D.’s 2014 Resolutions

I love that because of LoH I can check my resolutions from last year. I did okay. I definitely walked a ton more because a. I stopped having two jobs and b. I signed up for Classpass which means I walk for 45 min. a day to get to and from my fitness classes. But the real lesson here is that working less for the same amount of money makes your life better. The dirty secret of self-improvement is that everyone who makes less than $40,000 a year would be happier if they made more money. Done, the end.

My other resolution was to wear more winged eyeliner. I have totally failed on this front because winged eyeliner is THE hardest. But, 2014 was the year I learned how to contour and that is good enough for me.

So in the spirit of LoH’s endless quest for self perfection (with reasonable qualifiers about the limitations of self reform in the long shadow of The Man), here are my 2015 resolutions:

1. I will put on clothes everyday. For many of you this might seem obvious, but I spend many days in my pajamas or in workout clothes. The workout clothes one is really pernicious, because it easy to feel like you got dressed when you have changed out of your pajamas and into a new outfit. But for the sake of my marriage, my dignity, and the cause of women everywhere, I commit to wearing a zipper or button everyday.

2. I will commit to dealing with my hair at least once a month. I don’t mean get a full-on haircut because those cost a million dollars. But even if it means walking into the terrifying russian barbershop (or the even more intimidating black barbershop in my neighborhood) to get my duck-tail trimmed once a month, I will do it. Because nothing makes me feel worse than ugly hair compounded by the feeling that I will have to wait for three months for it to be less ugly.

No resolutions for fitness or food because those are mostly self-hating. Also everyone eats healthier once Christmas ends anyway.

Oh also, 2014 is the year I discovered the power of glitter nail polish. This is not about looking professional, ladylike, or sexy. It is about having an ombre glitter spectacle on your hands to look at all day. So, more of that!




C.’s Hair: the Crowd Responds

I love the Emma Stone option, but here is the thing: when I think of you I think of long side bangs. The fact that you don’t already have them is confusing to me. So in the spirit of reinvention, here are some other ideas:

Why not pull a Vivianna razor chop?


From Vivianna Does Makeup

Or go even shorter:

But I have another idea that might be better for your goals of only getting a haircut once a year: The Haim haircut!


Really long with only layers at the bottom. I see a lot of beautiful girls in Brooklyn with this hair and it appears to be the kind of hair you rarely wash, always air-dry, and let get kind of naturally curly at the ends. I personally am terrified of middle parts, but I actually love the way this hair looks with a side part. It is kind of young adult heroine ish. See, Kristen Stewart:



Also, just ’cause I mentioned KStew, let this sweep over you and then follow it up with THE TRUTH:



Crowdsourced Haircut

I need some help. My husband has thoughtfully gifted me a spa day and I’m going to get the first haircut since…um…the summer of 2013? I can’t remember. Suffice it to say, my tresses are dying for a trim. The question is–what kind of style do I get? Unfortunately, because it’s easier to maintain than short styles, the hair needs to stay long for the next six months or so. I was thinking of getting longish bangs again, ala Emma Stone:



And I’d like to get layers, but I want to avoid this sort of lame-ness:


Any advice would be appreciated!


Lucky Lady

A really important perk of having friends is that you benefit from their great taste come the holiday season. It would never have occurred to me to get this scarf for myself, but once I opened J’s package, I was like, “I will wear this thing until it is in tatters.”* Similarly, I’ve never worn a nude-y lip color, but after I tried on D’s gift–MAC’s Lustre lipstick in “Patisserie”–I was all, “This works.” Sadly, the image below doesn’t quite convey how pretty the lipstick really is, but until I have a Vivianna-level blog career, I’ve only got my phone camera to work with.




*Which won’t happen for about 100 years because, quality.

Sometimes I pause Taylor Swift and listen to this



Reading in 2014 and looking forward to 2015

Boy I sure enjoyed reading with you guys this year. Well, actually the Alice Munro just made me sad, but I feel more intelligent for having read it. So thanks C. and J. for forcing me!

But really I actually enjoyed:

Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl –I guess we haven’t actually talked about this book on LoH. But IRL it is all we talk about.

Emily Gould, Friendship

Women in Clothes

Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell, Attachments –for adults, like the very best Jennifer Wiener

Lev Grossman, The Magicians –A smart homage and critique of C.S. Lewis and Harry Potter fantasy

Nicola Griffith, Hild  –for the lady who is still not over the Mists of Avalon


In 2015 I will be reading:

Meghan Daum, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion–it’s the next book on the LoH bookclub, so if you want to participate in our exploration of female interiority/exteriority, pick it up!

Meg Wolitizer, Belzhar–it’s Wolitizer’s young adult novel inspired by Plath’s The Bell Jar. I never met a mopey teenager I didn’t like. Sign me up!

