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Welcome back to Shopping Journal, a new weekly feature where Racked editors share what they're buying and where.
This past weekend I went summer wardrobe shopping, which is my way of justifying making several large purchases all at once in pursuit of a dress code that I don't have to think about in the morning. Summer for me means dresses, usually midi-length and either very form-fitting, or of the linen-sack variety (I only have two speeds and they are 0 and 100).
I picked up a short, ruffled, off-the-shoulder dress from Reformation, along with another that's tighter, sleeveless, and black. I also bought this gown from & Other Stories for an upcoming summer wedding. The dress I didn't buy and can't stop thinking about is this incredible white Opening Ceremony wavy maxi dress. It's not within my financial realm of possibility right now, so I'll be stalking it in hopes of a sale.—Tiffany Yannetta, managing editor
I am the sort of person who is not only too lazy to have a real skincare routine, but also too lazy to buy a new bottle of something when I run out. So when I got down to the last drop of my impossible-to-acquire face cleanser (read: not available at Duane Reade), it took me a few weeks of pouting before I actually, y'know, went to a store.The product? Indie Brooklyn-based brand Meow Meow Tweet's amazing organic, entirely plant oil-based face cleanser. Cost: $25 for 3.8 oz, which lasted me two years and is worth every penny.
I started by going to stores near my Williamsburg apartment that sell these sorts of precious, expensive indie beauty brands, including Space Ninety 8 and Life:Curated (I would have gone to SkinnySkinny, but a Life: Curated shopgirl told me that it closed and is now being used as a Bernie Sanders campaign office). Having zero luck finding the brand there, I begrudgingly took the subway to find it at Stanley's Pharmacy, an adorable LES boutique that also includes a tiny café. Fun! I had to pay an extra $2 in tax, but as far as skincare purchasing experiences go, I'd say it was relatively pleasant. — Rebecca Jennings, entertainment writer
I was hunting for a graduation/birthday gift for my brother a couple of weeks ago and thought about giving him a monogrammed wallet, but instead I got to give him something better: A personalized shopping tour with the best deals Soho had to offer last weekend. We poked around the Carson Street closing sale and browsed the Kit + Ace pop-up on Greene street, but had the best luck at last call for the Paul Smith sample sale and the Ben Sherman store (yes, it's still open, but only until the end of the month). We also picked up a lightweight hoodie from O.N.S. that looked sleek without one of those kangaroo pouch pockets.
I didn't mean to treat myself to a job well done, but that's exactly what happened when I stopped into Babel Fair on the way home just to see what's new. I pulled on this $99 front-wired black A-line dress on a whim and was practically mad about how cute it looked. It's got strategic cutouts accentuating my chest sans bra and a fit-and-flare cut that hides love handles, but it doesn't come with a list of places to wear it — it's too much skin for the office, and a bit too fancy to just wear out and about. Needless to say, suggestions are welcome.—Laura Gurfein, Racked NY editor
I don't want to brag, but I'm really good at giving gifts. The guy I'm dating just finished his masters' program and to celebrate his newfound freedom, I decided to get him guitar lessons — there is both an electric and an acoustic guitar he's been ignoring in his living room — and package them with records from his favorite artists: Prince and Jimi Hendrix.
I knew that Other Music was closing in June, and this seemed like the perfect time to visit. I neither felt cool enough to be in the store nor found anything by Prince or Jimi, but I did find albums from Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and Gil Scott-Heron — not too shabby. I wrapped all three albums together in a ribbon and placed the gift certificate on top. He said it was the most considerate gift he's ever gotten!— Channing Hargrove, Racked NY associate editor
This is a story about my hunt for micellar water. What is micellar water, you ask? GREAT QUESTION. The internet will tell you it's a product consisting of "tiny oil particles suspended in soft water" that will clean your face without drying it out or slicking it up. I know this sounds like one of those French pharmacie scams, but it's not! It works! Every night (and most mornings) after washing my face, I wipe my face with a cotton disc saturated in micellar water and marvel at all the dirt and garbage it picks up. Maybe regular face washing is the real scam?!
I just finished my first bottle of Simple micellar water, which I bought for $6 at a Target in suburban St. Louis. I figured I would replace my bottle with a purchase on Target's website, or Ulta's, or maybe even Drugstore.com. But everyone has a shipping minimum! It's not available via Prime! I am not paying more than $6 for this fancy-but-not face water! So I decided to do what New Yorkers have done for literally thousands of years — go to my neighborhood's finest Duane Reade.
But here's the thing: Duane Reade does not stock Simple micellar water. I found this stressful. Then I looked at the Simple website, where they have a "find in store" function for specific products (this is brilliant) and found that CVS stocks it. And now I encourage you to find cheap, non-scammy face water at a drugstore near you! —Julia Rubin, features editor
I spent last week on vacation with my family in Ireland, where we spent several days hiking the Dingle Way (yes, that's really what it's called) and dreaming up various ways to sneak onto the set of Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is currently filming in Ballyferriter (sadly, none were successful). Packing for this trip, however, presented a challenge: My family is incredibly outdoorsy and athletic while I, well, am not. Prior to last week, the most hiking-appropriate footwear I owned was a pair of Keds.
Against all odds, I popped into REI in Soho in search of some more appropriate shoes for our outdoor adventure. And you know what? Their customer service rocks! A helpful sales associate brought out six different pairs of hiking boots for me to try before I finally settled on some grey-and-purple Vasques (I'd originally wanted to buy some leather Danners so as to channel Reese Witherspoon in Wild, but they cost nearly three times as much, so, no). I also scooped up a few pairs of Smartwool socks, at my parents' recommendation. And when I realized the next day that I'd forgotten to use an REI gift card my boyfriend's family had given me for my birthday (typical Elana), the staff happily processed an exchange to apply my credit.
The boots kept my feet blessedly mud- and blister-free the whole week. Maybe I should try this hiking thing more often.—Elana Fishman, entertainment editor