I’ve developed an obsession with the NYMag.com shopping offshoot, The Strategist. It’s an entire site dedicated to the in’s and out’s of shopping: gift guides for every type of person you can imagine, deep dives into the best skincare and clothes and traveling necessities, sales you need to be aware of. They also do a monthly “Shopping Cart” where the editors and writers of the Strat detail what they’ve bought/loved in the last month. Inspired by that, and Easter, I’ve drummed up a few things that I’ve been loving so much recently that it would be downright unchristian of me not to share.
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Have you ever discovered a one-off song on Spotify, listened/jammed to it for a few months and then let it go? That’s happened to me with The Vaccines, except over the course of a few months, I steadily and accidentally listened to half of their entire new album, Combat Sports. They’re an English indie rock band that somehow sounds exactly like what would be playing in the basement of your middle school friend with a cool older brother. They’re fun and goofy, a little Americana-nostalgic and have a worn-in feeling. My current favorites off the album are “Your Love Is My Favorite Band” and “I Can’t Quit.”
Other new albums that I’ve been mulling over are Hayley Kiyoko’s Expectations (spectral and queer and full of bops) and Kacey Musgraves’s Golden Hour (this is so basic of me; every Twitter gay has been lauding “High Horse.”)
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If we have a conversation for more than twenty minutes, I bring up a podcast. I listen to them constantly: doing cardio, folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, walking and falling asleep. I’ve now subscribed to enough where I always have something to listen to, and I actually just discovered TIME’s “The 50 Best Podcasts to Listen to Right Now” and have expanded my repertoire.
But regardless, Babe? is, week to week, the one podcast I am consistently most excited about. It’s hosted by Lara Marie Schoenhals (White Girl Problems, Sexy Unique Podcast) and Ryan O’Connell (Special, Awkward, Thought Catalog), real-life 30-something best friends in Los Angeles. It ranges from the extremely outrageous to the deeply personal, but tethers on the idea of “babes,” people who are acting out in Hollywood. There can be Babes? (cause for concern), Babes! (a Babe? that turned victorious), Babes… (what’s even happening?), and Babes. (we need to talk right now). They also fight like best friends, which reminds me (narcissistically) of my relationship with my own best friend.
It spans politics, pop culture, and sex, with a hearty sprinkling of only-in-Los Angeles stories.
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I bought these navy trousers (and yes, they’re trousers, and yes, I’ll continue to call them that) a few months ago after hemming and hawing about a similar pair that, before I could make a decision, went out of stock. To avoid that happening, I snapped these up when they were majorly discounted in the Zara sale.
I bought these with dreams of wearing them for a new job I had interviewed for. When I didn’t get that job, I was gutted and a little annoyed that I had bought these (in my mind) useless, suit pants. To avoid wasting my money, I thought about ways of incorporating them into my wardrobe and found them incredible versatile. They have white side stripes, which, with the wrong outfit, can bear an unfortunate similarity to track pants. However, I’ve found that pairing them with Chelsea boots can negate their sportiness. I’ve worn them with a tucked-in t-shirt, flannel and denim jacket, I’ve worn them to dinners with a navy sweater, and I wore them to Easter mass with an oxford shirt and camel coat.
They weren’t expensive to begin with, but I majorly lowered the cost-per-wear and upped my style game in the process.
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In my life, I’ve had really bad skin. In high school, it was particularly bad – red and acne-prone and dull. Since then – going on acne medication and realizing that shaving against the grain was not the tea – my skin has gotten miles better, but it’s still super sensitive. I’ve had a journey discovering the perfect moisturizer – I had combination skin, so finding something that was hydrating without leaving my skin too oily was tough, but I think I’ve found my Holy Grail.
On a semester abroad in London (brag!), my moisturizer ran out so I went to my local Waitrose and browsed their skincare section before settling on a Nivea Soft moisturizer. I had never seen it before, but it completely changed my life. It’s super hydrating, melts into your skin and doesn’t leave behind any residue. I used it after shaving, on my tattoo when I first got it, and on any dry patches. I tried to repurchase it in America, but couldn’t find it anywhere. I later discovered that it didn’t exist in America. ‘Lo and behold, I was in ShopRite a few months ago (relatable) and found a display of it. After some research, I learned that it had made its way across the ocean. I’ve repurchased it several times now, and it’s my go-to. I’d die for it.
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I don’t talk about this as much outside of my sister and a few friends, but I watch YouTube a lot. I was an early adopter, and it’s crazy as to how much the medium has evolved since I started watching. Lately, I’ve been really into the videos of this girl Alex, who runs her own jewelry line, HRH Collection. She is, without a doubt, comes off originally as the whiniest person I’ve (n)ever met. I originally found it off-putting, until I realized that her complaining was as natural to her as breathing was to me. She’s actually surprisingly sweet, and her rambling commentary draws you in without even realizing.
She buys expensive shit (which is my crack to watch) but I mostly watch her because she films like an early 2000’s YouTuber: fish-eye lens and a lack of edits or cuts. A lot of YouTube is high-production and expertly edited; I’m not hating on it, but it’s kind of nostalgic to find someone who does it the OG way. Love! I listen to her in the background when I’m online shopping, writing invoices or checking my emails. It’s a super-whiny white-noise machine and I hope she never stops making videos.