Some Like it Hot is the ideal movie for a Valentine’s Day viewing. Romantic but more hilarious than sappy, the film features Marilyn Monroe at her comedic best and includes one of her most famous musical moments on screen singing “I Wanna Be Loved By You”. I love that Some Like it Hot was shot in black and white despite the preference for blindingly bright Technicolor in the 1950s. Monroe’s contract required all films in which she appeared to be shot in color but apparently Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis were so incredibly hideous in drag makeup in the early color tests that they relented. So black and white was basically the Facetune of 1959.
Speaking of liking it hot, you can level up your hot sauce game with Truff Hot Sauce: a balanced blend of agave, red chili pepper, and black truffle. Oprah is apparently a big fan.
Rose is a difficult scent to do right. Too flowery and it smells inauthentic, too musky and it smells like a grandma. Byredo’s Burning Rose candle gets it right. The top notes are floral with rose petals and hints of violet but the leather and birch base gives the scent an earthy quality that is perfectly romantic.
As far as fabric go, cashmere is always a crowd pleaser. This Lisa Perry travel set looks like something a 2019 Holly Golightly might pack in her Loewe Flamenco Knot bag on a non-stop flight to Rio
Dipsea is an audio erotica app geared towards millennial women. Basically, “horny Headspace”. There are simply not enough products geared toward women in the sex industry and I appreciate how the service overtly markets to women without being patronizing.
I was thrilled I got to attend my first Sundance Film Festival this year. I’ve been a film freak since birth and it’s always been a dream trip for me. Before departing, I was nervous that I’d end up schlepping through the sub-arctic conditions of Utah without getting to see any films at all and feel a bit ripped off by the experience. I never thought that I would get to see nearly every film at the top of my bucket list or that I would be so completely charmed by Park City.
films & shorts
Seeing Honey Boy was unforgettable. My boyfriend and I lucked out and got #6 and #7 on an 150 person waitlist for a last minute, intimate screening at the remote Sundance Mountain Resort. It was a 40 minute drive away from civilization and we essentially had to hitchhike our way back to Park City after but the entire experience was well worth it. Indisputably, the power of the film was that it was a (only slightly) fictionalized version of Shia LaBeouf’s own story. Honey Boy centers around the character of Otis, a grown up child actor who winds up in court-ordered rehab. The majority of the story is conveyed in flashbacks to Otis’ youth where we witness the near constant abuse he endured at the hands of his “hired chaperone” father, a former rodeo clown and addict played by Shia himself. The performance is both brilliant and devastating. Shia, FKA Twigs, Byron Bowers (someone to really watch), and the director Alma Har’el actually came to the screening and did a Q&A after. The director shared that Shia had wrote the script and sent it to her in an email while in rehab following his 2017 arrest. I asked Shia if it was healing to watch his story take place on screen like this. To paraphrase his answer, he responded that it was not healing to watch because of “how much of a narcissist he is”. He later amended his answer that acting it out was the aspect that was most healing.
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
The Inventor was one of the more buzzed about documentaries at Sundance. Elizabeth Holmes is a controversial and fascinating figure and I was intrigued to get a fresh perspective on her. I thought the documentary had some significant plot issues, used redundant footage, and ran too long. I also was curious why they chose to leave out some juicer details about Elizabeth Holmes’ life that are all easily accessible online. The documentary gave barely any perspective into her family life or childhood (no mention of the fact that her father was a vice president at Enron?). They also glossed over her romantic history with Ramesh Balwani, whom she met while she was 18 and he was 37 and still married and not in 2009 when he joined Theranos as the documentary implied. I’m not sure if this was intentional so as to not have the film appear to be a biased character assassination or if Holmes’ legal team got to them. Although I found the archival footage of Thomas Edison to be a little much and the whole theme of her as “an inventor” to be inconsistent throughout, one aspect that I did enjoy was the insight into Holmes’ bigger vision. Her theory was that a more efficient blood work process in which people were able to get labs done quickly and with more frequency would eventually mean that this data could all be compiled into a sort of “movie” so that an individual could get a better sense of their own health and predict outcomes more successfully. Pretty revolutionary.
One of the people I went to Sundance with was the cousin of the director of Midnight Family. The documentary details the lives of the Ochoa family who run a private ambulance in Mexico City, where there are only 45 government-run ambulances servicing a city of 9 million people. For a film exposing the brutality of a system in which private ambulances are racing on another to get to gruesome accidents first, I expected to see some stomach-churning scenes. I agree with other critics of the film when they say that the strength of this documentary, along with being beautifully shot, lies in its restraint to not show the gory details. Some of the most horrifying stories take place off screen, through one of the paramedics giving his girlfriend the play-by-play over the phone after work. Even the visuals for the most harrowing moments given on-screen are shown with respect and moderation: the hand of a baby reaching out into the camera’s view and finally hearing him wailing after he is resuscitated following about 15 seconds of bone-chilling silence when the paramedic could not find his heart beat. Not only is this more effective storytelling, it’s more human storytelling. There is an understanding by the filmmaker and those being filmed that they are working alongside the tragedy of real people. There was also the layer of moral complexity added by the fact that the Ochoa family is also impoverished, partially due to the police force requiring them to pay bribes in order to operate and for providing services that many are ultimately unable to pay them for. As an audience member, it is incredibly difficult to watch them attempt to collect payment for a patient who has just died when you have just witnessed the Ochoa’s struggle to feed themselves and sleep all together on the floor of a small apartment. There is no clear villain in this situation except a corrupt and broken system.
The documentary short Fast Horse gave me a snapshot into the bareback horse racing world from the perspective of a Blackfoot horseman. Even coming from a family with a competitive riding background, I had no idea the Indian Relay existed and it was thrilling to see the skill and danger involved. One of the opening moments of the short showed the jockey training by jumping rope in front of a teepee and it was one of the most exquisite shots I saw at Sundance. During the Q&A, the director stressed how importance it was to highlight indigenous people who were heroes within their own community rather than victims of systemic oppression. I think she more than accomplished this in Fast Horse. In just a thirteen minute short, you’re exhilarated by the sport and uplifted by the noble spirit of the horseman she showcases.
desires of the flesh
I was dazzled by Desires of The Flesh, a Brazilian short that explored youth, sexuality, aggression, and Catholicism. Although young women are fetishized in media constantly and there are a multitude of stories detailing a boy’s first erotic experiences, the story of a girl’s sexual coming-of-age is rarely told, especially through the female gaze. The two actresses at the center of the short were unflinchingly raw and natural, had it been filmed with a handheld in bad lighting I could have believed I was watching a documentary about pre-teens in Brazil. But I think the biggest driving force behind the piece was that it was directed by a woman. The excitement, intensity, angst, and occasional horror of a girl discovering her sensuality was so convincingly represented, only a female director could have been behind it.
