Sweet Things on Sunday

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It’s been well documented that nothing makes me cringe more than the phrase “self care routine”. More often than not, people are asking “what products do you use?” Don’t get me wrong, self care is my jam! It’s something I love learning about and a space where I love to grow. That being said, though, washing my face isn’t the beginning and end of self care.
Having and adhering to routine is a huge part my self care, though. That’s what makes me feel well cared for. And since I love hearing about other people’s evening routines, I thought I’d tell you about mine.


First I push my hair back with these headbands because while bangs are s’cute! They’re also a pain in the neck. I like these headbands because of the way they’re folded over in the back it keeps them flat–I don’t know how to explain it. They just work for my lumpy head.

Then I remove my makeup with either a wipe like these (I’m not brand loyal here) or a cotton pad soaked in witch hazel.

When it comes to washing my face, these Olay Daily Facials have swooped in and made me so happy. I like the “daily hydrating clean” version. I’m not sponsored by Olay but I would totally jump on that partnership. I only have a limited number of washcloths in my house and I don’t have a washing machine–so these Daily Facials have changed the game for me! I love it. They’re dry paper towels, more or less, that you get wet under water and then rub all over your face! Only way more luxe than that. They smell great and leave my skin plump and clean and I love them. I understand that this isn’t the most waste-free option but it’s working for me right now. And they’re perfect for travel since you don’t have to dispense face wash into a small little bottle in order to get on the plane.

A few times a week I like to exfoliate. Right now I’m using this one by Mario Badescu and it’s pretty good but this one, “Brighten Up” by Vasanti is my ultimate favorite, best of the best, and it lasts forever. (Use my link to sign up for Birchbox if you wanna.)

This is my favorite toner! Look, I don’t know how to tell if a toner is working but I don’t think it’s not working and when I run out, I’ll definitely buy more of this. I like the way it feels and smells. I like the price point and I really love that it’s in a spray-bottle.
I also have been really loving this rosewater spray by Mario Badescu for when it’s super hot outside. It’s a nice mid-day pick me up but this is about my night time routine.

Right now, after I tone, I’m using two products from The Ordinary: Niacinamide which is a blemish formula and Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil to moisturize. I like them okay, I guess? The Rose Hip Seed Oil kind of smells like sunflower seeds. When they’re out, I’ll definitely try something else (I ordered a serum sampler from Birchbox that is full of a lot of different ones I’ve been dying to try).
Honestly, I feel kind of weird about giving my money to The Ordinary. After following them on Social Media for the past few months, it feels like I’m helping to fund someone’s very public mental breakdown TBH. But also, the prices are so good so I don’t blame anyone for buying from them.

Finally, when I brush my teeth, I also brush my lips to exfoliate and then apply Dr. Lipp Miracle Balm which is, apparently also for chapped nipples for nursing mothers? Or… I don’t know… runners? Anyway, it’s SO GOOD and a little bit goes a long way. I just have a tiny sample size that is .10 oz and I’ve been using it nightly for a whole month. I can only imagine that a full size tube would last for years if you only used it on your lips. But in the winter time I’ll definitely be using it on chapped fingers and knuckles.
Anyway, I apply this to my lips at night and I can’t get over how sexy my pout looks in the morning. For real.

A reader, Gabrielle, sent me this gratitude journal and I’ve actually incorporated it into my night time routine. I love ending my day on a grateful note–searching for the positive in the day. And I like how there’s a different question every day instead of a generic, “what are you thankful for?” I think I might put some of these on my Christmas list.


What about you? Any products you love? Do you have an ole reliable nighttime routine that gets you into a sleepy place? Tell us all about it.

XOXO, Lib

 

Feature Photo by Anna Sastre on Unsplash

February Things 2018

We got home from San Diego on the first day of February. We stayed with our dear friends, Doug and Staci. Yes! The same Staci who runs the travel site, The Voyageer. If you ever get a chance–definitely go visit your friend the travel blogger who lives in one of the best vacation destination cities in the US. 10/10 highly recommend. We, seriously, had the best time! Truly, one of the most fun and relaxing vacations we’ve ever taken. Here’s a post that Staci wrote up following our visit!

