Song of the Moment — Jessie Ware / Say You Love Me

This morning, I was in the mood for new music so I put on Jessie Ware’s new album, Tough Love, on Spotify as I started doing my makeup on the train. The very first song I tapped on, Say You Love Me, left me so shaken that I needed a long moment to sit still and let the raw, unexpected flood of emotions wash over me. It has been a long time since a song has moved me to this extent, so although I have never posted about music before, I feel compelled to share this song with you. If the clouds were giant speakers, I would blast this song from the sky right now. No joke. It’s that important (at least to me).

I first heard of Jessie through the buzz around her song Wildest Moments on her debut album Devotion. I recognized and appreciated her sophisticated and subdued sound, but to be honest nothing on it truly hooked me in. After giving her music another chance, I will say that Jessie is the type of artist that grows on you. The soft and honest beauty that ripples through her songs does not scream for your attention. Instead, it reaches through you like the roots of a wise and quiet tree when you allow yourself to truly open up and listen to what it has to say.

I have listened to Say You Love Me probably 50 times on repeat throughout the work day today, and it still has not lost its power. Even as I pulled into my garage just now, I felt my eyes mist up as the song ended. Out of curiosity I looked up the music video when I got home, and holy crap, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a video more stunning, more haunting, more real. There are no gimmicks. No scantily clad backup dancers. No intricate effects. It’s just a barefaced, barefooted woman in a simple black dress sitting on rocks, unapologetically telling her story. In an age where technology allows us to visually create anything, I really appreciate the simplicity and purity of allowing a person’s lips, eyes, face do all of the talking. I may be going way too deep here, but in Jessie’s understated expressions, you can really see the complexity of her emotion, the essence of her soul. The video reminds me of Janelle Monae’s Cold War and Adele’s Hometown Glory, both of which take the same minimal approach. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jessie Ware is going to keep gaining prominence in the music world. We can never have enough strong, beautiful women touching lives with their voices and their stories.

The Hunt for my Holy Grail Foundation

I have been on the foundation struggle bus lately. Ever since I read an article about makeup expiration dates and decided that most of my foundations have probably gone bad, I have been on the hunt for a new foundation to welcome into my hall of fame. In the past month or two, I have sampled so many foundations, and basically been disappointed by most of them. Nothing I’ve tried seems to fit my definition of “perfect.” I want something with light/medium buildable coverage, something not too drying but not too dewy, and something that lasts at least through the work day. Is perfect complexion in a bottle too much to ask for?

After testing out nine different foundations, I think that I’ve found something that fits 99% of my needs. But just for the heck of it, let me take you through the journey of my foundation woes. Counting down from least favorite to most favorite, here we go…

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9. Shiseido Dual Balancing: Oxidized like crazy. Transferred everywhere. Didn’t control shine at all.

8. Clinique Even Better: The lightest shade still oxidized on me.

7. Chanel Vitalumiere: Too dewy. Could not find a good color match for my yellow undertones.

6. Diorskin Nude BB Cream: Breaks me out. Pretty drying for a BB.

5. Bareminerals SPF 20 Pressed Powder: Good as a light finishing powder, but on its own, it can get cakey really quickly.

4. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra: Color looks a little ashy on me. Can be too thick and heavy. Settles into my dry patches by the end of the day.

3. MAC Face and Body: Really sheer coverage and not really that buildable. Fine for days when my skin is behaving, but not when my skin is breaking out.

2. Estee Lauder Double Wear Light: Good lasting power, but drying.

1. Givenchy Photo’Perfexion: Gives a blurred, soft-focus finish. Light, no oil. Good color match. Doesn’t have great staying power. Settles into my dry patches by the end of the day.

Needless to say, I’m still searching. My dry, blemish-prone skin is still holding out hope that there’s something out there that will be “just right.” Until then, fighting!

OOTD: I’m a little pumpkin, short and stout

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Fall is my absolute favorite season, not only because of the crisp air and beauty of golden leaves, but also because I love boots, jackets, sweaters – the whole shebang. The more I can layer, the happier I am. Here in Chicago, it has been getting colder and then warmer and then colder again. I guess we are in a sort of transitional phase. Today’s outfit is an ode to Autumn, professing my excitement and asking it to gimme gimme more.

