My favorite grey Alexander Wang camera bag got sabotaged on a freak cruise boat accident, which means I'm without a practical and small bag for special occasions and for hopping across the street to frat row. (I wish I were kidding, but as senior year approaches, I'm strangely nostalgic for the college debauchery I evaded for the past two years.) I've been eyeing this Proenza Schouler PS11 wristlet-clutch from Net-a-Porter -- did I mention that orange is one of my new favorite colors? Orange is warm and toasty and perfect for autumn, when the scarves start to come out of the woodwork and sweaters are no longer covered in mothballs.
I don't remember a time when I had clear skin. On the first day of fourth grade, I came to class with a giant red oozing zit on my nose.
"Do you, like, not wash your face? Is it not in your culture?" asked a friend who turned out not to be a friend by eighth grade. She undoubtedly thought I was a peasant straight off the rice paddies of China. (But yeah, "friend"-from-fourth-grade, Chinese people do wash their faces. Who do you think we are? French aristocracy from the 18th century?). I walked around the playground with my hand covering my face in shame. At that point, I would have rather Voldemort branded me with the Dark Mark on my forehead than grow a pimple on my face.
I've been to multiple dermatologists, some of whom tricked me into expensive and useless light treatments. My current dermatologist is awesome and way more glamorous than me. Yesterday, she wore hot pink Manolo Blahnik open-toe stilettos. She is also Asian, is way older than me, and has way better legs than me. My first dermatologist was a guy with really hairy arms and grey chest hair that looked like fur sticking out of his shirt. He was useless and kind of gross. Wouldn't you rather trust a dermatologist in Manolo Blahniks anyway?
Anyway, while I was studying abroad in Paris for the past seven months, I picked up a couple tubes of Avibon vitamin A pommade from la pharmacie. French pharmacies are unbelievably chic. In America, people go to Duane Reade and CVS for a bag of Doritos and a bottle of Herbal Essences shampoo. In France, people go to the pharmacy for amazing -- and affordable -- products that you'd find in specialty stores elsewhere. I had read about Avibon via GOOP, and because I love Gwyneth Paltrow and have even once tasted the CLEAN cleansing program she's crazy for (I felt like I was drinking sandpaper but if Gwynnie swears by it and looks the way that she does, who am I to judge?), I had to try it.
Avibon looks like Vaseline but smells like a bouquet of roses. Vitamin A, as you may know is retinoic acid, which is used for anti-aging, fighting wrinkles, erasing scars, and clearing acne. The only ingredients are lanolin, which is why it's moisturizing and not drying like most retinol creams, and vitamin A. You should smear it all over your face before bed, which makes you look like a yellow Martian. It's not really attractive, but I am a big fan of looking ugly at home when no one can see you. It makes going out into public a more dramatic affair.
My acne problems are too disastrous for a simple over-the-counter pommade to solve (we'll talk about that another day), but it has cleared up much of my scarring and has kept my skin moisturized at night without more zits than usual. It only costs about €7 (or less!) at the pharmacies in France, but most online shops sell it to foreigners for over $25 per tube. I'd recommend you find a French penpal (or better yet, lover) so that they can pick it up for you. And when you do, please let me know so I can put in an order, too.
Do you have any budget drugstore/pharmacy favorites? Especially ones that look gross but work better than bathing in virgins' blood?
I am resurrecting this blog. Be warned -- you should have zero expectations. I don't. I am about to start my senior year of college in two weeks, and I still haven't finalized my class schedule. Or bought my books. Or finished my fellowship applications for post-graduate study in Europe. Or lost the weight I gained in Paris from eating baguettes and Nutella for breakfast. (I'm working on it.) I did, however, secure an internship for the fall semester (beauty and health department at Teen Vogue).
In other words, I don't know in what direction I'm going to take Miss Couturable -- but I hope you'll accompany me on my senior year of college at Columbia University, where I'm really trying to become a Real Person. You can read Miss Couturable for fashion/lifestyle commentary that mirrors my actual life, and NoelDuan.com for 3am musings when I'm panicking about midterms in the deep crevices of the library. Do you have any suggestions? What do you want to read about? I will consider anything that doesn't involve incriminating photos that my grandchildren will see. (Unless they'll think I'm a badarse grandma!)
Every year of high school, on the last day of the academic year, we sat through an excruciatingly long awards ceremony. My freshman year, at the awards ceremony, I found myself sitting next to a senior. Her name was Tara Chandra, and she was one of the smartest, prettiest, and most enigmatic seniors I had ever admired from far away in the hallway. She sang for the jazz band and once did an amazing rendition of Wicked's "Defying Gravity." She had won numerous prestigious writing awards and once, she gave a speech in front of the entire school about apathy and about political action. That was the only student speech that moved me all year. Most importantly (to me, as a wide-eyed freshman), she was attending Columbia University in the fall. She was going to New York, which seemed like the perfect place for her.
She won the English award that year, and I remember the entire auditorium cheering loudly for her, with teachers nodding their heads and smiling with pride. She was everything I wanted to be in three years.
I did end up giving two speeches in front of the school -- once my junior year, and once my senior year. And I never won a single award at school, but I did end up going to the same college as she did. And I did rediscover my passion for writing in high school, though I never won any prestigious writing awards.
After Tara graduated early from Columbia (magna cum laude, natch), she started to pursue her music career. Now, she is professionally known as Tara Priya.
It wasn't my intention to write about Tara Priya on the day of Amy Winehouse's death, but now I consider it fitting because Tara considers Amy to be one of her greatest influences.
I'm no expert on music (much less widely accepted "good" music), but Tara's EP has been on repeat on my playlist for the past two weeks. It's catchy, genuine, and heartfelt music. At the very least, you'll see why I was both intimidated and in awe as a 15-year-old freshman, sitting next to that confident senior with the brunette curls, who seemed ready to conquer the world.
You can listen to her EP and download it for only $3 here. I've also attached her new music video, "Rollin'." Hopefully it brings a bit a soulful joy to your heart amidst all the tragedy in this world.
While many of my friends are jetting off to tropical islands, European countries, or back home for spring break, I'm staying in the city, where I intend to eat good food, visit museums, shop, catch up on work, and sleep all day and night. So, no, no need to pity me.
Just in time for spring break, Refinery29 is launching its new college column! The first article is about what to pack for your spring break trip.
Anyway, I'm super excited about this because I know a lot of fellow students who read Refinery29, but sometimes it's hard to relate when you're not dressing for a 9-to-5 job or you can't always afford to head downtown for an $80 entrée. Not that it stops me.
So, while I'm spending my Valentine's Day having intimate relations with my laptop, you may have more exciting raunchy plans (but statistically not likely if you also go to Columbia).
Refinery29.com asked me to publicize their latest Reserve, in which you get two 13-pack of condoms from Sir Richard's Condom Company for only $13 -- shipping included. Also, 25% of the proceeds is donated to Partners in Health. And apparently four of the boxes have diamond earrings from Simmons Jewelry. Sweet deal.
But anyway, erm, I'm heading to the library to hook up in the stacks celebrate my singleness with other single stressed-out friends. Happy Valentine's Day! At the very least, love yourself.