Our October release goes live at the end of this week, but I wanted to give you a few little sneak peeks here. This is such a busy time of creating for me and I love to take a minute and hold them up to the light. It helps me keep track and honor the process and make sure that each of these has their own life.
This card is in honor of my two best friends from college. Wendy and Laura and I have been friends since we met at a rowing recruitment meeting on campus at KU in 1995. For the next 20 years we would grow our friendship through the intensity of college athletics, (rowing in particular), the whirlwind of marriage, the chaos of finding ourselves in the world, the bravery of moving far away from home and flying the coop. Through jobs (so many jobs), law school, two sets of twins (Wendy and I both have boy/girl twins… several years apart), heartbreak, victory, and chaos (so much chaos), we have managed to stand still for each other. These things have shown us who we are and these friends have shown me who I am. No matter how many days, weeks, months go by without speaking or seeing one another, we can somehow manage to not miss a beat. That’s how you know it’s the good stuff.
Over our 20+ years of friendship we have traveled somewhere together every year. To near places and far places. Pop-tents to luxury resorts. Many things have changed over the years, but one thing has stayed annoyingly the same.
Laura has managed to pack for every. single. one. of these trips in a backpack.
Wendy and I, require something with, you know, wheels….more outfit options…we are less prepared to survive in the wild should we not get our precious luggage… I don’t know… we CHECK BAGS. Let’s just leave it at that.
I am not sure why this has become a thing… probably because it never fails to make me feel high-maintenance, but it is now a running joke and something that I can surely set my watch by. This year, within 16 months of one another, we all turn 40 and that backpack is going to be put to the test.
So this card goes out to Laura’s backpack and the symbol of our friendship that it has become. Packed full, well traveled and worn to bits but still kickin’.
Hold on to them. The steadies. That is what this is all about.
Five years or so ago I wrote this post about my favorite conditioner. My love was true, and my commitment was deep, but alas, it was discontinued and the formula changed leaving me lost, frizzy and alone. Time heals many things, and everything happens for a reason ( and all that ), and wouldn’t you know, I’m in love again. Deep, devoted, 7-10 dollars-for 8.5 ounces love. This is the real thing.
I get lots of questions about my version of how to tame (or not tame) curly hair… curly-haired people talk about this stuff. Like, the way that some people talk about cars, or collectible wines. We are serious. So I have written a few love notes to some of my current favorite products.
I am also pushing 40. Rather, I am grinding inappropriately up against it. As such, I find that my previously super-glam beauty routine of whatever soap is in the dish by the sink and Lip Smackers is not cutting it these days. So, I have included notes to the rest of my favorite ‘beauty’ products for your enjoyment. It should be noted that I have not honored some of the heavy lifters like deodorant (Dove), clear mascara (brows, Maybelline), toothpaste (Arm & Hammer) and the magical fairies that remove my grey hairs (er, Dan at Chris Chase Salon). These deserve the utmost reverence.
It should also be noted that this is not sponsored. Nor is it super glamorous. It’s just stuff I love.
I’m not sure how to adequately express my feelings for you. You were such a surprise. I hadn’t planned on loving like this again, and yet, here you are. You are rich, and moisturizing and low-maintenance. You are dependable and thorough. And though you are a little, um, small (I usually like my conditioners with a pump) you make up for it by fitting nicely in my suitcase. I have even gotten you your own special bag.
Thank you for being so good at your job that I can use whatever crappy wall-mounted shampoo they supply at the gym and not even notice a difference after using you. Also, you smell nice, which is important to me. I appreciate you, and even though I usually prefer subtlety, in your case, I love that you are widely available and relatively cheap. It makes me feel secure in our relationship to know that I never have to be long without you. Please never change.
Love Always, Leigh
Ok, I know I was a little drunk the first time we hooked up. I will admit to thinking you were a huge, expensive mistake the next day. You see, my hair-dresser gives me champagne and talks me into buying ‘products’… it’s a JV mistake. Usually.
But you, all $37 of you, are the real deal. I’m sorry if I made you feel insignificant. You are important, and you are very good at your job. I love you.
