Putting the gratitude in my attitude (a makeup post)

I started this thing with my friend where we text each other gratitude lists each night, to both help right my viciously negative attitude about life and humans (mostly humans) and so I can dutifully follow along with all lifehack blogs' conventional wisdom about happiness. Far be it from me to leave some self-improvement method left untried. 

As I kept texting my lists, I realized how much of it was just the little things. Little stupid perks. There's the regular things like my cats, my partner, my job - the bigger things. But the less rote ones are all things like food, makeup or uh, toys. Then, Lifehacker threw me for a loop and noted you get more out of a gratitude list if you note why you're grateful for something. (And I believe 75% of what I read on lifehack websites, so...) Some of it is obvious: food is delicious and possibly nourishing! Coffee is great - delicious and caffeinated! Being healthy is great, especially when you've just gotten over a cold - extra grats! But when I got to some of the more consumer-ish stuff, it was harder to pin down an actual why

Here is an example. I am grateful for this e.l.f. lip color. It's a slightly pumped up neutral that is easy to wear and makes me look more put together than clear lip balm. And then it veers into...so I can look a certain way? But I have to admit it's the truth. I honestly enjoy this measly tube of lip stuff because it's a flattering neutral and I care about my appearance enough to be grateful for it.

But that was not a natural why to come to. Why?

Same with this Wet n Wild megalength mascara. It was one of my "I survived another week of crappy shoulder appointments" rewards. If we're IG friends, you've seen this already. I was grateful for it because it's vegan, not tested on animals and works well. I replaced my $20+ Lily Lolo mascara with this. I'm grateful because it helps me look like I have pronounced eyelashes and is at least vegan and cruelty-free. I'm grateful for something that enhances my appearance and is fun to use, is cheap and is at least slightly in alignment with my animal welfare values. 

It's interesting to see this theme pop up within the dozens of items I list every week. Obviously most of the anchors on my gratitude list are more weighty than the above examples and their presence in my life is very important, but I think adding the why to some of the "lighter" items gives me some insight as to how often I am pleased by something that I think improves my appearance and also is something else (vegan, not tested on animals, not expensive, made with good labor standards, comfortable). 

I think everyone thinks about their appearance and wants to look a certain way (whatever their preference is) so I have no shame about that. And I am also fine with wearing makeup despite it being a form of "choice feminism" and understanding that it, and every single thing I do is framed in a patriarchal system. But for some reason the why for these items is harder to spell out than the others. 

Is it because we're not used to copping to caring what we look like? In this world? That seems strange. 

Is it the opposite of overconfidence? I don't want to admit that I think I look good? That seems strange too. I've never felt unattractive (thusly I've always felt attractive, generally). 

Is it because I dislike my habits of buying stuff? While I can cop to over-buying when it comes to makeup (#progressnotperfection #hopefullysomeprogresstho), I don't think that would get in the way of why I appreciate a certain item. I don't begrudge myself buying makeup in general. 

I'm not really sure what it is that makes the why I'm grateful for this stuff such a challenge, but it's there. 


Drowning in chia seeds? Fruit chia seed pudding!

I don't usually do food posts because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but recently I decided I wanted to get really into making chia seed pudding to wean myself off the expensive (and plastic-encapsulated) Fresh & Co versions I had become accustomed to buying as part of my lunch in midtown Manhattan. Turns out, I hated all the versions I tried to make and was left with a giant jar of chia seeds. Thumbs down, man. 

Not wanting them to go to waste, I crowd-sourced some ideas on Instagram but before I got a chance to try any of those, I came across this recipe in a VegNews email newsletter - Raspberry Vanilla Chia Jam. A misnomer - it's really just a fruit chia seed pudding. This is not like jam you'd use on bread. But it's pretty decent and so simple to make. So simple even I am willing to make it, which is really saying something because I lack the inspiration to boil water most days. (Instantpot for life!)

I've made it using frozen mixed berries, frozen mango and frozen strawberries already and all are decent options. Here is the mango chia seed pudding with some fruit and sliced almonds (and I think there's some homemade soy yogurt under there, hiding).

Fruit! Pretty cool, huh? But don't take my word for it - ask Dr. Steve Brule, your green grocer. (For your health!)



Sometimes you do things even when you know it's not the best decision. Most of the stuff in this picture comes with no ethical labor standards or eco brags attached to it. (Aside from being animal-free. Which, granted, is my #1 requirement, but still.) I did get the navy anchor scarf secondhand in Vancouver but that's about it.

