Today I Stop Shopping at Forever 21

*Cue the heavens opening. A beam of golden light shines down upon me. Angels flutter down and hand me a certificate that says “Best Human Ever Award”*

Today I went into Forever 21. I needed a new sports bra and figured this would be the cheapest, quickest way to get the job done. I left the store about 30 minutes later with two sports bras, gym shorts, a tank top, a blouse, and a sweater. What could have cost me less than $10 ended up forcing me to sell my grandmother’s prized family heirlooms on the corner. Not really, but almost. 

I have been in a complicated relationship with Forever 21 for as long as I’ve been dressing myself. The store is an overwhelming sensory experience of glitter, nonsensical pop music, things with cats and/or pineapples on them, surprisingly cute underwear, jewelry that leaves your fingers green, and stuff that could actually pass as not being from Forever 21.

Above all: it’s cheap. Disgustingly cheap. As in, I am fairly sure I have paid less than $1 for more than one thing there. When something is that cheap, its origins are instantly undeniable. A quick Google search will link you to tons of reports on completely unacceptable labor practices used by Forever 21, H&M, Zara, and basically anywhere else a college student will tell you she got her outfit. 

Yet we’re all able to suppress the idea that an 11-year-old kid made our Floral Crochet Vests because this kind of shopping experience is addicting. Checking a price tag on a cute top and seeing a teeny-tiny $6.00 is a rush, especially when your total clothing budget is $20.00. Holy cow, I can get three of these puppies! I might as well get that unicorn-shaped necklace too!! And why not a new skirt?!! Don’t act like you haven’t been there. Also, don’t act like you haven’t gone home and realized half of the things you got aren’t even that cute. Hell, I already dubbed that tank top I bought earlier as “Officially Fugly.” 

For people who are struggling to clothe themselves, inexpensive clothing can be a real blessing and I fully acknowledge that. I am thankful I am not in this position and have the choice to be mindful about how and where I spend my money. Of course, making this kind of decision doesn’t automatically mean the Human Rights Fairy is going to bless me with infinite monies to purchase higher quality, more ethically made clothing. As it turns out, there are so many resources for finding affordable, ethical, slow fashion. This list is a great jumping off point. 

So, I’m done with it. Forever 21, Zara, H&M can kiss my overused credit card farewell. I am tired of foolishly compromising my morals, my budget, and my style (and my skin to all these synthetic fabrics, psshaww!) for the sake of a temporary shopping high.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for new places to shop!



The Perfect Summer Sandal Has Been Discovered…And It’s $50

Finding the perfect shoes for summer can be almost as hellish as the 96% humidity you must endure while wearing them. I think flip-flops belong in the Springfield Tire Fire, but I don’t have the requisite $700 for the Italian leather sandals The Sartorialist thinks I need. What’s a gal to do?

I’ll tell you what: make your way to Topshop and buy the Hetty Cleated Sandal.

While perusing the racks of shorteralls and angular crop tops of the Topshop sale rack yesterday, I came upon these babies. If appearance wasn’t enough to convince me, I tried them on and my feet immediately went “woah.” How can a pair of shoes be so cute yet so squishy? Even if I never find the answer, I may still end up as the owner of every color before the summer is out…

For the ultimate test, I wore these sandals all day today. I walked many an avenue back and forth and found not for a second did I want to hack off my legs at the ankle. Miraculous!


Help! What Do I Wear With My Ridiculous Nike Leggings?

The last time I was in Los Angeles, I begged my boyfriend to take me to the NikeTown store in Beverly Hills. I figured that was the perfect place to jump-start my “I’m a cool, carefree West Coast Gal who makes sportswear look like couture” lifestyle. There, I went a little crazy and seriously splurged on a pair of leggings (pictured above) that I was certain would make all of my dreams come true.

Months later, and I’ve worn them maybe twice. I’ve put them on a couple times, admired the rear-view in the mirror, and then taken them off after realizing I have no idea how to wear these into the world.

“Wear them with a sports bra and cut up t-shirt and feel the burn, fool!” Yeah, yeah. I didn’t incur credit card debt to buy something I was going to sweat in.

Perhaps you’re in the same position? Did you go overboard with the rainbow yoga pants at Lululemon and now they are gathering dust? Or perhaps you indulged in Stella McCartney for Adidas and your world is crumbling before you? Come, sit down my legging-clad babes–let’s solve this problem once and for all.

Silky camisoles are almost always a foolproof solution to any outfit needs. The collarbone exposure is universally flattering, but the wispy fabric keeps your outfit from being too clingy and restricting. Choose a pattern or print in accordance with your respective ridiculous leggings. Or, if you’re feeling particularly Coachella that day, try something trendy like a crochet cami.

Consider going full-on Assassin’s Creed with a badass variation on the concept of “tunic.” Also particularly handy for when you don’t care enough that day to figure out what’s going on with your Visible Pantyline (VPL) situation.

Peasant blouses and anything with a cropped, box-cut style is going to flatter your socks off. They’re so floaty and romantic and will keep you from venturing too deeply into Health Goth territory.

If you’ve already spent your paycheck on a pair of spandex leg-casings, don’t go overboard with the footwear. Heels, dainty flats, and any variation of booties need not apply. Keep it simple with Teva-esque sandals, sneakers, or slip-ons.

