Welcome to Shit I Bought, a column where we recap the life-changing beauty and fashion purchases of various staffers—and also just stuff we bought on a whim.
Like the leaves falling dead from the trees, I’ve used the advent of fall both to die a little more on the inside and, more relevantly, shed some of my material possessions. This is not so much a Marie Kondo-esque attempt to simplify my life as much as a chance to get rid of all the garbage I’ve been hanging onto and replace it with more high quality items—or at least some stuff that’s in better condition than the hole-riddled sweaters I’ve been wearing for the past several years.
Speaking of sweaters, cold weather is on the way! Or not: Our planet is on fire! But just in case it does cool down to normal autumn temperatures, I bought this cozy-looking sweater from ASOS.
My attraction to this cardigan is twofold—one, I think it will be good for our office where it is always either too hot or too cold, and never just right. I also like that it will bring some color into my traditionally monochrome autumn wardrobe. It’s yet to arrive, so I have yet to see if it’s ugly or cool (or both) in person.
Another splash of color to light up the shortening days:
Earlier in September, my boyfriend and I took a roadtrip up the very sunny coast of California and into Oregon. To prepare, I bought one of my first pair of quality sunglasses, the Clementine model from Warby Parker. They’re very cute, but no longer on the website. I’m sorry on behalf of this hip glasses company.
The real reason we were out in California is because my best friend was getting married. As a first-time bridesmaid, I used the event as an excuse to invest in some jewelry that wasn’t costume-y and would go with my bridesmaid dress, which I luckily got to choose for myself. (Thank you, dearest Rachel.) I had a fairly small budget considering all the other trip expenses, so I was very happy to stumble upon the Gorjana Mika collection at Shopbop.
Both the necklace and earrings were on sale for under $25 and I’ve been wearing them daily since the wedding, so it seems entirely worth it. They’re no longer available at Shopbop, but I did find the necklace on sale at Nordstrom Rack.
Okay, ENOUGH with apparel! Onto the boring stuff.
I am moving into a new apartment this week, so I bought some big-ass storage tubs and light bulbs from Amazon, the latter because the previous renter took all of the light bulbs with her when she moved??? Strange, but whatever! Fresh bulbs for me!
Also for the new place, I bought a set of sheets because I’m upgrading from a full size mattress to a freakin’ queen, baby! On the recommendation of my coworkers, I decided to buy linen sheets which they guarantee are “cool in the summer and warm in the winter.” Linen sheets are also—thanks a lot, buttheads—VERY expensive, though after hunting around, I found a slightly more affordable set at Loomstead, a company my cousin Megan recommended to me. (It takes a village to make my bed.)
I always resent giving props to brands (especially pushy startups), but these sheets arrived quickly, in beautiful packaging, and are very soft (considering that they’re linen, I worried that they’d be too rough). They also came with a handwritten thank you note, which I was begrudgingly charmed by. I got them in white and I can hardly wait to ruin them with period stains.
Because my new place has limited storage, I decided to throw down a whopping $25 for this Ikea utility cart that, according to everyone on Pinterest, you can use in a multitude of ways. Plants? SURE. Office supplies? Why not?! Keep it in the bathroom for makeup and hair stuff? OH HELL YEAH.
Similar to when television writer Kara Brown experienced her quarter-life crisis by becoming deeply invested in skincare, I have been doing something similar by channeling my constant socio-political anxiety into trying to control the immediate present, i.e. my face. Frankly, it’s been a dark downward spiral, starting with some Drunk Elephant samples I ordered on a whim and am now addicted to. As Drunk Elephant is MUY COSTOSO, I’ve obsessively been on the hunt for more affordable dupes. The bad news is that little compares. The good news is that there are a few things that come close.