The coat? An acrylic sweatshop car coat I bought on my way between appointments one cold, blustery, under-dressed day, even after I'd read about plastic fibers in our waterways due to washing. It ticked all the boxes of what I wanted and had been looking for and I was freezing that day. I wear it a lot.

And my ubiquitous black jeans are BDG - previous versions I had were made in the USA but then they switched manufacturing. However, I knew they worked for me and I wear them so frequently that I just kept replacing them with the same exact brand and the same exact cut.

Sauconys? Helpful when I was in treatment for PF and have a lot of vegan options. I know they work and I don't need to worry about breaking them in or whether they work for my feet. I know they will work. I've been wearing this brand for about 20 years now.

Polarized Polaroid sunglasses? Impulse buy at the eye doctor. Previously a pair of found polarized Ray-Bans impressed me enough with their polarization but the giant scratch in them tested both my patience and eyesight so I stopped wearing them. When I saw these, I picked them up and we've been together ever since. (I also have some promo sunglasses that I wear from time to time as well.) 

These are the kind of buys I'm more at peace with these days, though they make me feel a little defeated and embarrassed given that I have the means to try better. I will work on finding replacements for the jeans and the sneakers at some point (I've been through a bunch of jeans and sneakers already to no avail). But I also hope that I'll wear these all to death and hopefully that will be years from now. 


Where to buy leggings now that American Apparel is sunk

I know American Apparel had a lot of issues but I did still use them for some basics (explained here back in 2011).  It took them 6 years to officially sink. And now I find myself down to just one option for leggings (and bike shorts, to wear to my acupuncture and chiro appointments) so I'm sharing it with you guys since a lot of us are probably in the same boat, though you guys probably wear bike shorts for less geriatric reasons. 

I don't need to replace bike shorts or leggings that often, but when I do, I use Maggie's Organics. I find most of their apparel not something I'd wear. Too many ruched things and skirted leggings for me. But! Their basic ankle-length leggings and bike shorts are good. (You guys are on your own with the printed leggings and calf-length leggings, though.) Also their cotton socks are great. 

I have all the reasons I'm happy to shop at Maggie's Organics on my "Where I Buy" page here.

If you shopped at American Apparel for your basics (or non-basics), what did you guys buy there and where are you planning on getting those things instead?


Nowadays: Matt & Nat, Petit Vour lipstick samples, '90s music

For some reason (definitely wanting to crawl back in time), I've been into listening to a lot of 1991-1997 music. The same music I listened to between the very first Lollapalooza and 5 years after that. Recently I've had Longtime by EMF stuck in my head. It starts with a sample of a guy talking who says, "This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not with a band." Apropos. Now, excuse me while I regress a few decades. 

It's still winter here (obviously) and I'm trying to make sure I wear some of the stuff I normally pass over in my closet. This past week it was these Matt & Nat shoes that slip off my heel and make me feel like I'm wearing slides. They're real shoes - they just don't fit like real shoes so I had to put those little heel bumpers in. It's fine but I get a little dramatic about having to purchase shoe aides from the drugstore. There's something really...human about it? 

Last week I was back to wearing my Vaute Couture Emily coat and my daily Matt & Nat cross-body bag. Adding the Matt & Nat shoes in made it a little matchy-matchy, brand-wise. And thankfully my shoulder is still messed up so I could selfie in my chiropractor's full length bathroom mirror. *insert praying hands emoji* also #oldpeople.

The bag is my go-to and I use it daily but it is PVC (albeit with a recycled plastic bottle liner). M&N's site says they use both PVC and PU but that PU is "definitely preferred" but then they don't label which bags are PVC. They only seems to label the bags that are PU. (Or they don't label either at all. I can't tell.) As you might imagine this grinds my gears and led to a purchase I probably would have skipped. But I bought it, it's here and I'll use it. 

I'll try to wear these suckers more often and if I can't, it probably means they don't belong with me. Unfortunately Oona got her claws on them, literally so I'm sure anyone else who might want them would consider this a significant deterrent if I need to rehome them. 

I mean, this is how much she loves shoes so I can't be all angry at her:

In other news, did you guys know you can order lipstick samples from Petit Vour? It's a little extra plastic but I find it helpful in knowing what colors I might actually use. And less packaging than if I'd purchased a whole tube I won't use. I struck out on both the reds here, but I don't mind the purple layered over a base pink. (I tend to layer Lush's Santa Baby under everything because it's got sick staying power, though it's too bright and pink for me on it's own. You're welcome for knowing that level of detail about my lipstick regimen.) Yeah, I know I swore off buying new lip stuff until I used what I had but...there we are.


