I love my eyebrows with a voracity that I assume most people reserve for family members or small children. After all, it’s not like my family follows me around all day complimenting my face shape. They require much more maintenance than a bi-monthly $20 clean up fee and rarely surprise me with their ability to act exactly the way I want them to. When considering what each contender has to offer, the obvious recipient of my affection is clear. My brows = my heart. UNTIL YESTERDAY. WHEN SOMEONE WAXED AND TRIMMED AND PLUCKED THEM DOWN TO NEAR-NOTHINGNESS.
I should have known. I’ve scoffed at and scrolled past every article in my newsfeed directed towards victims of 90’s-induced over-plucking. I work in the beauty industry! EVERYONE in the beauty industry cautions their fellow beauty-industrians (and the general public) to enter any waxing situation with trepidation.
But I got cocky. Usually, the waxing technician can sense my skepticism (that, or she’s able to sense that I have poor control over my reflexes and could easily punch her during our session. Or maybe I tend to eat extra-garlicky pizza on days I get my brows waxed, hoping to will the waxer into releasing me from her clutches as soon as possible, leaving her less time to fuck up my pride and joy. WHATEVER THE CASE, THE TENSION IS USUALLY PALPABLE). This time was different. I practically danced into the studio, making idle chitchat with my cousin in reception and over-eagerly greeting my waxer.
Quickly, I remembered my role. “I like to keep them thick,” I cautioned. “Just be sure to follow the shape please.”
“Oh yeah, just a clean up!” she offered, before she got scissor-happy.
“Shit, there’s a lot of trimming going on up there,” I thought to myself, breaking into a sweat. But trimming is driving force behind my brow-waxing exploits. I can pluck properly, but without a good trim I go from Cara Delevingne to Nutty Professor (yes, I look exactly like Cara Delevingne). So I sat in silence, as she asked me about my weekend plans (none) and talked about her inability to save money (same).
With horror, I looked into the mirror. My eyebrows looked as thin as they did in the eighth grade when I plucked them into oblivion out of pure defiance (my mom wouldn’t let me dye them blonde to match my new highlights. She’s a real crusader, sparing me from an orange-tinged existence, as I also wasn’t allowed to use Sun-In).
If you’d like to pay your respects, please take a scroll through my Instagram feed, where you’ll find my formerly bold brows prominently on display in my selfie collection. But don’t ask for any #likesforlikes. This is about me, not about you. For now, I remain in mourning. Updates to come.
A wise woman named Missy Elliot (and later on, Lena Dunham) once encouraged you to: “put this thing down, flip it and reverse it,” and that’s exactly what you should be doing with the $40 a month you’re spending on that mother-effing tanning package.
Take your money and invest in a good broad-spectrum sunscreen. Spend it on gas to put into Reggie Rocket, your beloved maroon Jetta from 1999. Put it towards a Mandee’s shopping spree (but don’t buy another pair of heart-shaped hoop earrings, for the love of God). Put it towards your ~*SeNiOr Sh0rE*~ beer money fund (#noregrets). You scooped a lot of ice cream to earn that $40. Don’t spend any more of it damaging your skin.
Oh, and while you’re at it, break up with your boyfriend. He sucks too.
Your Self-Tanner Obsessed, 24-Year-Old Self
I’ve spent the past few years trying to reverse the damaging effects that bleach has left on my hair…and now that it’s healthy I have no idea what to do with it. What once paid attention to hot tools and was easy to style (albeit, a bit crispy) is now soft, silky and completely annoying.
First, some hair history. As a native ~* NoRth JerZii GuRl,*~ I’ve held onto two key philosophies when it comes to hair styling: blonde is better and bigger is not only better, but entirely necessary. My mother taught me at an early age that flat hair effing sucks, and by the time I reached fifth grade I was ready to do something about mine, which brings us to my first perm.
Your computer screens do not deceive you—I really did get a perm in fifth grade. But not before signing a waiver, promising to take care of my young, soon-to-be-chemically-treated strands. “GET ON WITH IT, LADY,” I thought to myself as I scribbled my signature across the dotted line (which was heavily-rehearsed, because a girl can never be too prepared for a life of Disney channel stardom).
