WHAT I LOVE: AUGUST EDITION

What I Love: Sigma, Serial, & Urban Decay Matte Lipstick

HAPPY SEPTEMBER!

I feel like everyone says this, but... SEPTEMBER?! Where did you come from?! No matter how fast it arrived, it's here, and I'm excited for what this month will bring. 

When I began creating my website with Christina Laing of Buffalo Collective, I knew that I didn't want a page dedicated to my "Favorite Things". I have many reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is that my "Favorite Things" constantly change. There are some things that are mostly consistent in my life--the fact that fresh flowers always make me smile, my never-ending desire to travel the world, an extreme devotion to creme brûlée--to name a few. 

I had the idea to share, every now and then, five things that I am loving at that time.

Not too long ago, I wrote about my love for Sanuk beach shoes, and heard from a friend how she then bought them and loved them also! It felt good to share something practical that helped someone else. I've also personally benefitted from recommendations from others.

Just last year, while in Las Vegas with my clients for the amazing I Do Redo , I found myself walking a bit wobbly due to my heels. (IE: My feet were screaming!)  Two girls who were standing outside of a salon noticed me and told me about a product they offered--Sole Serum. Seeking immediate relief, I didn't hesitate to drop the cash on a bottle and found it so effective that I now carry a bottle to every wedding, and recommend it to my own clients and their bridesmaids.

There's power in sharing information--no matter how insignificant it may seem. Something as small as a new pair of shoes to wear to the beach can actually help in major ways. For example, before I bought those aforementioned Sanuks, I had pretty badly burned the soles of my feet multiple times on hot hot HOT sand. I'm also more likely to reach for the heels in the back of my closet now that I'm armed with Sole Serum instead of one of the many more pairs of flats I own!

So, without further adieu, here's my list of What I Loved this August. 

Nights at The Naro

When I was in high school, and as a young woman, I spent a lot of time in the Ghent area of Norfolk. That meant catching a movie at The Naro from time to time. As I've gotten older, I've stopped going to the movies as much for myself (I'll still go for my boys), and unless there's a movie that I just have to see, I usually wait until I can rent it through Amazon Instant to view. 

This summer I was reacquainted with The Naro after my husband Logan and I met up with a group of 18 others to view Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington DC (1980-1990). We had a great time, and I found that my love for films hadn't vanished. I started making lengthy lists of movies I wanted to see--mostly documentaries; movies that I was really excited by! 

The Naro isn't glamorous, but it has character and charm. It's a single-screen theater which originally opened in 1936 by the same man who opened up The Commodore in Portsmouth.There aren't reclining seats, gourmet eats, or even varied running times. You go for the independent films or the occasional Rocky Horror Picture Show screening.

Earlier this month I was able to catch Iris (available on Netflix this month! WATCH IT!) with the lovely Deb Perry, and will be seeing Amy this week! What I love about the Naro is that it has stood the test of time--it's as "Norfolk" as the mermaids found across the city. I love that they offer movies not found elsewhere, and that they have a video store, which are almost as elusive as pay phones these days. I love going to eat at one of Ghent's spectacular restaurants (Public House, Chow, & Supper are a few of my favs), walking Colley hand-in-hand with my beloved, and ducking into the dark theater for some time to watch a movie I know I won't find elsewhere. We can't leave without a trip to Strawberry Fields

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick

I love lipstick. I feel like it's my secret weapon to combating a bad day. Sometimes you can find me wearing sweats with a fully made-up mouth! A great lipstick can instantly make me feel pretty, which is what I love about Urban Decay's new Matte Revolution Lipsticks. They have become instant favorites. The formula doesn't feel dry and cakey like many of the matte lipsticks I've tried in the past, (which, as a teen in the 90s, have had plenty of experience with!) it goes on beautifully, and stays where it should! Matte lipsticks work best when your lips are hydrated. Drinking lots of water helps with this, but in the fall and winter when wind can become an issue, applying lipstick to chapped, dry lips is a big no-no, so good a good prep/prime is essential. 

