Once upon I time, I started a series called Sunday Selects. I was aiming to share things that I had tried over the course of the week and what I was loving at the moment. I only got through about four of them before realizing that I really don’t actually buy that many things nor do I want to. I’ve also been trying to be more conscious of my own impact as a consumer which can be difficult when your hobby/passion project/side hustle is fashion blogging. Which is why over the past few months, I have leaned into the creative side of things, sharing travel photography and fashion editorials. That said I do love creating a curated list of favorites and so I decided to relaunch Sunday Selects as a monthly feature on all of the things I’ve loved using, wearing, reading, watching in my daily life over the preceding 30 days. I’m hoping this will allow me to strike a balance between mindfulness and the little joys. Without further ado, here is everything that I’ve loved over the course of the month of May (though can we take a moment for how bloody fast time has gone by???)
Bloom Effects Dutch Skincare
I was kindly gifted the Dutch Dirt Mask to try out alongside with the Tulip Tint in exchange for an honest review. The skincare brand is founded on the power of botanicals, and I’ve really loved adding it to my routine. I’ve been using the mask all month, about once a week for deep pore cleansing and exfoliation. The texture is almost creamy and the mask has a clean, refreshing scent. I let it sit for about 15 minutes and then gently wipe off with a warm, damp cloth. Due to the exfoliating element, it can leave a bit of redness on lighter skin but that’s typical for many mud masks. I have found that the Tulip Tint is a great option for subtle lip color or as a cream blush. It’s very vibrant so a little goes a long way in my experience. I tend to be quite rosy naturally, so I mainly used as a lip product when I wanted a bit of color. If I was to buy these myself, I’d go for the mask rather than the tint, as I’ve reached for it more over the past month.
It’s the third B of quarantine trifecta (baking, baths and books). Over the past month my love for the written word has been stronger than ever. Whether you’re self-educating or looking for escapism, there’s nothing like diving into the pages of a book. Though I have an e-reader, I do love to have a physical copy, and this month I have been making a priority to support a local bookstore Old Town Books by ordering from them. If you need inspiration for your next read, I highly suggest you give Beth’s Bookclub a follow or check out the extra-membership option. I’ve been following Beth ever since I lived in London and her recommendations have never let me down. For the more extroverted among us, she hosts a monthly online chat and often does Q & As with authors as part of the membership.
Now that I’ve moved into the city and there’s a lot less green space around me, I have an even greater appreciation for houseplants and flowers. My walks around the neighborhood are 50% me taking photos of flowers and 50% waving at dogs. Recently, I brought spring inside by ordering some peonies from Urban Stems. They came beautifully wrapped and though I opted for a simple bouquet, they also offer more elaborate arrangements. Urban Stems delivers throughout the United States and has houseplants available too. Fellow Washingtonians, if you’re looking to support locally based businesses, She Loves Me and Poppy are also great options with bouquet subscriptions. If you’re on the other side of the pond, Brits check out Bloom & Wild for all your floral needs.
I have been wanting a simple black bikini for ages and finally took the plunge when I discovered this ethical and inclusive swimwear brand. All of their swimsuits are meant to stretch and mold to your body with their elastane and nylon woven ribbed design. This means it’s a swimsuit that you can wear for years and years. No saggy bums or too tight tums here! I went for the Poise Standard Waist Bikini in black (which can be worn on the hip or a bit higher up on the waist) but they have a rainbow of color options for all designs. So far, I’ve only worn it around my house and sunbathing on our tiny back patio, but I can’t wait to take it to the beach once things open up. Between this and my Monroe suits, I’m sorted for summer!
Hungry Harvest Farm Boxes
This company sources farm-to-doorstep boxes filled with fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste for ‘imperfections’. Each delivery helps to eliminate at least 10lbs of food that would otherwise go to waste, I love that it is good for the planet. You can also customize your box preferences (I hate cantaloupe with a fiery passion) so you’re never delivered anything you won’t eat! You can also add things from their market, extra avocados, a round of variety herbs and more. It’s a nice surprise on Sunday mornings and a great way to ensure you have fresh fruit and veg each week.