For the next two years, I sported a scrunchy style that not only complimented my Bath and Body Works roll-on-glitter collection but also smelled fantastic due to mass amount of LA Looks hair gel. Alas, all good things must come to an end. By the time I reached middle school, I decided to part with my perm in order to move on up in the world of chemically-processed hair. It was time for highlights.
Once I had a taste of the blonde life, there was no turning back. For starters, I was one step closer to being Jessica Simpson, my then-hero despite the fact that she couldn’t discern the difference between chicken and tuna (we all have our flaws, so CHILL). Suddenly, the sun shone brighter, my Mountain Dew tasted sweeter and my Aéropostale shirts looked cooler. Being blonde was the shit. From then on out I stuck to a consistent highlighting schedule, returning to the salon 4 times a year rotating between “partial” and “full-foil” appointments. I had a pretty horrific encounter with a bottle of peroxide the summer I turned sixteen, but I was too busy trying to smuggle bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade to the beach to be bothered with salvaging it.
In college, things took a turn for the sad. I was away at a school that I hated, with friends that I didn’t really like and extra weight that wouldn’t come off. At a time when everything seemed to be spiraling out of control, I took back the reins in the only way I knew how: I printed out a picture of Lauren Conrad and brought it to some crap salon in Massachusetts with a fancy-sounding name. I ignored my mother’s dire pleas for me to wait until I came home for spring break to color my hair and let some level-one stylist totally fuck my day up.
It was all downhill from there. In order to correct the color, I had to dye my hair dark brown, which I had convinced myself would “bring out my blue eyes.” I hit a roadblock when my regular stylist told me that there were no less than 7 different colors in my hair, so instead of “rich chestnut,” I was left with “shit brown with a hint of green.”
As I gradually began adding highlights, my life saw some improvement (it probably also had something to do with the fact that I transferred schools, befriended the best people in my life and stopped eating family-sized bags of Smartfood popcorn). Since then, I’ve treated my strands with kindness, getting low-lights in the winter and deep-conditioning as often as humanly possible. The results have been exceptional, and my hair is silky and full without split ends or fried sections. Except it’s near-impossible to style it the way that I once did.
I relied so heavily on damage to create volume that healthy hair is an entirely new arena for me. My curls fall out faster and while my ponytail is fuller, it no longer stays in perfectly-teased place. Regardless, I refuse to go back down the brittle road of hair mistakes past. I’ve come to regard my teasing comb and extra-hold hairspray the same way I do tequila: indulging only in moderation unless I’m in Las Vegas. Cue Klorane Dry shampoo with oat milk-non aerosol, the all-star product that I now rely on for the texture and volume of yesteryear, sans breakage.
DISCLAIMER. I work for Klorane. But this stuff is life-changing enough to dedicate an entire blog post to, so just hear me out. The eco-friendly edition of this French cult favorite gives just as much lift and hold as certain over-priced dry texturizing sprays without completely drying out my hair. I split it into sections and squeeze some of the powder formula into my roots before flipping my head over to massage the product into my scalp. The volume is crazy-impressive and the gentle formula doesn’t leave my scalp itchy for the rest of the day. There’s a slight mattifying effect, so I often have to opt for volume over shine, but as someone who panics at the mere mention of a flat iron, it’s a worthy sacrifice.
There you have it– a supes-profesh answer to the existential “is bigger really better?” question. I invite you to go forth and blast your roots with Klorane’s natural goodness.
“I’m not sure what time we’re supposed to meet up tonight. I’ll just call him,” I muttered to a group of friends while we were discussing a guy I was newly seeing. I glanced up from my phone to wide eyes and horrified expressions. “What?” I asked, defensively…but I knew what. I had anticipated this reaction. Boys don’t do phone calls unless you’re already dating. “Well, don’t call him, it might freak him out. Just text him,” was their unanimous decision.