I'm a fan of Urban Decay's entire line of makeup; from the Naked foundation I use almost daily to their setting sprays, I feel good using this company. Urban Decay is all about empowering women--daring, unique, passionate women who don't take no for an answer. In short: they speak to me. Additionally, they are a cruelty-free brand, who seek to end animal testing, and offer vegan products, which is HUGE in their industry. So even if Urban Decay's Matte Revolution lipsticks weren't the greatest, I would still sing the praises of the company. Luckily, their products speak for themselves. I'm currently wearing out 1993, Bittersweet, and in the process of writing this, have added Tilt and Backtalk to my cart!

Sigma Art Lenses

I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I have been guilty of being a "glass snob" at times, and have turned my nose up to Sigma lenses in the past. However, after hearing Jen Rozenbaum talk about her love for the Art Lenses during a boudoir workshop, I felt like I needed to give them a try.  

Two Words: MIND. BLOWN. I have used both the 50mm f/1.4 (pictured) and the 35mm f/1.4 and am utterly shocked by what beautiful images these help me produce. The 50 in particular made me fall in love again with prime lenses. Both lenses I've used are consistently sharp (we are talking crazy, crazy sharp!), and the color quality of my images has been somewhat shocking.  Technically speaking, these lenses are an absolute marvel, and have brought me back to using primes more often, which is what I love about them!

Serial

OK, OK--I am way, way late to this game; podcasts in general. I've only discovered how much I love listening to podcasts (other favorites are The Accidental Creative, Fresh Air) within the last month, so this is definitely appropriate for this month's What I Love. I had seen the words Serial and Adnan Syed across social media for some time, but didn't really look into it until a few weeks ago. From the moment I downloaded, I was hooked!  

If you know me, you know more often than not, I am listening to NPR. As a "spinoff" of This American LifeSerial follows the case of Adnan Syed, a high school student who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hai Min Lee in 2000. (The murder took place in January 1999). Each week, a new dimension of the story is unveiled. It is a roller coaster of emotion--nonstop speculation, wavering, and frustration. (At least for me!) This is also what I love so much about this podcast. The second season will be coming up in the next few weeks, and I am itching to hear what's next. The previous episodes are available now, and you can download them and listen to them to catch up before the next season. (And a third, which will debut in the Spring!) 

Dr. Brandt's Needles No More

In July I turned 31, and within the last year and a half, I've seen major changes in not just my body, but my skin, especially. Now that I am in my 30s, I have been trying to play catch-up with my skin care. In my 20s, I didn't do too much; I neglected regular sunscreen use, drinking lots of water, and I had a pretty bad habit of sleeping in my makeup. (Yikes!) 

In the last year, I've noticed a deepening frown line in between my brows. In a moment of weakness I allowed myself to be swept away by the soothing voice and a dramatic antics of a Sephora employee who touted the greatness of this product. I've seen a lot of bad reviews for it, but I happen to love it and see results! For me, I did see, and have continued to see, a vast improvement of my frown line, as well as the tiny lines that have begun to appear around my eyes.

What I Love about this product is that it was developed by the Botox pioneer, Dr. Brandt, yet it isn't as much of a hassle/expense/commitment as actually getting Botox. (Note: Botox isn't permanent; it lasts approximately 3-6 months). Of course the results won't be as dramatic, but I have found that those lines/creases plump up--yes, rather instantly. It's a great alternative to getting Botox or other more expensive facial treatments. I also think that if a bride or bride-to-be were concerned about any of the same issues, this could be an awesome product to help temporarily smooth any lines she may have.

I am a huge advocate for aging gracefully, and have yet to have any surgical procedures myself, but I admit to not loving the lines appearing on my face. Despite this, I do love the fact that I have been able to wake up each and every day until this point; growing older is a gift that not everyone is awarded. I love life, and I do know that as I age, I will only continue to have deepening lines. There is absolutely beauty in this. There's also beauty in wanting to care for yourself, and for wanting to take care of your skin! 

I'd love to know if you've used or do use any of these products, or are as obsessed with Serial as I am! (I'm also taking recommendations for new podcast addictions!) Also, has there been anything that you've loved doing in August? Share some love for what you love below!