Cool Girl

it's all about the aesthetic

Moving is insane

It is, there is no doubt about it, but it gets about a thousand times worse when you’re moving countries and you have a limit of two suitcases.

Because you see, you end up finding things you thought you’d lost forever, and you start to wonder if you’ll need a dress you haven’t worn in four years (yes, I should be more diligent with spring cleanings) and eventually you find yourself looking at a closet full of stuff without knowing exactly what to pack.

A little background: I’m moving countries in two weeks.

Between trying to choose a sensible number of books that I can carry without overloading my bag and getting all the documents I’ll need, I have kind of put off packing my clothes. Not because I don’t want to do it, but because I think I’ll have about 5 identity crisis while trying to choose what to take with me.

Clothes are weird companions, and some have become oddly comforting items. So, yes, while I haven’t worn that grey dress in four years, I’ll also miss looking at it every time I open my closet.

It’s weird, I know.

It’s also a reflection of my fear. Fear of leaving home, of going far away and of not seeing my family or close friends in person for at least a year. Because moving means I’m an actual adult, who has to go out, get a job and do adult things, without the safety net I’ve gotten used to.

Besides, I’m kind of terrified of failure.

For now, my clothes will remain in the closet, my hugs will get tighter and I might stare at old things a little bit longer, but in the end, it will be fine.

The Beauty Day 101

I’m a huge fan of beauty days. These are days in which I have no previous appointments, nor do I have any problems to solve. Only, instead of sitting in front of the T.V. (as I would usually do), these are days when I’m particularly inspired to take care of my skin.

As a huge fan of any and all beauty products, I’m on a constant search for new and affordable face masks, cleansers and mists, and have an ever-changing beauty regimen that includes trying out new things and asking for tips from friends.

Free stock from Pexels

Free stock from Pexels

On a regular day, I stick to my anti-acne soap and a facial tonic in the morning and an azelaic acid pomade at night. All in all, it works well for me, keeps me mostly pimple free, and my skin fresh enough.

But beauty days are about feeling like the best version of yourself so….

Movies are important

Any beauty day requires one of two things: a movie you’re fond of, or exciting music. I’m partial to the movie because I enjoy following stories, though I tend to choose something I’ve seen already, as that way I can go to the bathroom to wash my face and still know what is going on.

Really, anything that makes for interesting background noise (or background story) is okay. Remember: this day is about having fun!

Pull Up That Hair

Alongside your face mask, now is also the perfect time to drench your hair in whatever you love to drench it in. Whether you like coconut oil (works wonders for dry hair) or prefers brand names (there are so many available hair masks, you can pick one no matter your budget, really).

When I was younger, this consisted of my mom making a rather smelly concoction of avocado, 1 raw egg and slathering that all over my scalp and leaving it for an hour. Though I’ve yet to try that again in my adult life (I really dislike the smell of raw egg), I recommend it even if only for the fond memories I have of scrunching my nose and saying “mooooom!” as she pulled on my locks.

Go For That Mask

I’ve gone on about my love for face masks in the past, and they are essential in a beauty day. Whether they are homemade (coconut oil, honey and lime juice make for a very good one, for example) or store bought (my favorite is the Nivea 5-in-1, that also works as an amazing exfoliator for days in which I’m in a hurry).

I start my beauty days by getting my favorite mask and rubbing it all over my face, then sitting back with a nice cup of my favorite beverage (ice tea for hot days, hot chocolate for cold ones) and drinking it slowly as I wait for it to dry completely. I recommend you do this some time after putting your hair mask on, as it takes far less time to dry than hair masks do to act.

Shower… Profusely

After your scalp and your locks are properly hydrated, and you can’t quite move your face, it is time to wash all of it off! At this time, I’m already feeling about 50% prettier and better about myself, but I carry on my beauty day regimen by exfoliating my body in the shower.

First, I do this with a natural sponge, as it helps me get rid of dead cells, but I carry on with my favorite body scub. Mine is from a Brazilian brand called O Boticario. It’s the Nativa SPA sugar and pitaya scrub and it smells amazing, making my skin feel silky smooth and free of dead cells. I’m particularly fond of slathering it under my armpits, elbows and knees, as those are the places in which my skin feels rougher.

Okay, ladies now let’s get in hydration.

That was a terrible pun.