Lately, I’ve been really drawn to reading and learning about physical beauty. I’m super into it as a theory–not so much about chasing it but about what is beautiful and why. I’m loving these new posts that LaTonya Yvette is posting about “the beauty we choose to dismiss and/or makes us self conscious, different, or had an integral part in the way in which we’ve grown up”. This particular piece is about freckles.

Don’t read this NPR piece, make sure you listen to it. It’s only two minutes long. It’s worth it. Two Vets Celebrate Love: ‘If You Came to See the Bride, You’re Out of Luck’

I’m 1000% on board with this grandma’s family-dinner-related dating advice! We’ve all got our deal breakers. “Grandma Daniels rejected the idea that women should get less of anything: whether education, respect, or protein.”

I love interviews with photographers (here’s my most recent one, actually) because I think they tend to see the world in just a tiny bit different way than other people. This interview with Bridget Badore is full of stunning, practical insights. “I began to realize how important it is for personal narrative to be accessible. That’s how people build empathy outside of their immediate surroundings. Sharing your feelings is one of the strongest and bravest things you can do. I came to realize that you’re doing the people in your life a disservice if you’re not honest with them about your experiences.”

“Many so-called allies honestly believe that they’re fighting the good fight because they donate or protest at every chance they get. But if they’re not standing up for people like me when it counts the most, when we’re alone in institutional spaces that don’t make room for us, maybe they need to rethink their use of the label.” Academic Allies Treat My Queerness With Comfort, My Blackness With Hostility

I wrote a little bit about self-care: what it is and what it isn’t.

I wrote a travel piece called “Passengers of Size” for the Spring Issue of &/Both–our Body Issue. Click here to place your order.

 

I Don’t Think That Means What You Think it Means.

Last week I went a little overboard and bought all of the skin creams, face masks, foot masks, nail polish, and discount Valentine’s chocolate that Walgreens had to offer. Then, I went home and watched the better part of the entire season of Queer Eye on Netflix. And then, because I am a good Millennial (albeit an old one), I uploaded a photo of my haul onto Instagram. It didn’t take long for the comments to start rolling in congratulating me on my self-care day and how “oh my gosh, I really need to work on my self-care game as well.” Self-care. Self-care. Self-care. Self-care is the buzziest of Buzzwords these days and I’m starting to cringe every single time I hear it. Because self-care is not what we keep saying it is.

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Self-care is not the act of slathering your face in expensive clay. It’s not making sure that you’re using the right serums in the right order at the end of the day. And most importantly, it’s not the kind of thing you should feel guilty about if you’re not doing it right. Guilt has no room in self-care. Guilt is the opposite of self-care.

Capitalism has this way of infiltrating every single movement towards human betterment and making us think that we need to buy things in order to take part. That’s not true at all. No. It’s infiltrating the Bopo community right now… kind of. Brands are coming out with clothes that claim to fit a size 24 (which in reality fits more like an 18) and they’re patting themselves on the back for how great they are. But even if their sizing was accurate, I still can’t wear any of it. And I’m not the biggest person I know by any means. But regardless, in the same way that Self-Care isn’t about laser hair treatments, Body Positivity isn’t about making overalls for fat people. Yeah, it’s part of it. It can help some people get what they are wanting out of life. But that’s not all it’s about.

Self care is about taking care of yourself. Self care is and should be accessable to everyone regardless of their body or ability or financial status. Self care is free and important and oftentimes difficult work. It’s not always relaxing and bubble baths and french terry bath robes. A lot of times it’s doing, today, that from which Future You will benefit.  And maybe a small part of that involves expensive beauty products for you but self care is something so much more.

Self-care is making sure you’re hydrated and ending toxic relationships. It’s not skipping a shower when you really should take one. It’s letting that call go to voice mail. It’s trusting other people to be in charge of their own emotions and taking that burden off of yourself. It’s about not avoiding the mail box because you’re afraid of what’s inside of it. It’s about taking the medications that have been prescribed to you. It’s about busting yourself out of destructive funks and preventing destructive funks. It’s about washing the windows to let some more light in. It’s about taking out the garbage because that smell is coming from somewhere. Sometimes it’s about locking yourself in the bathroom with a magazine and an expensive clay mask–but the self care isn’t in the mask, it’s in the taking the time to listen to what you need. And if what you need in that moment is stillness, you’re choosing stillness. That is the self-care part of doing a face mask.