Mostly Trash.

Okay, as a distraction for the frightening consolidation of power happening in American politics, as well as the shock-and-awe strategy that #45 has barfed out the first few weeks in office, I'm going to start blogging about what I used to blog about. Clothes - which now seem to be incredibly surface and unimportant though, ironically, there is so much lip service in #45's administration to bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. It feels weird to me, as someone who has tried support USA-made stuff for years now, knowing that #45's businesses outsourced their own stuff with no mention of labor standards and yet this was a successful campaign platform. Sadly, US manufacturing is the least of our worries at this point, though, now that basic civil liberties are on the line again along with undermining honest media.

Facebook recently gave me a "friend anniversary" reminder for someone I've known longer than I've been on Facebook and when I did the math I realized that I've been friends with him for over 20 years. Where did we meet?  A pro-choice protest in DC where Fugazi and Bikini Kill were playing. I've literally been showing up for demonstrations for women's right to choose for over two decades. Looking forward to the next two decades of fighting back, I guess. Hope to see you out there. (Speaking of -- thanks other countries! I think this is the first time a president of ours has literally been protested publicly by multiple other countries!)

Anyway -- clothes, makeup, cats.

For a while now, I had soured on scouring thrift stores for stuff. I think everyone's noticed that most of what can be found is fast fashion with a bad fit, made of bad fabric or is just poorly constructed. Longevity of a q-tip, but still $15. (I know it retailed for the same price, thrift store!) But I do still believe that reusing what's here is best ethically (though I limit my finds to vegan ones) and I finally jumped back in at a local Goodwill.

I found 3 tops -- one of which didn't work out and is getting donated, this cotton Madewell sweater and another black/gray geometric (and synthetic) sweater. And a small yellow Pyrex dish for $.99!

So I guess not every single thing is literally trash these days. Just most of it.


Keeping Warm - Vegan Winter Wear

I'm back. Yes, the world of American political governance is a nightmare and I think I've called my House representatives more times recently than I had collectively in my whole life prior to this election year, yet, here we still are. For now, anyway. The pit of fire in my stomach that was stoked by what felt like my family's betrayal in the form of their presidential vote has calmed some -- but it's still rough. I didn't flounce (mostly I didn't) but I didn't spend time with overtly That Guy-supporting family members either. I also still believe that people are good for the most part. When I try not to think about it too much. ANYWAY, IT SNOWED.

I recently impulse-purchased a $400+ Hemp Hoodlamb coat because, you know. Why not? Historically, the more pissed off and resentful I am, the bigger the impulse purchase. (Self-punitive control issues, I guess.) I'd had a Hemp Hoodlamb years ago that eventually wore out and I remembered it being super warm. Did I need a new coat? Yes and no. I wear my Vaute Couture Emily coat all the time but it's cinched at the waist so I can't layer giant sweaters under it as much as I wish I could -- and I happened to be in Mooshoes NYC one cold and under-dressed day and saw the Hemp Hoodlamb Nordic Parka and wore it out of the store. (That's the very best spiteful way to impulse shop because then you know you're really really committing to the purchase because you can't return it! See also: ripping off all the tags as soon as you get your bags home.) [Hemp Hoodlamb's labor standard information is here.] It all worked out though. I'm happy to have a super heavy coat to put in rotation alongside my Vaute Couture Emily coat. [Vaute Couture's labor standard info is here.]

Here I am during our first major snow! We went to the greenmarket that day to drop off my textile recycling and our compost and to buy some bread and vegetables. (Yes GrowNYC is that hardcore.) Unfortunately due to getting an urgent call mid-shopping, I accidentally walked away with a bunch of collards I didn't pay for. Yes, I stole from the farmers who came out in the goddamn snow to sell their hard-won produce. (I will be paying them back this Saturday.)

this hood has a removable faux fur trim
I removed it because I think it's grosssssssss-looking

Last year I realized my rubber ankle boots weren't going to cut it for cold winter wear, no matter how many pairs of animal-free REI socks I put on so this year I got some Sorels. [Sorel's labor standards are here. Many of their options are not vegan, but these dudes are.] They are lightweight and comfortable, a combination of a boot and sneaker sole and footbed (I'm old!) and while they're not super high, they're high enough to deal with a good whallop of snow. 

A peek at what the greenmarket looked like. 
If you're my IG pal, you probably saw this already. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