(Originally posted: 9/30/17)
**Before we jump into the shameless capitalism that is Staunchly Picks for September, please consider donating toward hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. I’m not even going to talk about Trump’s response right now. I think in this moment we're better served ignoring the rantings of the crusty lunatic in the oval office and focusing on any way we can possibly help the people of PR. **
Ready to escape the world for a bit with some Staunchly Picks? Here are five things I love and I think you might love too. Although are any of us even capable of love anymore? That's a q for a different day.
1. Peripera Peri’s Ink the Velvet - $8
I am a simple girl with simple wants and all I desire is a classic red lip tint that will last throughout the night with minimal upkeep and make me look like Faye Dunaway in Chinatown. Is that too much to ask??? Just a color that applies evenly, can survive wine and small talk and chicken wings and any funny business; can be topped with Aquaphor or balm dot calm or the emollient of your choice, without terribly fading the color. Also a lip color that won’t do that thing where it fades everywhere on your lips except the inner corners and outer rim, making your lips look all striated like the surface of Jupiter which is just not a cute look even for the most astronomically-inclined among us. Bonus points if it has the texture of whipped Philadelphia cream cheese!
Well, pals, I’m happy to report: I FOUND IT. While strolling through my favorite K-Beauty store in LA, I stumbled upon my dream lip tint: Peri’s Ink the Velvet by Peripera (a clunky name for a plush product).
Peripera is a Korean brand geared towards young girls who like to have fun with makeup, which is how I self-identify. It’s tricky to find in the states, but you can order the lip tints on Amazon or find them at stores that specialize in K-beauty. They’re worth the hunt. My favorite store is Palace Beauty at the Koreatown Galleria because the saleswomen always give me free sheet masks, which is similar to a poreless street dealer giving drug samples to an addict.
The best color is Sellout Red, a perfect cherry, but I’m also enjoying Pure Peach and Love Sniper Red. They will all make your life terrific. Note that the darker, more pigmented shades last longer than the lighter ones, but you can always go back with another layer.
Here’s my technique. I apply it in a fat swoop, smush my lips together (that’s usually all you need to do to disperse the color—it is delightfully blendable). I let it sit on my lips for 5 minutes while I do my makeup. Then I’ll wet half a paper towel and wipe off the product furiously, then do a pat dry with the dry half. Basically you are removing all the product that doesn’t want to be with you. All the pigment that isn’t loyal. This is a good strategy for life, I think.
Which is all to say: YOU WILL BE SHOCKED BY HOW MUCH PRODUCT STAYS ON YOUR LIPS AND HOW LONG IT LASTS.
The only bad thing I can think to say about this godly lip stain is that I wish it came in more varied and earthier shades. Man, I’d love a raisin. Even a somber brick red. I’d settle for a chocolate brown! Alas, God would never let me be so happy.
2. My Favorite Murder podcast
I love a good murder—story. A good murder story. I think it’s my birthright as the daughter of a man who met both Charles Manson and OJ Simpson in the wild, before they were known to the world as murderers, to be riveted by all things true crime.
It’s weird then that I hadn’t listened to the wildly popular My Favorite Murder podcast until recently. It’s been in my periphery for a while, but I was turned off by friends who complained of the hosts rambling brand of storytelling.
Also, I knew vaguely what MFM was: two brunettes from California with dark senses of humor and vocal fry talking about a topic that innately interests me, true crime. Do you guys ever do that thing when you know something is so up your alley, just so perfect for you, that you immediately retreat from it? Like you haven’t earned the right to feel so seen and happy?
Do you think that instinct has anything to do with the fact that my dad withheld love? Do you think his withholding of love has anything to do with the fact that Charles Manson offered him and his buddy a Coke when they stumbled upon the Family in the Santa Susana mountains in 1969? Whoops, there I go spiraling in on myself again.
Okay, back to MFM. It was this Buzzfeed piece by Scaachi Koul that finally convinced me to get over my hesitations and give it a try. I was intrigued by the idea that a true crime podcast could have a deliberately feminist angle. Koul convinced me—as did the MFM hosts Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, while I devoured episode after episode from their back catalogue— there’s something pretty empowering about twisting a narrative of female victimization into a tool for community and self-preservation.
