Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's butter face.

You guys really got to the heart of my New Year's post a few weeks ago: proper moisturization (taint or otherwise). My face has been struggling this year and it probably has something to do with getting older or that I'm mutating X-Men style into a new race of desert people.

If you're anything like me (an unnaturally dry Eve of mutant peoples?) then maybe you could use some help this winter too.  Below is everything I've been using and recently recommended to me and please throw in you favorite moisturizers in the comments so we can be moist and dewy together.

Currently I'm using Extract Face Cream from Good Fortune Soap (a Chattanooga company).  Not greasy, has hyaluronic acid (super moisturizing and you can buy it in pill form surprisingly), gets the job done, excellent base.

I layer that with Goldenseal Moisturizing Cream from Sleepy Hollow Herb Farm (another local company).  I LOVE the Goldenseal moisturizer and recommend it to everyone, local or not.  They grow their own Goldenseal which is some kind of magic herb and it's great for all kinds of skin issues - eczema to bug bites.  It's really calming and soothing to my angry face.

I bought Shikai Borage Dry Skin Therapy on a whim a few years ago when I was having MAJOR skin problems and it was amazing.  Angry face became incredibly happy face.  Apparently borage oil is the shit but now I can only find this stuff online.  I expect it to be discontinued soon.

At night I usually follow all that with some tamanu oil which I know I've talked about before and still use and love.  I usually layer multiple moisturizers even in the summer so the fact that I do this shouldn't reflect on the quality of these products.  I have not-great skin that requires a lot of attention - more than I'm willing to give, honestly - so I'm not a one-product gal.  

But even this layers-of-flavor-strategic-moisturizing didn't work this year. At the end of the day it looks like I have a mild sunburn the way my face is flaking off.  I had to take matters into my own hands and go to the ModSauce Ranch Laboratories.  Shea butter is heaven on my body so why not my face, right?!  So I melted a couple of ounces of raw shea butter with an ounce of a mixture of Josie Maran Argan Oil and tamanu oil then whipped all that into a cream.  Everybody just has that stuff laying around in their medicine cabinet, right?  

Well I was bragging about my luxurious new face cream when my Twitter friend and beauty guru Genie of @EBArchDesign yelled at me about putting shea butter on my face because it can cause breakouts.  Well, double damn!  I thought I had solved the world's problems!

Don't tell her but I still use it sometimes and haven't had any breakouts.  But I did promise to graduate to more "adult" products.  Use shea butter at your own risk, apparently.

Fortunately I DID find some Clinique Moisture Surge, $39, in the back of my bathroom closet and have been loving it the past week or so.  Past me was very smart to buy it then I guess I got dumb in the summer and forgot about it.  Goes on like a gel so if you need moisture but hate the greasy, sticky feel then this is your jam.
Genie did recommend some things to me including Hydraluron, $20, which is the purest form of hyaluronic acid so there's that.  I've been looking for a serum to wear under my moisturizer so this will probably be my next purchase.  

She also recommended Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate ($46), Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair ($92 and I think a cult favorite) as well as this La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Accelerator Pro Recovery ($18).  She said it was developed for burn victims so I'm guessing it should be good enough for my chapped face.

A Ms. Anonymouse commented on that post about her love of Josie Maran's Argan Infinity Cream Oil, $28, which sounds heavenly.  The creamy oil part intrigues me.  What kind of magic science is that?  

Jamie, another sweet commenter suggested a moisturizer with urea in it like Udderly Smooth, $15.  Urea is like the store brand name of urine but don't freak out.  I KNOW I remember supermodels back in the 90's - probably on Oprah - talking about how the get up in the morning, pee on a wash cloth and then press it to their faces for their beautiful complexions.  If Linda Evangelista can have a pee face then gawddammit we can too!  

I think Udderly Smooth is made for the body but they say it can go on your face fine.  Don't get snooty, pee face.  I kinda like the idea of having ONE jar of something and being able to use it from head to toe.  

I use a mixture of stuff on my body depending on what smell I want but it usually involves a butter.  I make my own mix of shea butter and available oils (do you sense a trend?) based on this basic ratio.  I recently came across this recipe using coconut oil and coconut butter and it also sounds divine.  

I love the way coconut oil smells/feels but don't like its moisturizing qualities alone.  I actually use it to remove my makeup and it feels so luxurious.  But mixed with cocoa butter?  I needed to research.  So I bought some good, old-fashioned Palmer's Cocoa Butter, $7, because I don't think I've ever used cocoa butter before...

