I ran into a lot of families moving their kids into the dorms last weekend and SJSU started their fall semester this week, so college has been on my mind. I’ve been out of college almost as long as I was in, which gave me a bit of a shock when I actually did the math.
While I’ve (mostly) adjusted to post-college life, I can’t pretend I don’t miss it. Let’s look at a few reasons why.
#1: Learning new things
I went back to school to get an English degree. I added a Portuguese minor along the way. I didn’t expect to learn about rocks, California film noir, and Yanomamo people of the Amazon along the way. I definitely didn’t expect all of those things to be relevant to me now that I’ve been out of college almost as long as I was in.
While I didn’t love all my general ed classes (more on that in just a bit), I can’t deny that it expanded my worldview. Even within my major and minor, I read, wrote, and did things I never expected to do, let alone heard of, before I started studying them.
Adulting is a bit of a grind in comparison. Instead of constantly being exposed to new things, I’ve been focused on the same topics for months (and sometimes years) on end.
I was good at getting good grades. My first 4.0 in college was in the one and only semester I took 21 units. This was after I’d finally fought my way through two semesters of remedial math and passed the class I needed to transfer to a UC or CSU.
I’m still talking about it seven years later — yikes — because I am still ridiculously proud of that achievement. I thrive off of achievements. Give me that gold star, that trophy, that A+. They were a powerful motivator and an easy thing to help me rebuild my self-esteem.
Post-college, I don’t have those crutches. I have to motivate myself. I have to believe in myself.
I love structure and I love new things, which made the academic year a perfect fit for me.
If I liked it, I could find a way to keep at it. I loved my required Shakespeare class so much that I took an elective on the Elizabethan Age and did an honors capstone semester on The Faerie Queene.
And if I hated it? Barring the aforementioned gauntlet of remedial math that I had to get through, I never had to think about it again. (Goodbye forever, digital humanities class masquerading as gothic horror.)
#4: Having everything in one place
I didn’t just go to class at West Valley and SJSU. I worked there. My social life was there. My life was in one forest bubble that moved to an urban bubble. My whole life was centered on one place. It was easy and convenient.
Now, I balance one full-time job in one place along with a few part time-things in other places. My friends have scattered and we’re not all in one place at the same time.
It’s more work to maintain those friendships once your bubble bursts. There’s only so much time and you can only be in so many places. Sometimes it’s easier to just let those things drift away.
#5: A space for reinvention
Several of the things I’ve already listed come together to create this. I went back to school as one person trying to become a better version of myself with a shiny piece of paper. Instead, I discovered several versions of myself. Not better, not worse. Just different facets.
I became Liz Barcelos the magazine editor. The athlete. The photographer. The scholar on the art of translation. The poet. The event manager.
Post-college, I’ve lost that space to breathe and reinvent myself. Instead, I’ve had two experiences: the relative comfort of a full-time job that requires me to be one (sometimes stifling) thing or the balancing act of being many things but not being able to depend on any one of them.
That space to breathe is the thing I miss most of all.
As part of my continued quest to nail down my personal style, I took part in the #colormycloset challenge created by Chlo and Clothes. I watched my friend Tasha take part in this challenge last year and I decided that I’d jump in on it the next time it happened.
Rather than break down what I wore day by day — you can check out my Instagram if you want to do that — I want to bring together the common threads of what I wore that week.
What I repeated
I live in these. They’re basically Converse for grownups. The two pairs that get the most mileage are the black and cognac flats I got from Target’s Universal Thread brand. Between the two of them, they match almost everything I wear to work so I don’t have to do much thinking.
However, they aren’t the only pairs I own. Blue was a casual day, otherwise I would have pulled out these cobalt blue beauties I got from Stitch Fix. These mustard yellow flats I got from another Fix have seen better days. Both pairs are looking a little rough, reminding me to take better care of my things or else they’ll go unused.
But that doesn’t mean the shoes I’ve loved since I was a teenager are going anywhere. They made an appearance both on casual days and on an office day, showing off just how versatile these can be.
Cardigans made appearances twice during this challenge, though I own far more than just those two. The only thing that surprised me about this is that I didn’t wear more of them. I think we can chalk it up to two factors. One: it’s summer so I don’t need to layer as much. Two: I typically don’t match my cardigan to my top. Instead, I like bringing different colors together. For a monochromatic(ish) challenge like this one, my usual choice didn’t work out.
Bandolino black cropped jeans
I own two pairs of these thanks to Mama Barcelos. Because they’re black, they’re just a touch fancier for work. (Not that my workplace cares if I wear jeans or not.) Because I like to wear color so much, having something simple to wear on the bottom makes wearing colorful tops easy.