After showering, hydration is key. Hydrating is important because it makes your skin look healthier, more vibrant and less prone to wrinkles, so don’t skip this step!

My favorite hydrators are the Nivea naturally enriched, which is great for really dry skin, or the Sephora brand head-to-toe hydrator. That is particularly useful because it works as a body and face hydrator (I really like all-purpose products, to be honest). I apply this all over my body, making sure to focus on specially dry places (elbows, knees, feet and hands).

Don’t stress.

Remember, these steps are about making you feel good about yourself, so adequate it to your beauty regimen. A beauty day, above all, is a day in which you take time to take care of yourself, it’s a day of relaxation in order to feel fresh, so try to keep it stress-free and filled with happiness. It is also perfect to invite friends over and make it a beauty-party with cocktails (or ice tea, if you’re underage), gossip and fun!

Enjoy your beauty day!

 

How to Stay Motivated

Lately I’ve had quite some trouble staying motivated. To go out, to get dressed, even to write this blog! And this got me thinking: how do people stay motivated.

Ironically enough, it led me to write this post.

Because nowadays, I have been feeling less and less like the creative type, and more like the “super-stressed-because-I-need-a-job-type”, which really bothers me because it keeps me from doing things I like, and from doing things I have to do. So… how do you fight it?

Although I’ve yet to come up with a satisfying answer (sorry, guys), I started noticing the little things that make me feel happier and more fulfilled, even if none of them come with a job offer yet.

Motivational photo for lazy people?

Long Walks on the Beach:

Despite seeming obvious, taking a walk really helps me clear my head. Usually, I do this with someone I like (my mom, my friends, or take a walk instead of taking the bus to meet someone). In spite of my self-proclaimed everlasting laziness, walking works really well to give me ideas for posts, stories or just to let go of any tension that might have built up.

Oh, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be on a beach. Most of my walks happen on asphalt.

Spring Cleaning:

Okay, so cleaning my house is really annoying. I have three dogs and two of them have an unsettling amount of fur, which leads to daily vacuum cleaning and constant fussing over carpets. However, it also forces me to stop worrying about other things. As I vacuum my living room, I force myself not to think about what is currently worrying me, and allow myself to think about what I have to do, and plan out my day (I vacuum in the morning).

In the end, I get a clean house and a clean mind, both of which I enjoy immensely.

The Queen of Face Masks:

Face masks are all the rage amongst beauty bloggers and everyone knows it. There are DIYs and store bought, mud, charcoal and sheet masks and more variety than one would think possible.

For me, it’s all about the ritual. From carefully spreading the mud-and-water concoction (or whatever else I’m currently into), to waiting for the mask to dry, to hopping in the shower, facial masks really make me feel good. Even if my skin doesn’t magically clear up, I feel more relaxed and refreshed afterwards, like I’m ready to do everything on my to-do-lists.

Just Do It:

Nike’s commanding slogan works really well too. If none of the above brings you closer to motivation, try doing. Though I still have to work on this advice for myself, I think that if we took a moment to go ahead and do whatever we’ve been pressing ourselves to do (or at least starting), we’d see that most of what we’d been worrying about was just that: worrying, and what, like this post, one needed to simply start in order to finish.

 

Oh yeah, let it be known that I intend on posting more often. Sorry about the dry spell, I wasn’t feeling myself or my writing.

How to Dress When You’re Not Feeling It?

A Guide… Of Sorts

Though most days I make an effort to look good and feel good, I’ve got to admit that some days I am just not feeling myself. In days like these, it seems like the mirror is my worst enemy, showing me every single “flaw” I have (or I think I have) and it drives me mad. Especially if it’s a day in which I have to go out, and can’t sit at home like a lonely hermit watching Netflix.

Sometimes I wonder if Carrie Bradshaw ever had that problem.

Rather than reach for a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and ditch my appointment (in this case, a party), I’ve started to think of how I could beat the awful dread I was feeling while staring at my clothes.

The thing is, I’m not a model. I’m not even an Instagram model. I’m a regular girl, with a body that I don’t always like. So how could I dress myself when I wasn’t feeling myself?

The answer is complicated, to say the least. But rather than touch on my deep-rooted self-esteem issues, let’s talk about a few small things I do in order to start feeling like a person who’d look good at a party.

001 – Take a shower.