Honestly, I'm rather enjoying it.  It does have mineral oil in it which I heard is bad for skin but cocoa butter smells incredible so I don't care.  I used a small tub in two weeks.  

I'm not exactly sure the difference between shea butter and cocoa butter - the internet says shea is more healing for cuts, bites, infections, etc. but cocoa butter just smells sadamn good...  Your call.

If your body skin can't find relief with shea butter, cocoa butter and/or urea then you might want to consult a professional.  I have yet to find a body moisturizer that works as good as these that is non-greasy and absorbs immediately so you are warned.  Do not try to put leggings on in a hurry after an application.  For a more light weight moisture I sometimes use Kiehl's Creme de Corps body lotion in the summer that has an SPF but I get lazy.

Don't forget the best, non-greasy salt scrub I make too since we're all DIYing all the skin things!

I don't really use a specific hand cream because I only remember to use some right before I'm going to do a very important, highly precise task like playing Operation or trying to open a bunch of tight jar lids and my greasy hands might as well be stumps for how useful they are.  However, the other day my fingernail snagged on something and when I went to undo it I realized it wasn't my nail but THE SKIN NEXT TO MY NAIL AAAAHHHHHH.  I'm like a farm animal.  BUT NO MORE!
This tiny tin of Burt's Bees Hand Salve, $6, fixed my hooves in about three days so I won't be Madame Scissorhands anymore.

I think I left of foot creams but I just put socks on and call it a day. But the Udderly Smooth is supposed to be great for feetsies.

I think that's all of the moisturization tips from myself and my helpful team of beauty gurus - thank you, ladies!  My goal is to have some part of me be slightly greasy from December through March.  Except my face but we're working on that.  *greasy fingers crossed*

I have a feeling that it might be necessary for turning this mutant desert face into a dewy, sticky visage with the help of BB creams and better liquid foundation but I can only do one thing at a time.

Leave your faves in the comments!  Happy greasing!

Update!  The loverly @AndreaWolper recommended REN's Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturizing Cream and Josie Maran's Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47.  Thanks and noted!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

This makes me exceedingly happy.

There is a slim - we're talkin' Spanx on Spanx on Spanx slim - chance I'm going to get to redo my office at work.  I'm trying not to get too excited about forces beyond my control.  If I can't get my day space redone then maybe it's time to get my home office looking legit.  Not that I really use it but I'll FEEL more productive and that's all that really matters.  

Either way, there will be some useless paperclips put into a stylish home sometime soon, gawddammit.  I must corral the office supplies.  Sweet, sweet, useless office supplies...

While looking around for fun office ideas I stumbled across this little desk/nook/bill-paying station and think it's pretty much perfection.  Like Wes Anderson's accountant works here.  The lighting, the reclaimed wood that's not from a pallet, the mix of art and materials, the industrial tape dispenser, the faux (?) marble top...  it's all perfect. Right down to the trash can.  

Funnily enough I HAVE a trash can very similar!  The can itself is brass but maybe it needs some spray paint...?  I dunno, 'live and let live' has always been my philosophy regarding trash receptacles.  

I also have a trophy... because I'm a winner!  (It was an ironic trophy but I'm still a winner because it has my name on it.)  

I'm pretty sure my final space wherever it is won't look anywhere near as cool as this but it's okay.  I have that ironic trophy and that's all that really matters.  

This space is home of owners of Schoolhouse Electric in Portland.  The whole house is great but don't mind me, I'll just be right here making sculptures out of useless paperclips and industrial tape.

Because I'm a winner.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Peacock Pavilions: Looking Fine and Doing Good In Marrakesh.

If you're feeling extra sweet this week - gave away the last piece of pizza, made awkward small talk with a nice stranger - it's because of the stars.  Today the moon moves into Aquarius for the next two months and this is supposed to be a time for humanitarian acts, so says New Age people.  The cosmos WANTS you to put a few extra bucks into the Starbucks tip jar.  Even when they aren't looking, George Costanza.

In conjunction (astrology humor!) with this cosmological occurrence, this seems like a good time to introduce you to the story of the most stylish humanitarian on this side of the galaxy: Peacock Pavilions and its owner/designer/mom Maryam Montague. 

You've probably put your eyeballs on said pavilion many a time and didn't even know it.  You've probably pinned it - I did - I didn't even know it.  Well, I'm about to learn you real good.

Maryam, caftan enthusiast/nice person/blog friend, and her architect husband, Chris Redecke, decided to settle their family on an olive grove in Marrakesh and build an eco-conscious boutique hotel and resort.  As you do.  

So together they designed and decorated Peacock Pavilions, a box waiting to be checked on every design blogger's bucket list for obvious reasons.

