Monday, July 27, 2015

Postcard from the Subtropics

Just a quick administrative note: I'm staying for a few days at my grandmother's house in Florida, where the Internet is, as usual, not working (I'm writing this in a Starbucks). I was counting on updating my blog at least a couple of times during this visit, but it looks like my next real post will be from San Francisco later this week. In the meantime, I'll have to content myself with working on my dissertation (which is what I should be doing anyway), wasting my monthly data trying to determine whether I'm actually an INTP and not an INFJ, nursing the sunburn I managed to get on my waist, reading Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker, and wearing the hell out of my awesome new sunglasses:


I feel like it's 2007 and I'm updating my LiveJournal, but that's not really a bad feeling. I hope you're all having a not-too-odious Monday. <3

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Journey Through Purge-atory, Part 2: Eyeshadows and One More Lipstick

Greetings from a cramped hotel room on Manhattan's Upper West Side! This endearingly unhip neighborhood is special to me because of the time I spent in a history program at Columbia in the summer before my junior year of college. It was my first experience of New York as an adult (if nineteen counts), and I feel tremendous nostalgia for that summer of awkward dates, Zabar's frozen yogurt eaten on the front steps of brownstones, solo trips to the Museum of Natural History and the Morris-Jumel Mansion, and nerdgasmic encounters with Alexander Hamilton's actual signature holy shit at the New-York Historical Society. Strolling the Upper West Side this week, I had the sensation of meeting my past self (even more of an insufferable bluestocking than my present self, if you can believe it) around every corner. I like revisiting familiar cities more than I like visiting new ones, and part of it must be an egotistical desire to find the bits of myself that I left there last time—the old hopes, obsessions, and attachments.


Unfortunately, the hotel where my mom and I have been staying for the past two days will not linger in my memory in quite the same way. I'm not really sure where to begin. The person smoking weed in the next room? The rollaway bed whose metal frame has stabbed into my ribs and spine for two consecutive nights? The uncanny resemblance between the view from our window and the set of Rear Window?


I like that last part, actually. But to distract myself from everything else, I'll finish a post I began before leaving home: the second installment of my Journey through Purge-atory. In my ongoing quest to lighten my makeup load before my move at the end of August, I'm getting rid of a few eyeshadows that have either reached the end of their natural lives or failed to become a part of my routine. I've never had a huge eyeshadow collection to begin with, so this post should be fairly short. Clockwise from top: Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion quint in Forest Fury, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe, Milani Bella Eyes in Bella Charcoal.


Maybelline Forest Fury was a gift from my mom over a year ago, but I swatched it for the first time while writing this post. I almost never wear greens and yellows on my eyes, and I just don't like how this palette is put together. Some of the colors might tempt me on their own, but the whole quint seems worse than the sum of its parts. It looks like a national flag, not like something I should be wearing on my face.



A funny thing happened when I swatched the five shades, though: I started thinking of ways to use them. I was especially drawn to the pale yellow glitter (top panel in the palette, far left on my arm); it reminds me of the glitter in Japanese eyeshadow palettes, which is meant to be patted over the other shades for some sophisticated flash. I'm also liking that acid green on the far right, even though I doubt it will do anything for my eyes or complexion. This quint might linger in purge-atory for a bit longer before I toss it for good.

Maybelline Tough as Taupe had a beautiful silky texture when I first bought it last year, but it quickly dried out. I can't explain why Bad to the Bronze is still perfectly usable after two years and Tough as Taupe is stiff and unblendable after just one, but maybe it has to do with Tough as Taupe's completely matte finish.


Even at its best, I didn't use Tough as Taupe very often, except as a base for sheerer colors. On its own, it was just kind of blahjust a straight-up warmish gray with no distinguishing features. I'm all for simple, neutral eyeshadows, but "neutral" doesn't have to mean "boring," and Tough as Taupe is boring. Also, in case you're wondering, the rumors are false: this eyeshadow doesn't work for contouring. It's the right color for a cool-toned contour, but it's much too thick to blend realistically into the face.