sometimes, I think about dying
As a therapist, this was one of the most accurate portrayals of depression and suicidality I’ve ever seen on film. Individuals who are suicidal in the cinematic universe are often depicted as hysterical, desperate, or low-functioning. Although people who experience suicidal thoughts can be all those things, the problem with those representations is that they can limit our idea of what a severely depressed person looks like. When our concept of sucidality is reduced to a caricature, it’s easier for people who need help to go undetected. In this short, the main character Fran thinks of dying daily, but she is also funny and able to function. She shows that you can be suicidal and still into the idea of flirting with your coworker, that even people who think about their own death constantly aren’t unidimensional drones. Fran’s story also showed that there wasn’t some “great tragedy” beneath her thoughts of dying like other films generally depict, which dangerously implies that a terrible event has to occur to you in order to feel suicidal. The short showcased those micro-moments of wincing embarrassment and self-hatred that you could imagine had accumulated over a lifetime and lead to a state of despair. The most poignant insight into the mind of Fran comes in the final scene when she discovers that her coworker chose to spend his birthday with her and she asks “Why?”, as if the idea that someone would enjoy her company is utterly absurd. Any self-aware person who has experienced severe depression is familiar with this sensation: the feeling that you must be repulsive to others because you are repulsive to yourself. I do not believe this film had an agenda beyond art. The film was beautifully shot and the acting was flawless. However, I think it is important to acknowledge that art inherently plays a role in social change and I was pleased to see a piece at Sundance that had the potential to expand our view of mental health.
Shopping & Dining
The major parts of town are very accessible by a free shuttle system and every volunteer and member of the community I talked to was authentically kind and helpful. Reservations for the most hyped restaurants (Chimayo, Adolph’s, Wahso, etc.) are hard to come by but we preferred an excellent Mexican dive right next to The Ray theater called Sergio’s. Most of the waitresses didn’t speak English and you could see a grandmother making tortillas in the kitchen.
As far as shopping, it doesn’t get more “mountain luxury” than The Gorsuch. I could easily imagine Pippa Middleton pheasant hunting in any number of the outfits displayed. Basically if you have money to blow and think that decorative antlers plucked from the wall of a German hunting manor in 1908 sound like a great gift idea, you’ll be obsessed with this store. Another favorite that I found was Cake Boutique. Their clothes were cute and well curated (Elizabeth & James, Equipment, Rag & Bone, Le Superbe)but their buyer really excelled with the beauty product and lounge wear room. Think Byredo, Malin + Goetz, Barbara Sturm, Vinter’s Daughter…I was in love.
Before braving the Utah cold for the Sundance Film Festival, I decided to do a Google search of what celebrities wore around at various parties. Disappointed by the lack of present day inspiration (which was basically just a sea of frumpy coats), I decided to turn to the fashion icons of the 60’s and 70’s. Starting with one of Sundance’s earliest supporters, Robert Redford and his All-American, cowboy style. I catalogued looks from the most chic people of the time period: Jane Fonda, Steve McQueen, Jane Birkin, Cher, Lauren Hutton, Yoko and John, and even Gloria Steinem (who absolutely killed the tinted aviator glasses look). During my research, a few trends emerged: western-inspired prints and pieces, flared pants, lots of texture (leather, fur, denim, suede, corduroy, etc.), warm colors, and bold, psychedelic patterns. I collected some modern-day pieces below that would evoke the 70’s and still help you score points with any knowledgable fashionista you’d run into in Park City après-ski. You can’t go wrong with a Bella Freud turtleneck or some cheeky “For Walking” Off-White boots. A steep upgrade from covering up in that tired Canada Goose sleeping bag-disguised-as-a-jacket, n’est-ce pas?
When choosing what my essential go-to products this fall would be, I realized that transitional season skincare is a neglected topic. We all discuss summer and winter skincare, but what about autumn? I will probably write individual posts about each of these products because I am deeply obsessed with all of them but I thought I’d do a quick rundown of what I’m constantly reaching for this season.
With colder, drier conditions approaching, it’s important to start thinking preventatively about moisture. The region of your face that typically shows the ravages of dry air first is the lips. I am very impressed with my Hanalei clear lip treatment, a lasting product that I slather on my lips nightly because it has zero fragrance and the perfect no-texture texture. It’s also paraben free and cruelty free. (Disclaimer: anyone with nut allergies avoid this, a main ingredient is kukui nut oil).
Wind-whipping air also means you should start adding something softer and richer to your cleansing routine, like the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. Not only does this balm take off makeup like a champ, it can also be used as a luxurious weekly mask if left on. And have I mentioned that the scent, a blend of 9 essential oils like clove and Ho wood, is perfectly autumnal? No idea what Ho wood is but I’m into it. And apparently, I’m not the only one: Elemis just announced a limited edition holiday candle in the same scent as the balm.
Speaking of intoxicating autumnal smells, it is probably time to start investing in Le Labo products. Or stay at one of The Edition hotels and shamelessly hoard their signature Thé Noir 29 lotions like I do.
Leo Oil is my holy grail product for all seasons, and I will be writing more exhaustively about it at a later date. If you need moisture but also fear clogged pores and scary, non-natural ingredients, look no further. Don’t even get me started on the smell. No need to fact check this but Cleopatra probably bathed in something like Leo Oil. It’s like “bring a Roman emperor to his knees” level good and will protect your beautiful skin from chilly weather.
After a long hiatus, I’ve returned to blogging again. Thinking back on my early internet days, I could not have predicted how the blog concept would expand. Social media exalted female-oriented blogging, once a niche subculture, into a powerhouse industry. The feminist in me celebrates the abundance of opportunities this yields for any woman with Wi-Fi access. My younger self, who always felt limited creatively on the internet because of my lack of technical knowledge, would have been giddy to have the tools and apps I use now. So why am I ashamed to tell people that I have a blog? I decided to explore this meta-blogging idea: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
the bad & the ugly
Blogging used to be a somewhat neutral activity. Ten years ago, there didn’t seem to be an image or caricature assigned to a “blogger”, except perhaps that of a disgruntled, basement-dwelling nerd with an axe to grind. In 2018, we have a sharply defined visual. The word blogger or “influencer” (which provokes even more sneers) is typically a millennial female known for relentless self-promotion and an obsession with meticulously curating an idealized, branded version of reality. Sometimes we also associate them with faux self-awareness, mindless over-sharing, and convenient activism. As their involvement in marketing has evolved and become more formal (i.e., hashtag ad and paid sponsorship posts), it seems our collective disdain for blogging only grows. Telling someone you’re a blogger seems to signal that you approve of rampant consumerism or you’re too stupid and blindly narcissistic to discern your own role in it.