It seems stupid, but showers have always made me feel better, especially if I washed my hair. Warm water and 10 minutes focusing on cleaning my body and exfoliating my face make me feel refreshed and a little more welcome to trying things on.

002 – Comfort clothes.

Comfort clothes aren’t necessarily comfortable stay-at-home clothes, but those pieces that make you feel your best. It’s the skirt that always makes you look good, even if you gained a few pounds, or the 10 year-old t-shirt you don’t have the heart to throw out even if you’ve worn it five-hundred times. Try them on first, look at yourself in the mirror and assure yourself that you look good.

003 – Nice shoes.

Instead of worrying about the clothes you’re gonna wear, focus on the shoes. Choose the pair that makes you feel like Beyoncé (or whatever lifestyle icon you choose) and work around them. Clothes aren’t as important if your feet steal the show.

004 – Friends

Text your best friend something fun and talk for a few minutes. It seems easy and obvious, but just having contact with someone other than your mirror sometimes works wonders, even making you feel more like yourself and less “meh”.

005 – Dress up.

After the past four self-esteem building steps, face the closet. Pick up your wonderful shoes, put on a comfort outfit, look in the mirror and tell yourself you look bomb (or text a photo to your friend so she can do that for you). And, if it’s your thing, have fun doing your makeup.

006 – Have fun.

Even if your outfit still doesn’t feel right when you leave the house, try your best to have a lot of fun when you arrive at your destination. It will, at the very least, make you forget about the clothes.

Now, let’s go get dressed!

Easy Indulgence: Chocolate Mousse

Here’s another confession: I’m passionate about desserts. I love making them, eating them and experimenting with them. However, I reserve a special place in my heart for anything with chocolate.

Chocolate mousse is amongst some of my favorite desserts, both due to its creamy texture and to how easy it is to make. It is the ultimate cool girl dessert for the same reasons. Macarons are pretty and a staple of French patisserie, but they are simply not a good answer for your late-night longings for something sweet (unless there’s a 24-hour French patisserie near you). Between the complex list of ingredients and the exact measures, macarons are a dessert to make if you have patience and time (and, quite honestly, skill).

Bottom line is, mousse seems much more accessible.

Especially in this recipe. With simple ingredients and a total prepping time of 10 minutes, my chocolate mousse is the ultimate busy person’s answer to the times when I needed a chocolate fix but didn’t want to simply eat a piece of chocolate (because I’d end up eating the whole bar).

I personally like to wait until the mousse has set in the fridge for a few hours before eating it, but the un-chilled mix of ingredients tastes just as good (albeit more runny) as soon as you make it.

 

Ingredients:

3 eggs;

200 grams of bittersweet chocolate;

2 table spoons of sugar;

200 grams of heavy cream.

 

Preparation:

Beat the egg yolks until they double in size;

Pour in the sugar and keep beating until the yolks turn a pale yellow (almost white);

Melt the chocolate. I do this in bain-marie, but feel free to use the microwave if that’s what you prefer. Just be conscious to melt it in 20 seconds intervals and stir constantly so it doesn’t burn. Add the heavy cream to the chocolate and stir until combined;

Add the chocolate and cream to the yolk mix, stirring quickly;

Finally, beat the egg whites until they have doubled in size and add them to your mix in parts, stirring slowly so that the mix is airy.

There, the ultimate cool-girl chocolate mousse is done!

Making the Case for Overdressing

These days I was watching a TV show in which the hostess lives with a different family each weekend. She’s opinionated, loud, funny and always overdressed. And as I watched her and her outfit changes, I started thinking of how lazy I am when it comes to getting dressed, at least most of the times.

Though lounging in my house like this would probably be too much.

It made me feel really boring.

So, I’ve decided to make the case for the unapologetically overdressed. I have a friend who, no matter where she goes, gets out of her house looking like she just came out of a 1950s moodboard (in a good way), and I know people who won’t leave their houses without a full face of makeup. I admire both of those things, since it involves planning an outfit, time to put on makeup and then assert that you like everything you put on before leaving.

Although, realistically, I’m never going to wear a faux-fur jacket draped over my shoulders as I go to the grocery store, I started thinking of ways I could “overdress” in my daily life, if only to feel it is a little more glamorous. Then, I’ve decided to commit to giving my outfits a little more thought before leaving the house in them.