When I bought four Milani Bella Eyes eyeshadows last summer, I was most excited about Bella Charcoal, a shimmery silver-taupe with flecks of other colors. But the domed part of the shadow broke off in my makeup bag, leaving a cratered surface that I eventually smoothed with the help of rubbing alcohol.


Bella Charcoal wasn't a great product before its metamorphosis, and in its altered state, it still applies imperfectly and it looks sad and battered. Do not want.

Last of all, a lipstick that failed to make it into my first purge-atory post: Revlon Black Cherry. Yes, it's a "cult classic," but I don't need to tell you that cults have made some bad decisions. In fact, that's pretty much what they're known for.


My understanding is that Black Cherry acquired its cult status back in the '90s, when there were fewer lipstick formulas available and you couldn't just hit up Google and find ten color dupes with vastly superior formulas. In 2015, there's no reason to settle for a lipstick that applies unevenly and bleeds outside liplines, especially when said lipstick is an extremely dupeable shade of dark reddish plum.


Applied over my ColourPop lip primer, Black Cherry doesn't look too bad (that darker spot in the middle is an especially dry patch that no lipstick could hide), but I'm still not convinced that I need to keep this one. Or do I?


Ugh, writing this post has only increased my ambivalence about getting rid of this stuff. I'm useless.

Now to prepare for another day of travel: we're visiting my grandmother in Florida for a few days, then heading back to San Francisco. See you when I see you.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I Have a Plum Problem: MAC x Giambattista Valli Eugenie

By ordering Eugenie, a matte plum lipstick from the six-piece MAC x Giambattista Valli collection, I broke four of my cardinal makeup-buying rules:
  1. No limited-edition makeup, and especially no limited-edition products from MAC
  2. No makeup that I haven't seen in person first
  3. No makeup that isn't certified cruelty-free
  4. No near-dupes of anything I already have 
Now, you may protestand rightly sothat I've broken all of these rules since starting my blog. Fair enough, but it's rare that I break all of them at once for a single product. So what was it about Eugenie that compelled me to make my first MAC purchase in two years?


Well, I mean, look at it.

The Giambattista Valli collection comprises five bold matte lipsticks—peach, white-pink, fuchsia, red, and plum—and one sparkly clear gloss in a pot. Each item is named after a woman dear to Valli; Eugenie's namesake is the Greek shipping heiress Eugenie Niarchos. The name means something very different to me: my undergraduate advisor is named Eugene (not that I ever called him by his first name; perish the thought). It's a little strange to think of him every time I use this lipstick, but he's one of my favorite people in the world, so it could be worse. He once ran into me in the campus coffee shop and handed me a photo of his cat. "Keep it," he said, and I did. It's hard to sum up a person in a single anecdote, but that one is pretty representative. Note also that his cat was named after the Renaissance poet Torquato Tasso.

Left to right: Margherita, Bianca B, Tats, Charlotte, Eugenie.

In an interview with Refinery29, Valli explains the aesthetic behind his MAC collection: "The colors are a bit like the ABCs of Giambattista Valli—the reds, the pinks, the fuchsias, and the corals. They're colors that always belong to the house and the imagination of the house." Apparently, MAC has been doing the makeup for Giambattista Valli's fashion shows since the house launched its first collection in 2005, so a collaboration was only natural. Valli is not a designer I've ever followed closely, though I do love the way he uses color, rendering fairytale silhouettes in unlikely neons:

Source: The Coveteur

And his F/W 2012 collection was neo-Elizabethan perfection: very Orlando. It's a shame that he didn't succeed in bringing back the ruff.

Source: Vogue

I wouldn't have said no to one of the butterfly-bedecked full-head veils from that season, either:

Source: Vogue

In all these photos, you can see the same tone-on-tone color play that distinguishes the lipsticks in Valli's MAC collection. Knowing MAC's love for whimsical packaging, I'm surprised that the lipstick tubes came out so simple and streamlined (no butterflies?), but I'm not complaining.