The technical skill it used to take to build a blog and create quality content was a barrier to entry. The voices were more distinct and substantial. Now, there seems to be a blogger infestation at every event, restaurant, and picturesque location. In the six years I’ve been attending NYFW, the volume of young bloggers has swelled and the atmosphere has become increasingly undignified. I am mortified every time I see a tacky blogger elbowing their way through a presentation while attempting to get yet another vulgar and forgettable Boomerang for their Instagram story. If watching bloggers in action wasn’t unbearable enough, it always astounds me how truly uncreative “popular” blog content is. How many more pictures can be posted of the rosewater waffle at Jack’s Wife Freda until we have seen it from every possible filtered angle and vantage point? There is so much of the same exact thing I feel trapped in some sort of VSCO-sponsored mediocrity competition or forced to continually witness the most boring, femme Matrix glitch.
If you can get over the cringe of being associated with other bloggers and decide to start a blog, you’re immediately faced with the pressure to monetize and post constantly. The screeching message from blogging gurus all over the internet seems to be that there’s no point in having a blog if you’re not going to turn it into an income stream. I imagined that if I were to earn anything from blogging, it would be an unexpected byproduct. I’m a private person with a full time job that has nothing to do with what I wanted to blog about. I’ve always known that my interests and preferences are too divergent and eclectic to fit neatly into a “personal brand”, which is why I didn’t use my own name when making this blog. I am also not much of a photographer and I feel uncomfortable posting too many pictures of myself. Writing and curating are the aspects of blogging that I love. I would much rather showcase the work of other artists (like Emily Faulstich, one of my favorites) than feature my own shoddy pictures. This seemed to break another golden rule of blogging: you must be fanatical about documenting everything and including yourself in your pictures because image-heavy, hyper personal blogs are the only blogs that are “successful”.
Being a creative person with a non-creative day job means it is essential for me to have an outlet. At the same time, I also struggle with honoring my creative side consistently. My ADHD mind requires structure and accountability and a public blog provides that in a way that a private journal can’t. Blogging also pushes me to learn about things (SEO, software, etc.) that I would never have a reason or an inclination to learn but has helped me navigate our increasingly tech savvy world with more confidence.
As a niche person with niche interests who has lived the bulk of her life in small towns, it has always been hard for me to find my people. Some of my most enduring friendships were fostered online during a brief blip in time when it wasn’t totally weird to initiate conversation with a stranger over social media. A decade ago, sites like Tumblr and MySpace used to be a creative showcase and an open invitation for conversation. Now, we abide by so many social norms to protect our internet presence from creeps, identity theft, and employer stalking that we’ve cut ourselves off from connecting with anyone who doesn’t already exist within our social sphere. My hope is that by continuing to blog, I might re-open that channel again.
Posting my writing has been an exercise in vulnerability and acceptance for me. Perfectionism has always prevented me from taking action. If I allow myself to, I would knit-pick anything I create to the point of total despair. It is easier for a perfectionist like me to have no product of my own but to critique others. You certainly feel superior, but it is a cowardly and empty way to live. Getting over the internal perfectionism is one thing, but it’s also not easy to ignore the barrage of well-meaning mom bloggers shouting on Pinterest about their ‘20 fail-proof tips for making $10k a month while blogging’. Money, free products, and tons of followers are great, but if blogging is a hobby…who cares if you do everything “optimally”? I didn’t like churning out a bunch of seasonally oriented content and pinning everything I posted for maximum exposure. I didn’t like the idea of taking #OOTD pictures or only writing micro posts to avoid intimidating readers with my “word heavy” blog. I stopped blogging because blogging like that was boring.
Now, I only ask myself two questions before posting: do I want to read what I’m writing? And am I enjoying writing about this? That is the only criteria I need to satisfy. So far, so good.
I think I must have imprinted early on Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy as a style icon. Some of my earliest media memories include watching the hysteria surrounding her wedding with JFK Jr and their tragic death on the news. JFK Jr’s assistant wrote in her memoir that Carolyn’s favorite designers were Yohji Yamamoto, Prada, Miu Miu and Ann Demeulemeester but she was often photographed in a rotation of casual basics like Levi’s and t-shirts from Gap and Petit Bateau.
The only labels Carolyn flashed were subtle: the iconic Hermès belt and discrete black bags by Comme des Garçons and Prada. The only item that she might have in common with a Kardashian was a Birkin bag, oversized and in black, that she carried in a way that made it seem more “utilitarian” than status symbol. She was often photographed in her smaller, rounded Selima Aldo sunglasses, a style that has made a roaring return in recent years. Also, I spied a micropurse in this image of her at a Whitney fundraiser in 1999.
JFK JR’s assistant also wrote that Carolyn would say “If you’re going to wear bold colors or prints, the fabric has to be really nice. If you’re not going to spend tons of money, you should stick to gray, navy, black, nudes and white.” The only color I ever remembered Carolyn photographed in was an ice blue turtleneck. Rather than color, it was always the impeccable fit of her outfits that stood out to me.
Isn’t there something wonderfully rebellious about dressing “boring” in the fast fashion age where everyone seems to be tripping over themselves in order to have the most instagrammable “OOTD” #look? As I’ve aged, my personal style has become increasingly basic. I outfit repeat constantly, I wear the same simple jewelry and I try to stay away from trendy, “label-flashing” items. While it’s my own laziness, frugality, and hatred for clothes shopping that incentivizes me to keep to this fashion rationale, there is inherent wisdom to the Carolyn style concept. If you can limit your clothing to a few quality staples in neutral colors, your wardrobe is lasting and classic. Some images of Carolyn look so current they could have been taken yesterday. Having your style be lauded as “on trend” surely provides a certain sugar rush thrill, but isn’t the height of style to be described as timeless?
This is my second fall where I am not attending school and nothing fills me with more unbridled envy than seeing other people shop for school supplies. If I could shop for school supplies anywhere in the world, it would be at Goods for the Study on 50 West 8th Street in Greenwich Village. Imagine walking into a movie co-directed by Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson that primarily took place in a Hogwarts common room at tea time on a rainy (yet cozy) autumn day. That is what this store feels like. The atmosphere is filled with ernest, scholarly serenity.