Madewell high rise skinny jeans
These are the most expensive pair of jeans I own. I typically bought jeans from Old Navy, Gap, and Target in the past. They worked fine and I still wear a Gap and a few Target pairs of jeans regularly.
But buying new things at my usual places has been rough going lately. I like something with a high rise and I feel like the trends starting to swing the other way.
So I decided to cave into the hype and try a pair from Madewell. The verdict: worth it. These fit my waist, my butt, and my thighs perfectly. I don’t feel like a sausage in too small a casing. Triple digits is a lot for jeans, but well worth the cost of not crying in a fitting room because nothing seems to fit.
Where my clothes come from
Yes, I am that kind of basic bitch that walks into Target for one thing and accidentally walks out with a full cart. Almost all my basics come from here, from my ballet flats to plain colored tees to jeans and shorts. It’s so easy to swing through the women’s section (it’s dead ahead when you walk in for a reason) and grab a few things on your weekend Target run.
However, I am trying to be a more ethical consumer. Part of that means thinking more and more about the cost of making and selling things at that price point. But on the other hand, I can’t completely turn down basic tees that hover under $10.
Ultimately, I think this is a place where individuals should pick their own battles. We can’t die on every hill, so pick yours. (Mine is Amazon, by the way. My Prime account is expiring in October and I am cutting them out for good because there are no ethical billionaires.)
So much responsibility is pushed onto individuals. “Buy ethically,” is right up there with “Use less water,” and “Bring your own straw.” Yes, these are good and helpful things that we should do. But individuals are not nearly as responsible for water use and plastic waste as corporations. Being an ethical consumer is good, but pushing for regulation is even better.
So yeah, I’ll cut back but not eliminate buying clothes at Target.
Considering that I used to blog about this regularly, it’s no surprise that a good chunk of what I wore for the challenge came from these boxes. While I’ve moved on, I don’t regret this phase of my fashion journey. It exposed me to new things I love.
It just got be an expensive habit and a crutch I didn’t need once I had a better grip on my personal style. I’d still recommend it to anyone curious!
Hand me downs
I was talking to my mom earlier this week (Hi, Mãe!) and even she noticed this. “Wow, you do wear a lot of things I give you.” A lot of the people she works for will hand off clothes they don’t wear — sometimes still with the tags! — for her to find them a home. Consider this the Barcelos family’s contribution to being more responsible consumers?
An extra special example of this is the skirt (with pockets!) I wore on Day 4. I loved it but it was too wide for my waist. Luckily for me, my mom was able to alter it down to fit me perfectly. She made clothes for me when I was young and she’s still got that talent. It’s something I wish I’d learned when I was younger.
What I brought out of hiding
While most of this challenge was me wearing what I usually wear, I did dig into my closet for things that don’t often make it into my everyday rotation. I wanted to think about why and what I can do to wear them more since they survived my latest closet purge. Here are some examples:
Picked this up at Marshalls last summer to replace the floral blouse from my first Stitch Fix that I love but can’t seem to find everywhere. It’s not quite the same as the original, and that’s why I don’t think I wear it as much. All I see is how much it’s not like the original. It has a deeper neckline. It’s short sleeved instead of elbow length. The fabric’s a bit thinner.
But you know what? It was still cute enough for me to keep. Like in so many other things in life, I need to stop focusing on the negatives here.
Polka dot skirt
I think the reason I don’t wear this more is because I don’t know how to style it. It’s navy blue with brown and cream polka dots, which sounds super neutral and easy to pair with things, right?
Ehhhh, not so much. I hate black and navy blue together, and I also hate white and cream together, which means the two most basic pairings are out. The brown tee I wore for the challenge and a chambray shirt are the only things I’ve ever worn this skirt with.
Any other suggestions? I’m all ears.
What started as a fun Instagram challenge wound up making me think far more than I expected. It’s been a long time since I’ve done something like this and I want to do it more often. What do you do to challenge yourself when you’re getting dressed for the day? Let me know!
CW: brief allusions to suicide
I think a lot about my Padrinho Fernandinho. It’s hard not to. I live on a street that shares his name. My favorite author is another Fernando. It’s never for long, but my grandfather’s memory is a regular visitor.
When I was 12, I spent the summer of 1997 on São Jorge with him and my Madrinha Julia. A lot of it was spent leaving the foggy edge of Rosais to head into Velas, the main town, to visit the casa de repouso — the old folks home.
Avó Rosa, his mother, lived there. I’d go with him not to see her, a frail old woman who was confined to her bed as the summer wore on who started calling me Debby, then Idalina, then Julia before she finally wasted away. I went with him because my cousins lived across the street and I wanted to play with someone my age.