Source: Allure

I first heard about the Valli collection at the end of last year, when posts like this one began making the rounds. I've seen a lot of MAC limited-edition packaging come and go: the water droplets of Alluring Aquatics; the cartoon-covered tubes and pans of the Simpsons, Archie, and Wonder Woman collections; the ombre tie-dye of Proenza Schouler. But this was the first MAC collection whose aesthetic really captured my attention. I filed the lipsticks into one of my mental folders reserved for makeup wishlists, and went about my business for the next eight months.

As the release date approached, though, my congenital skepticism kicked in. I avoid limited-edition collections in general, and MAC ones in particular, because of the time pressure they place on customers. I like to deliberate over my makeup purchases, but LE collections are designed to make us snap up items for fear of missing out on something good. Granted, some brands do keep their seasonal collections on shelves for months and add beloved LE items to their permanent lines. MAC, however, fosters a more anxious consumer experience. The brand releases at least a dozen collections per year, all of which sell out within days or sometimes hours. And because MAC knows that it has thousands of devoted fangirls and -boys who will buy pretty much any LE item, the seasonal and themed collections often sacrifice quality or creativity for sheer buy-it-nowness. I don't like watching the online feeding frenzy, and until this month, I'd never been tempted to participate in it. Makeup is my hobby; I don't want it to become yet another source of stress.

So I checked the reviews as they trickled out, and decided that if I could have any lipstick from the collection, it would be Eugenie. (Tats, Charlotte, and Margherita were too similar to colors I already owned, and Bianca B looked like it would flatter absolutely no one.) But I refused to wake up at an absurd hour on the release date to place my order; I just made a mental note to check the MAC website at some point on the morning of July 9. If the collection had sold out, no big deal; if not, I'd buy Eugenie. Then my sieve-like short-term memory let slip the mental note, and I completely forgot about the release date, remembering only that the lipsticks were coming out in the second week of July.

On the fateful morning, I was in the basement of the university archives, taking a break from filing letters and newspaper clippings from the early 1930s. The Bureau of Milk Publicity in Albany must have been one hell of a place to work:


On a whim, I navigated over to the MAC website and discovered that the Valli lipsticks were all available. Not knowing how long they had been or would be online, I ordered Eugenie, noticing that the site was moving very slowly and each page needed to be refreshed a couple of times. Later that day, I checked Specktra and found complaint after complaint: the collection had sold out almost immediately, the new website hadn't worked properly, it was unclear whether the lipsticks would be restocked, and brazen Instagram and eBay resellers were already legion. In fact, it seemed that Eugenie had sold out minutes after I'd ordered it; I must have scored one of the last few. I started to understand why LE collections hold so much appeal: there's an undeniable childish thrill in knowing that you have something lots of other people want.

A few days passed, and Eugenie arrived on my doorstep. I was very excited, and I took many photos. The packaging was even more perfect than I'd been led to believe. Not only did the box sport a grayscale rendition of the flowers from the promotional images...



...but the box's lining and bottom panel matched the color of the lipstick. If that's not classy, folks, I don't know what is.


MAC describes Eugenie as a "dark cherry with blue undertones." It's a little more purple than the color most of us imagine when we hear "dark cherry," but it has a fair amount of red as well—and, come to think of it, the darkest cherries do lean purple.


Eugenie is the second matte MAC lipstick I've tried (the first being Candy Yum-Yum). I love Candy Yum-Yum's formula, but Eugenie is a little drier and more powdery; if you've tried the Retro Matte formula, it's closer to that than to the traditional (or, rather, modern?) MAC mattes. My lips are especially parched at the moment, because the archive where I work is kept cool and dry to prevent the papers from decaying: talk about unexpected workplace hazards. Eugenie doesn't do much to disguise or soothe the dry bits, but it also doesn't desiccate my lips further. I'd recommend applying Eugenie over balm if you suffer from dry lips.