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I wore a burnt orange sweater dress with brown riding boots from Cole Haan. Both the dress and the boots were gifts from my mom. She went a little crazy last winter at the Neiman Marcus sale, so she is finally putting her last year’s purchases to use (or I guess technically, I am). At first, I thought the dress looked a little grandma-y, but I decided to try it on anyways, and I suppose it ended up growing on me. I think the details on the dress (the waist tie, cowl neckline, ruched sleeves) give it an interesting flair, so that it can stand alone without much accessorizing. But of course, I was excited, so I went all out with the Autumn theme and wore some gold dangly leaf earrings. This outfit isn’t the most business formal, but I think it works for casual days when you want to start rocking more cozy pieces without going all out with the big knits and thick tights. But once winter hits in Chicago, thick knits are going to be mandatory for survival, and I am not exactly looking forward to that.

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Wednesday Wish List #2: Cleansing Oil Edition

Happy October 1st! After a full summer of loving and use, I only have a tiny bit left of my Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil. This product has not only popped my cleansing oil cherry, it has also gotten me completely hooked on them. Since winter is coming, I am on the hunt for more cleansing oils to test on my dry-ish, sensitive-ish skin, which will only get drier and more sensitive as the temperature drops. In light of all of these facts, I thought I would share three cleansing oils currently on my wish-list.

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1. Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil
2. The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil
3. Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Oil

OOTD: School Uniform, Upgraded

Today’s outfit was inspired by my new patent leather oxfords from Clarks. I thought they would look really school-girl-esque when worn with black knee-high socks, so I tried to piece my outfit together around that concept. I went with a light-weight sweater dress (brand unknown) and a structured blazer by Aqua. I chose a monotone color palette, because I wanted to shoot for a conservative, uniform feel. I wore some black and silver dangly earrings and a dog-shaped hair clip to add a fun touch to what is otherwise a pretty serious outfit. I really like the finished look. It’s not every day that you get to wear knee-high socks to work or to anything for that matter, so I’m really happy I got to fit them in. I think the thick stripes on the dress and the thin stripes on the cuffed sleeves of the blazer create a nice subtle contrast.

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I like to think of this as a school uniform upgraded to the work level. I never got to wear a school uniform growing up, but I’ve always wanted to. All the Harry Potter kids looked so sophisticated in their robes and neckties, and I thought maybe, just maybe, my life would be more “magical” if I got to wear a school uniform too…just kidding…but I did (and still do) really like Harry Potter. Honestly, I think I was just looking for ways to cut down my get-ready time in the morning so that I could hit the snooze button a few more times. I realize that in reality, school uniforms can end up quite frumpy, but let’s just say I’ve tried to live out my dreams and regrets with this outfit by creating my version of a school work uniform.

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OOTD: Twist on Tweed

I started this blog about two years ago with the intent of using it as a platform to motivate and challenge myself to stay stylish during my internships. Now I’ve come full circle — only this time, I’m not going back to dressing casually and freely after a couple months. I’m in it for the long haul. Now that work comprises at least 40 hours of my week, my closet is also going through a sudden and drastic makeover. I’ve had to put away a majority of my “college” wardrobe in order to make room for the growth of my “grown-up” closet. I work in a corporate environment, so my outfits have to be relatively conservative. The good thing is my office is not super strict, so I have found that there is still room to be creative. From now on, I will be posting more work outfits as I experiment with different ways to dress for myself in addition to the dress code. Welcome to the first work outfit!

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I think the most fool-proof work outfit = a dress + basic cardigan + black heels/flats. In this simple formula, the dress is everything. The dress makes or breaks the look. The dress gives you life. I am a huge dress fan. I think they are so comfortable and versatile. Plus, I have yet to find work pants that fit and flatter my curvier bottom half, so by process of elimination, dress or skirt it is!

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This dress in particular is something I snagged from my mom’s closet. It’s from a brand called Ali-Ro. I love that it’s tweed. I love the zipper detailing on the skirt, and I love the drop-waist leather band. I also think it’s a great dress to transition you into fall, because tweed is a heavier fabric, and heavier is good when the temperature starts to drop. I threw on a black cardigan from Banana Republic and black patent pumps from Coach. I’m not going to lie, I do get lazy with wearing heels in the office, so I will often switch to black flats. For accessories I went with a pair of small gold dangly earrings from my grandma to match the zippers on the dress, the Alex Monroe bumblebee necklace I always wear, and my Marc Jacobs watch (both gifts from my boyfriend). And that completes this classic yet fun look :)

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