everything, I am still extremely romantic and love love, so I liked hearing about all the messy different kind of relationships that exist.

Expecting Amy

I feel like I somewhat peripherally knew that this existed, but accidentally stumbled across it while trying to find something to watch on HBO Max.

Expecting Amy is a hilarious and raw 360-degree look at a new stage in Amy Schumer’s life. This unfiltered three-part documentary shows the struggle, strength, and ambition that have made Schumer one of the singular comic voices of all time. The docuseries takes viewers behind-the-scenes as Amy battles through an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy, while documenting the formation of her latest comedy special. From hospitalizations, to going out in front of thousands, to quiet moments at home with her family, Schumer hides nothing. With her family and friends along for the ride to support her and keep her sane and balanced, Amy does it all with perseverance, heart, and the priceless sense of humor she’s known for.

I have always loved Amy Schumer. I watched Inside Amy, Schumer bought and read her book, “The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo” and even watched her way back a million years ago on Last Comic Standing—that’s how long I’ve been an Amy Schumer fan. Basically, all that to say, I know that she isn’t everyones cup of tea, but I appreciate her humor and find her hilarious. This, however, gave me a newfound appreciation for her

This docuseries honestly gave me a newfound appreciation for Schumer. From capturing the reality of her, frankly, miserable pregnancy (she was dangerously sick with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) the entire time) to her husband’s autism diagnosis, it was so honest. I found myself crying at more than one point and openly weeping when her son Eugene was born.

I also really admired the way that she communicates with her husband, which is made increasingly difficult by the fact that he has Aspergers. You could tell that they really love and respect each other.

10/10. You don’t have to be any Amy Schumer fan to enjoy this. However, probably avoid if you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or plan on doing so any time soon.

TL;DR

Because I happened to be insanely busy with work and run into health issues simultaneously, I didn’t really do much reading, but I did quite a bit of streaming because it requires less concentration and effort lol (monkey mind has been real lately).

I tried the NYX Shine Loud Liquid Lipstick and & Brow Glue Instant Styler: Are They Worth the Hype?

At the beginning of quarantine, back when we all naively thought we would be spending two weeks at home and then resuming our normal lives, I downloaded Tik Tok. Honestly, it was one of the best decisions that I made in 2020. It quickly became one of my favorite apps to consume content on. Whether it’s hilarious or informative, it keeps me entertained for hours—it has also inspired me to make a purchase or two (or 20). When I saw two new NYX products circulating on the app, I knew I had to try them for myself. Here’s my honest review of the Shine Loud Liquid Lipstick and Brow Glue Instant Styler.

NYX SHINE LOUD LIQUID LIPSTICK

NYX is not the first brand to come out with a lipstick that is “sealed in place” by a glossy top coat and purports to be transfer proof. They did, however, launch theirs at the best time you could possibly launch a transfer proof product: when we all wear masks 24/7. This reminded me a lot of the Younique product that made its rounds a few years ago, which honestly made me not want to try it because I have a deep disdain for all MLM brands. I went ahead and tried it anyway.

The first step is to apply the liquid lipstick and wait 90 seconds before applying the glossy top coat. While you wait, the liquid lipstick dries down. During that process, it becomes insanely sticky. Like, it reminds me of liquid rubber or latex or something. I touched my lips together and thought they might not ever come apart again. It’s intense.

After waiting the full 90 sections, you go in with the glossy top coat. I was impressed by the gloss. It’s not sticky and it’s very shiny — almost wet looking (which I, personally, am a big fan of). The product does what it says it does! Once the top coat is applied, the liquid lipstick isn’t going anywhere. I have currently had it on my lips for over 12 hours and it’s still going strong. It settled into my lip lines a lines and did come off the inside of my lips, leaving me with the faintest hint of butthole lips (I’m sorry to use that terminology, but if you’re familiar with liquid lipstick, you know what I mean!).

Overall, I am really impressed. If you’re tired of your lip products staining or smudging the inside of your masks, this is a great option to pick up.

Overall rating: 10/10

NYX BROW GLUE INSTANT STYLER

If you follow me on Instagram, you may recall that a few weeks ago I made a Reel showing how to use Got2B Glued Spiking Glue on your brows to give you a laminated effect without the commitment or the cost. This product is a great alternative. It’s more money for way less product, but it comes with its own spooly and is a much more appropriate amount of product for two little eyebrows.