When did everyone become so scared of using their phones to place actual phone calls? Did Alexander Graham Bell work his colonial ass off so that I could wait around for a text message that reads “What’s goodie?”
I may not be able to put an end to this international communication pandemic, but at the very least, I can exploit my own personal experiences with phone calls to raise awareness (because I am a woman of the people).
At 13 Years Old
Ah, the year of my own phone line. If I had to designate a period of my life as my prime, I’d have to say that this was it. I was unstoppable. Three way calls? No problem. Instant message you after school? How cute! You must not have your own private phone line equipped with your own phone number and answering machine recording that you change every other day. NEXT.
Luckily, I had my mom to serve as my personal secretary when I was out taking part in recreational activities (playing manhunt) or giving back to the community (babysitting my neighbors for free). “Tiffany, Thomas is on the phone!” she would yell if I was too tied up to get to the phone at the moment. This tactic quickly granted me the upper hand in the relationship, a point that was further proven when I received a souvenir box from his trip to Aruba with ten dollars stuffed into it. (I was advised to give the money back, but we all know I pocketed that shit). Our breakup conversation went as follows:
Boy: “Hi, are you still mad at me?”
Me: “Yes, Thomas, I am still mad at you because my hair still smells like whipped cream from your field day pie-contest antics and I also have a bruise from the water balloon you threw at me at Tara’s end of the yard party. I don’t think this is going to work out. Sorry.”
At 17 Years Old
At this point in life, I’d considered myself pretty seasoned when it came to relationships. After all, my Harry Potter-hybrid boyfriend had just recently broken up with me on my house phone (I can’t recall why this particular conversation didn’t take place on my cell, but I know that it seemed A LOT more personal when he told me he wanted to “do his own thing” during his senior year of high school on a line that my parents EASILY could have been listening in on.).
Fast-forward: It was at least 9 months before the Junior Prom, aka time to start shottying dates. My former-bestie-turned-arch-nemesis had already asked two of boys that I was thinking of asking (LOL #HIGHSCHOOL), so my sister and I brainstormed a list of potential prom suitors in my basement. We came up with the perfect choice, and I considered calling him, but after much deliberation settled for a text message that was straight and to the point, with a smiley face thrown in for good measure.
Me: “Hey, SO random, but, do you want to go to prom with me? Haha :)”
Boy: “Who is this?”
I decided then and there that I was NOT ABOUT THAT TEXT MESSAGE LIFE.
At 21 Years Old:
It’s probably not necessary for me to go into specifics here, because pretty much every conversation with any boy that year went as follows:
Me: “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! What are you doooooing?”
Boy: “Hey, nothing where are you”
Me: “I’m at Queeeeens taking shots– oh my god you will NOT believe what Lauren just did!”
Boy: “What did Lauren just do?”
*DROPS PHONE, CALLS BACK*
Me: “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! What are you doooooing?”
At (Almost) 24 Years Old
Blame it on brunch mimosas or pure frustration, but one recent Saturday morning I decided that it was bullshit that this guy that I hadn’t seen in years was leaving heart comments on my Instagram photos and writing me 140 character love notes on Twitter, but couldn’t muster up the courage to call me on the phone and ask me to hang out.
Me: “I’m calling him.”
My friends: “Are you serious?”
DIALS. NO ANSWER
My friends: “He’s totally staring at his phone wondering if you butt-dialed him.”
RECEIVES TEXT MESSAGE: “Hey, was that a butt dial? I’m hoping it wasn’t.”
*TAKES SIP OF MIMOSA. CALLS HIM BACK. *
Me: “Hi, are you going to continue to stalk me on social media or are you actually going to ask me to hang out?”
It didn’t work out, for obvious reasons, BUT I WILL NOT GIVE UP HOPE. Somewhere out there lives a living and breathing male creature who won’t assume that I’m undergoing a psychotic break for returning his text message with a phone call. Until then, call me maybe…or don’t, it’s cool.