However, I always went with him to see her, pay my respects with all the filial piety I was capable of at 12, and then go off to swim at the pier or get a gelado with my cousins.
Eventually he’d summon me out of the ocean or from my Tia’s hospedaria and it would be time to go back to Rosais. Usually that meant going to the grocery store first. We’d pick up some milk and other staples, but Padrinho always took his time picking out fruit.
Honestly, it made me really impatient. Patience was not a virtue I had much of as a preteen.
I think about him a lot, but not usually about as he was in the summer of 97. The vigorous man who’d just turned 60 is eclipsed by the shadow of himself that he was when I was 29 and he was 77. In 2014, he didn’t live in the home where he and Madrinha Julia had raised my mother. Madrinha had been gone for about a decade by then.
He lived with Fátima (who will not come into this story again today, but maybe another time) not at the edge of Rosais, but at the heart of the parish. It was an alien place to me, even if it happened to be the house my father was born in. I think the bedroom I slept in was where he was born, but I have no desire to find out.
I think a lot about Padrinho as he was then because took his life in the garage under my borrowed bedroom not two weeks after I left him to go start my study abroad program.
But on Sunday, I came home with a bag of stone fruits that I don’t eat. Not raw, anyway — I’m a picky eater and I like fruit cooked somehow.
Padrinho, as we would say, was guloso when it came to fresh fruit. Not a glutton. That word is too sloppy for him. He was too proper for that. Let’s say instead that he had a sweet tooth.
Stone fruit was his particular favorite. After dinner, he’d carefully peel and slurp down with delicate relish whatever had looked good to him while I was impatient to go. Peaches, nectarines, plums, whatever the bounty of summer was that day.
At this weekend’s farmer’s market, I picked up some pluots and plums while I was out visiting my ailing parent. (Don’t worry; my dad slipped and fell but he’s not going anywhere.) Pai has a perfectly good apricot tree in the yard that keeps the bowl of fruit on the counter full, so I decided to bring some home with me after my visit.
I couldn’t have told you why, not at first. I wasn’t planning on eating them. I didn’t think Jim could eat all of them. (He has since informed me that he would have taken up that challenge, but I digress.)
It was only when I turned onto San Fernando Street that I realized that a friendly ghost was riding in my front seat, disguised as plums and pluots.
On Sunday, Padrinho wasn’t the man I could have stopped from taking that step off that chair. He wasn’t a warning of the possibility of self-destruction in my blood. He was a man who still had years ahead of him, who loved fruit, and who lived in a parish of hydrangeas and clouds. Most of all, he was a man who loved his family quietly but deeply.
It’s so easy to remember someone by the way they died. This weekend, I experienced the happy accident of remembering someone by living the way that they did instead.
I don’t have a grave I can visit. It’s too far away and I’m not ready to set foot on that island of fog and ghosts just yet. But I can make something with these Fernando fruits. Sometimes, saudade can be sweet.
Not the most relevant intro, but have you heard Lana Del Rey’s cover of Doin’ Time by Sublime? (Yeah, I used to think it was called Summertime, too.)
It is SO GOOD. She captures exactly how I feel this time of year: slow, languorous, easing into the dog days of summer.
With that musical tangent out of the way, let’s dive into this post.
Resolution #1: Protect my time
Excuse me while I high five myself because I am crushing this resolution. Am I still hella busy? Yeah, sure. But I’ve been good about keeping me time separate.
Now, my focus is on managing my commitments so I don’t have to cut into my personal time. I feel like that’s the root of many of my time management problems.
Resolution #2: Listen to my body
I forget where I read this this month (I feel like it’s something my friend Siri shared on her Instagram stories?), but I read something somewhere about how wearing clothes that don’t fit you anymore are what make you feel bad about your body.
What does this have to do with listening to my body? Well, as much as I may talk big talk about wanting to lose weight feel good or whatever, the biggest motivator to lose weight is to fit into my old clothes. That’s it. I don’t actually feel bad about myself when I’m not wearing clothes (scandalous!) or when I’m wearing something that fits.
So in a combination of laziness and radical self-acceptance, I didn’t work out all that much but I didn’t hate myself for it. I didn’t track every single calorie but I didn’t gorge myself.
And you know what? I feel fine.
Resolution #3: Declutter my life
I started (finally!) clearing out my wardrobe, so this resolution is going well this month.
However, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed but just how much I have to do. I get home, I think, “I have to clean,” but then I get so overwhelmed by everything I have to do that I end up doing nothing.
