Things I Like

MARCH : EVERYTHING I’M CURRENTLY LOVING

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.

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Essay, LGBTQ, Life, pop culture, Pride 2017

COMING OUT IN THE AGE OF YOUTUBE

My first laptop was a thick black Dell that required a near-constant source of power and hummed louder than a barbershop quartet.

It took minutes to load up and froze frequently, which I’m sure is entirely unrelated to the buckets of shady porn websites I was searching. Also unrelated to my search history was the Dell’s untimely and unseemly demise at the hands of a Trojan virus.

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Inspirational, Life, Mental Health

FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOLDEN RATIO

Partially inspired by my latest podcast interest Who? Weekly (I think I’m going to leave “obsessed” and “obsession” in 2016), I decided that I need to follow more celebrities on Instagram. Let me back up and explain myself, because this is going to be a wild ride.

In order to obtain a better ratio—thusly avoiding social media humiliation and ostracizing—I often unfollow celebrities whom I follow on social media platforms. I do this because A) they’re never going to follow me back, and I firmly believe in a “Follow for follow” maxim, and more importantly B) I’m afraid that if I unfollow people I know that they’ll somehow realize and unfollow me, thus ruining all the careful calibrations I made to achieve the ratio.

Side bar: has anyone factored the “Golden Ratio” into Instagram ratios? Just a thought.

Side bar update: my ratio is not the Golden Ratio. And I did math to prove this. Is this interesting? The golden ratio is that the ratio between the two individual numbers is the same between the ratio between the total sum and the larger of the individual numbers. The ratio between my individual sums (followers vs. following) is 0.501, and the ratio between the total sum and the greater individual is 0.666. Oh my gosh, I just wrote that out and how spooky!! So, like, how do I get the the golden ratio? If more people follow me without me following anyone (unlikely) the first ratio will decrease, so I need to follow more people without other people following me (very likely). Therefore, I’m perfectly warranted in following garbage celebrity accounts, because I’m in pursuit of the Golden Ratio!

I can’t believe that I just used math in a productive way. I might be the next (what’s his name, the guy who was in The Theory of Everything?) Stephen Hawking! Wow, that just mitigated any progress I thought I had made, because I only knew him from the Eddie Redmayne movie (a name which I knew instantly).

But in the pursuit of the perfect ratio (let’s think of a different name for it, since it’s not the Golden ratio…Silver is too high…Bronze is bourgeoisie…Tin! The Tin Ratio!) I unfollowed every semi-interesting non-friend account. That led to my Discover page becoming increasingly scattered as it, panicking, tried to find edgy fun accounts for me to look at. And I was not pleased. At all.

Before I decided to play God, my “Discover” was full of fat-to-fit Instagrams, hot dudes working out, photos of the Kardashians, and delicious potato products. Now, I only really have pictures of the Kardashians (AND NOT EVEN KIM), and pictures of this one hot gay that a few people I know follow, so he’s always there—some sort of karmic retribution for me somehow, I’m certain.

There are “suggested” videos for you to watch in a constant stream. Mine were usually grouped into the categories of “Boston Terriers” (<3) “Extreme Weight Loss” (-_-), “Make-Up Tutorials” (thanks Kylie; no seriously, thank you so much for all you do), and then just random food-making videos or cake-decorating. I was living the life, and I didn’t even know it, is the crazy part. I had so much going for me. Then I decided to tamper with my ratio, and I lost everything. But isn’t that always the case? Wolf of Wall Street, Picture of Dorian Gray, etc.

And as 2016 ends and 2017 is poised like a loosened gargoyle hanging above you off a dilapidated cathedral in a French noir film, I think it’s important that we give ourselves as much joy as possible in the face of…you know. Everything.

(As I’m writing this, a bunch of no-name robot Instagrams are following me, thus driving me deeper away from my Golden Ratio dreams) 

I followed a few YouTubers I watch (I watch luxury haul videos as a method of stilling my anxiety, which might be the gayest thing about me currently), some “celebrities (?)” like Chrissy Teigen (I know she’s like a celebrity, but is she a celebrity-celebrity? I didn’t even know who John Legend was until “All of You”; like, I really like her, but I like that she’s kinda solidly B-list even though she’s friends with A-list people), some reality television ‘stars’, A BUNCH OF FOOD BLOGS, and Taylor Swift. The last one is truly so dark, that I don’t even know why I did, but I think it’s the best thing for me rn.

When I was a kid/young teenager—and my best friend can attest to this (he doesn’t like the pseudonym I gave him but I haven’t thought of a new one yet)—my iPod (classic, duh) I had a total random collection of music. I don’t know if there is a statute of limitations on this, but I used Limewire when I was young. I would download everything and anything so that if someone looked on my iPod, they would think that I was cool.

And I thought that I had shaken that habit, but I did the same thing with my Instagram. I didn’t want to follow the girly fashion bloggers I like, or the horrifyingly funny joke Instagram accounts. I was curating my following list for someone who doesn’t exist and doesn’t care. And for what? So that someone someday would think I was cool? I want to be happy and enjoy something stupid and fun if that’s what I want, not look at a boring Instagram feed or an iPod (well, not an iPod because it’s 2016) of unlistenable music.

I just watched a great video about the Law of Attraction, and I think that it’s something I’m going to take into the new year. I’ve been repeating, in various articles, that 2017 is going to be hard. It will be. That’s not crazy for me to say. But how I deal with it, how I react to it, is up to me. And I know that these could just be empty words, and I could go on operating from my base level, which is pessimistic. But fuck that, you guys.

Fuck it.

I’m going to be positive. I’m going to see out the golden ratio of good energy in my life, and I encourage everyone else to A) also seek it out and B) send it/$20 my way. Much appreciated. But in all seriousness, I’m really going to seriously try. I know people in my life who are always getting good things their way, and it’s not because they’re sitting on their asses. It’s because they’re striving towards it.

There’s a great series of books called the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. In them, she deals with this idea of “thisness” and “thatness.” It’s in specific relation to essentially witches who can manipulate matter by accessing the similarities in molecular structure—am I the smartest fucking person or what?—but there’s a great quote that is also touted as an aphorism (seriously so fucking smart):

Like calls to like.

Putting out good energy calls to good energy. Positivity breeds positivity.

This got surprisingly deep for a post originally about how I followed a bunch of Foodstagrams, but I’m not hating the place it went. Have a great day! (See what I did there? I’m outputting positivity!)

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Source: Giphy// I want more of this in 2017

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