Part 1…because I could go on forever…
My gravitation toward prep-school inspired pieces and all things Alexa Chung is a byproduct of my childhood obsession with Madeline (WHO NEEDS AN APPENDIX ANYWAY?).
I was SO PISSED when those petty step sisters ruined Cinderella’s uber-feminine original ball gown. The bows! The cool blue-beaded necklace (not pictured, just engrained in memory)! And we also mustn’t forget that Gus pretty much put the crop top on the market– Sorry Rihanna.
Perdon moi, but Vada Margaret Sultenfuss was bad ass. She had the whole hard-to-get thing down to a science and was also stylish AF and willing to experiment with her beauty look (blue eyeshadow totally worked on her). That off-the-shoulder peasant top and pedal-pusher combo never gets old. (Okay capri pants died a slow and painful death in the early aughts but swap in some distressed high-waisted denim and you’re golden).
First of all, nobody wants to know how many pages of Google Images I had to go through to get to this photo. Although black and white doesn’t necessarily do Ryce justice (I REALLY wanted a picture of the cool sweater she wears when she makes out with the guy at that party where the entire house falls down), Ryce was so cool. I mean, her name was RYCE (and at the time, I owned a necklace with my name engraved in rice, so our imaginary bond was particularly strong).
Passport to Paris
I distinctly remember perusing Velvet Pixie for a similar bandanna-headband hybrid while trying to convince my mom that I NEEDED a cordless phone with feathers all over it.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Sloane definitely doesn’t care, but I think her white fringe-leather is totally bitchin.
She’s All That:
FACT: Jenna Lyons have been so into Pre-Makeover Laney’s overalls and thick-rimmed specs (despite the fact that she really should have been more careful with silk).
I rewound this scene multiple times (#TBT #REWINDING) just to catch another glimpse at perfection that is this dress. That sweatheart neckline! Those cute, yet creepy doll-things! Although I was much more into Mandees than Moschino at the time, I’ve been still been searching for a suitable replica for the past 11 years, and I’m not the only one…
Some people swoon over Harry Styles, I swoon over monochromatic matching sets (and sometimes, Harry Styles). I mean, whatever you’re into, right?
Sex and the City
Be still my menswear-inspired heart!
(Due to circulating rumors of a third SATC installment, prepare yourselves for a recap of my Carrie favorites, including that one time she wore a belt in the middle of her bare stomach because WHO ELSE could pull that off?)
Most people could categorize me as a Basic Bitch, and I really don’t care.
I love ballet flats and sweater vests (I’m wearing both as I type). I think that headbands are killer when styled correctly. Nothing gets me going like a well-structured matching set or a crisp oxford button-up paired with mid-rise skinny jeans. I curl my hair in loose waves because the simple style flatters my face shape (not all of us are blessed with pixie-worthy cheekbones). I love fall foliage and sweater weather, though I’m not a huge fan of the whole pumpkin-spice thing (that makes me different right?! I’m original, right?! I’m not basic, am I?!).
This desperate quest for originality must be rather exhausting. People who are “different” don’t spend the majority of their time avoiding being called “basic,” they’re far too busy following the path that most intrigues them while carving out a lifestyle that inspires others—whether or not said lifestyle includes daily trips to Starbucks is none of your damn business.
I understand that the term “basic bitch” is meant to represent more than fashion and beauty tendencies, but the whole concept is just such…bullshit. The entire obsession is just another form of marginalization, as explained in this article by The Cut:
“…the woman who calls another woman basic ends up implicitly endorsing two things she probably wouldn’t sign up for if they were spelled out for her: a male hierarchy of culture, and the belief that the self is an essentially surface-level formation.”
When you call someone basic, you are BASICally implying that a she who enjoys a glass of Pinot Grigio and a fashion magazine while winding down from work in a pair of leggings and UGG boots is incapable of having a complex set of dreams, desires, and life goals.
Hopefully some “Non-Basic-Bitch” comes up with another self-serving catchphrase soon. I personally prefer the term “Classic See-You-Next-Tuesday,” but I’ll leave it up to the professionals.