Sarah Waters, The Paying Guests–Interwar boarding house lesbians!

Akhil Sharma, Family Life–Because you have to read one “serious” novel a year.

C. Sharp–The Elementalists–all the 14 year olds are raving about this new dragons-at-high school book.

Marie Lu’s “Legend” from the “Young Elites” series–I am having my mom preview this dystopian young adult series for me, she says it is pretty good so far.



Facts for Ladies

An amazing guide to ladyness, recovered by The Lore of the Garden (also one of LoH’s three readers!)

The Lore of the Garden

Facts for Ladies, by Mrs. Amy Ayer Kinsley, with Dr. Robert A. Gunn, was self-published in 1890 and turned up on my mother’s shelf. It was her mother’s and I commandeered it.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

It is a surprisingly thorough and forthright work, and discusses everything from “displacements of the womb” to how to decorate a “model gentleman’s den.” (Which was model, one wonders, the gentleman or the den?)

The ideal reception room The ideal reception room

There are beauty tips — such as homemade toilet water made of barley meal — and the insistence that “beauty cannot be maintained without daily bathing, preferably two or three times a day.” Featured are inspirational “Portraits of the Queens of Beauty,” among them actresses Ellen Terry and Lily Langtry (who, like Cleopatra, is said to have bathed in milk).

 Lily Langry Lily Langtry

Among the beauty advice, there’s a formula to get rid of freckles:

1-1/2 oz. Bitter Almonds
15 grains…

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Do you think she knows how sad this seems?

2014 Gift Guide

I am perplexed by the gift guides that seem to pervade the media at this time of year. Do men really want “the perfect whiskey cup”? And why would they only want one? That is, except for the GOOP gift guide, which is a gift in itself. It combines the excess of the FAO Schwarz catalog and the storytelling pizazz of the J. Peterman catalog in the nineties. Actually GOOP’s good-but-minimal copy plus a jumble of shiny images really just borrows from the genius of US weekly, now that I think of it.

First of all, I would like to say that if you have no children in your family currently, or if they are too young to know what Christmas is, consider not giving presents at all. It only works if everyone really agrees to it, but the effect is lovely. A general level of stress dissipates and suddenly the whole family can really focus on what matters = the movie you can all go to on Christmas day because there are no presents to open.

But if you are forced to do Christmas gift-giving here are my suggestions.

For your husband: This is a tough one because it actually requires you to have been paying attention all year. What did he say he wanted but he didn’t buy for himself because he is responsible? I don’t know. Ask for a list. Don’t be a hero.

For your best friend: This is so easy. Whatever you want for yourself! Duh. But the obvious answer is Women in Clothes.

For your male best friend: Whiskey (try Four Roses–cheap and good)

For your nieces and nephews: MOney$$$$$$

For your children: An FAO Schwarz catalog! Give them the gift of flaneurship in hard copy. Teach them early that wanting is always more satisfying than having.

For your mom: Whiskey (try Buffalo Trace–reasonably priced and sweet)

For your dad: Whiskey (try McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt–delicious, obscure and really more like a Scotch)

large-Clear Creek Mccarthy's



What I Miss About Tracy

I no longer spend $30 a month to receive her poorly edited and repetitive videos but I still lurk around her fan/and ex fan websites. When I get a promotional email (also poorly edited) I get a little rush. Will I finally go to ViTAlity Week? Spend $900 for three days of workouts and lectures? I’m not going to lie, I kind of want to. But I can’t–and it is not just because of the crazy amount of money this woman wants from me. It is because flapping your arms around with 2lb weights mostly just irritates your shoulders. It took me a good two years of Pilates to heal the shoulder wounds of flapping. And now that I have, I can’t stare into Tracy’s blank but soothingly-blue eyes and “follow her moves.”

But this is still probably one of my top 10 life moments:


And I miss things about her that nobody else seems to fulfill. Even as legions of her ex-trainers start their own classes in NYC (all of which I attend through the proletarian’s answer to NYC’s obscene fitness culture).

Here is what I miss about Tracy:

If you actually don’t care what you look like (or what muscles you are “working”) Tracy-style wiggling is un-paralled fun. So much fitness follows this hyper-rationalized form where you have to move in a very narrow way (because science). But not with Tracy. Wiggle your butt, “slide” you torso back and forth, pretend you are high-fiving a million little angels. And do it all to some Tracy-approved jams (TSwift, JLo). This form of movement is liberating because it is kind of silly but infused with command to “own it,” and I wish there was more fitness culture that embraced the idea that looking hot in your mind’s eye-is just as important as isolating particular muscles.


-D of course (C. doesn’t waste her time with this kind of crap)


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