This week, I started breaking down this big job into smaller parts. By giving myself a list of smaller tasks to do, I can make incremental progress and feel like I’m accomplishing something. It also gives me direction, something I desperately crave after managing my own time during the workday.
I also leave myself room to fail. On Saturday, my first priority is handing anything I may not have gotten done during the week. Failsafes are key to making a good plan into a great one.
Tl;dr: making a lists is great, treat it less as rules and more like guidelines, break down big projects into smaller tasks whenever you can!
In an effort to write more for my blog but not turn each and every post into a +1000 word behemoth, every other week or so, I’ll be bringing you my Friday Five: a quick list of five things about whatever I feel writing about that week.
After bouncing around the country this month, I’m settling down to a long stretch of staying close to home until October. Naturally, this means that I miss traveling already. Let me tell you a few of the reasons why.
#1: Setting my own itinerary
I used to wake up at 4 am to go open and guard the pool at the YMCA for a few hours before heading off to school. While I don’t miss that early morning alarm, I do miss the quiet stillness of the morning before the sun comes out. That’s why you’ll usually catch me on the earliest flight anywhere.
As someone who used to travel with and coordinate big groups of people, it’s also ridiculously liberating not to have to worry about people running late (because I love being obnoxiously early), finding consensus before going out to eat, or worrying about being too fast paced (or wanting to take it slow) for other people to keep up with.
#2: Taking public transit
I love trains. Probably more than planes, but it’s far more effective for me to get to most places I’m going by air. However, I’ve stopped renting cars now that I’m responsible for getting myself around. Yes, I’m lucky that I’m often traveling to see friends who do have cars, but I am just as likely and far more excited to check out the local transit.
My biggest humblebrag was getting from Long Beach to North Hollywood and back again using mostly the Metro. Did you know that LA has a not terrible (by San Jose standards, that is) subway system? Because I figured that route out all by myself in May and I’m still proud of that small accomplishment.
Will I take a Lyft if I’m in a hurry? Sure, but I’d rather not.
#3: Feeling detatched
Time does not run normally when you’re traveling and that goes double once you start crossing time zones. When you’re in an airport, you’re neither here nor there. When you’re in an airplane, that sense of limbo is heightened.
Sitting around an airport or a train station is as close as I’ll ever come to feeling unburdened. I’m not in control, nor am I required to be.
#4: Being someone else
Most days, I am more than happy to spread the gospel of St. Quidditch when a Lyft driver asks me where I’m headed on my way to the airport.
Some days, however, I am not in the mood. One Lyft driver last fall was a little too curious about I was doing in town, one thing led to another, and suddenly I was visiting for a high school reunion. My day job was as a paralegal while I went to law school at night. Yes, I stole my sister-in-law’s identity. But hey, I knew what I was talking about enough to convince a stranger. I got a kick out of it.
I started using different aliases when I’m at the airport getting food and they need a name to call out. As I’m waiting around, I think to myself, “Who is this person? Why are they getting a chicken sandwich at the Atlanta airport?”
It’s a fun thought exercise and a great way to deflect strangers. I must have the opposite of resting bitch face because random people strike up conversations with me all the time. Busting out an alter ego like June from Los Gatos who’s an undergrad at Santa Clara (somehow people still think I’m in my 20s, bless them) is a good buffer between the real me and some random dude at the airport.
Anyone else do this, or am I few steps away from starring in my own version of Catch Me If You Can? Let me know.
#5: Being alone
Apart from a few weeks when I had my own dorm when I was studying in Portugal, I have never lived alone. Since I’ll be marrying my roommate next year, I likely never will live alone. This is something I’m mostly fine with.
Mostly. Sometimes, I miss having my own space and being answerable to no one but myself.
Being in an airplane without internet access adds another layer of delicious solitude to the mix. We’re all so used to being able to access anyone at any time. It’s overwhelming. Being completely cut off is a wonderful way to rest, recharge, and then rejoin the world feeling refreshed and ready to take it on once more.
It’s been a over a year since I’ve written about clothes and my personal style on the blog. Why? Well, it boils down to two reasons.
The first is that I’ve gained weight and didn’t want to think about my body, let alone write about what I put on it. (Since my face hasn’t changed nearly as much, this probably explains why my interest in makeup and skincare has gone up.)
The second is tangentially related. I hate opening my closet. It’s full of things that don’t fit, it’s disorganized, and there’s a bunch of stuff that I don’t wear but can’t get rid of.
After months of putting it off, I decided to finally do something about it last weekend.
What the even is my personal style, anyway?