Normal People (Book & TV)
Sally Rooney’s coming of age novel has been all over Instagram flat lays and shelfie pics since it was published in 2018, and with the recent launch of the TV show on Hulu, there’s been a major resurgence. I’m a firm believer in books-before-TV/movie, and so I ordered a paperback copy from Old Town Books. It’s a fast pace read, I picked it up one Sunday and 24 hours later turned the final page. I then spent the next week watching the 12 episode program. Verdict on the book: engaging, entertaining, definitely lives up to the New York Times Bestseller sticker but didn’t change my life. Compared to the TV show I felt you had more of an insight to Connell and Marianne’s thought processes. At times leaned a bit melodramatic on the angst and more than once I had the thought that I don’t know any university student who speaks the way they do, but that may have been the point. Overall 8/10 read. I felt the TV show brought the story to life visually in a compelling and effective way. For me, the portrayal of Connell and his mental health was especially strong, and I loved how they showed Marianne’s character development through her environment and clothing. Some parts of her story didn’t come across as three-dimensionally and I’m not sure they needed 12 episodes, towards the end it seemed drawn out. Overall 8.5/10 enjoyed but not going to re-watch anytime soon.
I absolutely loved this piece, as I have been taking comfort and meaning in puttering around my new place. Decorating my room, cooking and baking, reading and going for long walks and runs. I also fell head over heels for the revamped Little Women in January and then again for the film Emma in March just before the pandemic broke out in full. It inspired me to shoot the images you see here in the blog post, with a romantic prairie-corset top that reminds me of the empire-waist cap sleeve dresses worn in Regency England. I also wanted to feature the Victorian inspired woodwork and wooden fireplaces at our rowhouse.
Black Lives Matter
And with an important final note, I couldn’t make a recommendation list for May without giving some of the anti-racism resources that have been recommended by black and POC activists, authors and bloggers I follow. Beyond remembering their names (George Bloyd, Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Eric Carner, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland and too many more), it is essential to commit to educating yourself and your circles. To confront your own biases and privileges on a daily basis because this is our history, this is our present and to stop it from being our future, we must take action. This is just a starting point, not a golden ticket.
For your library (I listed Amazon because it’s the most universal but if you can order from your local bookstore, please do!)
Articles For Your Toolkit
Black Businesses to Support
There are many voices out there that should be heard more than mine on this subject, so I wanted to take the opportunity to share what they’ve taught me.
Your black friends, your black co-workers and black bloggers/influencers for the most part are not full time activists. We ask for so much emotional labour of black people especially during times like these. It is traumatic, relentless and exhausting so please be respectful of their mental health and space. It can be tempting to ask how to help, because it’s horrible and you may feel helpless, but I guarantee as a non-black person, what you’re feeling right now pales to the hurricane of emotion they are experiencing. If they don’t respond to your questions or are sharp in their answer, don’t be offended, and instead take a good second look at what you were asking of them. They are people first and foremost.
Do The Work. There’s a lot of performative actions after viral racist incidents, especially on social media. This is not about you. It is not about clearing your conscience so you can carry on guilt-free. Black people are being murdered. . Illustrations and quotes are meaningless unless you actively commit to anti-racism every day. Read books and articles from black writers, especially black women and the non-binary and trans black community. Diversify your Instagram and social media feeds, I love following Nicole Ocran, Stephanie Yeboah, Petite Marie NYC, Ayana Lage, Hillea, In My Sunday Best and Dadou Chic to name a few, their content is beautiful and brilliant. Check out the courses and work of activists and authors including Rachel Cargle, From Privilege to Progress, No White Saviors, Candice Brathwaite, Chrissy Ford, Black Coffee With White Friends, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Munroe Bergdorf.
Confront your own privileges and biases on a daily basis. Have uncomfortable conversations, there will be growing pains but the best thing you can do is learn publicly. Be vocal and visible, but also know when it’s time to pause, to listen and to believe the stories of black people in America and around the world. Lives are on the line.