I sort of want those purple pants, though… too much?

As the self-proclaimed queen of comfy-casual, this is gonna be tough.

So here’s the stitch: for one week, I will wear clothes I consider ‘going out clothes’ for common stuff such as grocery shopping, going to the mall, and, occasionally, just lounging around in my own house (okay, this one is because I’m lazy when it comes to changing once I get home, though), then by the end of the week I will write how I felt about it.

This is also a conscious commitment to try and feel less self-conscious about my outfits, my body and how others see me. Which is why I’ll be delving deep into feelings of inadequacy at the end of the week, probably. However, I can’t wait to start!

Let’s overdress.

Cool Girl style: the leather jacket

For many years now, the leather jacket has been a staple item in any cool girl’s closet. I can understand why: it’s versatile, which makes it perfect for “off-duty” days and times when you’d have to dress it up a little bit and it evokes a sort of rocket-chick-chic mood that girls like Behati Prinsloo and Dakota Johnson pull off so well.

Dakota Johnson being the ultimate rocker-girl-chic (Photo taken from Vogue)

It is also the perfect mid-season attire. Spring and Fall have the perfect not-quite-warm-not-yet-cold weather that calls for a light perfecto, skinny jeans and some worn-in leather boots. Those easy, yet alluring style choices have had my heart since I became aware of them, and I started to search for the perfectly loose, stylish jacket for myself.

While shopping for them and searching for inspiration pictures, though, I have stumbled across a number of articles selling exactly the “quintessential cool girl look” I wrote about previously. And it is cool! I too want to look like I could hop on a motorcycle and ride through some seaside road in Italy, or like the badass member of a girl-gang, or an off-duty superheroine.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a jacket that actually makes me feel like either of those things. Between my love for comfortable clothes and my lack of confidence when it comes to looking badass, buying a leather jacket hasn’t been a fructiferous task. However, this is such a beloved article of clothing that I nearly feel guilty for not having found one yet (at least not one I can afford without feeling extra-guilty).

What I like about this trend, though, is that it feels like something I can pull off (even if I haven’t exactly the perfect fit for me yet). Unlike some passing trends that seem to require a perfect bikini body, a fat bank account or unlimited access to second-hand clothing (and time to scan through them in search for perfectly conserved brand items) the leather jacket looks good in different types of people, it’s pretty much genderless, and it just seems easy to pull off (and friendly to vegans, since faux/vegan leather has already reached the market).

Searching for a leather jacket will probably turn into a saga (I can be especially annoying when it comes to certain items of clothing), but I can only hope that somewhere out there there’s a jacket that gives me that effortlessly stylish air I’m seeking (even if, along with it, I’m wearing age-old jeans and a white t-shirt).

Cool Girl travels: Cannes

My first (and so far only) visit to Cannes wasn’t what one would call glamorous. I had been on the road for almost a month, sleeping poorly, eating canned food and taking showers at the beach (those little shower heads saved my life and my hair). Still, when I got to the French Riviera it felt weirdly like I had become a character on Gossip Girl.

Maybe it is my own tendency to fantasize and daydream whenever I travel, but even in my run down Havaianas flip flops, jean shorts and t-shirt, I instantly felt more glamorous when I hit the city. Nice had seemed too much like a town and not enough like a dream to awaken the same feelings, and Cannes seemed to be covered in the type of mysticism that only a city that’s used to receiving millionaires and stars can be.

From the road that links Cannes and Monte Carlo.

As I walked through its cobbled stone streets, I could distinctively recall the days I had spent reading the Gossip Girl novels. At one point in my life, I had been obsessed with them (maybe, at a deeper level, I still am), and walking through a place that Blair Waldorf could choose to spend her vacation in felt like I was living a particularly good episode of my own life.

Although, in all truth, there isn’t much to do in Cannes if you don’t have money to spend and aren’t interested in gambling. Since I could not go to any of the glamorous restaurants and my group decided we wouldn’t gamble, I settled for the sights and held on to that strangely comforting Gossip Girl fantasy instead. I watched the yachts as if I could hop on one of them and sail away, and looked at the stores like I was perusing for new collection items.