I had an old Pinterest board knocking around back when I was using Stitch Fix a lot. At first, I tried to edit it down to something that better represents I want to wear now. It didn’t take me too long to sick of wading through hundreds of pins, so I archived that old board and started a new one from scratch.
After a few hours of messing around, I had a better idea of what my idea of what I was looking for. Denim isn’t going anywhere, but I like a lot of color, too. Midi skirts? Gimme. Button downs? A nice way to graduate from relying on my graphic tee addiction. Florals, polka dots, and stripes? Yes to all.
I set myself a realistic goal over the weekend. Don’t worry about doing your whole wardrobe all in the weekend. Just be happy when you open your closet instead of dreading the hot mess within.
This week’s goal: open my closet and not be overwhelmed
At the time that I took photos of my closet, my closet floor was a hot mess of shopping bags (plastic, paper, and canvas) I was saving to reuse, shoes I was planning on getting rid of somehow, two baskets of clean laundry (one folded, one not), and a box of Jim’s Lootcrate rejects that I was planning on using as prizes for my Portuguese students.
But I’m too ashamed to let the internet actually see that. These photos are as close as you’re going to get. I’ll let you us your imaginations to fill in the rest.
Take it allllllllll out
When I’ve attempted wardrobe purges in the past, I’ve gone through my closet and taken out things I wasn’t interested in anymore. This time around, I was far more aggressive. I took everything out. All of it.
Now that I had an empty closet, I asked myself this question: what would I actually buy if I had to start over again?
The sunken cost fallacy is a big reason why I couldn’t let things go. I bought the thing, therefore, I should use the thing. By starting over again, I was able to pick out things I wanted to wear and leave the rest out.
Once I was done, I’d managed to cut down my closet by a third! I hadn’t set any goals when I started this, so this felt like an excellent outcome.
What to sell
While I might be rejecting the sunken cost fallacy, that doesn’t mean I can’t get some money back from this endeavor. Here’s how I’m going about it.
Putting it up on Poshmark
There are several secondhand shopping apps out there where you can post things for other people to purchase. Poshmark just happens to be the one I use.
While I’ve had some success with the app in the past, I also have a bunch of clothes lying around waiting for someone to buy them. So, I dropped their prices a bit more and I’m setting a three month limit on trying to resell things. If they don’t get bought, they’re getting donated.
Check out what I’m selling here, or just scroll to the bottom of the page and check out the little widget I’ve added to my blog added in hopes of finally finding these things a new home. So far I haven’t had a chance to add things from my latest closet purge, but stay tuned!
Cashmere collection seeks loving home
While Poshmark is a pretty good catchall for most of what I’m getting rid of, I have a collection on vintage cashmere cardigans that I inherited from one of my mom’s friends that I know is worth something but just doesn’t fit me anymore. So if you know any good vintage shops in the South Bay, let me know!
What to give away
Not everything I’m getting rid of is something I’d feel good about selling. A lot of things are just worn out. Then there are other things I’ve had sitting around on Poshmark that haven’t sold, are still in good condition, but that I want gone now.
I struggled with this issue a while ago because I wanted to make an ethical choice about what to do with things I wanted to get rid of. Goodwill abuses their employees and the Salvation Army is homophobic. Months later, I had a few boxes of things I was planning on getting rid of cluttering my closet floor.
Doing the right thing takes a little bit more work, so sucked it up and did some research rather than dump a bunch of stuff off at a shady charity to sort through what’s useful and what’s not.
Clothes in good condition are going to San Jose’s Sacred Heart Community Service. It feels much better knowing that these good things that I don’t need will be going back to my community via an organization several of my friends have worked with and can vouch for.
However, not everything I’m getting rid of is in good condition. Figuring out what to do with that was harder. While some cities have textile recycling programs, San Jose currently does not. I did some reading over at Cal Recycle to figure out my options.
Ultimately, I decided to go with H&M’s garment collecting service. The discount card for 15% off for your next in-store purchase that they offer is nice, but honestly, I chose it because it’s the most convenient option. I can drop off a bag of stuff on my way to my parents’ house instead of agonizing over what to do and letting it sit in my apartment forever.
I still need to go through the clothes I took out of my closet and sort them into sell and donate piles. While I’m doing that, I’m going to be documenting what everything I’m getting rid of has in common, so that’ll be the next blog post in this series.
I haven’t even mentioned my drawers of clothes (soooooo many graphic tees) and the baskets of clean laundry (that somehow manage to be constantly breeding and multiplying?) that I still have to tackle. However, I feel like I’ve made a solid start and I’m looking forward to taking those challenges on instead of dreading them.