The objects found in Goods for the Study could convince even the most utilitarian of cynics that the act of studying can be elevated into an art form. The owner of the store, Sarah McNally of McNally Jackson books fame, has intentionally curated a collection of items from around the globe that are beautiful but also practical. Because if you’re going to have a stapler, why not have a stapler made by Spanish firearm company that will never jam and can be an heirloom for your studious grandchildren some day? While each product appears to have been carefully selected, the store itself does not have a limited variety (see the abundant pen wall below). I find it charming that Goods for the Study seems to be blissfully unaware that Amazon has scared every other retailer into becoming Spartan stockists. Even though it was only opened a few years ago, the store seems like a preserved gem from a simpler time.
If you are unable to visit Goods for the Study, I selected some of my fantasy school supplies for those of us who are in serious denial that we’re not in school anymore:
I adore Balenciaga’s chic upgrade of the traditional Jansport backpack. Even if your student days are long behind you, this shearling-lined Harris tweed tote by JW Anderson is the grown-up equivalent of a prep school uniform skirt. Although they sold out almost immediately, I lusted after the backpack from the Acne Studios Fjällräven collaboration.
The online study community (i.e. “Studyblr” on Tumblr) is quite a cult and I confess I haven’t dissected and analyzed the world of writing utensils like they have. However, I do appreciate great drawing pens. This set of fineliner drawing pens from Amazon are the grown up version of the gel pens most of us mid-millenials grew up hoarding. I have had them for over a year and they haven’t dried up or exploded. My love for Ticonderoga pencils is near fetishistic. They truly are the perfect pencil: the graphite is smooth, the wood they use is firm but a bit bouncy so they’re not easily breakable, and you simply won’t find a better eraser. My little sister, a pen aficionado, says that these ballpoint pens she found at The Container Store are the best ballpoint pens she’s ever used. A bold claim that is worth investigating.
I would be hopeless without my Passion Planner. If fulfills all of my obsessive list-maker needs: monthly calendar pages, weekly to-do lists ordered by priority, hourly appointment slots for each day of the week, a section for gratitude reflection, and monthly overview writing prompts to help me stay on track with my long-term goals. For aimless writing and doodles, I’m obsessed with nondescript Moleskine Cahier journals that come in a pack of 3. Using any Moleskine product makes me feel like a very sophisticated artist from Berlin with many poignant, important thoughts (even though my Moleskines are usually filled with dweeby reminders to wear my retainer and buy Neutrogena wipes).
An adult first aid kit is essential. If you’re acne prone like me, the Glossier Zit Stick is a perfect addition to your emergency supplies. It functions kind of like a Tide To-Go bleach pen but for pimples. Genius. Lip balm is also a must, and Glossier Balm Dotcom is always the ticket for me. I chose mint due to the scent having some sort of intellect-stimulating effect…or something like that. A scientific factoid that Cher Horowitz would surely dispense. And who among us has not been crippled by our own need for a midday snack? Avoid sudden onset hanger and questionable high-fructose bodega purchases by keeping a Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter squeeze pack on your person. Because you’re not always able to bring a candle into your study environment (I was always on my RA’s candle rebel watch list in my college dorm), you’ll need a more mobile form of aromatherapy. I recommend Byredo’s “Bibliothèque” fragrance. With top notes of leather, wood, and plum, the scent will transport you to a library tucked away in an English manor.
get 10% off your first purchase of any Glossier product by using my referral link
This post is dedicated to my stationary-obsessed little sister Emily who turned 19 today and started college this fall.
Something I truly geek out over is production design. Production design is a crucial and essential element that allows a movie-goer to fully indulge in cinematic fantasy, but often a symptom of its quality is that it goes overlooked.
An interior from any Nancy Meyers movie would have been an obvious place to start but I thought I’d begin with an off-beat favorite of mine. Almost everyone would agree that St. Elmo’s Fire (1985) was a Brat Pack stinker. The cast was stacked with talent (Demi Moore, Andie McDowell, etc) but they all buckled under the weight of a lethargic story line and painfully under-developed characters. The only good things about this film:
1.) Rob Lowe, at peak pre-West Wing era hotness, playing the sax
2.) The phenomenal Nike mural in the apartment owned by Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson’s characters
Looking at just the interior, it's hard to tell this film is over 30 years old: the hardwood floors, the repurposing of a billboard as wall art, the white spaciousness of it all is peak millennial chicness. You can almost imagine 2018 versions of the yuppie characters going about their day: Judd Nelson lovingly rearranging Japanese whisky bottles on a limited edition Supreme bar cart while Ally Sheedy downs her Adderall with a smoothie filled with Moonjuice adaptogens. Of course this takes place in an alternate universe where present day Georgetown graduates actually have the option of affordable housing and disposable income.
While falling deeper into the internet rabbit hole of this Nike mural, I found out that the original image, named the "Battle of Atlanta", was shot by photographer Chuck Rogers at a 10k in 1978. I also found this lovely uncommissioned alteration of the billboard by Atlanta-based street artist Evereman.
One of my favorite hotels in the world is The New York EDITION (5 Madison Avenue). Views of the Empire State Building and the Flatiron Building as well as its proximity to Eataly and great shopping make it an ideal home base when I'm in the city. Breakfast in the The Clocktower restaurant and the abundance of Le Labo soaps make a stay in the hotel a Nirvana-esque experience .
Admittedly, I was nervous to see what Grace Coddington was like in real life. For those of you who are not card carrying members of the Coddington Cult like my mother and I, Grace Coddington has been creative director at large for American Vogue since 1988 (incidentally, the same year that Anna Wintour became editor-in-chief). Grace entered the spotlight after The September Issue, a behind-the-scenes documentary that revealed the exhausting process of putting together a September issue of Vogue. My mother and I were in awe of Grace's creative genius and earnest commitment to her art when we watched the documentary, and we were not alone in our admiration. The film highlighted the sometimes confrontational working relationship between Wintour and Coddington, with Wintour being cast as the icy villain who dismissed Coddington's artistry. I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Grace at the private release for her new book Grace: The American Vogue Years and hear her speak about some of her favorite editorial work for the magazine.
