November 2015 Favorites

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Hello, buds! This is my first attempt at a monthly favorites series. I usually end up talking about these things with my best friends, gushing over what we really love and suggesting new things to each other. Hopefully, I'll keep up with this! Would love to hear your favorites as well :) Feel free to tweet them at me or leave them in the comments <3

BEAUTY

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I've been panicking over moisturizers in the last month because it's gotten colder in NYC. I wanted to kind of prepare for the super cold months where your skin is begging for hydration. I have combination skin (oily T-zone) so I'm very picky with moisturizers. I've been using Magical Moringa from Lush for the last two weeks and I'm pretty into it. It leaves you completely matte yet moisturized. It's also the best primer I've ever tried in my entire life. The last couple of days I've been wearing a full face of makeup and haven't touched up during the day at all which is very rare for me. It's pricey at $24.95 but a little goes quite a long way. We'll see how it holds up when it's colder out! 

I'm a fan of the crayon lipstick, especially Revlon's range. I've used the Honey ColorBurst Balm Stain going on 2 years now. I picked up ColorBurst Matte Balm in a purple called Shameless then went back for 3 more because they're that good. They're not as drying as a lot of matte lipsticks out there and you can wear it straight from the bullet without a lipliner if you wish. Sometimes I use a lipliner to darken or lighten the shade though. My favorite so far is Sultry. I wouldn't suggest Unapologetic (orangey pink). It's kind of terrible. 

CLOTHING/ACCESSORIES

Fall is Chelsea boot time. It's such a good every day shoe if you can't be fussed but also don't want to freeze your toes off. A nice Chelsea boot makes it look like you've made more of an effort than you really have, which is like my life motto. You know you've chosen a good boot when they look better the more you've worn them. Enter the Franco Sarto Kabrina Chelsea Boot. I got a ton of compliments when I got these in Cognac which is always nice. They're so comfortable and look so nice that I went back and got 2 more from DSW in case they ran out for whatever reason.  

READING

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I'm a huge Potterhead and have always preferred fantastical non-fiction. A friend recommended The Magicians series by Lev Grossman a few years back and I've stuck with it ever since. The final book in the trilogy came out this summer and I just got around to it this month. It's like Harry Potter with sex and cursing. The protagonist Quentin Coldwater is like the hero no one asked for and would probably be better off without if we're being honest. It's rich in detail, funny, and pretty brutal sometimes. If you're into all that, pick it up! 

This is as good a time as any to tell you I read fan fiction. I've done so since I was 13 or 14. I read it the way people read the paper or keep up with a writer's column. My current favorite is called Evaporate by StandingFacingWest. It's about an indie singer-songwriter named Matilda who starts dating Harry Styles and gets caught up in the bullshit. It's well-written and touching. The writer is really good at accessing feelings of wanting and longing. How do you share yourself emotionally and intimately with someone but remain yourself? How do you protect yourself but also let people into your life? Ugh, so good. Matilda is a beautiful character and I can't wait for more chapters. 

Working in music, you hear a lot of talk about fans, fans who sleep with musicians, fans who somehow transition to something more, and I think that's totally fascinating. There's so much to dig into there: feminism, misogyny, race. Groupie has always been such a dirty word, used to put down women who love music. Of course, groupies of the past are today's fashion inspiration. I found Groupies, From Sex Symbols to Style Icons an interesting read in the NYT.

WATCHING

L to R: Lucy watson, Jamie Laing, Binky Felstead

I binge watch a lot of UK shows. I feel like we're past the golden age of Skins and Misfits (as far as young adult programming) which is sad. Those were such great shows that I felt gave me an insight into UK life. I used to be into our own American reality shows but they're not as interesting to me as Made in Chelsea, which is like the UK's The Hills but honestly so much better. I'm more invested in the lives of Binky, Spencer, Jamie, & Co. than I ever was in Lauren Conrad. What's funny is that Steph Pratt is on MiC now and is so much better in this stage of her life than she was on The Hills. She's actually hilarious. Lucy Watson is by far my favorite character. She doesn't take shit from anyone but is also quite vulnerable. The Guardian has a good overview of the cast if you're interested in some background reading.

