Design, Observations, Self

my skincare/makeup routine: day version: or, what i’ve been thinking about to avoid thinking about more important stuff.

What important stuff? Like why I keep going on dates with people I know I don’t want to be in a relationship with. Like how much $$ I’m spending on frivolous things and how I need to get back to a budget. Like all my feelings about what I learned at the Jam.

Which, speaking of, needs its own blog post soon. I’ll say for now, though, that one of the major takeaways was that I need to shut down my Inner Critic, who I’m pretty sure is the one layering on the extra guilt about not spending my time on the “right” kind of activities.

Anyway, I figured I’d give my latest obsession its due indulgence, and maybe then I’ll feel a bit more capable of easing my mind over to other subjects.

Let’s talk skin. I’m including my face makeup in this roundup because face makeup directly impacts skin–and vice versa.



My morning routine is undergoing some finessing, as I’m searching for a new, lighterweight makeup for the summer and find my skincare needs change as my makeup changes. But here’s how it stands currently.

  1. Cleanse/ tone with apple cider vinegar, or with Simple Micellar Water– the former’s got malic acid, which is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, it balances my skin’s pH, and it contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to break down dead skin cells and leave my skin feeling new. The latter just makes my skin feel clean and soft.
  2. Moisturize with Dr. Lin’s Daily Hydrating Gel– I don’t love this as much as I thought I would. It contains hyaluronic acid, my favorite moisturizer, but the gel texture actually leaves my skin feeling a bit dry. 
  3. Protect with Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen– most sunscreens break me out, but not this one!
  4. Prime with Clinique Superprimer Universal Skin Primer– I’ve recently come around to the value of primers, but good god if it isn’t hard to find one that isn’t silicone-based! This is the first primer I’ve used that doesn’t clog my pores or break me out. The price, however, makes this one untenable as a staple. I’ll be trying the slightly cheaper Pixi Poreless & Flawless Primer out next to see if that works; that also has titanium dioxide, a mineral sunscreen, so I may not need the Neutrogena then. $$$$$.
  5. Perfect with Covergirl Clean Oil-Control Foundation– Buildable coverage that doesn’t make me break out is unbeatable at this price. When I feel like lighter coverage, I skip the sunscreen, primer, foundation, and concealer and sub in Pixi Illuminating Tint and Conceal.
  6. Conceal with Maybelline Master Conceal Camouflaging Concealer– I LOVE the texture of this: inky fluid that provides full coverage. But it oxides over the day 😦 I’m actually working towards trying not to need concealer– I usually only have to use it because I’ve irritated a blemish by picking at it. 
  7. Color with Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush– Every blush makes me break out except this. It’s crazy expensive for me at $28, but I think it might last me the next 3 years. 

PHEW. Then I do my eyes (brow powder, copper eyeliner, black mascara) and lips (clear primer and red lipstick). It takes 15 minutes and makes me feel like a grown woman.

Stay tuned for the evening rendition… things get WILD.

xoxo m.


confetti drawer.

I’ve never had an office job before, but I’ve always wanted to have a desk, or even cubicle, to call my own. So, when I finally got hired full-time at a REAL OFFICE WHERE I’LL HAVE MY OWN DESK, and shortly thereafter came across this inspiring interview with Swiss Miss Studio creator Tina Roth Eisenberg last week, I went into full-blown planning mode! Artwork, tchotchkes, snacks, beautiful office supplies… and a drawer full of confetti?

Tina (she and I are totes on a first name basis) says in the interview with PFSK:

“One thing that I believe in is playfulness at work, or in life. We have a drawer in the office that is just completely full of confetti. It’s the perfect analogy for what I’m talking about. I feel like it is such an important part of a work environment, that you love going in everyday.”

I don’t know that my new job is going to be something I love going in to every day. I’m m mostly excited about having more stability in my work hours, a real salary, and 30 days PTO (!!!). But I do believe I’ll enjoy the work, and even more if I can approach it with a sense of experimentation and play.

To that end, if I could have my own play-inspiring confetti drawer (which would unfortunately not be full of actual confetti due to the fact that confetti would be a pain in the ass to clean up whenever I inevitably felt compelled to toss a handful), here’s what would be in it:

  • Sharpies in every color to make quick drawings when bored.
  • Butt-loads of glass and seed beads for digging my fingers into.
  • Bubble wrap for popping in frustration.
  • A small collection of essential oils for sniffing whenever I wanted to be transported somewhere else.

I’m curious- if you had a space to dedicate just to playfulness, what would be in it?




Design, Self

how do you give gifts?

I love browsing gift guides during the holiday season. Not because I actually am looking for things to give people. I mean, I am. But not from these places. I read them the way I imagine some people watch porn: as perfect, unattainable, seductive escapes to unreality that I emerge from with a slight guilt headache.