I was recently asked in an interview what my favorite “self-care routines” are. And, look, don’t get me wrong. I actually love hearing about people’s morning and night beauty routines. I can talk about this stuff all day long–that’s why I listen to the Forever 35 podcast. But I was uncomfortable with this question. So rather than focusing on the products that I use during my routine, I talked more about how it’s the routine itself that serves me. I don’t get sleepy and ready for a well-rested bed time because I use this brand of makeup remover or this particular gel-based moisturizer rather than an oil-based one. I get ready for a well-rested bed time because I’ve trained my body to use this time to go into shut down mode. These products aren’t magic, I’m magic. I create my own magic. The routine is the self-care.

Sometimes when I feel myself getting irritable and unable to bust out of a particular mood, I have some fall-back plans in place. I watch my favorite YouTubers, I listen to old episodes of my favorite podcasts, I tell my friends that I’m having a rough day and could use a check in every few hours. I try to eat something healthy or I eat something decidedly unhealthy depending on what my intuition tells me I should reach for. I put out a call on Facebook for everyone to tell me what their favorite cheer-up song is. That’s always fun.


I wanted to post this piece about twelve hours ago and it was really stressing me out that it wasn’t happening. But it felt pretty false to write a post about self-care while I was feeling rushed and unhappy so I gave myself space and took the time I needed. I walked the dog. I watched this video on YouTube about four times (Ryan showed it to me last night and it’s been stuck in my head ever since). I ate a salad and I might even make a smoothie for an afternoon snack.

Anyway, friends. I hope you’re able to come up with some self-care techniques to keep in your back pocket. Maybe keep a literal list in your phone. Number one on that list: hydrate. It’s amazing what chugging a glass of water will do for you. Or, do what I do, and keep this tab open on your phone at all times. Any time I feel like crap, I pull it out and it really, really does help me.

I love you. Take care of yourself, please.

XOXO, Lib

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Meet Me Monday: Meg

I met Meg almost exactly a year ago when I held the last Selfie Challenge on Instagram. I’m so glad that she joined in on that because her posts have become a regular part of my self-care routine. A lot of people stay off of Instagram as a means of self-care but with people like Meg in my feed, it’s the opposite for me.  Whether she’s sharing her poetry, a throwback photo, or showing off her impressive pin collection, what she has to say is almost always exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it. I’m grateful for her and others like her on the internet who make that world a wholly better place.

And Meg will meet you wherever you are. If your primary social media is Instagram, great. Go follow her there. If you like to read blogs primarily? Neat, here’s her link. Only ever get on Facebook? Here you go, you’re welcome. Just get some regular Meg in your life. She doesn’t shy away from the hurt–she uses it in beautiful and creative ways to keep going.


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How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?

Hi everyone! First of all, I’m super honored that Libby chose me for this (she’s amazing, seriously).
I’m Meg, and I write a blog called Meg Colt, where I talk about my life experiences. It is centered on my mental health and the many branches concerning it: my eating disorder history, self-love, grief, and mental illnesses.
On Instagram I also share my experiences with depression, anxiety, and OCD through poetry.

What gets you out of the bed in the morning?

Literally speaking, my children.
But in a more spiritual sense, the dawn of a new day.
There is just something about the feeling of planting my feet on the ground in the morning and knowing I’m on Earth for another day.

What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?

Resilience.
I often write about the traumatic parts of my life, and for many years I felt that I had been dealt more than my fair share. But my therapist once mentioned to me that it was pretty amazing that I was still here despite everything I had been through, and I cling to that now.

What does your ideal day look like?