If you're interested, I recommend starting with Episode 85, which includes the story of the Spiderman of Denver. THE. SPIDERMAN. OF. DENVER. “Bonkers” does not even begin…
(Fair warning: the hosts do indeed ramble. A lot. This is not the podcast for you if you can’t get down with a non sequitur or 14. That said, I find the digressions charming and natural.)
3. Tana French Books
On the topic of murder...if you’re looking for addictive, well-written, contemporary detective fiction by a ~ lady writer ~ look no further than the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Each book in the series of six is told from the perspective of a different detective in the fictional DMS. They’re the perfect books for this early fall in-between weather when you want the pace and pulp of a summer page-turner and the moodiness of an autumn read.
After a brief springtime flirtation with the first book in the series, In the Woods (I tabled it in the haze of moving into my apartment), I finished it in one big gulp this month. By contrast, I’ve been moving through The Likeness very slowly, savoring each slice of this character-driven thriller.
Let’s face it. Crime dramas are just better oversees. Because even if they take place in properly inland, urban environments, there is always the promise of maybe perhaps encountering at least the idea of a rocky mossy cliff blanketed in moss or—hot damn—a moor. American crime fiction just can’t stand up to moors!
I’m reading the books in order, but this article on Book Riot makes a compelling case why you shouldn’t.
4. Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence - $14
Is there snail on my face or are you just happy to see me? Ha Ha Ha.
No seriously put snails on your face (snail secretion, to be clear). Please. I can’t be the only one out here putting snails on my face.
Of course, I’m not. I’m very late to the mollusk game. Maybe Staunchly Picks should be renamed “Things Everyone Has Loved for 5 Years that Carey Has Finally Embraced”?
Anyways, I’ve been loving this “essence” from Cosrx, a Korean brand that specializes in products for acne-prone skin and consistently kills the game. I first heard of the brand through Rio Viera-Newton’s life-changing skincare breakdown for The Strategist, of which I’ve already sung the praises. Rio recommendeds it as a dupe for SK-II’ s cult Facial Treatment Essence, which is more than five times the price and which I tried once in college to lackluster results. In retrospect, maybe I should have set a lower bar than "make me look precisely like in Cate Blanchett in literally every possible way." My bad.
Snail goo is supposed to hydrate and brighten skin, fade acne scars, soften wrinkles, and smooth any unpleasant roughness. The studies on this are inconclusive, but since I’ll do anything Rio tells me to, I ran out and escargot myself some snail semen immediately.
It took me a while to get past the texture. It has a slimy, goopy consistency like egg whites and if you put some on your palms and then you rub them together it kinda…sticks between them—don’t think about it too much. I put it on my face morning and night after cleansing then follow with Vintner’s Daughter (my holy grail—bury me with this) and moisturizer. Or if I’m doing a sheet mask, I’ll do this before or after depending on when I remember/how “self-caring” I’m being that day (i.e. how inebriated).
And I'm happy to report the snails are working!! After three weeks of using this essence, I've noticed an impressive improvement in the texture and evenness of my skin. Maybe this is just a placebo effect. Maybe snail paste does nothing. But as far as weird generational beauty trends go, at least we’re not putting arsenic on our face. Looking at you, Victorian bbs!
5. H&M Stoneware - $25
When I lived in Paris, surviving on velouté de potiron and Monster Munch and tiny potted yogurts from Monoprix for three months just so—someday—I might be able to start sentences with, “When I lived in Paris,” I spent hours wandering the Zara Home store in Passy Plaza between classes. It became a real safe space for me (just far enough away from my awful Advanced French Conversation teacher who wore cargo pants). Also: I was blown away by the chicness of the homewares I saw there! I’ve since made it a habit to peruse the Zara and H&M Home websites every so often for aesthetically pleasing and spectacularly cheap home goods (admittedly of dubious ethical origins, befitting their fast-fashion brands).
H&M has some beautiful stoneware pieces right now, like this $25 pitcher, which I’d probably buy from Heath at 5x the price. Of course, you’re not getting the same quality and craftsmanship as you would from a specialty ceramics store. But...and I know I’ll go to hell for saying this but *sometimes* I don’t care about craftsmanship… :/