A few weeks back, a colleague recommended The Ordinary for freakishly affordable-yet-decent quality direct acids, oils, and more. After doing a little more research, I settled on the niacinamide and the squalene oil, both under $10. To say that the niacinamide changed my skin overnight would not be an exaggeration—I had a blemish that literally shrank by half and other problem areas (hello, chin!) have been progressively clearing up. The oil is also a great hydrator, and I’m sure I will tear through it come winter.
A sucker for both reasonably priced skincare AND recommendations, I am the perfect mark for listicles like the ones Rio Viera-Newton writes for The Strategist. From her suggested products for fall, I purchased Etude House Deep Cream, a supposed dupe for the far more expensive Tatcha cream, and the Cosrx Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask. I’ve yet to use the mask, but I’m happy with the deep cream, particularly in the areas where I get annoying patches of dry skin. The Mario Badescu drying lotion was recommended to me by Megan Reynolds because I was looking for a cheaper alternative to the widely praised EradiKate blemish formula. Hopefully all of these products erase my pores and make my skin perfect or else... the dupe is me.
Exhausted yet? So am I, and I want to thank you for being such a good sport as I walk you through a month of overspending, but thankfully we’ve come to our conclusion.
For the roadtrip, I decided to buy some dry shampoo for a quick fix for the hours we’d be sending in the car and going in and out of hotels. Is dry shampoo good or bad for you? I can’t remember what we’ve settled, but I bought Briogeo Scalp Revival with Charcoal and Biotin regardless and am very happy with it, especially for day 2 dirty hair when I want to put it up and not lose volume. Finally, after over a year of ignoring their obnoxiously alluring marketing, I caved and bought Cloud Paint in Beam and Boy Brow in Blonde from Glossier. Goddammit. They’re both really good and easy to use.
Okay. No more frivolous spending for at least a month.
I’ve been having one of those phases (it’s always a phase) where I want to burn my entire wardrobe on a funeral pyre and just invest in smart, simple, black dresses. I envision myself becoming a minimalist or a cold-looking DJ. Of course this will not happen because I love weird prints and colors, but the feeling did inspire my first piece of shit I bought: this super simple, knit black mini-dress with pockets that I know I will wear so, so many times when it finally gets colder.
Whereas Madeleine has begun investing in skincare, I’ve slowly been trying to invest in haircare. I have a wavy, inconsistently frizzy hair-texture that has changed a lot in the past few years and I’ve been throwing a bunch of products on it and hoping my hair becomes... good? For the past few months I’ve been moving on-and-off between fancy Bumble and Bumble’s products for curly hair and the drugstore OGX products with Moroccan oil in them.
But I like to do this thing where I try to figure out what I ideally want my hair to look like, usually by lusting after some celebrity’s precious mane, like Beach House’s Victoria LeGrand or Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany, and figure out what they use as if that will make me look anything more like them. You see? Easy! Maslany apparently uses Ouidad products so, reader, I bought ’em. Or, at least a trial version, for “loose curls.” I’ve literally only been using it for a week but I like what it’s doing, however the shampoo and conditioner smell exactly like baby hair products: very sweet and powder-y. It’s not a total deal breaker, but I’m not crazy about the smell, so I’m glad I went with a trial version.
I feel like my one fun buy from the past few months was an impulse purchase for a super thick glitter makeup by a LA brand called Lemonhead. I saw this beauty editor I follow on Instagram wearing this exact chartreuse color and I thought it looked so cool. I wear glitter makeup outside of New Years parties and Halloween and I have a rolling supply of Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal subtle glitter liners, but I feel like this paste is going to be for special occasions and a full-eye look. It’s very metallic and looks like you’re literally wearing foil on your eyes. Other beauty buys this past month or so include a plum lipstick from Sephora, which is super matte and will help me become my ideal goth this fall, and some Benefit concealer for my vampire dark circles (because I don’t want to be too goth, you feel?)
And that’s it! I am just a modest girl who wants better hair and goth lips.
This has been “Shit I Bought,” comprised of shit we actually bought. No company compelled us to write about it for any reason. We bought it all, for better and often for worse, with our own money and of our own free will.