I wondered if Grace would be as approachable as she appeared in The September Issue and if the charming voice that had been so evident in her writing would be the same in person, or if it had all been a clever marketing persona. I am happy to say that Grace was exactly as you'd expect her to be. When asked about her relationship with Wintour, Coddington responded with total...shall I say it?...grace. While I'm sure her audience craved a catty aside about Anna the Ice Queen, Coddington did not indulge in a petty character assassination. She spoke about Wintour with total respect and appreciation, and even explained how their different personalities ultimately worked well together and helped to refine every issue of the magazine. I thought this spoke volumes about her work ethic and character. Even more than her impressive artistic abilities, Grace Coddington's most noteworthy quality is her sincerity, something that is rare in an industry that has become so saturated with artificial personal branding. It was refreshing to see that these "real people" still exist in creative fields. How rare is it to meet the hero of a media fairy tale and have them not be disappointing in person? Grace Coddington is truly an icon.
I haven't been very mysterious about who I will be voting for this election but I'd prefer to avoid writing a lengthy political dissertation today. I agree with the concept of "vote with your conscience" but with this particular presidential election, I think the prevailing sentiment from all Americans has become "Does the other side have a conscience?". Rather than allowing the conscience to be defined in blue or red terms, or even by any religious ideology, I find myself deferring to the wisdom of philosophy when political decisions become murky. In the case of the 2016 election, I look to the words of one of my favorite philosophers and the father of existentialism: Søren Kierkegaard. You might have heard the term "petit bourgeois" from Marxism or in politico-economic discussions. It is rarely used to paint an individual in a positive light.
Kierkegaard's definition of the petit bourgeois is not a criticism of an actual social class, rather it is an indictment of a narrow worldview. Kierkegaard felt that the petite bourgeoisie personified "a spiritual emptiness that is rooted in an overemphasis on the worldly, rather than the inwardness of the self". Kierkegaard spends a great deal of time discussing the importance of "the self" and while his language can be complex, the most basic explanation is that "the self" is something like the concept of a soul combined with self-awareness. Kierkegaard believed that only a truly self-aware soul would strive to be closer to God and would thus be grounded in love. Kierkegaard was Christian but I believe his emphasis on self-awareness and love allow his core ideas to have universal meaning and applicability. In my favorite text by Kierkegaard, A Sickness Unto Death, he describes the petit bourgeoisie as "spiritless...Devoid of imagination, as the petty bourgeois always is, he lives within a certain orbit of trivial experiences as to how things come about, what is possible, what usually happens, no matter whether he is a tapster [bartender] or a prime minister. This is the way the petty bourgeois has lost himself and God".
Does Kierkegaard's depiction of the petit bourgeois sound like either of the 2 major candidates for president of the United States?
It might seem strange to apply a text written in 1849 in Denmark to an election taking place in America in 2016, but I do not feel that wisdom has an expiration date. That quote gave me clarity and peace, and I hope it did the same for you. Please exercise your right to vote today, it is a right we are fortunate to have.
Bernie shirt + Veuve Clicquot + earnest looking glasses (that cost $710)
I had never heard of Le Labo until I stayed at The Edition, my favorite hotel in New York. The scent of the lobby was intoxicating and I was pleased to find that all the toiletries provided by the hotel had the same scent as the lobby. A little internet stalking will direct you to their extremely chic website, complete with a poetic manifesto (which name drops Hafiz, Thoreau, and Wabi-Sabi in a couple of lines...just in case the use of the word "craftsmen" wasn't a huge hipster tip-off). Then of course there is also this:
(To fill out the Proust Questionnaire, follow this link, fill it out, and you'll recieve a personalized recommendation within 2 days...will update when I receive mine)
I’ll admit their whole spiel about the “intentional” art of the perfume-making process, in which “thoughtful hands” pick flowers and passionately pour wax, was a little much for me. And how can a company expect to get away with describing their scents with nebulous descriptors like “irreverent”, “soulful”, and “intimately familiar”? I might cry intentional bougie bullshit if their perfumes hadn’t completely cast a spell on me. Apparently, these Le Labo hipster witch doctors hand-blend their bottles (made to order) at their Elizabeth Street location and have expert knowledge on every ingredient and detail of the fragrance process.
If you’re not sold on the concept, try out their discovery set, which includes 5 mini bottles and a handwritten note by the person who blended the fragrances. The 5 fragrances included in my set were Thé Noir 29 (my favorite and the Edition’s signature scent), Rose 31, Bergamote 22, Santal 33, and Vetiver 46. To purchase your own, visit the Le Labo website.
If websites could be soul mates, Into the Gloss would be my mine…in a totally obsessive “write our names together on my binder” type of way. So naturally, when the founder of Into the Gloss rolled out a line of products, I was an instant fan. From the light pink packaging to the thoughtful ingredients in their products, Glossier is all my beauty fantasies come to life. Glossier’s Milky Jelly cleanser (which I raved about in my Accutane survival guide) has been such a life-changing product for me that I bought 2 more bottles so I’m never without it. The conception of the product was unique in that Glossier reached out through social media to ask people what they looked for in a cleanser. The result of all that feedback was the creation of Milky Jelly: a cleanser with gentle ingredients that can remove makeup and smells great, without the use of chemical fragrances. I'm excited to try all their products in the future, especially their masks! My packages from Glossier arrived ahead of schedule and filled with goodies like samples, stickers, and a poster. The moral of this post is that Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of Into the Gloss and Glossier, has granted all of my skincare wishes like an incredibly chic fairy godmother. My only request is that they start carrying Glossier’s sweatshirts in light pink.
If you'd like to drink the rose colored Koolaid and join the Glossier cult with me, use this link to get 10% off your first purchase: https://re.glossier.com/c80bbbb2
Recently, I've embarked on my second course of Accutane (Isotretinoin, to be more exact). For those of you who think acne means a little red spot you treat with an adorable dot of benzoyl peroxide, Accutane is like a severe Sudanese drought in pill form. Your body basically halts oil production, which means your lips crack like the floor of the desert but you can go a full week without washing your hair or needing dry shampoo (a consolation prize). At the end of a 4-5 month course of medication, you will have the most beautiful, baby fresh skin and the impact lasts years. I was in high school when I went on my first course of Accutane. My acne started to re-emerge 2 years ago, not as badly as it was before Accutane but still bad. As of right now, my 23-year-old skin looks like I’m 16 again…and not in a good, “just prepubescent-looking enough to be Bradley Cooper’s next girlfriend” sort of way.
Accutane is not for the faint of heart and I was hesitant to go through it all again. Besides the fact that you molt like a reptile for months and put yourself at a risk for Chron’s disease, there are lots of blood tests involved and you basically have to sacrifice a goat and pledge your first born child to the Accutane gods just to convince them that you won’t get pregnant while on the medication. I tried every birth control, antibiotic, retinoid, laser, and peel I could get my hands on. I even tried that “eliminating dairy” thing that all the health nut masochists swear by for clearing up my skin (But come on, who voluntarily chooses a cheese-free life? That’s cruel and unusual). Nothing worked, and I still had to spackle on Dermablend (aka the makeup they use to cover tattoos with) just to look presentable.