Arm swatch. Look at that rich, bright plum! It makes me impatient for fall.


It looks a bit redder and darker on my lips. I've been thinking recently how strange it is that disembodied lip swatches are de rigueur on beauty blogs when no one in polite society actually gets such a close view of your mouth. But here's a lip swatch anyway:


Did I need Eugenie? Well, no: I have more plum lipsticks than any other color. But makeup is unnecessary by definition, and as I've said before, I'd rather own multiple shades of a flattering color than buy an unflattering one to fill a gap in my collection. Here's Eugenie swatched with just a few of its plummy cousins. Left to right: Revlon Black Cherry, Eugenie, Topshop Get Me Bodied, YSL Belle de Rose.


I expected Eugenie and Get Me Bodied to be pretty much identical, but Eugenie is noticeably brighter and cooler. The real color resemblance here is between Eugenie and Belle de Rose, though BDR has a much shinier finish. Also, how did Black Cherry escape my first Journey through Purge-atory? I never wear it because it's so slippery and uneven.

Here's Eugenie with my Inglot gold duo and Illamasqua Zygomatic blush. I'll probably return later and replace this photo with a better one; I took this selfie in a post-shower hurry and didn't have time to perfect my angles (or wait for my hair to dry).


Eugenie outside:


And here is where the story turns tragic, and where I become the very embodiment of #firstworldproblems. Eugenie's first excursion into public was to a cocktail bar a ten-minute walk from my building. Because I'd been there innumerable times over the past two years without getting carded, I'd fallen out of the habit of bringing my IDwhich meant, of course, that a new bartender saw fit to card me that night. Despite my protestations that I was a regular, the dude stood firm, and I had to slog back to my apartment. As I approached my building, I fumbled in my purse, and

my

lipstick

fell

to

the

sidewalk.

I picked it up and inspected the damage. It was slightly scratched and dented, but in my agitation I concluded that it was ruined. I actually cried. I'd bought this lipstick for its gorgeous tube, I'd waited on tenterhooks for it to arrive in the mail, and now I'd fucked it up like the clumsy ass I was. But, on further reflection (and after a couple of cocktails back at the bar), I realized that I'd learned a few valuable lessons that night. If you're as accident-prone as I am, you really shouldn't buy makeup for its packaging. When all is said and done, lipstick is a bit of goo inside a piece of plastic, and probably not worth crying over. Always take your ID to bars, even if you're a haggard grad student who is so obviously over 21 that it hurts. Oh, and Eugenie is a pretty great lipstick.

Did you get anything from the Giambattista Valli collection? What do you think of limited-edition collections in general?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lipstick Chronology #34: Revlon Candy Apple

Name: Revlon Lip Butter in Candy Apple

Date Purchased: November 2013

Grade: A

Notes: After my last post, which took me forever to write, I thought I'd clear my palate with a quick installment of my Lipstick Chronology, now approaching its end: this is the penultimate post! I started my blog in early 2014, so all the lipsticks I've bought since then have been faithfully chronicled in real time. I've left a few out of the chronology either because I gave them away before they could be reviewed, or because I'm about to give them away and don't want to swatch them excessively before I pass them on to someone else. When I've finished the chronology, I'll write up a final stock-taking post, cataloging all the lipsticks I own and deciding which ones to keep (I've already purged a few).


Candy Apple is an orange-red semi-sheer lipstick, scentless and flavorless. It's not a bright orange-red; rather, it has a darkened, toned-down quality, much like Topshop Rio Rio. I might even call it the sheer version of Rio Rio. Granted, my lips tend to mute and darken bright lipsticks, but even in the tube, Candy Apple is pretty subdued. It contains no shimmer and isn't particularly glossy, but it does have a squishy jellied finish. Here's how much I have left; the product is sweating due to the humidity (which is welcome to leave whenever it wants, seriously).