The way I fangirl for Glossier is pretty well known among my friends. It speaks to the Basic Bitchcelos at the heart of my being. I’ve blogged about them quite a bit, I’ve gotten some of my friends into the brand, and I even planned a trip to the Seattle store into me and my fiancé’s anniversary trip/summer vacation. (I’m still kicking myself for missing the Chicago store by mere days, too.)
But I am not a blind stan. Glossier Play was a bit of a bust for me, and while I eventually picked up something from the line, it wasn’t something I bought on launch day like Lash Slick or the two newest Cloud Paints.
However, Play couldn’t prepare me for how underwhelming their latest launch, GlossiWEAR, would be. I woke up early not to miss it — though I am also still stuck on East Coast time so it wasn’t a huge sacrifice — only to be disappointed the more I looked.
Anyway, here are my hits (a few), misses (many) and suggestions.
GlossiWEAR: a quick review
90s hair accessories are back with a vengeance — I’m rocking a scrunchie with butterflies on it today — and this floral claw clip jumped out at me. The floral version pictured here is something I’d buy, and they have a pink and black version that’s very on brand for Glossier.
Not so on brand is their bright yellow duffel bag. From what I heard, it was from Camp Glossier and there was some serious demand for it.
However, bright yellow and black is not a color scheme I associate with the brand? Even Invisible Shield sunscreem, which does have yellow packaging, comes in a pink box.
I’m in the market for a new gym bag, and I even considered this one for a moment and put it in my cart — but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Something floral or Glossier pink would have been better.
As for these slide sandals… oof. This is some hypebeast stuff, which I suppose fits this whole limited edition launch thing? However, they just don’t feel very Glossier to me. I’m going to call this product another off brand miss.
The comb is adorable, much more on brand, and another thing that I strongly considered purchasing. Not enough to make a solo purchase, but definitely the sort of thing you add to get free shipping.
Scrolling further led me deeper into disappointment. The hair clips were something I was expecting. A few days ago, a pair of pink clips were advertised as a gift with a $50 purchase, which I scoffed at. They’re very much in the vein of the 90s hair trend I mentioned earlier, but not appealing enough for me to drop fifty bucks to get them considering I just spent a bunch of money in Seattle.
As a $12 stand alone purchase, I don’t hate them. The iconic Glossier pink works well with the blue and… white? Lavender? I can’t quite tell. Either way, not something for me, but something that makes sense.
These other three pieces threw me for a bit of a loop. At first I thought they had sold out, but then I heard they’re not releasing them until September? Confusing.
Anyway, the pieces themselves are reasonably priced (compare them to Glossier original’s sweatshirt, which is on my wishlist for this year’s Black Friday sale) and very much on brand.
The hoodie isn’t for me, but it’s their iconic color. The cap is minimal and cute. The long sleeve shirt in blue with Glossier’s little three-eyed smiley doesn’t seem out of place among the soft tones I’ve come to expect.
But again: they’re not launching until September.
What I would have done instead
Far be it for me to tell Emily Weiss what to do, but here I am doing it anyway.
I think the biggest misstep of this launch is how off-brand it is. Not just aesthetically (though that yellow gym bag really bugs me) but also at the core of what people have come to expect from the brand.
Give the people what they want
I lurk in the Glossier subreddit pretty regularly and the usual requests are familiar to me. Bring back the headband and the G pin and my fellow stans will go wild. Make the Glossier You candle (it’s not clothes but neither is a duffle bag) that got teased once upon a time.
While I understand that it’s important to expand your customer base, so much of Glossier’s brand is built on their customer service. Listening to their hardcore fans and giving them what they want (like a bronzer? not my thing but I hear about it all the time) would cement that reputation.
What I want to wear
Okay, enough regurgitating other people’s ideas. Have some Original Content.
I picked up the Glossier water bottle from Seattle because I loved the floral G motif. The tote bag version was even more lush.
I loved everything about the aesthetic of that shop. But what would I have loved even more? A t-shirt. Picture it: a pocket tee in Glossier pink or a soft green with that floral G logo on it. Perfection.
Let’s take that pop-up shop theme even further. Everyone seemed to lose their mind over the Miami keychain. Take that logo and put that on a tropically colored pocket tee, too.
Imagine a whole line of Glossier tees, each inspired by a city where Glossier has/had a shop. I’m hoarding my Glossier SF stickers because I love that beautiful script they used. I’d buy a lavender tee with that purple cursive logo in a heartbeat.
A Glossier LA sweater with the gradient of the canyon they built in the back? Get in my cart, damnit.
The more I think about that gym bag, the more I see a missed opportunity. I think switching up the coloring would make for a simple fix. A pink tote with white trim and a red zip pull would have been an adorable and very on brand take on their bubblewrap pouches.