Rather than try to ride out whatever wave of adult hormones was pummeling me and risk permanent scarring, I decided to give Accutane another try. But a little preparation can go a long way in helping you feel and look better while the medication does its thing! I created this survival guide for myself and anyone else braving the metaphorical desert on Accutane.
If you gave yourself a panic attack after that “Accutane skin” Google image search, just remember that the only way to avoid looking like a Komodo dragon peeling off your exoskeleton is to hydrate your skin. Don’t freak out, treat your new skincare routine like a daily trip to the spa. This is your chance to use all those moisturizing products you felt too oily to indulge in before. You’re also killing two birds with one stone: soothing your irritated skin and practicing skin care habits that your older, wiser, wrinklier self will thank you for!
Start your daytime skin care routine by wiping your face with micellar water on a cotton round. Oil and grime builds up on the skin surface when you sleep so it's important to cleanse in the morning, even if your skin feels clean. Because micellar water is made up of tiny oil molecules, the water attracts any oil and dirt on the skin without drying the skin. Take care not to rub the cotton round too harshly on your skin and try to use upward motions! Simple's micellar water is cheap and effective but the Bioderma version is a cult favorite. After the micellar water, cleanse with a soothing, PH-balanced cleanser like Glossier's Milky Jelly. I'm obsessed with this product because it has this magic ability to make my skin both clean AND moisturized (possibly because it uses poloxamer, the mild cleansing agent found in contact lens solution). It's really important that your cleanser has no harsh ingredients or chemical fragrances! (Milky Jelly passes this test and smells good due to being 1/4 rosewater). You might be used to a rougher cleansing method from your pre-Accutane days but it's important that the way you wash your face doesn't irritate your skin now that it's extra dry and sensitive. Check out this video for a crash course on cleansing your skin the French way.
It might be tempting to go to town exfoliating if your skin has become flakey on Accutane but don't exfoliate your face more than twice a week. Avoid harsh microbeads or chemicals and opt for something soft like Elemis' Gentle Rose Exfoliator. Lip exfoliation will most likely be a daily part of your routine as the lips seem to really dry out on Accutane. The best exfoliation method for lips is to dry them and use a toothbrush or wash cloth to brush away dead skin. I recommend a sugar scrub if the skin is stubborn, which you can either buy from Lush or make yourself.
The first thing I moisturize is my lips right after they've been exfoliated. Your doctor will most likely recommend Aquaphor or Vaseline but in my experience, nothing has worked as well as Homeoplasmine, a French favorite and miracle worker! After my lips, I mist my face with Avene Thermal Spring Water. Having a moist face before moisturizing boosts the efficacy of the moisturizer (besides, it's pretty refreshing). After misting, I apply Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Water Gel to my face and the top of my neck. I love this product because it has hyaluronic acid (which is basically a tall glass of water for your skin). Plus, it's super lightweight and non-greasy so it plays nice with makeup and other products I might use during the day. If I'm planning on going sans makeup, I'll follow the moisturizer with a Coola sunscreen on my face, neck, and ears.
Cleansing in the evening is identical to the daytime routine except a creamier cleanser should be used if removing heavy makeup. The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth system is a perfect addition to an Accutane users arsenal because its soothing lotion texture cleanses without being abrasive or stripping to your sensitive skin. I also added Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips to the exfoliation process. As tortured as my pre-Accutane skin was, I actually never had a problem with blackheads. About 2 weeks into my course, blackheads covered my chin and nose area. Because dead, dry skin might cause a build up in certain areas of your face during Accutane use, be warned that blackheads may be a new skin issue you might have to contend with. The good news is that they're much easier to deal with than whiteheads! A well-placed Biore strip can uproot them pretty easily.
Serums might seem like a superfluous step in a skincare routine but their high potency ingredients can really help you achieve your skincare goals. Since moisture is the primary goal for Accutane users, choose a serum with hydrating properties, like Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Power Serum. Serums are some of the most costly skincare products but they can make all the difference when your skin is going through a drastic change like Accutane. Mist your face with Avene Thermal Spring Water before applying serum or moisturizer. If your lips are really suffering, you may want to try applying a lip mask before bed so your lips can soak in the ingredients while you sleep. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is so nourishing that it helps repair lips and makes them appear more voluminous in the morning (a cheaper alternative to the Kylie Jenner filler route). The final step of your evening routine should be a heavier, fragrance-free moisturizer. I use Vanicream, which is often recommended by dermatologists. The formula is very heavy so a little goes a long way and I try to give it time to dry before I go to sleep. Moisturizing at the very end of your routine seals all the products that were placed on the skin and creates a barrier against pollutants that may attempt to penetrate your skin's surface while you sleep.
If you would like to try Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser or any of their other amazing products, use this link to get 10% off your first purchase: https://re.glossier.com/c80bbbb2
I have the world’s oiliest hair so a week ago when my stylist said my scalp was dry, I knew it had to be the Accutane working its magic. My first time on Accutane, not having to wash my hair constantly was one of the biggest perks of the medication. Now, as a slightly less oily adult, I’m more concerned about my hair drying out too much and causing breakage or dandruff. My stylist recommended a weekly mask and to use a heat protector/leave in moisturizer after every wash. My hair is pretty receptive to moisturizing products so my masks are not very advanced: I either put a reparative conditioner or coconut oil on my hair when it’s warm and damp and let it set for 15 minutes before rinsing it. With a drier scalp, it’s also important not to over-shampoo or use shampoos that have oil-stripping properties (basically anything that says it’s “clarifying” or for volume).
As your doctor should have informed you, Accutane can do a number on your insides. Beyond just a pregnancy test, the monthly blood tests required for Accutane also monitor your cholesterol levels, which are at risk for being elevated while on the medication. Your doctor most likely recommended a low fat, high fiber diet to combat a rise in cholesterol while on Accutane. During my first course, my high school diet was made up predominantly of pop tarts, resulting in high cholesterol and digestive issues. Don’t put yourself in this position! In addition to taking the “low fat, high fiber” diet advice to heart, add supplements that will lend additional support.
There are many different “green” supplements on the market but I try to find formulations that have organic barley grass, spirulina, wheatgrass, blue green algae, spinach, and chorella. If the idea of adding leafy greens to all your meals makes you wince, supplements like these will be your new best friend! These will boost your fiber intake while also providing you with super nutrients and antioxidants. Make sure to follow label recommendations while taking the supplement! If you want to get the full benefits, certain formulations suggest that you don’t take the supplement with hot liquids or on a full stomach.