I've mentioned that Revlon's Lip Butters vary wildly in opacity, lasting power, and lipfeel. Raspberry Pie is opaque, but it doesn't last long and it tends to bleed (ColourPop's lip primer has been a godsend for this one). Pink Truffle is nearly opaque and it doesn't bleed, but it's somewhat drying. Tutti Frutti, a yellow-based orange, was the sheerest of the bunch, and so melty that I had to throw it out. Candy Apple, the fourth Lip Butter I tried, immediately became my favorite of the four. It's less opaque than Raspberry Pie, but it still packs a lot of color. It applies and fades evenly. It lasts longer than you'd expect a sheer lipstick to last. Basically, if you're going to get a Lip Butter, get Candy Apple (or Red Velvet).


Because of its sheerness, Candy Apple looks more natural against my complexion than opaque oranges and warm reds do. I wore it a lot last summer, though this summer has been all about the purple lips (I'm this close to ordering MAC Heroine).


Here it is swatched between Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin (left) and Topshop Rio Rio (right). See how Vibrant Mandarin has a bright white base that Candy Apple and Rio Rio lack? Also, this photo makes me realize that CA isn't that much sheerer than VM, which is not marketed as a sheer lipstick...


In putting together a look with Candy Apple, I think I was inspired subconsciously by this 1935 lipstick ad, which I pinned some time ago. Talk about strobing:


I wish I'd actually studied the ad before constructing my look, because that blush placement is fascinating. I'd like to try it another time. For now, here's what I came up with. My lips were particularly dry that day, but under a layer of Candy Apple, they looked and felt as healthy as ever.


More color than I usually wear at once, but I like it! Purple and orange harmonize surprisingly well together. For some reason, though, wearing both warm and cool tones in the same look makes me feel more "made up" than wearing one temperature all over my face.


My eye makeup is Topshop Chameleon Glow in Wax + Wane, a bronze/blue/fuchsia trichrome beauty, with theBalm Sleek smudged into my lashlines. And my blush is Revlon Candy Apple! Yes, the Lip Butter formula makes a decent, if slightly sticky, cream blush. I got that tip from the comment section of an xoVain article (spot the egregious typo in the headline). It would be a great beauty resource if not for most of the writers, you know?

Candy Apple was one of several lipstick purchases that I made in Washington during the 2013-2014 school year, when I commuted to the Folger Shakespeare Library each month for a dissertation seminar. My mode of transportation was the Amtrak Northeast Corridor, and the first time I opened and used Candy Apple was on an evening ride back from Washington: the same evening, in fact, when I discovered that Amtrak served booze. I felt like a Hitchcock heroine as I sipped my whiskey and ginger ale from the cafe car and swiped on my new orange-red lipstick.


I remember my train journeys with fondness, and wearing Candy Apple always evokes those hours spent reading articles about Renaissance printing presses, poking at my first dissertation chapter, taking poorly lit train selfies, and updating this very blog. But the tragic Amtrak derailment in May, on the same route I took every month, has cast a specter over those memories. It's one of those sobering near-misses you encounter in life: given the infrastructure problems that have plagued Amtrak for decades now, the crash could easily have happened last year instead of this year. I feel immensely lucky that the worst problem I ever faced during my commute was a weather-related delay of a few hours.

Since starting this blog, I've been thinking a lot about the memories and associations that a single object, like a lipstick, can absorb and even come to stand for. I've been thinking about how objects outlast us, in boxes or drawers or landfills. I've been thinking, while working at the archives this summer, how temporary my intervention in the fate of these papers really is: it's me against the void that consumed the writers of the letters and will one day consume me, too. I'm trying to draw a neat conclusion from all this, something that will end this post with a flourish; but sometimes there are no neat conclusions to be drawn, and you put on a lipstick and let the feelings come.