Take, for example, this gift guide from cool-girl website Refinery 29. In a list called, “30 Genius Gifts for Your Other Half,” their curator suggests a $195 rucksack. RUCKSACK. That sounds like something a 1950’s hobo would carry. Also pretty much everyone I know, including my imaginary other half, has a backpack. Also on the list is a  $350 bocce ball set. Again, maybe if I was a retired New York Jew living in Florida.


What I might give to my husband of 40 years during our retirement.

It’s not just that these suggested gifts are crazy expensive. It’s also that so many of them are totally frivolous. An icicle wine chiller. Moscow mule cups. A sleeping mask. No one I know needs these things!

My ideal gift for giving fulfills someone’s actual need or desire in a stylish, perhaps unexpected, delightful way. I don’t like just giving stuff. 

So I’m curious: what do you do around the holiday season for gifts? Do you obsessively hand-make, curate individualized lists, or just get the same basic gift for everyone? (As for myself, I am making baked goods for acquaintances and getting cheapie/creative with single gifts for my closer friends). I’d love to hear yours 🙂

xo m.

Design, Self, Writing

blue skies and red rock.

Here are a few pictures of my recent trip to Israel, if you’d like to see…

I have tons more, but I am, frankly, not a very good photographer, and don’t have enough hours in the day to make the rest appreciable 🙂

From left to right:

  1. The Chapel of the Ascension, where Christians believe Jesus was miracled to heaven after the Resurrection
  2. A view from the base of En Gedi, a gorgeous hiking site near the Dead Sea, peppered with natural springs and waterfalls
  3. The best hummus lunch eaten by the ocean.
  4. The Dead Sea. I waded in, and it was COLD! And oily. If you don’t rinse off afterwards, your clothes will be smelly and perma-damp. It also hurt. I didn’t realize how many scratches I had all over my skin until I doused them in salt!
  5. Detail on the Dome of the Rock
  6. View from the top of Masada fortress, a former Herodian vacay spot that was later taken over by Jewish rebels and converted into an armed city. It offers massive views of the surrounding terrain and is difficult to enter. Still, the Romans managed to use a nearby natural structure to create a pathway inside, and legend has it that the leader of the rebels ordered everyone in the city to commit suicide to prevent being re-enslaved. Yikes.
  7. Peeking through at the Dead Sea from En Gedi.
Design, Observations, Self

odds and ends.


Good morning, friends! What are you up to this weekend? I am teaching and babysitting, then going out with some friends (here). As usual, here’re a few links to help you get your weekend started right.

A funny, informative podcast with great guests and music.

One of my favorite restaurants: string lights, pillows, and full wine pourings.

James Baldwin and Margaret Mead on religion.

A gorgeous/ insightful craft I want to do with the kids.

My favorite purchase of late; makes drinking water feel luxurious.

Joanna Newsom has a new album and it’s like a symphony.

15 tips for hosting dinner parties (I love the idea of braising meat, lighting a bunch of candles, and using cloth napkins).

Design, Nanny, Observations

children’s book illustrations.

At the house of one of the kiddos I nanny, the upstairs neighbors were getting rid of a bunch of books. One of said books, which I rescued is an old-school compendium of “the best” children’s illustrators. I haven’t read any of the text (who does, for a coffee table book?) but the artwork is gorgeous.

I freely confess to judging children’s books by their covers/ illustrations, and this is just further proof that that’s a great idea.


Design, Nanny, Observations

odds and ends (and a plea for advice?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

GOOD MORNING darlings and dearests! I am trying to get my finances in order but can’t seem to find a way to keep track of my spending and budgeting that’s convenient, comprehensive, and can easily accommodate cash flows. Mint is popular, I know, but it constantly miscategorizes things and entering my cash expenditures has felt like a hassle. Are there any other options out there that you guys like?

As always (lolz because I’ve been inconsistent– I’m working on it!) here are some links to get your weekend started right.

A thought-provoking (and simultaneously kind of “duh”) article about the way we should be disciplining kids in school. 

Why, WHYYYYY is SNL still going to have Donald Trump host??

Can worrying be good for you? 

A spare, natural, exquisite apartment.

The skincare routines of beauty editors (or, I should have known I could never afford to become a beauty editor.) (Or, WHAT THE HOLY HELL, $200 FOR FACE CREAM THAT STILL REQUIRES A WHOLE OTHER FACE CREAM?!?!?!?)

An incredible blog about creating content, branding, and marketing. 

A very biased, but very absorbing, but very cerebral look at American nationalism by Anatol Lievin.

That’s all folks! Have a creative and gorgeous weekend.

xoxo, mel.