Unless you have an allergy, Metamucil is pretty harmless to your system and the main ingredient (psyllium husk) is a natural, gluten free fiber with many health benefits. Because my gag reflex can’t handle the orange goopyness of liquid Metamucil, I take 2-6 capsules of Metamucil daily. The label recommends that you take the capsules 2 hours after or 2 hours before taking anything else so it doesn’t mess with the effectiveness of other medications or supplements (usually I set an alarm to take it at 1 pm). Taking 6 capsules daily will help lower cholesterol, if that is your main Accutane concern, but you’ll still increase your fiber intake even if you take a smaller amount. I’ve never had any digestive issues with Metamucil but if you’re worried about any laxative-effects on your system, see how you feel after 2 capsules before taking more.
Accutane absorbs through fat so your doctor most likely recommended that you take your pill with a meal that has a healthy fat (such as avocado) so that the mediation can absorb into your system easier. After reading about the benefits of eating coconut oil, I joined the cult and now take my Accutane with my daily spoonful. Not only does a spoonful of coconut oil provide the fat for the medication to absorb, it also helps keeps things running smoothly in my digestion system. If the coconut oil tastes too waxy for you, add a dot of your favorite organic preserves to the spoonful (raspberry preserves + coconut oil = a flavor combo made in heaven).
Even in college, I never considered myself much of a drinker. However, when my doctor told me alcohol was off limits during Accutane use, I suddenly found myself getting cold sweats over the thought of a mimosa (not really but I did feel a little parched). Although I am not recommending or suggesting that you put your health at risk or ignore your doctor, it’s slightly unrealistic that an adult would not have a single sip of alcohol throughout a 5 month course of Accutane. Drinking on Accutane is a bit like drinking while taking a couple of Tylenol. Not good for you but also not fatal if you don’t have a pre-existing condition. If you were to have a single glass of wine at dinner (hypothetically, of course), what could you do to alleviate the stress on your liver? Besides hydrating like there’s no tomorrow, I recommend taking a shot of 100% cranberry juice (or more than a shot, if you can handle the bitterness). The antioxidants in the juice provide support for liver function without raising cholesterol levels.
BODY & MAKEUP
It seems like one the biggest variations for Accutane users is how the medication impacts body skin. I barely noticed anything different about my body skin on Accutane until I got a spray tan. My flaking fake bake revealed splotches of skin on my arms and chest that were significantly drier than other areas. Learn from my mistake: don't neglect the skin on the rest of your body! Even if the skin on your body doesn't feel dry, moisturize anyway. Invest in a moisturizing body wash that doesn’t have any drying ingredients or synthetic fragrances. After day showers, I use coconut oil to moisturize so that it has time to sink into the skin. After a night shower, I moisturize my body with a lotion that has no fragrances or drying ingredients but will also absorb into the skin quicker so my bed sheets don't get greasy. Ditch your foaming shave gel and switch to a cream that doesn't have many drying chemicals. Your shave will be closer and the skin on your legs will be more moisturized! Don’t exfoliate more than twice a week and don’t go overboard when you do! Dry, splotchy skin might beg to be sloughed off but being too aggressive when exfoliating will only irritate your sensitive skin. An exfoliating tool, like a Baiden mitten, can help you remove all the dead skin more effectively so you won't feel the itch to overdo it. (Also, don’t get a spray tan. Not unless you’d like to look like a leper returning from Cabo.)
Makeup is a tricky thing on Accutane, especially if any of your old products were formulated for oily skin. Foundations or powders that looked amazing pre-Accutane can look frightening while on Accutane. The best solution is to use a brand that has your shade and try to find a formulation that doesn’t have any sabotaging ingredients and plays nice with drier skin. I’ve found that tarte’s BB cream primer has the best coverage and texture for me. If you’re wary of makeup clogging your skin but can’t live with anything too sheer, these products deliver serious coverage while also being natural and oil free. I’ve found that the primer has enough coverage for me on most days and its creamy texture melts into my skin beautifully. The only downside is that they are limited in their range of shades.
As you’ve probably gathered from the popularity of juice cleanses and Gwyneth Paltrow, health food is no longer just for West Coast crystal worshipers and people who hate fun. Sakara Life has changed the health food game through meal plans that are sensual and hip with an ingredient list that even your most annoying vegan friend would approve of. It’s not too surprising that founders Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle can make things like “nutritional yeast” seem sexy. The two blonde bombshells are always photographed looking as if they’re on a lunch break while shooting a Terry Richardson editorial and this sex-appeal marketing strategy has reaped huge rewards. DuBoise and Tingle, who left their high-powered careers to start their NYC-based business, have attracted a fan base that includes Victoria’s Secret models and movie stars. Even with meal plans that cost a steep $85 a day for a week’s subscription, the company continues to gain popularity and now ships nationwide.
As an obsessive online review reader, I had to find out whether Sakara Life was the real deal. From all of my research, I was shocked to find that there was very little negative feedback of the company. Most of the criticism stemmed from how expensive the plans were (well, duh) but it was difficult to find any credible reviews that dissed the taste, portion size, or quality of the food. I was impressed and intrigued but also completely unwilling to fork over my savings for fancy superfood salads. So the question remained...
How does one get the Sakara Life experience without going broke?
Since most of the positive reviews raved about the dressings and sauces, I figured the best way to try out Sakara Life without buying a plan was to buy their salad dressing sampler for $54. The sampler comes with 6 mini bottles of their dressings, including Sesame Ginger Plum, Turmeric + Tarragon, Carrot Ginger Glow, Magic Mushroom, Green Caesar, and Youth + Beauty. In less than the estimated shipping time, I received a package with the dressings in an insulated box. The dressings were a little separated but this is to be expected with something made-to-order that isn’t full of processed junk (nothing a little shake wouldn't fix). The dressings are all “best used” before 2 weeks. After reading the fine print, it mentioned that all of the dressings would last up until a month except #5 (the green Caesar), which will only last 2 weeks. I attempted to create salads that mimicked what I had seen in pictures of Sakara Life meals and tried to incorporate as many healthy, colorful toppings as possible. After all, would you really be maximizing a $54 set of salad dressings if you put them on a few sad pieces of butter lettuce?