The weather helped a lot. The blue sky stretched out infinitely above me, and the sea offered a cool summer breeze to placate the heat. I went in July, so there were no big movie stars or groups of paparazzi swarming the place. There were lots of tourists, French families who wanted to hit the beach, groups of Asian tourists that carried an insane amount of photographic cameras (though I was also guilty of that), and groups of German, English and other European families that, much like the group I was with, wanted to see what all the rave was about.

I also did tourist-y stuff, obviously, like visiting the famous red carpet of the film festival, Le Suquet and the old port, and allowing myself to lay on a nearby beach and just exist under the hot July sun.

DSC03241

I think Cannes is a cool girl destination because it is one of those places that, like Paris or New York, has the ability to make you daydream. Instead of being disappointed in the fact that I couldn’t party on a rooftop pool, go on a yacht trip or eat at an Instagram-worthy restaurant, I simply allowed myself to feel and see and experience the trés cool sensation that the place itself brought me.

However, I wouldn’t be opposed to returning it in more favorable conditions, if only to relate how that same feeling would show itself as I did any of the things mentioned above.

Cool Girl reads: The Raven Boys

Here is a little snippet about myself: I am a big reader.

I love books. The smell of new and old books, the heartwarming feeling of starting a new story, getting lost in hours of a fictional life, it is all pretty amazing to me. I also collect books, and every now and again I come across a story that makes me ignore everything else in the name of spending more time with its characters.

TRB coverThe Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater, has been one of those books. It is also, for me, an amazing example of what I think a “cool girl book” is. So I thought it was only fitting that it was the first post in my reading tag.

The premise of the book is simple: Blue Sargent has been told, throughout her life, that when she kissed her true love, he would die. Putting it like that, though, makes it seem like your usual young adult romance/drama/supernatural series that involves fantastic creatures and clichés. It is, however, none of that.

Maggie Stiefvater instead delivers an enticing story about friendship, cars, enchanted places and lovable characters. It is unexpectedly sweet, exciting and filled with heartwarming plot twists. The Raven Boys was one of those rare first-in-a-series books that had me wishing I had access to all of its sequels immediately.

The main characters are all relatable, and Stiefvater manages to touch on heavy subjects (such as death, abusive relationships and mentions of suicide) with softness. And though its villains (or morally dubious characters) still leave that particular bitter taste in your mouth, they do so somewhat pleasantly, such is the talent of this author with words. Maggie Stiefvater provided me with exactly the sort of literature I seek, the sort that makes me wonder afterwards, the sort that makes me search for similar stories, similar characters (and, inevitably, fanfiction).

The Raven Boys, above all, left me wanting (for magic, for more, for something you can’t quite put your finger on), which is why I believe it is a perfect cool girl book. The longing Gansey (one of the main characters) experiences was mirrored by myself as I read the story, and I was amazed with the feelings that lingered once I was done. Although it isn’t a biography of a famous designer, or the style tips of a savvy blogger, Maggie Stiefvater’s thrilling beginning to The Raven Cycle inspires a feeling much more profound feeling of belonging and not quite belonging. I was taken to the streets of Henrietta easily, but could see myself reading that story by a beach in Cannes, or in a rainy London afternoon.

It is that transfixed experience that I look for in books. That sense of being taken to somewhere else entirely, and that I gladly found in this beautiful first installment.

I will refrain from commenting on the other books in the series, but to say that none of the sequels have disappointed me thus far (I still haven’t read the last book, The Raven King, but I doubt it will be different). I highly recommend this if you want to be transported to a much more magical version of the world, or if you want to read about types of love that don’t necessarily involve kissing.

The aesthetic

Throughout our lives we are constantly sold images of people we should strive to be. Media often sells us ideas, and my personal favorite has always been that of the “cool girl”. Magazines tell me I should wear leather jackets, tie my hair in a carefully deconstructed ponytail and get myself some perfectly fitted 500$ jeans, but I believe that the cool girl is donned, above all, with an air of effortlessly achieved style.

Please note, I say girl, but I also believe that the cool girl aesthetic is fundamentally genderless.

I started this blog as a way to praise cool girls (and guys, and people that fit other gender identities), but also to praise moments, experiences, books and places that have made me feel confident enough to pretend that I can also do that trés chic thing French girls seem to carry in their genes.

This is a blog about clothes, travelling, books, people. A blog about lifestyle choices and also a blog about myself.

I am P, and this is Cool Girl.