OK, everyone, hear me out. I think 2020 has gotten a really bad rap.
I, for one, have been less than kind to this year. Every time that I hear an adverse piece of news, find myself picking up my spilled groceries during a monsoon on Michigan Ave., or stub my toe on the corner of my couch, I throw my hands up in the air, look to the sky, and dramatically shout, “2020 is the worst.” There’s no denying that this year is weird to say the least, but a part of me thinks that maybe 2020 doesn’t like what’s happening either. If we drown out all of the hot mess and tune in, I’m sure we’ll find that good things are still happening and beautiful moments are not canceled.
So, in our attempt to be more positive and present this week, we’re sharing our highlight reel of the things that brought us joy last week. Whether it be a warm latte on a gloomy Tuesday, a cringey new Netflix guilty pleasure, or a FaceTime with an old friend, we’re celebrating the moments (big and small) that brought us joy last week. Cheers to tuning back in and finding happiness in what has been the most *unprecedented* year yet.
This week I made it a priority to send my friends and family letters to let them know I’m thinking of them during this crazy time. These notecards incorporate beautiful illustrations and typography on the cover of each blank notecard. I bought these from one of my favorite artists this summer and just started using them. Writing letters to some of my favorite people truly brightens my week!
A few weeks back, my family and I went through a hard time as we lost our sweet grandmother who was fighting her battle with cancer. What made my week was that my thoughtful cousin surprised me with this personalized fingerprint necklace. It was so unexpected but appreciated as I will hold it dear to my heart forever. It’s a great gift for those who may have lost a loved one and would like to have a keepsake in remembrance.
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Cream Cheese Swirled Pumpkin Bread with salted Maple Butter. Held off on the pumpkin all month, but it’s finally fall…sooo pumpkin bread This is the BEST. It’s pumpkiny, perfectly spiced, swirled with cream cheese + topped with cinnamon sugar (not necessary, but SO GOOD…so kind of necessary). Eat warm with a smear of that maple butter. Trust me, it’s best that way! Recipe on HBH – linked in profile. Tuesday night baking on stories?!
PSA, everyone: I’ve done it. I’ve found the best pumpkin banana bread recipe of all time, ever. OK, maybe that is a tad bit dramatic considering that I’m not a baker by anyone’s standards and I haven’t experimented with too many recipes—but wow, this bread was an absolute treat (I’m so sorry, I had to). Not only was it tasty AF, but baking helped me to carve out some “me time” (sans blue light) and gave me the space to blast Folklore/pretend that I was in a dramatic movie where I am the main character. Also, of note, baking the bread made my home smell like the fall oasis of my dreams. 10/10 would recommend.
Overall I would say I’m a big reader, although I always go through phases of reading a bunch and then not reading much at all. I had kind of been in a reading rut for the last few months. However, this week I picked up a thriller in honor of spooky season and devoured it in two days, and now I can’t wait to start reading more again! It’s so lovely to be able to do something at home that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. The book I read was Then She Was Gone, a story of a mother unraveling the details of her daughter’s disappearance years ago. It is full of twists and turns that I never expected—making it the perfect escape for everything going on in the real world.
Listen. I know. I KNOW. The first episode is hilariously bad. The way being an influencer is portrayed is ridiculous. She wears no less than SEVEN outrageous hats (including two… bucket hats??). But in all honesty, this new Netflix series is exactly what I needed right now. It’s light as a macaron and just as nutritionally sound, but the scenery and the enviable eye candy will take your mind on a blissful escape. Hearing the word “Gabriel” spoken in numerous French accents is charming in the extreme and the actual Gabriel is quite possibly the most attractive man I have ever seen. I also spent a lot of the series comparing Emily’s time in Paris to my trip to Paris in which I ended up accidentally ordering 200 euro steak at a four-star restaurant at 2 am that I was way too drunk to remember and having a lot of cheap umbrellas break over my head. It rains not a single time in this entire show so take that as you will.
WATCH: Emily in Paris
If you do end up watching and have the same thought process I did (“Her phone case is way over the top. Actually, do I like it?? Wait, maybe I’ll buy it. I guess I’m into it now.”), I’ve done the work for you:
It’s still hot AF here in LA, but I swear my skin just knows when it’s fall because it gets dry and dull starting on October 1. As an important precaution, I just tried this non-toxic AHA face mask, and it made a huge difference even after one use. For starters, it’s called “Acid Gold” which is the bougiest thing I’ve ever heard and sounds like a skincare treatment Rihanna would do. The non-toxic formula is loaded with a variety of “acids” that definitely sound like they’re going to simultaneously unclog my blackheads and banish dead skin cells. Plus, it contains pumpkin enzymes, which is pretty fitting since anything without “pumpkin” in the title (or ingredients) just isn’t interesting to me RN. Not to mention that besides all the glow-boosting, it contains papaya enzymes to reduce bacteria and sea buckthorn oil to hydrate skin, so that basically takes care of the dryness and pesky cold-weather pimples. Full disclosure, I’ve put on this mask at least three times already this week because it’s just that good. My pumpkin candles are lit, semi-spooky movies are on repeat (Halloweentown High is as scary as I’ll go), but my skin’s back in summer-glow mode, thanks to this mask.
It’s currently 45 degrees in Chicago, which combined with quarantine, means I’m in full-blown hermit mode. Comfort is key this fall, and this jacket has been giving me life every single day. I’ve been wearing this both as I work from home and every time I leave the house (including a million walks around the block with my dog) and I just throw it on and it’s like smothering myself in a soft, glorious cloud (not to mention it’s super warm). It’s the perfect addition to a 2020 fall wardrobe and will be worth its weight in gold once the temperatures drop even more.
If you read any of my previous stories, you know I deal with chronic anxiety. I feel like I’ve tried every self-care remedy there is. However, I’ve realized if I’m not taking the time to talk with a professional, there is no amount of self-care that can help. I have tried a couple of online therapy options, but my favorite (and the most helpful) has been Better Help. I take an hour each week to talk with my therapist, and I feel grounded. To take what I’m learning in therapy to the next level, I bought Cleo Wade’s, Heart Talk Journal. I love it already! Journaling my feelings before bed with lavender tea helps to calm my busy mind. I think the duo is even helping me sleep better.
Being able to take the time out to meditate has been a challenge for me recently, but this week, I have been getting back into the rhythm of checking in with myself, and the MyLife app is perfect for that. Every day, I choose how I’m feeling, and the app recommends a few quick 5-10 minute guided meditations to choose from that’s perfect to help me relax and re-center myself. Afterwards, it checks in with you to see how you’re feeling again using cute emojis to track your progress. It’s a quick but effective daily reminder to give myself a break and focus on just me.
On a busy Friday, I headed to a local shop down the street that sells Korean Beauty on the cheeeeap. Said shop is a major favorite, but while in the shop, I asked the owner what she thinks would work best for my skin: once as oily as a teenage boy who’s entire diet consists of Doritos and frozen pizza, now absurdly dry for no reason at all. She recommended a few products, this among them to help with my clogged pores. You use a little bit of the balm just like you would a cleansing balm, and massage it into the area (I focused on my nose) for 3-5 minutes. The first time I used it, I didn’t really notice a difference. But on a whim, I tried it again last night, and I was aghast at the bits and pieces coming out of my pores. It was the most satisfying experience, to the point that I plan to use this basically every single night this week for the joy of seeing my blackheads literally pop out of my face. Plus, it is so expensive that I feel amazing using it over and over again without worrying that I’m using up something special. All good things from me. If you have blackheads, please buy this and send me all of the pics of what came out of your pores because that is porn to me.