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My life as a twentysomething isn’t exactly going as expected: packing my belongings, moving home with my parents, and avoiding bars at all costs weren’t exactly on my 2020 vision board, yet here I am… and it’s not all bad.
In my current setup, I split my time between practicing gratitude for this weird-but-cool new normal and completely panicking that the best years of my life are escaping me. While nothing can fully remedy the situation, sprucing up my look to safely gather with friends has had a big impact on how I feel about it.
Without far to go or much to do, I’ve gravitated to a less-is-more approach to how I dress and what I bring -- and I’ve oddly found that I don’t actually need that many “essentials” to dramatically improve how I feel about myself.
My Senreve Aria bag is the perfect reminder that I don’t need to carry much -- it has plenty of room for what I need, but not much more -- which feels a lot like an allegory for life these days. If you’re feeling curious or nosy about which products have earned the “essential” title in the strangeness that is 2020, let’s take a peek inside…
Although I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, I’ve started grocery shopping for my parents regularly exclusively to wear my Aria bag in public more often. Created as an “upgraded version of the classic fanny pack,” Aria’s functionality is unparalleled, and its design is effortlessly cool. I like wearing mine as a crossbody (it can be worn as a belt or shoulder bag as well) because it instantly elevates any outfit and provides easy access to its contents while I’m running errands. Like all of Senreve’s bags, the Aria is made from high-quality Italian leather and is extremely versatile -- I’ve worn it with athleisure or more upscale looks (as upscale as quarantine gets, that is), and I get compliments everywhere I go. It doesn’t carry a ton, but has room for everything I need…
Megababe has become my summer hero, and their “Pits” line is leading the charge -- it’s no surprise that the brand won Health Magazine’s Best Deodorant in 2018 and Glamour Beauty’s Best Deodorant for 2020. My favorite Instagram comedian, Heather McMahan, has raved about Megababe’s natural, aluminum-free deodorant and Thigh Rescue anti-chafe stick for years, and I admit that both products are worth the hype.
I bring my Rosy Pits with me everywhere I go now -- it lasts all day, but an extra application on an extra hot day keeps any potential worries at bay. Formulated with natural ingredients like sage and green tea, Rosy Pits smells and feels amazing on my skin… and I have my eye on their award-winning Sunny Pits (which smells like lemons) to try next!
While most of my makeup has fallen by the wayside during COVID, Glossier’s simple, subtle staples have shot to the forefront of my day-to-day lineup. I’ve always preferred a more natural look, and Glossier delivers: their Boy Brow, Lash Stick, and Cloud Paint travel with me wherever I go (which admittedly isn’t very far).
Each morning, I show my brows a little love and attention with Glossier’s top-rated, pomade-inspired creamy wax, Boy Brow. Next, I hit my lashes with the brand’s clump-free, Lash Stick black mascara for the ultimate day-to-day natural upgrade. On special occasions (like, you know, seeing people in person), I finish my look with a dab of Cloud Paint, Glossier’s buildable gel blush for a sunkissed glow. My favorite part of wearing Glossier products is that even though I’m applying makeup, I don’t get lost under thick creams and powders -- I still feel like myself, just with a little bit more pizzazz.
These days, I don’t do much in-person shopping, and I haven’t touched a bill or coin in months -- so I’ve swapped my cluttered, full-sized wallet for a slimmed-down cardholder. To be honest, I got mine from a market in Thailand, but Cuyana makes a similar (and way more elegant) version that I find myself eyeing regularly. My cardholder houses all the necessities… which has me wondering why I insisted on carrying around so many excess cards, coins, and papers in the past. Cuyana’s Italian leather is crafted in Turkey, where artisans have been perfecting quality craftsmanship for centuries, and their quality is top-notch. Cuyana’s cardholder will serve you well during these strange times, then can easily be popped into a larger wallet once post-COVID life arrives… no matter when that may be: Cuyana’s Italian leather is made to last.
I’ve never been much of a fragrance person (they typically give me headaches), but earlier this summer, I couldn’t stop thinking about the spritz of Dirty Lemon a friend gave me on a pre-COVID night out. It’s no wonder -- Heretic scents are crafted by natural perfumer Douglas Little, who works with Gwyneth Paltrow on goop’s fragrance line (and yes, he is responsible for the infamous “This Smells Like My Vagina” scent). Heretic’s line of travel-size perfumes, which includes Dirty Lemon, Dirty Rose, Dirty Fig, and Dirty Mango among others, all feature a sweet scent fused with something a little bit darker for a balanced, perfectly-summer fragrance. My favorite part of my Dirty Lemon spritz is that while I catch notes of it throughout my wear, I don’t leave clouds of scent behind me: it’s a light and subtle experience.
I received a Kopari Lip Glossy bundle as a gift over the holidays, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. My set included the shades Birthday Suit (which is a nude shimmer) and Sangria (a sheer-wine tone), and I always have at least one with me. Lately, I’ve opted for Birthday Suit’s nude glimmer, as it pairs well with my toned-down look. Both glosses smell amazing and give my lips an extra boost of hydration, which is no surprise considering their primary ingredient is organic coconut oil (every product Kopari sells has an organic, sustainably sourced coconut base). If you love their gloss, I urge you to try Kopari’s entire line of coconut-based products -- every item is sulfate, paraben, and phthalate-free and vegan, and they all smell like warm coconut.
When I was in middle school, I realized I needed glasses a good two years before I ever told my parents, so by the time I finally got my eyes checked, I couldn’t see a damn thing. Feeling like the worst parent of all time, my mother whisked me to the contacts store, and I began wearing contacts the next day. Thanks to this experience, I’ve always felt more comfortable in contacts than glasses, so I never invested in a pair I loved… until I stumbled into a Warby Parker store on Venice Beach. I wasn’t planning on purchasing anything, but their Chelsea frames looked so cute on me (what can I say) that I ordered them right away. Lately, I’ve made a concerted effort to give my eyes some sweet relief and wear my Chelsea frames whenever I have the chance. Starting at $95, they’re affordable, easy to order, and super cute -- so wearing my glasses now weirdly feels like a treat.
This wouldn’t be a proper 2020 “What’s In My Bag” without mention of a face covering, so I’m giving a couple of my favorite masks some love: Parachute has designed the softest masks from their popular bedding fabrics and donates a set with each purchase. They’re simple, adjustable, and for a good cause (GetUsPPE and Safe Place For Youth) -- what’s not to love? Additionally, evolvetogether has designed comfortable and safe masks that my good friend who lives in New York couldn’t stop raving about. Her praise is on point: they’re soft on skin, have a 98% bacterial filtration efficiency rating, and shipped in 100% biodegradable packaging. I can’t wait to purchase their new collaboration with i am a voter when it drops mid-September. Parachute and evolvetogether are just the tip of the iceberg -- check out our full roundup coming soon for more masks to add to your bag!
As the weather begins to cool and quarantine eventually lifts, I’m sure my go-to’s will to rotate — but I’m glad to know that I don’t need a lot of products (just the right ones) to transform how I look and feel. I’m excited to continue investing in innovative brands and products designed with functionality in mind… and letting you know what I think of each!