I used this recurring column as an excuse to hit “buy” on a bunch of purchases I’ve been hemming and hawing about for months. While this was a huge step for someone who hates shopping as much as I do, it hasn’t gotten me over my big hump: buying clothes. I have recently lost a lot of weight and nothing fits right. Plus-size clothing lines have expanded and improved immeasurably over the years, but the trauma of trying to squeeze into spine crunching rompers in fluorescent dressing rooms has left its mark. Even if I could wear something from H&M now, I’m scared to try. So, all the shit I bought was for my face and hair, and I hope to eventually move down to below my collarbone for future iterations of this project.
Okay, so I have great hair. Sorry, I am not ashamed to brag about this—it’s thick as hell, curly, and I have carefully maintained a dark, rich, red fox color years through regular affordable visits to aspiring colorists on Salon Apprentice. I never succumbed to buying Extra Products until last Fall, when I felt so guilty about the low price of my incredible haircut that I paid an extra $25 on Redken cleansing conditioner. You know what? It lasted a long time, it smells delicious, and I’m so glad I ordered more online. Great for curly and color-treated hair, and I am maintaining my look.
The Sugar lip balm was something I’ve been wanting to get ever since a friend lent me hers when I felt like my mouth was peeling off because my lips were so dry. I love the color, consistency and application, and that there’s SPF in it, but next time I am ordering from Fresh directly. Like an idiot, I bought it from some random place on Amazon in a late-night haze, and accidentally bought the “half-size” for almost as much as the full-size! It did come with a vitamin nectar face mask that I’m wearing as I type, but I’d much prefer the extra product.
Caprea’s Essential Organic PH Cleanser is just $10 with promo code TEN. Normally $19, this foaming face wash is crafted with organic Monoi oil. It’s meant to target the production of oil secretion while protecting your skin against air pollution. Normally $19, you can save big on this richly-lathering face wash while supporting a brand that keeps the environment top of mind.
The Stila lip stain was also another thing I should have gotten from the store, but lines at Sephora are hideous and I really was just on an Amazon spree. The color is “Patina” which I chose after careful deliberation at Sephora’s sample counter because I thought it looked the most like what Dinah Lance wears on Arrow when she’s not dressed up as Black Canary. Her make up is what I think of when I think of good make up—like you’re wearing a thin mask of your own face over your face that is better than your face.
Finally, body chafing glide for when you want to wear a skirt and no bicycle shorts (it works!) and something to make my teeth look whiter. Obviously, I want a shiny mouth (and smooth inner thighs), and will wear a potato sack underneath. But, here is one piece of clothing I highly recommend for busty women:
The Fiona sports bra has adjustable straps and hooks in the back, and I bought my third one this month. In the past I’ve been discouraged from exercising because my sports bra chafes and leave a red line under my breasts, or the straps stretch out really quickly and can’t be tightened. So many sports bras seem to be for the kind of lady who suddenly says in the lunchroom, “OMG I forgot to wear a bra today! Ha ha!” This one is for anyone who needs to clamp ‘em down before they run around. Highly recommend.
My turn for this column came at the tail end of what could probably be fairly termed a shopping spree. That’s because I basically hadn’t bought any new clothing for over a year, unless you count the bare minimum maternity basics necessary to leave the house in something other than a voluminous nightgown. (Not really an option in November, sadly.) Also, I turned 30 shortly before getting pregnant, so I was overdue for a wardrobe refresh.
Or at least, that’s how I justified spending the money on this stunning plus-size Retrolicious “When Life Gives You Lemons” sundress, plus—God, I’m cringing at the bill even now—$40 in alterations. I’d been watching this adorable Roller Disco Dress, but finally decided it was cut just a tad too short for somebody who spends a lot of time squatting down to buckle a kid into a stroller and the lemons were a better choice if I didn’t want all my neighbors to know precisely what my butt looked like. I wore it yesterday for July 4th festivities and it was worth every penny, including the alterations.
On a less delightful note, it was time for my annual attempt at purchasing shorts. I always look for a pair of flattering, crisp khaki shorts—you know the kind I mean—and I always end up with oversized denim shorts. And my streak continues unbroken! This year Lane Bryant got my money, thanks to a two-for-one sale, and I went home with a pair of these Patch Pocket Denim Weekend Shorts, which are admittedly quite comfortable even at a size too big. Breaking a tad with my usual pattern I also got this Striped Linen Tie-Front Short. They feel like loungewear which is really all you can ask of a pair of shorts.
But to go back to my 30th birthday, the real emergency was skincare. I’m not sure if it was age or the hormonal atomic bomb that is pregnancy, but suddenly I’ve been desperate for new face solutions. Unfortunately, I’m a cosmetics baby who just wants somebody vastly more knowledgable to hand her a turnkey solution and usher me out of their store. After several disappointing trips to Sephora during which associates directed me to giant variety packs of eyeshadow that I don’t know what the fuck to do with, in April I finally marched into one near the Jezebel office and informed a very patient woman that I wanted something neutral from Bobbi Brown, no more than two colors, and perhaps some blush to match, no bronzer because I’m already dressing on borrowed time.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for skincare, because I’m required to actually know something about my own skin to buy it. My very direct approach—I want something moisturizing but lightweight for summer that won’t make me feel sweaty and is suitable for reactive skin prone to redness and no funny business—got me a lotion for daytime that’s been pretty good so far (belif’s The True Cream Aqua Bomb, for the record). But then I decided balancing my skin out required a heavier night cream. (WHY IS THIS SO MUCH WORK?) Luckily my colleague Kara Brown recommended the website Beautypedia and I spent ages pouring over it in order to decide that I needed CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM. Plus I learned to my horror that they disapproved of my current face wash, which was almost empty anyway, and so also purchased some Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser.
Lastly, I ordered a giant variety pack of Tonymoly sheet masks on Amazon—10 plus a pore nose pack for $19—that has since disappeared from the site, because I was going on vacation and felt at least some of my time off should be spent reading romance novels while treating myself to an at-home beauty treatment. Even if they’re total duds from a efficacy standpoint I feel from a treat-yourself standpoint this was my single best purchase of the month, including the lemon dress.
This has been “Shit I Bought,” comprised of shit we actually bought. No company compelled us to write about it for any reason. We bought it all, for better and often for worse, with our own money and of our own free will.