I went ahead and filled my brows in like I normally would with my Benefit Precisely, My Brow Eyebrow Pencil. Then I went in with the NYX product and brushed all the hairs up to create a fuller, fluffier brow. I was a little skeptical, but the product lasted all day and didn’t leave any kind of weird cast or tint to my brows. If you’re wanting to try the fluffy brow trend but don’t want to be bothered to try soap brows (which can be messy and has a bit of a learning curve), don’t want to fork over the money for lamination (which is kind of expensive), or just want to dip your toes in for fun, this is a great product to try out.

Overall rating: 10/10

TL;DR

The new NYX Cosmetics products that I tried, the Shine Loud Liquick Lipstick and the Brow Glue, are both great products. They live up to the claims, perform surprisingly well and, at that price point, can’t be beat. If you’re in the market for some new makeup, I think you’ll enjoy these.

Is the Dyson SuperSonic Hair Dryer Worth The Money?

As a life long beauty connoisseur, I wanted a Dyson SuperSonic hair dryer from the moment that it launched. I watched countless YouTube videos, read reviews and lusted after it for months. Is it worth the money? Does it really make a difference? What is so special about it? I agonized over whether or not it was worth the hefty price tag—because at $400, it’s not a cheap piece of equipment. 

After using it for over a year, I now feel fully qualified to talk about whether or not the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer is worth the money. Read on for my thoughts.

BACKGROUND

Dyson is known for the advanced technology they use in their products and, true to form, the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer is not your normal, run-of-the-mill hair dryer. According to Dyson, it’s engineered to protect hair from extreme heat damage with intelligent heat control, uses a special v9 digital motor for fastest drying and controlled styling to help increase smoothness by 75%, increase shine by up to 132% and decrease frizz and flyaways by up to 61%.

In layman’s terms, that means that the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer has an ultra powerful airflow that dries your hair faster than usual while also preventing heat damage.

PRODUCTION

When it came to reimaging the hair dryer, Dyson didn’t f*ck around.The brand invested $71 million dollars, hired dozens of new employees (more than 100 engineers worked on this!), and brought on some of the world’s top hairstylists (including Jen Atkin) to help create a blow-dryer that was lighter, quieter, and more efficient than anything on the market.

They didn’t stop there. Tom Crawford, Head of Product Development at Dyson, actually required that all the engineers working on the hair dryer take hair styling classes at a community college because he wanted them to truly understand the science of hair and what goes into styling it.

DESIGN

One of the first things that you’ll notice about the hair dryer is that it looks nothing like the blow dryer you’re currently using—because there’s a hole in the middle of it. The nozzle has been replaced by what looks like a large cylinder, which is the brand’s patented Air Multiplier technology, (i.e. the bladeless fans they put in practically every device they make). 

According to the brand, the dryer works by taking a little air from the bottom and drawing into the motor at the top of the handle, while also pulling a little extra air through the middle and the sides of the cylinder. All that air is then multiplied threefold as it’s pushed out through the center of the ring toward your hair. This results in less air flowing through the product, which means the motor can be smaller (i.e., the dryer can be lighter!), and there is more air flowing out. The silver lining: you’ll never have to worry about your hair getting sucked into the back of the dryer again.

TECHNOLOGY

The device uses what’s called Air Multiplier technology to create a high-pressure, high-velocity stream of air. What helps to make styling more precise is the handful of magnetic attachments included with the Supersonic: It comes with a smoothing nozzle and styling concentrator, which both help focus the airflow, as well as a diffuser for defining curls and waves.

Another advancement: in addition to the four heat settings (and three airflow settings), inside the hair dryer is a tiny little thermometer that measures the air temperature 20 times per second to make sure that the air never gets too hot. How cool is that? This ensures that the integrity of your hair remains intact and you never use too much heat on it—it also ensures t that the device itself never gets too hot (so you won’t burn yourself if/when you change attachments). 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST

The dryer retails for $399, which is insanely expensive. However, that includes things other than just the hair dryer. Regardless of where you purchase the device, it comes with four magnetic attachments so you can adjust quickly and easily. Right now, it also comes with a silicone mat to rest the dryer on, but when I bought mine it came with a nice metal stand. Either way, you’re getting an entire hair drying/styling experience and all the accoutrements, not just the dryer itself (in case you’re looking for a way to justify the expense LOL).

Also, I purchased mine (and the one I got for my mom) from Ulta’s website. I used my Ultamate Rewards Points to buy it (I’m Diamond so I accrue points quickly—and I used the points I got from purchasing mine to buy my moms). I also used Rakuten on the purchase, which means I 6% cash back on it. Win/win!

