I am frequently mistaken for a teenager.
At times, this is amusing. I can’t help but crack a smile while I’m carded to see “The Bling Ring” or asked out by a high school senior at the gym. (No, kid, I don’t want to watch your wrestling match because A) I’m pretty sure my attendance would be frowned upon by your parents, and B) I wouldn’t want to do that, even if I was 17.) At other times, my youthful look can be mortifying: I was recently told by a stranger at the Chanel counter in Bloomingdale’s that my problematic skin won’t be an issue once I graduate high school. I’m 25 and guess what? My skin is still a problem, even if I’m not prom-bound in a couple months. Thanks, kind stranger!
The common denominator seems to be that when I’m make-up free or somewhat lax in my skincare routine, the joke’s on me.
For ten years now I have been shelling out for make-up, skin salves, and salicylic acid based products trying to achieve a perfect, poreless complexion. While I’m not sure I would ace an acne-masking final, I have found some holy-grail products that are certainly worth extra credit.
Philosophy Purity Simple One-Step-Cleanser, $33 for 16 oz.
This is my go-to cleanser. It smells great, does not dry out my skin, and does an excellent job of removing all of my make-up at the end of a long day.
Clarisonic: Mia 2, $150
I resisted the Clarisonic craze for a while, but I do think this is a worthy addition to my array of beauty gadgets. I saved some gift card money to buy the Clarisonic and would recommend doing the same, since it is quite a splurge! I only use this two times a week, but afterwards my skin feels silky smooth and hydrated. If you have sensitive skin like mine, be sure to use the gentler speed setting.
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes, $6.99 for 20 towelettes
My mom has used this product as an astringent for years and I swear it has magical powers. It dries out any active blemishes without drying out the rest of my face. Yes, witch hazel smells kind of weird, but it stops breakouts from becoming legitimate reasons to stay home.
This primer is cheap, non-greasy and keeps my miracle foundation on all-day.
This product is super pigmented and a little goes a long way. (This somewhat justifies the higher price tag). The coverage from this foundation is amazing and I find I don’t even have to wear concealer when I’m done applying this.
There you have it: a post that is both my humble foray into beauty blogging and another mortifying over-share by yours truly.
I’m baaaaaaaaaack. Did you miss me? When I’m under a lot of stress, I have a nasty habit of falling out of touch. I’ll absentmindedly leave my phone in the pocket of my faux fur vest for a week or forget the password to my Twitter account. Then halfway through watching the sixth consecutive episode of “Scandal,” after a SoulCycle double, I‘ll remember that there is in fact life outside of soapy nighttime drama and overpriced spin classes. When I finally locate my iPhone, I recoil in horror at all my missed calls, texts, and smoke signals. I should hire Olivia Pope to rehab my image.
At first, my distance is met with slight annoyance: “Oh, Emma. You’re not wedded to your iPhone. How refreshing. Call me when you have a chance.”
Then, annoyance yields to frustration: “Emma! Answer your damn phone! I miss your witticisms and impeccable fashion advice.” (Okay, no one says that last part, but it’s implied, right?)
And eventually, when phone calls, texts, Tweets go unanswered for a while, my friends follow my lead: they stop calling, texting, and Tweeting.
As I do not want to end up friendless or worse, featured on “My Strange Addiction” (can one be unhealthily obsessed with Youtube make-up tutorials? I think so.), I’m making a conscious effort to resist my impulse to retreat inwards when confronted with stress. I love you dear friends (presumably the only people that read this blog anyways) and I’m sorry to have been so MIA!
Consider this blog post as you would a mass text message with 1,000 shame-faced emojis and hold me accountable to the following 2014 resolution: I’ll be writing and calling more and flaking less.
Splicelit is awesome, you should read it!
My pal Rachel Howard just launched a new online lit journal called Splicelit. It’s far too cool for me to even begin to explain what it is, so I encourage you to check it out for yourself: http://www.splicelit.com/. That girl is destined for great things and I’m lucky to know her.
Also, shameless plug, I wrote a blog post for Splicelit and (no surprise here) it’s kind of heavy. Here’s the link to my post: http://www.splicelit.com/reflecting-on-the-important-images-of-our-time/
* I wanted to share this post I wrote shortly after I lost my dear friend Liz four years ago. Feel free to share your memories of Liz in the comments. XO Emma
I was watching aliens save children from the apocalypse when I realized just how much I miss Liz. A maudlin scene involving extraterrestrial empathy was just the kind of thing that would have sent the two of us into hysterics - and gotten us kicked out of our favorite movie theater. Early in our friendship, Liz and I realized that we harbored the same shameful taste in movies and love of the absurd. Regardless of target demographic (who knew you had to be under thirteen to appreciate Twilight?) we would be there, providing each other with the running commentary that could make any movie a memorable experience.
Of course there was more to our friendship than subpar movies and shared tubs of popcorn. Whether I needed an unbiased opinion about a personal problem or a guide to the opening notes of my favorite John Mayer song, Liz was there for me, helping decisions get made, working chord progressions out before my eyes. Liz didn’t simply tolerate your idiosyncrasies - she reveled in them, and that goes a long way in explaining why her counsel had such great value. Her altruistic nature played the same role in friendships that it did in her service work, which astonished and inspired me. When Liz returned from her first trip to Africa, she described the charisma and courage of the people she met as well as the painful inequality she witnessed. Smart and intuitive, wise far beyond her years, constantly working and learning. At first, it amazed me, but in a very short time it was taken for granted. When Liz meditated on her second trip, her plans for a third, or told stories about the EMT work she accomplished in between, the unbelievability of it all waned, thanks to Liz’s matter-of-fact delivery.
Perhaps what I loved most about Liz was that she didn’t take herself or anyone else too seriously. I wasn’t any less of a person because my knowledge of Uganda stemmed from watching The Last King of Scotland. If anyone could have claimed the moral high ground, it would have been Liz, but she never did. She saw her service work as valuable and not optional, but she also cared deeply about the passions and goals of everyone else. Our conversations were never one-sided, and even though I never considered my own life particularly interesting or meaningful, it was clear that Liz disagreed.
Thinking about life without my dear friend makes me want to retreat from the world, and for a couple of days I did just that. However, I’ve come to realize that grief-derived inaction, appealing as it may be, is no way to honor Liz’s legacy. Liz was an original; she left an indelible mark on those who knew her. She also left us her core belief, as she expressed it in an article about her first trip to Uganda: “Somewhere, in the face of all of this chaos, despite all of this human suffering, we manage to find Hope, and Light, and Love.”