#1 Sesame Ginger Plum
Dressing Ingredients: Ginger, Umeboshi Plum Vinegar, Lime Juice, Tamari, Sesame Seeds, Rice Wine Vinegar, Toasted Sesame Oil, Sunflower Oil, Olive Oil
The first salad dressing is one of two Asian inspired dressings in the sampler. After tasting, I was disappointed that there was no sweetness. Even though the "plum" part of the name is from the Umeboshi plum vinegar, I was excepting a hint of plum syrup or fruit flavor and was mislead by the name of the dressing. It could just be a quality control issue but it tasted like the ingredients were not proportionally distributed. The rice wine vinegar overpowered all the other flavors, including the sesame and ginger, and it needed a little more substance to balance out the oil. It smelled so heavily of vinegar that I could smell it from across my table. Still, I like rice wine vinegar and use it in a lot of my own dishes so I wasn't too turned off by the taste. The salad was saved by the pieces of black plum I added, which complimented the vinegar flavor nicely and added much needed sweetness.
#2 Turmeric + Tarragon
Dressing Ingredients: Turmeric, Tarragon, Cashew Butter, Apple Cider Vinegar, Rice Wine Vinegar, Sunflower Lecithin, Sunflower Oil, Himalayan Salt, White Unpasteurized Miso
I was initially skeptical of this dressing because I wasn't wild about tarragon and, although the health benefits are undeniable, I take turmeric in supplement form because I'm not crazy about the taste of it. After having this dressing, I've been converted. This dressing would taste good even if you were eating a salad made of gym socks but it packed a punch when I paired it with cucumbers and carrots. The dressing was so tangy and refreshing, it almost made me want to pick up subsistence farming so I can grow my own salads (well...that sounds like work but you catch my drift). I'm much more of a salty tooth than a sweet tooth so I liked the flavor from the the white miso and himalayan salt. Overall, this was a 10/10.
#3 Carrot Ginger Glow
Dressing Ingredients: Carrots, Ginger, Tamari, Sunflower Oil, Toasted Sesame Oil, Sunflower Lecithin, Rice Wine Vinegar, Turmeric, Bee Pollen, Sesame Seeds
I thought this might be one of my top picks because I love ginger salads, even the ginger salads at strip mall sushi restaurants that are basically watery orange mush on lettuce. Even though I shook this dressing pretty vigorously, the dressing stayed separated and had too much oil in it. I was also bummed that there was more of a nutty taste than ginger. I like ginger salads to have a little citrus zing and I felt that this dressing had too much bee pollen and carrot, which weighed it down and didn't add much flavor. Adding pomegranate seeds helped elevate the flavor profile and gave it the tartness that it needed. In the end, it wasn't the worst ginger salad I've had.
#4 Magic Mushroom
Dressing Ingredients: Tahini, Garlic, Lemon Juice, Dijon Mustard, Reishi Mushroom Powder, Himalayan Salt, Olive Oil
I'm ashamed to admit that I'm a big fan of creamier dressings, which essentially negates any health benefits I might get from eating a salad in the first place. I try to resist all the trashy culinary contributions America has made, but a good, homemade Ranch can make me weak at the knees. I was hoping that this dressing might be a solution to my healthy vs. creamy dressing dilemma but no such luck. The dressing was incredibly thick and tasted stale, as though it was in a fridge too long. I tried to do a "protein bowl" concept so as to use the Magic Mushroom more as a dip than a dressing, but it was still barely palatable. I've never had Reishi mushrooms so I wondered if that was the ingredient that turned me off the most? I thought it might just be me but after my cousin tried it, she agreed that there was something unpleasant and bland about the dressing.
#5 Green Caesar
Dressing Ingredients: Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Almonds, Garlic, Nutritional Yeast, Spirulina, Dijon Mustard, Chia, Hemp Seeds, Himalayan Salt, Black Pepper
I tried this dressing first because of its earlier expiration date and I attempted to imitate a caesar salad formula with pine nuts and a little mizithra cheese. As mentioned above, I'm a fan of creamy salad dressings and a huge fan of caesar salads. So a caesar salad that is healthy and has some tasty ingredients should be a winner, right? Wrong. So wrong. The dressing was so thick, chunky, and dark green that it initiated my gag reflex as I put it on the salad. I tried to pep talk my way into putting a forkful in mouth by telling myself "It looks like a thicker pesto, you love pesto!" For the record, it did not taste like pesto. The only ingredients I could definitively taste were nutritional yeast and spirulina. I was once tricked into buying a big container of nutritional yeast by a health nut who claimed it could help me wean myself off of cheese (a food I will forever be hopelessly addicted to). Health nuts have an interesting concept of what cheese tastes like. If cheese tastes like wood pulp, then yes, nutritional yeast tastes like cheese. The flavor of spirulina in the dressing immediately gave me a post-traumatic flashback to when I accidentally tasted too much of my Green Magma supplements and started to dry heave. We get it, health nuts, greens are good for you. But they can also taste like you're dying. That being said, this recipe needs to be altered ASAP because I wouldn't wish this repulsive green slime on my enemies.
#6 Youth + Beauty
Dressing Ingredients: Raw Honey, Lemon Juice, Dijon Mustard, Beets, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Black Pepper, Himalayan Salt, Beet Powder, Yumberry Powder
Would you trust a salad dressing that was Pepto Bismol pink? Yeah, me neither. After my green caesar experience, I felt burned by Sakara Life and didn't know if I could trust something that promised something as lofty as "youth and beauty". I figured at least I could get a pretty picture out of the salad so I loaded it with flowers, blackberries, bell peppers, and pine nuts. The dressing was very thick coming out, which, along with the pink color, was not a great visual. However, the dressing was exceptional. It was very tart, which I thought would be off-putting paired with the salad ingredients, but it actually elevated all of the different flavors instead of overpowering them. It was so addicting and versatile yet I couldn't differentiate any of the individual ingredients as being the stand out flavor. Maybe it's the Yumberry powder? (which, as it turns out, is a Chinese fruit and not the name of a My Little Pony). The tartness of the dressing really brought out the sweetness of the blackberries and the acidity of the dressing was neutralized by the bell peppers and pine nuts. It was the perfect finale to my Sakara Life experience!
THE FINAL VERDICT
My favorite dressings were the Turmeric + Tarragon and the Youth + Beauty, hands down. The Sesame Ginger Plum and the Carrot Ginger Glow were also pretty good for Asian dressings that also have health benefits. Would I buy this sampler again? Probably not, but I would maybe buy their sampler trio, which includes 3 full sized bottles for the same price. Would I buy a Sakara Life meal plan? Absolutely, but that might result in me selling my future children into indentured servitude to pay for it. For now, I'll stick to their boutique products.