HOW TO USE IT

This hair dryer might look drastically different than what you’re used to, but it operates exactly the same. On days where I just want to dry my hair and call it a day, I rough dry it or dry it with my Yves Durif vented brush. On days where I plan on styling my hair after drying it, I section it off with my favorite clips, and dry it with a round brush.

IS IT WORTH IT?

Obviously, how much money someone is willing to spend on something is very personal and completely subjective. For me, the dryer was 100% worth it. I wash and style my hair every single day (or I did before COVID). Not only does this dryer dramatically reduce the amount of time that I have to spend on doing my hair, it also reduces the damage that I inflict upon my poor hair by doing it every day. 

I have long hair that takes forever to dry and I’m not exaggerating when I say that this has cut the time I spend blow drying my hair in half. If you have short hair, or hair that doesn’t take long to dry, and that’s your most important consideration when debating this purchase, this might not be the best investment. However, the deciding factor for me, and the reason that I would repurchase this immediately if mine died tomorrow, is because it helps protect the integrity of my hair and keeps it healthy.

Other things that I love about the dryer: it’s insanely light weight. I love that Dyson was somehow able to make a dryer that is way lighter than the Conair dinosaur that I was previously using and also pumps out way more air AND makes next to no noise. I mean, how do they do it? Amazing.

TL;DR

If you’re looking for the Spark Notes of this review, here are my favorite things about the machine: It’s light. It’s quiet. It reduces drying time dramatically. It maintains the integrity of your hair. 

Do you have a Dyson SuperSonic? If so, let me know whether or not you agree with my opinion that it’s worth the investment!

Weekend Reads & What to Watch

Last weekend I talked about time management and using the Pomodoro Technique to GSD. But one facet of time management that I consistently struggle with is how I want to spend my weekends. I have been in isolation for 10 months now. I live alone and work from home. The days pretty much all blend together and the weekend doesn’t feel that much different than the work week, except for Monday-Friday I sit on my couch with a Dell computer and Saturday and Sunday I sit on my couch with a Mac Book.

If I wake up on Saturday morning and immediately start doing chores, I get annoyed that I have wasted 1/2 of my opportunities to be a slovenly slob and do nothing. If I lay in bed and relax, I get annoyed that I have wasted 1/2 of my opportunities to be productive and get things done. Sunday is essentially rinse and repeat.

For some reason, if I spend my days reading or consuming content on the Big Screen instead of the Medium Screen or Small Screen, I don’t feel quite as bad. As I have previously blogged about, I have really gotten into reading lately (I even downloaded GoodReads!) and have been watching lots of classic movies (that were not produced by or star Adam Sandler).

WHAT I’M READING

Because I have the attention span of a goldfish and so many competing interests, I am really bad about reading multiple books at once. Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

The cat’s out of the bag. I am a sucker for a good self help book. Some of them are, admittedly, better than others. This is one of them. I’m about half way through this book and am really enjoying it. What I appreciate about James Clear is that he’s able to meet you where you’re at. Okay, so you suck at managing your time or you have an insatiable shopping habit (yes, I do feel personally attacked, in case you were wondering)—those things can be fixed! They won’t be fixed overnight and there is no magic cure, but you can be mindful and intentional and change any bad habit you have or create any good one you want simply by making an effort. I appreciate that.

Blink: The Power of Thinking by Not Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

This book isn’t quite self-help, I would say maybe self-help adjacent? The short answer is that this book is about thinking—more specifically the way that we think without thinking. The longer, more accurate description of that book is that it’s intended purpose is to challenge your internal processes and unconscious mind; to illuminate rapid cognition—the split decisions we make in an instant without seemingly ever really considering anything—and give scientific and anecdotal evidence on why that can be both a good and bad thing. Admittedly, this book is harder for me to stay focused on than Atomic Habits.

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket and this sounded too good to pass up. This is the story of a midcentury American family with twelve (!!!) children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease. Don and Mimi Galvin moved their family to Colorado after World War II so that Don could pursue his career in the Air Force. I’m only about 60 pages in so haven’t really gotten to the good part yet, but I already dislike Don. I think he’s a dickhead. And I feel bad for Mimi for having to give up on her dreams so that her husband could chase his. I am glad that the “good ‘ol days” are a thing of the past because you won’t catch me popping out 12 kids and moving to BFE for anyone.

WHAT I’M WATCHING

The White Tiger

The White Tiger is a searing look at India’s caste system that follows narrator Balram from his childhood in a rural village in India, to his current vantagepoint as a newly minted entreprenur.