Ahh yes, I can see it now: we are all blossoming into perfect little polyester flowers. At the end of the day, we all just need to ask ourselves the same question: WWSSD?

What would Sporty Spice do?


Current Obsession: Mori Girl

I used to be really into Japanese street fashion. And I mean really. In my early teen years, I saved up months of pithy minimum wage paychecks in order to afford the lifestyle of a Gothic Lolita. I fell out of the style after a few years (much to the joy of my bank account) but I more or less maintain the belief that Japanese teenagers know everything there is to know about looking sweet as hell. 

Via the World of Tumblr, I’ve discovered my latest style aspiration: Mori Girl. According to Urban Dictionary, Mori Girl can be defined as “a fairly new (2007) Japanese fashion/lifestyle trend, dedicated to living a cheerful, simple, natural life of a girl in the forest.” Essentially, a Mori Girl is 50% flower, 50% sweater. 

One of the best things about Mori Girl style is its flexibility and room for creativity. There are no set rules or brands to be worshiped; it’s more about a girl’s individual experimentation. Rad!

Naturally, my train of thought eventually returned to knitting. Mori Girl is basically the dream aesthetic of any knitter or crafter. I mean, do you know how hard it is trying to update your “soft-grunge” wardrobe with knitting patterns? Puh-lease. Mori Girl on the other hand? We’re talking antique lace shawls, chunky oversized cardigans, fingerless gloves…the list is truly infinite. I can’t wait to compile a list of patterns to share with you!

If you’re looking for me this summer, I’ll be somewhere in a tree wearing a nightgown!

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

6 Beauty Products for Women Who Don’t Wear Makeup

Beauty Products for Girls Who Don't Wear Makeup

I haven’t worn makeup in years. After early-teenage experimentation with large quantities of body glitter and Twizzler’s flavored Chapstick, I found that my brain was incapable of progressing to the level of eyeshadow palettes and foundation sponges. Though I often gaze upon my beautiful friends and their perfectly-winged eyeliner and capacity to pull off dark purple lipstick, I am satisfied sticking to a relatively bare-bones beauty routine. 

There are so many reasons why one would choose to not wear makeup: you lack the basic competence or willpower to use it (no shame), it doesn’t agree with your skin, it’s expensive, it doesn’t feel natural or empowering to use–the list goes on! Whatever your reason may be, it’s valid. 

So, I’ve compiled my six favorite products to create the most low-maintenance beauty routine of all time. The focus is on creating healthy, glowing skin–not just covering up “imperfections”–and adding subtle hints of color. Bonus: None of these products are tested on animals, and the companies behind all of them are against animal testing. 

Onward to the list! 

1. Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Cream

I discovered this holy grail of moisturizing through trial and error. I was using every basic daily moisturizer I could get my hands on, only to find that midway through the day, my skin had already returned to the ungodly flake-fest I so despair. Until one day in the aisles of Duane Reade, I stumbled upon Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Cream. The infusion of royal jelly makes it soothing, glossy, and perfect for sensitive skin. 

Recently, I’ve found myself accidentally skipping on moisturizer in the morning–my skin has become so much more hydrated and soft all around even after just a few weeks of use. Snatch this up!

Buy on Amazon for $16.99

2. Coconut Oil

Yes, this is literally a jar of coconut oil you can purchase in the same aisle as peanut butter. Unbeknownst to the shelf-stockers of America, this jar has infinitely more uses on my body than in the “island-inspired smoothies!” the label suggests: Body moisturizer, hair mask and smoothing treatment, cuticle softener, eye cream–just to name a few. 

Buy on Amazon for $12.37

3. Aquaphor Healing Ointment

If you have ever gotten a tattoo, I am sure you know all about Aquaphor. It’s a healing ointment that is essentially for preventing scarring and inducing the healing of cracked or broken skin. Its lightweight, silky, invisible texture also makes it an awesome lipgloss. I also use Aquaphor to tame my eyebrows and to soothe pimple redness. I’m always carrying a tube of this stuff wher’er I roam. 

Buy on Amazon for $12.86

4. Physicians Formula Super BB 

From time to time, especially on cold and dry days, I like to give my skin an extra boost with a layer of BB Cream. I prefer Physicians Formula to other brands I’ve tried (Urban Decay and Makeup Forever) because it seems to be the most water based, and therefore glides easily onto the skin and leaves a more natural finish.

When it comes to application, I always just use my fingers. Brushes and sponges are breeding-grounds for bacteria, and make the whole process more difficult than it needs to be. We have hands! Finger paint it on! 

Buy on Amazon for $11.86

5. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm

The quest is over: this lip balm actually moisturizes (farewell to the cycle of putting something on your lips only to find they are a shriveled shadow of their former selves an hour later), and actually adds color. 

I use the “Rose” shade almost daily and I’m obsessed with the subtle but rich color it adds.

Buy on Amazon for $6.97 

6. Benefit Benetint

Benefit, a.k.a. the most delightful makeup brand in the world, invented Benetint as a multi-purpose stain for your cheeks and lips. Using a nail polish-esque brush, you apply it to the apples of your cheeks and rub it in for a seriously beautiful glow that will last you all day. 

While it’s certainly the most expensive product I use, the same bottle has lasted me more than long enough to be worth it. 

Buy on Amazon for $34.99

What are some of your favorite products? Share your routine!