Five: Summer Beauty Products

I've always loved treating myself with beauty products, from drugstore offerings to luxury splurges.

Back in the day, I used to read reviews on MakeupAlley (launched 1999, so #vintage) just for fun, hoping to discover something that would completely change my life.

These are a few of my favorites this summer- some are very unglamorous!

One. Glossier Haloscope in Quartz

I've wanted to buy something from Glossier for the longest time, but their products often sell out quickly. This is the first product I ordered the same day that it was released!

My favorite color is opal (okay, not exactly a color, but more of a pearly spectrum) and this shimmery, pale highlighter was exactly what I was looking for. I've been getting a lot of compliments on my skin ever since it arrived (which doesn't normally happen, ever.)

The nice thing about Glossier is that they hit you over the head with tutorials and pictures every time they release a product. I like that there are only a few (well-explained and well-demonstrated) Glossier products, rather than an overwhelming assortment with little education.

Sooo many pictures and demos on their Instagram @glossier. Also, check out one of my favorite Top Shelf interviews- I've never been able to get the Tamagotchi social media analogy out of my head.

This color is backordered until the end of August, but I think it's worth the wait.

Two. Zerosweat Antiperspirant

I've sold so many friends on this product. I think it's similar to Certain Dri but a bit stronger.

I worked for a fancy fashion line in my early 20s (primarily silk party dresses sold at Barneys and Bergdorf's) and would wear everything so... recklessly. The fabrics would become discolored and damaged because I wasn't caring for them, plus I was sweating directly into everything. Kind of gross, but I was young and foolish.

When we started our own line, I wanted to use a luxury fabric so we chose a nice, thick silk. I knew I couldn't repeat the same mistakes, so I researched my options. Short of Botox (that's a thing), this is the best solution.

Apply every single night (only at night) for three days straight. Don't shave those days- it can be irritating and itchy. Then maintain by using every 2-3 nights. I use a natural deodorant every morning for fragrance- right now it's Lavanila.

I really don't sweat anymore at all- I'm not kidding. It's a miracle! I wear all fabrics and colors without worry.

Three. Waterpik Waterflosser

My friend Anne recommended this and it has literally changed my life.

I've always been very insecure about my oral health- my teeth are so crowded and flossing feels straight-up impossible for me. 

The embarrassing thing is I never even thought of Waterpiks until I saw one in her bathroom. I went out the very next day and bought one from Bed, Bath, and Beyond because I didn't want to wait even a couple of days for shipping.

Four. Amlactin Ultra

This cream is the best for the little bumps on the back of your arm, as well as any rough, dry patches, such as heels and elbows. The AHAs are very exfoliating and smoothing.

It doesn't have the greatest fragrance, but luckily it disappears quickly.

Five. Hydrating lipstick

My two favorites this summer are Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Desert Rose (a neutral pink/mauve- maybe a little on the cool side) and Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Berry.

I have been alternating between these two almost daily- they are very moisturizing and rich. I HATE the feeling of matte lipsticks (even though I love the look) so I'm rolling with dewy summer make-up.

Five: My all-time favorite summer books

These are the books I read again and again- but only during the summer, and usually when it's raining. 

I've never been one to read at the beach- I quickly feel sleepy, or distracted, or disinterested. I agree fully with Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The beach is a place to meditate and enjoy the present. 

Instead, my favorite summer reading memories are in my bed, with the window open, and a steady rain falling. Lately, any evening (or morning) it rains, I crack my tall window open and lay down with a book.

One. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I've read this book at least a dozen times, and have gifted it so often that some friends have mistakenly received two. 

There's no other book that brings me the same deep sense of peace- reading GFTS is so calming! I first read it at age 20- I remember feeling so young yet SO wise. 

Every life season has a shell equivalent. Soon, I was bracing myself for the bumpy "oyster" mid-life stage, and dreaming of the "Argonaut" stage when I'd finally be free of all those mundane distractions. Talk about jumping the gun!

Now that I'm older, I sit with the moment and my current life situation a bit better- though I'm still prone to getting ahead of myself.

GFTS also kicked off my obsession with shells- I decorate with them, paint them, and include them in our collection

Two. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

A more perfect coming-of-age story has never been written- this one is the best. 

Cassandra Mortmain dreams of becoming a writer and lives in a decrepit, crumbling castle in the 1930s English countryside, with her sister, parents, and a few eccentric neighbors. They are DIRT POOR (obviously not in spirit!)

She falls in love. Others fall in love. Things don't go to plan.

It's beautifully narrated and has an incredibly hopeful ending.

I consider Cassandra to be a kindred spirit and as I've aged, I appreciate Rose (her older sister, the "beauty") a lot more. She's really quite funny and practically minded.

Cassandra has a night filled with special rituals on Midsummer Eve, and I think about it every single year when the solstice finally arrives. This book gets inside of you and never leaves.

Also, the movie is so dreamy. 

Three. The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden

This one can be hard to find- I only know of it due to the Folio Society (my family collects their books.)

An English family visits the French battlefields on holiday (the Champagne region) and the mother quickly falls ill. The father is away. The children are left in the care of a glamourous but mysterious guardian and learn some uncomfortable truths about adults.

Things are not always as they seem.

The Greengage Summer has a palpable sense of place and atmosphere- you can feel the August heat, hear the smarmy French accents, and picture the children wandering around, eating greengages, and soaking in some unexpected life lessons.

It's a book that feels like summer, through and through, and packs a few thrills. 

Four. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Okay, so I'm currently reading My Brilliant Friend (the first of four books) so it hasn't become a classic for me QUITE yet. 

This is the story of two lifelong friends, set in 1950's working-class Naples. The prose is raw and shows how much chance, class, and outside forces can dictate the path your life takes. I can't put it down.

Five. Beach Blondes by Katherine Applegate

A total throwback, but I wanted to include this because it was my favorite YA series when I was young (written in 1995!) If Clueless was your favorite teen movie, then these books will probably resonate.

Not really for adults (except for nostalgia) but amazing for its intended audience. These consumed my life for a bit. The author went on to write the popular Animorphs series, so I think the Summer books (that's what they used to be called) are often lost in the shuffle.

According to one reviewer, they have been updated so that a "Stone from General Hospital" reference is now a newer heartthrob. There are a TON of pop culture references in this book, so I think it would be funny to read an older copy. 

Summer Smith, a girl-next-door from Minnesota, moves down to the Florida Keys to visit her glamorous aunt and cousin over summer break. She meets three handsome men, a fun best friend, and learns more about her mysterious and guarded cousin. There's a lot of transformation.

She lives in a little stilt bungalow on the ocean, behind her aunt's (a romance novelist) mansion. I yearned for this living situation SO badly when I was 13. I think the author just took any escapist summer fantasy element and RAN with it. 

I haven't read them in years, but I'd definitely read these poolside in the sun. They are less contemplative (i.e. not at all) than my other choices, so rain is not the ideal backdrop.


P.S. If you're in downtown Annapolis, stop in Annapolis Book Store (35 Maryland Avenue moving to 53 Maryland Avenue in August) and buy a book or two from them.

P.P.S. A couple of my old friends from NYC, Eliza and Payton, started Girls at Library. Their pictures and interviews are beautiful!