Small Gratitudes + Checking In

It has been another week sheltered at home solo. Let’s give ourselves a gentle pat on the back for keeping ourselves and others safe and uninfected for as long as we can. It looks our order to stay inside has been extended to the end of April. It’s gonna be a while until normal, folks.

I find myself on an emotional rollercoaster, and thankfully, I still don’t have instagram on my phone to accelerate that ride (I’m talking to you, Sam Smith, you need to stop). Every day is different, depending on how well I slept, on whether the sun is out, whether I’ve been scrolling my phone, and whether I have exercised that day.

It’s easy to become scared, stressed, angry, and defeated if you read the statistics and refresh the news too often, so it’s important to rebalance with content that is more positive, empowering, calming and hopeful. That’s going to look different for everyone, but for me, it has been the below.

There are some fundamental conditions that are making this rollercoaster a lot easier for me, and some of you, that we should acknowledge every day. I’m still fortunate to be employed and working from home, I am more than safe and comfortable in my apartment, and I am still healthy. Yes, it’s inconvenient to be stuck inside all day, but…

That said, I’ll keep the rest lighthearted but nonetheless meaningful to me, because I truly am grateful for these little nuggets of hope.

Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

First up is the new album by Dua Lipa, just released yesterday. I decided to use my abundant amount of idle time to listen to the album from start to finish. No expectations, and I also wore an eye mask to be more dramatic about the experience.

This album is so fucking good. I feel like it was made for me. I’ve been quietly disappointed in pop music for some time, and I think the reason I’ve been so into podcasts for the last few months is because the charts are trash. If I do listen to music, it’s often from decades past, the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s. But this? This record made me feel SEEN, like the pure magic of disco dance could and should be relevant again, that our dance pop legends like Madonna and Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga left their marks on this younger batch of pop stars, and are still to be respected. This is the tipping point for me to finally learn the bass guitar because the bass lines are lethal and pop music hasn’t been this fun and funky in so long. I needed this album.

If you love infectious pop music, if you need a reason to dance, if you love a good pop star, this is the album for you. Highly recommend a listen.

Also check out this absolutely-bananas bass cover of Don’t Start Now, Dua Lipa’s first single from this album, and if you’re one of those people who doesn’t appreciate the bass player, know that you’re not invited to my house. I guess no one is invited right now, but POST QUARANTINE, you are not invited to my house.

My Flute

I brought my flute from San Francisco, which I hadn’t played in 15 years, for purely sentimental reasons. It’s been sitting under my bed, gathering even more dust, but due to my extreme boredom, I’ve been playing it and picking up little melodies to my favorite songs. When I learned to play, it was scales, classical songs, and performing with a band or orchestra. I truly loved it, but a distinction between flute music and pop music always existed. Maybe it’s Lizzo bringing the flute mainstream (combined with her twerking), but now it’s so much fun to play along to songs I love to sing, in a way I never would have as a child.

So I’m very grateful that my little rusty flute is with me, and also for the foundation of learning and practice that I built so many years ago that still give me joy today.

Flute players can be cool too, ok?

Mastery of the DIY Manicure

Pardon my bravado here but I am the fucking bomb at doing my own nails. As much as I love going to the nail salon for pampering, it’s not likely that I will continue to pay for manicures now that I have gotten to this expert level, and because I probably own more nail polishes than the salon by virtue of working on Smith & Cult product development (by the way, go check out the new shades we just launched!)

I originally intended to explain the steps to the manicure, but I’ve realized it’s more complicated than I thought, since it has taken years of little learnings and lots of practice to get here. There are loads of youtube tutorials to follow if you seek them out. For now, I’ll leave a few game changing tips.

If you’re looking for an easy, clean DIY mani, I would recommend that you go shorter, with a rounded shape versus a square (easier to control and maintain), choose a lighter and slightly transparent shade, since these tend to be very forgiving when you make mistakes, and also ensure that your entire nail plate is smooth, by buffing with those soft 4-colored blocks, especially toward the cuticle where it gets kind of weird and bumpy. Finally, the best tool I’ve repurposed is an angled eyeshadow brush, which I dip into acetone and use to clean up the pools of nail polish that go outside of the lines. I haven’t necessarily gotten more precise at painting, I’ve just gotten good at cleaning up the messes, and in the end, that’s what gives me a near-perfect manicure. Little fixes, but they make the biggest impact.

Here are some DIY manicures I’ve done recently.

Wearing Powder Posse.
Serving you lewks from the office, honey. Wearing my all-time favorite red nail, Smith & Cult’s Kundalini Hustle. And to be extra, also wearing Smith & Cult’s CBD Lipstick Supreme Red, which I developed!
Here, my most recent manicure. This awkward claw is wearing Tang Bang for the first time and OMG. This will be added to my rotation of repeat shades. Super rich, deep, warm terracotta orange is an absolute dream. It’s the perfect combination of neutral and statement.

The Office

Last, but most certainly not least, I have returned to my original coping mechanism of watching The Office and it literally never disappoints. Here is an exquisite and well-timed meme remix to my favorite scene, that my best friend shared for some brief levity.

I hope y’all continue to do your best, be safe and well, and reach out to frens and family for extra connection. These are some weird times, but I hope you can still find things to be hopeful and happy about, even if they’re tiny.

Xoxo

Trace

P.S. here is a bonus. My latina sister who walks the reservoir with me told me I blinded her with the reflection of the sun when I miscalculated the temperature and had to remove some layers. As long as we are quarantined, I am likely to continue blinding people on the path with my vitamin D deficient, translucent skin. Sorry about it.

She really said “I can’t tell if it’s you or the sun”. JAJAJAJA

One thought

  1. have you posted a vid of your flute playing? … bc you must! 😄 Powder Posse is lovely. Good to hear of your health and positivity 😊

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