LISTENING

I love being scared. I don't mean I want to fear for my life or be anxious all the time but I like to get a bit of a fright. Limetown is a podcast about a town whose population disappears. Like modern Roanoke or something. It's a fictional story that follows American Public Radio host Lia Haddock as she investigates what happened to over 300 men, women, and children in this small Tennessee town. It totally creeps me out but it's fun.  Listen to the first ep of Limetown below. 

Two albums I've had in steady rotation are Slaves' Are You Satisfied? and Foals' What Went Down. I'm seeing both of them in December. Foals is a spiritual experience live. They're raw, energetic, sweaty, and it's always a good time. You leave feeling like you've been rung out which is so therapeutic for me. I'm hoping to shoot the show at Terminal 5 but bought a ticket also because they're a must-see for me. 

Thanks for sticking around this rather long list! Let me know if you like any of the above. I'm always down for a chat. 

x Christina
@venturapix

Finding Fandom in One Direction

I grew up in the Dominican Republic. I came to New York when I was 11 and all I wanted was to pass for American. To make as little ripples as possible and just get by. I wanted to look and speak like everyone else. My allowance was $20 a month. That seems like nothing now but it was a lot at a time when Starbucks was a luxury. My mother would hand it to me at the beginning of every month and instead of rationing it, I blew it on all the Tiger Beats and J-14s the local Rite Aid had. I thought that's what other kids did and, surely, I'd pick up some Americanisms from them. Instead, I found boy bands. Plastering my wall with those insert posters of NSYNC, Britney Spears, and the Backstreet Boys made me happier than anything else at the time. I listened to Z100 every morning and afternoon waiting to hear their music. I voted for their videos every day on TRL. I physically went to Sam Goody to reserve my copy of their albums. 

Fandom* has always been a solitary venture for me. As long as I can remember, I've loved stuff in a way that I recognized wasn't quite average. Whether it was a book series or a band, I always had something to fixate on, to get out of bed for, to think about when I was bored in class. Sure, my classmates liked some of the same stuff but were they calling Z100 every day after school to win NSYNC tickets? Not really. I had one friend who camped out with me when Harry Potter books went on sale at midnight at our local bookstore. Loving those things never went beyond my immediate surroundings. I was alone with the things I loved but I was never lonely. I didn't feel like an outcast because I wasn't aware there was anywhere to be cast out of. It's only now, in retrospect, that I wish I could've somehow shared that with a community. Like most teens, I spent my afternoons online but I was IMing my friends and writing about John C. Calhoun (a boy, not the Vice President) on my Xanga. I wasn't reaching very far across the internet to speak to anyone about fandom.

I went to One Direction's last U.S. show in Boston last night. They announced a hiatus but we all know what that means. It's easy to love these boys. They're gorgeous, they sing about morning wood and loving you desperately, and they make you feel special. Their songs are about the listener. Being a girl is exhausting and kinda terrifying at times. One Direction's songs make me feel good about myself. Unlike my undying love for NSYNC, I can share those thoughts with other women and get immediate feedback and reassurance. Surrounded by 60,000 screaming fans last night, I felt at home. These are my people, I thought. They love something. 

One Direction fans live on the internet. They're responsible for this band's success. They make Twitter and Tumblr accounts updating fans around the world about what the boys are doing. In that process, they found a sisterhood. Between finding HQ pictures of Liam Payne, they talk to each other about real life problems. They share their stories about school, work, and family. They comfort and uplift each other. Millions of women of color found a hero in Zayn Malik. Someone who looked like them and had a family like theirs. Many of them have never met nor will they. 

I work at a music venue and while I'm lucky to see some of the world's best bands, that's not my favorite part of the job. Every now and then, we have the kind of show that has fans lining up one to two days in advance. That's what I love the most. Those are my people. I put up with a fair amount of innocent teasing about One Direction at work. At this point in my life, I'm not ashamed of anything I like. I was a fangirl on my own for a while but it's nice to know it doesn't have to be that way.

*I think this is a fairly recent term. I didn't ever think of myself as in a fandom when I liked stuff when I was younger but I don't know what else to call it now!