As a reminder, this post isn’t sponsored, but I do have a link that gives me $10 in store credit it if you use it and 10% off your first order. Whether you’re are picking something up from this launch or you’re as underwhelmed as I am, let me know!
We’re into the second half of the year now and I’ll be real with you: I haven’t thought about these resolutions since the last time I wrote about them. But hey, at least writing this monthly post is a good reminder to myself?
Resolution #1: Protect my time
Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. Liz decides to go to a tournament just as a spectator. Liz finds out that the tournament is short staffed. Liz ends up working the tournament.
But you know what? I’m not going to call this a fail. I wanted to go to the IQA Pan American Games to hang out with East Coast friends, watch my old teammates who are on Team Mexico, and livestream some games. While I wound up on event staff instead of just spectating, I’m still staying with friends and I won’t miss any of Team Mexico’s games.
Protecting your time doesn’t always mean saying no to things. Sometimes it means saying yes, with conditions.
Resolution #2: Listen to my body
I signed up for a four class per month membership at the fitness studio I mentioned last month, so I’m finally putting my money where my mouth is. I’ve also started swimming again, though let’s wait until I’m home for a long enough stretch of time to build a proper habit out of both of these before we call them an absolute win.
After getting back from Seattle, I’ve gone back to using MyFitnessPal to track my calories and physical activity. I wasn’t perfect about meeting my goals for the first day or two, but I didn’t beat myself up about it. I was hungry. I’d just gotten back from a vacation where I’d eaten whatever I wanted and I wanted to making that transition isn’t always easy.
Resolution #3: Declutter my life
My living room is currently overwhelmed by my overflowing desk and my half unpacked suitcase, so this resolution isn’t going so well. Having two travel weekends so close to each other leads to situations like these more often than I’d care to admit to.
One thing I’d like to focus on this month is better utilizing the space in the front part of our apartment. We don’t use the storage space in our living room, dining area, and kitchen as effectively as we could, which leads to minor everyday clutter turning into something overwhelming by the time the week is over.
Let’s just say that it was a happy coincidence that me and my fiancé’s vacation this year lined up with Glossier having a store open in Seattle. (I’m still mad that I missed being in Chicago for that pop up by two days.)
Welcome to the Pacific Northwest
I’ve been to the permanent Glossier location in LA once when it was dead quiet and I managed to fit in two visits to the San Francisco pop up without waiting in line, but no such luck was to be had in Seattle. While the line moved quickly, it was pretty packed when we got inside, so this was as good a photo as I could get of the interior:
My weak attempts at trying to take photos without being too obnoxious aside, I enjoyed the decor of this pop up more than San Francisco’s version. All the greenery gave it such a cool (both temperature and aesthetic) Pacific Northwest vibe. SF’s version was more of a retro café, which was very cute but not necessarily specific to the city.
Making a list and checking it twice
This wasn’t my first Glossier pop up experience. Since I knew how overwhelming it could be, I came prepared. That’s right, I made a list.
Back when Glossier Seattle was announced, I was running low on Lash Slick and in search of a new clear sunscreen, so those were on my list. Once I saw that there was a Seattle exclusive water bottle (San Francisco was the first pop up and Glossier didn’t have any location-specific merch yet 😔), that went on the list, too.
These were all things I knew that I wanted sight unseen. What I was really looking forward to was was the chance to play with things that were new to me, including Glossier Play.
And the haul!
After testing and trying and definitely not spilling some Body Hero oil on me (I smelled like my godmother’s bathroom for the rest of the day, hard pass), I was ready to make some decisions.
Shameless Glossier fangirl that I am, the Seattle exclusive water bottle was a requirement. It’s living in my gym bag now. I’m too scared to travel with it and lose it! As a nice bonus, a portion of the proceeds go to Mary’s Place, a local shelter for women and families.
Clear sunscreens have made it easy for me to wear SPF every day, so the Invisible Shield was at the top of my shopping list. Still, it was nice to try it in person to make sure it had the texture I’ve come to like in clear SPF.
Speaking of texture, Bubblewrap has the lighter formulation I prefer in an eye cream. Thicker ones pill up on me. Purchases like these are why I wished I lived closer to a permanent Glossier store. The ability to try out colors and textures has helped me make more informed purchases.
On the other hand, trying things out is also dangerous. I didn’t give the Vinylic Lips from the Glossier Play line much thought, but when I swatched Disco, I couldn’t stop looking at it. The excitement I thought I’d feel when I tried the Color Slides — especially Jumbo and Nectar, a bright orange and mustard yellow — just wasn’t there.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t get Disco out of my head even after I cleaned it off of my hand. So, it took over the spot on my list that I thought the Color Slides would.
