Staunchly, vol. 27: Eclipses, Coyotes, and August Picks

(Originally posted: 8/11/17)

Hi pals,
Before we get down and dirty with Staunchly’s August picks, here are some things I’ve been thinking about over the past few weeks, in no particular order:
1. John McCain
I think it’s time to rename Profiles in CourageProfiles in White Men Doing Literally the Bare Minimum.
Like basically everyone during the health care debate, I spent a lot of time immersed in political Twitter, which—let’s face it—is a surefire way to feel like your body is incinerating itself from the inside. Reading tweet after tweet from reporters, Hill staffers, and professional commentators—saying the same thing, making the same jokes, over and over and over again—is probably not dissimilar to the sensation of injecting the Russian street drug Krokodil.

You bite off your fingernails. Your mind envelops itself in a miserable delirium as you begin to crave, with increasing belligerence, the very thing that you know is corrupting you.

Tell me, you say, as you open up your laptop, what does Chris Cillizza have to say about the news today?

And then all your teeth melt into the back of your skull like sugar cubes into tea.
Anywayssss, political Twitter lost its collective shit when McCain voted against “skinny” Obamacare repeal. The Maverick is back! The Senate lion returns to roar! McCain saves health care! Paging Dr. Sorkin! 
This is all, of course, total bullshit. McCain didn’t save anything. Senators Murkowski and Collins were “no” votes before it was cool. But it’s in keeping with the nation’s grand tradition of rewarding mediocre men for doing the basic decent thing that the media largely ignored their sacrifices in the rush to lionize and sorkinize McCain.

Women don’t get accolades for doing the right thing. Not at the rate men do, at least. Courage is gendered capital.

(The most excellent  tweet  from repeal night. A fun thing that happened is that I noticed this very tweet was retweeted by the male Senate staffer in my old office who tried to intimidate me into not writing my piece on sexism on Capitol Hill [said it would ruin my career ~forever~]—a dude, I should say, who frequently shut women down in meetings. So......IDK guys, life is so funny and rich sometimes)

(The most excellent tweet from repeal night. A fun thing that happened is that I noticed this very tweet was retweeted by the male Senate staffer in my old office who tried to intimidate me into not writing my piece on sexism on Capitol Hill [said it would ruin my career ~forever~]—a dude, I should say, who frequently shut women down in meetings. So......IDK guys, life is so funny and rich sometimes)

2. Eclipse Season

All my digital astrologists are telling me to chill and just ride this cyclone of wild energy to completion, but damn if things don't feel extra messy right now.

Serious q: are we all going to die? Will the impending impending nuclear holocaust derail the Will & Grace reboot?? 

These are the things keeping me up at night. Speaking of, last night I had a startlingly lucid dream that I was moving apartments and the burly mover men and all my friends who were helping me just straight-up abandoned me. Mid-move! I woke up irrationally angry at everyone I care about!

That, my sweet buds, is eclipse season. 

3. A little while ago, I came across this quote from Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel Eileen (which is high on my to-read list): 

“A grown woman is like a coyote—she can get by on very little.” 


Damn, right?  

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote recently. As a self-described "high-maintenance person" (other people describe me this way too), someone who labels myriad things in her life—from brow gel to crystals to my favorite pop culture instagram account—as "essential," I appreciate the reminder that, actually, I never need as many things as I think I do. We're all way more self-sustaining than we believe we are, you know? 

On Monday, I had my first session with a new therapist and we mapped out a loose plan for how I can build a life that respects but does not deify or indenture itself to the trauma of my past. It's just all about unburdening ourselves of the things that no longer serve us. 

Carry less. Need less. Think: coyote. 

(Also should acknowledge how grim this quote really is. Women are scrappy. They’ve had to be. No little girl thinks to herself: You know what I want to be when I grow up? A survivor.)

On that note, let's jump into some Staunchly picks! Here are my ~essentials~ for the final breaths of summer...

1. Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum

One of the best things about growing up in Los Angeles is a very healthy body image and an approach to beauty that prioritizes self-love with a focus on simply enhancing my natural gifts. JK! I’ve been wearing foundation since I was 12. 15 years later, I still have a fair amount of anxiety about going anywhere barefaced, my freckles and other *imperfections* on full display.  

Enter: Vintner’s Daughter. I first experienced VD at my friend Taylor’s house in Sag Harbor (don’t quote this line out of context, please). Her mom, Tracey, let me sample the goodness from her impressive stash of zeitgeist-y beauty delights and I was hooked immediately.

The scent drew me in first. It has the olfactory profile of the hands of a sophisticated older woman who has spent her afternoon clipping herbs from her lush California garden. It smells like what I imagine Meryl’s house in It’s Complicated smells like. Linen and lavender ice cream. 

Teeming with oils from 22 active botanicals, the serum is beloved by skincare aficionados everywhere for its cosmic soothing, brightening, and clearing powers. I'm honestly at a loss for words because I don't know how to describe something that is just magic. After using it for nearly two months my skin is clearer, glowier, and way less damaged and angry (inner damage and anger have been carefully preserved, don't you worry). It's become the MVP of my skincare/preserve-my-youthful-Dorian-Gray-radiance-without-all-that-messy-paint routine. AND, it creates an excellent base for foundation, should you even feel you need it (you probably don't).

At $185 a bottle it’s expensive, yes, and perhaps your money would be better spent on a monthly lease of a Toyota Yaris, but honestly I think this will get you farther, faster.


2. Baked Weed Lollipops (25 mg THC) 

I never "did" weed in my youth, too concerned with a future career in politics (jokes on me, because Capitol Hill runs on drugs). So you could say that I've been making up for lost time. ;)

I've been really enjoying these lollipops, which I buy at The Higher Path in Sherman Oaks, a recommendation of my friend and pot shaman Lauren Dunitz.  

The first time I tried one, I went to see Girls Trip (which was going to be a Staunchly pick but then it seemed too obvious. Go see it immediately if you haven't. It's pure joy. Even sober). The whole experience was delightful. Tiffany Haddish is a majestic firecracker. Kofi Siriboe is, um, a very special-seeming person. The lolly, paired with some excellent movie theater Diet Coke, yielded a smooth and well-rounded high (omg I sound like such a stoner). 10/10! 

Now, a warning: contrary to the very essence of a lollipop, these babies are not really meant to be consumed in one sitting, unless you have a magnificent tolerance, which I do not. While I was fine during Girls Trip, I was very not fine the second time I consumed a whole lollipop—at home on Sunday, watching a BBC miniseries about a girl who was held captive by a rapist for 13 years. Paranoia set in quickly. 

Long story short, I spent five hours thinking I was in the matrix.

This was particularly scary because I've never seen The Matrix

Still, I find the lollipop form one of the more enjoyable ways to get baked and toasty, as long as you moderate your dose. At $10, they're not the cheapest high in town, but they're worth the Hamiltons. 

3. Covergirl Oh Sugar! Lip Balm
This tinted lip balm, which I discovered while waiting for my SSRI prescription to be filled at CVS, is a shameless knockoff of Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatments—at a third of the price. While the Fresh balms have never really done anything for me, I'm pretty satisfied with the Covergirl version. It comes in a bunch of cute shades, deposits a fair amount of color and moisturizing butters, and smells like Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade Cups.

Perfect for a summer barbecue! (I mean, I don't know? I feel like that's just a thing beauty writers say?).

Just three picks for August, short & sweet. Enjoy 'em my loves.

Staunchly yours,