It begins with coffee, silence, and natural light, preferably.
I have three children under the age of five, so my mornings definitely don’t always start that way, but I at least make the coffee a priority for myself.
The more organized I am for the day the better. I love planners and lists. I own an embarrassing number of pens and am obsessed with stickers.
So planning my days is crucial to my routine as well.
Beyond that, my highest hopes are keeping everyone (three kids, three cats, two dogs) and everything under control and having a low anxiety day.
I don’t have a real writing process either, which is something that irritated my high school English teacher and now annoys me as well.
I write randomly, and usually inspiration comes at the most inopportune moment.
But sometimes I have really inspirational days, where I can just churn it all out, and that kind of productivity would be the end to my ideal day.
IMG_1984Meg–thank you so much for bringing yourself to this space. I love getting to know you more and I hope some people reading this have found a connection with you, as well. Thank you for all that you do and for using all the energy that it takes to be who you are so fully and without apology for all of us to see. I know from experience, that isn’t always easy–regardless of how naturally it can sometimes come to us.

If you have any questions for Meg, leave them in the comments and I’ll do what I can to connect you.

XOXO, Lib

Let’s Check In

Written while streaming the Black History Salute playlist on Spotify.

I parked at the coffee shop, got out of my car, and saw my dear friend, Addy, and his mom  walking to the same place. Now, that’s how you start a week off right. Impromptu coffee with best buddies.

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That reflection, tho.

Here are a few unrelated things on my mind, today:

This weekend my friend Darcie and I went to see a play at McPherson College. It was powerful. It was one of those things where it feels very abrupt to just turn the lights on and get released back into your real life. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When The Rainbow is Enuf “consists of a series of poetic monologues to be accompanied by dance movements and music, a form Shange coined as the choreopoem. for colored girls… tells the stories of seven women who have suffered oppression in a racist and sexist society.” I just decided to copy from the Wikipedia entry on it because I couldn’t find the right words to describe it, myself.
This play was written back in 1975 and still felt so utterly relevant. There wasn’t a solid plot line to the play as it was a series of monologues and between monologues, music was played. Some of it was older music–like Strange Fruit by Nina Simone but most of the music was current. The majority of it was taken from Beyonce’s Lemonade. I think that was a brilliant choice to help point out the fact that these situations discussed in the piece are not old. I mean–they are. But they’re not over. They also had Lemonade playing in the lobby with an explanation of the relevance of it. There was so much thematic overlap between the play and the album.

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I don’t actually know if I was allowed to take a photo but I couldn’t help myself.

I also loved the way they put the stage in the middle of the room and the audience all around. To me, it was a powerful statement that said, “we are here, living among you and for at least an hour, you can’t turn away”. Also, these women were incredible actors. During the last scene, I could hear so many people in the audience sobbing. They laid it all out there and didn’t hold back. I can’t imagine the vulnerability needed to be a great actor.

I’ve been listening to a podcast called Don’t Keep Your Day Job. As someone who didn’t keep her day-job and is trying to figure out how to make that a smart move, this hit me at the right time. It’s hosted by Cathy Heller who has made a happy living by writing music. One of the pieces of advice that she’s constantly dishing out is the concept of the Three Things Approach. That is when you think about your big, ultimate goal, what are three things that you can do, today, to move in that direction. I think it’s a brilliant and practical approach to tackling big projects because doing a big thing is really just what happens when you’ve done lots of little things.
I’ve been applying this to my home life, too. Like, I have a big goal of downsizing… everything. That’s a big task. But today I wrote down three things I can do today to work towards that goal: 1. Make a list of every area that needs to be addressed. 2. Collect boxes. 3. Get all the laundry cleaned (because I’m going to start with cleaning the closets).

The #xoxoselfiechallenge is in full effect on Instagram! For the month of February we’re focusing on different areas of self-care. The hope is that we’ll try out all these different areas and find a way that clicks with us and feeds our soul. It’s different for everyone! It’s not always bubble baths and chocolate. Also, we just announced our first giveaway, today!

Speaking of self-care, have you read this blog post yet?  A Gentle Warrior’s Guide to Navigating the New World: I feel like it has been instrumental in keeping me happy and healthy the past few weeks.

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What kinds of things are singing to your soul these days?

XOXO, Lib