a world of wonderlands.

Every once in a rare while you stumble onto something that is so delightful, so inspiring, so completely you, but that you never would've even known to seek out. Something like the Alice in a World of Wonderlands exhibit at the Grolier Club. 

We were in New York last year, took the subway over to Central Park from the Bowery, and were being directed around construction on our way to the park when I saw Alice on a little sign. I walked over and saw that it was an exhibition, free to the public, on around-the-world translations of Alice in Wonderland. Of course I couldn't miss it. It wasn't a big room, but I spent at least an hour there and could've spent a few more if I had been alone. 

Alice, the original.

The information about various translations was interesting to say the least, but for me, comparing the various illustrations was just incredible. I was so surprised by the number of non-blonde Alices (including the original, Alice Liddell) although it shouldn’t be surprising considering how many of the world’s peoples have dark hair. I left wishing the book was a compilation of the illustrations rather than the translations, but at least I was able to find images of a few of the more remarkable covers online.


It's gotten really hard for me to watch movies lately, so I need one that either doesn't matter how much attention I pay to it or one that forces me to pay close attention to it. Comet is the former.

natural deodorant.

Almost five years ago, I decided to try to stop using conventional antiperspirants. Since then, I've gone back and forth from conventional antiperspirants, to deodorants that claimed to be safer and only kinda worked, and truly safe deodorants that totally didn't work. For a while I even used the crystal deodorant, which kinda worked as long as I showered every night and used it fastidiously while having wet underarms, but then I read that it works because it contains aluminum. Ugh.

Basically anything that kinda worked well had dubious claims as to truly being safe. I felt like I was trading a long shot at safety for an inferior product. I was constantly self-conscious about being stinky. And I was wasting a lot of money, since most of the tubes I tried from Whole Foods or the grocery were used a few times and discarded. I asked my husband, who is a super skeptical science-y guy, to do some research into it and let me know if I should even be worried about antiperspirants and health issues. So he did, and my "everything is a chemical" guy came back and told me I should try not to use anti-perspirants. Finally, I started looking into higher-end natural deodorants. The kinds that cost more than $10 and aren't available anywhere local. There's no way I was spending $20 plus shipping on a deodorant that I'd use once, so I started reading countless reviews on products and ingredients, even diy recipes. I decided against formulas with baking soda (because of skin irritation) or alcohol (because of health implications). I didn't want to use diatomaceous earth (it grosses me out). I specifically looked for products for sensitive skin. This left me with a short list.

The first product I decided to order, based on reviews (and my love for cats, what?) was Meow Meow Tweet's Grapefruit Baking Soda Free Deodorant Cream. It's vegan, all-natural, organic and it worked better than anything natural that I had used before. I liked the smell which, unlike some of the floral or coconut-scented deodorants I've tried, helped mask rather than accentuate my natural body odor and didn't interfere with my perfume. I didn't mind rubbing it into my (clean) pits at all, although that was a common complaint on a lot of deodorant cream reviews. And did I mention, it worked? (I mean, mostly worked. I had to reapply after workouts or excessive sweating, but I could live with that.) I had initially ordered the mini size (for $8), and when I actually used that up, I re-ordered a big size (for $14). I loved it. But the downside, besides the price and inconvenience of having to order my deodorant off of the internet, was that it was hard to rub in. It sort of gathered in the underarm creases and left white marks on my clothes. Also, I had read that using starch in warm damp places could cause problems (underarm yeast infection? yikes) although those issues were not specifically about Meow Tweet products.

Soooooooo, I decided to try to make my own. This was the first time I've diy'd anything really, but I figured I didn't have much to lose. I used the ingredients that worked for me from the deodorant cream, minus the arrowroot powder, and consulted many different online diy recipes as as rough guidelines for ratios of powders to carrier oils to essential oils. I spent a few days making batch after batch of creams until I found the right recipe for scent, consistency and protection:

Shea butter, 1 tablespoon
Coconut oil, 1/2 tablespoon
Grape Seed oil, 1/2 tablespoon
Magnesium oxide powder, 2 tablespoons
Bergamot essential oil, 5-10 drops
Grapefruit essential oil, 10-20 drops
Sweet orange essential oil, 10-20 drops
Lemon essential oil, 10-20 drops

Since it's super easy to make -- just melt and mix -- I can make a super tiny batch at a time and not worry so much about homemade beauty product issues like lack of preservatives and bacteria growth. I also make sure to sterilize the jar and utensils used by boiling them. I've been using this recipe now for about 6 months and I still really love it. It's actually much different in texture than the Meow Meow Tweet cream, this one's softer and less paste-like. I like that it melts in a bit better and wipes off a bit easier if I use too much. Of course, it still doesn't work quite as well as antiperspirants containing aluminum, so I have an teeny tiny jar that I keep in my purse for really long days. I can live with that.