Balram is smart and ambitious, but destined to work his family’s tea stand and be married off to someone of his Granny’s choosing. When he sees an opportunity to learn to drive, he jumps on it, learns the ropes (i.e., the flattery that the ruling class requires of their servants) and ultimately lands a driving job for a man who is just back from the U.S.

This movie is based on the 2008 book of the same name. The first half of the movie is spent illuminating the caste system in India—the way that it’s rigged to keep the wealthy in their lofty positions while keeping the poor on the streets far below. After being insanely loyal to his masters (like a rooster in a cage), the movie takes a really dark turn when Balram is betrayed by his employers (I did appreciate that Priyanka Chopra plays a bad person both in real life and in this movie!).

After realizing the corrupt lengths his masters will go to to save themselves (and throw him under the bus), Balram claws his way out of the cage that is his servitude and rebels against the system to become a new kind of master—his own.

I spent a good portion of this movie feeling sorry for Balram because I think he’s a genuinely good person. I hated when he was made fun of. I hated when they mocked him for wearing the outfit that he especially picked out and called him “maharaja.” I thought that he looked so elegant and nice in his new kurta. I hated when Pinky made him feel bad for behaving a certain way in front of her guest. I felt so terrible when he says “why did my father not teach my to scratch my groin? Why didn’t he teach me to brush my teeth?” As a viewer, I felt the sting of betrayal when he realizes what his masters have done to him.

Adarsh Gourav did such a great job acting that I felt very invested in the film.

10/10 would definitely recommend—but only if you can give it your full attention as you’ll need to read the subtitles (I believe they’re speaking Hindi?)

Eat, Pray, Love

Can someone help me understand this? Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the eponymous book in 2006. The book ended up landing on Oprah’s Book Club and then skyrocketed to the NYT Best Seller’s list where it stayed for something like one million weeks (I exaggerate, obviously). It has since sold more than 10 million copies world wide. But…why? I, admittedly, haven’t read the book but I fucking hated the movie. It could not possibly be more self-aggrandizing if it tried to be.

First of all, I hate the way that she treated her husband. She decides she doesn’t want to be married anymore, seemingly because he wants children and she does not, but does a horrible job of communicating with him. She has no regard for his feelings, instead complaining to a friend that he “hates her.” TBH, I hate you too Elizabeth. When she supposedly is floundering, rudderless and hitting rock bottom, her editor gives her an advance on her book that funds her little trip around the world. Life is so hard.

The worst part for me is when she gets to Indonesia because, true to everything we know about her thus far, she is a self-centered asshole who cannot fathom a life that doesn’t, in some way, revolve around her. While in Bali, she meets a healer who is living in poverty and thinks that she can “fix” this woman’s situation by throwing money at her. The bottom line is that, despite her new-agey global trotting, she doesn’t understand other cultures and views it as something that is backwards and needs fixing. So, essentially, she tricks this woman into buying a home before she goes back to the States because it makes her feel like she did something good. This is precisely why people hate Westerners.

0/10. Don’t waste your time watching this. 2 hours and 20 minutes I will never get back.

Julie & Julia

I’m trying to watch movies I’ve never seen before and this was on the homepage of Amazon Prime so I thought, what the hell. Worth a shot. Surprisingly, I loved it! Amy Adams, Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are wonderful in this movie.

Julia Child’s story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell’s 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” I loved the cinematography of this movie, the way that Julia’s life was juxtaposed with Julie’s and how similar they were—despite all of their differences and the time and space between them.

I loved that Julie challenged herself to get through the entire cook book in one year—524 recipes in 365 days—and that she blogged the entire experience. I also appreciated when she said that blogging feels like screaming into a void, because, as I can attest, it oftentimes does.

Also, another important side note: Stanley Tucci is so hot. He’s like a hot dad or a hot professor. I said what I said and I am not sorry.

10/10. Would recommend if you’re looking for something that is equal parts light-hearted and poignant.

TL;DR

Look at me, using quarantine to become more well-rounded. And it only took 10 months! However, in the midst of watching all these movies i’ve never seen, I did buy the 40 Year Old Virgin on Amazon. And I did rewatch some of Sex and the City. You can pry those classics from my cold, dead hands.

If you purchase any of the books I mentioned and you’re in Lansing or Grand Rapids, please considering supporting Schuler’s Books. I don’t get a commission or anything like that—they are just a wonderful local retailer.