This is her office where she overlooks the olive grove.

My office has a drawer full of nothing but hand lotion and Claritin...

This place could give us lessons in curtains.

But it ain't all Elle Decor spreads and Lonny covers, Maryam travels Africa and the world fighting for human rights and democracy.  She has a standing date with Amal Clooney to talk about running nations and fashion.  I made up the last sentence but I bet it's true.

I let a jerk merge in front of me in traffic the other day so I GET what it's like to devote your life to helping the less fortunate.  I live my life with compassion.

I think I need to live my life in Morocco too.

And in case you were distracted by all the good deeds, don't forget the staircase:

But since I'm a one trick pony with exceptional taste, I can't help but be drawn to her bedroom which is full of winter whites (do they have winter in Morocco?).  I guess if you aren't feeling the bleak midwintery vibe of the last post here's something in warmer weather for you.

It also has some custom wall stencils which might be the only wall stencils I didn't know I even wanted until I saw it.  

I custom made a headboard recently out of a Goodwill reject, scrap fabric and staples so I too like to surround myself with luxury.

I think this proves the point that if you're gonna go monochromatic you have to have a lot of texture.  Preferably if it's a pillow with a mohawk but you do you.

Sequins are approved, as well.

A window seat also helps.  Pretty sure you can only drink creamy drinks in here: lattes, Frappuccinos, White Russians.  If you drank a red Gatorade (or the Moroccan equivalent) in here it would probably give you heartbearn. [MS sidebar: I misspelled heartburn and couldn't figure out why it was wrong for about three minutes but like it better this way so we all have to switch.]

I'm loving this grouping of lanterns.  I have one "Moroccan" lantern in this delightful egg (?) shape but now it just feels lonely.  I think I need a baker's dozen.  I'll have to get rid of my dining table but I think eating while laying on the floor is very 2015.  

If you want to bring a bit of real Morocco to your house and not have it look like the culturally-appropriated tchotchke hurricane as you might see on tv, check out her shop for all the best in properly-sourced goodies.

If you're going to gift yourself a Moroccan wedding blanket, a handira, this is the place to go.  Pillows and poufs galore too.  

Love the little bits of pattern with the pillows.  (This is similar to my pillow!).  I think what I like about this whole space so much is the mix of clean neutrals as a backdrop for lots of bright pattern.  You get the best of both worlds.

However, I'm rather obsessed with the BLACK wedding blankets lately:

I think (?) Maryam is the inventor of the black wedding blanket and if that was the only thing she did in life that would be enough.  But also human rights 'n stuff.

Mr. Beni Ourain is still solid in my book despite the controversy lately over its apparent trendiness.  I don't think you can really call something trendy that has existed centuries before we were even born, can you?

Of course next week I'll be like "Ugh BOOKS. I'm so over this Gutenberg press hipster bullshit."

I'd never seen one that with this color of gold before - such a nice variation.  Could work in bleak midwinter or if you're feeling more jazzy.

So much jazz.

The shop also features tons of cute wall hooks designed by Maryam herself.

It's like a cross between a hamsa and a peacock!  Because PEACOCK!  You're too much, M.  I'm not being an ass, I'm just excited because I didn't see the peacock until about one minute before writing this and I love a secret pun in silver.

Maryam, bored with her life doing nothing, has also founded Project Soar - an organization for underprivileged girls and women near Peacock Pavilions.  A portion of all proceeds from the shop benefit the program so buy as many protective peacock hands as you want (+1 for me).  

Fun fact: if you stay at the pavilion you get to ride on a peacock in a great race throughout the vast olive grove.  Just kidding, if you stay you can volunteer for Project Soar which is pretty cool.  I'm on board for dedicating my 2015 and beyond to women, yes?

My grandmother has a stray peacock that has started coming to her door to visit everyday this winter.  She lives in Texas if that helps explain it...?  Regardless, she named him Fred so if I want to race a peacock I'll try the family bird.

Familial bird-racing aside, I'm writing this overt love letter to the PP and MM because I truly believe we're seeing the real thing.  In the often shady world of internet life it's really refreshing and inspirational to find a person and cause that is not just talking the talk but walking the walk and doing it with boss style.

Make sure to check out Maryam's blog, My Marrakesh, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.  Or you can do more than read this here blog post and buy her book, Marrakesh by Design, or even donate directly to Project Soar.

If nothing else I recommend you follow her on Instagram for lots of pictures of the party life at Peacock Pavilions but mostly for this:

And this:

And this:

All photos are from Elle Decor, Lonny or Maryam's site/Instagram/book
More like Kitteh Pavilions, amirite?

