Tomorrow is my birthday, which means I’d normally be in a constant mode of self-reflection and criticism and wondering if I’m where I “should” be. It only feels good in the moment, as if I’m “doing something about it,” but then leaves me in a tailspin of turmoil. What I find much more rejuvenating (and as a result, better for my skin!) is to live and let live. Look out, 32!
- Birthday, Unabashed: I’m a constant work in progress, always looking to learn and grow and evolve. All that pressure, though, is exhausting. When I take stock of things in my life, I am more happy than not. I am more at peace with my accomplishments and failures, my triumphs and trials, than I’ve been in a very long time. That’s something to celebrate.
- Self-Care Saturday: A big piece of my identity has been how low maintenance I aim to be. But, that’s often equated to me not taking care of myself in ways I actually do enjoy. So last Saturday, I had my makeup done by the magical Melinda at Sephora and my hair done by the genius Paul at Atelier Emmanuel, and I didn’t feel ashamed or frivolous or self-conscious for a single second 💁♀️
- This Map: The first gift this year was from my biggest fan, my Mom. Another selfish (in a good way) pursuit I’m working on is traveling more, and this scratch-off map will help ensure inspired planning. Spoiler alert: We already have tickets booked for Ireland in August, and I’ll be hitting up Germany’s Oktoberfest in the fall. Danke, Mama!
- “Truth Hurts” – Lizzo: I’m obsessed with Lizzo’s entire album, music videos, voice, body, ALL. OF. IT. This banger is far and away my favorite. I wake up with it in my head, I go to sleep with it in my head, I hum it in the shower, I’ve contributed to ~100 views of the video. Painting a pretty clear picture of my devotion, no? Some NSFW lyrics but I dare you to not love it.
In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should have…
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
Actress, model and all-around superwoman Angie Harmon wrote this week’s response to The List, and she addresses the ever-present promise of growing older: how to look good while doing it.
I’ve paraphrased Harmon’s “10 tricks for looking fierce at any age, especially the one you are now” below and added my own commentary (of course):
1. Eat foods that are good for you…
This is plain and simple — the more fresh, natural, unprocessed foods you consume, the more your body will thank you. I finally learned this myself with my recent month-long challenge at removing caffeine, alcohol and added/artificial sugar from my diet. Do I still crave and consume pizza, fried foods and other junk? Of course. But I’m a hell of a lot more cognizant about where all of that is going to end up, even if I sweat myself silly at the gym.
2. Make friends with the elliptical machine…
Speaking of the gym, Harmon glorifies the do-it-all elliptical, of which I’ve been a longtime fan. Now, because I live in SF and boutique classes are much more “in,” I’ve tried my hand at boot camps and barre in recent years. But the good, old-fashioned elliptical certainly torches calories and works multiple muscle groups faster than most classes a gym can offer.
3. Buy swimsuits that fit.
If you’ve seen any episode of “What Not to Wear,” ever, you know fit is the most important component to fashion. You can have beautiful pieces, but if they don’t fit well, they won’t maximize your potential. Similarly, if you’re trying to squeeze into a swimsuit from summers long ago, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Forget about the number on the tag and focus on fit: You won’t regret giving your body the support, coverage, or whatever it needs to feel fabulous!
4. You need to exfoliate for young-looking skin.
This tried-and-true beauty tip is timeless for a reason: It works. Even with my sensitive skin, exfoliating a few times a week brightens and tightens my face and neck like nothing else can. I invested in a Clarisonic a few years ago (thanks, Macy’s discount!) and rotate through various face washes, depending on my needs. The satisfaction of seeing the crap that comes off your face is just a bonus.
5. Never underestimate the power of a bright lipstick.
I haven’t ever been much of a lipstick, or lipgloss fan, for that matter. Except for a few years of middle school experimentation, I tend to keep my lips bare. But I see Harmon’s point and have never failed to receive compliments the few times I bust out a bold red or pouty pink. PS, if you have a crave-worthy color I should try, let me know!
6. Sun protection is a must, always…
There’s absolutely no arguing this one — sunscreen is a vital component to everyone’s skin regimen. I personally prefer buying moisturizers and foundation with SPF for foolproof normal days, and I add on sweatproof sunblock for days I’m outside more. Even in the overcast climate of SF, there’s no better shield for your skin than slathering on this stuff.
7. Let your moisturizer sink in…
Of all the beauty advice I’ve read over the years, I don’t recall coming across this one, but Harmon suggests letting your moisturizer sit for three minutes before moving on to your next step. I’ve tried it for all of one day, so I can’t speak to the results yet, but the quickest of Google searches shows her advice is worth taking.
8. Reconsider your beauty routine…
Just as our bodies change with time, so does our hair and skin texture and color. The curls I wanted so desperately during my stick-straight years have finally come, and the color has changed — often with help from a professional — countless times. These changes require different products, treatments and care… if we learned nothing else from “Legally Blonde,” we should all be aware of our hair (and skin) care needs.
9. Know there’s always going to be something about your body you’re not going to like…
Although our beauty standards have progressed by leaps and bounds, there’s still much work to do in self-love and care. I’ll probably never be 100% satisfied with my stomach, for example, but other women would kill for my chest. We want curly hair until we have it. We want thinner limbs but ignore the strength of our own. It’s cliché for a reason: We want what we don’t have. Accepting what we DO have, however, never gets old. Love the body you’re in. Be grateful for it. Accept the things that make you unique, because you’re perfect just the way you are.
10. There will be times when self-acceptance comes less easily…
As Harmon notes, there are going to be days when you just can’t seem to accept the things that irk you most about your body. And that’s OK, too. Spanx and concealer and baseball hats are all helpful tools in getting through a blah day. You don’t have to suck it up and smile, but it is ideal to know what your go-to is on those days so you’re not stuck falling down a rabbit hole of envying others.
Now, Christina and TLC, play me out!
This one’s for the ladies! Side note: Every time I say that, I think of Tina Fey’s scene in “Baby Mama” where she gets on the turntables and plays “Lady in Red” at a Manhattan nightclub.
OK, back to business:
- International Women’s Day: Yesterday’s worldwide celebration of women was, simply put, awesome. Whether you shared inspirational quotes, sentimental stories or simply a smile to the ladies in your life, I hope you had a lovely day 🙂
- Saraswati’s Hijab Transformations: Talk about talent — this Malaysian makeup artist uses her hijab and makeup to transform into pop culture icons, from Disney personalities to comic book characters. Check out more of her work on Instagram @queenofluna.
- Ipsy: My brother and sister-in-law gifted me this beauty bag subscription service for Christmas, and “obsessed” is an understatement. The bags are super cute and reusable, and I’ve already fallen for a few of the products. It’s better than Birchbox, in my humble opinion.
- Spotify’s Women in Music & Culture Playlists: My fave music service also got in on the International Women’s Day festivities. Spotify released 15 playlists from various genres, highlighting decades of iconic females. I’m really digging the Women of Pop and Women of Country compilations… what about you?