Monday, July 6, 2015

June Favorites (Beauty and Otherwise)

Welcome to another installment of my not-actually-monthly compilation of monthly favorites! Some bloggers use favorites posts to spotlight new purchases, but I prefer to feature older favorites as well as non-makeup discoveries. Let's begin with my main makeup fixation in June:

Purple Lipstick

Purple has been my favorite lip color since I started wearing lipstick regularly, and its entrance into the mainstream in the last few years has given me an overabundance of options. I currently own six purple lipsticks, and five of them saw a good amount of wear last month (odd one out: the cyborgian NYX Castle). The second half of June was unusually overcast and cool, and purple lipstick always seems as appropriate for cloudy summer days as coral lipstick does for sunny ones.

Counterclockwise from top right (that is, light to dark): Maybelline Lilac Flush, Maybelline Brazen Berry, MAC Up the Amp, Bite Lip Lab custom lipstick, & Other Stories Droguet Purple.


 Swatched, same order:


One of my favorite things about purple lipstick is that it's not tied to a specific season. Sure, people tend to wear lighter purples in the warm months and darker ones in fall and winter, but purple is still an "odd" lip color, which means that it always looks slightly inappropriate no matter the season. So I was bemused at a recent xoVain article entitled "Do This Don't: Purple Lipstick in the Summer." The opening paragraph claims:

"Traditionally, the beauty world reserves all vampy lips—including purples and crimsons and cabernets—for the fall. But you know what? To heck with traditions. This summer, I'm all about experimenting with color and texture and new looks, and so far, that's included incorporating more purple—yes, purple—into my lipstick rotation."

Wait a second. Since when are all purple lipsticks "vampy," and since when is purple lip color for summer a "don't"? My sense is that people either approve or disapprove of purple lipstick as a category, not as a seasonal color. If you think purple lipstick is a "don't" for summer, you probably think it's a "don't" for the rest of the year as welland you're in the minority, at least where the beauty industry is concerned. Purple lipstick has been a staple of summer makeup collections over the past few years. MAC alone has released multiple summer purples, including Goddess of the Sea (Alluring Aquatic), Pure Heroine (MAC x Lorde), and Bust Out (Surf Baby). Clinique's recent Pop Lip Colour launch included Grape Pop, a "neutral, blue-purple creme." The Bite Lip Lab limited release for this May was Lavender Thistle, a gray-toned purple. Look, I get it: "Do This Don't" is a more compelling headline than "Do This Thing That Everyone Is Already Doing." But, well, everyone is already doing it. Including me. 

And can I just mention how much I dislike beauty articles that fabricate a rule or tradition and then boast about breaking it? (xoVain is not the only culprit here: I've lost count of the number of websites that have published some version of "Evidence that Orange Lipstick Really Does Look Good" four years after the revival of orange lips.) Setting a straw man on fire is not a revolutionary feminist act. But it seems par for the course over at Vain, a website I've followed since its inception and given more chances than it deserves. The community of commenters on the site is a delight, but I need to stop visiting in the vain, if you will, expectation of great beauty writing. Old Internet habits die hardas does my habit of digressing from the point in my blog posts.

Ah, yes: purple lipstick. The weather was one of the reasons I wore a lot of it in June, but there was another reason: 

Hydrangeas

Like Kate, whose recent hydrangea-inspired post deserves your attention, I've been noticing hydrangeas more than ever this summer. Living in the suburbs means that I get to enjoy the fruits of other people's gardening labor everywhere I look:


Depending on the pH balance of the soil, hydrangeas can be blue, purple, pink, or a glorious combination of all three.






Tell me that walking by that house every morning wouldn't inspire you to wear purple lipstick.

Maybe it's just an exceptionally good year for hydrangeas, but there's another reason I've been noticing them. I've been following the world of Kyoto geisha for a long time now, so I know that maiko, or apprentice geisha, change their decorative hairpieces (kanzashi) every month to reflect the foliage and festivals of the season. In June, maiko usually wear willow (yanagi) or hydrangea (ajisai) kanzashi. In previous years, willow kanzashi dominated and hydrangea were an interesting exception. This year the tables have turned, with dozens of maiko sporting hydrangea kanzashi in every shade of blue, purple, pink, and white.