It's sort of weird to have come to the end of the great natural deodorant search, but that's where I am. For those of you still on it, I would highly recommend starting with Meow Meow Tweet.

atypical romance.

In honor of Valentine's Day, here are a few of my absolute favorite romance movies that fall outside of the genre stereotypes. Heart-breaking, magical, real love stories: The Science of Sleep, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Amelie, What Dreams May Come, Love Me if You Dare, Wristcutters: A Love Story.


I've always followed the rule that if you are old enough to have worn the fashion trend when it first came out, you shouldn't wear it again when it inevitably comes back in style. This is maybe the only fashion advice that I learned from my mother, and I believe that she said it in relation to why she wouldn't wear a pair of really cute 70s-ish ankle-strap platform sandals. This was the 90s.

Me and my mom. Don't I look thrilled.

Now, to be clear, I count ankle-strap platform sandals as classics, and therefore perpetually in style, but her rule has stayed with me and come in handy so much over the last few years of 90s style revival. It's really hard to see fashion that you L-O-V-E-D everywhere and know you shouldn't wear it. And yes, wear whatever makes you feel good and all, but let's be real. Unless I'm gardening or painting, I have no business wearing overalls, especially denim overall shorts worn with one of the straps hanging off. (For the record, this is the last thing I would ever have predicted would cycle back into style and I've actually seen it on multiple fashion blogs. I'm still embarrassed that I wore it, but even more embarrassed for the people re-wearing it.)

Anyway, I broke the rule today. It's actually the first fashion impulse buy I've made in forever and admittedly something that I may never probably will never wear. And technically, I didn't wear bell-bottoms the first (second?) time they were in style because I was too concerned about what my frienemies would think if I deviated from my uniform of colored jeans, baby tees and Reebok hi-tops.

From Zara, but gone now.

I'm usually so good about planning my wardrobe and shopping from lists, and today the only things on my list were a flowy floral dress (score!) and some jeans. These were folded on a table with a bunch of other jeans and on clearance. And the perfect length which is unheard of since I'm 5'3" with short legs. I'm gonna pretend that they're just 70s inspired (and not 90s does 70s inspired) and then I won't have remembered the original trend. But I'm certainly not going to pick up a pair for my mom.

I was surprised that I couldn't find any pictures of me in my colored jeans back in the day, but these were pre-digital days and almost all of my childhood photos were lost to Hurricane Katrina. On the plus side, I found evidence that explains why I can't bring myself to wear a romper:

Little me in my purple romper. My sister is staring at some random guy instead of the clown behind us.  

magic is coming.

I resisted watching Once Upon a Time for a long, long while because it looked pretty ridiculous and because I don't really like the actress that plays Emma Swan, the main character. Well, I finally started it and I can't stop. It's perfect to watch while you do other things, because you can miss a lot of the story and still get it. (In fact, it's much better if watched while doing other things.) I keep thinking it's going to get to stupid to keep watching (I mean a season on Elsa and Anna from Frozen?), but then another episode comes on and everything twists around and then I'm just impressed by how well everything is tied together. It's just so perfectly ridiculous.

bouquet of roses.

I've been on sort of a scavenger hunt lately for a new favorite perfume, reading reviews and description online for hours, sniffing bottles at Sephora until my nose is numb, and even ordering samples of the obscure scents I want to try. I haven't quite found a new signature, but I have found a new love for rose scents. Rose perfume isn't something I ever thought I would like, but I've become sort of obsessed with it (and right in time for Valentine's day!). Rose can go wrong in a hurry, but here are some good ones I've tried and loved. I'd pick any one of these over a box of chocolate or literal bouquet of roses any day.

Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin eau de Parfum - I can't get this mix of peppery garden roses and raspberries out of my mind

Maison Martin Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning eau de Toilette - the description says is soft skin and bed linen, it's a soft musk blended with a long-stemmed red rose

Lush Imogen Rose Solid Perfume - an earthy, hippie rose in a portable tin

L'Occitane Roses et Reines Hand and Nail Cream - a pure rose that's so old-fashioned it smells modern

Andalou Organics 1000 Roses Soothing Hand Lotion - silky moisturizing lotion with a light, sweet floral scent