You are light, and controlling and you smell fancy. I only need to use a tiny bit of you, which, when you do the math, makes you a decent value. Also, you are pretty. You shine in your emerald bottle and peacock around the medicine cabinet. I appreciate your flamboyance.
Thank you for the light, yet powerful control you have over my curls. I would be lost without you.
All my love, Leigh
You are the closer. The last word. The 3pm saving grace.
Mostly I use you with that fancy gel in the cabinet, thank you for playing so well with others. You are light and smooth and add just the right amount of shine with zero greasiness. It really is remarkable. Sometimes, I tuck you in my purse so I can make it a full day without putting my hair in a bun. You are such a little thing, with such a big impact. There should be more things like you in the world.
You are my first. I will always love you for that. Before you I never used a fancy face wash that made my skin feel clean and buttery at the same time. Before you I simply left the impurities there to sort themselves out. Before you I mostly used…soap.
Thank you for gently brightening my face and showing me what fresh feels like. Even when I am tired (which, let’s be honest, is most of the time) you have the ability to perk up my skin. It really is a fine skill. You should be proud of yourself.
I have a confession. I thought you were a vibrator the first time I saw you in a friend’s shower. It’s ok. I’m cool with that.
It’s just that you deserve to be loved for what you are. A miracle. A full on “Oh my lord, I am not 22 anymore better get my shit together” miracle. And it took me way too long to suck it up and buy you.
Thank you for your patience with me. I treasure the 60-120 seconds we spend together each day. You are so gentle, yet effective. My days of using a scratchy exfoliant are behind me. I will only be tender to my skin. You taught me that. I love you.
Ever more, Leigh
Dear French Girl Créme Lumiére,
You are the reason I wake up in the morning. Your luxe organic creaminess and the way you smell like roses transports me into another time and place.
I can’t bear to put you in the cabinet with the other products. You are delicate, aloof and important and make me feel pretty and fancy. Everyone needs something like you in their lives. Thank you for getting me and my face through harsh winters and sun-soaked summers.
I will always love you, even though I’m pretty sure you have no idea that I exist.
You are my ride or die. The Thelma to my Louise. My 100%. I cannot be without you.
Thank you for providing me with daily SPF, since I rarely remember to put it on in any other way. Thank you for thoroughly, yet lightly covering all of the challenges that my ‘almost 40 but thinks it’s still in high school sometimes’ skin has. You are a trooper.
And thank you for your discretion. It is greatly appreciated.
With all my heart, Leigh
I admit to being conflicted at first. Someone gave you to me as a gift and I thought you looked a little bright and trashy. I’m sorry I doubted you. It will never happen again.
You are the picture of sophistication. Sheer, delicate, warm. You make me look alive on days I don’t feel it. Thank you.
I don’t like sticking my fingers in your tiny pot though. It’s my thing. Not your fault. I don’t like getting things under my fingernails.
I’ll work through it.
Best and brightest, Leigh
Honestly, I don’t know how I ever lived without you. It’s unfathomable.
I now buy you in the pot size and keep you on my desk, in my car, in my purse and by my bed. I wish I could buy you in bulk. I appreciate your unassuming look. Your sheer, un-purfumed practicality. Your usefulness.
I like to think we have that in common.
The way that you instantly save my hands from wretched dryness in any weather is impressive, but the way you work in the winter is downright awe-inspiring. I’m convinced there is nothing that you cannot do if you set your mind to it.
Deepest Gratitude, Leigh
Let’s see, how long have we been together? Longer than I can count.
I first found you on a trip to London and fell madly in love. I stocked my suitcase full and never went a trip without shuffling you home. Now you are available stateside and the stress of a long-distance affair is gone.
You are perfect. Never change.
Simple, pink, nourishing. Offering a hint of color and shine without being make-up. You are in every bag and pocket and I depend on you all day. You never let me down.
Except the one time that you melted in my backpack. That was gross. But TOTALLY my fault. I shouldn’t have left you in the hot car. I know better now. I’m sorry.
That’s the short list. Until it changes. What are your favorites? Do share.