Kanzashi reflect not only the natural beauty of the season, but also the age and rank of the wearer. Mamesumi (豆純) made her debut just last December. As a first-year maiko, she paints only her bottom lip and wears a brightly colored hydrangea kanzashi with dangling petals, or shidare. The round green pin on the right side of her head indicates that she's still under 18.

Source: K.W.C. PhotoBlog

Mamefuji (まめ藤), the most popular maiko in Kyoto, recently became a senior maiko. She wears a kanzashi in a subtler colorway, with a tiny snail on the leaf.


Source

Katsuhina (佳つ雛), my favorite maiko, reached senior status last year. Her kanzashi features purple and white hydrangeas with small silver accents. When she becomes more senior, she'll trade the floral "crown" part of the kanzashi for a plain colored band, but keep the puff of flowers over her left ear.

Source: Sakutyan7

***DIGRESSION FOR LINGUISTICS NERDS***

The kanji for "ajisai" is 紫陽花. This is an example of the Japanese language assigning kanji to a native Japanese word based on the meanings, not the usual sounds, of the kanji. 紫 means "purple," 陽 means "sun," and 花 means "flower." In the word 紫陽花, the character 花 is read as "sai." But the standard readings of 花 are "hana" (when the character stands alone) and "ka" (when it's incorporated into a larger word). So far as I know, 花 is pronounced "sai" only in ajisai. The same is true for the other two characters: 紫 is usually read as "murasaki" or "shi," not "a," and 陽 is usually read as "hi" or "yo," not "ji."

Of course, ajisai can also be written in hiragana (あじさい).

***END OF DIGRESSION*** 

Running

Before this summer, I'd tried at least half a dozen times over the course of a decade to take up running. There was my senior year of high school, my first year of college, the summer after my senior year of college, and a handful of times in grad school, but all of those attempts petered out after a few days. The same problems arose every time I ran: I was slow, my endurance was shit, and literally anything could shake my focus. I was also trapped in a neurotic catch-22: I didn't want to spend money on proper running gear until I'd proven to myself that I could establish a habit of running, but my lack of proper running gear prevented me from establishing that habit. I was using my boyfriend's old running shoes, which were two sizes too large. I didn't own a sports bra, despite my 32F chest (the F stands for FML). I can't believe I went running at all under those conditions.

This year, something changed. I was doing a 90-minute yoga class every week and going to the gym semi-regularly, but I got it into my head that I couldn't consider myself physically fit until I conquered the form of exercise that gave me the most trouble. Over the course of a few months, I acquired a pair of obnoxiously bright coral Nikes (a gift from my mom, actually), a Maia sports bra ("the high-support bra for the well-endowed athlete," hahaha kill me), and a stupid-looking holster that held my iPhone to my arm so I could listen to a carefully curated mix of uptempo k-pop songs during my workout. 


Then, in mid-June, I resolved to run every day for a week. I ended up running only five days that week, but I was astonished at my improvement. Yes, there were days when the sun beat down relentlessly and every nerve in my body screamed NOPE NOPE NOPE and I gave up and went home after five blocks. Yes, I had repeated flashbacks to a sixth-grade P.E. exam in which, as the last in my class of 30 to finish running a mile, I had to ignore the taunts of a few asshole boys standing on the sidelines while I struggled along. But after that first week, my endurance had tripled (tripled from practically nothing, but still). Now, about three weeks later, I can run for 12 minutes without stopping to rest. That might not sound like much, and don't ask me how much ground I actually manage to cover in those 12 minutes, but it's more than I've ever been able to do before. 

If anyone reading this has more running experience than I do (not hard), please tell me: Does running ever become, you know, fun? Right now it's endurable, but can I trust it to be enjoyable eventually?

And, last but not least...

The U.S. Supreme Court

Or, at least, the five justices who voted to strike down the federal ban against same-sex marriage, making it legal in all 50 states.

Source

 It was a long time comingmuch like the end of this post.

:D