From the Closet:
All About the Sleeves

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J Crew shirt, Zara jeans, Nicholas Kirkwood flats, Saint Laurent bag

Kind of dying for big sleeves this season and luckily, I’m finding them everywhere. This J Crew version is easily becoming a wardrobe staple. Ironically, I came to Paris to shop at J Crew.

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From the Heart:
On Confidence

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Because of the necessity for a social media presence, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what makes some women likable and others unlikable, mostly because it’s very clear to me that when it comes to social media, I’m unlikable. In contemplating this topic, I’ve consequently spent a lot of time thinking about Beyonce and Kim Kardashian. Both women are undeniably beautiful. Interestingly, both have approximately the same number of followers on Instagram (around 35 million). The big difference between the two, from a social media standpoint, is that it seems many of Kim Kardashian’s followers don’t like her and follow her only to berate her and spew all kinds of unwarranted negativity at her. Beyonce, on the other hand, is arguably the most famous and well-liked female celebrity in the world. She can do no wrong. Everything she touches, everything she wears, everything she does, is celebrated. I wouldn’t for a second say it’s undeserving on her part. She clearly has worked hard her entire life to get to where she is and her talent is a force to be reckoned with. What gets me is why women can’t celebrate all women the way they celebrate Beyonce. Enter Kim Kardashian. Whatever moral implications surround her rise to fame, you only have to watch a few episodes of her reality television show to understand that she is incredibly business savvy and works very hard. Also, she seems to have a huge network of girlfriends – a telltale sign that she is a decent human at minimum, and likely, a very decent girlfriend. Generally, women with a lot of girlfriends (i.e., Taylor Swift) seem to be the type who bring other women up, instead of putting them down, who don’t succumb to jealousy, and who don’t see other women as a threat or competition. Which brings me back to my thoughts on the social media “likable” and “unlikeable.” I think women don’t like Kim Kardashian because she is unapolegetically confident – she loves herself. Her confidence is roaring loud and why not? Shouldn’t ours all be? Beyonce, on the other hand, has a quiet confidence, much like Taylor Swift and Lauren Conrad, who are also social media likable. So confidence comes in different forms, but why should women be so quick to dislike the most confident among us? What has Kim Kardashian ever done to anyone to deserve such outrageously offensive attacks every time she posts a picture on Instagram? And why are women so quick to speculate about what kinds of surgery she has had? Why can’t women accept that some women are breathtakingly beautiful – born that way – or have the most amazing bodies or physical assets without quickly writing them off as plastic surgery or an eating disorder? I love Kim Kardashian because I think there is nothing more beautiful than a woman loving herself – especially if she is the type who loves and supports other women as well. And I love her because she doesn’t shrink just to quiet the haters. My point is this. The best kind of women in the world are those who are confident enough to love themselves and also to love and support other women, without feeling threatened or competitive. I just finished a brilliant memoir about a woman from Darfur who suffered unimaginable atrocities as a result of her sex. I’ve read many books of this kind, telling stories of how women around the world are treated. As women, there are many fights we have yet to fight, many wrongs against us we have yet to right, many sisters and mothers and daughters we have yet to save from suffering. So to see women lashing out at other women in such a catty way is unbecoming and disheartening. We should be supporting one another and celebrating the strong and confident among us so that they remain strong and confident, and also stand as model for what we all should hope to become. Afterall, isn’t a strong, confident woman the best kind of woman?

 

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From the Closet:
Saint James

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Saint James x J Crew tee, Zara jacket, Frame Denim jeans, Valentino rockstuds, Gucci bag

Currently obsessed with this Saint James tee, mostly because its quintessentially French. I’m absolutely loving the way Parisians dress – especially the older women and men. It’s so the opposite of everything Southern Californian, which makes it new and exciting for me. Along with everything else in my life these days.

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On Skincare

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I don’t claim to be an expert on anything in life – I’m only passionately curious about almost everything. Still, there are some areas where I’ve spent enough time dwelling that I can confidently say I know enough to share a few pearls of wisdom. Skincare is one of those areas. I was blessed with acne as an adolescent. I call this a blessing because the embarrassment of feeling like you are always standing out (and not in a good way) during those fragile years caused me to become extremely vigilant about taking care of my skin. My forehead was covered in bumps and scars and redness for many, many years, but its been almost perfectly clear for the last ten or so. It’s not perfect – I have baby lines developing around my eyes and my allergies cause the skin around my nose and under my eyes to become puffy quite frequently – but as far as blemishes are concerned, those are a thing of the past. Ok, pearls of wisdom:

1) Say no to face makeup.

Unless I’m going on a date with a guy I really, really like or it’s Saturday night and I’m going out on the town, I don’t wear face makeup. This goes back to my teenage years when I was so petrified of clogging my pores that I would cringe anytime anything was being put on my skin. So I got into the habit of putting nothing on my skin. And I have to say it’s my favorite habit! I feel like I’m doing my skin a huge favor by letting it breathe.

2) Water. Lots of it.

I saw a nutritionist years ago who told me I was supposed to drink half my body weight in ounces of water every day. The easiest way to do this is by giving up other beverages. That way when you’re thirsty, you only have one option – water. Also, when I was gainfully employed, I always had a huge bottle right next to my keyboard – it gave me something to do when I was bored.

3) Stay away from products with a lot of chemicals.

I’m not an expert here and I won’t claim to use only all-natural or organic products. But I do try to avoid products that have an ingredient list reminiscent of high school chemistry. I’ve been faithful to Origins and Aveeno for years. I also just discovered the Grown Alchemist, which is awesome.

4) Retinol.

Like most women my age, I’m terrified of aging and wrinkles. I’m always reading about new anti-aging technology and products and the truth is the sheer volume of information out there is overwhelming and it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t. The one thing I’ve read over and over, though, is how amazing retinol is. Apparently, retinol interrupts the free radical damage process that causes your skin to look older.  I get mine prescription strength from the dermatologist, but you can find it over-the-counter as well.

5) Peels.

I’m new to peels, but I just started using the Dr. Gross Alpha Beta peel and I love it. It is supposed to have anti-aging benefits, but in truth, I just like the way it leaves me skin feeling after I’ve used it.

6) Face Oil.

This one took some time for me. I have fairly oil skin so it seemed counterintuitive to put oil on my skin. But actually, for reasons I can’t explain, it leaves me skin less oily. Again, I use Dr. Gross, which contains Vitamin-D and leave my skin moisturized, but not oily.

7) Facial Scrub.

I’ve tried many facial scrubs over the years, but for the last few, I’ve been faithful to Kiehl’s Facial Fuel, which is actually a product marketed towards men. I happened upon it in my ex-boyfriend’s shower (when he was still my boyfriend). I knew I was addicted when I found myself showering in his bathroom more often than my own (we had separate bathrooms).

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From the Closet:
My Color

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Sass & Bide sweater, Zara jeans and coat, Nicholas Kirkwood flats, Givenchy bag

Trying to incorporate more red into my wardrobe as it really is my favorite color and it seems that people respond more positively to me when I’m in it. Do you have a color that does this for you?

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