How do cats meow in Arabic?  Like, they 'meow' in good old American, 'miao' in Italian, 'mrow' in comics...  These are things I think about when I travel.

I have yet to see a picture of a peacock AT Peacock Pavilons but maybe they have to keep them separate from the cats... Probably smart.  I don't think Fred and Charlemagne would be friends.

I received no compensation for this post but I'd take a Moroccan cat if they were handing them out...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bleak is beautiful

Despite the fact that people think this blog is snarky (Is it?  I was going for delightful self-loathing.), I generally try to find the good in all things.  I'm a regular Lil Miss Sunshine Butt.  I burned the rice?  Mmmhh smokey grains!  Lost my keys?  A good reminder to slow down.  Hangnail so ornery it goes to my elbow?  The blood lets me know I'm alive!

And although I've been blessed with an abundant posterior, even this Sunshine Butt isn't big enough for this month.  I'm kicking ass with my "New Year's Resolutions" but I think we can all agree that this month is cold, wet, dark and generally fucking miserable.

January is an asshole.

Paris, Quentin de Briey pin
There ain't a damn holiday within sight and every time I see a piece of glitter leftover from Christmas I clutch it to my chest and remember the good times.  

I eat a lot of plain Irish oatmeal.

I forgot what the sun looks like.  You'd think my big Sunshine Butt would hold large reserves of Vitamin D but you'd be wrong.  I'm so listless I just perambulate around like a drunk slug.  Do slugs perambulate around?  I think they do in January.

Sigh... It's bleak out there y'all.  But I'm trying to see that bleak is beautiful.  

San Bernadino Ossuary, Milan by Adam Silver
Yes, those are skulls.

So I've collected all of the greyest, coldest, harshest things that have been elevated to beautiful so we can get through this month of misery.  We'll make dirty snow an art form, yet.

Rachel Dein
Then we can all say we're miserable for the sake of art.  

Or the sake of an online mood board.  

I feel even bleaker now.

Stromkajen Ferry Terminals in Stockholm via Dwell
I am OBSESSED with this space and picture.  It's bleakness gives me strength.

Andy Torres here
I can do all things through bleak who strengthens me.  That and full skirts.

I'm finding myself celebrating the bleakitude of some fine traditional details and architecture this month.

La Coulee Verte, Paris here
The few times I've been fortunate enough to go to Europe has been in January which is the worst month to go anywhere other than the Equator.  But I'm IN EUROPE which was pretty fucking amazing for a hillbilly.  So I think now I associate January with frigid self-guided architectural walking tours where I don't speak the language and get lost a lot but have wonderful experiences anyway.

Remember last year I went to Germany and it was bleak and frigid and I still did amazing things there, right?!

From my trip last year. I think this is an art museum. I didn't actually reread my post...
See, it ain't all bad!  Just pretend you're in Europe and not instead building up the courage to get outside and start your car in the mornings.

It's best to blend in to your surroundings.  European camouflage.  I'm pretty sure I practically scream "HI I'M AMERICAN AND LIKE PIZZA ROLLS" wherever I go because I'm the whitiest, roundiest and blondiest Applebee's-looking waitress that continent has ever seen.

I mean, I try to wear cool sneakers but I think it's just in my pheromones.  I smell like cheap gas and a glaring lack culture.

La Chateau de La Celle via Art of the Room
Maybe if I TRY to be more bleak I'll blend in better. 

I'll aim for sad Applebee's waitress next time I travel.  Aren't they all?

My apologies, that was a cheap shot at hard-working people in the food service industry and I haven't been to an Applebee's in many years.  

But I've been to more Applebee's restaurants than castles so...
Eltz Castle in Germany here
A bleak castle could DEFINITELY make my January better.  Next year?

I love this litttle shadowbox (?) so much I can't see straight.

Honestly, this goth castle is probably good in July too.  It's my personal princess castle.


Cologne Cathedral in Germany by Guy Sargent here

Ok frankly all of these places I'd like to winter, spring, summer and fall in.

It's vaguely bleak but also friendly.  I'm feeling better about January already!

Welp, this place is going on my winter bucket list.  So carving.  Much fairytale.



The Louvre here

Now that I'm looking at all these pictures I think it's just the same Instagram filter...  I bet these things were from someone's iPhone in AUGUST.  I feel betrayed.

Betrayed and bleak again.

I'll add forlorn into the mix to round out the assortment.

Stay beautifully bleak, my friends.  Maybe visit an Applebee's and tip well.