My top 3 Glossier picks
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these Glossier fangirl sort of posts, so I figured I’d update you on my favorites from them rather than attempt to cover Glossier product I own. (Though I might later? Let me know if you’d like to see something like that.)
If my makeup collection evaporated tomorrow and I had to start from scratch, these are the things I’d pay rush shipping to replace ASAP.
This was part of my original Glossier purchase and it’s been my go to concealer ever since.
I’m currently finishing a pot of this in the shade Medium. They expanded the shade range last year (yay!) so I was glad that I was able to swatch and confirm that I’m G8 now. I didn’t buy a new one yet, but as soon as I start running low, I know it’ll be replaced by the right shade.
How much do I love this mascara? I was planning on picking up more in Seattle, ran out at the End of May, tried to hold off, but bought two tubes in early June so I’d hit free shipping and have this mascara back in my life.
I’m blessed with naturally curled and slightly thick lashes, so what I look for in mascara is something that can give me length and separation. Lash Slick delivers both in a subtle way that make it look like mayyyyybe my lashes are just that good. It does so while lasting all day and not smudging. I mess around with other mascaras but this remains my #1.
These were my intro to liquid blush way back when I tried them at the San Francisco pop up. I tried to limit myself to a pair, wound up going back to get the other two, and then instantly picked up Storm and Dawn when they launched last summer.
So yeah, I guess you could say I think these blushes are pretty neat.
A little bit goes a long way with these. Glossier suggests tapping them on and blending out with your fingers. While that works well enough, I prefer blending them out with a duo fiber brush.
If had to absolutely pick only one… ugh, why? Dawn if I absolutely must. While bright orange is something I don’t wear every day, 1) it’s surprisingly wearable on me and 2) I don’t own anything else like it.
On the other hand, if I was suggesting them to a friend, I’d tell them to go for a duo of Dusk, because it’s neutral and hard to over do, and Beam, a perfectly perky peachy pink. Save the deeper colors (like Storm, which might actually be my favorite? ugh, it’s like picking a favorite child) for when you’ve gotten more comfortable with liquid blush.
Jim and I have been engaged for a few months now. After the congratulations subsided, the questions began. Do you have a date, a venue in mind, who are you inviting, etc etc. You know, all the things we have vague to semi-specific ideas about.
Last weekend, my parents threw us an engagement party. We weren’t responsible for much, but in many ways, it felt like a small scale rehearsal for the main event next year.
Guest list angst
I’m going to sound like I’m complaining here, but hear me out. I froze a little when my mom asked me who I wanted to invite because… I don’t know, really. I have a decent idea who I want at my wedding, but this was smaller scale. Close family, wedding party, and my parents’ friends felt like a safe choice.
A lot of my friends aren’t local and I didn’t want to invite some friends while others were left out. Also, our wedding guest list is still very much up in the air and I was worried that people would assume an invite last weekend meant they were automatically invited to the wedding.
Basically, I felt the same sort of emotional pressure and sense of obligation that’s been plaguing our attempts at finalizing a guest list.
Fast forward to this month, when most of my parents’ friends had to bail after RSVPing for totally understandable reasons. I wound up asking local friends last minute if they could come. Not everyone could, but so many did!
It’s made me want to take an even harder look at our guest list. Those obligation invites feel like such easy cuts now. It’s not about who you think should there: think about who wants to be there for you.
Going outdoors is a gamble
The party was in my parents’ backyard and it was a perfect afternoon. Sunny, not too hot, a lovely day to be outside.
But the weekend before? Highs in the upper 80s, which I don’t mind because I love warm weather, but it definitely isn’t for everyone.
When we started looking at places for our reception, I was open to outdoor venues. Jim, on the other hand… not so much. I thought I could talk him into it if I found the perfect place, but after getting lucky last weekend, I don’t want to risk it again.
Fall is still pretty warm in the South Bay. I don’t want my guests melting — just their hearts.
Smaller scale is better
I hate being a tease, but until it’s booked and the down payment is paid, I don’t want to be specific about venues just yet. That being said… I think I found the perfect one?
However, the more info I get about it, the more cuts I know I’ll need to make if we want to make it work.
And you know what? After last weekend, I am more than okay with this.
Fewer people means more bang for our budget buck, more time to spend with everyone who does come (yep, I came to that conclusion after a lot of table bouncing last weekend), and less to do and less to stress about.
That way I can focus on, you know, marrying my (soon-to-be) husband. What a concept.